Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day

Well, it’s the last day in December, and I’m already done with book two! At this rate I’ll be reading a lot more than 20 books for this list. But, it did help that these two last books have been easy reads. So. Before moving on to my next book, Heart of Darkness, I’ll go ahead and give my brief thoughts on Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day by Doug Mack.

My mom bought this book for Pete and me to read–she must know us well because we both do love travel memoirs. The premise of the book is that Mack found a vintage travel guide from the 60s. This ended up being the same book that his mom used during her travels of Europe. The book claimed that you could visit many of the main Western European countries with $5 a day. Mack decides to trek across the Atlantic to see if any of the hotels/restaurants were still around. He found, without much of a surprise, that most of these were either out of his budget (I never did learn what his daily budget was, but it was definitely more than $5 per day) , or they had closed.

Honestly, the book was a little hard to get into; I can’t quite put a finger on why I didn’t love it, but I think it was in part because of the writing style–it seemed a bit forced, and I guess that Western Europe isn’t as exciting to read about as, say, the Caucuses or Balkans. Mack emphasized that he knew that we was traveling the beaten path, but I think that there are other, equally beaten paths, that are more interesting. And I guess I was hoping to hear of more ridiculous mishaps that I could relate to. Pete and I have plenty of stories that could fill a travel memoir, but I just don’t think that it would offer that much to the world to have it actually printed, and ultimately, this book would be funnier as a movie. There. I said it. Most books are better in written form (obviously), but there are some where actually seeing the locations and hearing the voices would make for a more entertaining scenario. Anyway, it was still a fun, light read that does remind me of how traveling is integral (for me, at least) for self-discovery and understanding.

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