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What could be more fun than traveling with your family in Europe for five months? Not that it was all fun. There were cold, dreary days, illness, missed connections, a stolen wallet, gypsy attacks, and lost children. But looking back, "the Splat family" - as they called themselves when they went "Splat!" - agreed that there were definitely more highs than lows. Imagine a three-ring circus in Sicily with ten ferocious lions; spring skiing in the luminous Alps; a day spent absorbing the divine inspiration of Chartres Cathedral; or a sunny picnic on the banks of Loch Ness, waiting for Nessie to appear.
North With the Spring is drawn from a family journal kept by Mom and Dad--Jim and Phaedra--and their son and daughter, Brian, age thirteen, and Sara, age ten. It's a lively, descriptive and candid story of their adventures and misadventures as they fly from New York to Madrid in January, take a train to Genoa, and then a ferry to Palermo. The plan is to hang in Sicily for a month or two, then wander north with the spring, enjoying the delights of primavera over and over as they explore Italy, the Jungfrau, then Paris, London and Scotland.
It's a growing experience. The fights they have, the odd and interesting situations they encounter, their interactions with the natives and the things they learn about the world and themselves-all of these draw the "Splats" closer as a family.
Phaedra Greenwood is a freelance writer, editor and photographer, and author of Beside the Rio Hondo: A Memoir of Rural New Mexico, Sunstone Press, 2007. Her poems, essays and stories have appeared in many periodicals and anthologies such as Woodstock Revisited, edited by Susan Reynolds, Adams Media, 2009. She has won many literary awards including the Katherine Anne Porter Award and the PEN New Mexico Award. For five years she was a journalist and columnist for The Taos News. In 2000 she received two first-place awards for Best Review and Columns. For more information, see www.phaedragreenwood.com
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