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Savoring the Camino de Santiago by Julie G. Connor

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One thing about travel-guides is that they are always surprising, and that’s always a plus when it comes to this genre. Savoring the Camino de Santiago” an interesting title that puts you wondering right away, and when you decide to pick it up and read it, you’ll find one of the coolest dedications you will read in a long time.  

And surprising it is! El Camino, is actually a pilgrimage route in Spain! And apparently, some people prefer to drive through it nowadays. Hahhhahaha. Now, this book has a smooth tone to it and right away in the prologue, you get the general mindset of the book, the atmosphere and you know that this book will be related to spirituality and how to see life, and it has very strong concepts right on the start as the author distinguishes and takes out the need for anyone to “complete” or “run through” El Caminho. Julie Gianelloni Connor reminds people that this is no competition, not sport, but a personal and deeply spiritual journey where each person decides how oneself is going to take it and make it.

This book is impactful from the start, and yes, this is a travel guide that feels like a memoir about a Pilgrimage path, but it doesn’t stop or start there. It starts at sexual assault and rape. Something that has become a sad reality that is much ignored by people, specially men, and blamed on the victims. Horrid.

It’s interesting to see how much Julie Connor talks about the book “Iberia”, that talks about this path of El Camino, and how it had a strong influence in the author’s life, ranging from several encounters with the told book, marriage and … cancer? Yes, cancer. A cool thing is how all of this culminated, as you will read, into the author becoming more determined to do the journey.

We have general themes around this book that needs to be talked about more in this fast-paced society, and these themes are perseverance, and above all, patience. Then, there is an interesting approach to one’s spirituality and the choice one can make about it. It’s fascinating, the way the author puts it as she goes from chapter to chapter, revealing things that we might not even dare to think possible! I would say some of them, but that would spoil your fun to find out for yourself, wouldn’t it? *winks*

This book is so rich with info that travellers, religious, spiritual and History buffs will LOVE and here’s why: Julie Gianelloni Connor displays not only historical facts about the place, names, and development history of El Camino through the ages, but gives enough levee to allow the reader to think for itself, and prove her wrong which is so cool. Facts are presented as facts, with data and references, and thoughts upon how some of these now “facts” or stories, can be as wrong as they one day were deemed right. Confusing? You will get what I’m saying when reading the book.

This is how one should write a book, inviting and letting the reader decide for itself, while at the same time peeking the curiosity of the reader about those same stories, and places, and the journey of El Camino that one feels compelled to experience, first hand while reading.

A brutally honest book about what the daredevils can expect from this pilgrimage, this challenge that is not only once described as gruesome. Yes. “But wait,” you ask, “isn’t this about walking? What can possibly make walking brutal?” The answer: El Camino. Hahahahhhahahahhhahah love it! So, how long is this route? This gruesome sacred path? Don’t google it, but read it in this book.

By the way Julie Gianelloni Connor infuses her passion and desire to complete it, her advices and all of her experiences on the book, I assure you, before the end of chapter 2, you will be like: “Where is my passport? I must go to Spain”. Hahahaha, (just let me know when you are going so we can meet there and on the path I tell you: “told you the book was cool”. Hahahahah) Ok. Jokes aside. This book is very well written, and it feels like a conversation with the author, as she shows you the delights of her experiences on El Camino. If I’m not a travel buff, and I want to go, I can only imagine those that live for the pleasure of travelling after they read this book.

Hikers, campers, travellers and daredevils will LOVE THIS BOOK! So many  great tips and explanations that can make every other hike of your life SUPER easy, ranging from what to pack, what to consider while packing, the types of partners you will have to choose from, not only on El Camino, but on every journey, how the mentality of someone can and will affect the trip and to what degree, and much more, this book is so amazing!

A CRUCIAL note that needs to be made is the “baggy pants” style that the author mentioned that was “made popular by convicts and gangsters”. It might seem correct at first, but actually, this has origins on the acts of white American slave owners raping African-American male slaves to assert “dominance” , which then forced them to wear the pants low so that other white slave owners could know that they could do the same. I know that Mrs. Julie intended well, and it’s understandable, but this fact has to be said in order not to mislead readers.

Savoring the Camino de Santiago” is a MUST-READ travel guide/memoir to San Tiago De Compostela. This book isn’t only exciting, but it’s informative, neutral in approach, factual, well-researched and it gives you a clear view and premises where to base your expectations before you travel and what can you expect, and how you can prepare for it even before you step foot in Spain! It’s a total recommendation from us. What a great book this is. If you love travelling, have a high sense of challenge and spirituality, and are looking for your next destination, then grab this book, and start to prepare for El Camino.

Pros:

  • The Author made the whole telling and descriptions, the entirety of the book extremely captivating.
  • Detailed, informative, fun, and easy to read.
  • It gives you a very realistic, and most times neutral imagery of El Camino. You would expect something extravagant, glorious even, and although there are parts where the author tells about the beauty of places, chapels, churches, and paths, she also tells about the bad sides, the problems, and the dangers.
  • Well thought-out, always having the readers in mind. This is why it’s hard to distinguish totally from a memoir or a travel guide. Both maybe? Yes.

Cons:

  • Nothing major I can say. Very good book.

Lesson of the books: Listen to the locals, and put socks.

Cover Score: 8.9/10

Book Score: 9.2/10

Get your copy on Amazon || Apple || Paperback Version @ Bayou City Press

Add it to your Goodreads list

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