I've realized from reading this book how thin the line between hilariously funny and whiny is. And Bryson has crossed the line. Or maybe I drew the line thinner just because he did the unforgiveable act of not liking Cologne (which is still the loveliest city for me). So you've been warned, this review is subjective and biased (oh dear, so much so) and when I said I don't like it doesn't mean you won't, you probably will.Anyway, midway reading, I suddenly had this thought. Is it possible that Bryson only wanted to see the northern light and then run away from dreary end-winter early spring to bella italia? But he also need to get a book out of it, so he sprinkled some belgium, tiny bit of german (really? only aachen, cologne and hamburg?), netherland, switzerland etc. and call it travel around europe. The problem is his heart was not on it. He went out off tangent most of germany & switzerland; don't get me wrong, I love his going off tangent on his other books, but here it feels just as if he did it because he didn't want to talk about whichever place he was, he didn't want to have to dig on the marvelous trivias that's part of his books' charm. He just whined and whined and whined in disguise of showing the real condition of tourist place in contrast to other travel books that drool and drip with honey. Italia he loved, so he talked about it. Though still not as well as he had talked about the Appalachian route or about Shakespeare. Anyway, I don't think I'll re-read it nor will I bring it if I ever want to travel to Europe.