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The Grand Tour: The European Adventure of a Continental Drifter Hardcover – Jul 2001


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (July 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312281560
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312281564
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 3.2 x 22.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 899,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tim Moore's writing has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, the Observer, The Sunday Times and Esquire. He is the author of French Revolutions, Do Not Pass Go, Spanish Steps, Nul Points and I Believe In Yesterday. He lives in London.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 July 2004
Format: Hardcover
During the 17th century, and up to the time of the French Revolution, it was fashionable among young Englishmen of means to embark on a Grand Tour of the continent for the purpose of intellectual enlightenment or, more likely, just to wallow in the fleshpots and taverns. One of the first to record his experiences was Thomas Coryate, who made the 5-month roundtrip from his Somerset home to Venice in 1608. His travelogue was subsequently published as "Coryats Crudities" in 1611. In the autumn and early winter of 2000, author Tim Moore retraced Coryate's route, and tells us all about it in THE GRAND TOUR.
Moore's outbound route takes him to Venice via Montreuil, Amiens, Paris, Fontainebleau, Nevers, Lyon, Chambéry, Mont Cenis, Turin, Milan, Cremona, and Padua. Homeward bound, Tim transits Garda, Bergamo, Como, Splügen Pass, Chur, Zurich, Basel, Strasbourg, Durlach, Heidelberg, Worms, Mainz, Frankfurt, Coblenz, Bonn, Cologne, Emmerich, Nijmegen, Dordrecht, and Zierikzee.
Any travel narrative is made invariably more entertaining if spiced with tales of hardship. Moore's is no exception, though his travails were largely self-imposed. Choosing to journey in shabby style, he purchased a clapped-out, 1980 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow for 4,750 pounds sterling, with a subsequent 2,186 in necessary repairs to make it roadworthy and presentable. By the end of his Grand Tour, after 3,142 miles, the Roller had reduced the author to pitiful whimpering. Frugal by nature, or the acquisition of wheels having reduced him to penury, or both, Moore spends most nights either sleeping in his car or in fleabag hotels that barely reach the level of "budget accommodations". Personal hygiene was often maintained by a dip in the local, public swimming pool.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This is not my car.... 29 July 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
If you're expecting a book detailing the re-visitation of the places Thomas Coryate, an English courtier who in 1608 made a leisure walking tour across Europe, visited some 400 years ago, told in a neat documentary form that could easily be transferred to a script for a PBS documentary.... Step away from The Grand Tour. If you're expecting the good, the bad, and the just plain odd, then the sixteen bucks you'll pay for this book may just be the best investment you could make. Tim Moore retraces Coryate's steps in a garish, tempermental 1980 Rolls Royce that is impossible to park on medival streets and spawned numerous 'this is not my car' jokes, and an even more loud, unprotective purple suit. Living on a shoestring budget, Moore manages to get himself into situations that you thought only existed in Grandpa's elaborate, embellished stories of when he was your age. My particular favorite was his escapades in Venice. Yet in the midst of the slapstick humor, Moore manages to take the Old World Europe, which proved to be dry and stale for many, and bring life and vibrancy back to them. Maybe it was just the purple suit, but Moore proves his passion for life that many travelers lack, and ought to have-especially if you're in Europe. Dave Barry for the more refined tastes, if you thrive on intellectual humor then this may just be your next favorite book.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Slumming the Grand Tour 11 Jun. 2004
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
During the 17th century, and up to the time of the French Revolution, it was fashionable among young Englishmen of means to embark on a Grand Tour of the continent for the purpose of intellectual enlightenment or, more likely, just to wallow in the fleshpots and taverns. One of the first to record his experiences was Thomas Coryate, who made the 5-month roundtrip from his Somerset home to Venice in 1608. His travelogue was subsequently published as "Coryats Crudities" in 1611. In the autumn and early winter of 2000, author Tim Moore retraced Coryate's route, and tells us all about it in THE GRAND TOUR.

Moore's outbound route takes him to Venice via Montreuil, Amiens, Paris, Fontainebleau, Nevers, Lyon, Chambéry, Mont Cenis, Turin, Milan, Cremona, and Padua. Homeward bound, Tim transits Garda, Bergamo, Como, Splügen Pass, Chur, Zurich, Basel, Strasbourg, Durlach, Heidelberg, Worms, Mainz, Frankfurt, Coblenz, Bonn, Cologne, Emmerich, Nijmegen, Dordrecht, and Zierikzee.

Any travel narrative is made invariably more entertaining if spiced with tales of hardship. Moore's is no exception, though his travails were largely self-imposed. Choosing to journey in shabby style, he purchased a clapped-out, 1980 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow for 4,750 pounds sterling, with a subsequent 2,186 in necessary repairs to make it roadworthy and presentable. By the end of his Grand Tour, after 3,142 miles, the Roller had reduced the author to pitiful whimpering. Frugal by nature, or the acquisition of wheels having reduced him to penury, or both, Moore spends most nights either sleeping in his car or in fleabag hotels that barely reach the level of "budget accommodations". Personal hygiene was often maintained by a dip in the local, public swimming pool. The tone of much of his adventure is well represented by his decision to emulate Coryate and walk the 50 kilometer Mainz-Frankfurt leg. Thus:

"The shoes were becoming an issue. I thought the idea was that they would mould themselves to the shape of my foot, but their plastic rigidity meant the process was being reversed. I'm not sure if it is possible to limp on both legs, but as it started to get dark ... I gave it my best shot." Later, in his hotel room:

"Peeling away my socks was more like removing a dressing ..."

Despite elements of Tim's adventure which perhaps make it more resemble Napoleon's retreat from Moscow or the Bataan Death March, his dryly-witty commentary makes THE GRAND TOUR eminently readable. And I'm ever delighted to encounter British slang: knackered (exhausted), bog (toilet), ponce (dandy, to strut), neck-down (drink). My chief complaint, which increasingly annoys me the more travel essays I read, is that there's no photo section. Perhaps publishers think the inclusion of such would render a book too pricey for the average reader.

A fitting conclusion is the Epilogue, which summarizes Coryate's life after his return. After struggling to get his book published in the face of ridicule from his social betters, he left England again in 1614, and became the first European since Alexander to walk the 3,300 miles from Jerusalem to India. Dying in 1617 at age forty, he's buried in an uninscribed, domed sarcophagus near Surat marked on East India Company charts, and still labeled on current maps, as "Tom Coryat's Tomb".
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Catch This Drift 10 Aug. 2001
By Natalie C. Lundsteen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I did laugh out loud while reading this amusing & sardonic traveler's tale, reminiscent of Michael Palin's books chronicling his BBC-funded world travels, David Sedaris' language lessons and of course Bill Bryson's comic travelogues. The author follows in the 400-year-old footsteps of the first European Grand Tour - a bit of a dry itinerary but still fun to read, especially if the reader has visited (or plans to visit) some of the stops on Moore's journey. Who wouldn't crack up as Moore describes tourists in Milan "wearing '13 trillion lire for a Coke - is that a lot?' faces?" Enjoyable for anyone who loves travel: the good, the bad & the ugly.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Appears unaltered from UK version.... 30 April 2004
By Nick D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is my first Tim Moore book and I am enjoying his wicked style. I am a UK native and found it curious that Moore, (or the publishers) decided to leave it in its original form. Many of his humorous references are to such things as well-known 1970s BBC TV programs like the The Good Old Days or the Two Ronnies,(p.18 paperback version). These references are too obscure for the American market, and I feel it should have been edited to make the experience greater for American readers. Maybe it doesn't matter if you don't know what you're missing...
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A Slow Start but a Great Tour 7 July 2003
By Ivy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Grand Tour is an unusual work for Tim Moore - in addition to his usual generous helpings of laughter, he also serves the reader a fair amount of information and some poignancy.
I think the alterations in Moore's usual style arise from his subject, Thomas Coryate, whose 1608 trip through the Continent inaugurated the British tradition of the grand tour (Coryate also introduced the fork, the umbrella, and the travel narrative to his native land). Coryate was a serious and pompous traveler who couldn't resist copying down every engraving and measuring every column he encountered. Moore responds by doing some actual research and interrupting his usual hysterical rants with actual facts.
Unfortunately, Moore hasn't quite mastered seamless blending of information and narrative, and as a result this book is a bit slower and denser than his other two books. And although Moore manages to evoke quite a bit of sympathy and sadness for Coryate, he never seems totally comfortable with more serious writing. The result is a somewhat uneven book that takes a while to get moving.
But Moore finally hits his stride while writing about Venice, and Grand Tour takes off. The last half of the book is laugh-out-loud funny, a marvelously fun romp that makes the whole book worth reading. And Moore throws in a few unusual extras on top of the laughs; he conveys a clear picture of the Europe of 1608 as well as the Europe of today, and an even clearer picture of Thomas Coryate. Though much of the book had me rolling with laughter, I finished with a lump in my throat for the man Moore calls "poor old Tom."
All in all, Grand Tour is well worth buying. However, if you haven't read any Tim Moore, this book probably isn't the best place to start - try Frost on My Moustache or French Revolutions first.
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