Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Finished Tim Moore's "Spanish Steps" the other night and shed a wee tear. Yes. it's an uplifting book. Yes, it sounds corny and very non-postmodern. Or, perhaps sentimental feelings are postmodern.

Moore's previous books have seen him follow the route of the Tour de France on a bike several month's before the July classic bike race. He's followed the route of Lord Dufferin to Iceland, Norway and one of the remotest, ugliest outposts of civilisation, Spitsbergen. Closer to home, Moore went from square to square on a British Monopoly board - from Old Kent Road to Mayfair, The Angel to the Strand, Water Works, Fenchurch Street station.

Moore is from the school of semi-serious, humourist travel writers. Bill Bryson and the late Pete McCarthy spring to mind. Moore lives up to his English roots. Where Bryson is wry, Moore is dry.

The seed was planted for this very long walk by a fellow traveller, who told him of the pilgrammage across northern Spain to Santiago Compostela. Moore eventually got around to this a few years ago. But, to make it more intersting and humourous, he decided to do it in the company of a donkey. Something biblical, I guess. Donkeys and Spain go together, you'd think. But, he soon learns that the Spanish donkey population is small. With mechanisation, there's little need for donkeys.

Moore is an unlikely pilgrim. But, over time he mellows, makes plenty of friends and at the end he too sheds a tear having formed a strong bond with Shinto his donkey.

Both heart-warming and piss-taking, I'd recommend this to anyone who's stressed out or just fanices a funny, well written read. Maybe I should take up the challenge of the camino.

:: Posted by pete @ 21:25