The time I have spent in Madrid has been nothing short of amazing. From ATMs that aren’t even open 24 hours to death-defying taxi driving, this city has surprised and impressed me at every turn. I have tried some of the best food I have ever had, and enjoyed amazing hospitality from the spanish people. In addition, i have learned so much from just simply walking around and listening to the sounds of the city. The hustle and bustle of a major city is mixed with a much deeper sense of relaxation, and contentment. Economic conditions aside, people here really attempt to enjoy life and only work to live, rather than the other way around. Cafes and bars are rarely empty, and the streets are always filled with people simply enjoying being outside. Madrid has so many things to experience and i’m so thankful I was able to get a taste of it, and cannot wait for more. Of course, there will be no post-modern art next time.
Thanks to Virginia Tech faculty members Annie Hesp and John Boyer, “The Way” was released early in Blacksburg and played in front of a packed house in Burruss Hall last September.
Hesp, an instructor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, personally lobbied Martin Sheen and Emilo Estevez at a conference back in February of 2011. The movie and its famous star and writer travelled to Blacksburg for a screening, capping an intense campaign on Facebook and a YouTube clip posted by Boyer, an instructor in the Department of Geography.
Hesp has biked the El Camino twice. She has also made the pilgrimage twice on foot, accompanied both times by students from the University of Michigan where she was a doctoral student at the time. Hesp’s dissertation focused on the concept of community along the Camino. She was conducting her research at the same time Estevez was writing the movie. Ironically, they were examining many of the same resources at the same time.
In an interview with George Greenia, a professor at the College of William and Mary who organized the “Workshop on Pilgrimage Studies” that Hesp attended in February, Sheen said, “When you get to the core of who you really are, you understand that you’re a part of this whole thing; we’re all on pilgrimage, all the time.”
We’ve visited many neighborhoods and walked with many friends in the eight weeks of prep treks with loaded backpacks.