Sunday, October 02, 2005

Armchair Travel (my guilty pleasure)

I wish sometimes that TV had never been invented, so more of us would experience the luxury of reclining on a couch with a great book, turning off the phone, fixing a cup of tea and falling into another world. Armchair travel is one of my favorite pastimes. Last year, in rainy January, I spent hours in the travel aisle of the local bookstore, sipping lattes and reading and dreaming about Paris, then going home and cooking recipes out of French Farmhouse Cooking, or going to Boggy Creek Farm to fill a basket with wonderful winter greens, returning to my kitchen to cook them up with pasta, lemon juice, goat cheese and yummy green garlic.

I admit it. I'm a travel book junkie.

One of my favorite travel books is about Greenland, of all places -- Seven Seasons in a Cold Land, I think it was, by the fabulous writer Gretel Ehrlich. I read it one December, with the pale winter sun leaching through the blue curtains, my newborn son curled up in the crook of my arm, and while we lay in a cocoon of white comforter, I was at the same time slicing through glaciers behind a team of dogs, feeling the sharp spray of snow on my face, surrounded by glaciers and heartbreaking beauty.

Of course, if you like warmer climes, Frances Mayes' Under the Tuscan Sun is great for a luxurious at-home Tuscan vacation (the book, NOT the movie), and of course Peter Mayle for Provence, although he doesn't have the sensuousness of Mayes. The truth is, I'm a dreamer, and as much as I love my life here, I often fantasize about starting over in a foreign country, a new language thick on my tongue, the foods tantalizing, exotic... I did go to Paris last year, and remember being struck by how different the cooking smells are in the streets. Here, it's garlic, or the tantalizing smoke from a distant barbecue... there, it was earthier somehow, with hints of truffle and wine. I'm always looking for more good travel lit... in fact, I spent twenty minutes at the bookstore today looking at Carol Drinkwater's book about France. I may yet pick it up one day....


At 7:22 PM, October 02, 2005, Blogger BlogsFan said...

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