Read Around the World

At the moment, most of the world is standing still. Luckily, reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are. Join in our reading challenge to not only travel by reading, but to travel the world virtually together.

How can we travel the world from our homes?

The internet is a wonderful thing which allows us to stay connected. It also means we can see places we may have only dreamed of visiting. Lots of awesome people around the world have worked hard to create virtual tours of landmarks, cities, museums, tourist destinations...there is so much out there! Each step of our journey will take us to a new destination to explore.

How do we take part?

Any time you spend reading will be converted into miles travelled. Every 30 reading minutes will be converted into 30 minutes reading equals 30 miles travelled. We're working as a team to travel around the globe.

Anyone who is part of the Aboyne Academy community can take part - pupils, teachers, support staff, and even other people you live with!

What can we read?

Anything you want to! You can read books, plays, poems, magazines, newspapers. And when we say "reading" we don't just mean reading words on a page or a screen - you can listen to audiobooks or podcasts too. The important thing is that you "read" something you enjoy, something that makes you think about the world, and your place in it.

If you don't know your library login information to access free e-books and e-audiobooks, send an email to Hayley. She'll sort you out.

Start: Aboyne

We begin our journey in Aboyne. Our first stop is London. That's approximately 540 miles which is about 9 reading hours. How long will it take us to read our way to London? Log your reading minutes using the button below.

Stage 1: London

London, baby! (if you know, you know). That didn't take long! There were 16 people who took part during the first day of our reading challenge, clocking up an impressive 960 miles worth of reading. Most of you read for 20 or 30 minutes.

Whilst we're here, take a look around the British Museum.

Room 68 is all about Money, the history of which can be traced back over 4000 years.

Episode 2 is about "black goo" or the inside residue of ancient Egyptian coffins...

I enjoyed listening to Wendy (above) talk about guns!

London books

Wondering what to read next? There are links to e-books books about or set in London in the slide. You can access these using your library membership.

Stage two: Amsterdam

We're going across the ocean now to The Netherlands. It's a short trip, only 230 miles. That's about 4 hours reading time. Famous for tulips, windmills, cheese and wooden shoes The Netherlands is the 2nd most densely populated country in the European Union - which means lots of people live in quite a small place. Log your reading minutes below to travel to Amsterdam.

We made it!

Incredible effort, Aboyne! Ten of you read for nearly 12 hours...we could travel to Amsterdam from Aboyne with that.

Amsterdam is an incredible city. The weather at this time of year should be good - we shouldn't need our umbrellas but will probably need some sun cream. There won't be much time for lounging around though, as there's so much to see and do.

First stop is the Van Gogh Museum. Take a virtual tour by watching the video playlist below. Van Gogh is one of the most influential painters in the Western World, and was Dutch. The museum in Amsterdam holds the largest collection of his artwork in the world.

Next we're off on a whistle stop 3D tour of the Amsterdam area - you can look around the video as it's playing to see all around you! Did you know that a tulip bulb was more nutritious than a tattie? Me neither!

Final stop today is the Anne Frank House Museum. Here you can watch videos about Anne Frank's life, her diary and the time she spent hiding with her family in the Secret Annex during World War II. You can look inside and around the Annex, as well as the Frank family home which they lived in before going into hiding in the Annex. You can read all about the diary she wrote here.

Stage three: Paris

Did you guess? Probably the pastry hint was a bit of a giveaway. We're spending the day in Beau Paris!

I am so excited to be here. I visited when I was 18 and vowed I would return - it's a pleasure to do so virtually with the Aboyne Academy crowd.

First, to set the scene, listen to the soundtrack from THE quintessential Paris movie - Amelie. If you haven't seen it before, you're in for a treat. The soundtrack is beautiful.

Amelie is from the Montmartre district. The Sacre-Coeur stands at the highest point in the city. Inside there is one of the largest mosaics in the world. Explore the views inside and out.

One of the most iconic structures in the world, standing 324 meters tall (just a wee bit smaller than Birsemore hill!). Constructed as the entrance to the 1889 World Fair, it hasn't always been popular. Click the picture to see more if the tower's history. Take a trip up to the top, whilst you're here.

There's so much more of Paris to explore. Watch the 360 video above for a whistle stop tour!

For a final delight to your eyes, have a look around The Paris Opera. It's one of the world's greatest and was founded over 300 years ago by Louis XIV. It is simply stunning.

Stage four: Rome

Another must see European city, this time we're heading to Italy to visit it's capital, Rome. One of the most visited cities in the world, Rome's historical centre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So expect ruins, football, and ... grannies (?!).

BOOM! Paris to Rome, just like that.

What to do whilst we're here? Lots of people hear Italy and think football. So lets take a tour of Stadio Olimpico, the largest sports facility in Rome. Both Roma and Lazio play there, and it's where the Coppa Italia final is played.

Rome = ruins. The city's ancient inhabitants have left plenty of evidence of their legacy. The Romans gave us our calendar, underfloor heating, and massive developments in drainage and sewers. We have a lot to be thankful for! Come and stand in the Colosseum, a huge amphitheatre which could fit over 50,000 people. The home to many a gladiator and animal fight, dramas based on classical mythology, and executions.

Finally how could we come to Italy without sampling some pasta. Meet The Pasta Grannies. If you're after authenticity when it comes to Italian cooking, look no further. Enjoy!

Rome books

Looking for something new to read? Click the covers on the slide to find out more about Rome and Romans. Remember if you need help accessing your library account just e-mail Hayley.

STAGE five: Athens

Capital city of Greece, Athens is another hothouse of Ancient History. It's been inhabited for so long (over 4000 years!) that the city has experienced nearly every form of government: monarchy, democracy, socialism, capitalism,'s also layered with architectural styles.

We have arrived in Athens. It's hot, so let's have a relaxed, gentle saunter around the city - and maybe enjoy a treat or two.

Athens isn't all about ancient ruins and history. It has a vibrant street art scene. Explore the artwork by clicking the picture above.

(Psst...did you know Aberdeen is home to an awesome street art festival called NuArt? Watch a video about the first one here.)

After the glorious bakes you all created for Sports Day, I know there are plenty of keen chefs out there. Why not try cooking up a Greek feast for your family? Click the picture above for a heap of the best Greek recipes.

Okay, we can't come all the way to Athens without seeing at least one ruin. The Acropolis is home to various ancient buildings, the Parthenon being one of the most famous. Click the photo above to explore the area with videos and 360 images.

Summer reading challenge detour

What's this - another summer reading challenge? The library service are running a digital reading challenge though the summer which you can take part in too. Any reading you do for this Read Around the World challenge you can use for the library challenge too.

Find out how to sign up here.

The first theme is "Staycation Station" and there are loads of ideas for activities to take part in, as well as author talks and even ideas for how to work out with books!

Stage six: CAIRO

In the blink of an eye, we've arrived in Cairo, Egypt. This is a busy city, with over 9 million people living here (that's around double the number of people who live in the whole of Scotland).

Car horns sound all around you in this scorching hot megacity. Explore the Pyramids of Giza, the tomb of Pharaoh Ramesses VI, and learn how papyrus is made by clicking the images below.


Pupils, staff and family members have read for an impressive 51 hours over the past two weeks. That's allowed us to travel just over 3000 miles. A whistle stop tour through some of the major cities in Europe.

Next, we're heading south, and we have a long way to go. From now on, 30 minutes of reading is worth 100 miles travelled. Don't forget to log all of your reading in the form below!

I've included some of my recommendations for summer reading below - I can't wait to get stuck in to some of these!

summer reading recommendations

STage seven: Windhoek

We're travelled south across Africa from Cairo to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. This is the driest country in Sub-Saharan Africa, so of course we're heading to the desert. The Namib desert is considered one of the oldest in the world. With sand dues 300 meters tall and up to 32 kilometres long, the landscape is mesmerising. The fog belt which is created by the meeting of hot and cold air is a sight to behold. Explore the desert below.

Stage eight: Addis ABaba

We've had a request to visit another African country, whilst we're here, so we're travelling North. The country we're heading to is considered one of the earliest sites of the of modern humans, Homo sapiens.

Did any of you guess? We're landing in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It's a land locked, mountainous country, with nearly 60 volcanoes. After exploring the city, travel north to Erta Ale - the most active volcano in the country.

STage nine: machu picchu

We've made it to Peru. Famous for Incas, Lamas, and Rainforests. Explore all three below.

machu picchu

This 15th Century Inca citadel is impressive for so many reasons. It's situated on a 2,430-metre mountain ridge and was mostly unknown until 1911. Explore the site by clicking on the image.


Machu Picchu is inhabited by Llamas these days! Llamas are important animals in Peru. Watch the video to find out why.


Nearly 2/3rds of Peru is covered by jungles and rainforests. The most famous is the Amazon rainforest. Thousands of plants and animals live there, some which haven't been discovered by humans yet. Take a walk through the jungle canopy.

Stage ten: New York

From Llamas to Apples (big ones!). New York is often called the "Big Apple" - but did you know why? It comes from the large prizes that were given out for horse racing competitions in the city - they were often called "big apples". The name became popular in the 1920's and has stuck ever since.

Explore two of the biggest names in museums the city has to offer below.


The SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM was built in 1959 and is one of worlds most important art museums. It's also an architectural icon, with the building itself being just as interesting as the artwork displayed inside. Click the photo to listen to the podcast 99% Invisible give an audio tour of the building.


The Smithsonian NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY opened in 1910, although going through many changes and expansions over the last 100 years or so. It currently holds 145 million specimens and artifacts. Explore just a fraction of those by clicking the image.

the end

Well done Aboyne! Over the summer there were 145 entries into the Read Around the World challenge, with just under 232 hours of reading completed. Pupils, family members and staff all took part. You can see the range of books which were read below.

What did you think of the challenge? Let us know below.

stage 8 books
books read for stage one
stage 7 books
Stage 6 books
stage two books
Stage 5 books
stage 4 books
Stage three books