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5 Destinations Every Literature Fan Should Visit

5 Destinations Every Literature Fan Should Visit

‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.’ – Mark Twain

Book lover? If you’ve ever been inspired to visit the setting of one of your favourite books, read my guide to 5 of the best destinations for an unforgettable literary trip.

In the UK, we’re especially blessed, for the country is a green and pleasant land full of literary wonder. More or less wherever you are, there’s bound to be something of literary interest close to you.

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The team at hotel deals experts Travelzoo think so too – so much so that they’ve created a literary map of the UK, featuring 11 must-see destinations. Match each iconic tale to the right city or region and you’ll be in with a chance of winning a literary escape for two. You have 30 seconds to select each location and confirm your answer.

I’ve just entered the competition (I was 80% book-smart), so here’s my pick of the destinations from Travelzoo’s map – plus a few favourites of my own.

1. Edinburgh

For fans of: Muriel Spark
Edinburgh is where The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is set – Muriel Spark’s coming-of-age story of 6 adolescent schoolgirls and their unique teacher. Take a trip to the Scottish capital and walk through Edinburgh’s Canongate, Grassmarket and Lawnmarket thoroughfares – where Miss Brodie takes her charges for a gander about the Old Town.

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Did you know that the National Library of Scotland recently launched a campaign to open Muriel Spark’s personal archive to the public?

2. Penrith, Cumbria

For fans of: W.H. Auden
Poet W. H. Auden was deeply inspired by the Cumbrian landscape. His poem In Praise of Limestone has been read as a paean to Cumbria’s limestone, as well as other places he lived in his life. Auden seemed to draw spiritual, magical and religious inspiration from the landscapes he experienced.

3. London

For fans of: Arthur Conan Doyle
Known around the world as the home of master sleuth Sherlock Holmes, London is a literary lover’s paradise. My favourite Holmesian things to do in London include a trip to the Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker Street and to take a Sherlock Holmes walking tour to see the different locations used in the many film and TV adaptations.

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Fancy a drink after a day padding the streets? Enjoy a refreshing pint at the Sherlock Holmes Pub on Northumberland Street, close to Trafalgar Square.

4. Stratford-upon-Avon

For fans of: Shakespeare
Millions of people visit Stratford-upon-Avon every year to pay homage to William Shakespeare. The world’s most famous playwright was born in the town in 1564. Check out the house where the Bard was born, see something at the Royal Shakespeare Company or just take in the many Tudor buildings to get a feel for Shakespeare’s time.

5. Whitby

For fans of: Bram Stoker
Its dramatic cliffs, spooky graveyards and sweeping seascape make Whitby the perfect place for a spot of gothic delight. Part of Bram Stoker’s classic Gothic novel Dracula was set in Whitby. A trip to Whitby Abbey is a must – climb its 199 steps to enjoy a wonderful view. Every year, there’s the Whitby Goth Weekend too.

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If these destinations have whetted your appetite, go ahead and play Travelzoo’s game to find out more about some of these literary destinations – plus many more. You never know, you could be packing your bags (and your books, of course) for the literary trip of a lifetime.

Travelzoo’s literary map of the UK is super simple to play:

Match the book to the correct city or region (remember it could be either the story’s setting or the writer’s inspiration).
You’ve got 30 seconds to select a location pin and confirm your answer.
Get your book-smart score and share on Facebook.
Enter the prize draw to win a literary-themed UK break!

Ready to prove your knowledge? Play the game to be in with a chance to win. Enjoy! The draw is open until February 14th 2016.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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