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Road to Santiago

3.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  108 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Displaying her "real talent for conjuring far-flung times and places," Kathryn Harrison tells the mesmerizing story of her 200-mile pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. In the spring of 1999, Kathryn Harrison set out to walk the centuries-old pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela. "Not a vacation, " she calls it, "but a time out of time." With a heavy pack, no ...more
Hardcover, 150 pages
Published November 1st 2003 by National Geographic Society
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A meditative and somber essay on El Camino de Santiago, the Way of St. James. Kathryn Harrison offers intimate glimpses into three different journeys she undertook along the Camino, over a period of ten years. None makes the Camino particularly appealing from a physical standpoint, though it must be acknowledged she made many poor decisions, including starting late in the day and pushing herself —and during one journey, her 12-year-old daughter—past the point of exhaustion, walking during the ho ...more
Bonnie E.
May 12, 2012 Bonnie E. rated it liked it
Last year, my sister Rene trekked the entirety of the Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of Saint James, and her experience opened my eyes to the story of the pilgrimage. Her tales about the journey were fascinating and when she showed me the compostellana which she had been issued-- a certificate in Latin validating her status as an official pilgrim -- I became all the more intrigued.

Harrison's book about her own personal journey was well worth the read, because she walked some of the r
Apr 25, 2012 René rated it really liked it
I'm a little baffled by some of the negative reviews of this book. I'm not sure what other readers expected or how many other personal accounts of the Camino they've read. I've read quite a few in the past couple years (as well as walked the Camino Frances from St. Jean myself last fall) and I rate Harrison's as one of the best so far. She writes beautifully, and I find her observations very honest and her expression of feeling frustrated, disappointed, and baffled at times on her journey very h ...more
Webster Bull
May 02, 2012 Webster Bull rated it did not like it
Shelves: faith
Preparing for my own Spanish pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, I have just finished Kathryn Harrison’s 2003 travelogue, The Road to Santiago, evidently written on commission for a National Geographic book series and to a strict word count. The arty, perfunctory little volume combines three incomplete Caminos, two by Harrison alone and one aborted trek with her twelve-year-old daughter. These three jaunts add up to just 50 percent of the classic 800-kilometer Camino from St. Jean Port-de-Pied ...more
Willa Grant
Mar 04, 2009 Willa Grant rated it it was ok
I like the way Kathryn Harrison writes but I don't relate to her at all. I think I might like a work of fiction by this author, but I found her rather annoying as a person. The truth of the pilgrimage to Santiago is that everyone walks their own camino. This book really brought that out as the road she walked seemed nothing like the road that I have read about in other books. An OK book but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who is not rich & neurotic.
Linda Hiemstra
Aug 08, 2015 Linda Hiemstra rated it it was ok
Meh. The author irritated me with how ill-prepared and clueless she was (or came across) when she started walking the Camino. Especially with a 12 year old - she even admitted that her daughter was more responsible than she was. Especially annoying considering that she had walked part of the Camino only three years before (although that one wasn't without its ill-adviced decisions either), you'd think she knew what she was doing. But apparently not.

2 stars for the occassional interesting persona
Jul 24, 2015 Stefan rated it really liked it
That's more like it. After reading Paulo Coelho's book on the Camino, this book is the personal account of a peregrino I was hoping to read.

It's devided in three sections the author walked, and ordered a-chronologically, starting with the latest part she walked with her daughter. The book describes the struggles of the walk, how the towns looked like, and the consequences of bad decisions during the Camino.

The ending didn't really touch me, and the a-chronologically ordering of the parts seemed
Hmm. Hadn't actually planned to read this one, but then I ran across a copy, and...I am powerless in the grip of a used book store.

It's a quick little read; I read it cover to cover in a little more than an hour. Harrison writes of three segments of the Camino de Santiago that she travelled -- 1992, 1999, 2002. All short segments; she wasn't particularly interested in completing the whole route or identifying herself as a pilgrim. In many ways it was just not my book because of that -- absolutel
Oct 08, 2011 Elsje rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2011
Als wandelaar vind ik het altijd leuk om te lezen over andermans/vrouws wandelervaringen. Dacht ik. Want Kathryn Harrisons 'De weg naar Santiago de Compostela' bekoorde me helemaal niet. Ze beschrijft de drie ervaringen die ze met de Camino heeft, voor lopers toch wel een beetje dé tocht der tochten. Maar niet voor haar.

Haar eerste kennismaking is bij toeval, als ze 7 maanden zwanger in Burgos is en daar de markeringen van de Camino ontdekt. Impulsief en totaal onvoorbereid loopt ze een eindje d
Michele Lonergan
Aug 10, 2013 Michele Lonergan rated it it was ok
Working my way through the hefty number of memoirs written about the Camino de Santiago,in preparation for my own pilgrimage, Ms. Harrison's short meditation on her experience was entirely disappointing. I was looking forward to something a bit different from the usual travelogue of quirky characters and difficult conditions. I just did not get the purpose of her trip nor of her writing about it. I felt annoyed at her lack of engagement with her fellow pilgrims and native Spaniards, her silly de ...more
Jun 24, 2014 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Lovely, short read. I expected a personal account of walking the Road to Santiago to drag on or be annoyingly introspective - but the writing was lively and real in a way that has left me feeling refreshed. If you're going to read a book about the pilgrimage, I suggest this one.
Aug 23, 2009 Ally rated it did not like it
I originally picked up this book thinking, "hey, woman writer travelling the road by herself, the historical pilgrimage to Santiago del compostella? The very road I myself have dreams of undertaking next year? How inspirational this will be?"

It wasn't. It was dark, introspective, and quite depressing for me. Kathryn Harrison is great at unique and long poetic descriptions, but I was annoyed at how determined she was to remain a loner on this path: walking each day long after dark, avoiding warm
Rhonda Lundquist
Sep 09, 2011 Rhonda Lundquist rated it liked it
I really liked the language and the minute detail in the descriptions of her journey. She just touches on the outlines of insight, though and leaves me still wondering what it is that made her go on three relatively rugged, though short, pilgrimages through Northern Spain. It ends up feeling like she has the luxury of time, money and support to do it, so she does, but fails to gain any clarity - or fails to share it. It is meditative and beautiful in its language but would recommend it to those ...more
Aug 01, 2008 Christine rated it it was ok
Very disappointing. I had hoped to learn more about why people take this pilgrimage and more of the history but it was a dull diatribe on one womans several trips along the road. Very boring. But I did come away with a desire to learn more and one day do a pilgrimage of my own. This 400 mile walk on the way to the shrine of the Apostle James continues to draw millions of pilgrims. It's said thay James's followers carried his remains from Jersulalem in a stone boat to Santiago de Compostela in Sp ...more
Jun 28, 2013 Terrie rated it it was ok
When all else fails, I can always find comfort in a book about walking the Camino de Santiago -- except this one. This turned out to be an excellent example of how NOT to walk it: push yourself to the point of tears, walk past dark and through torrential rains, rarely eat, avoid all people. By the end of it, I really didn't like this woman and didn't get a very good feel for the Camino. I doubt I'll stop reading books about the Camino, but I sure won't recommend this one.
Jul 12, 2012 Mical rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely read because Kathryn Harrison possesses writing skills from the gods. Of particular interest to me beyond its Kathryn Harrison-ness, is that she is chronicling her 200-mile pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, one alone and again with her 12 year old daughter. Traveling with Kathryn in such a way is just a delight as she contemplates her daughter, motherhood, religion, her fellow pilgrims and traveling in far-flung places.
Oct 29, 2008 Mike rated it liked it
The author's honesty is appreciated, even if she didn't actually walk the famed old camino all in one effort. She was on it more than once, and she adds more perspective to anyone interested in such efforts, or considering such a walk.

Her family plays a big role in this one.

I have read more than one book on the subject, and it does look like one way to see some nice countryside up close and lose a few pounds in the process.
Jun 15, 2013 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the general story in the book. It was interesting to read about her travels to Santiago and also about her personal experiences and what she learns. On the other hand, I missed detail in the story. It wasn't possible for me to get involved in the book because of this. It was more of a personal story about her own feelings and thoughts, and not about the road itself.
Jul 09, 2010 Robyn rated it it was ok
I really want to walk the Camino de Santiago someday which is why I picked up this book. The book is short and while offered a few great reflections certainly wasn't a book I would recommend to anyone unless they like me were interested in this walking pilgrimage.
Apr 07, 2013 Dorthea rated it really liked it
A very interesting and practical survey of people's experiences walking the El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail. Definitely a must-read for anyone who is considering walking the Camino or anyone who is interested in the pilgrimage experience.
Sep 23, 2008 Linda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fic
Harrison has managed to convey in words, in only 150 pages, the effect that this walk/trek/meditation has had upon her consciousness, not on only one journey, but on three.
Mikesawin Sawin
May 17, 2009 Mikesawin Sawin rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes travel reading
I read this little morsel of a book on a Saturday morning after working all night. It only made me more hungry for my own trek on the 400-mile Camino de Santiago.
Alfredo Chizzoni
Feb 10, 2011 Alfredo Chizzoni rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
Narrazione diretta e sincera di un pellegrinaggio alla ricerca di sé stessa, al di là della stessa fede, ricompensato da una piccola illuminazione.
Oct 02, 2009 Karla rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs, travel
I read this some years ago before I actually walked part of the pilgrim road to Santiago de Compostela, and found it insightful and interesting.
Jul 07, 2008 Jane rated it it was ok
Continuing to read any book I can find at the library about El Camino de Santiago. Some are better than others- some I think I should write a book...
Mar 14, 2012 Ab rated it it was ok
Personal account of a pilgrim on the Camino includes tidbits of information which may be valuable for one who has not been on the road to Santiago.
Mar 28, 2012 Lynne rated it it was ok
Shelves: spiritual
I eagerly read books on the pilgrim walk to Santiago, a journey I fantasize on taking. This telling was a little sad and empty.
Jun 28, 2012 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Harrison discusses her three trips along the Road to Santiago at three very different times in her life.
Jul 01, 2012 CM rated it really liked it
The author describes three trips to the camino and how on each one she learns something new.
May 07, 2012 Ahndrea rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading it. This was my first book I read about the Camino De Santiago.
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Kathryn Harrison is the author of the novels Envy, The Seal Wife, The Binding Chair, Poison, Exposure, and Thicker Than Water.

She has also written memoirs, The Kiss and The Mother Knot, a travel memoir, The Road To Santiago, a biography, Saint Therese Of Lisieux, and a collection of personal essays, Seeking Rapture.

Ms. Harrison is a frequent reviewer for The New York Times Book Review; her essay
More about Kathryn Harrison...

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