SOCIAL SCIENCES

The Gran Tour: Travels with my Elders

Icon. Apr. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781785787041. pap. $16.95. TRAV
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Aitken (A Chip Shop in Poznan: My Unlikely Years in Poland) is a 32-year-old Englishman who hopped a bus and took several tours with a motor coach company catering to retirees. He was accompanied on one of the trips by his girlfriend, one with his grandmother, and took several by himself. He is a person who obviously enjoys the company of others, and his lively memoir reveals more about his fellow passengers than the destinations, which included visits to Scarborough, Cornwall, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Lake Como. Sometimes he ate alone, sometimes with his fellow travelers, and always had a good time. Playing bingo, eating bacon rolls, drinking tea, and buying expensive snacks at a Swiss gas station were all part of his adventure. He makes no deep philosophical musings about the seniors on the tours, but enjoys their stories and varied backgrounds. Aitken is a fan of cross-generational encounters, and if you enjoy “haggis on a jacket,” you will be too.
VERDICT For readers who delight in witty accounts of travel with an Anglophile flair, this is a hilarious guide to the road in the company of retirees.

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