- Photo Essays
Since the release and unexpected success of the film The Way, it seems that walking the Camino de Santiago is on everyone’s travel bucket list. When I first walked the Camino back in 2003 it was little known to travellers outside of Europe and we felt quite the intrepid adventurers revealing our plans to walk across Spain.
I remember it well: the first hour of the first day of walking the Camino de Santiago in 2003. It began perfectly. I was super excited, full of energy (mostly from adrenalin, and the French pastry I’d eaten for breakfast) and ready to begin the trek into the French Pyrenees.
It’s true, the idea of a pilgrimage is usually associated with a religious ritual or rite of passage: the pilgrimage to Mecca in Islam, the Wailing Wall of Jerusalem in Judaism and The Vatican in Catholicism.
But I am going to help myself to a little creative license here and suggest that any journey or travel can be considered a pilgrimage: and a non-religious one at that.
It’s a traveller’s worst nightmare. Well, one of them at least.
Those huge red, flashing letters next to the departure time of your next flight have the power to rattle even the most frequent of flyers: CANCELLED. A delay is frustrating enough but you see ‘cancelled’ and your heart just sinks.
“One cannot think well, sleep well, love well if one has not dined well”. Virginia Woolf
So we all know that secretly the only reason we travel is to try all the fabulous food and wine of a country. (It’s okay, your secret is totally safe with me) But, if you haven’t done so already, may I suggest you make your next culinary adventure a tapas crawl in Spain. I guarantee it will not disappoint. Read more
Extract from my winter pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago last year:
‘The Way’ follows the story of a father who decides to complete his son’s journey to Santiago after he is killed in a storm in the Pyrenees whilst walking his first day of the camino. Emilio Estevez wrote and directed the film and also acts alongside his on-screen and off-screen father, Martin Sheen. The story begins in St Jean Pied de Port where Tom (Martin Sheen) hoists on his son’s backpack and begins walking to the cathedral of Santiago some 780 kms away.
Some people despise all the planning that comes before a journey. I love it! For me the journey officially begins as soon as I start to plan it. The anticipation is half the fun.
Of course I know the plans will change a thousand times before any kind of departure, and most plans tend to dissipate once you are actually in a place. But all the research, reading, day-dreaming and discussion that precedes a departure is a constant reminder of what is now the inevitable: there is a journey ahead. Read more