The Crossway is an account of Guy Stagg’s ten-month walk to Jerusalem. The author sets off from Canterbury on New Year’s Day, telling his friends and family only that he will be home before the year’s end.
He follows medieval pilgrimage routes through Western Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East, covering more than five-and-a-half thousand kilometres. He crosses the Alps in the depths of winter, spends Easter in Rome with the new Pope, witnesses the summer protests in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, and survives the August 2013 bombings in Tripoli. Each night he stays with monks, nuns, priests, and families, gaining a rare insight into the lives of contemporary believers.
Partly conceived as an attempt to rebuild himself after several years of mental illness, the pilgrimage forces Stagg to test the strength of his recovery. It also leaves him wondering: what power might ritual have today for someone without faith?
The Crossway is full of head- and heart-expanding wonders: the perfectly observed sights of a changing landscape, the fascinating reclamation of marginal history, the thrill and shock of perilous adventure, and the encounters with fellow pilgrims that leave Stagg amused, bemused, and, at times, moved.
This a beautiful, inspiring book that will show readers the world afresh and leave their hopes renewed.