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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading my way along the Inca trail to Machu Picchu
As I was reading this book, my partner commented that I appeared to enjoying a page turner. The excitement of reading my way along the Inca trail to Machu Picchu was a real pull. However, by the time you reach this Inca citadel it has been contextualised as merely one piece of the vast Inca jigsaw, one of many fascinating settlements along the Camino Real. You have gained...
Published on 20 Dec. 2011 by Sam Brown

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but too easily put down
Title sort of says it all. I'm not going to be the most eloquent about this book as I can't put my finger on it, it just doesn't flow for me. It's not one thing or the other, a diary from travels or history book. It doesn't profess to be anything but a bit of both of those but the two just didn't quite gel for me.
Published on 15 Feb. 2013 by Roo


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading my way along the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, 20 Dec. 2011
As I was reading this book, my partner commented that I appeared to enjoying a page turner. The excitement of reading my way along the Inca trail to Machu Picchu was a real pull. However, by the time you reach this Inca citadel it has been contextualised as merely one piece of the vast Inca jigsaw, one of many fascinating settlements along the Camino Real. You have gained a real sense of the scale of the Inca empire and John Harrison has decentralised your view of the Inca civilisation.

This book is a must read if you have visited the Andes or plan to make a visit to this part of the world. John Harrison's pilgrimage does track parts of the camino real that others writers have not braved, and he roughs it and suffers for these unique experiences. It is honest of him to also describe staying in hostals and busing sections of the trail. Harrison is not slavish in his pilgrimage or in his account of his journey - he picks out the best parts. I agree with other reviewers that this is a serious book, yet the sections where you meet Dapple the donkey are comic. Harrison's voice can also be wry and self-depreciating.

The writing is flowing and stylish. The beauty and cruelty of landscape is evoked along with the affect such a stark landscape has on its inhabitants - locals, travelling Welsh men and donkeys alike. Historical details about the Inca sites are also woven into the narrative with great success. There is just the right amount of well-researched detail to ensure that I never felt tempted to skim read forward.

My only criticism is of the photographs. I would have liked them to have either been more personal or more dramatic landscape shots. The main map is also spread over two pages, which prevents you from being able to see a lot of the details which are lost to the spine of the book.
A very well-deserved winner of Wales Book of the Year 2011.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Along the Camino Real, 2 Aug. 2010
Must read for all serious travelers to Peru. John travels the length of the great Inca Highway , the Camino Real, from Quito to Cusco. Much of it he is alone, on foot. He describes the bleak wonderful landscape, the people he meets and his trials and tribulations with humour and an artist's eye. He also brings alive the great empire that the Incas ruled. His research is vivid and acute. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it highly.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wales Book of the Year 2011, 11 Sept. 2011
By 
B. Jackson (Spalding, Lincolnshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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If you can't afford to go to the Andean Nation then what better way to experience it than to read John Harrison's book. He brings alive the culture of the region with personal encounters with the locals, landscape and most of all its history. At times you feel you are living some of the great historical events with his vivid accounts. It is however not all serious stuff and there is penty of amusement as he struggles with the ever changing terrain and its inhabitants, both man and beast - who will ever forget Dapple? A great read and most of all it enables the reader to experience this incredible journey from the comfort of you own bed, if like me you need to unwind at the end of the day.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Challenging physical mental and personal journey, 19 July 2010
By 
E. J. Manson-bahr "Malinalli" (Oxford England) - See all my reviews
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I really enjoyed reading this account of a challenging physical, mental and personal journey through the Andes. Although other travelers have described journeys along the Inca royal road, John Harrison reaches the bits others never got to. He climbs Inca staircases clinging to precipices and wanders through ruins which predate the Incas by several thousand years. In an era of silly travelogues - carrying fridges and being rude about the natives - John's book is refreshingly serious. He shows us the true Andes, bleak and poor whose people still struggle to make a living. This is not a journey for sissies. Although I found the book just a little too informative at the beginning, I was soon swept along by John's lyrical descriptions of the landscape and wild life. He misses nothing.

Unfortunately John doesn't come home to a hero's welcome . He returns to a failed relationship and finds himself as alone as he was on the Royal Road.

If you are interested in Peru, or plan to visit, do read this book. I recommend it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An epic jouney, 6 Oct. 2012
By 
Mr. D. K. Smith (South Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
For five months, author and explorer John Harrison, journeyed down the great road of the Incas, the Camino Real or Royal Road. Built over five hundred years ago, it stretches from the Equator to the magical city of Machu Picchu.

As Harrison travels the 15,000 miles, the majority of it lived at over 10,000 feet and half on foot, he encounters remote villages where life continues as if Columbus never sailed. He also crosses some of the most difficult and dangerous mountains in the Americas, diving into sweltering canyons and soaring up into the snows, before finally reaching his destination.

This is a wonderfully evocative account. Harrison has a keen eye which captures all of the natural beauty of the landscape and wildlife as well as highlighting the difficulties some of the locals face trying to make a living in such an unforgiving environment. A fascinating read, which sweeps you along until the final page.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Travel Book, 29 April 2013
A great travel book that manages to inspire and enthral at the same time.

Harrison follows the great Inca trail along the roof of the Andes, mostly on foot with the occasional bus. Along the way he meets and engages with the local people and reveals the history of the area from 500 b.c. to within living memory.

The walk is all at altitude, in excess of 10,00 feet most of the way, and the first days are tough, and relentless. He settles in to a steady rhythm on his journey, and you feel for the struggle of finding drinkable water and the perils of camping in the mountains. Part of the journey he is joined by his partner, and even buys a donkey to assist with carrying the baggage over a particularly long section. The people he meets are mostly warm and generous, though there are the smattering of aggressive drunks, and he suffers the loss of his clothes by either theft or accident, you are never sure.

Really enjoyed it. His writing style and the way he deals with the people he meets reminds me of Colin Thubron, another fine travel writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed!!! No complaints., 4 April 2013
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This review is from: Cloud Road: A Journey through the Inca Heartland (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoy travel writing books that you can learn a little from. I bought the book knowing very little about south America and its history and felt like you where shown into a different culture and the writer's love and opinion of that country and its history .
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read, 26 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Cloud Road: A Journey through the Inca Heartland (Kindle Edition)
I chose this having read his other book on Patagonia. This is as good if not better. An important book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A staggering story, 8 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Cloud Road: A Journey through the Inca Heartland (Kindle Edition)
The style of writing in this book, combining historical, geographical and scientific facts with an adventure so entertaining and readable is an accomplishment few achieve! Descriptions are in places so poetic and evoke the atmospherics of the Andes so well that one feels as if one is there. This is helped by reading the story on a Kindle Fire because the reader is able to pause and bring up photographs, other relevant accounts and data as the adventure progresses.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A true adventure., 22 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Cloud Road: A Journey through the Inca Heartland (Kindle Edition)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and congratulation go to the author for having completed his difficult journey and writing about it in
such a truthful and interesting manner
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