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Summary

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

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • pm
  • Nottingham, United Kingdom
  • 27-04-18

A helpful book

I have known about the Camino for some years and it is a pilgrimage I hope to take one day. This is what attracted me to the book. Overall, I found the book both helpful and inspirational in the sense that it has strengthened my resolve to undertake this pilgrimage. The only reason I have given it 4 stars rather than 5 is that it occasionally descended into a preachiness about matters peripheral to the Camino that seemed out of place in this book.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A little opinionated

Is there anything you would change about this book?

see below

Would you be willing to try another book from Tony Kevin? Why or why not?

No. his other title does not interest me

What three words best describe James Millar’s voice?

Australian Male Clear

Do you think Walking the Camino needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No. Whats done is done

Any additional comments?

I downloaded this title to listen to while my Brother walked the Camino. The author takes the opportunity to give political and historical background to the land he is walking through but then expands into opinion and agenda. He writes with authority that borders on arrogance and avoids the more common trait of this sort of book to leave the reader feeling he was on a journey with someone experiencing the walk for the first time. I have listen to several books describing long walks and enjoyed the adventure but found myself frustrated a little with this one for its tendency to polemic.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Alex
  • Dundee, United Kingdom
  • 09-02-16

Facinating

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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Ms
  • 18-03-16

Ok

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.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Douglas Worrell
  • 09-01-15

Bravo! Bravo!

Would you listen to Walking the Camino again? Why?

Yes I will listen to this book at least 3 times.

What did you like best about this story?

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!

What about James Millar’s performance did you like?

Clear voice, keeps it interesting, I think he captures the voice of the author very well.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

God and man in Spain.

Any additional comments?

I felt like was there with the author.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Coach Rupert
  • 09-04-15

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Suzie Humphreys
  • 30-11-16

Using the Camino as an excuse to show off his skills as a historian

Horrible! Started out great lyrical and I expected great depth. Got half way through and felt misled, scammed! The Camino is the story. Not the authors take on history!😱

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Tim Daniels
  • 22-11-16

Not really about the Camino

What disappointed you about Walking the Camino?

It is a good book if you are interested in the author's view on Global Warming, Geo-political issues, world history etc.Less about the camino then I liked.

What could Tony Kevin have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Should have been called something else.

Would you listen to another book narrated by James Millar?

Maybe

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

exasperation.

Any additional comments?

none

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • J. Sproul
  • 21-08-16

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • suellen j darblay
  • 09-03-16

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 14-02-15

About more than just the pilgrimage.

I very much enjoyed it, and am listening again. Ruminations on country, faith, humanity, purpose.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • J Davis
  • 12-11-15

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-06-18

Great Camino Story: lots of background!

This pilgrims tale was very informative on a route much less traveled. Mr Kevin give us not only an account of a modern pilgrims Joy's and travails on what is considered by many to be a challenging route, he informs the reader/ listener about many aspects of the Caminos history, and Spains history and culture. I'd read a number of books about the Camino and Spain prior to doing two Caminos and was surprised by the wealth of information contained in this one. I' m inspired to both read further and to put the Via de la Plata on my must walk list.
The performance of this book on the other hand left much to be desired. As I assume Mr Millar was paid for this performance I would expect a more professional approach to the material performed.
Many place names and Camino related terms can be challenging to an English speaker; but the narrator is not a casual tourist but a professional speaker. Many of the place names and terms came up repeatedly and I hope I'm not being too harsh when I say it was like nails on a chalkboard hearing an otherwise solid performance so compromised. A bit more prep would have gone a long way.

Overall Is still heartily recommended this book to anyone considering doing a Camino, or reflecting back on one!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jon Mielke
  • 17-02-18

Too Much Politics, Too Little Camino

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

It would have been a good book if the author stuck to facts about the history of Spain and the movement of the spirit while walking the Camino. Instead it digressed into political bashing.

Has Walking the Camino turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, just just this author.

Which character – as performed by James Millar – was your favorite?

NA

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Yes, The parts of the history of Spain and the Camino as well as the authors feelings of the Camino were very good