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on 24 May 2017
I bought this book because I was planning to walk the Camino to Santiago, well the last 118 kilometres to be exact. Well I have now done it and found it to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Disappointing therefore to find Tim Moore so disparaging about the Camino, the country and the people for so much of the dialogue. A dialogue I have to say that is often almost indecipherable and has to be re-read. Fair enough, he walked the whole 500 miles and through countryside and towns that I did not and therefore it is a little unfair for me to criticise too much but I do wish he had been a little more effusive. Personally, the limited amount of the Camino that I walked was stunning in the main and I would recommend this to anyone. This is not to say that I did not enjoy the book, there was much to smile about and laugh out loud at times, I just thought it a little too negative. The main character is of course not Tim but the donkey Shinto. Their relationship developed throughout the journey as you would expect but it was not until the last few pages that it became clear how Tim felt about Shinto. In fact the extra star is all down to Tim's emotional meltdown on realising how much he is going to miss Shinto and his concern as to what will become of him once they arrive in Santiago. I have been trying to find out how Shinto fared after parting from Tim and whether they were ever re-united. Still trying.
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on 5 April 2017
While I may not have outright laughed, there were times when I came close and let loose a rather strange snort/giggle combination. While the book may have convinced me that leading a donkey across northern Spain may not be the thing for me, Shinto was defiantly an interesting character in and off himself and brought life to the story with his antics. I loved how Tim Moore blended together the experience of leading an (at times) less than willing companion across Spain, the history of the road and what he learned and how he noticed certain parts of his personality change for the better (and at times worse, depending on how Shinto was behaving himself). The characters encountered-- from the Camino cheat, who did the whole thing via taxi and bus, to the drunk cyclist and the two ladies who walked with Tim on and off-- brought an added flavor to the book. As far as I am concerned, this book is worth the read and worth the money.
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on 18 July 2017
Great book, for giving me and my friends who want to walk 'el Camino', to get a nitty gritty account. I'll be getting a third coy for yet another friend. I like the spiritualmadventure accounts, from Paul Coelho and Sondra Ray, but this is a reall useful book to get a totally different view-point, which could put us off, but the humour and good spirit is great.
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on 7 September 2017
First book I read o the Camino de Santiago
a great book well written
laughing all the time
would recommend you read this book
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on 23 May 2017
Fantastic book don't hesitate buy it you won't be disappointed! 2nd time purchased. Fabulous!!
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on 28 April 2017
Great read as usual with Mr Moore's books
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on 22 September 2006
This is the Spain that I know, the northern regions, especially Galicia.

We have a bit of an in-joke in our family about FLAN and it's nice to see someone else with the same sense of humour.

Of the two protagonists, it's difficult to work out which of them is the more photogenic, but I think the four legged one wins on points.

Santiago de Compostela is actually quite a lot nicer than poor Tim's experience but his descriptions of the wretched outskirts of the very nice cities there is totally accurate.

I'm just off to buy all his other books now. I'm so pleased I read this as it's introduced me to a really funny writer.
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on 20 February 2015
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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on 2 February 2005
Having read (and thoroughly enjoyed) Moore's other books, with the exception of Do Not Pass Go, which I plan to get to at some point, I had high expectations for this one. For anyone who hasn't read anything by Moore, the usual drill is that he embarks upon some sort of journey or "quest" (cycling the Tour de France, doing the Grand Tour, that sort of thing), and writes a highly amusing, historically informative book about his travels.
The premise for this book follows much the same pattern -- Moore decides to walk across Spain on a pilgrimage to Santiago, as thousands of Christians have done before him. But he doesn't go alone. Put off by the thought of having to carry bags of clothes and supplies while trekking under a burning sun, he enlists the help of Shinto the donkey, who becomes his reluctant companion, local celebrity, the centrepiece of many a tourist holiday snap and the cause of many of the funnier moments in this book.
If I were to be honest I'd have to say that Spanish Steps probably doesn't have quite as much in the way of embarrassingly-loud-laughter-on-the-bus moments as his previous efforts do, but the funny bits when they do come (and they're still pretty frequent -- often, as I mentioned above, as the result of Shinto and his bridge-hating, Moore-taunting antics) are every bit as good as I've come to expect from the author who wrote the funniest book I've ever read (Frost on my Moustache). Some of his descriptions of refugio living conditions and his fellow pilgrims -- a highly eclectic group of whom we see a lot along the way -- are priceless.
For all Moore's comedic, often cynical, outlook, there are some deeply poignant moments in the book, and no shortage of historical information. The end even brought a wee tear to the eye.
Like all Moore's books, it's great fun to read and has both utterly hilarious and deeply moving moments (the former outweighing the latter by a fair bit, admittedly). I thoroughly enjoyed it and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to others.
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on 6 August 2006
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 unravelling as he makes his way across northern spain to his final destination of Santiago. His struggles are your struggles, the people he encounters you've encountered, and best of all he gives voice to the secret thoughts that played over and over in your mind as you wandered along the way. So if you've walked the Camino I urge you to read Spanish Steps, if you're thinking of walking the Camino I urge you to buy it and read it as soon as you return home, and if you have all ready read it I urge you to walk the Camino and read it again and finally if you have no intention of walking anywhere farther than the corner shop or the bus-stop I urge you to read it and laugh yourself silly. Above all Enjoy.
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