In May 2006, armed only with a small rucksack and a staff, Tony Kevin, an overweight, sedentary, 63-year-old former diplomat, set off on an eight-week trek across Spain. But this was not just a very long walk - it was a pilgrimage.
From Granada, in the southeast, to Santiago de Compostela, in the far northwest, Tony followed the Via Mozarabe and the Via de la Plata, two of the many pilgrim trails that crisscross Spain and Portugal and that all lead to a single destination. In the Middle Ages, the cathedral city of Santiago de Compostela was Europe’s most famous centre of pilgrimage, and in recent years it has enjoyed a remarkable revival; every day towards noon, hundreds of hot, tired, and dusty pilgrims stream into Santiago Cathedral for the daily Pilgrim’s Mass.
What, in our busy, materialistic 21st century, is this apparently anachronistic phenomenon all about? What drives tens of thousands of people of all nationalities and creeds to make long, exhausting walks across the cold mountains and hot tablelands of Spain, to take part finally in a medieval Christian liturgy of spiritual renewal and reconciliation with God?
Walking the Camino beautifully captures the flavour of what it was like to walk the camino, and is filled with fascinating observations and anecdotes about the nature of contemporary Spain. And because pilgrimage is such a deeply personal experience that has the potential to unlock the deepest recesses of hidden memory and conscience, it is also a profound personal meditation on the nature of modern life.
It will be of interest to people who contemplate making, or who have made this walk; to those interested in the politics and culture of contemporary Spain; and indeed anyone who appreciates fine travel writing.
Tony Kevin served in the Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister's departments over a 30-year period, and was Australia's ambassador to Poland and Cambodia. His other award-winning book is A Certain Maritime Incident: the sinking of SIEV X
©2008 Tony Kevin (P)2014 Audible Ltd
Dated by technology and current events, but an interesting account of an Australian's pilgrimage on a lesser-travelled Camino through Spain from Grenada.
Covers everything from what to pack, a good walking staff and why you should wear two pairs of socks when walking, through to the similarities between religions, the history of Spain and major political and current affairs in the first few years of the 2000s.
Unfortunately, Kevin's writing style is reflective of his diplomatic background and can be quite dry at times but the listener/reader is left with a conviction that he has done his research. If you read this book, you won't need to read many others on the history of Spain etc.
Yes I will listen to this book at least 3 times.
Best book on the Camino Pilgrimage. History of Spain, history of the pilgrimage over the years, the variuos camino routes, how to do it, gear, practical tips, good visuals, best exposition on the external and internal experience. A must read or hear for any potential pilgrim or vicariuos pilgrim. I love this book!
Clear voice, keeps it interesting, I think he captures the voice of the author very well.
God and man in Spain.
I felt like was there with the author.
"Happy I hung in there!"
When I first began this book, I was a little put off by the narrators slow and somewhat monotonous tone of speech, but I kept going because I wanted to hear the story. I am about to embark on my own Camino, and I'm enjoying all the different stories that are available. This writer did a different route than what I am planning, so I wasn't into the details of the specific villages, albergues, etc. Over time I grew accustomed to the speech, and even quite fond of it. I found the last few chapters to be the most enlightening and inspirational for me, but felt that I benefitted most by being with him thru the whole book.
"Lovely with the odd dry spell."
A well written book with some really interesting bits. There is the odd passage where the Spanish is read out that were too long for my liking but generally a small price to pay. Maybe 5% detraction and well worth persevering through.
"About more than just the pilgrimage."
I very much enjoyed it, and am listening again. Ruminations on country, faith, humanity, purpose.
"Too much politics"
I could have been a good story without the Anglo self hating diversions. Too bad he could not find peace on the Camino
Tony was about the same age as I am. I feel something missing and think this would be a good place to find it. I enjoy his spiritual connections.
"Honest, personal account of one man's pilgrimage"
I enjoyed the author's honesty and openness. I found him to be very humble. He added a significant amount of history and cultural observances to help the reader grasp a fuller picture of the areas he travelled. I honestly would have enjoyed a little less detailed history and more daily experience - but I was looking for a little lighter read and something to "take me there" rather than teach me about the various historic and political details. However, it was well written and enjoyable. This would be a good reference for one planning their own pilgrimage or a trip to these regions of Spain. I enjoyed the author's spiritual openness with his faith and learning about his growth along the Camino.
I typically like to read books narrated by the author, but I thought this was well done. I would read other books narrated by James Miller.
So horribly boring! It's all over the place. Quite depressing. Worse book of 2015 so far. I need to pick up another book, NOW, to get rid of the bad taste this book has left.
"Author went "left" at every turn."
A mediocre book that spends more time exploring the author's leftist ideology than the Camino. If you can slog through the typical and predictable liberal rants, he occasionally includes somewhat entertaining passages describing the actual pilgrimage.
Chapter 13 don't bother reading, inaccurate diatribe about Catholic Church who according to Mr Kevin have never done anything but good. It was written in 2006 do no excuse.
I bought this book as I was interested in finding out more about Walking the Camino.
I got this and much more. The history of the walk, Spanish history, Spanish politics, Spanish countryside and the towns along the walk. I also got to enjoy the thoughts and experiences of a great writer.
This Australian writer is fascinating and tells an honest experience.
Superb book read by a great narrator.
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