A Literary Tour of Europe

An American On Holiday

Joseph Anderson
8 min readDec 5, 2019


A picture from my trip in England

Since early this year, I’ve been planning for my dream, European adventure. For some reason, going to Europe is the kind of thing we Americans dream of. Even though we ourselves are very, very un-European, there’s something about being in a land that’s old, much older than the civilization that’s grown up around us, with written history that has had a greater impact on us than we have even had, in turn, on the rest of the world, that we Americans just adore.

Many of you have been to Europe yourselves. My wife went to Europe when she was eighteen and lived there for several months. She saw just about every European city there was to see, and that’s great.

However, traveling as a grown-up (I’m twenty-five, that’s a grown-up age, right?) is different than traveling as a young, broke, college student. In some ways, it’s even more intense as you get older. You are constrained by more mature expectations, and time. We Americans, great though we are, don’t get a ton of vacation time. So we have to use it very, very wisely. Where will you go on your European adventure? What areas will you compromise on? Will you take that extra nap, or get in another sight? Will you climb to the top of the Eiffel tower, or eat out at that idyllic French restaurant.

As it so happens, European travel is all about compromise. You can’t do it all. But you can still have a dream vacation.

What’s more, the things that you will discover in Europe will not only be something to put under that “new life experiences” category that you know so well — along with things like getting married, graduating college, having a family — it will also connect you with things and experiences that are familiar. For Americans, traveling to Europe is a fulfillment of things we learned about long ago, might have forgotten, and rediscover all over again.

The Trip and Destination(s)

For this trip, I wanted to go see the key areas that mattered most to me. These destinations were London, Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon and Paris.

Why these destinations exactly? As someone who has read too much English literature, I have felt for a long time simpatico with these key literary locations. London is home to so…