Sybille Bedford all her life was a keen and courageous traveller. Restless, curious, intellectually alert, she was always ready to explore new territories, her experiences recounted in a sophisticated style that Jan Morris in her introduction refers to as ‘a kind of apotheosised reportage’. Bedford’s first book, A Visit to Don Otavio, describing an expedition to Mexico, was to become a classic of travel literature, and the essays in Pleasures and Landscapes show many of the same exceptional qualities.
Over three decades, from 1948 to 1978, Bedford journeyed through Italy, Switzerland, France, Denmark, Portugal and Yugoslavia. Vivid, acutely observed and intensely personal, her accounts of these voyages of discovery provide a fascinating record of Europe’s gradual evolution from postwar destitution to the prosperity enhanced by a rapidly expanding tourist industry.