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Monday, July 9, 2007

Book Review: Along the Inca Trail by Karin Muller

Read for the Armchair Traveler Reading Challenge.

Along the Inca Trail is subtitled “A Woman’s Journey into an Ancient Empire”, which pretty well sums up this book. It’s her chronicle of a six and half month journey through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile, along the paths of the ancients Inca highways. The narrative is interspersed with Incan history and culture, as well as the current culture of the descendants of the Incas and the tribes they had once subjugated today.

What fascinated me most about this journey was her willingness to jump into the local culture, as well as some of the more dangerous local happening, which included such relaxing activities as patrolling for cocaine processors with the Bolivian army and landmine removal in Peru. I’ve done some traveling in Europe and have a certain level of pride that I’ve managed myself alone in cities where I did not know the local language. But, I can’t aspire to her sense of adventure. As fascinating as I find Andean culture, I’m not sure you could get me very far outside of the typical Macchu Pichu tourist circuit in Peru.

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone. The people she met along the way, as well as the places she visited and cultural events she experienced (and participated in), make for extremely interesting reading.

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