I loved the premise of this book. The author’s pre-release video was amusing and I was beside myself in excitement waiting to read this book. While it was interesting following Mack on his anthropological study on the change of tourism (and its prices) since his mother’s travel days, I was a little let down in his presentation. This was not the book I was expecting. His stories throughout the chapter were entertaining, but they did not hold up to the hype in the video or the first chapter of the book. Part of me, though I knew it was lunacy, expected Mack to travel just as recommended in the book. In my mind I could see someone wandering around Europe in complete vintage regalia trying to recreate the trip.
Mack’s trip reminds me of my school days in Costa Rica. My roommate had brought along her father’s 1970’s guidebook for Costa Rica. While we did use the book for inspiration, we always checked with our local friends to find out what the locations were like now. That move in itself kept us out of now seedy bars, bad neighborhoods and wasting time on locations that no longer existed. It was very interesting hearing Mack miss out on locations that no longer existed, it would have been more interesting to see if he could find modern equivalents or substitutions that he believed the original author of Europe on $5 a Day would have appreciated.
This book, if read as a travel journal of sorts, is actually a very good read and reminds me of my trips abroad. It was nice knowing that someone else out there thought the way I did when faced with some famous landmarks. I would be interested in ready another book by Mack. He writes well and his stories, though not what I expected, are very entertaining.