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Slow Train to Switzerland: One Tour, Two Trips, 150 Years—and a World of Change Apart (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 28. Oktober 2014

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  • Taschenbuch: 320 Seiten
  • Verlag: Nicholas Brealey Publishing; Auflage: Reprint (28. Oktober 2014)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1857886259
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857886252
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 3,2 x 13,3 x 21,6 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 88.375 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
  • Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen

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"In Slow Train to Switzerland, Diccon Bewes shows the 'in the footsteps' genre in a lighter form through a pioneering 1863 trip by the Junior United Alpine Club - seven English men and women whisked through the snowy peaks by Thomas Cook's first organised tour of Helvetia. This adventure marked the beginning of the modern tourism industry. An amusing book not least because of the genteel comedy of manners of the English tourists is an offshoot of the fact that Switzerland to the Victorians was as threateningly exotic as Irian Jaya (West Papua New Guinea) is to us today."--Lawrence Osborne, The New York Times Book Review

Slow Train to Switzerland is the fascinating account of two kinds of trips from London to Lucerne. It's a revealing look at the early days of tourism, when going abroad meant 18 hour days and wearing the same clothes for weeks. It's also the story of how a nostalgic tour surprised an expat author, revealing a Switzerland very different from the present - and a stunning and unexpected personal connection with the past.”—Heimberger’s European Traveler

"A unique account of travel in the Swiss Alps, then and now. An entertaining read for lovers of history and travel.”—Library Journal

"Bewes' account pays off in a remarkable story and an unexpected ending.”—Virtuoso Life magazine

"A masterpiece of travel writing. Slow Train to Switzerland is as informed and informative as it is solidly entertaining."—Midwest Book Review

“A delightful book…Slow Train to Switzerland is informative, fun, and immensely readable. If you're interested in Switzerland, tourism, or adventures by plucky tourists from Victorian England (or even if you simply enjoy a good read), you're bound to like the book.”—Europe for

"Bewes has become something of an expert on the Swiss. His first book, Swiss Watching lifted the lid on a country everybody knows of but knows little about. In his latest book, Slow Train to Switzerland he follows in the footsteps of Miss Jemima Morrell, a customer on Thomas Cook's first guided tour in 1863, and discovers how this plucky Victorian woman helped shape the face of modern tourism and Switzerland itself."—Wanderlust

"Fascinating. Charming. Bewes's breezy prose makes him a pleasant travelling companion."—The Spectator (UK)

"Very enjoyable. Bewes is a charming guide."—Geographical Magazine

"Fans of Bill Bryson will find him a kindred spirit."—The Lady

"A brilliant book."—Bookbag

"I'm certain that even those of us who think we know a lot about Switzerland will learn something new, and gain that knowledge in a very readable and entertaining way. If you enjoyed Swiss Watching...then you'll need to get a copy of this book by the same author. Highly recommended."—Swiss Express magazine

"Very enjoyable. Bewes is a charming guide [and] has a keen sense of how tourism transformed Switzerland into the Cinderella of Europe. It's a good subject for a book and Bewes does it full justice."—Geographical Magazine

"Chocked to the brim with brilliant insight—an interesting travelogue that is in equal measure detailed, witty and entertaining. Somewhere between Bill Bryson and Paul Theroux."—Adam Kirtland-Leach from Waterstones' blog

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Diccon Bewes is a travel writer. A world trip set him up for a career in travel writing, via the scenic route of bookselling. After ten years at Lonely Planet and Holiday Which? Magazine, he decamped to Switzerland, where he has until recently managed the Stauffacher English Bookshop in Bern. In addition to grappling with German, re-learning to cross the road properly, and overcoming his desires to form an orderly line, he has spent the last five years exploring this quirky country. Following the incredible success of Swiss Watching he is now a full time writer. See his website at

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4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Mark am 31. Oktober 2013
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
He does it again: In the wake of his international success "Swiss Watching", Englishman Diccon Bewes takes us on a journey to the beginning of tourism in Switzerland 150 years ago. Yet his book is much more than mere historical travel writing, since Bewes' keen eye for detail unravels the myriad ways in which Switzerland and tourism have changed since the Victorians' first tour to the Alpine Republic. Bewes explains how the British made Switzerland, how Switzerland affected organized tourism, illustrates that Switzerland's riches are fairly recent and how manners and style have changed. This book is informative, witty and funny and should be on everybody's bedside table.
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5.0 out of 5 stars SWITZERLAND by train, in the company of a certain Mr Thomas Cook (oh, and Mr Diccon Bewes) 4. Januar 2015
Von TripFiction - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
1863 and members of The Junior United Alpine Club set off in a party of 130 to Paris, headed ultimately for Switzerland, in the company of Mr Thomas Cook, entrepreneur and travel aficionado. Miss Jemima Morrell was the unofficial chronicler of the tour, this, the first package holiday abroad organised by Mr Cook (following several failed attempts at home); his travel shops still appear on many high streets across Britain today, and he is still considered to be the genius behind the package holiday! Just look where his early endeavours have now landed - mass tourism today is 5% of global GDP, so Cook was a man with huge vision.

2013, and 150 year later, Diccon Bewes, who is the accidental ex-pat expert on Switzerland, retraces the footsteps of these intrepid (and intrepid they certainly were!) explorers. Armed with his Murray guidebook from the nineteenth century, nattily entitled A Handbook for Travellers in Switzerland, and the Alps of Savoy and Piedmont (all is revealed in the book as to why Savoy and Piedmont also featured), he sets off from Newhaven crossing the Channel to Dieppe. With further guidebooks at his disposal A Handbook of Travel-Talk from 1858, he delves into gems of useful translation, which perhaps aren't altogether useful in modern day parlance, but give a wonderful insight into the mores of Victorian travel: "May I not be allowed to carry ashore my carpet-bag?" or "Sit still, the train is moving" ... and extracts from Thomas Cook's The Excursionist beautifully evoke the flavour of the bygone era, which featured ships, trains, coaches and, of course, camels...

Contemporary and historical observations accompany the modern day traveller, as the hikers moved down through Paris, to Geneva and on to Chamonix, which was originally discovered by two British men in 1741. The book highlights how the British were ahead of the game in exploring the Alps: mountain peaks to be conquered, Union Jacks to be planted! The Swiss were just there, generally getting on with their lives, and living on the poverty line. This was truly the Golden Age of Alpinism. Nowadays Chamonix, for example, can boast 4.5 million overnight stays per annum, and is in so many ways removed from what Miss Jemima and her fellow travellers saw 150 years ago.

Mr Cook had been escorting the Package Pioneers, and soon came to leave the 60 remaining trekkers to their own devices. By Martigny there were only 8 hardy souls left (Martigny incidentally is the half way point between London and Rome).

Onwards from Martigny to Sion and Leuk and up to Leukerbad, where the Victorians observed the 'unnatural' behaviour of the bathers soaking in the pools of thermal waters. Diccon however is much more of a convert to the soothing and relaxing qualities of the bubbling waters and even rates the Walliser Alpentherme amongst his top 10 Public Spa (or should it be Wellness?) destinations "Lying neck deep in hot water on a bed of bubbles and looking up at the mighty cliffs, I realise why people travelled across Europe for centuries to do exactly this. It's not necessarily the water, which can be found in many natural spas, but the location 1411m above sea level and surrounded by natural splendour."

From Leukerbad it was then off to the top of the Gemmi mountain - a 2 hour trail that was actually built by Tirolean labourers from Austria. Imagine climbing a vertical cliff, in the warmth of a June Summer in Victorian garb, crinolines and formal gear; their alacrity over the boulders and their stoicism is something we cannot perhaps appreciate in our modern day. Then a further long trek over to Kandersteg.

On to Frutigen, where today they have tapped into the natural hot waters, sufficiently that they can grow exotic fruits (coincidence probably that the place name sounds like fruit?) - guavas, papayas, starfruit are all grown in this small backwater. The opening of the Lötschberg Tunnel in 1913, this time built by Italian labourers, changed everything for the region. From here via Spiez and on to Interlaken, the Paris of the Alps and base station for the Jungfrau, now a wonder of faded grandeur (and attracting quite a different kind of clientele from the days of Miss Jemima; but Cafe Schuh still provides a warm welcome to visitors). Finally off to Lucerne, and eventually Neuchâtel to round off the tour. The original tour group then headed back to Paris.

There is so much to cherish in this informative and charming travelogue, which for me proved to be quite an eye-opener: the determination of the Victorians to search out new places, hampered as they were by dress and manners, and limited by an array of transport possibilities, mostly of variable quality; the place the British played in bringing tourism to Switzlerand (including mention of George Stephenson who consulted on a railway project or two); and the grinding poverty of the locals at the time of the Thomas Cook trip - such a stark contrast to the booming economy of Switzerland of the present day. If you want to learn more about Switzerland then and now, in an interesting, informative and often entertaining way, then we recommend this travelogue to you.
Lost Opportunity 27. Mai 2015
Von Graham R - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Its not really a sequel to Swiss Watching - but like most sequels - its a bit of a disappointment. The concept is clever and to some extent covers new ground, but it lacks the purpose, energy and intelligence of Swiss Watching. His love of train travel is there, however there is a lost opportunity to build a real character in the shape of Miss Jemima - the heroine from yesteryear. We are not following in her footsteps but rather now and then glimpsing a ghost through the mists. Even if Mr Bewes would be forced to fill in a lot of gaps with some creative writing, he could still have brought the book to life by the account of a real person up against the hardships of 19th century travel. This would present a more vivid contrast to his own experiences. The point in the story when Miss Jemima and friends leave the Cook Group to go it alone could have been the moment to add conflict, hardship and crisis, and bring the book to life. Instead her travels just seem to keep ticking like a very distant Swiss Watch. This book is recommended to all present and future fans of Switzerland, but it is not for anybody looking for a page turner or a scintillating read.
Fascinating story and history of the beginnings of tourist business ... 7. Juli 2014
Von James & Marilyn - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Fascinating story and history of the beginnings of tourist business and how it developed in Switzerland. Thorough research and interesting way the author followed in the tracks of this first tour group from London through Switzerland. The book can even serve as a travel guide to Switzerland today. Again, the author's witty style is captivating.
this book is excellent 17. Mai 2014
Von Lisa M. Ludwig - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
I loved this book...very clever and well written It is a delightful read, makes me want to visit Switzerland soon
A Cook's tour 25. April 2015
Von Elaine Haines - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
A very enjoyable read for those who have been there and for those who want to go there. It reminded me of being there and actually made me want to go back.
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