Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views (12/06)
World traveler, Vicki Landes, portrays Europe in the most delightful way one can imagine. She captures, through her precise eye, sights of delight, wonderment, and beauty in her enchanting coffee table book.
Enchanting it is as Landes takes the reader through various areas of Europe, evoking not only sight through pictures, but through the other senses. Although one would think that her photos would only induce appreciation through site, Landes’ photos are so defined that they look real. I found myself touching the pictures, expecting to feel the bright green ferns. I imagined the smell of the water blooms, and almost heard the pipe organ in the Fraumunster Church.
The other thing I found delightful was to see photographs of places I’ve been to: Linderhof Fountain, Temple of Venus, city view from a castle in Heidelberg, Cologne Cathedral, and of course the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Going through Landes book was like revisiting Europe.
“Europe for the Senses" is more than a picture book. Landes also explains some of the architecture as well. An example is, “Pisa a collection of clay-colored roofs being interrupted by a pallid square of marble structures. Contain a smirk when you ponder Pisa’s only claim to fame is an engineering failure; imagine the perplexing mixture of pride and embarrassment for its creator, knowing the world remembers you for this crooked tower too unstable to ring its own bells. "
Landes adds a wonderful section on Austria. To me, Austria is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to. The photos of garden urns and fountains are magical. I love the statues in the gardens and have tried to recreate the same atmosphere in our own courtyard. She also adds photos of the various frescoes in the St. Charles Cathedral.
Secondly, I love the Netherlands, and of course Landes added a wonderful section. She explains “Rows of colorful tulips as far as the eye can see…it’s tulip time in the Netherlands. As each flower greedily reaches for the sun, countless visitors at the Keukenhof Gardens snap pictures and purchase bulbs and seedlings. " It is obvious that Landes was one of those snapping pictures. The rainbow of colors that are portrayed in the photos of “Europe for the Senses" is spectacular and the hyacinths are so true to form that I feel like putting my nose into the picture. In fact, I’m sure I can even smell the flowers!