The call of El Camino de Santiago – a walk also known as ‘The Way of St James’ – may not resonate with everyone, but it’s been a favourite of the faithful for centuries.
The French Camino route – the most popular one – begins on the French side of the Pyrenees and goes west across the north of Spain, twisting through villages, vineyards, cities like Pamplona and León, before ending in the city of Santiago.
You carry what you need on your back, so it’s recommended you only have two changes of clothing. But dotted the length of the walk are ‘albergues’ – hostels with beds and cooked meals for pilgrims only. They cost about $16 a night plus $16 for a three-course dinner, with plenty of wine (although Wiseman decided to go alcohol free).
The spirit of the walk is what so many refer to – the quiet days of solitude, evenings with like-minded people looking to find their way back to their religion, their lives, their true selves.
‘Flying solo’ was part of what drew Wiseman to the Camino, a chance to get back to her “authentic self”.
One of the stand-out sections of the Camino walk is at the Cruz de Ferro, a simple iron cross that towers over the countryside.
After five weeks, Wiseman admits she had sky-high expectations for the final walk into Santiago and the last stop.
Life after the Camino has returned to full pace for Wiseman – theatre in Melbourne, finishing up the series Rake, tutoring at The Actors’ Program and filming season four of A Place To Call Home.