Moleskine, the famed maker of small, hardback, quality notebooks, has recently released a series of city guides. The guides are designed to turn a travel journal into a useful guidebook as well. From the website:
A special guidebook, to buy for your own use or as a gift for your friends. Ideal for those who travel, whether to see the sights or for work, as a way of organizing your trip and to preserve it for your memory and your records.
I can admit to being a huge fan of moleskine notebooks. I have several and I have been using them for various things for years, so, when I saw that one of the first in the series was for the city of Barcelona, I picked one up.
It is a quality notebook, with the same high grade construction and durability as regular Moleskines. Further, the organization of the notebook was very nice, with maps at the front, then blank journal pages, then several pages of…annotation pages, with icons built into tabs on the sides of the pages, and lines dividing the page into small blocks. At the back of the book is the standard pocket. One other final design note, in place of the usual sewn-in bookmark, the city guides come with three.
Having said all that, I did not really find the guide very useful. Well, the journal pages got filled up very quickly and I loved that, although I would have preferred lined pages, and the maps were nice, but the rest was just wasted space for me. I found that the annotation pages would be really useful if I lived in the city and needed to refer back to that little tapas bar I found last week, but for one time visitors, it was not very practical.
To be very brief and to the point – the books are wonderful for people who live in the city, or for people who travel there often. If they make one for Tokyo, I'll definitely pick it up. For other places, though, I will stick with just a plain old notebook.