book to read on my travels

I'm looking for a book to read on my travels ... ideally a memoir that covers two or more countries - I am not looking for a single country book (France, Italy, etc.) but basically a book about someone travelling through Europe. I can't seem to find much ... I'm not opposed to an anthology, but would prefer a Europe focus. I have read Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson, and am looking for something similar. Thank you!

Posted by Ron
southwest, Missouri, U.S.A.
1359 posts

Hello Carolyn. The book for you is THE GRAND TOUR : The European Adventure of a Continental Drifter. by Tim Moore. The writer Tim Moore is regarded as England's equivalent of the American writer Bill Bryson. In the year 2000, Tim Moore, a British citizen, age 37, traveled across Europe : France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Holland. He travelled a route that was written of in a book published in England in the year 1611. That book was written by Thomas Coryate. In that book he related his experience of traveling across Europe (walking, and riding a horse) in the year 1608. That book is acknowleged as being the first book about traveling as a tourist. And it inspired wealthy young men in England, in the 1700s, to travel across Europe. Thus began "The Grand Tour" for the purpose of persons becoming culturally enlightened. (That is what they said). Tim Moore wished for his tour to be Grand, so he bought an old Rolls Royce Silver Shadow car, and he wore a purple velvet suit in his trip. After spending money for buying that car, and spending money for repairs to that car, he did not have much money to spend at Europe. He slept in the car. The book is uneven, being a mixture of his witty rantings and factual and historical information, but the second half of the book is entertaining. This book is now available at I read the book, several years ago. The first chapter in the book does not relate to Tim Moore's trip. In Tim Moore's book "THE GRAND TOUR ..." some of his words are obscure British slang words. If you wish for me to translate those words, you may send a Private Message to me.

Posted by Kevin
near Ringwood, Hampshire, UK
521 posts

Michael Palin (formerly of Monty Python) had a series on the BBC called Michael Palin's New Europe, in which he visited a number of the Eastern European countries that have recently joined the EU. There is a book that accompanied the series which may be worth a look. He's an entertaining writer, and his other books (and travelogue TV series) Round the World in 80 Days, Hemingway Adventure, Full Circle, Pole to Pole, Sahara, Himalaya, Brazil, may also interest people. Not sure if his TV shows were aired in the US - maybe on BBC America?

Posted by Kevin
near Ringwood, Hampshire, UK
521 posts

Also, admitting that this is not what you want, but I can't resist mentioning my favourite travelogue of all time, Jupiter's Travels by Ted Simon. He set off in 1973 to go around the world on a Triumph motorbike, and it took him 3 years. He was amongst the first, if not the first, to do that and his book is a classic. The first few chapters are about his ride from London to Sicily.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6837 posts

All of Michael Palin's past TV series were co-produced by US networks: A&E, Discovery and PBS. They can be viewed on Netflix and Amazon streaming. He has a new series traveling through Brazil which aired in the UK a couple of months ago. You can watch clips of it on Youtube. For a good book recommendation check out Rachel Shukert's: Everything Is Going to Be Great: An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand Tour It's about a twenty-something American and her exploits traveling solo through France, Austria, and Holland. It's one of the funniest memoirs I've ever read. But be warned it's got a lot of Sex in the City style humor, which may or may not appeal to you;)

Posted by Carolyn
Toronto, ON, Canada
28 posts

THANK YOU! This is what I'm looking for! I've actually read: Rachel Shukert's Everything Is Going to Be Great: An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand Tour

Posted by steven
white plains, ny, usa
649 posts

Carolyn , How about Mark Twain's " A Tramp Abroad " . Or , perhaps George Orwell's " Down and Out in London and Paris " ?

Posted by Grier
Carmel, IN
1056 posts

I highly recommend A Year in the World by Frances Mayes which includes France and Italy and several other European countries and is well written.

Posted by Ed
7976 posts

Steinbeck: Travels with Charley. Best travel book ever written.

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1376 posts

How about going to your public library and perusing the area of the 900s that have travel books. Your serindipitous work will help you find something to your liking.

Posted by Sarah
Chicago (formerly St. Louis), IL, USA
1311 posts

You might like "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova. It's a retelling of the Dracula story and takes place in the 1950s and 1970s. The characters travel from Amsterdam through France, Eastern Europe, and Turkey.

Posted by Matt
Washington, DC, USA
566 posts

I'm not a big fan of Ernest Hemingway in general, but I enjoyed "A Moveable Feast" on my first trip to Europe. I also second the recommendation of Orwell's "Down and Out in..." Happy reading!

Posted by steven
white plains, ny, usa
649 posts

Carolyn ,before you go ,you will find on YouTube , Michael Portillo's recent series " Great Continental Railway Journeys " . These are five video travelogues of rail trips in different areas of Europe ,all are tremendously informative and entertaining . Each one is an hour in length . ( Thanks to Michael Schneider , who brought them to my attention !!)

Posted by Kim
545 posts

Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time of Gifts and From the Woods to the Water.

Posted by Keith
United Kingdom
683 posts

Portillo's earlier TV series "Great British Railway Journeys" is available as a book. I don't think the Europe series is yet, but you can buy a reprint of Bradshaw's Continental which is what it was based on. Also the relatively recent edited version of "The Clumsiest People in Europe" is hilarious and horrifying in equal measure (the new version also covers her other "travel" books).

Posted by CL
Salem, Oregon, USA
914 posts

I preferred Mark Twain's "Innocents Abroad" - surprisingly accurate assessment of Americans that is still current today. For a good laugh, I enjoyed "Gullible's Travels" by Cash Peters.

Posted by Ron
southwest, Missouri, U.S.A.
1359 posts

And, a book that I think you will love reading is OUR HEARTS WERE YOUNG AND GAY by Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough. Published in the year 1942, two million copies of this book were sold. It is a memoir of two young women, age 19, they traveled together on a ship, across the Atlantic ocean from America to England, in the year 1920. Cornelia was from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Her friend Emily was from Indiana. It was a vacation trip, they went to London and Paris. Nearly every bad and humiliating thing that could happen in a trip, happened, to Cornelia. It all really happened. This book is compelling to read. It is a page turner. It has pictures (drawings). The style of the pictures is similar to the style of the cartoons drawn by James Grover Thurber, printed in The New Yorker magazine. This book was reprinted, in the year 2005, by Tess Press (an imprint of Black Dog and Levanthal Publishers Inc.) in association with A Common Reader. A foreword was written by James Mustich, dated September 2004. I think this book is out of print now, but many used copies of the book are now available at

Posted by Teresa
464 posts

I second "Our Hearts Were Young and Gay." In some ways it's pretty dated. Well, not dated so much as quaint. But most of it still rings true. Also, I played Cornelia in high school. :)