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Grand tour : The European adventure of a continental drifter (2001)

by Tim Moore

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2246121,079 (3.31)7
They stuck their coaches on ride-on, ride off ferries, whisked through France and Italy moaning about garlic and rudeness, then bored the neighbours to death by having them all round to look at their holiday watercolours' Many people associate the Grand Tour with the baggy shirted Byrons of its 19th century heyday, but someone had to do it first and Thomas Coryate, author of arguably the first piece of pure travel writing, CRUDITIES, was that man. Tim Moore travels through 45 cities in the steps of a larger-than-life Jacobean hero incidentally responsible for introducing forks to England and thus ending forever the days of the finger-lickin'-good drumstick hurlers of courts gone by. Coryate's early 17th century bawdy anecdotes include being pelted with eggs, pursued by a knife wielding man in a turban and, finally, being vomited on copiously by a topless woman with a beer barrel on her head:- For once, Tim Moore has no trouble keeping up the modern-day side. And his authentic method of travel to replicate these adventures? A clapped-out pink Rolls Royce, of course.… (more)
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» See also 7 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Tim Moore is a little obnoxious. The best way I found to deal with him is to think of him as another Bill Bryson. Turns out that's what everyone is supposed to think, thanks to the dust jacket and other review. What makes Moore different from Bryson is that his obnoxiousness is on another level and his humor is much edgier. He's a bit more condescending and sarcastic, using words like ridiculous, unspectacular and disgusting to describe his surroundings during his adventures. But, that's not my main gripe with Moore. I want to know more about why he chose to follow Coryate's journey and what he hoped to get out of it along the way. After all, he wasn't following Coryate literally. True, Coryate was mostly on foot while Moore was insistent in having the perfect, attention-drawing touring car, a Rolls Royce. True, Coryate didn't wear a plush purple suit to further draw attention to himself either. According to the dust jacket I was to expect "snorts of laughter" while reading The Grand Tour. Unfortunately, none came for me. A great deal of the time my mind wandered while trying to read Grand Tour. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Apr 22, 2016 |
Tim Moore has become the doyen of that specialist subgenre of the travel writing industry; come up with some novelty stunt and then record what such a prat you are while travelling. In this case, it's following the tracks of Thomas Coryate's (the man who invented the word "umbrella") seventeenth century odyssey, while in a vintage Rolls Royce and a velvet suit.

What follows includes much mirth (some urine-related) as Moore makes his way around Europe while giving us the low down on Coryate. While you can't help but be impressed with Coryate's intestinal fortitude travelling around Europe the hard way, at times you just wanted him to shut up and not antagonises just about everyone he meets (including the King, who asked "Does that fool still live?") Of course, I also seem to antagonise everyone I meet in my travel so I can identify with Mr Coryate.

Not Moore's best work but still worth a read. ( )
1 vote MiaCulpa | Nov 13, 2015 |
I think I have now, after the third book, finished with Mr. Moore. He so relishes his adopted role of a lowlife ‘Lager Lout’, is so much of a “’erewego”, that I prefer to spend my time with others.

This account gives us a view of history and of Europe mainly from the viewpoint of sleeping in an old, trashed and junk-food littered Roller whilst the author guzzles beer (in the lands of wine) and “noshes” burgers (in the lands of cuisine).

The prose is OK, but it is littered (like his car) with obscure references to nonentities and ‘personalities’ that require current exposure to British television and a deeper grasp of slang expressions than I proved to have.

Not for me, thanks Tim me old mate.
1 vote John_Vaughan | Sep 9, 2014 |
This is a strange sort of book, but I think it works out. The surmise is fairly simple, a chap (complete with Rolls Royce and purple suit) sets out to follow in the foot steps of the Grand Tourists of the 17th & 18th Centuries. In particular he sets out to follow the route taken by the person who was arguably the first grad tourist, Thomas Coryate who set out to travel to Venice to improve himself in 1608. ON Thomas' return he wrote a book, and thus the first documented Grand tour was saved for posterity. Tim Moore attempts to retrace Coryate's steps and see how much of what Thomas saw remains and to explore if travel really does broaden the mind.
He does so in the aforementioned Rolls, as the grand tourist was typically from the upper echelons of society and tended to travel in some style - not so Coryate. There was an odd mixture of interesting facts about the grand tour, with quotes from Thomas' book as well as quotations from other tourists (with varying degree of erudition on their part) about the places and customs he passed through. But there was also an element of crude boys-on-the-beers sort of jokes and tendancy to resort to toilet homour. The enthusiasms and what Coryate decided to document comes in for some stick, a lot of pacing buildings for size and hugging columns to estimate diameter does sound a trifle geeky. But there is a point when his meticulous recording does come into it's own, and the plaque at the top of a (closed) mountain pass stands to his testament. The two elements of the book sat oddly, the fact and the farce not always meshing well. But I found it both interesting and amusing, so it worked to a certain extent.
Almost of most interest was the epilogue, where he discusses the events after Thomas' return to court - where he remained the butt of the joke. He therefore set out to travel even further - maybe Constantinople or Jerusalem? He in fact made it to India and died there a broken man. It is only to the good that he has a tomb that is reportedly still extant, and we're enjoyed to go and hug his columns if we're ever passing. A sad end but he would be pleased to know that he lives on. ( )
1 vote Helenliz | Jul 24, 2013 |
I tried...Just couldn't get into this book. Like Moore and his other stuff but this one didn't catch me. To BookMooch it returns. ( )
  skinglist | Jan 10, 2009 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tim Mooreprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wade, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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TO T.C.
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Back in 1982, a company called Magic Bus used to operate non-stop coaches between London and places far, far too far away for anyone except especially tight-arsed students to consider travelling by coach from.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"First published in Great Britain under the title "Continental Drifter: Taking the Low Road with the First Grand Tourist" by Little, Brown and Company"--T.p. verso.
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They stuck their coaches on ride-on, ride off ferries, whisked through France and Italy moaning about garlic and rudeness, then bored the neighbours to death by having them all round to look at their holiday watercolours' Many people associate the Grand Tour with the baggy shirted Byrons of its 19th century heyday, but someone had to do it first and Thomas Coryate, author of arguably the first piece of pure travel writing, CRUDITIES, was that man. Tim Moore travels through 45 cities in the steps of a larger-than-life Jacobean hero incidentally responsible for introducing forks to England and thus ending forever the days of the finger-lickin'-good drumstick hurlers of courts gone by. Coryate's early 17th century bawdy anecdotes include being pelted with eggs, pursued by a knife wielding man in a turban and, finally, being vomited on copiously by a topless woman with a beer barrel on her head:- For once, Tim Moore has no trouble keeping up the modern-day side. And his authentic method of travel to replicate these adventures? A clapped-out pink Rolls Royce, of course.

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