Famous European Trails
The Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago is a well established and famous network of pilgrimage routes from many parts of Europe converging at the shrine of the apostle Saint James in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in north western Spain.
Life and Limb: A True Story of Tragedy and Survival by Jamie Andrew
This book won the prestigious Banff Mountain Book Festival Prize for Mountain Literature in 2004. It is a remarkable description of the physical and mental process of surviving and overcoming life changing injuries, along with the death of a friend and climbing partner. The events occur while their group are staying in Chamonix in winter and two of them decide to go climbing in the Alps. The author describes their efforts to survive near the summit of a mountain during a prolonged winter storm which hampers several attempts to rescue them. He describes in meticulous detail, the enormous journey from his rescue through the painstaking recovery process from his injuries. We experience how every small improvement becomes a major obstacle in the process of reclaiming his ability to live independently, one task at a time. A very moving account.
The Best Way: El Camino de Santiago by Bill Skywalker
Bill Skywalker has previously written good books about hiking the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, in which we follow his development from novice to accomplished hiker. In this account of El Camino he appears to have lost some of his passion for the process of hiking. The book gives a detailed account of the densely packed communal albergues where pilgrims sleep, in which the author battles with beds which are too short, bedbugs and loud snoring. In truth this book doesn’t paint a very positive picture of his overall experience of this trail, apart from his socialising along the way. It is padded with interesting historical information but this meant that it was difficult to keep track of the narrative of the hike with less description of the landscapes of El Camino than I would have liked.