Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day 25: A Change of Plans...

The desk clerk rearranged the furnishings to show it
was set up during filming of The Way.
September 5: I woke up early--a bad hiker habit--long before sunrise, and I started looking up information about the rest of my hike. Until now, I only carried a guidebook that described the route from Le Puy to Saint Jean and had no information about the route beyond Saint Jean. With my maildrop the day before, I now had information about the rest of my planned hike.

And early in the morning, I started adding up the miles:

Camino Frances (from Saint Jean to Santiago): 790 km
Camino Finisterre (with a return via Muxia): 87 km (+114 km)
Camino Portugues (from Porto to Santiago): 241 km
Camino Portugues (from Lisbon to Porto): 372 km

Which meant I still had to hike 1,600 kilometers to meet my goal, and I had 63 days before I turned into an illegal immigrant. Which meant that I had to average a minimum of about 25 kilometers per day in order to complete my hike. That's certainly not an impossible goal, but it failed to include a few important considerations.

One, I always fly standby, and I had to consider that if flights were full, it might take several days--perhaps even as long as a week--to get out of the country. I really shouldn't try using the full 90 days I have available in the EU--I should give myself at least five days for possible travel delays.

Two, it didn't consider the time it would take to travel from Santiago to Lisbon--certainly not something I could do in the morning and knock off 25 kilometers the same afternoon.

Three, it didn't consider adverse weather conditions. Stuff like rain tends to discourage my wanting to hike long distances.

You'll see that staircase in the background of the movie.
The desk clerk said he was hiding behind the counter
here to be out of the film but still push the button
to control access to the front door.
And lastly, it didn't consider the fact that I might want to stop and play the tourist in various towns along the route.

With those sorts of considerations, I really needed to do 35 kilometers or more for each full day of hiking, and even that might not be enough. I didn't want to do that much hiking each day, rain or shine, skipping neat places along the route just because I was in a race to reach Lisbon before my time ran out.

And just like that, I made a fateful decision: I would no longer hike to Lisbon. Nope. The Camino Portugues was out. I'd just have to save that route for another year.

Now I was left to complete 991 kilometers (790 + 87 + 114), which meant I only had to average 16 kilometers per day to stay within my 90-day limit. Given the same considerations as before, I figured a good 25 kilometers for a full day of hiking would get me done and back in the United States with plenty of time to spare. And anyhow, 25 kilometers per day--about 15 miles--sounded like a more fun and pleasant hike.

And my race to get in miles came to a screeching halt, just like that, right there in my hotel room. I was no longer rushed. I could now take a day off here and there. And by golly, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port would be a wonderful place to have my first day off! Zero day, here I come!

Same photo, different exposure. =) Apparently they
filmed a scene that had Martin Sheen walking down
this staircase that was never used in the movie.
Not only that, but the weather forecast for tomorrow was significantly better than the weather forecast for today, and I really wanted to hoof it over the Pyrenees on a clear day to admire the beautiful views I'd always heard so much about. Today called for a lot of clouds and fog. Tomorrow was expected to be partly cloudy or maybe even sunny.

So I spent the afternoon exploring the town a bit more and wandering the streets. When I talked to Amanda and she learned that I was staying at the hotel where they had filmed some of The Way, she told me that I had to walk out to the train station to take photos of that as well since it too was in the movie.

"But..." I tried to explain, "that's way at the edge of town!"

But she'd have none of it. She wanted photos of the train station, so I made the trek down to take a couple of photos there.

When I returned to the hotel, the light was better than the day before, so I took a couple of photos in the lobby where the desk clerk saw me and got all excited about the movie again. He started rearranging the chairs to how they were set up during the filming, and stood by the door explaining that the camera was positioned there.

I pretend to be Martin Sheen. The engravings on the
fireplace, although I couldn't read them, apparently
were not appropriate for something in a funeral home
so they tried to avoid having that show up in the movie.
(I assume they got rid of the TV behind me
during filming as well.)
"And hey! You should sit here!" He told me, pointing to one of the chairs. "That's where Martin Sheen sat. I'll take a photo of you in his seat!"

I went ahead and took Martin Sheen's seat and the man took a couple of photos of me with my camera.

He also told me that he told the film crew that they should probably try to avoid getting the fireplace in any shots because the writing embedded in it would have been completely inappropriate for a funeral home that the lobby stood in for. I don't remember what it translated into, though--just that the translation wasn't something you would have expected to see in a funeral home.

But the staircase, he told me, does show up in the movie. The desk clerk explained that he was hiding under the counter during the filming since he wasn't supposed to be in the movie, but he had to access the button to open the front door as necessary.

I couldn't help but love this man's enthusiasm. He'd have probably talked all day about the filming of the movie if he had half a chance, but then another customer walked in the door and I skipped up back to my room.

And most of the day, I spent on my laptop catching up on blog entries. Finally--after over three weeks of hiking--I had managed to build up a small backlog of blog posts and could reliably post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It had been a challenge to get my blogs posted when I was trying to hike over 30 kilometers nearly ever day. With all day to write up blog posts and shorter hiking days, my blogging troubles were finally over.

The train station in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. Amanda made me to walk down
to get this photo. =)



My expert movie guide wasn't around to tell me where/what they filmed
at the train station, camera angles, and such, so I took one photo
of the front (above) and this one behind the train station.

Inside the cathedral in Saint Jean. (This cathedral wasn't in the movie, if I remember correctly.)

In related news, if you haven't seen The Way, it really is an enjoyable movie and well worth the time to watch. And if you're reading this blog, I'll be traveling over the area the movie covers from this point to the end of my hike. =)

3 comments:

anne bonny said...

Yay, self-portrait!!!

A M Jenner said...

Portrait, not self-portrait. Ryan didn't take the photo. ;-)

Ryan said...

It's a portrait of "myself"--so I don't care what you say. It's still a self-portrait. ;o)

-- Ryan