finished: pilgrimage to the end of the world

Pilgrimage to the End of the World: The Road to Santiago De Compostela by Conrad Rudolph [9780226731278]

This one is sorta cheating. I read the bulk of this about a year and a half ago but never quite got round to reading the remaining 40 pages (out of 130). I did at least finish the main account of the pilgrimage though faltered in the chapter on views along the way. I finished that chapter a short while ago, along with the guide on doing the pilgrimage. Irony aside, or perhaps ironically, it was a bit of a slog to read. I found the text somewhat earnest, if not overwrought. Strong on the need to be a real pilgrim and not just a tourist. The author completed the full two and a half months of the proper pilgrimage from Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, no mean feat. I am in awe of those who attempt such and persevere to completion.

I am interested in such accounts and I appreciate the sense of spending time in what I call the bubble of the experience. 2.5 months focused on the trail, on putting one foot in front of the other. The trail, and your experience of it, being your entire world. It provides a mental space for reflection, whereby you are reduced to the very basics of surviving day to day. For some folk, a point of enlightenment is reached, for others, simply a break from the world and a chance to breathe. There’s probably a chunk of that surrounding my desire to walk The Pennine Way.

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