Mark Twain took a famous ride on this day, June 8th, in 1867. He boarded the side-wheel steamer "The Quaker City" and set off on a five-month trip to Europe and the Mediterranean. This had never been done before - a transatlantic pleasure cruise on a steamship - and when Twain heard about the idea, he asked the San Francisco newspaper the Alta-California if they wanted to send him as their correspondent. They did, for $1,200 passage money and $20 for each letter he sent home. Those letters made him famous, and in 1868, he published them in a book called Innocents Abroad, or The New Pilgrims' Progress, the most popular travel book of his time.
In Innocents Abroad, he wrote: "The gentle reader will never, never know what a consummate ass he can become, until he goes abroad."
And: "In Paris they just simply opened their eyes and stared when we spoke to them in French! We never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language."
The original edition of the book is available as a reprint from the Mark Twain museum: