Virtual Travel – 30s/40s style

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Mark Twain

At present, we can only dream of further opening our minds through travel but we can at least play at it!

Advertised as “An Entirely New Map Game'” : “Interesting, Educative, Exciting”

Touring Europe is a travel board game by Geographia. Players start from London, and must race to reach their eight secret destinations located around Europe and return to London before their competitors. Along the way, players must negotiate customs checks and road blocks : ” All cars are to stop at Frontier Stations (where, in the ordinary way, passports and luggage are examined)”.

My copy of the game is from sometime between 1933 (when Geographia Ltd were first at 55 Fleet Street) and 1942 (when they are known to be at 167 Fleet Street), so the map shows Germany incorporating Czechoslovakia.

Geographia Ltd was a prolific London-based publisher of globes, maps and atlases from the early 1900s to the late 1980s. Thereafter, it was eventually absorbed into Collins Bartholomew. The company founder, Alexander Gross is described in the Collins Bartholomew company history as “a truculent Hungarian immigrant.” It seems he ran into financial problems around 1940 and relocated to New York. The branch in the United States was renamed the Geographia Map Company, and it’s still going today.

Not quite sure what to think of the descriptions –
one must keep in mind that they are of their times

Interesting fact:

Alexander Gross’s daughter, Phyllis Isobella Pearsall (1906 – 1996) is famous for founding the Geographers’ A-Z Map Company.

Before the arrival of smartphones, the A-Z was an essential item in your household or bag – I still have have a well-thumbed copy.

Enjoy your ‘staycation’ (if you have the luxury of one)!


  1. Thank you for transporting me to a blissful past and a wishful and hopeful future! xxxx

  2. A brilliant treasure of an older Europe, and excellent fact about the daughter of Gross founding the A-Z company. When I was motoring in the UK I ended up with a fair few copies for where I lived or worked – Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull, Nottingham, North Warwickshire, London. Still have my North Warks copy here. Excellent maps. Thanks for sharing :)X

  3. The blue car has stopped off in Verona in the close-up of Northern Italy… gr8 choice (jealousy) !

    But having just watched the very lovely film “Lourdes”, I’m surprised it’s not shown as a destination for our board game tourists…. (haha)

    Thanx for another fab post !

  4. Wibi, thanks for taking us on this journey. I’m always pleased and excited seeing your new posts. Where do you find all those beautiful memories from back in the days?! Thanks for sharing those treasures with us. I love it! Yours, Sovely

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