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The Way

I recently watched "The Way" starring Martin Sheen. The movie is from 2011 or so and this is the second time I've watched it. I love the main character's encounters with fellow pilgrims along the way and imagine of course, that in this movie it's all been highly romanticized. It's unlikely that I'll hike the Camino de Santiago any time soon but am curious if anyone has done it and has also watched this movie and what there thoughts are on how the Camino and the experience is portrayed in the film.

Posted by
2261 posts

KC, I did seeThe Way some time ago, and since then our daughter covered over 200 miles of The Camino solo. While I don't recall the film well enough to tell you how realistic it was, I can tell you based on our daughters experience that it is a challenging, rewarding, and difficult thing to do. Blisters.

Here's another fairly well know film on the subject, Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago, a documentary made that follows real people (not that Martin Sheen isn't a real person!) As I recall we streamed it from Amazon at the time, but it's available elsewhere I'm sure. Well worth the watch.

Posted by
638 posts

I walked the Camino in May and June of 2010, they filmed it about a month before I started, it was a big topic of conversation during the evening. One of the things that stood out to me was how clean their clothes and belongings remained, walking everyday along dusty roads, sweating tends to take its toll, laundry is done almost daily, for example when I initially started I would wash my pants, shirt, socks and anything else I wore that day but after a week I didn't wash the pants everyday, total waste of time. One thing about walking the Camino is the need for little, I carried only 2 pair of pants, 4 shirts (underarmor type) besides underwear and socks which were also kept to a minimum 4 each. No blisters, at least I don't remember any of the characters having any, that is the biggest medical problem seen on the Camino. I don't remember ever seeing anyone get as drunk as Tom, sure people drink but not to that extent, getting up and having to walk 10, 15, 20 or 25 miles a day every day kind of puts the kibosh to that. And you do meet people from all walks of life and locations, I met people from South Africa, New Zealand to name a couple of places I've met few from, I only encountered 4 other Americans.

One thing that did hit home was when Tom (Martin Sheen) dropped his backpack into the river, it didn't happen to me but it did happen to a young Finnish woman I met, later that evening she was seen hanging everything she owned on the Camino out to dry.
Also how tight a group of people they became and cared for each other as their journey continued, on the Camino one develops a family of sorts, you may not see someone you've become close to for 1, 2, 3 days because of differences in travel speed but they become close to you and joy truly emerges when you seen them again. Also the number of reasons people are out there in the first place, there are those there for religious reason, but for the most part everyone has a personal reason, even if it's just to do it. I could go on but if you're interested here is a link to the blog I kept.

Posted by
2267 posts

For anyone who's interested in early music, there's a great CD, 'Pilgrimage to Santiago' (Monteverdi Choir, John Eliot Gardiner), with Medieval and Renaissance music associated with Santiago de Compostela.

Posted by
605 posts

In 2009 I took a flight from Frankfurt to Riyadh and watched a French version of 'The Way' that preceded the American version, which was excellent (way better than the American version). The French stranger sitting next to me was so enthusiastic about the movie (and drinking) that he insisted that we sync our screens and watch it together. Afterwards he talked all about his walk and how it changed his life. I can't for the life of me find any information on this movie now (what is it called? how can I watch it again?) so if anyone has any information on it please post it.

I got home and was all enthusiastic and then read Jack Hitt's book Off the Road and then decided that it likely wasn't for me. So, full circle.


Posted by
3763 posts

My college alumni magazine had an article about a class that did this. And I've read other reports as well, it's a very frequently discussed pilgrimage.

Posted by
3580 posts

Ms Jo who often contributes to this forum walked the Camino last fall and wrote a blog about it. Maybe she will chime in.

Posted by
15448 posts

Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez wrote a memoir, Along the Way, that combines their life stories (often the same events or periods from both viewpoints) and the making of the film. I listened to it as an audio book narrated by both (each narrating his own story). It was pretty interesting, though probably more detail about Sheen's introspection and life philosophy than I really needed to know.

Posted by
518 posts

Great feed back everyone. I'll look into some of the books/films suggested. Thanks.

Posted by
1 posts

Mu husband is walking the Camino right now. It was fun to see the responses, as I await to hear from him and what he is discovering. I just watched "The Way" for about the 5th time. I continue to be amazed at the discoveries found. I do agree with one of the replies about them all looking fresh, like they just walked out of a REI store. I don't suspect my husband will look like that. He left me a message today that he just crossed over that bridge that Martin Sheen did and lost his backpack. He didn't...thank goodness. I am jealous of those walking, especially my husband, but like you, do not expect to do it. I have neither the desire or ability to do it at my age, but I admire those who do.

Blessings on your path, HMR

Posted by
1278 posts

I have one friend walking the Camino as we speak (the Portuguese route this time) and another leaving this week to do the French traditional walk.
There is a Bay Area group that schedules regular hikes (I think on Mt. Tam) to train for the Camino and support each other. They are called "Pilgrims" or something like that. Maybe googling will get you a website and contact information for them.
Also, Ms Jo walked the Camino last year and you could PM her through this website. She is lovely and very responsive.
I met a woman many years ago who had just walked the Camino. For her, the journey was about letting go. By the end, rather than carry so much weight, she said she was down to one extra change of clothes and a water bottle!
I've also seen the film a few times and noticed their cleanliness without effort and the heavy jackets ...

Posted by
8659 posts

Yeah, I have watched The Way a number of times now, about 4 times before I walked the Camino and 2-3 times since I got back. It isn't very realistic and not filmed in order of the Camino. They just put scenes in where they felt like it. Still, it is a great movie and I may watch it again tonight.

Don't let age put you off going. I met a number of peregrinos who were in their 70's and 80's and doing just fine. There are a variety of levels of overnight possibilities, so you don't need to stay in an albergue, though that is the most fun I think. Hotels, pensions, private rooms, so you don't have to sleep in a bunk bed and share a bathroom if you don't want to. My pack weighed 7+kg with water and I carried it every day. Others send their packs ahead each day for 5-6 €. If things get too tough, one can always bus or taxi ahead a bit. As long as you walk that last 118km and get 2 stamps per day in your credential, you can get your Compestela.

Highly recommend going. It is such a unique experience. Ready to go back this year if I can swing it, but if not, then the next year.