Review of ‘Not Cool: Europe by Train in a Heatwave’ by Jules Brown

Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Lichtenstein, Zürich and Milan. A slightly madcap, beer and coffee-fuelled adventure to nine European countries in nine days, by rail, during the 2019 heatwave.

This was a short, easy to read account of the travel challenge which Jules Brown set himself, inspired by his Interrail adventure forty years ago. He didn’t have much time in each place but still managed to find something fascinating and learn a little. It was an enjoyable read with some funny moments, although prone to waffling about the nature of travel writing itself, which although he is undoubtedly qualified in the subject (having written for Rough Guides), was not that interesting. I liked the descriptions of his travel and it felt like I was there too. Having only been to one of the places on the itinerary, I appreciated knowing more about the others. I couldn’t help thinking it would be an even better read if he had a companion on his travels, as the holiday seemed kind of lonely, mainly comprised of the author staring out of train windows or sitting at a table for one in a restaurant.

In summary, a good read for armchair travellers or for potential travellers looking for tips and inspiration. Disappointingly, there are no pictures at all and not even a map of the journey.

Independently published in 2020.

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