09.Nov.2012 Neither here Nor there by Bill Bryson
Neither here Nor there is funniest book I’ve read in a long time! I want to read ALL Bill Bryson books now. If they’re all as funny as this one I can see a very funny future indeed. His humor is neither crude nor mocking, like a lot of comedians are, but more like giant cuddly bear funny.
The book unfortunately does not make me want to go to Nordic countries more than my state of ambivalence right now with the words “cold” and “expensive” always come to mind. Bryson also does not think high of Switzerland and I’m in the same opinion, at least for the cities. He does make me want to explore Italy more and Eastern Europe. The blatant omission for me is Spain and Greece – which he skipped entirely. He started with the Nordic countries, Paris, Belgium, Amsterdam, Germany, the whole stretch of Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and ended the trip in Istanbul.
Bryson took the solitude travel in the 90s for the purpose of writing the book, and we also get flashes from the 70s when he traveled Europe as a young man with his best friend, so there are some things that have gotten a bit out of date, like the horribleness of the trains in Italy and fall of the communist in Eastern Europe. Though for the places that I haven’t been to I wonder if anything has changed in 20 years.
If you’re interested in traveling in Europe, Neither Here Nor There gives you the snapshot of how Europe is like 20 and 40 years ago (can you believe we are already in the 2010s?). Surprisingly (or expectedly?) Europe does not change by much compared to the rest of the world. And that’s probably why I am so completely and hopelessly in love with it.