Here are some excerpts from the original edition of Arthur Frommer’s “Europe on 5 Dollars a Day,” published in 1957.
“This is a book for American tourists who a) own no oil wells in Texas b) are unrelated to the Aga Khan c) have never struck it rich in Las Vegas and who still want to enjoy a wonderful European vacation.”
“Across the street from Terminal Station in Rome ... stand five great continental hotels. These are the ’name’ establishments to which all the travel books and vacation pamphlets direct the American tourist. They attract no one else. Walk into one of these spots on a summer night in Rome, and you might just as well have never left home. English fills the air. Bridge games go on in the lobby. For $20 a day in the Eternal City, you have bought the equivalent of a Legion convention in Detroit. Three blocks away, of course, are a host of smaller Italian hotels - uncrowded, quiet and inexpensive. These are the lodgings patronized by European tourists, who find rooms within them, clean and comfortable rooms, for prices ranging around $2 a night.”
“When an American registers at a European hotel and is asked if he wants a private bath with his room, his normal reaction is to answer, ’Of course.’ By so doing, he immediately triples the cost of his hotel bill.”
“Outside of England and Holland, Europeans confine their morning meal to the so-called ’continental breakfast,” which consists of nothing but coffee and pastry or rolls. Poverty is not the reason. To a European, gorging on eggs, bacon and oatmeal at this hour would be nothing short of barbarous.”
“Venice is a fantastic dream. Try to arrive at night when the wonders of the city can steal upon you piecemeal and slow. You’ll step from the railway landing into a sea-going streetcar, and chug softly up the Grand Canal. Out of the dark, there appear little clusters of candy-striped mooring poles; a gondola approaches with a lighted lantern hung from its prow; the reflection of a slate-grey church, bathed in a blue spotlight, shimmers in the water as you pass by.”
“In Berlin, Madrid, Copenhagen and Athens, prices are either so low, or tourist services are so good, that living on $5 a day is no achievement at all.”
“The most famous last words of the American tourist are: ’They speak English everywhere.’ They don’t. You can be stranded in a European town among people who will merely shrug their shoulders to an English-uttered request.”