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on 31 August 2006
I found the book interesting as long as I was reading about Italy where I wanted to go, but having peeped into Russia&Belarus section I was stunned. As a Russian and someone who lived most of my life in Saint-Petersburg I was very suprised by the amount of nonsence that the Russia section contains. The ludicrous descriptions that I saw in 1999 edition of Russians carrying home the "black market beer in condoms" (just imagine!!!) have gone, thank god, but the section still contained a lot of wrong information. The description of types of couchettes as "hard" or "soft" is puzzling. There is no such a thing as hard couchette. The claim that foreigners are charged 20% more is also dubious. I went from Saint-Petersburg to Moscow with a French guy and we were charged the same amount. Teh general info is just a compilaiton of platitudes and cliches, like "Russians worked hard to gain a reputation of alcoholics" or some funny claims that the night life in Moscow and Saint-PEtersburg is concentrated around the hotels where most of the discos take place. Or the description of the food culture as a bunch of anonymous stalls with the Baskin%Robins being the only place that deserves to be mentioned in the food section. The descriptio of the horros of shopping etc...Was this sections written in 1989 never to be reviewed? I have a feeling that the author didn't care to rewrite it and depicts the situation as it was during the downfall of the Berlin wall. The amount of erroneus info also casts shade on the rest of the book.
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on 22 January 2008
I have backpacked and travelled around Europe since I was 19 (I am now 37) and would never go without this volume.

Other travel-guide books are wordier and certainly more detailed. But what is outstanding about "Europe By Train" is that every word of it is worth pursuing. If the book mentions it, even in passing, you know it's a highlight worth experiencing or an accommodation with character.

There may only be one page about the town you are visiting, but follow Katie's suggestions to the letter. And if it's not worth visiting, the book says so.
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