Philippe Valéry

Overall Rating: 6
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Author: Philippe Valéry
Title: Par les sentiers de la soie [On The Silk Road]
Time: 1998-2000
Destination: France to China
Length: 2 years
Type: walking
Rating: 6/10

Okay book by great guy

[Note: I have been reading a German translation of this French book.]

The story: PV is in his thirties when he decides to walk from Marseille in France to Kashgar in China. He gets a few sponsorships and starts on his trek, walking through former Yugoslavia, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan into China.

great journey

A lot of people are good to him and invite him to stay with them, and he even gets to ride in a helicopter in a danger zone of Afghanistan. Oh, and he takes great pictures too! So, it is a pretty amazing journey.

flawed book

But the book has a few flaws. First of all, why does the story begin in Turkey, and Europe was almost completely left out? I was expecting to read about that too, not just Asia. This could have been the editors fault – maybe they just cut that part out? But it’s weird anyway.

not enough of Philippe Valéry in this

Apart from that, it was an okay read, but it didn’t feel very personal. It almost seemed like PV had left some stuff out, like some of the more personal issues that you would expect on a two-year walking journey. That being said, I actually enjoyed the parts where he talked about his obsession with soccer the most! Another thing: very few of the characters he meets on the way are actually colorful enough to stand out. He notes their appearances, their names, ages and professions, but more often than not, there seems to be only little more to them.

for walking fans

Anyway, if you are into long-distance walking, make sure to pick this one up. Or maybe just because he is such a great guy! :)


1 thought on “Philippe Valéry”

  1. I hope I was also mentioned in that book too because he had promised me to do so. As for soccer, I still recall that we had a long chit-chat about Marseille soccer club and also Iranian soccer player especially Ali Karimi. By the way, I just remembered that he was suffering from a knee injury that’s why I carried his backpack which weighed a ton.


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