Six Years After D-Day: Cycling Through Europe

Marie Bennett Alsmeyer, Author, Linda Grant De Pauw, Introduction by University of North Texas Press $16.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-929398-82-2
On April Fools' Day in 1950, newlyweds Marie and Hank Alsmeyer began what the author called ``a beautifully crazy senseless thing to do.'' Setting sail from New Orleans on a freighter bound for France, the couple arrived at Le Havre 21 days later and crisscrossed Europe by bicycle. Beginning in Paris, they cycled to Orly Field, where Hank was stationed in 1945; toured the Loire Valley (``a Mason-Dixon Line of France''), Normandy and Brittany; viewed the contrasting villages of Chambord (``where every corner was a sight of jolting beauty'') and Vimoutiers, which had mistakenly been leveled by Allied bombers in 1944; and witnessed the religious ``Pardon'' festival in a town named Rumengol. In England, they visited the beefeaters and raven-masters at the Tower of London and strolled the campuses of Cambridge before departing for the Netherlands. Next came Belgium, then France again, where they narrowly escaped an anti-American riot in St. Denis when the Cold War cut short their trip. Filled with original journal entries, Six Years After D-Day is an enchanting travelogue filled with charming characters, sly wit and sobering portraits of postwar Europe. While Hank's ``guide books and... maps were vital to his enjoyment'' of the Alsmeyers' European adventure, the contemporary reader will need nothing more than a well-lighted armchair. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
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