Magazine article The Spectator

BOOKENDS Cantons and Cantonese

Magazine article The Spectator

BOOKENDS Cantons and Cantonese

Article excerpt

In 1863, the pioneering travel agent Thomas Cook took a group of British tourists on the first package holiday to Switzerland. One of them, a jolly young woman called Jemima Morrell, kept a diary - and 150 years later, English emigre Diccon Bewes has followed in her footsteps.

His Slow Train to Switzerland (Nicholas Brealey, �18.99) is a fascinating survey of how that country (and ours) has changed.

The main thing that strikes you about this charming book is how gung-ho those early tourists were.

The trains were rickety, the hotels were spartan, and the toilet facilities virtually non-existent. Yet rather than moaning about these hardships on TripAdvisor, Jemima rose before dawn every day to hike up endless Alps and glaciers.

Bewes's breezy prose makes him a pleasant travelling companion. …

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