HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN
For years, there has been a single book
illuminating the art, architecture, history and culture along the
Camino Frances. The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural
Handbook by David Gitlitz & Linda Kay Davidson stood for years
as the sole beacon but now we can add a second. Meet William Bonville
and his latest work, A Traveler's Highway to Heaven: Exploring the
History and Culture of Northern Spain on El Camino de Santiago.
William’s work is a shot in the arm for the
Camimophiles everywhere. He brings us an interpretive monologue of the
art, architecture, history and culture along the Way of Saint James…. a
thinking man’s impressions of the scene that lies before you. It also
includes a number of landmarks just a few kilometers off the main Path.
At 400 pages, it’s not exactly light, but the type is large enough to
read inside a dimly lit church.
Two things which made (my first Camino) a richer
Road experience were the (Gilitz and Davidson) cultural guidebook and
my conversations with the locals. This book is in that same league, and
yes I would carry it in spite of its weight.
This book has considerable value for those who want
to connect history, art, architecture and religion to their experience
on the Camino de Santiago. It is intended as a detailed three week
guide to driving and walking the Camino de Santiago route from
Roncesvalles to Santiago de Compostela. Specific driving directions,
including road numbers and significant features, should help the driver
to navigate; and walking directions within cities are detailed to give
a richly researched highlight tour of important religious and
historical sites. Day by day itinerary suggestions attempt to maximize
the rich historical, cultural and religious offerings the Camino
provides, with a two week modification available. The glossary at the
back and references for further reading throughout, make this a
wonderful starting point to appreciate the Camino experience.
It is a resource pilgrims will want to read before
the pilgrimage in order to better understand the richness of the
historical and cultural landscape they will be passing through.
Pilgrims who have returned may want to refresh their memory of their
Camino by reading about and remembering what they have seen… Reading
the book strengthened my resolve to walk the Camino again, but more
slowly the next time.
~ Tom Friesen, Canadian Company of Pilgrims,Spring 2008
A narrative motor/walking guide to the cultural
record and history encountered between Roncesvalles and Santiago de
Compostela. It also involves side trips into Asturias, plus other less
distant diversions from the French Road. The author says he wrote the
book for those who, for reasons of time, age, disability or children
tagging along, are unable to cope with an 800 kilometer hike, but still
yearn for the El Camino experience.
~ American Pilgrims on the