Not a lot of sewing, or anything else creative, has been done recently – after 10 hour days at work I often don’t have the energy or creativity when I get home. I have, however, been doing some reading to escape the humdrum of daily life.
I’ve just finished reading Walking the Woods and the Water by Nick Hunt. It was just the thing for cold, wet winter nights. I tend to read much more non-fiction nowadays and particularly like reading about journeys, whether metaphorical or literal.
After reading Patrick Leigh Fermor’s books about his 1933 walk across Europe (A Time of Gifts, Between the Woods and the Water, and the posthumous The Broken Road) Hunt decided to mirror Fermor’s walk using his books as a travel guide. Starting in Holland Hunt kept walking for 7 months across 8 countries, eventually reaching Istanbul.
It’s a beautifully descriptive tale, some of the writing is lyrical and rich in metaphor with insights into the cultures and troubles of the countries he traverses and the centuries of history that have informed the present.
It reminded me of another great book I have read about a long journey on foot called The Idiot and the Odyssey – Walking the Mediterranean by Joel Stratte-McClure. Both books are written by journalists, the latter by an American who has lived in France for 30 years. He decided to walk around the Mediterranean Sea after the end of his marriage and “...in middle of a melancholy divorce, mired in an emotional and spiritual cesspool and greatly in need of a cosmic uplift.” Armed with a copy of Homer’s Odyssey he set off on a mid-life meditation.
This one was “weightier” in subject matter and, of the two, I enjoyed it more, but they are both good reads. Both of them made me want to get up and get walking!!!
I would love to do a long walk (long by my standards would be about a month!) in Europe some day, although I would check how many mountains it involved before I set out. I’m not good on hill-climbs!
Of course Australia also has some good walking routes, although unlike Europe the distances are longer and we tend not to have villages, so much more camping out would be required. The Cradle Mountain Walk down in Tasmania is certainly on my list. This wilderness area is part of a World Heritage listed national park and is stunning.