New Europe(Hardcover Edition)
by Michael Palin
Michael Palin: New Europe starts with a simple idea: that only a couple of hours from home is 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.
After the Balkans, which experienced vicious fighting in the 1990s, Michael encounters a strong eastern influence through Bulgaria, Macedonia and into Turkey, where Europe and Asia meet. He follows the mighty Danube into Serbia and Hungary, the very heart of Europe, and on to Ukraine. Then it's the Baltic States, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and what was formerly East Germany. Visiting twenty 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.