!!> PDF / Epub ☀ Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe ✈ Author Bill Bryson – Loufanet.info

Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe I m a fan of Bill Bryson.I m not a fan of the complaining, whingeing, swilling pleb who wrote this travel book No, this is too harsh But I do feel a little ripped off only because I know how interesting a Bill Bryson book can be There s no history in this book, there s no culture, there is very little interesting stories Here is what it felt like So I got off the train at Hergenbootensberg and it was raining Why does it always rain when I travel The place was a dirty shithole and no one sp I m a fan of Bill Bryson.I m not a fan of the complaining, whingeing, swilling pleb who wrote this travel book No, this is too harsh But I do feel a little ripped off only because I know how interesting a Bill Bryson book can be There s no history in this book, there s no culture, there is very little interesting stories Here is what it felt like So I got off the train at Hergenbootensberg and it was raining Why does it always rain when I travel The place was a dirty shithole and no one spoke English at all I went to a travel desk and complained to them and then asked them to find me a room for the night.The room was full of mildew and smelt like an armpit So I smoked There were no restaurants open just McDonalds everywhere I could see So I ate a burger and complained to the workers there about their weird foreign McDonalds burgers.The next day I walked 10 miles to a rich principality They were all rich and I was poor It was shit So I walked back to my hotel and stole the towels And then I smoked I ll be onto Belgium soon. This book hits the sweet spot Bill Bryson travels around Europe, entertaining us with his humor and thoughtful observations, and also sharing memories of a similar trip he took in the 1970s with his bumbling friend, Stephen Katz.Ah, poor Stephen If you have read Bryson s book A Walk in the Woods, which is about hiking the Appalachian Trail, you will remember Mr Katz as the comic foil, the ridiculously overweight guy who complained a lot and who threw away critical supplies because they were t This book hits the sweet spot Bill Bryson travels around Europe, entertaining us with his humor and thoughtful observations, and also sharing memories of a similar trip he took in the 1970s with his bumbling friend, Stephen Katz.Ah, poor Stephen If you have read Bryson s book A Walk in the Woods, which is about hiking the Appalachian Trail, you will remember Mr Katz as the comic foil, the ridiculously overweight guy who complained a lot and who threw away critical supplies because they were too heavy in his pack Here is how Bryson introduces Stephen in Neither Here nor ThereKatz was the sort of person who would lie in a darkened hotel room while you were trying to sleep and talk for hours in graphic, sometimes luridly perverted, detail about what he would like to do to various high school nymphets, given his druthers and some of theirs, or announce his farts by saying, Here comes a good one You ready and then grade them for volume, duration, and odorosity, as he called it The best thing that could be said about traveling abroad with Katz was that it spared the rest of America from having to spend the summer with him Hahaha This book frequently made me laugh out loud and want to read passages to friends, but of course I had trouble getting the words out because I couldn t stop laughing It wasn t just stories about Katz that I enjoyed Bryson toured all over Europe he started in Hammerfest, Norway, to see the Northern Lights, then jetted over to Paris, then Brussels, Cologne, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Rome, Naples, Florence, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Yugoslavia and Istanbul That isn t even a complete list, but you get the idea he literally traveled from one end of Europe to the other While in Istanbul, Bryson decides he is finally ready to return to England I had come to the end of my own road That was Asia over there this was as far as I could go in Europe It was time to end this long indulgence and go home And I was, I admit, ready to go I missed my family and the comfortable familiarities of life I was tired of the daily drudgery of keeping myself fed and bedded, tired of trains and buses, tired of existing in a world of strangers, tired of being forever perplexed and lost, tired above all of my own dull company How many times in recent days had I sat trapped on buses or trains listening to my idly prattling mind and wished that I could just get up and walk out on myself At the same time, I had a quite irrational urge to keep going There is something about the momentum of travel that makes you want to just keep moving, to never stop This book was first published in 1992, but Bryson s comments and anecdotes were so thoughtful and entertaining that it still felt relevant I listened to this on audio, read by the author, and as I have said many times before, Bryson is a delightful narrator The next time you get the blues, get yourself a Bill Bryson book and it will cheer you right up I had a rather curious experience while reading this book Because I ll be in Europe shortly, and I ve been on a Bryson binge anyway, I downloaded the audiobook onto my phone and began listening I took a walk and was merrily following along, until, at about one third of the way through, a thought flashed through my mind This book sucksI was taken by surprise, because up until then I thought I d been enjoying it But the further I read, themy judgment was justified I m sorry to say this I had a rather curious experience while reading this book Because I ll be in Europe shortly, and I ve been on a Bryson binge anyway, I downloaded the audiobook onto my phone and began listening I took a walk and was merrily following along, until, at about one third of the way through, a thought flashed through my mind This book sucksI was taken by surprise, because up until then I thought I d been enjoying it But the further I read, themy judgment was justified I m sorry to say this, Bill, but this book is not very good.To put it briefly, Bryson comes across as extremely immature in this book, both as a writer and as a person He tries hard to be funny, but too often ends up making jokes about cultural stereotypes Italians are bad drivers, the French are rude, and so on or simply engaging in hyperbolic descriptions of extremely ordinary events, which unfortunately only serve to magnify their ordinariness rather than to alleviate it This book contains very few of Bryson s trademark little known anecdotes, and almost nothing that could be deemed insightful about the places he visits He spends a distressing about of time talking about hotels and restaurants mostly to complain about them andthan once ends up eating in a McDonald s Bryson even complains that a menu in a German restaurant was written in German He might as well have stayed at home.I am, however, happy to report that Bryson has shown a definite progress in his writing ability and worldview over the years In chronological order, of Bryson s books I ve read Neither Here nor There 1993 , Notes from a Small Island 1995 , A Walk in the Woods 1998 , In a Sunburned Country 2000 , and A Short History of Nearly Everything 2003 And in terms of quality, I would rank them in the same order So however immature he may have been, at least he s shaped up and it s a great sign when people are able to change for the better Three and a half stars rounded up.It s never a good idea to read Bill Bryson on public transportation Stifling belly laughs can be painful and the resulting noise sounds like something between strangling an aardvark and air rapidly escaping from a balloon.The benefits Fellow commuters won t look you in the eye and go out of their way to avoid you, so I practically have the whole train car to myself.This is one of Bryson s earlier books, so it s long on humor, random observations and anecdotes, Three and a half stars rounded up.It s never a good idea to read Bill Bryson on public transportation Stifling belly laughs can be painful and the resulting noise sounds like something between strangling an aardvark and air rapidly escaping from a balloon.The benefits Fellow commuters won t look you in the eye and go out of their way to avoid you, so I practically have the whole train car to myself.This is one of Bryson s earlier books, so it s long on humor, random observations and anecdotes, and short on insight He comes off as a lightweight Paul Theroux however, I was in the mood for laughs and there are plenty contained here.My previous Bryson book was A Walk in the Woods, so it was nice to hearabout everyone s nightmare travelling companion, Stephen Katz, even it was via flashback Not only does Katz have awful luck with bird s crapping on his head, but he has the singular worst pick up line ever Seriously this book sucks Big time.Bill Bryson is as funny as ever you can t avoid guffawing at some of his observations but this is a book long exercise in sarcasm It s as though the author is saying Look, compared to these brain dead Europeans, see how clever I am Being a sarcastic SOB myself, I can understand the attitude but find it difficult to sustain 200 pages of it.And really, for a travelogue, it does not give the reader what he she wants information on the country trave Seriously this book sucks Big time.Bill Bryson is as funny as ever you can t avoid guffawing at some of his observations but this is a book long exercise in sarcasm It s as though the author is saying Look, compared to these brain dead Europeans, see how clever I am Being a sarcastic SOB myself, I can understand the attitude but find it difficult to sustain 200 pages of it.And really, for a travelogue, it does not give the reader what he she wants information on the country traversed We are treated to pages and pages of descriptions of the dreary hotels the author stayed in it seems that he cannot find one meeting his exacting standards anywhere , the bad and expensive food he had to stomach except Mac Donald s, of course , the totally unappealing people he had to deal with and towards the middle of the book his pornographic dreams which run as subtext in stream of consciousness I felt that ol Bill here was trying to squeeze humour out of his trip like one trying to get that last dollop of toothpaste from the tube.And having visited Istanbul, I can tell you that his impressions of the city are the diametric opposite of what I experienced in 2011 Either the city has drastically changed in two decades, or it shows different faces to the entitled, holier than thou American and the inquisitive Indian, on the lookout for fresh experiences.Give this book a miss Bryson s other books are better Bryson writes hysterical travel books In this one he sets out to re create a backpacking trip of Europe he made during the seventies when he was twenty His descriptions of people and places will have you falling out of your chair The beer he is offered in Belgium, for example, defies his palate He just can t associate the taste with any previous experience, but finally decides it puts him in mind of a very large urine sample, possibly from a circus animal He should have stuck with Coca Col Bryson writes hysterical travel books In this one he sets out to re create a backpacking trip of Europe he made during the seventies when he was twenty His descriptions of people and places will have you falling out of your chair The beer he is offered in Belgium, for example, defies his palate He just can t associate the taste with any previous experience, but finally decides it puts him in mind of a very large urine sample, possibly from a circus animal He should have stuck with Coca Cola, nicht wahr, Wendell Bryson has truly captured some of the giddy enjoyment that I experience when traveling in a foreign country where one does not speak the language I can t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything Suddenly you are five years old again You can t read anything You have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work Your whole existence becomes a series of interestingguesses At the Arc de Triomphe, some thirteen streets come together Can you imagine I mean to say, here you have a city with the world s most pathologically aggressive drivers who in other circumstances would be given injections of valium from syringes the size of basketball jumps and confined to their beds with leather straps and you give them an open space where they can all go in any of thirteen directions at once Is that asking for trouble or what Interspersed are salient comments about traveling on European trains There is no scope for privacy and of course there is nothing like being trapped in a train compartment on a long journey to bring all those unassuageable little frailties of the human body crowding to the front of your mind the withheld fart, the three and a half square yards of boxer shorts that have somehow become concertinaed between your buttocks, the Kellogg s corn flake that is unaccountably lodged deep in your left nostril,.and rude comments about the Swiss What do you call a gathering of boring people in Switzerland Zurich He reveals some funny stories about himself I had no gift for woodworking Everyone else in the class was building things like cedar chests and oceangoing boats and getting to play with dangerous and noisy power tools, but I had to sit at the Basics Table with Tubby Tucker and a kid who was so stupid that I don t think we ever learned his name We just called him Drooler The three of us weren t allowed anythingdangerous than sandpaper and Elmer s Glue, so we would sit week after week making little nothings out of offcuts, except for Drooler, who would just eat the glue Mr Dreck never missed a chance to humiliate me And what is this he would say, seizing some mangled block of wood on which I had been laboring for the last twenty seven weeks and holding it aloft for the class to titter at I ve beenteaching shop for sixteen years, Mr Bryson, and I have to say this is the worst beveled edge I ve ever seen He held up a birdhouse of mine once and it just collapsed in his hands The class roared Tubby Tucker laughed so hard that he almost choked He laughed for twenty minutes, even when I whispered to him across the table that if he didn t stop it I would bevel his testicles It used to be not as common now as formerly that each public washroom had an attendant whose job it was to keep everything clean, and you were expected to drop in some change for his or her income The sex of the attendant was irrelevant to the sex of the washroom and Bryson had difficulty getting used to the idea of some cleaning lady watching him urinate to make sure he didn t dribble on the tiles or pocket any of the urinal cakes It is hard enough to pee when you are aware that someone s eyes are on you, but when you fear that at any moment you will be felled by a rabbit chop to the kidneys for taking too much time, you seize up altogether You couldn t have cleared my system with Drano So eventually I would zip up and return unrelieved to the table in the restaurant , and spend the night back at the hotel doing a series of Niagara Falls impressions Bryson does not mince words, and his perspective on former Austrian president Waldheim echoes mine but is perhapstrenchant I fully accept Dr Waldheim s explanation that when he saw forty thousand Jews being loaded onto cattle trucks at Salonika, he genuinely believed they were being sent to the seaside for a holiday For the sake of fairness, I should point out that Waldheim insists he never even knew that the Jews of Salonika were being shipped off to Auschwitz And let s be fair again they accounted for nothan one third of the city s entire population italics theirs , and it is of course entirely plausible that a high ranking Nazi officer in the district could have been unaware of what was happening within his area of command Let s give the man a break I mean to say, when the Sturmabteilung, or stormtroopers, burned down forty two of Vienna s forty three synagogues during Kristallnacht, Waldheim did wait a whole week before joining theunit Christ, the man was practically a resistance hero Austrians should be proud of him and proud of themselves for having the courage to stand up to world opinion and elect a man of his caliber, overlooking the fact that he is a pathological liar.that he has a past so mired in mis truths that no one but he knows what he has done It takes a special kind of people to stand behind a man like that This book was highly entertaining at times, I can t say it wasn t In fact, it was highly entertaining most of the time However, I can t say I learned hardly anything about any of the places Bill Bryson visited He reserves most of his commentary for how far he walked to get to a train station, how fast or slow the train rides were, and how cornflake sized bugars feel in his nose while on those train ridesI hate to bash authorsthat s not what I m trying to do here I am simply trying to s This book was highly entertaining at times, I can t say it wasn t In fact, it was highly entertaining most of the time However, I can t say I learned hardly anything about any of the places Bill Bryson visited He reserves most of his commentary for how far he walked to get to a train station, how fast or slow the train rides were, and how cornflake sized bugars feel in his nose while on those train ridesI hate to bash authorsthat s not what I m trying to do here I am simply trying to say Bryson s book was not what I was expecting and did not give me what I look for in reading travel novels I like to get a grasp of what different places are like, the ambience, the people, maybe a little history Also, it was about a year ago that I read this book, and I am sure some of these tidbits were woven into his writing However, I do remember feeling let down at the time and coming to the conclusion that inserting this sort of substance into his writing was not his main focus, although it may have slipped in somewhere along the way Bill Bryson S First Travel Book, The Lost Continent, Was Unanimously Acclaimed As One Of The Funniest Books In Years In Neither Here Nor There He Brings His Unique Brand Of Humour To Bear On Europe As He Shoulders His Backpack, Keeps A Tight Hold On His Wallet, And Journeys From Hammerfest, The Northernmost Town On The Continent, To Istanbul On The Cusp Of Asia Fluent In, Oh, At Least One Language, He Retraces His Travels As A Student Twenty Years BeforeWhether Braving The Homicidal Motorist Of Paris, Being Robbed By Gypsies In Florence, Attempting Not To Order Tripe And Eyeballs In A German Restaurant, Window Shopping In The Sex Shops Of The Reeperbahn Or Disputing His Hotel Bill In Copenhagen, Bryson Takes In The Sights, Dissects The Culture And Illuminates Each Place And Person With His Hilariously Caustic Observations He Even Goes To Liechtenstein Huh Turns out Bryson is a dirty ol bugger This travel across Europe journal is fun, educational and entertaining I love travel and I like learning about far off places Europe has been done and overdone, yet I still find it fascinating Bryson s recollections are from when he wrote the book in the 90s as well as from a previous trip he and his friend Katz took Regardless of when the reminisces come from, details ring true from the experiences I ve had of the same places, such Paris and part Huh Turns out Bryson is a dirty ol bugger This travel across Europe journal is fun, educational and entertaining I love travel and I like learning about far off places Europe has been done and overdone, yet I still find it fascinating Bryson s recollections are from when he wrote the book in the 90s as well as from a previous trip he and his friend Katz took Regardless of when the reminisces come from, details ring true from the experiences I ve had of the same places, such Paris and parts of Italy Apparently some things never change However, it was cool to get his take on the place At times he gets a little grumpy, but overall this is lighthearted and goodnatured He has a adequate store of patience and his take it as it comes attitude keeps most of this from sinking into endless gripes.Fun as this was, it s not my favorite of the six or so of Bryon s works I ve read to this point I haven t found this in his later books, but earlier on his writing seems to show a distracting obsession with sex That s fine I mean, I m a dirty bird too, but I really don t want to know about the fetishes of a mid aged man I am one and it s not pretty Hey, I m sure that s someone s bag Somewhere out there some sad sod is thinking, I wonder what gets boring, bald and wrinkled old Phil from accounting off But that s not menot yet anyhow Who knows maybe someday my sexuality will warp in an unexpected way.Oh, who am I kidding zip Why bother to actually travel when you can just regurgitate stereotypes that have been passed around since man invented borders Honest to God, he really complains about haughty Parisian waiters I didn t find anything in this book of essays to be even remotely insightful and I don t ever find Bryson to be funny Most of what I have read by him is just a collection of his gripes against the rest of humanity I have never read any of his travel stuff where he actually meets an interesting person Why bother to actually travel when you can just regurgitate stereotypes that have been passed around since man invented borders Honest to God, he really complains about haughty Parisian waiters I didn t find anything in this book of essays to be even remotely insightful and I don t ever find Bryson to be funny Most of what I have read by him is just a collection of his gripes against the rest of humanity I have never read any of his travel stuff where he actually meets an interesting person who has something worth saying When I first read this several years ago I just figured that it was the first thing Bryson wrote, perhaps when he was a college student packbacking around Europe It was published when he was 48 years old It is completely lacking in the sort of wisdom you would expect from a writer in full middle age I like most of his non travel books just so you won t think that I have it in for this guy He just seems to hate to travel and he despises everyone he meets along the way Stay the fuck home


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