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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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (January 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312320833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312320836
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #484,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Review

"If you enjoyed 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
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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I laughed out loud through out the entire book.
Mark Twain2
He describes the loneliness and moments of self doubt tempered by tenderness and beauty, with fears and anguish mixed with fun and compaionship.
jane montgomery
I read a number of books about the Camino de Santiago before I did it in July-August of 2007.
Erik Olson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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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7 of 7 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 S. Kayton on February 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the author and a donkey travel 750 km on pilgrimage. Similar to Travels On My Elephant by Mark Shand, but much funnier.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. H. Mitchell on October 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
If you've ever thought of making the pilgrimage to Santiago, or simply enjoy hilarious travel writing, (Bryson, O'Hanlon) get this book. The title just about sums it up, both in attitude and description. While giving you a great idea of what the walk to Santiago is really like, Moore manages to deliver a laugh outloud on virtually every page. I did the pilgrimage the same year that Mr. Moore did (though six months later). I wish I had had the opportunity to meet him on the road. A delight.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Traver Adolphus on November 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It's possible this is Tim Moore's funniest book to date--I know, I know, that's hard to believe after "The Grand Tour," but it's true. He exhibits an almost Redmond-O'Hanlon-like bumbling ineptitude, but tempers it with a devastating wit, warm humanity and terrific insight and historical context. It's hard to imagine someone not enjoying this book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Caleb Hanson on April 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
The author walks the Camino de Santiago, the medieval pilgrim route from St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France across northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela, with a donkey named Shinto. More than a little reminiscent of Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods," but the humor is snarkier. (Example: "If I reveal that this voyage [the body of St. James taken by sea to Galicia] was made in an unmanned vessel hewn from solid marble, you will begin to understand that we are now on a voyage of our own: a journey beyond the shores of Factland, now gingerly skirting the Cape of Myth, now steaming gaily through the Straits of Arrant Cobblers.") Moore is a humorist and a travel writer not a religious man, and this is definitely not the story of any spiritual experience; the most one can say is that he becomes less of a dick over the course of his seven-week, 750K walk.

More interesting to me than the narrator were his fellow pilgrims: trekkers with about the same walking pace tend to keep meeting up, not necessarily in lockstep day after day, but over and over the course of the camino. These people become familiar friends--Evelyn, Petronella, Donald the bar enthusiast, the Australian known as Total Shithouse--whereas those walking notably faster or slower become a host of one-time encounters. Indeed, it occurs to me from the friends he makes, and what we see of his wife and kids and his brother, that Moore is probably a nicer guy in person than he comes across in his writing.

The book completely fails to inspire me to try the camino myself (and if I did, I would never do it with a donkey), but it is a good way to read about other people doing it. And I can easily believe that someone who has done the walk themselves will enjoy the book much more than I did.
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