- Book of the Year Bronze Award 2010 (travel essays category), ForeWord Magazine
After hiking some of the world's great trails, Brandon Wilson was excited to hear about the Via Alpina, paths running across eight countries on the backbone of the Alps. Besides promising immersion into Alpine life and wilderness, it was the ultimate adventure. It meant climbing 3000 feet from valley to mountain hut each day-1200 miles-for months. Optimistically, Wilson envisioned it as a European Appalachian Trail, only with better food and wine.
Faster than you can say "schnitzel," he coaxed his desk-jockey wife into joining him. Unlike their trek across Tibet, the couple wouldn't dodge bullets. Who knew ice fields, relentless rain, winds, lethal ticks and cow patties could be more dangerous? Then again, the beauty, weird situations and bizarre characters they'd meet would help put peril into perspective.
It's all here, the daily triumphs and agony of de feet, captured in Wilson's witty, gritty, award-winning style. "Over the Top & Back Again" sweeps you along for an inspiring, yet slightly crazed look at the peerless Alps-and at an everyday couple who dare to follow their gonzo dream.
Written by Brandon Wilson, a Lowell Thomas Award-winning author, it is fourth in his series of true travel adventures. This first Via Alpina travelog published in English includes 53 photos, maps and illustrations by Ken Plumb.
Reviews: "This is my favorite kind of adventure tale: Against all odds, in the face of health, weather, interpersonal, navigational and culinary issues, Brandon Wilson and his somewhat reluctant wife hike it because it's there - or, it's supposed to be. I laughed, I winced, and then I started checking to see when I was next scheduled to be anywhere near the Via Alpina." - Kyle Wagner, travel editor, Denver Post
"This lighthearted hiking narrative reflects the positives of such an experience: overcoming hardship, laughing at their inability to find trail blazes, Europe's apparent fear of switchbacks on trails ascending 1000-plus meters per col, and the bond and struggle with your trail partner..... Recommended for armchair travelers and anyone interested in hiking the Alps." - Library Journal
"Informative, entertaining, and original... a pioneer in a groundbreaking genre of travel writing." - Midwest Book Review
"Wilson brings his considerable intellect and wry sense of humor to this epic adventure, and the result is brilliantly accessible and wonderfully subversive." - Richard Bangs, author of Quest for the Sublime and PEAKS
"Marvelous account of a long hike...told with a fine eye for detail and a keen sense of humor." - Royal Robbins, legendary rock climber
"For outdoor enthusiasts, this book will awaken the travel bug within and inspire adventure. For others, it's a worthwhile armchair journey through beautiful country with friendly guides." - ForeWord Magazine
""Over the Top & Back Again" suggests that maybe a little madness isn't too crazy after all." - WEND Magazine
"It's great fun trekking through the Alps with the Wilsons...They do all the hard work - and we get all the pleasures - rendered with warmth, insight and humor in Brandon's inimitable style." - Maui News
"Wilson walks the way Forrest Gump runs. He's driven to it...As for the connection between the outer journey and the inner journey, Wilson never pushes it. You get it in small bits, as he does, because that's the way it comes. It has a lot to do with savoring the simple pleasures of