31 March, 2014

Slow Train to Switzerland: one tour, two trips, 150 years - and a world of change apart by Diccon Bewes [Surani, Waitakere Central]

To start off with I need to thank my Swiss friend who recommended this book to me!

This book is truly unique in the sense that the author retraces the three-week trip of a young traveller from the 1800's using the same mode of transport: the train. Although Diccon Bewes was able to travel with a little more ease than his 1863 counterpart, Miss Jemima Morell, he followed her itinerary as best as he could. Using an old diary of Miss Jemima's that was thought lost, Bewes travels in the footsteps of that infamous first Conducted Tour of Switzerland by Thomas Cook and discovers how much has changed over 150 years in this amazing country.

Slow Train to Switzerland isn't just your average travelogue describing the journey from London to Lucerne. Bewes has crafted a startling account detailing the early days of tourism, when going abroad meant 18-hour days of travelling and wearing the same clothes for weeks. Especially for women who had a multitude of layers to preserve their dignity while climbing over mountains!

It was amazing to find out that it was this particular tourist venture by Thomas Cook that opened up tourism for the masses and helped transform Switzerland from one of the poorest nations in Europe to one of the wealthiest countries on earth. Diccon Bewes has also included excerpts from Miss Jemima's diary and other guide books giving a very detailed perspective on one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

This book is an exceptional read for all those who wish to learn more about Switzerland.

Title: Slow Train to Switzerland: one tour, two trips, 150 years - and a world of change apart
Author: Diccon Bewes
ISBN: 9781857886092
Published: 2013
Publisher: London: Nicholas Brealey Pub.

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