Vagabond Shoes, by Jean Burnett
Confessions of a Dromomaniac
Inspired by the memoirs of Victorian women travellers who took off to escape from their restricted lives, she sets off for South West France, continuing through Eastern Europe-Prague, Budapest, Romania and the Caucasus, followed by India, the USA, Mexico, Cuba and finally, San Francisco. She stays at various times in a haunted museum in France, a Dracula themed hotel overlooking the Borgo Pass, a maharajah’s palace in India, several eccentric private homes in Prague, Budapest and Havana, deserted hotels in Mexico and a writers’ retreat in France. In the Republic of Georgia she ventures in to the isolated province of Svaneti where the locals still wage vendettas and have a mixed attitude to visitors.
Her adventures include an encounter with a witch in Mexico, tap dancing in a haunted Cathar building in Languedoc, hiding in an illegal taxi in Havana, a memorable camel safari in Rajahsthan, surreal coach journeys across Europe, a taste of luxury on the Orient Express, and taking Spanish lessons from a woman who keeps a wolf and a dingo at home (Mexico).
The author contrasts her experiences with quotations from bygone female travellers which are often hilarious, moving and frequently mind boggling.
Vagabond Shoes offers a wry look at humanity from a woman who has been there, done that and usually couldn’t afford to buy the T-shirt.