If you are looking to get a very good impression of the Camino Frances or bring back some of the memories from your own journey you can’t go wrong with this book. I found myself unable to put the book down and wanted to read what happened next – something I am used to in a good novel, but this is real life.
The book, (Buen Camino: A Father and Daughter Journey from Croagh Park to Santiago de Compostela), is a father and daughter joint writing venture and all the better for the two voices. The book changes author back and forward sometimes giving different views on the same part of the journey and at others each cover a separate part. It was their second trip down the Camino Frances and this time from St Jean Pied de Port all the way to Finisterre.
This is the first book bar travel guides that I’ve read about the Camino. Although an avid reader for some reason I have not read any travelogues about the Camino. I recently read Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, and loved it – this seems to have inspired me to read more of this type.
They start their journey walking up Croagh Patrick in Ireland on St James Day, the 25th July 2010. Croagh Patrick is an important pilgrimage site in Ireland. Nearby Peter found two scallop shells beside the sea that they attached to their backpacks to declare themselves pilgrims and they headed off for France.
The book tells it like it is, their experiences along the Camino and this includes:
- Incredibly helpful people local Spanish and pilgrims
- The pains of walking every day, muscle strains and sunburn
- Washing clothes, not getting a bed, and the snoring
- The developing friendships with other pilgrims
- Annoying pilgrims – there are a few
Developing Camino Friendships
For me this is how I remember the Camino, not the blisters, sore back and legs, or hand washing my clothes. The relationships I developed were and have been the most important memory of my Caminos.
It is the same in the book, I was interested to watch the relationships develop. Was there going to be more than friendship between Natasha and Andrew? I leave that one for you to read about. The efforts the group made to stay together also illustrated how after being part of a “family” on the Camino pilgrims did their best to stay with the group.
There is everything in the book, love, tears, upset, disappointment – and a lost camera. There are some highly touching moments where Peter writes a letter to Natasha and she later does the same to him. Peter, also a journalist & editor, moves easily into the history, myth, and legends that have built up around the Camino Frances and weaves this information into the sections as they walk.
I highly recommend the book Buen Camino to all considering any of the Camino routes, it is a great read and full of useful advice and information – but mostly it is a love story of the Camino route, between Pilgrims, but mostly between a father and daughter.