Book review

Not Cool: Europe by Train in a Heatwave by Jules Brown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

9 cities, 9 countries, 9 days? Madness!

But I too have wondered what it would be like to travel around Europe by train nowadays, having enjoyed a fabulous InterRail month all the way to Italy and Greece in the summer of ’74. (Goodness, was it that long ago?!) So, I was very interested to read how Jules’ expedition turned out, especially within the constricted time frame.

His first great discovery was the website of The Man in Seat 61. What a find! Jules may only have been away travelling for 9 days but he did spend many days and weeks preparing the route, pre-booking trains and hotels and thinking about what he might like to see along the way.

He reflects that there is always something new to see and that the best experiences are unexpected, and I wholeheartedly agree. On this trip, it was the heat which provided the challenge, and a lot of the humour too. Jules is a great travelling companion. He’s informative and very funny.

I love that he found quiet corners, instead of visiting the main tourist attractions. The big attractions which he did go to, were a sad disappointment, overrun with so many tourists that their meaning was totally lost. Well, I suppose it was mid-summer!

Often, when I read a travel memoir, I feel that the writer has done the travelling for me, as I can’t travel so much these days. And I was thinking that this time too, enjoying the ride, (without suffering the heat), until we came to the Bernina Express Scenic route. Wow! I want to travel on that train! Thanks for the inspiration, Jules!

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By helenstephensonauthor

Author of SIDNEY DELICIOUS: the memoir of a Spanish rescue dog

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