Being larger than a cat, the donkey falls into that
category of animal which Tim Moore is at least
slightly scared of. Yet intrigued by epic accounts of
a pilgrimage undertaken by one in three medieval
Europeans, and strangely committed to historical
authenticity, he finds himself leading a Pyrenean
ass named Shinto into Spain, headed for
Santiago de Compostela.
Nuzzling businessmen at a city-centre zebra crossing,
or shuffling after German policewomen across a
broiled and lonely plain, the pair bring smiles to
every local face, and not all of brazen derision. Over
500 miles of extreme weather, agonising bestial sloth
and triple-bunk dormitories, it becomes memorably
apparent that for the multinational band of
eccentrics who keep the Santiagan flame alive, the
pilgrimage has evolved from a purely devotional
undertaking into a mobile therapist's couch.
Ludicrous, heart-warming and improbably
inspirational, Spanish Steps is the story of what
happens when a rather silly man tries to walk all the
way across a very large country, with a very large
animal who doesn't really want to.