Black Mambas, Drinking in Italy, and the Great Midwest: 7x7 at Lit Crawl

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Pages and pints flew during the 10th annual Lit Crawl, the grand finale to the nine-day reading frenzy that is Litquake. This year, flocks of bibliophiles gathered at The Chapel in the Mission. The space soon overflowed with bon vivants, bookworms, and unsuspecting (but totally down) bar guests.

At the festival's closing event, 7x7 welcomed five of our favorite travel writers to the main stage for "Travel Misadventures," where jetsetting authors imparted their travel wisdom to bookish crowd. Seasoned travel veterans Jill K. Robinson, Alison Bing, John A. Vlahides, Stephen Bassman, and Pam Mandel held nothing back as they regaled the crowd with far-flung stories ranging from the heartwarming to the hilarious.

Robinson spoke about an unlikely friendship sparked by a visit from a black mamba snake, while Bing narrated her wine-tasting (read: chugging) tales. Noted travel scribe Vlahides told a humorous tale about the consequences of socializing on a flight while under the influence of sleeping medication. And finally, Bassman extolled the overwhelming wonders of India, while Pam Mandel closed out the evening with a touching description of how foreign some parts of the American Midwest seem to a west coast girl.

Hatched 15 years ago over a round of beers, Litquake started out as a casual get-together of local authors in Golden Gate Park. Since then, the annual ode to print publishing has exploded into the largest literary festival on the West Coast. According to USA Today, San Franciscans spend double the nation's average on books and alcohol (are you really surprised?), and Lit Crawl combined the two to great success.

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