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Except my readers, who will hear about nuisance and delays because it’s an integral part of the meaning of travel for Carol and me. Carol handles nuisance and delay with the peace of a monk and the patience of a pointillist painter. My handling varies, but tends toward an Indiana Jones sense of imminent peril. Between the two of us, we have a travel approach that is a comforting blend of serenity and an urgent sense of gloom.
It’s not love that means never having to say your sorry, but solo travel. This trip to France is one done by tens of thousands of couples each year. I’m planning nothing that any of those thousands wouldn’t have planned on their own. In sum, there’s going to be nothing worth writing about on this trip; yet I plan on writing nonstop. And I want it to be a transatlantic triumph, not a catastrophe. I want Lindbergh not the Hindenburg.
I first visited Paris in 1971. It was my first city in Europe. I must have been enthralled by all that I saw, because I remember walking the streets from seven in the morning till eleven at night, capping off the evening at a cafe with a glass of vin rouge ordinaire and recording all that I had observed that day in my journal. For example my detailed notes on the Sacre Coeur basilica included this gem of an insight: ”overwhelmed.”