A Geezer's Guide to Seeing Europe as a Traveler, Not a Tourist is precisely what the title implies. Based in a home he shared with a family in a small French village near Paris, Glaser traveled France, England, Austria, Hungary, Germany and Portugal. Not to just visit the many "tourist attractions," but to meet and form relationships with the people who lived there. He mastered the art of traveling on buses and the continent's high-speed trains and, in most cases, with no definite destination in mind. His objective was to know the people, and through them, learn the lessons their cultures had to teach him. Two trips to Tunisia, in North Africa, brought him into contact with the Arab world that tourists never have the opportunity or inclination to experience. Accounts of a trip on the Orient Express are mixed with reports on traveling to London by train through the "chunnel." Often without a precise destination in mind and always without advance hotel reservations, Glaser was exposed to Europe in ways a tourist seldom would be able to experience its varied nations and cultures. For example, he visited the Normandy beachheads on the Fourth of July, and spent two weeks in a Portugal resort hotel primarily populated by German tourists. Drawing on an extensive catalog of pen pals, he often was exposed to life as it was actually lived and not just as described in a tourists' guide book. And everywhere he met interesting people: a schoolteacher in France, an American traveler on the European leg of his around the world journey, a native of Brazil who had married a man from Poland, and was now living in Germany, a writer in England who was a rural farm child during World War II and grew up to become the first model for a famous cosmetics company founder. So, this is not your usual travel book. In it, you'll meet people you'd never expect to meet, and gain insights on life in other countries and other cultures. It is not a book that needs to be read cover to cover. Instead, just open to any chapter--and enjoy!
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June 30, 2011
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