Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner and Rob Sitch
Molvania - A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry

By Masta G

The undeveloped backwater that has escaped infestation by jaded backpackers and tedious soul-searching students clutching the contents of their university reading lists is the holy grail for many travellers. I thought that, in Molvania, I had found such a place – somewhere which did not have a guest house and internet cafe on every corner and where a primitive, almost pre-modern culture could be observed without the superficial luxuries of soft toilet paper and basic food hygiene.

But the publication of this comprehensive Lonely Planet-style guide – the first in a new series put together by Jetlag Travel – suggests that Molvania is set to rapidly become a fixture on the backpacker trail through the further reaches of eastern Europe. anyone who has felt the appeal of poland or the Czech Republic will find much to enjoy in this unique country where, as the helpful introduction observes, 'visitors can share a glass of locally brewed Zeerstum (garlic brandy) while watching a traditionally dressed peasant labourer beat his mule'. The Jetlag team are equally authoritative on the heady pleasures of the capital Lutenblag, which offers everything from 'traditional Molvanian puppet shows' to a prototype of 'one of the world's first and only female urinals', as they are on those of a hearty trek on the prophylactic-strewn slopes of the Molvanian Alps. Their advice and detailed research gives the traveller the confidence to look beyond the 'bleak post-war cities and deforested hills' which characterise much of the country and get to know a people whose poor teeth and rich folk lore are endlessly fascinating to the newcomer.

From a practical point of view, the guide has all the necessary lowdown on where to eat out (and which restaurants are asbestos-free) and where to stay (budget accommodation is best avoided as supplements are often necessary to obtain a roof and a bed) as well as a helpful, if misleadingly numbered, index. Don't go to Molvania without this essential guide.

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