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'A cross between a leprechaun and a miniature Flastaff, he writes charmingly, learnedly and diffusely', taking the reader - as only an Irishman can - on a will-o'-the wisp journey, absorbing on his way the history of the great shrine, and of how the cult of the saint arose, and also the folklore attached to pilgrims and the pilgrim roads.
Walter Starkie has written the original classic book of the pilgrimage of St James, which is still the benchmark. The Road to Santiago is an enjoyable voyage through the places, peoples and history of northern Spain, as seen through the eyes of a great story-teller.
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Should you ever decide to walk as a pilgrim to the shrine of St James of Compostella, I cannot recommend a better guide than Walter Starkie (Observer)
He is a happy and devout pilgrim, hobnobbing with priests, pagans, smugglers, musicians, knife-grinders, bag-pipers and gypsies. Fluent in Spanish, his fiddle and his appreciation of good food and wine carry him through a host of difficulties (Sunday Times)
'The Road to Santiago' is a great experience for the reader, and anyone who fails to enjoy its endless store of fact and fancy has something missing in his capacity to enjoy life (Irish Independent)
Perhaps Dr Starkie's most attractive achievement is to enable us to see the past through his own observations and experiences (Scotsman)
Dr Starkie's book has something in it for everyone, particularly for those thinking of making the journey. (Illustrated London News)
Combines extraordinary breadth of scholarship with the romantic insights and picaresque experiments of a born story-teller (Michael Jacobs)
Part travel, part history, part autobiography, The Road to Santiago describes Walter Starkie's pilgrimages to St James of Compostella - accompanied often by the music of his fiddle.
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