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Following the Sun : A Bicycle Pilgrimage from Andalusia to the Hebrides. - John Hanson Mitchell

Following the Sun

A Bicycle Pilgrimage from Andalusia to the Hebrides.

Hardcover

Published: 25th April 2002
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An entrancing, sun-drenched bicycle journey, from the beaches of southern Spain to solar temples in the Outer Hebrides. In this great feast of armchair travel, John Hanson Mitchell tells of his fifteen-hundred-mile ride on a trusty old Peugeot bicycle from the port of Cadiz to just below the Arctic Circle. He follows the European spring up through southern Spain, the wine and oyster country near Bordeaux, to Versailles (the palace of the "Sun King"), Wordsworth's Lake District, precipitous Scottish highlands, and finally to a Druid temple on the island of Lewis in the Hebrides, a place where Midsummer is celebrated in pagan majesty as the near-midnight sun dips and then quickly rises over the horizon. In true John Mitchell fashion this journey is interspersed with myth, natural history, and ritual, all revolving around the lure and lore of the sun, culturally and historically. The journey is as delicious as it is fascinating, with an appeal for all those who look south in February and are drawn to dunes, picnics under castle walls, spring flowers, terraced vineyards, Moorish outposts, magic and celebrations. In short, to everything under the sun. A Merloyd Lawrence Book

The exquisite chronicler of Scratch Flat, Massachusetts, rolls far afield in this gladdening excursion that follows the emerging of spring into summer from Spain to the Hebrides. Mitchell (Trespassing, 1998, etc.) follows a bicycle journey he took in the early 1960s from Cadiz, Spain, to the Isle of Lewis in Scotland, starting on the vernal equinox and ending on the summer solstice. The author is a sensualist, a lover of literature, deep time, and old night, and his ramble is tailor-made to feed those passions. He follows the lengthening days, the blessings of the sun after the winter months, and approaches the pilgrimage in the spirit of a pagan oblate-he is taken with "the richness of ancient rituals and primal gods and goddesses" and is well versed in the sun's symbolism and myths; indeed, there are enough mythological tales here-Helios to Ra to Sol-to keep even Edith Hamilton happy, and his curiosity leads him down the strange paths of Mithraism, Aztec sacrifices, and stone circles. But it's his willingness to stop and smell the flowers that makes him such a companionable writer. He's always ready to stop for a coffee or to shuffle off into the greenwood just to poke around; always ready to take a long gander at a stonechat or chaffinch or jackdaw. He never met a bed of bluebells that wasn't made the better by the taking of a nap in their midst, and there's always time to investigate a megalith. Give him a good meal and a weird conversation, give him the back lanes ("At Crow I skirted the town of Ringwood, taking a little country road"-as if Ringwood were Calcutta), allow him to dally and be diverted: "It was here, during these short excursions from my excursion, that I came to better appreciate the landscape." Few won't wish they were riding in Mitchell's slipstream, sharing in all the sun and stories and places, the wine and the food. (Kirkus Reviews)

ISBN: 9781582431369
ISBN-10: 1582431361
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 280
Published: 25th April 2002
Publisher: COUNTERPOINT
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.25 x 16.71  x 2.31
Weight (kg): 0.52
Edition Number: 1