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The Hairy Hikers: A Coast-to-Coast Trek Along the French Pyrenees Paperback – 2 Apr 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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  • The Hairy Hikers: A Coast-to-Coast Trek Along the French Pyrenees
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Summersdale (2 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849532370
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849532372
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 336,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'I wish I had read David Le Vay's book before walking the GR10… It starts out in that [humorous] vein, but as the increasingly hairy hikers progress across the mountains, the writing becomes more introspective and, for me at least, more interesting. The real subject of the book is not the GR10, nor the Pyrenees, but the process of walking and the way it affects those who undertake it for long periods. It is also about walking with someone else for 7 weeks, which means living with them in difficult conditions: a delicate exercise.'

(Pyreneanway.com/blog)

'This is a laugh out loud romp… their journey is highly entertaining… and enjoy the madcap adventures that eight weeks on the road with two blokes can bring!!'

(Julie Knowles Waterstones' Bookseller)

'David and his friend Rob decide to walk the famous GR10 hiking trail… The pair are fuelled by a degree of mid-life crisis and the need to escape from routine, so the two-month, 530-mile walk along the Grande Randonnée gives them a chance to have fun together, argue about snoring, discover lots of out-of-the-way places, meet characters from around the world, and grow beards. The book is a witty account of their adventures as they trek along the Pyrenees.'

(Destination France)

'This is the kind of adventure that many of us can identify with even if we wouldn't aspire to it… there is a human quality of damp undergarments and exhaustion, mingled with occasional hard-won triumphs and lots of cheap red wine, that makes this a very readable account of two men's attempt to re-live their youth and taste the freedom of the mountains and the open road… a test of their mettle, but this is a feel-good story with a gentle middle-aged happy ending.'

(The Good Book Guide)

'… a compelling and funny read… '

(French Property News)

'an entertaining account that covers every aspect of a mid-life crisis'

(French Entrée)

About the Author

David Le Vay is a child therapist.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well it wasnt the best planned trip and to be honest that added to the adventure somehow. I really enjoyed the way the story went.. the fact that their feet hurt.. they argued like an old married couple and got wet.. very wet.. but the book had its lighter moments and I was really pleased they both managed to finsh the walk. I enjoyed meeting the characters along the way and the places they stopped in.. some nice some not so good.
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Format: Paperback
I got this book for Xmas from my daughter. I have read various books on walking escapades but found this book not funny at all. Thankfully I will not be finishing it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Books like this let me indulge in my little fantasies until I am able to act them out myself. I adore them for that reason; I've read accounts of walking and cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats and canal boating all over the country. I've read books about travelling from one coast of the USA to the other without spending a penny and camping around Germany. But I have to say this one is the best of the lot.

As other reviewers have said, the further into the book the more introspective David gets and it's fascinating to see what spending 7 ½ weeks with one other person does to your ways of thinking and coping mechanisms.

If you only read one book about GR routes, or even about walking or travelling then let it be this one. You will not be disappointed. David manages to slip in humour amongst the obvious hardships they face. He makes you want to be there walking beside them. He makes you (or me at least) Google GR routes to find out which one I want to traverse.

I wholly recommend this book, it's engaging and insightful and definitely takes you on an 850km journey!

My one criticism is that there are no photographs of the sights Dave and Rob saw on their journey, but all in all this really doesn't matter!

*****
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Format: Paperback
The Hairy Hikers is a very funny book with some wonderful moments that had me laughing out loud. David Levay and his friend clearly have no idea what they are doing as they stumble across the Pyrennes. Full of many witty observations and reflections on life - I could not recommend this book more highly.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At last I'm going to forget "La plume de ma tante" and will from now on replace this in my memory bank with "Le sanglier est dans la bouilloire", courtesy of learning French the David Le Vay way. This is an excellent account of David and his friend Rob's journey across the Pyrenees via the GR10, the characters they meet and places they stay along the way. Wry humorous observations, mixed with the occasional more meaningful reflection, provide a very entertaining account of their hike across southern France. A highly enjoyable read that brings their 8 week experience to life, farts and all.
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By Bantam Dave TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback
When David Le Vay seemed to be entering a midlife crisis he did not buy a sports car or embark on an affair with another woman, instead he decided that he would walk the GR10, an infamous hiking route across the French Pyrenees. He advised his wife and daughter that he would be away for about two months as he would have to walk 850kms, this being despite the fact that his longest previous longest walk was only 24km and that was when he was 12 years old. His walking partner and best friend, Rob, had a little more experience of long-distance walking but he had never attempted anything on the scale of this undertaking.

The resulting book that Le Vay has written is perhaps more about their friendship than the hike itself. Sure, the hike forms a large part of the story but the most engaging parts are when we read about the seemingly mundane things that happened during their journey, things like Dave's worries about his bowel movements, his pancake feet and the pains in his chest, Rob's aching toes, his chronic snoring and his love of the songs of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and their mutual love of hot chocolate and a beer or two after a long day on the road.

I suspect that anybody reading this book to learn about the GR10 could be slightly disappointed because the information given about the route is a little limited - Dave and Rob even skip stages in favour of hitching a lift - but there is enough in it to help anybody decide whether they would want to follow on Dave and Robs footsteps. Previously I have never heard of the GR10 so I just read the book to be entertained and it certainly did that.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
David and his mate Rob decide to set out on the GR10 hiking trail to walk off their mid-life crisis by crossing the Pyrenees from Atlantic coast to Mediterranean coast.

It would be easy to lose interest in a book where every day the narrative was - got up, had breakfast, booted up, walked mountains, arrived at overnight gite, ate dinner, etc. but there is always a little something of interest or an amusing tale to keep this book a lively read. One of my favourite funnies was set in the dingy broom cupboard of the Internet café trying to find the @ sign on a French keyboard. Much of the humour comes from him being a self-confessed Mr Grumpy, an insomniac and a social numpty, who spent two months, day and night, in close proximity to his mate, often staying in shared gite accommodation with strangers. I would have found it very difficult and he did struggle at times, but it made a very funny read, especially his description of the orchestra of sleeping sounds from his travelling companion.

As you would expect from two blokes alone in the mountains, proudly growing their beards and turning a little feral, talk often turned to farts and with a spot of wild camping, pooing in the woods got a mention too. While some may find this distasteful it amused me no end. It was one of those books I read with a grin.

The writing gave me the impression they were a likable duo who had fun on their adventure, despite the pains and issues they faced, and came out the other side of their mountains appreciating not only what they had achieved, but also the things that are important in life.
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