Journalist Alice Steinbach decided that she was going to take a break from the life she was living. She was happy, but she felt that she needed some time to get acquainted with herself now that her two sons were grown. So she planned an open-ended months-long trip to Europe. She had only the vaguest of itineraries and very few travel reservations. She went to Paris, London, Oxford, Milan, Venice, Rome, Siena, and Asolo.
I genuinely liked the Alice Steinbach I found in these pages. She is intelligent, educated, and interested. My copy is littered with post-it flags marking books she mentions that I have to read or artists whose work I want to look up. She is curious and she is friendly and she is a traveler, not a tourist.
|My Post-It Flags|
Ms. Steinbach is a curious, friendly traveler. She strikes up friendships wherever she goes and writes meaningfully about the people she meets. She is willing to learn whatever they teach her either directly or indirectly.
Paris was the strongest section, but I enjoyed her other destinations as well. She dislikes Rome, for a very good reason, but I wish she had liked it. I somehow loved the city when I visited.
Each chapter begins with a picture from a postcard and a message that Alice has mailed to herself at home. I loved these. I looked forward to each new chapter for that reason.
There is a lot of introspection in the book as well. She never crosses the line into being self-indulgent. She always pulled her story back into her travels before I lost interest in her internal musings.
I recommend this for the well-read armchair traveler. I feel like I've had a mini European vacation now that I've finished it. I'll definitely be reading Educating Alice: The Education of a Curious Woman.
Read an excerpt.
I read this for the Off the Shelf Challenge and my own Dewey Decimal Challenge.
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