Cloud Road: A Journey through the Inca Heartland by John Harrison

halfmanhalfbook's review

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A great travel book that manages to inspire and enthral at the same time.

Harrison follows the great Inca trail along the roof of the Andes, mostly on foot with the occasional bus. Along the way he meets and engages with the local people and reveals the history of the area from 500 b.c. to within living memory.

The walk is all at altitude, in excess of 10,00 feet most of the way, and the first days are tough, and relentless. He settles in to a steady rhythm on his journey, and you feel for the struggle of finding drinkable water and the perils of camping in the mountains. Part of the journey he is joined by his partner, and even buys a donkey to assist with carrying the baggage over a particularly long section. The people he meets are mostly warm and generous, though there are the smattering of aggressive drunks, and he suffers the loss of his clothes by either theft or accident, you are never sure.

Really enjoyed it. His writing style and the way he deals with the people he meets reminds me of Colin Thubron, another fine travel writer.