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My "The Way "- the movie story!

Kevin Whitten

Camino(s) past & future
Sept. - Oct. 2012
I have been itching to tell this story so here it is!

In April, 2015 I was approaching Leon on the Camino Francis for the 3rd time. As it turned out, I was with my brother in law but he was a day behind me, so I decided to spend an extra day in Leon in order for him to catch up.

I had heard a number of stories and good things about the Parador de Leon and I decided to indulge myself with a 2 day stay at that amazing hotel.

When I went to check in, I thought "why not have some fun with this" and I approached the young lady at reception with my considerable Canadian charm. I should point out that this is the same charm that normally gets me a full body and cavity examination when I use it on female immigration and custom officials.

Anyway, with my roguish smile, I asked if Emilio's and Martin's room from the movie was available, "wink".

I can only surmise that there were some serious disfunction between management and staff, as she looked at me for a long moment and then asked me to wait after which she disappeared into the back room.

While she looked a bit glassy eyed when she came back, she was kind enough to advise that "yes" it was available though I had to pay another 25 euros for the 2 nights. What did I care? I was going to share a bathroom with Emilio, Martin, Yorick, James and Deborah. Yes, I know, how bad that sounds!

So the porter decides to take my backpack, like I needed it after walking 32 km's, but who am I to interfere with the division of labour. Plus the gentleman looked a bit like the cat that swallowed the canary.

So we go upstairs and when he opens the door, I found myself in the President's suite. Of course he is smirking like a mad man to see my reaction. Equally nonplussed, I had to pretend that I expected this and in my best Canadian pretentious "idiot" voice, I asked if there was anything bigger. I don't think he bought it even a little bit.

You see the suite consisted of the main living room, the dining room, a shower stall that was bigger than most of the places I had stayed in to that time, a bedroom with canopy bed and sundry smaller rooms that had no meaning to me as I had no servants accompanying me.

For those of you that have stayed at the Parador, when you enter the building, there is a little balcony over the front door and this is the Presidential suite. The bedroom doors open out onto it and I believe that if you had an "Il Duce" complex, this was the place to exercise it.

Anyway, I am going to cut to the chase here.

In the movie, when "Martin" (my new best friend as we shared a toilet) goes to the door to let the people in, it was in fact the living room as it had access to the outside hall. The real bedroom had a long hallway to get to it and as such, wouldn't have allowed for filming.

Apparently, they took all the furniture out of the living room and replaced it with the bedroom furniture for the filming.

Sorry if I am the one to burst your bubble about how it all went down. Hollywood can be a cruel fantasy.

If it makes you feel any better, they only left 2 sheets of toilet paper on the roll. They never mention that at the Oscars!


"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
:) What a great story, Kevin. I'm a bit jealous. This last October after reaching Leon from SJPdP, and while I was waiting for my son to arrive from Denver to meet me, I had wanted to stay at the Parador. It was, sadly closed for its renovation.

Camino Chris

One step forward...
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
On my first Camino in 2015, when we stepped in to the Parador in Leon, we took a look around the lobby and then asked if we could stay to enjoy breakfast in their restaurant. We were told "no", it was just for hotel guests. As we turned to leave, we saw this 'gentleman' checking out of the posh hotel at the front desk. We were right behind him out on the street.

Jeff Titelius

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (León to Santiago) 2018
How fantastic and loved the hints to your Canadian charm. LOL! You know, that scene was one of my favorites, if not my very favorite, for it shows how four people from very different backgrounds walking for very different reasons united to become their own Camino family! It nearly makes me cry for joy every time I watch it!

Kevin Whitten

Camino(s) past & future
Sept. - Oct. 2012
On my first Camino in 2015, when we stepped in to the Parador in Leon, we took a look around the lobby and then asked if we could stay to enjoy breakfast in their restaurant. We were told "no", it was just for hotel guests. As we turned to leave, we saw this 'gentleman' checking out of the posh hotel at the front desk. We were right behind him out on the street.
View attachment 50646
For the record, this is not me. I don't have a hat :)
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2013- 2015-2017
CP 2019
Wow Kevin. That’s a cool story. I first saw The Way in 2010 at a screening. When it was over the lights went up and there in the front row were Martin and Emilio!!!! They were doing a cross country PR tour for the movie. They did a 30 minute Q n A. What a wonderful experience. I, never having herd about The Camino before was like a deer in the headlights and didn’t know what to ask.
Since then I’ve been obsessed with the pilgrimage and have watched the movie a minimum 100 or more times trying to recognize places and seens.
The Camino has helped me simplify my life and I enjoy sharing my faith with other Peregrinos.
Thank for the memory Kevin.


Camino(s) past & future
Leon to Santiago Oct 2016
Porto to Santiago Oct 2017
I've a 'the way' story, but it actually happened in Canada. :)
We have some wonderful neighbors at our cottage who simply couldn't understand why my wife and I would want to walk in Europe somewhere. Why not just walk the Bruce Trail? (a 850km trail through Southern Ontario Canada) Can't you take a train? You are going to put all your stuff into a backpack and carry it? My wife who was walking from SJPdP and I who would meet her and walk from Leon got a lot of, you're walking alone? Is it safe? How will you stay in touch? And many more well meaning questions from concerned inquisitive friends. We tried to explain it as best we could, as my wife had walked in 2001 and although we knew it would have changed.
Well we walked it and came back, but as many of you I think have found out the stories just don't transition as deeply as you experienced them?
We had the idea to get a projector and speakers and show 'the way' on the side of the cottage inviting all to bring chairs for a movie with popcorn provided. We weren't sure how it would go over. But... We had many come and sit outside beside a lake on a beautiful night and watch a movie none of them had even heard of and...it worked.
We received many 'ahhhs' and 'oh I think I get it now' and even a bit surprising 'you know we were all talking and we decided you were a bit crazy' (not sure that one changed to be honest).
Two are even planning their own walks now.
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2013- 2015-2017
CP 2019
That is an awesome story Mark. You are sharing the gospel of The Camino!!
My hart is to expand on the story and history of The Camino and bring to light the man of James the greater. The one of whom this whole pilgrimage is celebrating.
I pray you have many more Caminos in your life🙏

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