Reading ahead ups my enjoyment of a trip no end. Big cities, and architecture never did much for me, but after reading Chicago’s history and triumph in building skyscrapers on mud, I couldn’t wait to see them.
Before our cruise I searched for something to read about Eastern Europe and came up short. Maybe I can save someone else from a similar fate by sharing this list of books and movies our guides mentioned is noteworthy.
Our cruise director introduced Sissi–Forever My Love by telling us that she grew up watching it every year around Christmas. It has the feel of a sixties-era Disney production–cutesy music, hokey characters, cheesy humor; but I was so glad to have seen it. Sissi, Empress Elisabeth of Austria, came up often in our tours. I found her face on a plaque. We saw statues of her, and, thanks to the movie, I felt like I knew her. The movie is the first in a trilogy, and clips of it are available on YouTube.
Miracle of the White Stallions, Woman in Gold, and The Third Man were filmed in Vienna. Wikipedia lists a couple zillion more. I can’t say whether any of them are great, but I read the story behind the Miracle of the White Stallions and found it thrilling.
I suspect that The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andric is the novel I’m really sad about missing. It won the 1961 Nobel Prize, and people who have read it, rave. Bob Corbett wrote: “This is an extraordinary novel, a true epic of 400 years of Bosnian history.” I may have to take another Eastern European cruise, so I can read The Bridge on the Drina before we go.
Can you add any suggestions?