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They stuck their coaches on ride-on, ride off ferries, whisked through France and Italy moaning about garlic and rudeness, then bored the neighbours to death by having them all round to look at their holiday watercolours . Most people associate the Grand Tour with the baggy shirted Byrons of its 19th-century heyday, but someone had to do it first and Thomas Coryate, author of arguably the first piece of pure travel writing, Crudities , was that man. Tim Moore travels through 45 cities in the steps of a larger-than-life Jacobean hero incidentally responsible for introducing forks to England and thus ending forever the days of the finger-lickin'-good drumstick hurlers of courts gone by. Coryate's early 17th-century bawdy anecdotes include being pelted with eggs, pursued by a knife-wielding man in a turban and, finally, being vomited on copiously by a topless woman with a beer barrel on her head. Tim Moore has trouble keeping up the modern-day side. And his authentic method of travel to replicate these adventures? A clapped-out Rolls Royce, of course.
Failed dandy Tim Moore lives in West London with his wife and slightly too many children. His writing has appeared in several publications including the SUNDAY TIMES, the INDEPENDENT, the OBSERVER, ESQUIRE and the EVENING STANDARD.