The Way – A Meaningful Film About Traveling the Camino de Santiago

December 25, 2011 at 10:01 pm 1 comment

I have envisioned walking the “El Camino de Santiago” from St. Jean Pied de Port, France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain since I was 21, when I had the privilege of staying at the Parador de los Reis Catolicos in Santiago with one of my sisters. Imagine ending up here after an almost 500 mile walk!! (See photo below)

Room

Room at Parador de Santiago, Santiago de Compostela

One of the next best things to taking that walk is watching The Way-The Movie about that journey. For me it was a blessing to see this soul-searching film just in time for Christmas!

Do not wish to spoil the pilgrimage for you so I’ll refrain from mentioning the story line, but thought I’d introduce you to the four main characters – a sweet Dutchman, a tough cookie Canadian gal, a charming Irish writer, and Martin Sheen as the American ophthalmologist who has just lost his son. None of them have met each other before; they meet on the road, just as the universe intended. The film is lovingly produced, directed, and written by Martin’s real-life son Emilio Estevez, who also appears in magic realism moments. Special notes: part of the movie is filmed in Galicia which is the land of the Sheen-Estevez ancestry.  And Taylor, Martin’s grandson and Emilio’s son, is married to a young woman Taylor met on his first trip to Burgos with Martin.

After watching the movie you might be compelled to run out and buy Spanish sheep’s cheese, some rustic bread, and a Jerez sherry, or, if more inclined, you might be compelled to make this trip of a lifetime, or another trip you’ve always had in mind.

Below the photo you’ll find a review of my favorite book on the subject of this journey which was written for Amazon.com.

David Alexanian/Arc Entertainment

Yorick van Wageningen, Deborah Kara Unger, James Nesbitt and Martin Sheen in “The Way.”

Review of Hape Kerkeling’s I’m Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago:

This is my favorite book so far this year. Perhaps because I wish I could have written it, perhaps because I’ve always wanted to be one of those pilgrims arriving in Santiago de Compostela after experiencing the long walk from the French Alps through Spain. This often arduous journey to the Shrine of St. James in Galicia, on a route that is 1,200 years old, is followed by over 100,000 people per year. And it is popular German TV comedian Hape (Hans Peter) who has paved our way. His road trip diary is engaging and hilarious – sore feet, sore knees, big angry dogs (or dogs that just look dangerous), blazing sun, filthy hostels, unusual encounters, breathtaking landscapes, and all. You get a feeling for what you might or might not do. Maybe you’ll do what he did, treat yourself to special hotels on occasion, stay more than one night in one place, and every now and then take the train instead of walking. What matters, as he shares, is what you experience, what you learn about yourself, what you may or may not learn from meeting other pilgrims, how you bring yourself to the events, the feelings, your thoughts, your soul. He braved much to bring us his charming story. (Thanks Hape, I feel happy reading about you and your friends). You’ll understand why this book is a bestseller in Germany (kudos by the way for the stellar translation by Shelley Frisch), how it won the Bruce Chatwin Prize for Best Travel Book of the Year, and how it has sold over 3 million copies. Highly recommended. – September, 2009

Happy traveling to all!!!!!

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Susie  |  December 28, 2011 at 3:42 am

    The idea of the walk is very inviting. I can see how you may have thought of this goal since age 21. And the food! Yes! Big rustic bread, Spanish Manchego cheese, a Spanish wine and Spanish olive oil (I prefer it to Italian olive oil in many instances), tapas! Yum!

    Reply

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