Exploring Europe on Foot with Cassandra Overby
|Cassandra Overby is your virtual guide to exploring Europe on foot. Photo: © Cassandra Overby. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Hiking — “I don’t like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains — not hike! Do you know the origin of that word ‘saunter?’ It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, “A la sainte terre,’ ‘To the Holy Land.’ And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.” John MuirIf you’ve ever dreamed of a richer way to explore new places, an adventure beyond the traditional means of travel that surrounds you with the beauty of nature, extends its warm cultural embrace, one in which you surrender completely unto the world around you; then you have to travel slow, really slow, and saunter as John Muir encourages, every step of way. This philosophy is as the heart of “Explore Europe on Foot,” Cassandra Overby’s latest guidebook to walking adventures throughout the European continent. In her own words, “I call it exploring on foot, this new kind of travel.”
Imagine a trip abroad where each day is filled with peregrinations through some of the continent’s most exhilarating scenery, idyllic settings, storybook villages and towering moutainscapes replete with moments of cultural enrichment through art, history and music. In the evenings, you'll enjoy meaningful exchanges with the locals and new friends as you share a long and leisurely dinner celebrating your triumphs of the day. Interested?
|"Explore Europe on Foot" by Cassandra Overby will show you how to make the most of European walking adventures. Photo: © Cassandra Overby. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
“Explore Europe on Foot” is a comprehensive resource guide to traveling on foot through some of Europe’s most spectacular, awe-inspiring and enchanting settings from Iceland to Italy over the Asian border to Turkey and beyond the Mediterranean to Morocco. And Overby is your virtual guide as she escorts you step-by-step through the planning process from dreaming of places to go, preparations for planning and packing, and making the most of your walking holiday. All the details and answers to some of the questions you may have about a walking holiday are addressed in four comprehensive sections of the book. Imagine everything you need to know about walking in Europe is at your finger tips in a single volume.
|Kinderdijk Mills in Holland is one of Overby's "One-day Wanders" mentioned in her European guidebook to walking adventures throughout the continent. Photo: © EuroTravelogue.com. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Be prepared to be inspired as you consider destinations such as the Swiss Alps, Bavaria or perhaps it's wine tasting along the Alsatian wine route. Whichever trail or trails you decide, each of them includes a wealth of information: location and detailed map, languages spoken, miles/kilometers walked, elevation, difficulty ratings, trail markers, not-to-miss sights and daily itineraries. Want to shorten or extend the recommended itinerary? Overby has you covered.
|Alpine landscapes abound when exploring Europe on foot. Photo: © EuroTravelogue. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
|Too much? Too little? Just right? "Explore Europe on Foot" will help you pack all the essentials without the excess. Photo: © EuroTravelogue. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
“Packing” will you have outfitted from head to toe for exploring Europe on foot. Overby reviews various clothing options, recommended footwear, backpacks or daypacks, which toiletries to pack, trail tools including electronic gadgets and apps such as GPX tracking to guide your way—among others. A complete list of recommended resources is provided.
|King Ludwig II's fairy-tale Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria. Photo © Ximonic, Simo Räsänen & Tauno Räsänen. CC BY-SA 3.0|
“Traveling” will ease that pre-trip anxiety with a small checklist to help you prepare in the days leading up to your trip as well as how to ease the discomforts and potential inconveniences of traveling. Upon your arrival, Overby will help you make the most of your experience abroad.
Lastly, at the end of the book are various checklists and a resource guide to help you find up-to-date information about places you're planning to travel through. And Overby has published a series of dedicated guidebooks chock full of information about a few of her 15 recommendations.
|Seek out more meaningful travels through moments of discovery and reflection. Photo: © EuroTravelogue. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
As you endeavor to plan the perfect getaway, Overby is your cheerleader and wants you to succeed every bit as much as you do. In her closing paragraphs, she includes this inspiring quote from Marcel Proust’s “The Prisoner”:
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”It’s difficult to articulate the intensity of emotion that washes over you, it's sheer exhilaration as you’re walking along and become one with your surroundings—free of the technological grip that holds us prisoner in our quotidian existence. I can tell you that a positively sublime euphoria ignites your wandering spirit as you perambulate along the path with only the sounds of nature echoing in the distance .
|Along the Camino de Santiago. Photo: © EuroTravelogue. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Ever since my pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago last September, I strive to seek out even more meaningful travels through discovery, reflection, awareness of all the beauty that surrounds me: the nature, the people, the cultures so proudly on display for those of us just passing through. Remember these are opportune moments to look within as well and perhaps find another part of yourself that has been slumbering for far too long.
I had experienced such an awakening during my Camino when I was reminded of forgotten times in my youth when the forests were my playground; oh how I used to love to walk and hike along for days on end. As the sun descended behind the mountains, I watched in awe as the sky of fire melted into a vibrant shade of magenta and then faded into a nighttime canvas ablaze with twinkling stars. As these thoughts and images flooded my imagination, I realized this was an epiphany, a realization of something that was missing in my life, until now.
Moments like these can be yours too, and I for one look forward to more of them when I eventually set out on one or more of the walks described in this book. If you're concerned about physical demands, don't be. This is not rigorous hiking or mountain climbing, it’s walking through carefully curated adventures designed with you in mind. But you'll have to put those phones away and disconnect! Remember, all you need to do is walk and you too will learn to see with new eyes. I promise!
MountaineersBooks.org for forwarding me a copy of “Explore Europe on Foot." While I am under no obligation to publish a review, I am compelled to share my passion and enthusiasm for this exciting new resource in hopes that you too are inspired to reach for the stars, beyond the traditional modes of travel and consider an exciting new way to see the world. As you all know, I am all about slow travel and savoring the journey along the way. This book does just that ... savors the journey, every step of the way.