- Hardcover: 238 pages
- Publisher: Pilgrim's Tales, Inc. (October 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0977053636
- ISBN-13: 978-0977053636
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,198,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Over the Top & Back Again: Hiking X the Alps Hardcover – October 1, 2010
"Wilson's casual writing style showcases his humor.... For outdoor enthusiasts, this book will awaken the travel bug within and inspire adventure. For others, it's a worthwhile armchair journey through beautiful country with friendly guides." ~ ForeWord Reviews
"Beware of muscle pain... in the belly, from laughing too much! ...Full of idealism and tenderness towards human nature. With maps, unusual photos (black and white) and hilarious cartoons to top it off, the book is devoured much quicker than it takes to do the hike!" ~ Nathalie Morelle, Association Via Alpina, France/UK
"Wilson is the king of 'tell it like it is' travel writing! ...You'll feel the chill from the sleet, steam from the shower and the aroma wafting from a well-earned meal as you trek along from chapter to chapter!" ~ Donna Coomer, Between the Lines Reviews
From the Publisher
This is the fourth book in Brandon Wilson's adventure travel series. Other titles include Yak Butter Blues (an IPPY Award winner), Dead Men Don't Leave Tips: Adventures X Africa, and Along the Templar Trail, the Lowell Thomas Award-winner for 2009 Best Travel Book.
If you enjoy true travel adventures, (unsanitized for your protection), join us for another escapade as Brandon and his wife set off on foot for a 1200 mile odyssey across the Alps.
Some might call it "Schadenfreude on steroids."
Over the Top & Back Again is the first Via Alpina thru-hike travel narrative published in English, with 53 photos, maps and custom illustrations by Ken Plumb. It provides a humorous first-hand preview for those who dream of making a similar journey themselves--on foot or maybe just in their mind.
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Just as he wakes up each morning to begin another day, he also takes you! You are not just reading. In [his] world, one you thought you might be able to imagine, he unfolds this enormous, several-countries, trek. He is always immediate, in the now. You are too! At once he so personal and then again through the magic of his writing you step completely INTO his journey. You too have been invited to challenge each and every step! [Its really something, after reading for several hours, to literally look up and find yourself in your own home!]
What I experienced (once again) was how his non-fiction becomes my realty with each page. I could 'feel' the blisters of the up and down, up and down and down and up. I become starved [with him] and oh-so-very-wet from the constant and unforgiving rain. I'm shivering in [his] cold weather, wondering if there is hot food, a warm fire anda I-don't-care-how-hard-it-is-bed .... just let there be one at day's end! Perhaps at the next dawning, you will screech at sun's delight! You hold your breath, wishing it oh oh so to be true! In some ways Brandon's book reads like a thriller!
I could 'see' the Alpine vistas with him. I heard myself laughing aloud when meeting all the different native people. I could smell not only the beauty of alpine air and the majesty of it all, but I could even smell myself from [his] effort! HA! What a delight! 'We' become additional companions, as his readers. What a gift!
Truth is, with each of his books, Brandon makes one remember to be sensitive to even the smallest of Life's treasures. We learn to trust our relationships even more through reading his. And he teaches us to salute the smallest of victories, forgive our mistakes and what it takes to forgive others and move on, no matter what.
After all, as he demonstrates once again through his fine writing style, we are only 'one step' away to our own humanity, as well as oh so close to others.
The book is extremely satisfying for armchair travelers - taking you over 1,000 miles of the high Alps, through eight European countries (and their culture, people and foods). The story includes enough suspense and bad luck to keep your interest or stir your empathy (e.g., "the agony of de feet"), but not so much that you can't visualize yourself right there with Brandon and his wife Cheryl.
The book is a must-read for anyone considering hiking the Via Alpina themselves. My husband and I have been talking about this trail ever since it was created. Reading "Over the Top & Back Again" was the tipping point - we ARE doing it, starting next summer (hiking a few weeks each summer until we've done it all). And we hope to benefit from some of the author's lessons learned.
Finally, I've used the book as an engaging geography lesson for our 9-year-old grandson. Combining the line drawings of the trail segments with an atlas for orientation, and the photos in the middle of the book to prompt questions, we had a wide-ranging discussion about Europe and the Alps and mountain ecology and rural cultures.
This book will be a repeat item on my gift-giving list for this December holiday season.