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It's Not About the Tapas

A Spanish Adventure on Two Wheels

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Single, stressed, and living amid the hustle and hurry of modern Hong Kong, Polly Evans had a vision: of mountains and orange groves, matadors and promenades–and of a glorious, hassle-free journey across Spain by bicycle. But like any decent dream, Polly’s came with its own reality: of thighs screaming with pain and goats trying to derail her, of strange local delicacies and overzealous suitors. In fact, like any great traveler, Polly had bitten off more than she could chew–and would delight in every last taste of it.

Exploring the country that gave the world flamenco, chocolate, sherry, Franco, and Picasso, Polly takes us from the towering Pyrenees to the vineyards of Jerez de la Frontera, spinning tales of conquistadors and kings, vibrant history and mouthwatering cuisine. In the end, this hilarious, irreverent, always engaging memoir of a journey on two wheels unveils a lot about one modern woman, even more about an utterly fascinating nation, and countless reasons why it’s better when you do it on a bike.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Aug 01, 2004 – This story of a frustrated young editor who jumps ship from her deadline-laden job in Hong Kong and escapes to a biking adventure in Spain is spiked with moments of hilarity and broad humor. "I set myself the target of a thousand miles and six weeks in which to cover them," she writes. "If my tour took a few ups and downs, if I felt the need to let out the occasional primal scream, well, in Spain nobody would notice. They're used to craziness in Spain. In fact, they positively celebrate it." Evans arranges her route through towns large and small (San Sebastian, Barcelona, Ronda, Oropesa, etc.). Her odyssey of pedaling, chowing and searching for quaint local color often reads like a picaresque, and her book has the same penchant for sharp caricature. Writing of a small town, she observes: "A group of old men stood around the bar, their heads in a cloud of smoke, a carpet of cigarette butts at their feet, and discussed the issues of the day... 'So, we'll see you at the park bench for the three p.m. sit-and stare session?'" Elsewhere, she describes a rural woman carrying a sack of logs: "I had the strong impression she had chopped them herself, quite possible with a mighty slice of her hard, bare hand." Readers who enjoy this vein of humor will delight in her book, and to her credit Evans often turns her wit upon herself. At one point she notes that her trip has made her look like a "toasted whippet, something to do with being both gruesomely gaunt and burnt to a crisp."

Customer Reviews

It's not about the tapas

Decent fun read. You will enjoy.

It's Not About the Tapas
View in iTunes
  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Europe
  • Published: Jun 27, 2006
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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