Recently Gene and I finally had a chance to watch the movie The Way. I had heard it was very good, and we were not disappointed. Then again, I shouldn’t have been surprised. It was written and directed by Emilio Estevez, and starred his father Martin Sheen. Emilio also starred as Daniel, the recently deceased son of Martin Sheen’s character named Tom.
Daniel died while on a mission to complete the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James). The Camino de Santiago is a centuries-old 500-mile pilgrimage over Spanish mountain country to the Cathedral de Santiago. It is apparently a spiritual experience that Tom felt Daniel was foolish in trying to complete in the first place.
Tom has Daniel cremated and decides to use his son’s gear to complete the trek and spread his ashes along the way. Hence the name of the movie, The Way. Tom is over 60 years old and has not prepared for the journey, but is determined to start and complete the pilgrimage in honor of his son.
As this is a personal mission for Tom, he plans to do it alone, complete it, and return home as soon as possible. However, life had other plans for Tom. Not only does he see visions of Daniel many times across the trek, but he also hooks up with three other pilgrims whom he just can’t shake.
While they are traveling along the trail, we are rewarded with some of the most amazing scenery. From the huge mountains, Picos de Europa, the beach resort of San Sebastian, and the towns of Burgos, Leon, Gijon, and the most famous of all Santiago. Some of the scenes were so beautiful, especially the scene near the end, that I couldn’t help but want to travel to Spain to see some of these incredible sights. Definitely added to our ever-growing bucket list, lol.
It is an emotional movie but also filled with hope and friendship (even though Tom didn’t want or seek them). They all had different reasons for doing the pilgrimage trail, but it brought them together. In ways that no one thought would. I mostly enjoyed it because of the scenery, but it also made me wish to be able to do something similar someday. I want to have an adventure that completely takes me out of my comfort zone, and will change the way I see life. It was a sad movie, but also inspiring. It is definitely worth adding to your movie watch list. 🙂
Here is a little more information about the Camino de Santiago trail. Also known as the Way of St James, the trail is a network of pilgrims’ ways or pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain. This is where tradition states that the remains of the apostle are buried. Pope Benedict XVI once said, “It is a way sown with so many demonstrations of fervour, repentance, hospitality, art, and culture which speak to us eloquently of the spiritual roots of the Old Continent.”.
The earliest records of visits paid to the shrine at Santiago de Compostela date from the 9th century, in the time of the Kingdom of Asturias and Galicia. The pilgrimage to the shrine became the most renowned medieval pilgrimage, and it became customary for those who returned from Compostela to carry back with them a Galician scallop shell as proof of their completion of the journey. This practice gradually led to the scallop shell becoming the badge of a pilgrim.
In 1987, the Camino de Santiago, which encompasses several routes in Spain, France, and Portugal, was declared the first Cultural Route of the Council of Europe. Since 2013, the Camino de Santiago has attracted more than 200,000 pilgrims each year, with an annual growth rate of more than 10 percent. Below is a link to the movie trailer if you would like to see this movie yourself and learn why this pilgrimage has become so popular.
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