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Top travel books in Germany


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According to the FT, the top 5 travel books sold on in May were:

1 Ich bin dann mal weg by Hape Kerkeling. A German comedian's pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella

2 Pilgern auf den Jakobsweg by Raimund Joos. Route guide.

5 Spanischer Jakobsweg, by Cordula Rabe. Route guide.

I'd be interested to know if anybody has read the Kerkeling book as I was introduced to the Camino by the Tim Moore book. (I know from previous postings that Spanish Steps produces a variety of responses).

Thanks (this is my first posting, I never had anything to contribute before)
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I have just ordered it; I know that it is a huge success with our (Swiss) neighbours in the North, and though I know that it won't tick the right boxes for me, I would like to get my own view on it.
If anyone has already read it, please let us know your thoughts!


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Just forget the Kerkeling Book. It's more a novel, or let's say a report of his journey to Santiago. I read the book after my first Camino and was really disappointed, because what I read was so different from what I had seen.
Two things for instance:
-he slept only twice in an albergue because they were too dirty. I'm just back from my second Camino and slept always in clean albergues, a place where you meet your fellow pilgrims and feel familiar. It's an offence to all the volunteers and hospitaleros who run and clean the albergues.
Further, what about the thousands of pilgrims who do well sleep in the albergues? Of course you'll find here and there a black sheep.
-after a certain time he felt lonely and tried to get in contact with other pilgrims. He met a few persons and about half of his book contains just their dialogues and thoughts on the way. The average pilgrim gets easily in contact with fellow pilgrims, be it on the walk or at the albergue.
And here I rather believe that Kerkeling had a problem with his own person and it's hard to understand how this book has been sold over a million. That's of course my personal opinion.
Now something positive, two really good german guide books:
- Outdoor-Handbuch "Der Weg ist das Ziel" Camino Frances by Michael Kasper and Michael Moll - Conrad Stein Verlag
- "Wandern auf dem Spanischen Jakobsweg" by Dietrich Höllhuber - Dumont Reiseverlag.
Hope this will help you, buen Camino


Thanks Jupp, despite your comments about the Kerkeling book, I thought I will have a go at it, and I loved it!!!
Yes, his comments about the albergues are not what I have experienced and I definitely do not agree with him, but then we had many others on this forum who decided to stay in hostals for the same reasons. He also skipped a few stages, which is not in the spirit of the real pilgrims, but once again, it was his Camino.
What I loved were his observations, not at least about his compatriots (Schnabbel...), and his thoughts, struggles and experiences, which I thought he expressed really good, so good that I actually read the book in one go! And quite a few times I felt like being back on the Camino, something which I love anyway...


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I've read the book by Kerkeling and I don't recommend it.
It's a pilgrim's diary of which about 90% seem boring to me. No deep insights, no profound reflections, not funny (he insists on beeing a comedian). On top of that there are large descriptions of how he came to success as a comedian and he can't stop mentioning how many languages he speaks - obviously overestimating himself.

I do see two interesting aspects, however.
1. The book is a huge economic success. Over two million copies have been sold. I think it just might be the perfect superficial book in superficial times. The descriptions of landscapes and fellow pilgrim's are shallow, thus easy to read. If he's tired of walking he takes the bus. He considers the albergues dirty so he stays in hotels. Don't get me wrong. I think he has every right to do the Camino the way he pleases. But for most of his report he could have been walking anywhere else on the planet. So point 2 is even more surprising.

2. He claims to be an atheist and he doesn't really seem to know what he's doing crossing Spain from east to west. Yet he reaches Santiago and he says: "I've met God."
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1 Ich bin dann mal weg by Hape Kerkeling. A German comedian's pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella

I spoke with a number of Germans on the Way (they were the only group that consistently spoke English, plus most were great fun once I got to know them & after they had a few beers), and all of them had heard of this book or read it. The author seems to have influenced a number of his countrymen/women to do the Camino. Shallow book or not, that's a good accomplishment on Mr. Kerkeling's part...:)


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Well, I am quite astonished about some of the replies posted here. I read the book twice and listened to the audio book, which is even better, and it's absolutely phantastic. It s the reason why I will be doing this pilgrimage.

Granted, it is not a guide book but semi autobiography semi travel report - and hillariously funny.

Shallow? No way.

Atheist? Sorry, you don't really seem to have understood the book - and the author. :roll:


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Last year on the camino frances everyone commented on the huge increase in the number of German peregrinos and it was largely put down to the influence of the Kerkeling book. I would be interested to read it but speak no German, does anyone know if it has been translated into English?
Books (especially novels) always provoke a myriad of reactions and I have enjoyed reading the varied reviews.

Ivar, Is it possible that Book Reviews could be a named topic rather than the postings being lost within other information? There seem to be so many new books about the camino coming onto the market and in the interests of economy it would be good to separate the wheat from the chaff.

With a little more info I could have saved myself the wasted day or two of my life I spent reading the dreadful drivel of Shirley Maclaines book...... (cue outraged Shirley fans.....)



There is an article in the New York Times today, Saturday March 8th about the kerkeling book. it says that the book will be published in the US in 2009 by Free Press. The article is good.
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Camino Frances 2006, Camino Portuguese 2009
I haven't read the book but I spent some time with a nice German couple when I was doing my camino in 2006. At night the man would read a book. He just kept cracking up laughing so I asked him what he was reading. He wrote the name of the book and author the down on a piece of paper and gave it to me but since I don't read German I never got it. I will read it when it comes out in English, not as a guide but as entertainment.
I've listened to Kerkeling's book on audio CD, I thought it was alright, but not the best. It annoyed me that he kept sleeping in hotels (ok, just because he has heaps of money...) But I did enjoy the ramdom GLBT liberation parts! But that's probably just because I'm a GLBT rights activist. Ah well.
It did get a bit boring in parts, it was probably more interesting for people who are familiar with him as a comedian. But it was ok, in general.

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