Each year hundreds of thousands of pilgrims trek across Spain arriving at the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela where the tomb of the apostle of Saint James is located. As far back as the Middle Ages pilgrims have walked the way of Saint James often trekking hundreds of miles. The mountain ranges and formidable table lands of the Meseta are traversed by pilgrims on a journey through history as they walk along roads and bridges built by the Romans. Sometimes they begin their journey from the doorsteps of their homes in Europe and beyond. While others travel from overseas to begin their pilgrimage. The French Way, or Camino Frances, begins 500 miles from Santiago in the French town of Saint Jean Pied de Port. Modern day pilgrims begin the pilgrimage for different reasons, including spiritual enlightenment, religion, physical fitness and adventure. Today’s pilgrims carry a special passport to collect stamps each day, which they present to receive the Compostela certificate at the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. The Compostela is written in Latin and recognizes the completion of the pilgrimage. The cathedral also provides a certificate for distance, which is a slightly larger document on parchment. I walked half the Camino with my brother David in the fall of 2016, and returned to finish the 500 mile, million step, journey in the winter of 2018. Walking the Camino in winter has unique challenges as well as benefits. The lessons learned in this book may be useful to anyone considering a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, or any long-distance walk. This is the story of my winter experience on the Camino.
12th Annual New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards
"This is a delightful little book. It took me out of the heat and humidity of Kansas to where my blood ran cold in the lonesome snow and ice of the Camino. The book creates a sense of challenge against the storms of winter, while one is hiking alone along frozen trails and sleeping alone in unheated albergues (hiking hostels).
There are attractive references to and pictures of Roman roads and bridges, as well as the cathedral cultural centers in the large towns.
Brian reflects on why he loses energy when hiking with crowds but gains it when hiking alone.
The Interview part of the book is packed with other discoveries like this, and that’s what the Camino is all about ….. physical, mental, and spiritual testing and discovery. My favorite story is when Brian, exhausted at the end of a long day, is confronted by an angry woman at an albergue, and he can’t understand her Spanish. It appears she wants to kick him out.
The photos are marvelous, and capture well the different sights and emotions that Brian experienced on his walk.
The book is a must for nascent Camino walkers, being filled with practical hiking tips as well as preparation guidance in what to wear, how much money to bring, best use of an iPhone, etc. But even if you’re not a diehard hiker, I can recommend it as a well-written and inspiring account of a personal challenge and conquest."
"The author gives so much useful insight and great tips that if you are currently on Camino or in the planning stages as myself at present, I highly recommend this book as a must have reference! The book is so well written and his true life experience so entertaining that the story is a great read for anyone."
"So well written that by the time you finish reading, you’ll want to walk the Camino yourself, even if you’ve never heard of it. Not only that, but you’ll be confident that you can, because the author gives you a complete list of supplies and travel tips to help you on your way."
Paperback ISBN: 9780692112403
eBook ISBN: 9780692115138
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