We propose you to meet the Camino de Santiago through one of the most outstanding films about the Jacobean route.
The Camino de Santiago is a very enriching experience, as a journey of personal encounter, self-improvement and even as a tribute to loved ones.
It is also a very inspiring source of artistic and creative inspiration, as it has been the central theme of novels, television series and even productions of the Seventh Art.
We propose you to meet the Camino de Santiago through one of the most outstanding films about the Jacobean route, "The Way" (Emilio Estévez, 2010), which through the French Camino de Santiago and a moving plot, shows us some of the places, moments and people that we can find on the way to Santiago de Compostela, a journey that is undoubtedly a film.
A journey motivated by a loss
Tom Avery, a retired California doctor, is the protagonist of the film, whose role is played by actor Martin Sheen, father of the film's director and who in real life walked the Camino de Santiago with his grandson Taylor Estevez, years before this production. In fact, the intention of Sheen and his son was to make a tribute to the route itself.
Returning to the plot of the film, it revolves around the loss of a family member, which beyond fiction, is one of the reasons why many pilgrims decide to make the Camino de Santiago. Thus, in the film, Tom Avery discovers that his son, with whom he did not have a good relationship, dies after a tragic accident in the French Pyrenees, so he travels there and discovers that his son was doing the Camino de Santiago. Devastated by his loss, he decides to cremate him and walk the Camino de Santiago in his memory, taking his ashes with him.
The French Way of the Camino de Santiago in "The Way"
The adventure begins along the Camino de Santiago French Way, and between Roncesvalles and Logroño, Tom has 136 kilometers ahead of him where he will begin to make friends with fellow pilgrims. In this stretch Tom knows for the first time what it is to sleep in a hostel, in his case "La Posada" in Roncesvalles. Later, in Akerreta, Tom arrives at another hostel and begins to get to know his future pilgrim friends, as well as the medieval history of the region.
Arriving in beautiful Pamplona, where Ernest Hemingway wrote about the famous fiesta of San Fermín, Tom meets up with another fellow pilgrim and they discuss the difference between "pintxos" and tapas, those little Spanish gastronomic delights to be enjoyed with a good Rioja wine. This takes place at the "Mesón del Caballo Blanco", in the historic center of the city, whose name alludes to the color of the equine with which the figure of Santiago Caballero is recognised.
Behind Pamplona, the mythical Alto del Perdón awaits, with its fantastic panoramic views and sculptures. Another mythical place appears in the film, in this case the church of Santa María de Eunate, as well as the Monastery of Irache, which appears in the film as a very special hostel, as Tom will spend the night in its beautiful medieval cloister.
On the stretch between Logroño and Burgos, good old Tom will face 121 kilometers. After meeting an eccentric hostel owner, one of those peculiar characters that one can meet on the Camino, Tom and his friends find themselves sleeping on the street, an element of adventure that can also be experienced on the Camino de Santiago. As the film goes on and on along the Camino, an unpleasant incident occurs: Tom is arrested by the police after getting drunk one night, but we will leave this detail aside because, as the pilgrim saying goes, as if it were Las Vegas, "what happens on the Camino, stays on the Camino".
Released in Logroño, Tom heads for Burgos, now in the heart of Castile, and enters through the Arco de Santa María, one of the ancient gates of the medieval city. After lunch in the restaurant "Rincón de España", in the historic center of the city, Tom meets up again with pilgrim friends he made on previous stages, something that happens every day on the Camino and is part of its magic.
On the stretch from Burgos to León, 175 kilometers, Tom will share with his pilgrim friends a meal prepared by one of them. Sharing moments, meals, conversations, tears and laughter is part of the Camino, as this scene filmed near the town of Hornillos del Camino, in the rural house "Molino del Camino". Once in León, Tom decides to invite his friends to spend the night in the emblematic Parador de San Marcos, nowadays a luxurious hotel but which in its time, as a convent and hospital, served as a pilgrims' hostel.
Between León and O Cebreiro there are 153 kilometers of walking. Tom leaves León and approaches Galicia, but not before stopping at the beautiful Cruz de Ferro, another iconic place on the Camino de Santiago where each pilgrim would deposit a stone, as a symbol of everything they want to leave behind in their lives. This also happens in the film, for example, already in O Cebreiro, one of the secondary characters and part of Tom's group of friends decides to quit smoking.
In the final stretch between O Cebreiro and Santiago de Compostela, 160 kilometers await in which the green landscape of Galicia comes into play. There is little time left to reach Santiago de Compostela, whose basilica holds the remains of the Apostle St. James, patron saint of Spain, and is one of the three holy places of Christianity after Rome and Jerusalem. However, for many pilgrims the Camino does not end here, and, as in the film, Tom will follow the route to Muxía and Finisterre over 120 kilometres., to reach the sacred places at the "end of the earth" where Jacobean legend places episodes of miracles and Marian apparitions.