Take a page from this bookish traveler: Visit the local library

I just finished reading Daphne du Maurier’s suspense thriller Not After Midnight, sipping Cretan wine on the balcony of the Airbnb I booked for a five-night stay in Agios Nikolaos, on the Greek island of Crete.

The read is a result of a travel enhancement I stumbled into many years ago. I had some free time in a rural administrative capital in a mountain region, and it was raining — the bane of the lone traveler. A traffic sign announced something I could make out, “Bibliotheca,” which I guessed could be the local library.

I dashed in the direction the sign pointed and found the very library-looking building’s entrance open. Of course it was quiet, and empty, a bit musty, but it was dry. I discovered there that librarians joyously welcome foreign visitors. I was greeted warmly and invited to tour the collection of foreign-language books in a special section.

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