off the beaten path in this collection of essays about the
excursions of two pedestrians in Europe. Rather than racking up
miles in the obvious museums, husband and wife meander through the
streets of Paris in search of the perfect thrift store, intense
dark chocolat, and radical poster art. In Ireland, after
tramping over limestone karst and occupying neolithic forts, they
seek, and find, an ancient well of bardic inspiration. The island
of Angelsey and its circular trails confounds them at first,
renders them lost, yet still surrenders its oldest secret when they
secure the important key—all for a ten-pound deposit at the market.
Everywhere they go, they take their time, savoring the weather and
the land, availing themselves of each restorative café experience.
You may think you know Europe, but these humorous and thoughtful
essays will take the reader to places where curiosity can always
find something new.
owe a lot to my wife, Susan T. Landry. We wanted to tour ice age
caves on our honeymoon in France, but she thought it would be
foolish to wait for the wedding, so we went right away. It’s been
like that ever since. Spurred by her enthusiasm and meticulous
planning, we’ve toured around Europe, following mutual whims,
interests, and opportunities. We make a good team; even when we
argue, we’re both too interested in where we are to stay mad.
Walking is the mainstay of our travel; it promotes flânerie and an
educational pace. And public transport, though sometimes less
convenient than a car, always provides a window into local culture.
I’m pleased to have a travel companion who’d rather walk or take
the bus; it’s kept us in the flow of reality and peeled away some
of the layers that insulate the tourist.