A few days ago, I was finally able to watch “The Way”, a film starring Emilio Estevez and dad Martin Sheen. It was also produced and directed by Emilio himself. The Estevezes apparently trace their roots back to Galicia, Spain where the story takes place. I was so engrossed in the film that for the first time in months, I wasn’t viewing a film like a critic. Instead, I was focused on the central characters and their journey to one of the world’s oldest pilgrimage sites, Santiago de Compostela.
After watching the film, I got to thinking again about my own personal journey to Camino de Santiago. I have finally decided that I will do the Camino sometime next year… on which dates exactly, I don’t know yet. All I know is that I have met some very kind people who are willing to help me and have received a couple of gifts that I will be putting to good use. I’m talking about the all-weather walking maps and the Guide for the Spanish Camino sent by Camino expert Marc Grossman a couple of months ago.
The waterproof Camino maps have 3D aerial views of the terrain on one side, and useful information (such as recommended food and accomodations) on the other.
That the maps are very lighweight is a big bonus for me because they will not add unnecessary weight on my back (should I finally make the journey). Best of all, the layout is so user-friendly that any amateur hiker (like myself) can easily understand it.
The Camino guide book, on the other hand, contains everything one needs to know about the Camino prior to one’s trip. One section I really appreciate is the suggested 34-day itinerary which I can adjust according to my pace or schedule. The guide also has sections that focus on packing, food, accommodations, health and language.
But for me, the most helpful is the ‘scenarios’ section or Q & A where all possible scenarios were compiled by the author and clearly addressed.
For instance, item #14 is a question that has been bugging me from the start:
I have a bad back (eg. double scoliosis), I really can’t take a backpack with more than a couple of kilos in weight. Can I walk the Camino? The simple and emphatic answer is definitely YES. The challenge is to take the absolute minimum in your pack which does not compromise on your safety (ie water and your outer shell wear.) You would have to have the majority of your things transported by a transporte de mochila service or your partner takes the balance (and that may be problematic).
On a personal note: the author’s wife has double scoliosis and using transporte de mochila service was the best and only solution.
Now, I have scoliosis and have been wondering how I will manage to haul a backpack for a 2-week hike without breaking my back. This bit of information is very helpful to me. And this is just one of the many questions clearly and dutifully answered by Marc. The guidebook is truly an essential tool for those wanting to do The Way.
If you’re interested to get a copy of the Camino de Santiago All-Weather Walking Maps and Guide Book, visit Camino Downunder.
Before I end this post, I’d like to show you a clip of ‘The Way’. I assure you it is an inspiring film about self-discovery and relationships and is a delight to watch even if you’re not the religious type.
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