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What we’re reading: February 2017

Abstract art, ingenious architecture and quirky facts collide in this glossy photography book about the world’s most beautiful airports

What we’re reading: February 2017
The Art of the Airport: The World’s Most Beautiful Terminals by Alexander Gutzmer, Laura Frommberg and Stefan Eiselin

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This lavish guide to the world’s most architecturally weird and wonderful airports covers hubs like Madrid and Los Angeles but also celebrates the obscure delights of, say, Queen Tamar Airport in the Georgian ski town of Mestia. The modernist, L-shaped tower sits like a lost Lego block amid the stark beauty of the Caucasus Mountains. Sadly, Mestia never drew sufficient tourist numbers to merit this quirky terminal being awarded an international airport code. 

Then there’s the flying saucer-shaped Daocheng Yading Airport in Tibet, the world’s highest civilian airport — only just within the realms of our planet’s habitable atmosphere, at 14,472ft. Airports always tell a tale, some more fantastical than others. Take strange, craggy, copper-clad creation The Rock, an extension to New Zealand’s Wellington International Airport. Based on the ancient Māori legend of two sea creatures, Ngake and Whataitai, it was designed to resemble the Cook Straight cliffs, through which one of the monsters threw itself on route to exploring the oceans.

There are enough facts here to make airport geeks giddy, including a ‘boarding pass’ panel for each entry, citing passenger and runway numbers, plus practical details like distance from the nearest city and tips on local duty-free novelties. Be still our quivering departure boards.

The Art of the Airport: The World’s Most Beautiful Terminals by Alexander Gutzmer, Laura Frommberg and Stefan Eiselin. RRP: £25 (Frances Lincoln)

Get the guides

Scottish Bothy Bible
A look at Scotland’s unique network of bothy cabins and mountain huts: oft-overlooked tourist accommodation frequently found in stunning beach highland or moor locations. RRP: £16.99 (Wild Things Publishing).

Plane clever 
Christopher Bartlett’s The Flying Dictionary is full of air travel facts and stats, plus tips and tricks for saving money, staying safe and being savvier from booking to touchdown. RRP: £10.33 (OpenHatch Books).

Star-Rated
Star-Rated: The Official Tourist Boards Guide has reviews of over 500 places to stay in the UK, from hotel and hostels to farmstays, campus accommodation, boats, glamping pods and holiday parks. RRP: £7.99 (Hudson’s Media).

Wise words

The podcast
From BBC Radio 4 doc series Seriously…, The Green Book looks at the titular segregation-era guidebook that listed hotels, restaurants and bars that served African Americans.

The storybook
Stories For Ways and Means is a collection of dark tales by Nick Cave, Frank Black, Laura Marlin, Tom Waits and 25 other musicians.

The soundtrack
Live feeds from police scanners and emergency channels in cities across the world set to ambient music.

Published in the March 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)