Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.


By Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner & Rob Sitch (Overlook Press, 175 pages)

As both a traveler and a writer, I've always noticed it, but never known quite what it was – that nagging sense from "travel writers" and their "guidebooks" that they know everything there is to know about a country. So no matter what I do in some strange land – even following the advice laid out in said guide – I'll never experience "the real `insert obscure destination here`" in the same enlightened fashion as the author, despite having an incredibly meaningful and entertaining vacation in the process.

Well, the authors of the Jetlag Travel Guide series must have grown tired of feeling like they weren't getting the "real" travel experiences they "should" have had. So they decided to publish an entirely new kind of guidebook, one that gives the lowdown on an entirely fictional country, so everyone can feel left out. Unsurpris-ingly, the first book in the series, Molvania, is currently a best seller in Europe and Australia; you know, where all the "real" travelers come from. (They probably think Molvania is the one place they've yet to visit and can't wait to hop the next Aeromolv flight to Lutenblag.)

In a stylistic cross between the snootiness of Fodor's and the aren't-we-cooler-than-everyone-else vibe of Lonely Planet, Molvania chronicles the best places to stay (or at least those least likely to have lice), the best things to eat (usually old meat and three starches) and the best sights to see (because, certainly, you're dying to take in all the wonder of the Eastern European catastrophe that is Molvania). Whether it's the faux-architecture, the faux-cuisine or the faux-history (my favorite bit is about St. Fyodor, Molvania's patron saint, who gave up all movement), the authors never give up the joke. While some of the entries are redundant, it just wouldn't be a travel guide if it didn't point out the best parts of Sasava, Vajana and Dzrebo.

In the same way that Molvania is quick to cheer on the toothlessness, communist-era inefficiency and general drabness of Eastern Europe in a decidedly un-PC way, it's doubtless that the next "guides" in the series, set to detail the splendors of Bongoswana and Moustaschistan, will be similarly insensitive. And I can't wait for 'em.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 13, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation