Travels with Alice

by Calvin Trillin

Hardcover, 1989




New York : Ticknor & Fields, 1989.


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-Elysées 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.

User reviews

LibraryThing member michaelm42071
The Library of Congress categories of “Dinners and dining” and “Voyages and travels” pretty much describe the subject matter, which ranges from Trillin’s car trips fighting for back-seat space with his sister Sukey and trying to get his father to stop at every roadside zoo (“Travels with Sukey”) to an elaborate fiftieth birthday trip for his wife Alice that involved Capri, Positano, the gardens of Ninfa, and a week in a Tuscan farmhouse. Alice, whom Trillin usually refers to as the principessa when talking to hotel staff members in Italy, is a connoisseur of gelato who can tell by the color and texture of flavors as they sit in their stainless steel tubs whether they are fresh and contain enough of the requisite ingredients to be acceptable.
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.
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LibraryThing member MaryEB
This book made me very jealous of folks who can decamp for months at a time to a completely foreign place and take up temporary residence. Because I work for companies and never seem to accrue enough time or have enough un-busy time to do this, it sounds like heaven!!! I'd love to "hang out" in other countries like Calvin and Alice did. Maybe I need to change my life to make this possible!… (more)
LibraryThing member TadAD
This is one of the best of the travel and dining memoirs ever written. Trillin's humor and his love for his wife are evident throughout.
LibraryThing member LeslieHurd
"Travels With Alice" by Calvin Trillin had me laughing out loud. My only disappointment was that there really wasn't much about Alice, and it's his love for and relationship with Alice that made me a Trillin fan to begin with.



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