Walking the Camino – Six ways to Santiago

Through the hard work of several Asheville Camino aficionado, the documentary, Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago came to Asheville.

I had the pleasure of seeing it, yesterday at the Carolina Cinemas on Hendersonville Rd, along with several Carolina Mountain Club members.

Lydia Smith
Lydia Smith

The movie follows six international pilgrims from St. Jean Pied de Port, France to Santiago, Spain. Lydia Smith, the director, put her heart and soul in this film. After a lot of editing, she chose six main characters. Each brought their own perspective and life situation to the story.

Tomas, a handsome Portuguese 30-something man, started the trek with blisters. Tatiana, a French woman, brought her three-year old son on the Camino and sometimes wheels him in a stroller. She also invited her brother and it’s a toss-up as to who gives her more grief.

Jack and Wayne are the honorary “old guys” from Canada, complete with Tilley hats. As the pilgrims all move from St. Jean to Santiago, their backstory becomes more relevant, which is important in a documentary.

As the pilgrims got closer to Santiago, they didn’t want their trek to end. IAt least, one couple went to Finisterre, on the seacoast. When the pilgrimage started, hundreds of years ago, Finisterre was considered the end of the world.

St. Jean Pied de Port
St. Jean Pied de Port

I  didn’t want the movie to end.; I found the movie moving and entertaining. I don’t understand the lukewarm reviews from Mountain Xpress and the Asheville Citizen-Times. One reviewer said that a viewer had to have a vested interest in the subject matter. Wrong! He reviews plenty of murder mysteries. Does he have a vested interest in murder?

The Camino is becoming the international version of the Appalachian Trail. The Spanish section, which is what is meant by the Camino, attracts walkers and believers from all over the world.

I walked Le Chemin de St. Jacques last fall (September 2013) because I wanted a French experience. But here’s what I learned from reading, talking and seeing the movie. El Camino isn’t a Spanish experience; it’s an international experience. Will I walk the Camino? On the way out, I bought the guide book. For me, that’s always step one.

The movie, Walking the Camino, will be at the Carolin Cinemas until Thursday, May 15. Go and see it.


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