Coincidence? National Geographic's top two 'Literary Cities' are big-time golf destinations
Golfers tend to love books, and folks like to read when it’s raining. So perhaps it comes as no surprise that the top two “Literary Cities” as determined by National Geographic are also big-time golf destinations with a reputation for rain checks.
Checking in at No. 1 is Edinburgh, Scotland, which is sandwiched between East Lothian and St. Andrews, two of the most golf-rich spots in the world. I’ve flown into Edinburgh three times to kick off my Scotland golf vacation. Before you head out of the city towards the links, it’s a wonderfully cultural and photogenic city to explore. In addition to pub tours that spotlight the city’s literary stars like Robert the Bruce and Ian Rankin, you can visit a Writer’s Museum or just pop into a city park like the eerily deserted Calton Hill with your own book to kill an afternoon.
Coming in second on Nat Geo’s list is Dublin, Ireland. I have not-so-fond memories of my several days in Dublin a few years back. I thought I’d “beat the crowds” by taking a two-week trip at the beginning of March. The first couple days were cold, windy and pouring rain. I barely left my Bed & Breakfast that was right across the street from Bull Island and Royal Dublin Golf Club, where I would stare at through my window for a couple days and never make it past the gates. It wasn’t until I headed north to County Down that the clouds broke and I was able to get in a solid ten days of golf, mostly in the north and northwest.
Also checking in on the list is Melbourne, Australia, one of the game’s best winter destinations and receives plenty of sunshine. Maybe instead of reading in a cafe on the dry side of a rain-drenched window pane, Melbourne’s residents and visitors are taking to a good book on the beach.
One golf book I’m currently fiddling through is David Wood’s “Around the World in 80 Rounds.” My favorite thing about this entertaining read from the former stand-up comedian is that I’d heard of no more than about two of these courses before. Wood passes on the well-known courses (what’s left to say about St. Andrews or Pebble that hasn’t been said?) in favor of a course like the hottest, driest or northernmost in the world, etc. Wood’s journeys to the course are usually more fun to read than when he actually gets there.
So far, my favorite line of Wood’s is the one used to describe a loudly-snoring woman keeping him up in the middle of the night on a long bus ride to Cordoba, Argentina: “She couldn’t have weighed more than 100 pounds, but a large walrus in heat would have nothing on her vocally.”
Don’t think he bit that line from Robert the Bruce …
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