A short story by Hans Christian Andersen. Andersen, who lived in the 19th Century predicts life after the millennium. The story is about young Americans who come to visit all the important places in Europe as recommended by the author of a famous guide book.

A whole day will these busy travelers give to England and Scotland; then they will be off via the tunnel under the Channel to France: the country of Charlemagne and Napoleon.

The story is fascinating not only for Andersen’s predictions of things such as airplanes, telephones and the tunnel under the English Channel, but also for the eerily accurate way in which he captures the attitude of many modern tourists.

To Greece, to sleep one night in a luxury hotel on the top of Mount Olympus, so one will be able to say that one has been there; and then onward to the Bosporus, to rest for a few hours on the site of Byzantium. They will watch poor fishermen repairing their nets, while they listen to tales about Turkish harems of an all but forgotten age.

Andersen himself was an avid traveler, and wrote several travel books. He was a notoriously vain man, and his comment at the end of the story is a classic example of how his own dreams of grandeur often made their way into his stories.

There’s so much to see in Europethe young Americans will say. And we have seen it all in a week, just as the famous guidebook promised we could. Then they will discuss the author of the book which they all will have read: Europe Seen in Seven Days.

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