Travel: Books of the week

Climbing and Hiking in Ecuador (Bradt, pounds 12.95) by Rachowiecki et al.

The fact that this book is now into its fourth edition suggests that the authors are on to a winning formula. As far as outdoor pursuit destinations go, what tiny Ecuador lacks in area is more than made up for by height and energetic things to do. From the high-altitude snow-capped volcanoes - via the ancient Inca trails - to the Amazonian lowland jungles, the book is jam-packed with intrepid treks and climbs for all levels.

Apart from giving you essential information, it offers health tips, such as how to avoid heat exhaustion, a potted history of local mountaineering and a comprehensive reading list. What is most impressive though is the thorough first- hand research of all the recommended treks and climbs by Mark Thurber, an experienced South American tour leader.

My only complaints are that the section on Ecuador's history is light- weight (one page), there's no direction on social etiquette, and no maps of Quito - the country's unavoidable capital. However, these shortcomings will probably be addressed in the inevitable sixth edition of this unique action guide to the Ecuadorian Andes.

Feeding Frenzy (Abacus, pounds 9.99) by Stuart Stevens.

Stuart Stevens's latest offering is an account of a leisurely trip to Europe. The twist is that he and his friend, "Rat" Kelly, have accepted a bet to storm around in an unreliable 1965 cherry-red Mustang and dine in all of Europe's 29 three-star restaurants in just 29 days. If they manage this feat then Rat's boyfriend will pick up the tab.

What unfolds is a mad-cap dash filled with adventures and misadventures, encounters with star chefs and snooty maitres d'. The book's strength is the undoubted attraction of Stevens's sharp American wit. He likens eating spectacularly in England to "purloined pleasure, like having fun at a funeral". Other nationalities don't get off lightly though. He obviously hates the Germans, while in Belgium he finds men who go to the gym "dressed in black leotards".

If you stop to ask yourself why Stevens and Rat are driving around in a 1965 cherry-red Mustang, and question the vulgar excesses that form the book's weak foundation, then you'll probably give up after the first chapter. Those who can ignore these flaws will probably find Feeding Frenzy a funny read.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reception Manager

    £18750 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Hotel in Chadderton is a popular ch...

    Guru Careers: MI Developer

    £35 - 45k: Guru Careers: An MI Developer is needed to join the leading provide...

    Recruitment Genius: Fitness Manager

    £20000 - £22500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leisure organisation manag...

    Recruitment Genius: Visitor Experience Manager

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Delivering an inspiring, engagi...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence