Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day 436 - The Way

Martin Sheen and his three co-stars walking the Camino in 'The Way'.

From the minute I heard about the movie 'The Way,' starring Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Estaves, I could not wait for it to hit our theatres. It's not that I'm particularly crazy about the two actors, my real interest was in the actual theme and location of their production as it deals with the Camino de Santiago.

In the movie Sheen plays the roll of an ophthalmologists whose son dies in the Pyrenees on the first day of walking the Camino. He travels to France where he has his son's remains cremated and he then promptly decided to walk the Camino himself, leaving bits of the ashes scattered along the route.

What I couldn't wait to see was the actual route, as he walks the Camino Frances, starting in St Jean Pied de Port and then crossing over the Pyrenees - the exact route that I am planning to walk next year in June! So I went to the theatre not worrying too much about the storyline, just seeing the route and all the little towns I have been dreaming about would have been more than enough for me!

Well, I was pleasantly surprised. The movie certainly won't win any Oscars but the story was solid enough to keep the audience entertained and those who have walked the route seem to agree that it was a pretty good representation of the Camino. I was amazed at the interest that there seems to be in the Camino, the original show was fully booked and the organisers put on a second show earlier in the afternoon that was also fully booked!

As I looked around at those around me in the theatre I found myself wondering what it is about leaving life as we all know it and heading out on a pilgrimage in a strange country with a strange language that fascinates us so much? Judging by the dreamy looks and smiles on the faces, both young and old, as we left to return to real life, I knew that a number of new pilgrims were born!

I couldn't wait to hear what my husband had to say in the car on the way home. I thought I spotted a faraway look and a little smile during the show but knew that I'd hit the jackpot when he said: ' IF I decide to walk PART of the Camino...'

My best friend and my sister are both joining me for the last two weeks of the walk and at least four of my hiking buddies are seriously considering going the whole way. Having my husband join us for a part of the way at least, will be the cherry on the cake for me!

As for the sleeping arrangements, husband definitely won't be persuaded to stay in the albergues along the way but I for one will be tackling those. I would like to put it on record that if it gets too much I might be persuaded to spend a night here and there in slightly more private lodgings... I am not going to adapt the viewpoint that not sleeping in an albergue every single night means that you are less of a pilgrim - walking 780km with my immediate world on my back is more than enough for me to qualify!

Having two of my hiking buddies and their spouses as well as Ermanno Aiello, the writer of the book 'Forever a Pilgrim' and his family at the theatre made the whole afternoon so much more special for me. My Camino experience has already taken on a life of it's own, months before I even set foot on Spanish soil! It really has a way of bringing people together and I cannot wait to see how many more wonderful connections are going to be made during those four weeks on the road!

This week is an important one for the Red Cross Children's hospital here in Cape Town, as Thursday sees the official opening of their brand new burns unit! I am over the moon about the wonderful transformation of this very special place in our city and I would like to shout out the loudest 'THANK YOU!' to every individual and every company who made this possible. I plan on taking my camera along and hope to share some of the day with you here on Friday.

In conclusion, if you'd like to read a bit more about 'The Way', click here

Remember - you're NEVER too old to tackle an adventure like this one! Armed with your backpack, a pair of good walking shoes, your passport and enough funds to sustain yourself for a month - the sky really is the limit!

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