Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Armchair Travel for Your Walking Vacation

Follow the steps of other travelers.  
Dip into these books about walking for ideas.

Marching Spain
V. S. Pritchett, 
This compelling tale of an arduous trek in rural Spain was originally published in 1928. An adept prose stylist, the young Pritchett isn’t above accepting a lift now and then, as he progresses from Badajoz to Leon.  He’s a poor student, but rich, compared to the people he bunks down and eats with in a countryside steeped in suspicion for outsiders.  

An Inland Voyage and Travels with a Donkey
Robert Louis Stevenson (Orig pub 1879)
The voyage starts with a paddling excursion along the Sambre and Oise Rivers in Belgium and Northern France. Stevenson switches to land-roving and acquires a donkey to carry his gear through central and southern France. His fragility and easy going voice make RLS an endearing companion.  The route was reprised by Richard 

The Man Who Walked Through Time
Colin Fletcher
Published in 1967, this account of a camping trek through the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River involves prodigious logistics for food and water drops.  Animals and Fletcher’s imagination are the only companions on this hike through geologic time.
The Rucksack Man
Sebastian Snow
A bit of a masochist, but a funny one, British adventurer Snow walked from the tip of South America through the continent northwards to cross the Panama Canal, his line of demarcation.  Never accepting a ride, marching at a furious pace burdened by heavy  gear and always low on water, Snow was lucky to survive.  His mighty will drove him on. 
Long Walks in France
Adam Nicholson.  Harmony House, 1983
British traveler sets off to tour various regions of France on foot.  He's interested in people, customs and history and tells unusual lore in a cheerful voice.  Most of the walks are suitable for long weekends.

Walking Tour in Southern France
Ezra Pound. edited and introduced by Richard Sieburth, New Directions, NY, 1992.
During the early years of the 20th century, the famous modernist poet toured France on foot in search of traces of the Troubadours.

The Complete Guide to Walking
Mark Fenton, The Lyons Press, 2001
Written by an editor at Walking magazine, this comprehensive guide takes you from inertia to regular walking.  Exceptionally useful book aimed at the beginning walker or occasional exerciser.

A Walk Across France
Miles Morland
An out of shape British advertising executive and his French wife hoist rucksacks and walk from Gruissan-Plage near Narbonne to Capbreton north of Bayonne, a distance of 553 km.  Their route meanders along country roads through farms and hamlets.  It’s hot and dusty, but they slake their thirst with flasks of wine.

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