“Beethoven with attitude, masochism in Lviv, the smell of cigarettes in the corridor, adventurous great aunts who travelled on the roofs of crowded trains, Carniolan pork-garlic sausage, Jimi Hendrix in the Slovene Ethnographic Museum and, of course, the 13:49 from Wrocław. Tom Chesshyre pays homage to a Europe that we are leaving behind and perhaps never understood. Che bella corsa! He is the master of slow locomotion.”
(Roger Boyes, The Times)
These places are like music to my ears. From The Economist comes a man I’d like to meet. I love trains, too.
“I love Europe. I love trains. With Brexit negotiations tortuously unwinding I decided to combine these twin passions,” Tom Chesshyre, a journalist and travel writer notes in his introduction to “Slow Trains to Venice: A Love Letter to Europe” which came out on May 9th. Mr Chesshyre sets off on his journey from London to the French port of Calais (an English port until the mid-16th century) to Bruges and Maastricht (where the EU was formed in 1992). There is something nostalgic about the clatter of wheels and sleeper trains; but romance can also be found in modern platforms, carriages, graffiti and never-ending landscape. Into Leipzig, Dresden, Wroclaw, Odessa and Belgrade (bombed by NATO forces in 1999), then from the Black Sea to Budapest and Venice, the risk of European political disintegration is contrasted with the continent’s rich, often brutal, history. By the end, the reader will struggle to resist the urge to follow his lead.