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155th Anniversary of Mark Twain's steamship cruise to Europe and the Holy Land

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:

https://marktwainhouse.org/shop/media/mt-non-fiction/the-innocents-abroad/

Posted by
3334 posts

I remember buying a copy of that book at Shakespeare & Co in Paris one year. And enjoying it immensely - reading it on trains and during any relaxation times on the remainder of our trip. The man truly was an expert observer of human behavior.

Posted by
3485 posts

A wonderful film about Twain's " Innocents Abroad " showed up on PBS some time ago . I presented it to a discussion group in New Haven CT a few months ago , Very entertaining and a must for any traveler - https://youtu.be/BvCGC1sxS1A

Posted by
1581 posts

I read one of his books or maybe it was a book of his stories where he described his travels. He didn’t care for public baths and hated traveling by donkey.