Continental Drifter: Taking the Low Road with the First Grand Tourist by Tim Moore

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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.

Continental Drifter: Taking the Low Road with the First Grand Tourist

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French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France by Tim Moore

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Seduced by the speed and glamour of the biggest annual sporting event in the world, and determined to tackle the most fearsome physical challenge outside classical mythology, Moore, the ultimate amateur, attempts to complete all 3,630km of the 2000 Tour in the weeks before the professionals set off.
Battling it out with the old men on butchers’ bikes across the plains of Aquitaine and pursued by cattle over Europe’s second highest road, Moore soon finds himself resorting to narcotic assistance, systematic overeating and waxed legs before summoning a support vehicle staffed by cruelly sceptical family and friends. Accounts of his suffering and chicanery, and those encountered in the race’s epic history, are interwoven through a look at rural France busy tarting itself up for those 15 seconds of fame as the Tour careers through at 50kph. An heroic depiction of an inadequate man’s attempt to achieve the unachievable, Moore’s Tour is a tale of calorific excess, ludicrous clothing and intimate discomfort.

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You Are Awful (But I Like You): Travels Through Unloved Britain by Tim Moore

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It began with an accidental daytrip to an intriguingly awful resort on the Thames Estuary, and ended 3,812 miles later: one man’s journey through deep-fried, brownfield, poundshop Britain, a crash course in urban blight, deranged civic planning and commercial eccentricity. Following an itinerary drawn up from surveys, polls, reviews and lazy personal prejudice, Tim Moore goes to all the places that nobody wants to go to – the bleakest towns, the shonkiest hotels, the scariest pubs, the silliest sea zoos. He visits the grid reference adjudged by the Ordnance Survey to be the least interesting point in Britain, and is chased out of the new town twice crowned Scotland’s Most Dismal Place. His palate is flayed alive by horrific regional foodstuffs, his ears shrivelled by the 358 least loved tracks in the history of native popular music. With his progress entrusted to our motor industry’s fittingly hopeless finale, he comes to learn that Britain seems very much larger when you’re driving around it in a Bulgarian-built Austin Maestro.
Yet as the soggy, decrepit quest unfolds, so it evolves into something much more stirring: a nostalgic celebration of our magnificent mercantile pomp, and an angry requiem for a golden age of cheerily homespun crap culture being swept aside by the faceless, soul-stripping forces of Tesco-town globalisation.

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Spanish Steps: Travels With My Donkey by Tim Moore

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Being larger than a cat, the donkey is the kind of animal Tim Moore is slightly scared of. Yet intrigued by epic accounts of a pilgrimage undertaken by one in three medieval Europeans, and committed to historical authenticity, he finds himself leading a Pyrenean ass named Shinto into Spain, headed for Santiago de Compostela.
Over 500 miles of extreme weather and agonising bestial sloth, it becomes memorably apparent that for the multinational band of eccentrics who keep the Santiagan flame alive, the pilgrimage has evolved from a purely devotional undertaking into a mobile therapist’s couch.
Ludicrous, heart-warming and improbably inspirational, Spanish Steps is the story of what happens when a rather silly man tries to walk all the way across a very large country, with a very large animal who doesn’t really want to.

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