Pilgrim Guide to the Holy Land by Norman Wareham and Jill Gill (Canterbury Press, £4.95) Timothy Elphick FINDING the right travel book to take with you on your holiday is always difficult but it is especially so for the Holy Land.
The problem is that the books on offer are either full of historical facts about excavations in remote parts of the desert you are unlikely ever to see; or else they are so sketchy and impressionistic that extracting hard information about opening hours or where to stay and eat takes longer than scouring your surroundings for what you want.
The Pilgrim Guide to the Holy Land Gospel Sites, in its easy to carry format. is a handy companion to the religious sites most pilgrims are likely to encounter. It offers information on the churches and the biblical places (more than 50 in all), taking the visitor on a step-bystep tour of each.
Anyone walking from one site to another will find the clear instructions for taking left and right turns through towns. arranged like mazes particularly useful (there are good road instructions for drivers too). And at the end of each of the entries is a list of opening times and telephone numbers, as well as information on whether the site has a souvenir shop, guidance on tipping the custodian and even where the toilets are.
The entry for Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre. which has a history as complicated as any building in the world (made worse by the fact that control of the church is divided between the different Christian denominations) is clear and concise.
Other entries are naturally less exhaustive, but the guide's clarity remains. And the authors restrict their own comments to the occasional remark-always reliable on places of importance.
Pilgrims will also find the biblical extracts and references chosen to tie in with the history of the sites will add to the enjoyment of their time in the Christian places of the Holy Land,