Pippi Longstocking, hitching on a West African plane, letter to drew Barrymore, and more …

A scattered round-up of travel writing and related Web entries:

Literary Traveler: Okay, I admit ignorance. I didn’t know the author of Pippi Longstocking was Swedish. Stephanie Nikolopoulos did, though, and has written an essay about the Pippi exhibits at Sweden’s Junibacken Museum. She spends a lot more time reminiscing about her own Pippi memories than taking us along for the tour, but still, I got a welcome hit of nostalgia thinking about nail soup.
Recent articles also include a Da Vinci Code tour of Southern France, and the influence of Norwegian fjords on Roald Dahl.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Travel writer and editor of the Sun-Sentinel’s travel section Tom Swick has a tongue-in-cheek response to Drew Barrymore’s declaration that she’s sick of Hollywood and is going to run away to be a travel writer. His usual expertise (both writing and traveling) is also at work in his essay about eating and driving in India.

Ask the Pilot: Patrick Smith’s weekly column for Salon branches out from his usual–and welcome–task of educating the public about the goings-on in the cockpit and air traffic control towers. This time, he’s on a trip of his own, hitching a plane ride in West Africa, supposedly the world’s “most dangerous place to fly.”

Wild Blue Yonder: Lonely Planet author Carolyn McCarthy maintains her own blog detailing her travels in Central America and her life in rural Chile. A recent post starts a series about Patagonia’s back country by trekking with a friendly local. Wish someone would tie homemade marmalade on a pack horse when I go hiking.

SFGate (San Francisco Chronicle) Travel: Susan Lendroth has written a short but curiously evocative piece about the lasting impression our first encounter with a place has on us, no matter how many times we visit again, or how much we travel. At first I thought it was a little sappy; then I remembered how the initial experience–even the most banal cab ride–in every country I’ve lived in crops up every time I return.

Far Flung Magazine: Couched among a video game fantasy during a wild drive in Tanzania and a dreamy piece about Alaska’s Inside Passage is Rory MacLean’s essay addressing the personal duties of the modern travel writer. “Today it is no longer enough to travel across a country, rather one must travel into it,” he says. “The travel writer becomes less a geographer of place, more of the human heart.”

Slate Travel & Food: Seth Stevenson contemplates the possibilities of breeding tolerance in Dubai (an older post, but worth reading) and Matthew Polly butts up against a war museum and pets a tiger in Thailand.

NPR: This week journalist Philip Reeves is reporting from the Ganges River, in five dispatches chronicling the old and modern, poor and newly wealthy, of India while he travels the river. If you’ve missed his dispatches on Morning Edition, you can listen to them here. The link also leads to pictures and Reeves’s longer Reporter’s Notebook entries.

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