Many of us remember clearly where we were on September 11th, 2001. Author Susan Alcorn and her husband Ralph were on the Camino de Santiago when they heard the tragic news, fourteen years ago today. Susan’s book, Camino Chronicle: Walking to Santiago, has a day-to-day account of walking the Camino Francés, which they had just started on September 1st of that year.
In Chapter 6, 9/11 in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, she writes, “It was difficult being in a foreign country, unable to speak the language beyond the simple phrases to order a meal or ask directions, when our own country was under attack. We wondered what we should do next. Should we sit by the TV awaiting further developments (as many at home did, as it turned out), or should we continue on our journey as planned?”
I enjoyed the entire book, but this part in particular was a real page-turner. I felt the worry they must have had about their friends and family back home. Fortunately they decided to continue their walk to Santiago.
The heart of Camino Chronicle is based on Susan’s travel journal, so it shows details of the daily life as a pilgrim. It is interspersed with side notes on history, legends and random tidbits about things like Spanish wine, olives and bull fighting. The book includes chapters on post-Camino reflection, preparation, and pilgrim statistics. I appreciated the research that went into this book and thought it was an honest and thorough introduction about the Camino. It was my favorite of the books I read for a research paper on planning for the Camino, which ultimately led to my decision to walk the Camino. Indeed, the Camino provides.
Camino Chronicle is available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle formats.
Susan Alcorn, aka Backpack45, is the author of several books including We’re in the Mountains Not over the Hill: Tales and Tips of Seasoned Women Backpackers, and Patagonia Chronicle: On Foot in Torres del Paine. Susan writes about regional hiking for Examiner.com at www.examiner.com/hiking-in-san-francisco/susan–alcorn and has a blog at backpack45.blogspot.com.