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  • Walking the Camino

  • A Modern Pilgrimage to Santiago
  • By: Tony Kevin
  • Narrated by: James Millar
  • Length: 10 hrs and 4 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (96 ratings)

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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

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Not much talking about walking!

About 80% is about Spanish history, regions, politics, how Chritianiy was mean to the Moors, (nothing about how Moors were mean to everyone). The narration is a droning monotone and doesn't help the story. Sorry but I cannot recomend this one.

3 people found this helpful

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Wonderful run through of what to expect

a great book worthy of a read. I would recommend you take the time to consider.

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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An intelligent and interesting listen, but frustrating.

I mostly enjoyed this. I know Andalusia very well and Mérida is a city I have stayed in a few times, but have no strong connection to the church and its traditions. Retelling the author’s emotional experience was both uplifting and fascinating as he discovered places I know well. However, I found the poor pronunciation of Spanish place names annoying (more than I should have) and it clouded my my enjoyment.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent!

Loved it! Particularly the final chapter…very moving and only makes me more excited about my own pilgrimage in the spring, God willing.

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What a walk!

This had exactly what I'd hoped for - an insight into the route, the history, the politics, the religious background of the country as well as the personal experience and motivations of the walker and tips for anyone else wanting to walk the Camino, For anyone not interested in too much religion / politics, there are 'signposts' for the sections to skip, which seemed very considerate of the author.
My big grumble is the narrator. Honestly, This book deserves better. It needs a narrator who has a smattering of Spanish and is at least as well educated and knowledgeable as the author himself. Given the subject matter, the author had included the occasional prayer and poem in Spanish and sometimes in Latin. In addition, it was predictably full of Spanish place names, people's names, foods- all mangled by the narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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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 person found this helpful

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To many tangents

would've liked more of the journey than the historical and political elements. I love the Camino and have walked the camino frances twice.

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Rekindles the memories of the Camino

If you've walked any of the Caminos to Santiago de Compostela then you'll enjoy this book. It loosely follows the author's chronological journey from Granada. He explores the regions through which he passes, and culture and history of Spain. These are well researched and are very reminiscent of the meandering thoughts one has whilst on Camino. He is somewhat naively optimistic and tends to view Spain through rose-tinted glasses - a problem I found on Camino. He tends to idealise Spanish rural life and glosses over the reasons for depopulation in these areas. However, this should not put you off listening to this book as the idealism is rather pleasant and rekindles ones desire to be back on Camino. Tony also does not shy from his religiosity. It is nice to hear views from a Catholic routed in the 21st century. The narration was generally very good although the pronunciation of some Spanish words was a little clumsy. However, my Spanish is far from perfect and so this is a minor point. An enjoyable read (sorry listen) and one that brought greater insight into my own Caminos.

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Enjoyable But..

This is not just a travelogue, but a tale of introspection and history as well. The author gives great insights into his life and also, the ancient and recent history of Spain, although the era around its revival of the 16th and 17th centuries is barely touched upon.
What lets it down is the narration. The reader is ignorant of Spanish names and pronunciation and really grates. My Gallego wife was listening to part of it and was wincing! If it is in the Plus catalogue, then give it a listen, but don't buy.

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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.

9 people found this helpful

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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

5 people found this helpful

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  • jim
  • 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

5 people found this helpful

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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 people found this helpful

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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 people found this helpful

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  • Caroline D. Hayes
  • 19-02-15

Bad choice!

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.

3 people found this helpful

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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 people found this helpful

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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!😱

2 people found this helpful

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  • 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 people found this helpful

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  • 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!

1 person found this helpful