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Camino de Santiago Practical Preparation and Background by Gerald Kelly
on 3 September 2012
This little book describes itself as companion to guides, not a replacement. Its goal to provide the other information you need to walk the Camino such as kit, the history, culture and Spanish keywords. In my preparation I am reading as much as I can find but I regret having found this book. It would be easily forgotten if it wasn't for some curious foibles within. It has left me wondering if there might be a secret code along the Camino (G). You see! That was one right there! Throughout the book for no particular reason a capital G appears within brackets. Not at the end of the sentence or any particular word or phrase, as far as I can (G) see these popup for no reason (G) at no particular point and I cannot figure out what they're for. Cover to cover there is no explanation.
Each one of the chapters is better than the next. I found little to add to the Camino story. I had hoped for an experienced Camino walker to provide detailed information on the kit required with a good explanation of why you might want to take something or not. While he does go into it I don't think its adequate, not for a book with "Practical Preparation and Background" in the title. So far I have not found the right book on this subject, the closest by Cheri Powell called "Seven Tips to Make the Most of the Camino de Santiago" is worth a look, especially if you want a husband and wife perspective of walking the Camino.
With the grace of a wooden push-and-go-duck this book, which is not much more than a pamphlet, meanders from subject to subject in a flat toneless style. The author could easily have used the intro section from a Camino guide such as John Brierly's as a template for his own commentary adding his own experience into a very selective pot of information.