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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Walking the Walk
Like many travel books and books about anything to do with places and the people who inhabit or frequent these places, there is an added benefit to having experienced it yourself.To get this book, you don't have to have walked the Camino but it most certainly adds flavour if you have. Or more specifically there is an added glee when you witness Moore's beautiful slapstick...
Published on 6 Aug. 2006 by Amazon Customer

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not to be taken too seriously.....
Tim Moore set off from Valcarlos to Santiago accompanied by a donkey called Shinto. A very lighthearted look at the Pilgrims' Way of Saint James - his battles with Shinto, the strange places he has to sleep in, the assorted villages and towns he trundles through and the wonderful mix of people he meets along the way. He treats the pilgrims he meets with warmth and...
Published on 21 Nov. 2007 by Wynne Kelly


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Damn you Tim! Once again bedtime has a sad emptiness as I have finished your book and there are no more Shinto adventures., 20 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Spanish Steps: Travels With My Donkey (Paperback)
After hugely enjoying Tim's French Revolutions I was hoping for more of the same from Spanish Steps and I was not disappointed.
I have read the 2 star reviews of this book and I feel they are very unfair, unkind and not justified. Perhaps those reviewers just didn't like Tim's style but I am sure these people are in a minority. The book is widely described by the covers, pictures and reviews as a light-hearted comedic travel adventure.
Many people do this pilgrimage for non-religious reasons but one can still admire those who complete it, particularly as they have generally left nothing behind but footprints.
The book is funny, interesting, educational, heart-warming and very amusing. I was very sad when I turned the final page and my journey with Tim and Shinto was over. I genuinely warmed to these two main players and even to the rest of the cast even though little was known of them.
It is an easy cliche to compare Tim with Bill Bryson, Clive James et al., but having read a lot of Bryson, Fry, James, Adams etc. I can concur that Moore is well up there in this genre with a speciality of an amateur trying something outside of his comfort zone and having a sense of humour. I read several of Paddy Fermor's astounding books and found them tremendously hard going as I am nowhere near Paddy's stratospheric intellect and so I find Tim Moore a much more enjoyable lighter read. I love Chris Stewart's books and have read all of them and can say that if you enjoyed the Lemons etc then I am sure you will enjoy Tim's books. As with French Revolutions Tim does take the time to write his thoughts and impressions very eloquently and, being a seemingly likeable person, he makes friends easily and his stories are well coloured by the characters he meets along the way. All right so this is not the Canterbury Tales, the main features of the Camino are the endless rough terain, the varied, colourful and frequently eccentric pilgrims and the very basic facilities at the overnight refugios. Tim gives a lovely flavour of all of this and describes his daily struggle with the Camino with his adorable but obstinate donkey Shinto. Tim's sense of humour and down-to-earth but upbeat positive attitude makes the book a joy to read and never boring, pompous or self-promoting. This is not a pilgimage but an adventure into the unknown to examine the heart of the Camino from an interested observer's viewpoint. Tim doesn't have an epiphany and re-birth or re-discovery but he does express his feelings without getting too deep or profound (unlike Ms S. MacLaine apparently). I find his writing style and prose very attractive as he makes a great effort to describe the scenes in colourful detail and is obviously an intelligent and talented writer as his jocular light-hearted approach to life belies his extensive vocabulary and fine writing (unlike my own). Some reviewers criticised his references to donkey poo, well really, walking over 500miles of the Camino through villages and towns with a donkey in tow there was always going to be mention of poo, and some cursing when plagued with uncrossable bridges and stentorian snorers.
I watched the film 'The Way' with Martin Sheen and enjoyed it very much and this book gave me the same pleasure but for longer and with much more detail, flavour and laughter. As an animal lover, a horseman, a keen walker, an aspiring adventurer and a cyclist I realy enjoyed this book and can highly recommend it - to most people!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spanish Steps: Travels with My Donkey, 28 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Spanish Steps: Travels With My Donkey (Paperback)
Having just walked 320 miles of the Camino Frances, and hoping to complete the last 160 miles next year, I read Tim Moore's book with especial interest. The book lived up to all my expectations. The story-line was personal and strong and the humour was of the highest order. I did not travel with a donkey but was reliving much of the very special enjoyment of living and walking in close proximity with fellow pelegrinos from all parts of the world, and staying in lovely and varied albergues, convents and monasteries.
"Snoring in harmony", "Trying to sleep whilst the 5.00am enthusiasts try to slope off whilst waking everyone else with the beams from their head-torches", "endearing one-to-one conversations about LIFE" and enjoying picking the Rioja grapes just prior to harvest" memories came flooding back. The people we met came instantly back to me through those in the book - such as singing Carl and his wife from the Edmonton Swiss male Voice Choir, the lady civil servants from Ireland staying upmarket in hostales, Matt from Cardiff,Guy and Josie from Montreal,Carine from Belgium who walked from home, Brunhilde from the Munich RC Radio station, Phil from Wexford, our Irish leprechaun on his third Camino, and so many more.
If anything I switched off during the first 40 pages while Tim was securing his wonderfully idiosyncratic donkey, but then could not put the book down.
I challenge anyone to read this and not stop laughing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spanish Steps:travels With My Donkey, 12 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: Spanish Steps: Travels With My Donkey (Paperback)
The donkey is the star!
It could have been any long-distance walk, but the inherent attraction of the Camino adds an extra element...
Fashion or fad? It matters not. I am sure those who have walked the way will identify more closely, those who have not may well wish to do so after reading this, but those who have no intention of doing so will still be charmed by this well crafted tale. Read and enjoy the rollicking ride, sympathise with the difficulties of stabling a donkey every night while finding suitable lodgings to rest for the journey ahead, and simply live the dream...it's worth it, it's an adventure, and it's fun!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Quite readable, often laugh-out-loud funny, slightly rude, 28 Jun. 2010
This review is from: Spanish Steps: Travels With My Donkey (Paperback)
As other reviews suggest Tim Moore owes a lot to father of the scatalogically comic travelogue Bill Bryson. He also treads worryingly close at the heels of crowbar-in-a-comedy-gimmick fellow traveller Tony Hawks. Fortunately Hawks's publisher seems to have run out of incongruous objects he can drag to cool-challenged parts of Europe, and Bryson seems to have put away childish things to chase the foccacia and feta crowd with pompous know-it-all almanacs, leaving Moore at the head of the field.

This isn't his best book - for my money, that's French Revolutions - and I found the opening chapters a mild chore. The only advice I can give is to persevere. The balance between info-dump and narrative quickly settles down and there's rarely a chapter without something splutteringly funny

The basic comedy idea is that a clever, worldly, modern Englishman has an experience more readily associated with less clever and worldly people, walking a milennium-old pilgrim route. Comedy travelogue regulars will already have encountered a dry run in one of Pete McCarthy's books. For full comic effect Tim Moore throws in a Hawks-ish gimmick - his rucksack is being carried by a donkey (or "donk", or for the benefit of patronised Germans everywhere "monkey").

Newcomers beware that Tim Moore is a three-earring middle class groovy media dad. His personal mythology comes off the rack, hinting he didn't pay attention at school and using his own vague youthful indiscretions to excuse some misbehaviour-lite by his own kids. His humour is often smugly ironic, so his comedy viewpoint can be slightly detached. He's inclined to the soft-target, so there are recurring motifs about Shirley Maclaine and Germans who ask about his "monkey". He's also schoolboy rude, as in the German who asks "have you tried the rear approach with your monkey?"

The thing is, I laughed, a lot.

There are a few real bullseye strikes, as with the early section about a donkey familiarisation seminar. He slyly and subtly points out that the £13-million-a-year Donkey Sanctuary charity owns three-quarters of UK "donks" and clearly exists less to rescue and protect the animals so much as support the more-middle-class-than-he Phillidas and Joccastas it employs. He then tackles a living donkey for the first time, with inevitable belly-laugh results.

There's real travelogue and occasionally clumsily dumped historical information, mainly or ostensibly gained from guidebooks along the way. As with French Revolutions (although to a lesser extent) there seems to be a genuine personal connection with the experience and some of the non-German pilgrims he meets along the way. American weirdo Baroness Munchaussen isn't treated too kindly, but still one of my personal favourites ("So ... how did you disarm the, um, hi-jacker...?")
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of my favourites, 12 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Spanish Steps: Travels With My Donkey (Paperback)
I bought this book when i was going to move to Spain. I eventually moved to that region in Spain and am familiar with some of his observations and experiences. This book is just really funny and well-written. Even if you've never been to the places it paints a very vivid picture of the people doing this pilgrimage and the history of the whole thing. I've actually read this book many times over the years and every time it makes me laugh out loud. Definitely worth the money!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Donkey Power, 28 July 2014
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This review is from: Spanish Steps (Kindle Edition)
Brilliant! Funny, heartwarming, inspirational. The author certainly suffers for his art! I constantly wondered whether he would have packed the whole thing in had he not had a novel to write and a family to feed from the proceeds. Tim Moore has my complete admiration for his staying power and his approach to human endeavour. A great read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars perseverance pays off, 17 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Spanish Steps: Travels With My Donkey (Paperback)
I was given this book because of an interest in long-distance walking and a vague interest in 'doing' the camino. I was really put off by the style at first, not sharing the same sense of humour as Tim Moore and fed up with travel books over-written to disguise a lack of substance. But there was enough about the route, traditions and practices of modern pilgrims to make me keep going and as the book went on I enjoyed it more and more. It would be hard to resist a character as compelling as that of Shinto the donkey, who emerges as the true star of the whole show, and from that statement it is essential to admit that the author himself has made it so. So I did find entertainment and learnt a lot about walking the Compostela trail, but only with a severe determination to see past the style. That's a matter of taste, and if I - hating it - can still get a lot from the book, that's pretty good recommendation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for pilgrims (and anyone else), 22 May 2014
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This review is from: Spanish Steps (Kindle Edition)
Being in the process of walking the camino in stages I can totally identify with the rollercoaster that is this journey. This book made me laugh, made me cry and taught me a lot about the history that I didn't know. Brilliantly written about a fantastic challenge.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Missing Shinto...., 18 Mar. 2014
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Mornamont (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spanish Steps (Kindle Edition)
One man and his donkey staggering towards Santiago de Compostella enmeshed in a battle of wills. The donkey wins the battle and our hearts. A funny and tender story that left me just a little bereft at the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure donkey joy, 19 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Spanish Steps: Travels With My Donkey (Paperback)
I'm not religious, I love donkeys and I dislike heavy weights. So I really enjoyed this! I liked the book's cheekiness, the disapproval from the other po-faced pilgrims, and the fact that Tim Moore and Shinto compete against each other for Awkward Sod status. Excellent.
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Spanish Steps: Travels With My Donkey
Spanish Steps: Travels With My Donkey by Tim Moore (Paperback - 2 Jun. 2005)
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