Camino Chronicle

Susan Alcorn is a seasoned writer and a dedicated walker. Both she and her husband set out from San Francisco to walk the Camino FranceĀ“s in the Fall of 2001. Camino Chronicle is the author’s second travel book. It is well researched, easy to read, contains detailed descriptions of places and routes, however, something is missing.

After a while, I realized there is little or no reference to the spiritual aspect of the pilgrimage. Susan never answers the question, “Why am I walking The Way?” Sure, they visit churches and attend the pilgrim mass, but there is no reference to a “Camino angel, miracle or epiphany.” For the writer, this sacred pilgrimage is just another walk.

There are also very few emotional experiences in the book. They bond with a few people and hug them when they meet up from time to time, but these encounters are downplayed in favour of more technical descriptions of things like wine-making.

Considering, it took the author five years to write her book after walking the Camino and as an American she endured the shock of 9/11 while she was on the trail, with only foreigners to commiserate, (though a good number of pages are devoted to recording emails home) I have to believe that these facts may have contributed to the books detachment. Then again there were passages that suggested a certain national bias. Although, you can take the American out of the states, it is often difficult to take the states out of the American.

I would recommend Camino Chronicle as a detailed travelogue – lots of historical notes, mileage counts, mention of points of interests etc.

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