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Sunday Times - - IN SHORT -

ROMMER’S travel guides turns 60 this year — and the com­pany is cel­e­brat­ing with a com­pe­ti­tion that winks at its hum­ble be­gin­nings. The cre­ator of the se­ries, Amer­i­can Arthur From­mer, wrote the first guide when he was in the US Army, sta­tioned in Ober­am­mer­gau, Ger­many, as an in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer.

It was 1953 when he ar­rived, and few of his fel­low GIs ever ven­tured off the base in post World War-2 Europe.

From­mer, though, was cu­ri­ous. Be­ing on a tight bud­get, he used any free time he had to in­ex­pen­sively ex­plore neigh­bour­ing coun­tries, usu­ally by get­ting a free lift on an Air Force plane.

Even­tu­ally, he de­cided to write a guide that would help his fel­low sol­diers to ex­plore too.

The GI’s Guide to Trav­el­ling in Europe was re­leased in 1955 — From­mer self-pub­lished 5 000 copies with money bor­rowed from rel­a­tives. The book was sold at Army Post Ex­changes, a type of trad­ing post for sol­diers. The first print­ing sold out on the first day and three re­prints fol­lowed.

But it was in 1957, af­ter he’d left the army, that From­mer pub­lished Europe on 5 Dol­lars a Day and the in­ter­na­tion­ally beloved brand was born.

Its cre­ator would go on to sell the brand in 1977. Af­ter it had changed hands a few times, he bought it back from Google (which had stopped pub­lish­ing phys­i­cal books and was con­cen­trat­ing on e-pub­lish­ing) in 2014. From­mer started bring­ing books back into print.

“There’s a gi­ant au­di­ence of tens of mil­lions of peo­ple who have used the From­mer’s travel guides over the past 57 years,” he said at the time.

Now aged 87, he runs the com­pany with his daugh­ter, Pauline.

To cel­e­brate the 60th an­niver­sary of

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