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Travels with My Donkey: One Man and His Ass on a Pilgrimage to Santiago Hardcover – Jan 18 2005

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (Jan. 18 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312320825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312320829
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 3 x 23.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 458 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #591,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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.


“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

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Tim Moore is a Monty Pythonesque writer. I plan walking the Camino soon, without a donkey, but am buoyed up by his candid account, such that I was able to feel close to him and Shinto, and was moved to tears at the account of the end of their journey. This book lived up to the billing and beyond!
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Format: Paperback
I have never before read a book that had me laughing out loud page after page. Moore's story of his pilgramage across northern Spain is delightful, thoughtful, hilarious, and yes, even touching. Even thinking about this book makes me smile.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book, which is very British in its humour, reflects the way people are in true life. It is a tale of humans without their makeup.

Here we have the hero, a "token" Christian, taking on a daunting journey, a pilgrimage, about which he is not convinced he needs.

Just because the author is a bit different, and in keeping with his vision of a pilgrimage, he decides it would ease his load if a donkey carried his backpack on the 800 km trek.

Our hero knows as much about pilgrimages and donkeys as the average man knows about nuclear physics, but off he sets and shows the reader the weaknesses, also the strengthening of himself and his spiritual beliefs, masked in a series of happenings enroute.

The lack of understanding of how a donkey thinks, only strengthens the author's learnings on the pilgrimage.

The story showed to me, that we cannot be perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and yet being imperfect does not prevent us from being good people.

The tale at times may be considered irreverent, and deeply spiritual in other areas, but above all is a story about any of us; warts and all.

Most certainly not a "goody two shoes" tale of travel, where all goes according to plan. This makes the book all the better a buy.

I laughed and cried and saw myself and others I know in many parts of this adventurous pilgrimage, which is riddled with belly laugh humour, sadness and the way daily life truely is for most.

The author and his donkey, will earn their place in heaven, for God I am sure, surely laughed and agreed with the happenings of these two characters on their pilgrimage.
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I thought I was going to read a "fun-filled,laughable", novel. But this was the WORST I have ever tried to read. Sent it back. The description is extremely misleading.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9b6b3300) out of 5 stars 37 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bbb1a44) out of 5 stars A man, a plan, a donkey - Camino! Sept. 29 2007
By Erik Olson - Published on
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. Indeed, both books made me laugh out loud in some spots and cringe in others. However, since I was fresh off the Camino, I was actually able to identify with Mr. Moore's experiences. I loved revisiting familiar towns and fondly remembered (or no-so-fondly remembered) refugios. And I empathized with the author's trials and tribulations, such as blisters, prickly pilgrims, harsh climate conditions, and fast automobile traffic.

"Travels With My Donkey" made me miss the Camino, and it also made me glad to be a peregrino. Recommended for those contemplating the Camino, pilgrims who have already walked the Way, and wanderers in general.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bbb1a98) out of 5 stars Brilliant, Biting Hilarious Modern Pilgrimage Feb. 18 2006
By J. Holland - Published on
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!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bbb1d74) out of 5 stars One ass you'll want to kiss Jan. 24 2006
By D. C. Hunter - Published on
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...
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bbb2290) out of 5 stars Long-suffering donkey squanders 41 days hauling author's ass across north Spain Sept. 12 2015
By Mr. Joe - Published on
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. I had to go to the Web to retrieve a color snap of Tim and his faithful companion which I printed, trimmed, and pasted into the book for the benefit of its next owner. Shinto bears little resemblance to the donkey portrayed on the volume's front cover.

As a lapsed Catholic and in the face of life's day-to-day responsibilities, Moore's 41-day trudge seemed an enormous waste of time. However, that doesn't prevent a feeling of reluctant admiration for one who'd actually do it, especially while pushing, pulling, and cajoling livestock all the way. After all, Tim produced an engaging and humorous narrative about the experience which provided several days of chuckles. And I did appreciate the author's comments about Shirley MacLaine.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bbb1b58) out of 5 stars Much humor, no spirituality April 17 2011
By Caleb Hanson - Published on
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.

One oddity: whenever our hero tries to explain--to bartenders, refugio staff, waiters--that he is traveling with a donkey, they consistently misinterpret his "Tengo un burro" as a request for a cigar. Can any Spanish-speakers out there enlighten me about a plausible misunderstanding, or is this just Moore's idea of humor?