Italy quietly left our group. Jon began to blister up. I have been fine thus far, so I hope it remains. Warm, sunny day through cornfields, small villages, and rocky slopes. It did the trick! I managed to catch up with the others who stopped along the way to wait. Puente de Reina to Estella 22km. Since my pace is naturally a bit quick, I went ahead of the group and reached Estella two hours before they did. I enjoyed walking alone for a change, chatting with other pilgrims along the way. Tomorrow, I will try and walk slower with the others.
I made the day cheap for us by booking a cheap albergue and cooking dinner. I was already growing tired of having bocadillos sandwiches all the time so I took it upon myself to make dinner for the group.
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Most albergues have kitchens in them for pilgrims to cook their own food in. Estella to Torres del Rio 30km. The day started off cool. We saw the public wine fountain and then walked through a cloudless heat. By far the hottest day yet! I stayed with the group most of the way, but walked faster once it grew hotter. We suggested that he sends his bags to the next town, to ease the load on his legs.
Christina quietly fell behind in our group. As of now, it remains just us four guys. However, if injuries persist, then I may be walking alone. So far I am in great shape! Thank goodness for the ear plugs Lucy gave me. They have worked wonders. The best item I brought with me. But if you forget anything, you can buy your necessities in virtually every big town you come across. An easy 20k day. Nic and I met Ethan at an albergue nearby. No blisters, no aches, no pains, or anything. I hope it keeps up! Something is bound to happen. The distances indicated for each day are close estimates.
If you ask any pilgrim, they will all tell you different answers, but usually they are always around the same ballpark. If we continue on this pace, we should reach Santiago in about three more weeks! I'm Daniel, a traveling adrenaline junkie from Michigan and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom inspired me to go on my own worldly adventures as a kid. I'm on a never-ending journey around the world, documenting, collecting, and sharing my tales and advice for you to pursue your own adventures.
Remembering that she'd already walked more than kilometres from east Switzerland, I was surprised to find her pace had fallen in line with my comparatively snail-like progress. Apparently her sister in law had visited her here at Conques for a day. To make up for it she proposes to walk 40 kilometres tomorrow. The Swissie, Erica-Louise, invited me to come and have supper with her and other pilgrims at the Abbey hostel. We sat down prompt at seven o'clock. There, silence was obeyed while a brother read something learnedly ecclesiastical to accompany our dahl and curried vegetables.
This nameless brother was at least six foot six inches tall and had the gentlest manner.
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The food was excellent and a small offering in their box was all that was required. Earlier in the evening, Erica-Louise had shown me sleeping accommodation in the hostel and I regret to say it was everything I had feared - and worse. Twenty metal bunks of three tiers each. That's up to 60 pilgrims sleeping rough in total darkness except for torches.
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I cannot and will not face this even if I feel ashamed to admit it. The notice also said "English Spoken". As my family is related to the Robertsons, this was a meeting not to be missed. Here I found a shambolic country house occupied by a divorced and evidently lonely year old. A Swiss couple of a certain age have turned up having walked today in the rain from Conques taking five hours to cover the stretch it took me eight hours to do yesterday.
With luck I'll get them to fix me up with a suitable lodging in Figeac tomorrow.
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It's a big town and they'll get there hours before me. I've bought two bottles of rouge as the totally non-English-speaking Mr Robertson seems to be teetotal. April 5 - On to Figeac Having helped Mr Robertson with the cooking while he took a series of telephone bookings for the summer, we sat down to a first class supper of real homemade vegetable soup and chicken roasted on a bed of onions - served with oily noodles. The Swiss had dropped in earlier for a teeny weeny drink and then disappeared back to their quarters. They don't seem to eat properly, those two, as I confirmed later today.
The area of Decazeville is depressed with a significant population of Polish, Russian and Scottish inhabitants who came here at the turn of the century to work in the opencast iron and coal mines. The numbers have been reduced since then by three quarters and since the River Lot is no longer navigable. Wearing trainers all day I walked 24 kilometres to the charming big town of Figeac. Having left a genuinely depressed area it was interesting to see the difference a few miles can make. The Swiss left 30 minutes after me and then overtook me six kilometres later - thereby proving they walk 50 per cent faster than me.
I caught up with them later as they were having a roadside snack, and a meagre meal it was too. Just a few bits of cheese and an apple. By the church at St Felix, there is a grand parking area attached to the Mairie. There, I noticed a monsieur setting up a table laden with food.
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I asked him what he was selling. He replied he wasn't selling anything, but setting up a lunchtime nosh for a group of 16 pilgrims who were following on. These folk were walking accompanied by a minibus carrying all their kit and just doing the stretch from Le Puy to Cahors.
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Not a bad idea for those who want to enjoy the Camino without being slaves to self inflicted, load-carrying discomfort. Having booked a room at the Hotel de Bains in Figeac, I was appalled to find the place locked up when I arrived at 3 pm after a seven-hour walk. Only by a chance meeting with a local did I get a wink and a nod that suggested I should disturb the manager's afternoon liaison with a neighbouring hotel's manageress.
April 8 - In Cajarc, Charles is still going strong after kilometres but his travel gear is falling apart Three hundred kilometres up and still going, much to my own surprise. Cajarc proved to be a pleasant interlude. A rich and apparently well-run little town displaying all the characteristics of the French country life so loved by the tourist industry.
The hotel was amongt the best of them - charming, good food, clean and fairly priced. Four small items of kit have broken already and I list them in order of importance, starting with the least important:. A hopefully non-critical part of my little Fujifilm camera just fell off leaving some of its guts exposed. It still seems to work, but only time will tell.
The poorly designed transparent fronted map case has split so that pencils and other small things have just fallen out. A compass worn on a watch strap just broke, fell off and was lost. Today was a walking day with no points of reference and the only way to navigate through acres of scarcely signed scrubby forest with per cent cloud cover was by compass.
I did get lost and quite frightening it was too.
Clearly more interested in Shinto than in Moore, their fellow walkers are an assortment of devout Christian pilgrims, New Age--spirituality seekers aspiring to be the next Shirley Maclaine, Baby Boomers contemplating middle age, and John Q Public just out for a cheap, boozy sun-drenched outdoor holiday. As Moore pushes, pulls, wheedles, cajoles, and threatens Shinto across Spain, the duo overnights in the bedrooms, dormitories, andfor Shintograssy fields of northern Spain.
Shinto, a donkey with a finely honed talent for relieving himself at the most inopportune moments, has better luck in the search for his next meal than Moore does in finding his inner pilgrim. Undaunted, however, Man and Beast finally arrive at the cathedral and a successful end to their journey. For readers who delighted in his earlier books, Travels With my Donkey is the next hilarious chapter in the travels of Tim Moore, a book that keeps the bones of St.
James rattling to this day. Paperback , pages. Published January 24th by St. Martin's Griffin first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Travels with My Donkey , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Travels with My Donkey.
Walking Across Spain (El Camino de Santiago): Week 1
Lists with This Book. Mar 25, Kelly rated it it was amazing. Hello traveling by ass. This book is so hilarious that while reading it and laughing out loud until I cried , a woman came up to me in the coffee shop and demanded to know what the title was so she could get it. The writer, Tim Moore, out of mid-life crisis whatever, decides to walk el camino de Santiago, a famous pilgrimage in Spain, but he'll be arsed if he's going to carry his gear himself.
Enter Shinto, a little burro who fears all things water, bolts at the slightest provocation, and makes Hello traveling by ass. Enter Shinto, a little burro who fears all things water, bolts at the slightest provocation, and makes a mockery of all donkey training or mistraining, as the case may be that comes with him. It's a travelogue by a prissy Brit, with a semi-uncontrollable animal to boot.
So why did I find the book annoying? Like his journey, I found the book a long hard slog. I found his humour often grated — too many puns and too adolescent. So what were the good points? He does this quite well. He also manages to get across to the reader the sheer scale of the journey — the good bits and the bad. Blistered, sometimes sun-scorched, occasionally rain-soaked, the author does a credible job of describing his kilometre trek across northern Spain accompanied by a donkey.
However, in my view, it is nowhere near the best travel book I have read. He may have walked the path of St. He's a lot like Bryson, but without the snark, attitude, superiority, whining and misanthropy, and with an actual sense of humour. Which is to say, he's not like Bryson at all. I found myself running the laugh gamut from smiles to chortles to out and out giggles. Along the camino he experiences not only fatigue and frustration, but also good company a I'm happy to report I've found the antidote to the poison that was reading Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods: Along the camino he experiences not only fatigue and frustration, but also good company and the kindness of many, many strangers.
There is no big epiphany for Moore on his trek, but he does learn how to take things in stride - a million strides, as it were, straight across the North of Spain, with his intermittently trusty steed, Shinto, at his side. I haven't had this much fun with a book in a while. Jun 28, Sarah Fisher rated it it was ok Shelves: I got so bored reading this book and it was hard to finish. His writing stuck me as scattered and his writing style extremely wordy. I definitely wasn't laughing out loud like everyone else.
Sometimes the jokes were just As much as he jokes about animal abuse I couldn't help but think I mean, really, who just buys a donkey to take a mile hike while basically refusing to learn how to care for I got so bored reading this book and it was hard to finish. I mean, really, who just buys a donkey to take a mile hike while basically refusing to learn how to care for a donkey!!! Also, I don't feel like I got a good sense of the landscape the people of northern Spain. I read this in conjunction with "Off the Road," another guy doing the same hike and I'd recommend that instead.
Maybe because that author actually hiked the whole route without having family visit, staying in hotels, etc etc. Jan 25, Fiona rated it it was ok Shelves: I took this book with me when I walked the Camino in I wish I hadn't because it took up valuable space in my luggage. Although some of his anecdotes rang true, on the whole I found it lacking in any kind of detail about the experience, the country, the food, the people and it just wasn't funny - with the exception of his comment about FLAN you'd have to read the book unfortunately.
Jan 24, Anne rated it really liked it. I can't tell you how many times I laughed out loud while reading this! The author's British self-deprecating wit and clever language were just my cup of tea.
Beyond his fine writing though, Moore is a keen observer of people and his surroundings and I appreciated the fascinating historical tidbits he included about the Camino which has been one of the world's great pilgrimages since the Middle Ages. My only reservation about the book was his conceit to travel with a donkey when he knew so very l I can't tell you how many times I laughed out loud while reading this! My only reservation about the book was his conceit to travel with a donkey when he knew so very little about the care of them.
His frustration with his donkey ultimately resolved and it could be that he embellished his description of their relationship for humor, but there were many times while reading this when I felt that poor animal deserved better. Aug 19, John rated it liked it. I've decided Tim knows just when to keep from going over-the-top. That doesn't mean he doesn't actually do it every so often, but he's talented enough to get away with it when he does. Unlike his previous escapades, he is forced to socialize a great deal more on this trip.
And -- with a companion! He and Shinto are perfect together; the dread of separation is palpable in the final pages. Readers of previous books yours truly included have commented that his references have been highly Brit-s I've decided Tim knows just when to keep from going over-the-top.
Readers of previous books yours truly included have commented that his references have been highly Brit-specific; Our Author seems to have taken heed as this time they are far more balanced. Sep 26, K. I read this just before leaving for my own pilgrimage through Portugal and Spain, and I laughed till I cried. It's not great literature, but it offers great laughs and looks with a slant eye at the whole subject of pilgrimage. Quirky one minute, cranky the next, Moore manages to gouge out the extraordinary from the everyday. The people he encounters become players in his crazy theatre of life, while he spares no ridicule for himself as he does battle against the elements, the landscape and his stubborn travelling companion.
A donkey carried Christ into Jerusalem, so what more appropriate beast of burden to carry the author's beastly burden on his own Via Dolorosa? Shinto is indeed the star of the show, with more character in one of his animated ears than many of the two-legged pilgrims trudging along the camino. Yet, as they make steady progress across the back of northern Spain, there is a bonding. There are some genuinely sticky moments. During one especially arduous stretch when Shinto sinks to the ground, Moore is seriously concerned about his wonkey donkey.
His remedy for setting Shinto back on his hooves is as surprising for the donkey as it is entertaining for the reader. Moore has to face all of the challenges of any other pilgrim, but his difficulties in locating food and accommodation are compounded by the need to find somewhere to park his donkey. Some of the locals are helpful, some refuse them both point blank, while others provide the unlikeliest assistance.
A drunken fireman, for instance, offers Shinto sanctuary in a deserted bullring.