Iberia by James Michenerby ExperiencePlus! - Monday, October 3, 2011
Reviewed by ExperiencePlus! traveler Bill Giovinazzo
During our last trip with ExperiencePlus, my son and I were having dinner when he ordered Coquilles St. Jacques. As we ate our dinner I told him the origin of the dish and how it was linked with the history of Spain. That is why you want to read Iberia and bicycle Spain with ExperiencePlus.
Okay, let me explain. Years ago, when that young man who was sitting across the table from me had not yet taken his first breath, I read Michener’s Iberia. I had been a long-time fan of Michener’s work and expected the typical fictionalized history that began shortly after the creation of the universe and ended about a week before the book was published. At first I was disappointed that it was not what I had expected, but then with the turning of each page I was eventually won over.
Iberia is a travelogue. In it Michener does more than simply relay his personal experiences in an extraordinarily interesting and romantic part of Europe. Michener uses his skill as a story teller to provide the reader with rich cultural and historical context which breathes life into each account. As you read his impressions of Barcelona and Gaudi, you get a sense of how a man such as Gaudi could only have sprung from Catalonian soil. When Michener writes of Barcelona you can feel the rich passion of the land and its history. To this day, whenever I see the Flamenco performed I think of Michener’s description of a private, late night performance he once witnessed. Albeit that today the work is somewhat dated, he writes from his heart in such a way that you can still feel the love he has for this land and its people.
Iberia is a great read that I highly recommend to anyone especially if you plan to go, or have been to Spain.