Thursday, 25 April 2013

happy icelandic first day of summer + my present

Happy Icelandic First Day of Summer! In a post that I wrote in March I told you about this day, which Icelanders are celebrating today. I also told you about the tradition to give children presents and about my decision to give one to myself. As I was about to order the book I meant to get, I changed my mind and bought another one instead:
Escape Hotel Stories: Retreat and Refuge in Nature by travel writer Francisca Mattéoli.

I haven't finished reading it but I can tell you that it is a truly beautiful book, where eco-friendly travel locations meet culture. On the pages you not only learn about stunning resorts all over the world, you also meet artists and writers and even characters in films. I love the cover, a lithographic poster, Air France (1947) by Lucien Boucher. See the whale? Iceland is right above it. In the photo below you see the endpapers, an Imperial Federation World Map from 1886. Even Iceland is included in that one (it is so often left out in old maps).

To sum it up, this book simply makes me happy.

I discovered Francisca Mattéoli and her travel books through my blog friend Ada of Classiq, who recently interviewed her. The interview left me very inspired and I knew that I had to get a copy of Mattéoli's latest book. Now that I have it, I of course want all her books (if you are interested you will find them in the travel section of my Amazon picks).

I took a few photographs of some of my favourite spreads (who am I kidding, all the spreads in this book are a favourite). As I plan to travel to East Africa one day with a close friend of mine who has been there many times (Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda are on the plan), I was especially drawn to a resort called the Cottars that starts on page 94. In the text Mattéoli talks about Karen Blixen (1885-1962) and there was just something about that one that went straight to my heart.

Our male Persian kitten was very interested in the place. Every time I reached for the camera he jumped up on the table to have a look (smart cat). He's probably a Karen Blixen fan as I am. Note to self: How much extra does it cost to travel with a Persian to Kenya?

Here are two more spreads from the book mixed with spring blossoms from our garden. I took photos of this tree early this morning and you should see how it has changed. We were enjoying pancakes earlier - celebrating the first day of summer - and it was almost as if we could watch the tree produce flowers - so beautiful.

We have been enjoying gorgeous weather lately and I have been busy gardening - loving every minute of it. I will be back to blogging on Monday. Have a wonderful weekend!

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt
- the book Escape Hotel Stories: Retreat and Refuge in Nature by Francisca Mattéoli is published by Assouline. It is available in French and English (English translation: Barbara Mellor)


  1. I'm happy that you found the interview inspiring and that you enjoyed the book. I did too. :)

  2. This looks like a marvelous, romantic and inspiring book, Lisa. Thanks so much for the review – I really trust your taste and judgement!

    Wishing you a great week head, filled with spring goodness. xo

  3. This is a very interesting book that I want very much to own. Thanks for introducing it to us :)


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