From St. Jean Pied de Port in Spain, to Santiago de Compostela, a five hundred mile trek over land called the Camino Francés is the most popular route to walk the Camino.
Number Tew and I have a love for this quaint theatre just outside Bathurst station and each time we go and the previews come on we see something we just have to go back and see. During our visit to see Good Hair we saw an ad for Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago. And at first I figured we were both thinking–Um…okay? Then we saw this adorable little boy. When they asked him why he was walking the camino he said quite simply, “Because I had no choice.”
The audience laughed and we fell in love and decided to go back and watch it. For the days between the time we saw the preview and the time we actually went to saw the preview, I couldn’t stop thinking, wondering about the reason a group of seemingly sane people would walk 500 miles across Spain for any reason. Then as the days floated by I came to the conclusion it must be the same reason they trek to Mecca – Religious.
I was partially right.
The documentary follows six people as they walk the Camino and it lists the reasons why. One lady was doing it specifically for religious reason and to find some sense of common ground with her brother who she was doing it with. She was also the lady who brought her little son along. Another woman was doing the Camino because her life was in a rotten state – she got fired from her job. Her boyfriend was drinking himself to death and she had nothing left. One guy was doing it because he wanted to get in shape and find some peace. Two best friends, older men, probably in their late seventies, were doing it because one of them lost his wife recently. But no matter the reason, each person respects the walk and holds it with some fondness even though it was so hard.
At certain parts during the walk, there were things that forces the walkers to stop, like the Iron Cross. It is said you have to leave a stone with something of yourself behind – one lady left her competitiveness written on a stone at the foot of the cross. Also, there were hostels for them to stop for the night where they received food, somewhere to sleep and wash up as well as some spiritual encouragement and fellowship.
The documentary was a wonderful testament to human spirit and spirituality. It gave me some hope that we can live together in one place and be kind to one another even though we are strangers to each other. There is a heart about this journey, a determination that could be felt throughout the theatre we sat in. Think about it, when three guys who’ve never met before the airport in Spain, walk the Camino and become such close friends that when one falls ill the others take care of him, even giving him a more comfortable pair of shoes, that is some kind of human bonding and spirit.
It was wonderfully filmed and filled with humor as well as some educational aspects that would make you not even realize you’re actually learning something. It was a wonderful documentary and a great night out.