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Travels with My Donkey: One Man and His Ass on a Pilgrimage to Santiago Paperback – January 24, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A man, a donkey, and a very long walk: Moore's latest European adventure (after French Revolutions and others) finds him embarking on an ages-old physical and spiritual pilgrimage across Spain to the famed cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Moore entertains with his snappy one-liners and skewed views of the locals, his fellow pilgrims and his own reasons for undertaking the camino. Against advice to the contrary, he pursues his search for a donkey to accompany him, which "upgraded his camino from big walk to revelatory voyage of self-examination." Moore shines in detailing "Tim and Shinto's Excellent Adventure": during the day, he accumulates "clicks" (kilometers) and cajoles Shinto across bridges, grates and roads; afternoons and evenings are spent searching for donkey-friendly lodgings (and encountering a share of slammed doors). Fellow pilgrims (the "Baroness von Munchausen"; "New Mexico Joe") get full portraits between details of communal living and eating, and the sordid intimacies of the shared bathroom. His sections on the pilgrimage's history and the towns he passes, however, are dry in comparison to his anecdotal asides and may only appeal to history buffs or those who've traveled this route themselves. While Moore may not have found his "inner Tim," he does take readers on an entertaining, unusual adventure.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods, this feels like the natural sequel---a well-told comic misadventure with a history lesson woven in for good measure. This is about the most entertaining travel writing you're going to pick up this year. A rollicking ride through the Spanish countryside with quirky observations, more interesting company than Chaucer seemed to find, and an ass named Shinto who now has enough comic material to jump on the lecture circuit. Arriving in Santiago with Moore was even more enjoyable than the journey I made along the Camino myself. All the fun, none of the blisters.” ―Doug Lansky, author of Last Trout in Venice and First Time Around the World

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (January 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312320833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312320836
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #456,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Erik Olson VINE VOICE on September 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
I read a number of books about the Camino de Santiago before I did it in July-August of 2007. They were either practical guidebooks or deeply personal memoirs. I'd begun reading "Travels With My Donkey" about two weeks prior to departing for Spain, but I didn't get past the introduction - too busy with preparations. I figured I'd read enough anyway, and I wanted to save what looked like a good book for post-Camino reflection. I'm glad I waited until after my pilgrimage to read "TWMD," because it was an excellent and uniquely humorous account that brought me right back to the Camino.

Mr. Moore first became aware of the Camino when he met a pilgrim on "a small boat in Norway." As is common with those who've walked the Way, the idea settled in his mind and bloomed after a period of germination. Also like the typical pilgrim, he began doing research and making preparations for the trek. However, unlike most of us he decided to bring along a donkey. After some searching, he finally found one named Shinto and committed to his adventure. He and Shinto were trailered to Valcarlos, Spain, and commenced their trek to Santiago one step at a time.

During the next forty-one days, Mr. Moore and Shinto experienced numerous adventures on the Camino. Shinto became somewhat of a focal point - most of the time for good, but sometimes for ill. The author soon discovered the difficulties involved in herding a somewhat truculent donkey, including health issues, finding enough food for both of them, and securing donkey-friendly accommodation. Even so, he persevered and eventually formed a bond with Shinto based on shared hardship.

"TWMD" reminded me a lot of Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods," another humorous account of a trek along an old trail.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Holland on February 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Moore's sense of humor and his complaints get him to the Pas de Roman to visit the Spanish Santiago Cathedral over the Pyrenees from the Atlantic Coast of France. Along the way, we are all drawn into his contacts with other, serious and not so serious pilgrims; the landscapes; the hardships of caring for this donkey animal he starts the trip with not knowing or caring much about; the incredible overnight sleeping accommocations he encounters; the meals; the brandy; the elevations; rain and shale; bridges and cobble stones. Having driven alot of the trail myself without knowing much about what it was or what I was doing, I was tied into this wonderful and hilarious story every bit of the way, enjoying his cynicism and suspicion until he reached the pinnacle of Santiago for all his cold dismissal of the energy required to make this pilgrimage. I sensed he made quite a turn by the time he reached the end of the journey but then perhaps he'd started out more committed to personal spiritual reasons for the journey than I'd understood at the beginning. I LOVED the book, his hilarious ability to laugh at himself and his circumstances, his brilliant evaluations of others' situations, his cautious thoughtful spiritual tussles along the path and most of all the subtle way he slipped in so much of the history of that great period when the Crusaders were displacing the Saracens or the Muslims. The weight of the themes sneaks in on the reader as the book develops - there are so many twists and turns that this book would be a fantastic book club or academic assignment as it calls out for interaction among readers. Would it ever become a book tape? Would it ever become a play? I feel it should have wider dissemination. Great book!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. C. Hunter on January 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
Tim Moore has taken me on some extraordinary journeys in the past, from the Tour de France to the Monopoly board via the arctic deserts of Iceland, but I found this one easily the most enjoyable. If you don't fall in love with the infuriating but utterly endearing donkey he takes with him on this Spanish pilgrimage, I'll eat my cat...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Joe TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 12, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Shirley MacLaine's The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit, loosely billed as an account of her walk from St. Jean to Santiago ... is a book so mad it howls at the moon, a book that with any name on its cover but that of a Hollywood legend would have had orderlies with soft, placatory smiles knocking on the author's door ... Just as I'd envy any full-on Christians I'd meet for their appealing belief in an eternal paradise, so, in a less straightforward fashion, I envied Shirley: an understanding of one's destiny in life, enhanced etheric vibrations in the brain, the multidimensional presence of gnomes, fairies and trolls - what's not to like?" - from TRAVELS WITH MY DONKEY

"No man can ever have felt more proud of a donkey as I did watching Shinto crap atop the Cruz de Ferro. It was, indeed, his pilgrimage too." - from TRAVELS WITH MY DONKEY, as the author and Shinto stand atop the famous pilgrimage milestone

In 2004, for no particular reason related to piety, author Tim Moore decided to make the venerable east to west pilgrimage across the width of northern Spain starting at Valcarlos and ending at Santiago de Campostela at the enshrined (supposed) remains of the apostle Saint James. Not wishing to carry his stuff all 466 miles, Moore decides to pack it in with a donkey. Thus Shinto, an ultimately endearing 200 kilogram package of obstinacy, phobias, and more or less stoic forbearance.

The books biggest flaw is the lack of any photos - especially photos of "Shints" - even though the author makes multiple references to pictures taken.
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