December 13th, 2003

emu

Bill Bryson – Neither here nor there (03-055)

Bill Bryson – Neither here nor there (03-055)

Bryson is the standard for travel stories. His cynical view is great to read, in a world where all travel stories keep telling you how nice and beautiful things are, where people always discover places where no tourist has ever been and where appearance is more important than depth.

Not Bryson, he goes around Europe retracing his journey of thirty years before, when he and a friend (at the end of the trip an acquaintance) did Europe on a budget. Three decades on he finds the cities they went to, but also knows that the world doesn’t stay the same in the same time span.

At first he starts of to see the northern light, in the end he is in Istanbul, though not really enjoying him self. In-between he goes to a lot of European countries, is amazed by the beauty of Bulgarian women, the freedom in Amsterdam, the rudeness of the French and even walks across the border of Liechtenstein.

Quite often I agree with his observations, having visited plenty of the places he describes. This time I found one I do not share with him. Naples really is a nice place, not the dump he makes of it, but with a tight schedule, it is easy to forget to watch past the chaos you encounter when you enter the city.

Bryson has the ability to make him self the object of fun, does not always take him self seriously, a mistake easily made if you travel as much as he does. That is a major reason I like his books and know I can buy them blindly and will continue to do so until I read every single book by him. I am over halfway there.
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