Regret your choice of MBBS

Travel guide, print or online?

Blog photo: Thomas Hawk | Flickr | CC BY-NC 2.0

“Many travel guides lack passion,” says Johannes Klaus
… In a Spiegel online interview - and further: “… a lot of texts win when they are in a book: They have their own charm, they can be read better, remembered better.” More

My very personal experience with tour guides

"Advertising" A printed travel guide in hand is and remains the first choice, the desire to travel and anticipation that arises is nowhere near met by an app, haptically and visually. The best for my travels were those from Michael Müller Verlag

Big isn't always big. MAIRDUMONT was founded in 1948 and is today the MairDumont Group, a family company with headquarters in Ostfildern near Stuttgart. The entire company generated over 100 million euros in sales in 2017.

According to the Internet, this includes: ADAC Kartografie | Baedeker | DuMont Reiseverlag | Falk | COMPASS | Lonely Planet | MARCO POLO | STEFAN LOOSE Travel Manuals
As well as companies of the MAIRDUMONT media group: BGP MAIRDUMONT MEDIA LTD. :
DuMont Reiseverlag GmbH & Co. KG | Escapio GmbH | Falk Verlag GmbH
Hallwag Kümmerly + Frey AG | hubermedia | Karl Baedeker Verlag GmbH | Kompass Karten GmbH | Kunth Verlag GmbH & Co. KG
MAIRDUMONT NETLETIX GmbH & Co. KG | MAIRDUMONT VENTURES GmbH | Marco Polo s.r.o. | Marco Polo Travel Publishing Ltd.
Tourias Mobile GmbH | TripsByTips GmbH | Varta Führer GmbH | YOUPublish GmbH

One is surprised at how many travel guide brands are gathered under one roof; the German travel guide market is almost a monopoly and the fear that quality and price policy will suffer as a result.
This also includes good old Baedeker Verlag. Karl Baedeker is considered to be the founder of the travel guide. With his title Rheinreise he created the first travel guide in the world in 1832, one reads everywhere about Karl. But as early as 1830 there was a travel book in England.

Recently I received the following message from MAIRDUMONT GmbH & Co. KG:
Quote: "Dear Mr. Hänel,
Due to the very high demand from all journalistic areas, we had to reduce our review quota.
So we are forced to stop supplying some loyal reviewers. I regret that you fall into this category too.
I wish you a lot of fun and success while traveling… ”End of quote.

Ah ha, and really a shame for the quality that suffers from this austerity measure. Because reviews are used, among other things, to correct errors and correct the content, if possible before the next edition. When researching for a travel guide, everything cannot possibly be based on personal experience, but should at least be carefully researched.
The Beadeker copy Tuscany last left to me for a review was the 19th edition in 2018. The welcome message in the front text comes from the editor-in-chief of Baedeker Rainer Eisenschmid personally. And that sets the mood for Tuscany: “When the heat of the day (should happen in July / August) gradually disappears and the sun ..., the time of the Passeggiata begins ... The right place for this is Pienza, the Citta ideal Renaissance - quintessential Tuscany. After all, the stories you experience yourself are the most beautiful to tell at home. "
Well, look in the index and find Pienza on page 254. Incidentally, a Baedeker first mentioned northern Tuscany in 1868.

And could anything go wrong in the 18th edition, obviously yes?
Unfortunately, the inclined reader does not understand who has written the corresponding text in detail. Hopefully not the editor-in-chief, from whom we already read in the Kladdentext ... The main text was probably written by Jürgen Sorges, whom I actually know as a diligent writer. According to Baedeker, the other authors are Achim Bourmer, Frank Müller, Reinhard Strüber and Andrea Wurth.
What I then read about Pienza, inspired by the Kladdentext, I find very superficial and would like to know from the author whether he has ever been there himself.
There is talk of the kink in the optics in the text.
Karl Baedeker, mentioned on page 409, might have turned around in his grave if he had visited Pienza in his day, but he didn't.
The described kink in the optics, what should it refer to? Instead of the piazza, but more of the corso, which curves through the old town so that one could not look from one of the city gates opposite and the city appeared larger.
The Piazza Pio II. And the surrounding buildings were deliberately placed as they can be seen today. The space was not too small, it resulted from the planning.
- further describes the Baedeker: “So they quickly chose a trapezoid as the floor plan. Seen from the town hall. "

A city map would have been helpful, and unfortunately an explanation has been dropped in the chapter "Background Art History".

Incidentally, Pius II himself devised this visual design and incorporated natural elements like this into his design of the cathedral and the piazza, thinking in terms of the Renaissance in perspective instead of one-dimensional in the sense of the stage design.

And the “little town girded by high walls” as described in the text of Baedeker has long since ceased to exist at this point! In older Baedeckern the early “White” street below the city wall was colored blue, which meant that many readers had to mistake it for a river that flows past Pienza. Old news. Today you have Google Maps ...

Conclusion: such blunders actually only happen when someone has copied somewhere else ... but in a Baedeker?

Compared to a novel, € 24.99 is a lot of money for a travel guide, which is often out of date with the next new edition. I won't show you a picture of the Baedeker here. In Hamburg, the law firm MBBS, which is well-known for this, is apparently busy from morning to evening to locate unauthorized images of the publishing group online and to admonish them relentlessly. Such fun has already cost me € 600.00. Nice additional business for lawyers and the publishing group.

Let's look around for an alternative.

In comparison, the MM Toscana from Michael Müller Verlag. The second work from the publisher appeared in 1981 under Toskana (with k). And the publisher was there in person too.

e.g. there is the "Toscana"

e.g. the "Southern Tuscany"

e.g. the MM hiking "Toscana hiking guide"

The "Toscana" is so advertised: “Compared to the first edition in 1981, the manual has changed considerably. The greatly expanded text section, many photos, illustrations and detailed maps make Michael Müller's travel guide a reliable companion for newcomers to Toscana as well as for those familiar with the region. "

The "southern Tuscany" like this:

When asked “How do you see the future of the printed travel guide?” From Susanna Müller from the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Michael Müller replied as follows: “I am confident. Apparently, six hundred years of printed books have left traces on people. I like to get information on the Internet myself, but in the evening I still read the printed newspaper. Especially with a travel guide, the emotional aspect should not be underestimated. After the trip, the book is on the shelf at home. It reminds me of many positive experiences. Sometimes I leaf through it and am amazed: Man, where was I then? This reliving of a trip works much better with a printed book than with an app. "

The MM-Wander Toscana hiking guide could be described more precisely, which does not play an insignificant role for hikers in need of orientation.

As an example that could be improved, I chose - Tour 26 -:

Imprecise: On the Frankenstrasse through the Orcia Valley.
More precisely: off the Franconian road through the Orcia valley, the Val d’Orcia.

Exaggerated: ... with a wide view to the southern border of Tuscany.
Better: ... with a wide view to the southern border of the Val d‘Orcia.

Vague: Otherwise you return by bus.
Specifically: Otherwise you take the bus back from Pienza.

Pointless: a photo "Sheep with a modern shepherd"

Tuscany © Copyright by Karl-Heinz Hänel - Photo by fotolia: # 26086215

Helpful: Photo of the “Cappella di Vitaleta” for orientation on this hiking trail.

Conclusion: There is a suitable guide for a wide variety of interests.

Osteria Sette di Vino in Pienza © Copyright by Karl-Heinz Hänel

Photo: Anyone who likes a Vin Santo gets an apricot cake with walnuts.

Tip: Sette di Vino, Piazza di Spagna No.1, 53026 Pienza, from 12:00 h or from 19:30 h. Reservations Tel. 0578 74 9092 continue

Hiking tip: Autumn is one of the most beautiful times for hiking, also around the Val d'Orcia and the Monte Amiata in front of Pienza, on 35 tours the official Toscana guide Britta Ullrich will take you and your whole family right into the most magnificent region of Italy: Relaunched: Toscana MM hiking

About Karl-Heinz Hänel

I am a freelance travel and picture journalist, a PR multiplier, entertain my readers with product placement and tell stories in words and pictures that I have experienced myself. I am editorially responsible for that. You can find all information according to § 5 TMG in the imprint and in my vita
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