ABN  70310060098

In 1998 I walked from Paris to Santiago de Compostela. This pilgrimage dates from the middle ages and has become more popular in the last thirty years. The main pilgrim route through northern Spain- el camino frances- caters to the ever growing number of pilgrims with hostels and refuges in the.major centres and in small villages. There is no particular starting point. Some Europeans simply walk from their homes in Holland or Switzerland or even further afield. Some years earlier I had read a single sentence: “Every year pilgrims meet at the church of St James in Paris and walk from there to Santiago, stopping at convents and monasteries along the way.” (That church was destroyed during the French Revolution- only the tower remains!) That sentence inspired me to start from Paris and I walked south about a thousand kilometres to the Spanish border. I met few pilgrims in France but that changed quite suddenly as I approached Spain. A floating community developed as we headed west, meeting new people each day and seeing many who were proceeding at a similar pace.

There have been changes in recent years. The volume of pilgrim traffic has increased but so has the number of refuges. Some things will always be the same- the vagaries of weather, the aches and pains and strains of long distance walking, the camaraderie that develops among people sharing the same journey.

I kept a diary for the 105 days I walked the pilgrim route and then I edited them and self published them in 2001 under the imprint of Cranleigh House. When my stock was exhausted I put the book on lulu.com which now sells it as a printed paperback or as an electronic download. The lulu version enabled me to make some minor (mostly typographical) corrections, but the originally coloured photos were reproduced in black and white.

I’m gratified to find that the book still sells, mainly by word of mouth as it has had virtually no publicity apart from some early reviews in Australian Catholic outlets.

The book is now available from www.lulu.com either as a download  $5.30 for the download and $14.39 (plus postage for the print copy) to order from www.lulu.com simply enter author’s name and book title or order number 309709. The lulu editions are also available from distributors such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Some reviews:

5.0 out of 5 stars       By Bookworm (UK)
This is the best book I have read on walking the pilgrim trail (the Camino) to Santiago de Compostela. Mary Wilkie, a 58 year old Australian, tells it exactly how it was day-by-day and every day. A must read for anyone contemplating doing this journey on foot.

Kristie Dunn in Australian Catholics Spring 2002

..it was a fine read- a mixture of mundane details, … cameo encounters with locals and fellow pilgrims, snapshot guides to places of interest, complete with historical information…. There is no preaching…No drama, no self-absorbed introspection, and no passing judgement….This book is clear, honest and good-humoured − a must for potential pilgrims and a simple delight for others.

Walking to Santiago - Diary of a Pilgrimage (Paperback) Review in Amazon.com
Excellent book - one that gives a practical guide to walking the Camino.

An intending pilgrim wrote from Saudi Arabia...
“I really loved your book as I could identify with you and I loved the breakdown of miles you gave. In fact the mileage was great as a couple of years later I decided to do the distance in Dhahran and once I began walking friends wanted to join in too. I lent your book to at least a dozen people (plus some purchased their own copy) and 7 of us walked the distance of your Camino while in Dhahran. We marked our maps of France and Spain as we progressed and it taught us all more about the geography of those countries.
It's quite odd really. You decided to do the Camino and wrote about your experience and you (without knowing) touched a whole group of oil workers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, one went on to Angola. There was a Canadian and my sister was walking it in the UK. And, those are the one's I know of. I wonder what (unknown) impact you had world wide? It's quite a powerful thought really isn't it? I for one am very glad you wrote the book. "


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