Monday, January 28, 2008

Neither here nor there - Travels in Europe by Bill Bryson

In this book, Bill Bryson attempts to recreate the travel itinerary of his youth some seventeen years earlier when he backpacked across Europe with one of his high school friend; He is alone this time with rucksack and notebook. This book a mixture of his lively anecdotes, sharp observations, and flashbacks to his earlier tour.

The book covers Norway (Hammerfest, Oslo), France (Paris), Belgium (Brussels, Bruges, Spa, Durbuy), Germany (Aachen, Cologne, Hamburg), Holland (Amsterdam), Denmark (Copenhagen), Sweden (Gothenburg, Stockholm), Italy (Rome, Naples, Sorrento, Capri, Florence, Milan, Como), Switzerland (Brig, Geneva, Bern), Liechtenstein, Austria (Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna), Yugoslavia (Split, Sarajevo, Belgrade), Bulgaria (Sofia), and Turkey (Istanbul).

Neither here nor there - Travels in Europe by Bill Bryson

The book is pure entertainment (provided you must not fail to catch the humor there). He is quite honest about what he liked or what he did not liked. And he was prompt is downgrading his rating for a "well-known" place once he reached there and did not found it up to the mark. He also diligently lavishes praises on lesser known places. He surely avoids the usual travel writer obligation to adore every place (read famous places) they visit.

I know that some of you may find this book rather strangely funny - or, even absurd at times. But only if you're obsessed with political correctness, he may offend you, but he is democratic in his targets. He has some quite interesting observations to make. Although most of the observations are now out of the date (he wrote the book in 1990) but they are funny and a refreshing change from the breathless romanticism of so many guidebooks and travel brochures. He also shows that Europe and Britain aren't as perfect as they look from the windows of a tour bus.

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