This delightful book collects Calvin Trillin's accounts of his trips to Europe with his wife, Alice, and their two daughters. In Taormina, Sicily, they cheerfully disagree with Mrs. Tweedie's 1904 assertion that the beautiful town "is being spoilt," and skip the Grand Tour in favor of swimming holes, table soccer, and taureaux piscine. In Paris, they spend a day on the Champs-ElysÃ©es comparing Freetime's "le Hitburger" to McDonald's Big Mac. In Spain, Trillin wonders whether he will run out of Spanish "the way someone might run out of flour or eggs." Filled with Trillin's characteristic humor,Travels with Alice is the perfect book for summer travelers.
The Trillin family, consisting of Calvin, Alice, Abigail, and Sarah, spends considerable time in France, on St. Thomas, St. John, and Barbados when the girls are small, and later Spain when Abigail is studying in Madrid. Calvin and the girls take up babyfoot, which is what the French call foosball, and they attend games of taureaux piscine, a bizarre performance whose participants try to stay in a little swimming pool in an arena while a bull runs around. Meanwhile, the Trillins absorb pommes frites, search for the perfect hamburger in Paris, and seek some food other than the usual island offering (Miami frozen fish covered with sunblock) in the Caribbean. This book is entertaining and very funny at times, but I came away wishing for more food.