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Eight Feet in the Andes
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Eight Feet in the Andes

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  283 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
The eight feet belong to Dervla Murphy, her nine-year-old daughter Rachel and Juana, an elegant mule, who together clambered the length of Peru, from Cajamarca on the border with Ecuador, to Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital, over 1300 miles to the south. With only the most basic necessities to sustain them and spending most of their time above 10,000 feet, their journey was ...more
302 pages
Published 1994 by Flamingo (first published January 1st 1983)
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In 1979 Dervla Murphy and her 9 year old daughter walked with their mule Juana from Cajamarca (northern Peru) to Cusco (far to the south) following as much as possible the Camino Real (the Inca Royal road) along the spine of the second highest mountain range in the world. It took them just over 3 months.

Eight Feet in the Andes is a day by day journal of that incredible journey with all its splendour, risks and adventures. The Murphys travel light, most often camping in their small tent and not a
Rosario (
This was the August book for my book club. It's a travel book and recounts a trip in the Peruvian Andes that Murphy undertook with her 9-year-old daughter and a very handsome mule called Juana in the early 1980s. They start in the North of the country and go all the way to Cuzco, clambering up and down mountains, staying away from the few motor roads and struggling to find food to buy in tiny hamlets that are even more desperately impoverished than they'd expected.

I read a bit under half the boo
Nov 17, 2008 summer61 rated it really liked it
"Abruptly she swung away from [the bridge] and stood stiff-legged, her rump to the river, displaying every known symptom of equine apprehension." So, the reason this book is so good is because of vivid sentences like this in what might otherwise seem a daunting read -- a day-by-day journal by an Irish woman and her 9-year-old daughter who buy a mule (Juana, described above) and hike the same route the conquistadors did to get to Cuzco -- 1300 miles south through the Andes. Mom is a great writer, ...more
Frances Sawaya
Feb 02, 2013 Frances Sawaya rated it really liked it
As it is likely that I will never travel to South America, I was engrossed to make the journey with one of my favourite travel writers. Never dull, always unique, Ms Murphy continues to take the less-trodden route and report back on what she sees along the way. Her philosophy over the decades is that we can't know another culture until we have slept on the floor with its people. She is fearless and determined in carrying that ideal on all her travels. In a sense she is lucky in that her ...more
Jul 09, 2011 Emma rated it it was amazing
The first travel book I had ever read, but I enjoyed every minute. The narrative is incredibly engaging as you follow a middle-aged mother, her 9 year old daughter and their beloved mule Juana on a groundbreaking journey over the Andes in the mid eighties. Murphy's observations about the local people, the landscape and similar journeys made by her predecessors are fascinating. With moments of unforgettable humour yet with powerful underlying messages this book is one of the best I have read this ...more
Karen Cramer
Jun 15, 2015 Karen Cramer rated it it was amazing
I love her description of mountain travel. Also enjoyed the relationship with her remarkable daughter. What an experience they had.
Oct 23, 2016 SpaceShuttle rated it did not like it
My favourite part was the back cover.
Sep 29, 2016 Anne rated it liked it
Shelves: adult, memoir, 2016
3.5 stars
An Irish woman takes her 9-year-old daughter and a mule trekking the length of Peru. They carry minimal supplies and cover 1300 miles with incredible ascents and descents, and amazing scenery. It also talks about their interactions with the people they met along the way.

It's a compelling story but was marred for me by the poor editing. There were many spelling errors and a few grammatical errors as well. And it slogged in a few places where there were extensive quotes from other author
MaryJo Dawson
May 01, 2013 MaryJo Dawson rated it really liked it
Two friends turned me in the direction of Dervla Murphy, an Irish lady who has traveled the world for about five decades, more or less, and financed her wander lust by writing detailed accounts of her various journeys. This trip takes place in the late 1970's, and she makes the journey with her nine year old daughter and a very amenable mule. Don't expect to travel in the shoes of these amazing ladies; they go through the heart of the Andes, preferring the roughest of trails, the most primitive ...more
Lee (Rocky)
Jul 21, 2014 Lee (Rocky) rated it it was ok
I read this in preparation for visiting Peru, but I don't think it was very helpful in priming me for what we'll see there. Of course it isn't fair to penalize a book for not being what I want it to be (since that isn't what it was intended to be) I think this book wasn't even that great at it's intended purpose. I'm not a guy who needs constant action in a book, but there are long stretches of this book where barely anything happens. Just walking from town to town, buying food for themselves ...more
Jun 07, 2014 Cara rated it really liked it
Murphy and her 9-year old daughter spend months hiking through the Andes, following the historic route of Hernan Cortes and his men. The book is written diary-style, chronicling the small details of each day, but Murphy supplies readers with enough history to form a geographical perspective on the 16th century conquistadors. Though Murphy and her daughter repeat the same motions every day - take down camp, hike for miles up and down the sides of mountains, search for places where they can buy ...more
Peter Perhac
Sep 13, 2013 Peter Perhac rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
While a very good book, not exceptionally well written. I like Dervla, her lifestyle, her sense of humour, her worldview, and, of course, her journeys -- hence, naturally I enjoyed this book very much.

However, I can only give it three stars. Others might perhaps want to consider reading any other one of Dervla's books before they try this one. I did wonder while reading this, whether -- had this been my first book by her -- whether I would still consider Dervla Murphy my favourite travel writer.
Dec 05, 2015 Eileen rated it liked it
Lovely to walk along the Andes with the author and her daughter, and she nicely distilled three months of walking in the mountains to a manageable length. At the same time, the daily diary format meant too much space given to days where not much of note happened and not deep enough treatment of days where things did. more annoyingly, her metacommentary about Peru past and present seemed racist and/or shallow, even while it was clear she had done some outside reading and understood local ...more
Cathy (cathepsut)
I really wanted to like it, but after spending ages getting past the first 50 pages I decided to give up. Sorry, but it's boring. The great thing about travel literature is the things that happen on the way. But as far as I got, the main thing was going up the mountain, over the mountain, down the mountain.... And I did not think the descriptions of the most likely stunning scenery were very good either. Very disappointing.
Janice Pono
Apr 29, 2007 Janice Pono rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recent-reads
I read this book while I was traveling in Peru. Dervla Murphy traveled through the Andes with her 9 year old daughter and a mule to Cusco. Though I was traveling as a backpacker, I realized how posh a traveler I was compared to the Murphys. I always stayed in my own room and usually had my own bathroom as well. I always ate three meals a day. I did have similar experiences of meeting amazing Andean people who are so different from urban Peruvians.
Veerle Mogensen
Dec 27, 2014 Veerle Mogensen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
Van een moedige vrouw gesproken! Dervla Murphy beschrijft haar indrukwekkende tocht in de Andes van Cajamarca naar Cuzco, samen met haar 9-dochter (!) en een muilezel. Volledig overgeleverd aan de natuur en de goodwill van de plaatselijke bevolking. Een deel van hun reis voert langs dezelfde route als die van de conquistadores.
Superinteressant reisboek die je doet dromen.
May 11, 2008 Shelley rated it really liked it
"At home I'm both a vegetarian and a devotee of Guinea pigs; walking through the Andes such sensibilities become atrophied. Here one would eat one's grandmother, even if she weren't very well cooked."

Interesting to read while in Ecuador. Many overlaps within the countries. It would be great to find a book on someones travels through the Andes in Ecuador.
Inga Aksamit
Sep 13, 2015 Inga Aksamit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Her journey was amazing and daring. Having just backpacked in Peru I was eager to read about her journey. I find her style to be a bit dry though I understand that writing a book about a long walk can sometimes get bogged down in long, uninteresting stretches. Definitely worth a read, though, because she's one tough lady and she breaks out of female stereotypes.
Bridgitte Thornley
Aug 18, 2012 Bridgitte Thornley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-fav-s
Fantastic book. Dervla is my heroine! She's incredibly gutsy walking the length of the Andes with her 9 yr old daughter and a mule. She combines wonderful descriptive writing of the terrain and people with historical details of the Spanish and inca invaders. Loved it!
Santi Rahmayanti
Aug 14, 2008 Santi Rahmayanti rated it it was amazing
It's really amazing!!!
Blom selesai baca semua, baru scanning...tapi Ibu dan anak ini huebat banget...
Cita2 gue emang mo traveling be-2 ama anak gue yang nama panggilannya terinspirasi dari sini, Andes...
Tapi kayaknya gue gak seberani The Murphys dehhh...hiks...
Luiza Salazar
Jun 08, 2016 Luiza Salazar rated it really liked it
The perfect book to read before my own 600 mile hike. Dervla Murphy is an inspiration and I can't wait to read more of her stuff. I was so sad to say goodbye to Juana at the end and hope she lived a full happy life for a mula
Oct 23, 2009 Julie rated it it was ok
I really should have looked at the published date before I read it. Wow, things have changed in the last 20 plus years in Peru. Unless you particularly like donkeys, I would not recommend this book.
Aug 07, 2007 Ariel rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: likes travel literature
I started reading this book years ago and had to return it to its rightful owner, my brother, before I finished it. It was, however, wonderfully done.
Colin rated it really liked it
Feb 06, 2015
Mark Horrell
Mark Horrell rated it really liked it
Mar 23, 2013
Sarah Mouratidis
Sarah Mouratidis rated it liked it
Aug 16, 2013
Cathy rated it really liked it
Apr 20, 2008
Geoffrey Cobb
Geoffrey Cobb rated it liked it
Jun 27, 2011
Emily Doherty
Emily Doherty rated it really liked it
Dec 31, 2008
Cheryl Lawrance
Cheryl Lawrance rated it really liked it
Dec 03, 2016
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Dervla Murphy is an Irish touring cyclist and author of adventure travel books for over 40 years. She is best known for her 1965 book Full Tilt: Ireland to India With a Bicycle, about an overland cycling trip through Europe, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

Murphy normally travels alone and unaided, without luxuries and depending on the hospitality of local people. When not travelling, Murph
More about Dervla Murphy...

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