I read (and re-read) a book about Vienna when I was younger, called The Star of Kazan, by Eva Ibbotson. As a child, I loved this author, who writes comfortable and fairytale-esque, yet grounded, stories tied strongly to a true sense of place. She grew up in Vienna, and recreated her picturesque childhood through detailed descriptions in this book. I immediately fell in love with the flowerbox-lined streets, cozy pastry shops, and elegant Lippizzaners of the Spanish Riding School.

Since then, I’ve wanted to travel to Vienna, so when we stopped to spend a few days there this summer, I decided to re-read it again (!) to take me back to the characters who first brought me to the charming city.

I highly suggest reading books set in the same place you are traveling. It gives a special kind of fantastical glow to the place you’re exploring.

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