Tumbleweed Books present:


Travels on the
Camino de Santiago de Compostela

(Way of St. Frances)


click on any book cover






El Camino de Santiago, der Jakobsweg, the Way of St. James – all these terms refer to the famous pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the apostle Saint James are buried.

In contrast to tradition – after all, one is supposed to walk El Camino – Jamieson bought himself a folding bike and rode it all the way to Santiago de Compostela. Having unfolded his bike in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the French Pyrenees, he had to overcome all kinds of obstacles. Among other things he encountered exhausted pedestrian pilgrims asking for a ride, blood-thirsty highwaymen, dirty overcrowded refugios, Hape Kerkeling, and a bike that had an uncanny tendency to fold itself while racing down a mountain path - not to mention vicious rock waste avalanches (cp. the photo on the front cover).

This is the epic story of the two years it took the author to finish his journey.

Tumbleweed Books, January 2013
Hardcover, 835 pages, with 307 color photos and 87 maps




Ron D. Clyne's El Camino de Santiago on a Skateboard is the second volume in the Buon Camino Series published by Tumbleweed, following the Pulitzer Prize winning El Camino de Santiago on a Folding Bike, written by Ben Jamieson.

You might ask yourself: Why would a basically sane person attempt to go on the 800 km Way of St. Frances on a skateboard? Clyne answers that question himself in his introduction: "I had never even stood on a skateboard before in my life. In fact, the only thing I knew about skateboards was that they had been invented by Marty McFly a.k.a. Michael J. Fox in my favorite movie Back to the Future. However, when I told my son Kevin that I wanted to fly to Spain and go on this pilgrimage, he said, 'Jeez Dad, you gotta do this on a board – it's way more fun, and I betcha it's never been done before.'

I wasn't sure about the fun part, but I did know it had certainly never been done before. The next thing I knew I was taking skateboard lessons from Kevin, and believe me, that's a tough thing if you start doing it at my age. Also, I was given a crash course in skateboard slang. Two days later I was actually able to nail a cool lip grind on my deck, which left Kevin speechless for a second or two; then he muttered, 'Dad, that's sick. You're a natural.' "

Three months later Clyne arrived at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the French Pyrenees, unpacked his rucksack and his skateboard (featuring St. James's shell, the symbol of the pilgrimage route) and set off for Santiago de Compostela. As the photo on the front cover suggests, the going was often rather tough. Clyne boasts that on his way there he busted various perfect Smith grinds, did countless Mongo switches and also flipped the crapper numerous times. However, after arriving at Santiago de Compostela only 3 weeks later he was so overjoyed that he unsuccessfully attempted a lip grind on the pulpit rail in the famous cathedral, which resulted in both him and the skateboard being thrown out of the cathedral.

Clyne has a way of describing his epic journey in a very vivid, delightful and entertaining way, the only drawback being the abundant use of skateboard slang. Then again, there is an appendix comprising 68 pages in which all the terms are explained, including photos featuring the author doing some of the stunning tricks himself.

Ron D. Clyne: El Camino de Santiago on a Skateboard
Tumbleweed, 2013. Hardcover, 436 pages, including 50 photos, 12 maps, an index and an appendix. $ 18.90





Pablo de Ovejas' El Camino de Santiago on Stilts is the third volume in the Buon Camino Series published by Tumbleweed, following El Camino de Santiago on a Folding Bike and El Camino de Santiago on a Skateboard.

In contrast to its predecessors, this book is in fact a facsimile reprint of the first edition which was published and translated into English by one Miguel Toboso in 1855. Toboso seems to have been an English teacher in Alcalá de Henares, though his grasp of the English language appears to be somewhat limited. This may account for the fact that more often than not his awkward style leaves a great deal to be desired. Then again, as Charles Dickens pointed out, "Toboso's cumbersome and often stilted syntax perfectly reflects the fact that Pablo de Ovejas was indeed using stilts on his famous pilgrimage".

The book comprises 147 pages, including 17 original drawings. The drawing on the front cover is taken from p. 28. It shows Pablo de Ovejas resting on a kind of raised stool about 2 miles west of Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Toboso's caption reads: "Pedro Gonzalez, Pablo's trusty, and also watchful, canine fellow traveler, is guarding his master's victuals, next to him, against rapacious sheeps [sic] in the background, on a hill."

Of course one has to give Pablo de Ovejas credit: it is no mean feat to successfully cover 800 km on stilts. To my knowledge this has never been attempted before or afterwards. What's more, de Ovejas even claims that he never once dismounted from his stilts. Apparently he slept at night while sitting on his raised stool and leaning against the wall of some refugio.

Pablo de Ovejas: El Camino de Santiago on Stilts
Tumbleweed facsimile edition, 2013
147 pages, 17 drawings
$ 14.90




Sophie Meegal's El Camino de Santiago with a Skipping Rope is the fourth volume in the Buon Camino Series published by Tumbleweed, following El Camino de Santiago on Stilts, El Camino de Santiago on a Folding Bike and El Camino de Santiago on a Skateboard.

Sophie Meegal was born in Edinburgh on January 23, 1800. She had been given a skipping rope on her second birthday and had been skipping around the city ever since. It soon turned out she had a natural talent for it; in fact, as a teenager she was often seen skipping school, too.

When she told her father on her 21st birthday that she intended to skip all the way from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela in western Spain he was rather taken aback. However, she mistakenly took his curt remark, "Oh, come on, Sophie me gal, skip it!" as an encouragement, packed 64 skipping ropes and immediately left for the Camino de Santiago.

The picture on the front cover shows Sophie on the fifth day of her pilgrimage (cp. p. 28), skipping along on the Camino about 5 miles west of Roncesvalles, a small Spanish village in the Pyrenees. "This is a beautiful place," she wrote in her diary. "It reminds me a wee bit of the glens in the Highlands my father would take me to when I was a little girl. What's more, the skipping that was oh such a drag yesterday is much easier today – mind you, it's almost as if I was floating along."

Her journey turned out to be remarkably well planned: Having estimated that she would use up one rope each day she arrived at Santiago de Compostela after 63 days with just one rope left. She was introduced to the Archbishop, who upon seeing the 63 frazzled ropes was moved to tears and spontaneously consented to exhibit them in the famous Pórtico de la Gloria behind the western façade of the cathedral. Even today countless peregrinos flock there, though 45 of the ropes have apparently been stolen by now.

According to the Guinness Book of Records this is the first and only time that a person has successfully completed the Camino with a skipping rope. (A recent attempt in 2012 by one Knot Reely, a retired DJ from Liverpool, failed miserably. After 79 days Reely somehow managed to get entangled in the rope a mere 20 feet from the cathedral, bumped his head on a cobblestone and passed out.)

Sophie Meegal: El Camino de Santiago with a Skipping Rope
Tumbleweed, March 2013, facsimile reprint, hardcover
312 pages, with 24 original drawings; $ 19.50




The Buon Camino Series is part of the project

Fabulous Books Looking for an Author

This anthology of reviews of fictitious books will soon be published by Tumbleweed. It is the second anthology of this kind, the first one having already been published as

Nicht zu fassen: 36 English and German reviews of books
that were never written

Famous predecessors of this kind of fiction are Stanislaw Lem and Jorge Luis Borges.

See also Fictional book (English Wikipedia) and Fiktives Buch (German Wikipedia).




World Wide Wahlbrinck

© 2013 by Bernd Wahlbrinck, Home of the Wadel, Germany.
This work /website, in its entirety, is protected under the copyright laws of the Federal Republic of Germany. 
No part or portion of the contents of this site can be reproduced without written permission of the author.