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Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day: One Man, Eight Countries, One Vintage Travel Guide Paperback – April 3, 2012
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"Refreshing in its intelligence, candor, good-humored self-deprecation, and insightful redemption of the much-maligned tourist, Mack's account is a trail-reblazing testament to the transformative power of travel in the modern world, and to the enduring richness of those well-trod places where authenticity, history, culture, and fame compose their own never-ending narratives."
"Doug Mack addresses a common dilemma of travelers: how to see the famous sights--Paris, Rome, Venice--and not feel like one more brainless tourist. . . . Mack is invariably cheerful and literate, and he makes for good company in this breezy traipse through today's Europe."
- Perceptive Travel
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
He didn't try to live on $5 a day. He wasn't on a marathon or a gimicky challenge so much as he wanted to see how travel had changed in a half century, and how it had not changed.
Mack's adventures are mostly low-key, and he's a pleasant and observant travel companion. His experiences in 2009, along with the perspectives of his mother in 1967, and Arthur Frommer in 1963 add up to a very entertaining book. Mack found that the old guide book was often a good conversation starter, and really lucked out in Rome, when the desk clerk in a recommended hotel recalled the book and reminisced about when Elizabeth Taylor ("Do you know Elizabeth Taylor?") and Richard Burton popped in to avoid the paparazzi.
Americans traveling to Europe now are not as disconnected from home as they were half a century ago. Phoning home was a time-consuming and expensive business. Postcards might take a couple of weeks to arrive home, and letters from home came to centrally-located American Express offices. Mack tried to maintain that sense of distance by restricting his internet use to posting new entries to his travel blog, and letting his email go unopened.
Mack found a lot had changed since 1963. Most of Frommer's listed hotels, bed & breakfasts, and restaurants were gone and the ones that remained were no longer budget options.Read more ›
I agree with a previous reviewer that the author comes across as annoying and full of complaints at times. I also felt that he looked too much into the reasons for travel - sometimes, a person just wants to see a new place, and that's ok. He overanalyzes everything. Issues like tourist vs traveler, beaten path vs the road less traveled, authentic vs tacky have never really mattered to me, and he dwells on those repeatedly. It got old. This book felt like the literary equivalent of someone who likes to hear himself talk.
Parts of the book were entertaining and there were a few decent insights but overall I felt misled by the title and had to force myself to finish it. I wouldn't call this a bad book by any means, but I've read better. Perhaps if I'd had a better idea about what to expect I wouldn't have bought this book. I'm sure many people will enjoy it, but it was not the charming, lighthearted travel romp with the somewhat silly premise I was looking forward to.
I saw this book at my local bookstore. Normally when I find a book I will first check whether it is available on Kindle before purchasing it. I decided to buy the paperback. Turns out the Kindle price is not much less. And sometimes I just want to have a book. Anyways... I really enjoyed this book. Doug Mack has a lot to say about how travel has changed in the past few decades. These two trips were clearly sentimental journeys for him, as he brought along the letters his parents had written to each other when his mom was traveling in Europe with friends in the 70s.
That first trip to Europe can be like falling off a cliff. You are totally dependent on yourself and your traveling companions, and hopefully the occasional kindness of strangers who don't speak your language. You don't really know what to expect. (Back in '75 one of my travel companions said, "I thought maybe the sky might be green or something.") It can be exhausting to get through each day. I was glad that Doug Mack talked about getting to the point where he was just...over it all. And yet, he was still there, in Europe, and was resilient enough to give himself a little pep talk and enjoy his last few hours.
The conceit of using Europe on $5 a Day (or E5D), as both a guide and a basis for comparison, is clever. For a while Doug travels with Lee, an acquaintance. When they set out to find recommendations listed in E5D, Lee coins the term "Frommering.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
After seeing the rash of negative reviews I was wondering whether I should bother reading this book, but I'm glad I did! Read morePublished 6 months ago by mikemac9
An interesting premise. The Frommer books were how I got my European bug, and it was interesting to read the history and context of them.Published on July 19, 2014 by Ken
The travelogue was okay, but I had expected the author to stick to Frommer's itinerary more exactly. His premise soon wore thin.Published on June 4, 2014 by elke cook
Doug Mack's account of how he "backpacked" Europe is terrible. He is a great writer, but he is such a pessimistic person and a complete whiner. Read morePublished on January 6, 2014 by Leah
As someone who spent most of his childhood in Europe as a military brat during the time period of the original Europe on $5 a day (1966-1975), I found Doug to be the quintesential... Read morePublished on January 2, 2014 by Amazon Customer
One day, Doug Mack is out with his mom scanning stacks of used books when he stumbles upon a worn copy of Frommer's, Europe on 5 dollars a day, written in 1963. Read morePublished on November 29, 2013 by Laura Booksnob
Good stuff! Doug even has a blog and loves getting letters in the mail. Oh ya, besides that, great book! Ha ha. Read morePublished on November 22, 2013 by Jeffrey Taylor
I read this while traveling abroad- I thought it was a very good read. now I never want to visit venice though!Published on August 22, 2013 by gemini