Click on links below the excerpts to read the essays.


“Smartphones and apps were supposed to revolutionize the experience of travel, but maybe one day we’ll look back and find they ruined the best part of it.”

The Flaneur’s Guide to Roaming


“Georgian Bay danced and sparkled under a blinding sun, the twisted pine trees swished and swayed with the wind, and dragonflies ran sorties along the shoreline like tiny attack helicopters. I kicked off my cold wet sandals and walked around on the warm granite. Getting out of the sandals was a relief, but feeling the heat of the stone on my wrinkled feet was pure pleasure.”

Back on the Bay


“Pilar’s reaction when she first tasted the Barbastro tomatoes was unequivocal. A long pause indicated a moment of private reverie. I don’t recall exactly what she said but it was either religious or profane. Possibly both at the same time, which would have been perfectly appropriate.”

Tomatoes I Have Known


“‘Don’t touch the fruit!’ he boomed. His tone of voice would have been more understandable had I suddenly decided to reach over and pat his wife’s rear-end. But a pear?”

A Touchy Subject


“Surrounded by mountain ranges and on the road to nowhere, La Alberca was like the Spain of my uncle’s stories. Old men wore berets and black cardigans, women wore traditional dresses. Donkey’s clopped down the cobbled Calle Mayor carrying hay, and the ground floors of many of the ancient half-timbered houses were used as stables for pigs and sheep and goats.”

Remembering La Alberca


“It must have been richly amusing to everyone there: a tourist in his forties with a camera around his neck, not immediately recognizable as an athlete, shall we say, almost going down like Bambi on ice and then walking on casually, pretending nothing happened.”

Slippery Business