Tourist and Traveler's Guide to Europe Part 2

A look at Cook's Continental Guide Book, a handy tourist and traveler's guide for Europe and more, description and excerpts.

A Handy Dandy Traveler's Guide to Europe and Environs

Should you be traveling 2nd class, and prefer to remain in Paris for an additional morning of sightseeing, Cook's offers an alternative: the "D255," an express leaving Gare d'Est at one in the afternoon. Have lunch before you board it, however. This departure, according to Cook's shorthand symbols, will not couple on a restaurant car, or carry either food or drink, until after it reaches Saarbrucken, West Germany, 250 mi. away.

In the 100 years since Cook's was 1st issued (1973 was its centennial celebration), the basic coverage has gradually been extended to help solve similar problems. Are you looking for details on the amounts of foreign currencies that can be taken across national borders? Cook's has it: Hungary's limit for its forint is 400 (about $10), moving in or out of the country. Any excess sum you try to bring with you is subject to immediate confiscation during customs inspection at the border.

Do you need help in wardrobe planning? Check Cook's tabulation of monthly temperatures in 93 representative cities. In Rome, their investigators say, the average for early afternoon in July and August is a low of 76deg. and a high of 88deg.. That's nearly 10deg. warmer than the readings they give for New York City. Be prepared to wear clothing suitable for a Manhattan summer, or you'll be joining the wiser Romans who flee to the mountains for relief. If you're considering a stay in Baghdad, watch out. This sweltering capital of Iraq, Cook's points out, has midsummer averages of 93deg. to 110deg., with sun temperatures 120deg. and up.

On other pages, you'll find descriptions of the monetary systems for each country, naming the paper or coin denominations being used. For a quick comparison, an equivalency in British pounds is listed. Multiply it by roughly 2 1/2 and you have a conversion into dollars.

Signing over several hundred dollars in traveler's checks without knowing their worth in another country's currency can be unsettling. Not for Cook's customers. Are you entering Greece? Currency restrictions: 750 drachmas, taken in or out. The U.S. dollar is nearly equal to 30 drachmas. If you wish to bring along Greek currency from your present location, $25 in checks is the maximum to be cashed. If you plan to wait until arrival in Athens for large exchanges of dollars-to-drachmas, a brief glance at Cook's pages on foreign currencies is in order. Bank notes are issued only in 50, 100, 500, and 1,000 denominations. In coins, you'll be given 1-, 2-, 5-, 10-, 20-, and 30-drachma pieces. (The latter is Greece's "dollar.") With this advance tutoring, you're confidently counting in drachmas long before you reach the exchange window.

By updating monthly, Cook's keeps abreast of minor changes in local schedules. In summer months, when more trains are put on to handle the heavy influx of tourists, the tables are revised completely. Keeping its timetables current was a practice which Thomas Cook & Son followed devoutly even during the Great War of 1914-1918. Although both Allied and German armies were shelling railroad stations, rolling stock, and track into rubble, Cook's grimly kept at the updates, with a terse footnote to its patrons, that "all Services" were "subject to change or suspension without notice."

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