Excerpt from Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships

My photo
When people sat down at Sarah Seldon’s blackjack game, they always wanted to talk about The Book. “Should I double down? Should I hit? Dealer, I know you’re a gambler; you could let me win if you wanted to. What does the book say?” She had never read this book, this mythical Bible for gamblers. The truth is there are 2256 books, each teaching its own foolproof winning system. But Sarah had been in the casino business long enough to think with a gambler’s mind. Gamblers knew they could follow all the rules of basic strategy, utilize money management and still lose if they weren’t dealt the right cards. The allure and curse of gambling was that there were no sure things. In the end it all came down to luck; gamblers prayed that Lady Luck would show up and that she would stick around for awhile.

#1 Cruise Ship Novel at Amazon

#1 Cruise Ship Novel at Amazon

Thursday, March 7, 2013

YOU CAN TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD WITHOUT LEAVING YOUR MOVIE SEAT AT THE PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL


I love travel, movies and I am lucky because my hometown is the home of the Palm Springs International Film Festival. So for the last few years I have taken advantage of this by having a staycation here and I spend the week binging out on movies and feasting at our great restaurants. Our film festival was started 24 years ago by Sonny Bono the mayor at that time. Over the years it has grown into a star studded event screening 180 movies from 68 countries in 13 days drawing Hollywood and international celebrities.

For many years I skipped the pre-gala star gazing in front of the Convention Center but after last year when Brad Pitt and George Clooney both showed up I decided that maybe I should really get into the spirit. So on a sunny January day we arrived six hours early to save space for on the grass directly in front of where the limos would pull up. I thought I was early but many of the fans arrived at four in the morning ready to wait for that special autograph. The guys in front of me were pros, they had notebooks filled with star pictures.
A great photo my cousin Bobby took of Bradley Cooper

My cousin got took this shot of Ben Affleck signing a picture of - Ben Afleck. Little did we know that his film Argo would win the Academy Award for Best Picture. All day we waited and then just after the sun went down the limos began to arrive, and Naomi Watts, Sallie Fields, Bradley Cooper, Ang Lee and so many others it was hard to keep track of them all. I would like to think of myself as immune to celebrity but when Richard Gere's famous white mane showed up I did feel a little starstruck.
Another great photo of Ben Affleck autographing a photo of himself.

The celebrities are great but the real stars of the show are the movies. It is hard to pick from the best the world has to offer but I study my Desert Sun Festival at a Glance, trying to find movies that will make me laugh, make me cry but most of all take me to a far away place. I would like to share my top 5 films with you so that you can come along on my journey.

1. Every year I hope that we will pick the audience favorite but we never had. This year when we saw The Sapphires at Palm Springs High School I thought maybe this is the year. It is a great movie about an Aboriginal girl group from Australia that entertain American troops in Vietnam. It stars Chis O'Dowd best known for Bridesmaids. It is the kind of movie that comes along and tells the story of a people's struggle with humor. It was the fan favorite at Palm Springs film festival and I predict it will be your favorite too.
The Sapphires shaking their stuff in Veitnam

2. We went to Prague in December and I thought it was a beautiful city, so when I saw that In the Shadow was set in Prague I immediately bought tickets. It is about a time after the war when the Soviets were asserting their control over the Czech people. It follows one honest cop investigating a jewel heist. It is a hard boiled realistic thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

3. It is great to see an Israeli movie that is not about war or the troubles; The World Is Funny takes you to Tiberias, a pretty town set on the Dead Sea. It intertwines the tale of a fractured family, story telling and a famous Israeli comedy troop. It made me laugh and it made me cry and it showed me how the people in Israel lived their everyday lives.

4. A movie about a sex scandal in Sweden in the 1970's caught my eye. Our take on Sweden is that it is so permissive, that it had to be something. Well just like in America the politicians get caught with their pants down only this time it is with under age girls. The title, Call Girl, says it all. The movie centered on a prostitution ring in Stockholm. It not only transported you to another country but also another time, when sex, drugs and rock and roll were all the rage. Like many movies at the festival the director Mikael Marcimain was present and talked to us after the screening. A few hours later we were thrilled to see him at the bar at Workshop Kitchen, a great place to go for hand mixed drinks. That is the great thing about Palm Springs, it is such a small place that you never know who you will run into to.

5. My last movie was the most disturbing of the festival but probably the most honest. It followed the life of a Romany girl in a Hungarian village for a single day. The Romany people have suffered a spate of hate crimes, but prejudice follows them in everything they do. Just the Wind is the winner of the Amnesty International Film Prize and it is also the closest look you will ever have of the Romany community in Europe.

Here are some links to some of my other blogs about the movies:
Click here for My Top Ten Romantic Movies from the Hopeful Romantic
Click here for Casino Movies that Get it Right
Click here for Books to Movies at the Palm Springs International Film Festival

And Hollywood if you are looking for a novel based on a real life love story set in many far away places please check out my story, Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships. 

About the author:
Cara Bertoia is the author of Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships. Her novel is really a travelogue, a narrative, a romance, a self-help manual for gambling and cruising, and a real-life story all rolled into one funny, obsessive, and entertaining story of two people whose separate life journeys meet at a crossroads. Kindle Fire Dept. says, "This novel is a gem that is nothing short of a vacation in a book!"

Please check out her most popular posts at CaraBetoia.blogspot.com  to find more blogs about cruising, casinos and anything that catches her fancy.

Below are the links to Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships



Thursday, November 8, 2012

TAKE A WALK THROUGH SPAIN - READ ABOUT THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO - GET IN THE KNOW - GET IN THE HOT SPOT

Do you remember the song, it mainly rains on the plains in Spain? Well I am here to tell you it rains all over Spain. I know because I walked the Camino de Santiago, one of the most famous medieval pilgrimages in the world. My husband and I walked five hundred miles across northern starting near the French border and ending at Santiago a beautiful city.

We have written a guest blog about our walk for Get in the Hot Spot, a very popular Australian travel blog. I love this blog because Australia is a place I visited many times over the years when I worked for Princess Cruises. The people are extremely open and very funny. It is great to read travel stories with a little different perspective than we get here in America.

So please visit our post and find out all about Get in the Hot Spot.

        Click this link to read about the Camino at Get in the Hot Spot


Cara and Ray in Santiago


The Camino changed our lives in so many ways that are hard to express in words. We have made a video of our journey and would be pleased to tell you about it.
Please go to www.caminovideo.com to find  our movie 'Camino de Santiago a walkers guide' or
Click here to find our movie at Amazon

About the author:
Cara Bertoia is the author of Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships. Her novel is really a travelogue, a narrative, a romance, a self-help manual for gambling and cruising, and a real-life story all rolled into one funny, obsessive, and entertaining story of two people whose separate life journeys meet at a crossroads. Kindle Fire Dept. says, "This novel is a gem that is nothing short of a vacation in a book!"

Please check out her most popular posts at CaraBetoia.blogspot.com  to find more blogs about cruising, casinos and anything that catches her fancy.

Below are the links to Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships




                                

Thursday, October 11, 2012

GET IN THE HOT SPOT BEST BOOKS FOR TRAVELLERS, WRITERS AND FICTION READERS

I am pleased to announce that Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships has been chosen by Get In the Hot Spot Blog as one of its 17 favorite travel books.

If you are not familiar with Get In The Hot Spot you should be it is a great travel blog. It was started by Anabel Candy who is a travel writer living in Australia. The blog is so popular that it receives over 20,000 blog hits a month. But instead of telling you about it I will just share the link.

                                          Click here to 'Get In The Hot Spot'

About the author:
Cara Bertoia is the author of Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships. Her novel is really a travelogue, a narrative, a romance, a self-help manual for gambling and cruising, and a real-life story all rolled into one funny, obsessive, and entertaining story of two people whose separate life journeys meet at a crossroads. Kindle Fire Dept. says, "This novel is a gem that is nothing short of a vacation in a book!"

Please check out her most popular posts at CaraBetoia.blogspot.com  to find more blogs about cruising, casinos and anything that catches her fancy.

Below are the links to Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships

                                

Thursday, September 20, 2012

TOP ROMANTIC MOVIES SET IN EXOTIC LOCATIONS

I wrote a blog of my top romantic movies, about what makes the good ones work. When I started going through my list I realized that many of these movies were set in exotic locations. These movies were love stories but also stories where time and location were at the heart of their story. I love movies about ordinary people, who I can relate to. I have to feel like I could be the star in that movie. Those of you who have read my novel Cruise Quarters know that I am the hopeful romantic. So with that in mind I have given you my top romantic movie set exotic locations.You get to fall in love and take a trip at the same time.

I hate to know too much about a movie before I see it. I like to be surprised; I only read movie reviews after I see the movie. So I will just give you a teaser about each of my picks, just enough to pique your interest. My movies span decades and continents. I have watched a lot of bad movies so that you won't have to. My list is in alphabetical order. I couldn't pick a favorite.

Happy Viewing, from the Hopeful Romantic
1. Ae Fond Kiss - starring Attat yaqubj and Eva Birthisttle Director Ken Loach This movie has a fond place in my heart because my husband is from Glasgow and lives in a neighborhood that is a mix of native Scots and Pakistanis. If you want to take the pulse of a culture this movie gets it right.

2. Doctor Zhivago is one of the most beautifully shot movies of all time. Starring Julie Christie and Omar Sharif based on the novel by Boris Pasternak. The movie is a story of Russia that spans the continent and the Bolshevik Revolution. It is lush and romantic and you will even learn some history.

3. A Town Like Alice starring Bryan Brown and Helen Morse based on a novel by Nevil Shute This might be bit of a cheat because this is an Australian mini-series. It takes the romance through many years from a Malaysian prison camp to a town in the back of beyond in Australia. This movie captures the awkwardness of reconnection and starting over in a new land.

4. The Year Of Living Dangerously starring Sigourney Weaver and Mel Gibson See this movie and for a few hours Mel Gibson once again becomes the sexiest man alive. Set amidst a revolution in Indonesia the country provides a dramatic backdrop. The movie provides an unlikely matchmaker in Linda Hunt.  

If any one in Hollywood is listening I have a great story about two ordinary people who meet in a very big world. It would fit in quite nicely at number five. And if anyone would like to see my full list of romantic movies please visit - http://carabertoia.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-top-ten-romantic-movies-from.html

Cara Bertoia is the author of Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships. This novel about her experiences working on a luxury cruise ship is the top rated casino or cruise ship novel at Amazon. This novel is really a travelogue, a narrative, a romance, a self-help manual for gambling and cruising, and a real-life story all rolled into one funny, obsessive, and entertaining story of two people whose separate life journeys meet at a crossroads. Kindle Fire Dept. says, "This novel is a gem that is nothing short of a vacation in a book!" It will be featured at E- Reader News Today on September 3, as bargain book of the day. You can read more of her blog at carabertoia.blogspot.com and please let share your own picks for top romantic movies.

About the author:
Cara Bertoia is the author of Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships. Her novel is really a travelogue, a narrative, a romance, a self-help manual for gambling and cruising, and a real-life story all rolled into one funny, obsessive, and entertaining story of two people whose separate life journeys meet at a crossroads. Kindle Fire Dept. says, "This novel is a gem that is nothing short of a vacation in a book!"

Please check out her most popular posts at CaraBetoia.blogspot.com  to find more blogs about cruising, casinos and anything that catches her fancy.

Below are the links to Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships

                                

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

MATT POSNER INTERVIEWS ME FOR A SWITCH


This week I was interviewed by Matt Posner the talented author of School of The Ages.


What's your name, where are you from, where do you live?
My name is Cara Bertoia and I live in Palm Springs, Ca. It is a beautiful little town on the edge of a very big desert surrounded by chocolate colored mountains.

What do you write and why do you write it?
I write stories about my life, the lives of people around me and I try to write funny and romance is about the funniest thing I can think of.

Recommend to readers a book you have written.
Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos And Cruise Ships is the # 1 cruise ship and the #1 casino novel at the Kindle store. It was chosen as 'Read of the Week' at Tripatini.com.
 

The Review Girl blog raves, "Cruise Quarters is an amazing travel novel which is as much about romance as it is about travel (the novel is based on their real-life love story)."
It is a fun, fast paced tale of working in the casino aboard a Regal Cruises cruise-ship. It is based on a true story and was written by authors who have decades of experience working on luxury cruise ships and in casinos across the globe.

But a reader Janis from Oregon wrote a review that is so good that I think it is the perfect sales pitch for my book:
This review is from: Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships (Kindle Edition)
This novel is really a travelogue, a narrative, a romance, a self-help manual for gambling and cruising, and a real-life story all rolled into one funny, obsessive, and entertaining story of two people whose separate life journeys meet at a crossroads. While I've been on many cruises, I am about to embark on a 2-week cruise and this book also is kind of a primer for setting sail. It is a fun read with interesting cruising tidbits. Go for it.

Recommend to readers a book by someone else.
I would like to recommend a book that addresses the torture that is dating. I like it because it made me laugh, and I could really relate to the characters. Scratch by Danny Gillan, is a funny tale about lost love set in Glasgow, Scotland - my husbands hometown. I had been to so many of the settings in the book I felt right at home. 


Tell an interesting experience from your life as a writer.
After I graduated college I got a job teaching high school in North Carolina. On a summer break I drove across country with two friends and we all got jobs in a casino in Lake Tahoe. Tahoe was a beautiful place and casino jobs were the best ones, especially dealing. They all went home and I stayed. I worked at Caesars Palace for a few years but then I moved to the North Shore of the Lake. The place I worked at was an old school casino it had been a rat pack hangout in the old days and even now autographed photos of movie stars adorn the walls. The casino sat right on the lake and as I dealt I looked out at a beautiful view of the crystal blue lake. The border between Nevada and California ran down the middle of the casino.
 

The owner was a plumbing contractor from Fresno. The head of security was an ex-Mossad officer and every few weeks we would be strapped down and given lie detector tests. They let porn movies be filmed in the casino and there were rumors that he rigged the slot machines. I’m not sure if that was true but he did manage to get his casino closed down by the Nevada gaming commission, no small feat. One day a sports agent with Hollywood connections played on my game and encouraged me to write down all my great casino stories. That was the day I became a writer, well my script got as far as HBO where it was promptly rejected but that didn’t matter, I was a writer.

Tell an interesting experience from a non-writing job you've had.
A year later I went back to the real world and became a systems analyst by day, writer by night. I lived in Boston, the home of perpetual students and so I was able to take writing classes and join critique groups and get better. After a few years I began working on an MA in writing at Emerson because it had connections in Hollywood. Well, just before I was scheduled to intern in Los Angeles as a script reader I got the opportunity to join Princess Cruises as a croupier. My choice was spend my dwindling savings on an internship or get paid to see the world. I wasn’t scared of going only staying. The Germans have a word for it torschlusskpanik, the fear of missing the boat.
 

I stayed at sea for five years and I would like to say that I wrote everyday but I didn’t. I spent those years soaking up all the history I could. The ship was my home and the crew bar was my living room and the nights I spent there were research since I planned to tell the story of all my crewmates someday. And then on my last contract I met Ray and my novel became a love story and that surprised me more than anyone. 
My Favorite Place to Beach A Small Private Island, Palm Island


If you had a brush with death, describe it.
One night after dinner a friend and I were walking on the sidewalk in Brookline, Mass. We paused to window shop when a car slammed into a pole just in the spot we would have been if we hadn't stopped to look into that shop. That car would have flattened us, so I feel like I really just cheated death by a few seconds.

What are your views about love?
In my novel Sarah Seldon writes her Basic Strategy of Love.
I will share number 10 with you.
The golden rule of love is this: always be with someone who likes you just the way you are, quirks and all. Always love someone just that way he is. You can change sheets, not people.


Give me a link to a funny youtube video.
This is a funny video we made about Christmas in Beverly Hills a few years ago. Ray and I love to go to Beverly Hills and play tourist for the day.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZXbaGCjTmc

Where can readers look up more about your work?
The address for our blogs are:
http://casinosandcruiseships.blogspot.com/
http://tablegamesconfessions.blogspot.com/
http://carabertoia.blogspot.com


About the author:
Cara Bertoia is the author of Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships. Her novel is really a travelogue, a narrative, a romance, a self-help manual for gambling and cruising, and a real-life story all rolled into one funny, obsessive, and entertaining story of two people whose separate life journeys meet at a crossroads. Kindle Fire Dept. says, "This novel is a gem that is nothing short of a vacation in a book!"

Please check out her most popular posts at CaraBetoia.blogspot.com  to find more blogs about cruising, casinos and anything that catches her fancy.

Below are the links to Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships

Thursday, April 19, 2012

TRAVEL TO TRANSYLVANIA IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF DRACULA


Everywhere you look these days there are vampires, whether it is television, books or movies, a few examples, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, and the phenomenon that was Twilight. Today I will talk with Steve Unger about the history of vampires and why they have become so popular. He has traveled extensively in North and South America, Western Europe, Israel, and Romania. His book, In the Footsteps of Dracula:  A Personal Journey and Travel Guide, 2nd Ed. not only tells the story of Dracula but contains many photos from his journeys. He has been published in numerous travel and bicycling magazines.  but he can tell the story better than I can. 

       How did you become so interested in Dracula?  Why do you think the vampire craze has spread so rapidly and what do you think about the new kinder, gentler vampires?

My obsession to travel to every site related to either the fictional Count Dracula or his real historical counterpart, Prince Vlad Dracula the Impaler, grew out of a visit to Whitby, England, where three chapters of the novel Dracula take place.  I stood on the cemetery hill where, in Bram Stoker's Dracula, Lucy Westenra and Mina Murray spent hour after hour sitting on their "favourite seat" (a bench placed over a suicide's grave near the edge of the cliff), gazing out toward the "headland called Kettleness" and the open North Sea beyond—while Count Dracula slept just beneath them.
In my mind's eye, I could see the un-dead count rising at night from the flattened slab of the suicide's gravestone to greedily drink the blood of the living.
The graveyard where Count Dracula spent his days sleeping in the sepulcher of a suicide looks the part that it plays, with its weathered limestone tombstones blackened by centuries of the ever-present North Sea winds.  That graveyard made the novel more visible, more visceral, to me, and I wondered if the sites in Transylvania and in the remote mountains of southern Romania would evoke the same feelings. As I was to discover—they did.
At that moment I decided to visit and photograph every site in England and Romania that is closely related to either Bram Stoker's fictional Count Dracula or Vlad the Impaler—to literally walk in their footsteps and to write a book about my experiences.


'All Full of Tombstones':  The Old Church Cemetery in Whitby, England

     I think that ever since Dracula was published in 1897 (it's the 2nd most widely read book in the world after the Bible and has never been out of print), there have been vampires to fire the imagination of every generation.  Bram Stoker's original vision of Count Dracula was most closely represented in F.W. Murnau's 1922 silent film Nosferatu with Max Schreck.
     By 1931 Count Dracula had already become urbane and seductive, as played by Bela Lugosi, but still unsympathetic.  Christopher Lee made him more Westernized and imposing.  But with True Blood and Twilight, vampires have finally merged with the audience's dream of what they want to see in their own mirrors (now that vampires cast reflections):  someone attractive, powerful, desiring and desired, and with a back-story that makes them not so much Evil incarnate as, well, misunderstood.

     The brutality of Prince Vlad Dracula the Impaler (Vlad Ţepeş, pronounced Tzeh-pech) in your book is so intense; why was that society so violent?

Vlad Ţepeş was a product of his times.  His father was required to give him up as a hostage to the Turkish sultan when Vlad was in his teens, and it was there that he repeatedly witnessed the practice of execution by impaling.  And although in his quest for power and dominance he impaled more Romanians than Turks, he is still seen as a hero for his part in later battles against the Turkish Empire.
A visit to the island tomb of Vlad Ţepeş confirms the reverence still felt for the historical Prince Dracula as someone who defended the cross, as opposed to the literary Count Dracula, who abhorred it.  The tomb is covered by a stone slab surrounded by golden icons and giant candelabras.  An antique lantern rests on the left side of the slab, a silver engraving of Vlad Ţepeş is at the center, and a vase of fresh-cut flowers graces the right.
On one of the church walls, below Vlad's portrait, is the following inscription (recreated verbatim):
"King Vlad the Impaler Dracula
He was a great European personality in fighting against Turkish Empire for Christianism.  His courrage was admired also by Turkish Army & leaders."
As I took in the medieval splendor of the tomb of Vlad Ţepeş, Father Bănăţeanu, the latest in a line of monks who for over 500 years have lived alone on Snagov Island to tend Vlad's grave, handed me a leaflet that read in part:
" . . . Prince Vlad the Impaler was known in all Europe as Prince Dracula; he was a great fighter against the Turkish Empire.  It is a strange story isn't it?"
I had to agree with that.  It is a strange story, even more strange than I knew at the time.

       What was the most memorable thing you experienced in your travels?

That would be Poienari, the real Castle of Dracula.  I had traveled to other remote, forbidding places before entering the almost lightless forest of Poienari.  But never before or since have I felt the apprehension and isolation I did while climbing to Vlad Ţepeş' mountaintop fortress at Poienari.  The forest was as quiet as a tomb; I can't recall hearing the song of even a single bird.
The ascent was exhausting.  At last, I encountered a grizzled, elfin gentleman sitting on almost the very top step, who indicated with his fingers the amount of the small entry fee.  From there the lone approach to the fortress is by a wooden footbridge.
Of all the places I explored that are associated with Vlad Ţepeş, only at Poienari did I feel that he was somehow still keeping watch.  Perched on a remote peak near a glacial moraine in the Făgarăş Mountains of southern Romania, Poienari remains pristine and almost inaccessible.  Because the terrain is too steep and isolated to ever be cultivated or developed, there will never be a theme park at Poienari with scary rides and Count Dracula/Vlad Ţepeş collectibles.  Nor should there be, given the malevolent history of the fortress.
Thousands of boyars (nobles) and their families had been force-marched there from Tărgovişte to die rebuilding the castle for Prince Vlad; it was here that his treacherous brother Radu stormed the fortress with cannons, reducing the once courtly residence into broken turrets and formless rubble.  And it was here that Prince Dracula's wife cast herself from the highest window of the eastern tower, choosing a swift death over the torture of the stake.






                                                The Fortress of Vlad the Impaler at Poienari

*      What is the biggest misconception people have about the Dracula story?

In my research and travels I discovered two fascinating coincidences that link the historical and the literary Draculas.  First and foremost is that Bram Stoker chose to name his villain "Dracula," based on the translation of the Romanian word "dracul" into "devil," never knowing that the historical Voivode (Prince) Dracula he had read about was also Vlad Ţepeş (Vlad the Impaler), with a horrific and compelling biography of his own.
The second coincidence is the uncanny resemblance of the real Castle of Dracula—Vlad Ţepeş' fortress at Poienari, which Stoker had no knowledge of—to Count Dracula's fictional castle at the top of the Borgo Pass in Transylvania.  Situated atop a high mountain and inaccessible except for a narrow footbridge on one side, Poienari, in its time, mirrored Count Dracula's fictional castle at the top of the Borgo Pass almost stone for stone.

                       Steve, Where is your favorite place to travel?
 
I can never spend enough time in Paris.  Below is the "Vanity," taken at the Pére-LaChaise Cemetery.   
.

Mr. Unger was one of a handful of white students at a black college, Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, and a member of the Bear Tribe, a California commune that tried sharecropping, goat herding, and living in teepees—and failed spectacularly at everything.  These adventures and many more are described in his novel Dancing in the Streets.
He also wrote the accompanying text and Preface for Before the Paparazzi:  Fifty Years of Extraordinary Photographs, which includes over 250 pictures taken by Arty Pomerantz, staff photographer and assignment editor for the New York Post from the 1960s through the early 1990s.  Dancing in the Streets and Before the Paparazzi are available from www.amazon.com.


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Saturday, March 31, 2012

WALK THE WAY WITH MARTIN SHEEN - A MOVIE ABOUT THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO


This weeks blog was written by Ray. I would like to add a disclaimer that we actually sell a movie Camino de Santiago a Walkers Guide a non-fiction account of our walk.

A movie review of The Way by Ray Bertoia:
 I was very excited to finally see a movie that was set on the Camino De Santiago. I hoped it would give a good overview on the trials of walking the Camino while of course the narrative is moved along by the central characters necessary in any drama. Did it succeed? Well yes and no.

The storyline centers around a father walking the Camino in the place of his deceased son and the various characters he meets up with along the way. I'm not going to give away the actual plot here since I don't want to spoil the movie for those who have not yet seen it. As he travels along the Camino various aspects of life on the Camino are gradually revealed to the audience. We see inside a few Refugio's, walk through the forests and spend a little time in some of the towns along the way. Everything is pretty accurate even at the end when the Compostelas are awarded. For those who wish to see an entertaining movie, and also maybe learn something along the way, the film is on the money. An entertaining story and a look at a world you probably didn't know existed.

I don't think however that this film would actually inspire someone to start making plans to walk 500 miles. Perhaps it was the time of year, but to my mind everything looked very bleak. The real camaraderie of the Camino was also missing. Also lacking was the reality of getting up every morning and starting to walk, day after day after day. Where were the aching feet, the absolute exhaustion at the end of some days, even the problem of doing laundry? It seemed that these people never had any of those problems; every day was just another stroll in the park in fresh clothes for them.

I did enjoy all the philosophical discussions about what makes a true pilgrim. Can you go on a bike? Can you stay at a nice hotel? Why are you walking? The competition among the pilgrims from all over the world is always quite amusing. Also I enjoyed the history of the Camino a walk that has inspired people for over a thousand years. To wake up every day and walk the path taken by millions of other pilgrims is quite inspiring.Watching the movie I did get a thrill when I saw the sites I had seen along The Way.

There are plenty of scenes showing the various churches and cathedrals but very little showing the charming villages and the warm hearted locals. Even Pamplona is dismissed as a disappointment, just another town, let me tell you it was quite beautiful.

So overall, if you want an entertaining movie, this is just fine. If the movie peaks your interest then please check out the Camino and if you have a trip like my wife and I then it will be one of the highlights of your life.