Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Paris To The Pyrenees

Paris to the Pyrenees:

A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James

By David Downie

Published by Pegasus Books, April 2013


David Downie's journey is something of a misnomer; he is not religious in any conventional or even unconventional sense, and sets out on his journey as much for health reasons as anything else.  He does learn a lot about himself, the pilgrim route and some of the people he encounters, however.

So what can I say about this journey? He makes a brief stop at Paris then he starts walking in earnest at Vezelay before following the ancient pilgrim trail  and Roman roads across France down towards the Pyrenees, where he and his wife Alison finally call a halt, deciding the leave the Spanish leg of the path to St James at Santiago de Compostela for another time.

He has an uneasy relationship with religion and with pilgrims and his attitude is mostly that of a respectful cynic. The book is well-written and it reads well, yet I have to say that it just did not "grab" me and I found it rather sad to read the description of the deterioration of Christian religious belief in France.


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