Michael Palin reads his own account of a journey into a new Europe. Michael Palin's New Europe starts with a simple idea: that only a couple of hours from home are a half of Europe that is for him as unknown and unexplored as the plateau of Tibet or the vastness of the Sahara. Cut off for most of his life by Cold Wars and Iron Curtains, Europe's eastern lands are now open for business - and Michael sets off to discover them. Visiting 20 countries, more than in his Himalaya and Sahara journeys combined, he encounters painful memories and exuberant celebrations.
Throwing himself into local life with his usual reckless curiosity, he samples pig fat with a brandy chaser, meets Romanian lumberjacks, drives the 8.58 stopping train from Poznan to Wolsztyn, learns about mine-clearing in Bosnia, treads the catwalk at a Budapest fashion show and watches Turkish gents wrestling in olive oil. It's New Europe, but vintage Palin.
©2012 Michael Palin (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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"After "Brazil", this is dissapointment"
I liked Palin's Brazil very much. It presented a country in very various and lively way, it made me start saving money for my next long vacation to be there - and not visit only Rio and Sao Paolo. So, I bought this one quickly after.
There are few problems with a book. As I lived in "New Europe", I presume is the first one. There is not much new revealed to me, and I don't think only of ex-Yugoslavia, but also of Bolgaria, Romania and Baltic country, which I have not visited yet. Despite being 120+ days around, he did not manage to show countries in interesting ways, as he did for Brazil.
Second problem is repetitiveness, especially from political point of view. Too much time is spent on stories about ex-communist countries, what people think now, how they feel about changes, etc.
And the third one is that some countries receive very little attention. Serbia, for example, is presented only through Belghrade, and even that on very short level.
Not sure I will be continuing with his other travel books.
"Enjoyable but superficial"
History and politics are always subjective and difficult to approach. So I don't want to go in any specifics. But if you are going to present a historical issue, you should at least try to cover both sides of the story without any obvious bias. Michael Palin keeps decrying the territorial losses of one country but seems completely oblivious to the losses and troubles of the neighbouring country. This kind of attitude keeps showing up in multiple instances. He seems to be keen about some places while completely bored and uninterested by others. Also, he completely skipped Belarus without even explaining why, which again makes the whole thing feel superficial. It's still enjoyable and informative but definitely not as good as it could have been.
"Good read, information dense"
Best listened to while able to look at the map at the same time. Not great for listening to while driving.
Most interesting,visiting unusual place. Well described towns, interesting facts, lovely descriptive passages. Well up to other Palin adventures, some very unusual places visited off usual tourist trails
"Not his usual best"
Michael says his note book was stolen along the trip and to be honest it shows. I don't feel that Michael really enjoyed this trip the way he did with the others. Seems to lack that sense of adventure his other books did.
I have all of Pailin's travel books and this is no exception. A brilliant listen, improved by the fact that he actually reads it himself. Great insight into a continent and countries that are ever changing, told in Pailin's humorous and sometimes hilarious observant way.
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