Off the Road: A Modern Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route into Spain by Jack Hitt
Off the Road is often called "irreverent" as Hitt makes fun of himself and others as pilgrims. Yet most of the pilgrims he meets are not "true" pilgrims but, rather tourists, undertaking the pilgrimage out of historical interest, curiosity, or for the same reason mountain climbers climb mountains.
You’ll enjoy this book, though, not for the narrative of the journey so much (although Hitt has rendered the crossing of the flat, wheat fields of Castille as realistic as anyone I’ve read) as for his interpretive essays about historic gems along the way. They include a brief description of the medieval pilgrim’s garb; a short essay on the original French epic, the Chanson de Roland; an account of St. Augustine’s interpretation of "miracles" (very important for medieval pilgrims); a description of Romanesque architecture; and a summary of the founding and demise of the Knights Templar and the architecture of their fortress in Ponferrada.
Rich bits of humor and history link these essays as Hitt describes his 500-mile walk from the Pyrenees to Santiago.
(Note: Hitt’s book is out of print but may be available at your local library or to buy used through Amazon.com or Powellsbooks.com.)