Damien Enright on Morocco

*In the mountains of southern Morocco, Berber children on the road side held out ground-squirrels – cute
little creatures, with big eyes and bushy tails – for sale. Not as pets, I’m afraid, but to put into the famous ground-squirrel tajine, which one can eat with couscous, or without. The only way to get a squirrel tajine is
to bring a squirrel to the restaurant; they are not available ala carte. We didn’t try it, but we did try urchins fresh from the sea at Essaouira, and they were delicious.

Damien Enright on El Hierro, Canary Islands

*Hierro is the place to go if one wants to go nowhere. Few people visit it; there are few people there.
The result is wonderful. The peace is resounding. Perhaps because humans in the countryside rarely encounter one another , old fashioned courtesies are observed, and people greet one another as they
do in rural Ireland. Mist haunts the uplands of Hierro. The capital town, Valverde, at almost 2000 feet above sea level, is often shrouded in mist, even in summer. This moisture in the air is perhaps good for the skin, but deters tourists who have enough of it at home and generally come to the Canaries to fry.

Damien Enright on the USA

*On my last round-the-world-on-a-shoestring journey, at stops on the Greyhound coast-to-coast bus across America, I’d head for five minutes off-highway birdwatching while others headed for the cafeteria for yet another “biggest hamburger on earth”. For the birdwatcher, every stop was a novelty.

*Central Park is wonderful at any time of the day or year, but it especially shines on a Sunday morning in the Fall. In November, the leaves change, and the days are often bright with a slight nip in the air, warming to sun-worshipping weather by midday. On a sunny Sunday morning, large sectors of human life in its amazing New York diversity heads for the park. Few places bring out the best in New Yorkers like Central Park, a huge 834 acres of urban oasis. Eulogies have been written about its history and natural history.

*The Natural History Museum on Central Park Avenue, is just across the road from the 77th St. park exit.
It makes a wonderful extension of the Central Park walk, because now all of the diverse landscapes and ecosystems of the vast continent are recreated, and its natural history from reconstructed dinosaurs to the geology and flora and fauna of the present day. The exhibits even include smells, so one walks past pine-fresh Oregon redwoods to musty Everglade swamps.