For more than a thousand years, pilgrims have been making their way on foot to the Spanish city Santiago de Compostela, the
purported resting place of the remains of Saint James, one of the disciples of Jesus Christ. The pilgrims walk hundreds of miles that make up the Camino, which in Spanish means the path, a road, a route, a way.
Pilgrims from every background are today drawn to the Camino from all over the world and for a wide variety of reasons. Some are ill, some grieving, some confused, some celebrating, some walk out of devotion or in fulfilment of a vow and others are just simply curious. Some will have walked a hundred miles, others five hundred and others more than a thousand. What is nevertheless common to them all is that they will have left behind what is familiar and habitual in order to wake each day to a new vista, to a new stretch of road, to the scents and flavours of a land other than their own.
Narrated by Alan Field, along with his friend actor Jody Latham, both are off on the walk along the Camino, only this will be a very long walk. Neither trained for this walk, nor have they ever walked for longer than a few miles. Now they need to walk around 15-25 miles a day for twenty-eight consecutive days.
Starting at Saint Jean Pied de Port in France and continuing over the mountainous Pyrenees, along the landscapes and wine growing Rioja region, across the barren deserted Meseta, visiting the majestic Cathedrals of Pamplona, Burgos and Leon, through the luscious valleys of the Galicia region towards Santiago de Compostela, covering around 500 miles, Alan and Jody will not only discover the nature of the Camino, but of themselves.
Inspired to do the walk by reading acclaimed author Paulo Coelho’s book ‘The Pilgrimage’, they will try to follow in the authors own footsteps, followed by a meeting with the author to take place in a forest somewhere in Geneva on completion of the walk. The Camino was the inspiration behind the world’s best selling book by the same author called ‘The Alchemist’. What was special about the Camino to inspire such a book to be written, which has sold over 85 million copies and soon to be made into a movie blockbuster by the Weinstein Company, is something only those that walk it know.
Steeped in history and religious myth and legend, the Camino is also the ‘walk of walks’ for most ramblers today. So whether it is the stories of the knights of the templar or the burial grounds of El Cid, or the old churches, which hold stories of miracles that dot the landscape along the ‘way’, this is sure to be a journey of the mind, soul and body.
The Camino is unpredictable. So many people begin the walk, over 100,000 people a year, but not all complete it. Even lives have been claimed on the way, as many as 12 deaths in 2013 alone, some hit by passing vehicles along the dangerous roads, drowning or from existing health problems.
Those who have completed the Camino often report that, having set out with one purpose in mind, their eyes were subsequently opened to other possibilities and aspects of the Pilgrimage and many profess themselves to have been changed by the experience, both in their attitude to others and in their conception of themselves. Once it was the Apostle who was believed to work miracles on behalf of the pilgrim and now it was the Camino itself.
The Road to Santiago will be a real journey packed with incidents and chance encounters, both questioning others and themselves. There will be arguments, laughter and the meeting of strangers who become family, excruciating body pain, the miracles of ‘Our Lady,’ the possible meeting with Paulo Coelho and the notorious snoring in the albergues (hostals).
All this will make the Camino a walk to remember, not only for Alan and Jody, but also for the viewers who will have the chance to walk alongside them.