Faring to France on a Shoe is travelogue about a dream come true. After seven years of owning our barge, Hennie-Ha, seven years involving catastrophe and crisis, my partner, Koos, and I finally go 'faring' to France for the first time. This travelogue is about the places we visit and the people we meet along the canals on our route from the Netherlands, through Belgium and into northern France. It tells our story about how we experience life on board during the four weeks we spent cruising. Written as a journal, the reader joins us on our travels through rain and shine and reveals how day by day, I learn to cast aside the stresses and demands of the real world and to appreciate life's simplest of pleasures to the full. Nice, hey?
Here are two of the reviews I have been blessed to receive on the book:
Patti Wilson (U.S.)
"I loved this book. Valerie Poore has a way of writing travelogues that feel more like minute by minute real time adventures with the reader sitting on her shoulder. She's really funny, too. One scene she describes trying to cycle up a steep hill, traffic zooming right next to her while her bike's tire keeps going flat. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. She engages us with her anxieties while depicting the trials and successes of her lobbing a rope up over a bollard. I even cheered with her when she succeeded. At the end of their vacation travelling along the canals from the Netherlands to Northern France then back home, I also felt the sadness of a lovely journey end mixed with the joy of being back home."
Author Lynn M Dixon (U.S.)
"I will never steer a snik from Rotterdam down to Cambrai, France, but I was able to hop onboard the Hennie-Ha with Val and Koos as I read Faring to France on a Shoe. It was an amazing venture as she gave detailed and colorful descriptions of each town along the way. I could see the grassy hills, the sunrises and sunsets. I could hear the chirping birds along with the voices of the people that they met. I envisioned Val and Koos walking through quaint towns to either eat or buy necessities.
I felt Val’s frustration as she struggled uphill with the bike that continually had a flat tyre; but she was determined to reach her destination. She bravely spoke French as she expressed her needs while visiting France. Though met with torrential rains, heat and sometimes great weather, it was clear that the gods had ordained this dream trip.
The many types of locks presented the biggest challenge for them as they forged ahead. I was able to identify with the stress of the locks because I had had one experience of going through a lock as our sightseeing boat went from the Chicago River out onto Lake Michigan. It was scary as the boat began to rise so I can only imagine what Val and Koos experienced over and over.
Sometimes they got through with ease and on other occasions, they had to wait for a lock-keeper to show up which could take hours or even days. This was a rich, rich experience with a pictorial slideshow as a bonus! A simply magnificent and well-documented trip on The Shoe."