Tourist and Traveler's Guide to Europe Part 1

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

How far is it from Moscow to Samarkand? From Cairo to Tel Aviv? What train service is available? At what time? Will the train have sleeping cars? How long is its journey?

Travel in Europe, Asia, or North Africa this year with a copy of Cook's Continental Timetable in your luggage, and you'll have those answers at your fingertips. This timetable, or "Cook's," as the British affectionately call it, is obtainable in Europe, at any office of Thomas Cook & Son, the world's largest travel agency. Or you can order a copy by airmail (ca. $7., 6-8 days delivery, from 45 Berkeley Street, London). It's not offered for public sale in the U.S.

Cook's is not just a railroad timetable. For many of Europe's seasoned tourists, it's the only practical guide to land travel on the Continent. Primarily, this 500-page, 15-oz. guide lists more than 1,500 tables which describe all principal services by rail and bus. But you'll find dozens of other tables, giving ship schedules for the English Channel crossings, for cruising in the Mediterranean or the Black Sea, and for most other navigable bodies of water in Europe and Asia. Steamer service on the Rhine and hydrofoil trips on the Danube are also regular features.

With this easy-to-use guide to work from, you can make instant changes in an itinerary, even while en route. The tables are set up with childlike simplicity. Arranged by countries, each section is preceded by a map which shows only the principal cities. Table numbers appear along straight-line connections between these cities, indicating the specific table to use.

These back-up tables are presented by Cook's in a continuous numerical sequence, for fast referral. (For users who do not speak English, information on how to interpret the tables and their symbols is also given in French and German.) All arrival or departure times are printed in the 24-hour system, which eliminates the need for A.M. or P.M. distinctions.

Are you traveling between Paris and Frankfurt, West Germany, for example? The map reference is to Table 621. A quick scan of all trains immediately points out your best choice: the crack Trans-Europe-Express train #51, the Goethe. Departure is from Paris's Gare d'Est station at 0800, arriving in Frankfurt's Hofbahnhof at 1354 (1:54 P.M.). In a footnote for this table, you'll learn that the Goethe, although named after the famous German poet and dramatist, is a member of the French Railway system. Symbol references describe the train as being electric-hauled, with 7 cars and 230 seats, fully air-conditioned, including the 48-seat restaurant car. Voila.

But, most important of all: This TEE train carries only passengers who hold 1st-class tickets. On many of Europe's international trains in this category, seating is almost always possible in 1st class, even without reservations. And you'll be quickly ushered off by the conductor if you hold a 2nd-class ticket, whether a surplus of empty seats exists or not.

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