Sunday 4 January 2015

The Way

About 6 months ago I bought a guidebook to the Camino Frances to Santiago. I knew little of the route and I even wondered if it could be a (very) long distance run one day. Since then I've learnt that the path is really rather popular and that everyone has done it (including Michael Portillo 15 years ago). A few weeks ago I met an acquaintance of my wife who had walked it with her sister and written a book and a blog. Then I was bought a DVD of The Way for Christmas. I've read in many places that the movie is nothing like the real pilgrimage but, accepting cinematic licence, it's hard for me to see how it isn't a fair representation as many of the events and circumstances in the film occur in some form in the blogs and books I've read.

A moment of contented discussion
All of this background is starting to become a sign that I might actually go in the future... Initially I'd envisaged walking this by myself as I didn't think my wife would want to face repeated long walks after nights in skanky hostels. I'm not sure that I'm keen for that experience but felt I could accept it for the rest of the adventure. It now seems that she is thinking that an extended time focussing on the simple task of going forward could be attractive to her too; again poor accommodation would be something to learn to accept as part of a simple life.

I'm slightly put off by what I now know of the popularity and near commercialisation of this route as I suppose that my goal was to do an adventure somewhere not far off the beaten track. Rural Spain will pose enough challenges to me, I don't need the Amazon! My thoughts thus turned towards the Spanish GR routes or indeed the less popular trails to Santiago. However the underlying support systems of hostals and route markings give my wife confidence that the task of the Camino Frances would be manageable and not too fearsome. Perhaps this shows differences in what we'd like from such a trip. It would certainly be a great shared experience and something to look back on for years to come, hopefully in a positive way.

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