We shouldn't be afraid of challenges say Maxim Behar and Veneta Pisarska in "Artefir" on Radio Hristo BotevOctober, 2023
Host: “The Camino Way. Quick, Еasy and for fun" is becoming the latest travel guide to Santiago de Compostela. The authors are Maxim Behar and Veneta Pisarska. Detailed description of the routes, what you can see on them. Whether to take such a trip and what you should take with you. What you need to know before you set off on this journey, which is also called "the way of the soul". All this is summarized in the book by Maxim Behar and Veneta Pisarska. After returning from this interesting adventure, they decided to write a book. But now we are happy to welcome them to our studio to tell us a little more. Good afternoon and welcome.
Maxim: Good afternoon.
Veneta: Good afternoon and hello.
Host: First, how did you decide on this Camino Road adventure?
Veneta: This adventure has been sitting on our agenda for a very long time. It has been researched and lived with for a very long time. We just stayed locked in during Covid and it came by itself.
Host: Did you have any hesitations? A lot of people want to take on this challenge, but sometimes they worry if they'll be able to endure the long roads that must be traveled.
Maxim: We didn’t have any hesitations. We saw that this journey could be quick - a minimum of 120-130 kilometers is enough to receive a certificate from the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. It wasn’t hard to walk this distance and the only thing we felt at the end was pleasure. Thus, the subheading of the book was born - “Quick, easy, and for fun”. We also wanted to send a message to all those people who would like to go, but have concerns about getting tired, having muscle aches and etc. Everything is written in the book in great detail.
Host: Certainly, one of the most remarkable places you have seen is the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Quite a few people choose this road for pilgrimage purposes. Is that how you felt about it?
Veneta: For us, that was not our goal. We really set out to do it this time just so we could be together and get out in nature. To see other things that we can't see in everyday life. And we really spent a lot of time together, we could talk a lot more than we do at home. It was kind of cathartic for me. We met a lot of people we wouldn't have met anywhere else. We had a great experience.
Maxim: Of course, religion may be one of the reasons why many people especially Catholics take this path. But on the last day when they have reached Santiago the last thing, they think about is religion. It's a challenge. And the challenge was probably the main reason we went and did it. One must overcome challenges every day, maybe small and once a year or every two years big challenges that will be remembered. That's the main message in our book, that we shouldn't worry about challenges at all. We should try them and the moment we decide to do that, we have overcome 80% of the challenge.
Host: The first step of the journey is the town of Saria and with it, the book begins. What was your first impression? There is an interesting story there. Will you tell us?
Maxim: Well, this story will continue to happen in the years to come. It's just that we arrived without our luggage because they lost it. We had two options either to stay somewhere and wait for it or go on our way. As we were getting our city clothes off the plane we decided to leave. At a store, we found a small carrier with shampoo, two toothbrushes, and toothpaste. With these, we made it the rest of the trip.
Veneta: And really that's when you realize that you need very few things. The thing you need is great company, a good mood, and mental preparation that you're going to overcome challenges.
Maxim: One of the reasons we wrote it was that if we had this book, we would have packed our bags and prepared ourselves in a very different way. We saw movies, we read books in whole or in part about Camino before we left. None of it was pragmatic. So, we decided that we needed a very practical book that would give you a full understanding of what the Camino is and how to prepare if you want to do it.
Host: Yes, it is, and it's nice to note that there are various routes that you also include in the book. I want to draw your attention to Via de La Plata, one of the oldest roads in Europe. Did you get to it?
Veneta: No. That's part of another road. We did the last 150 kilometers of the French road. It is the oldest road to Camino. Via de La Plata is probably the oldest trade route crossing Spain since Roman times. But it is much more difficult, there are places with challenging sections, and it is the third most popular in the statistics. The French Road has remained the most popular. The Portuguese has been gaining popularity in recent years. Perhaps Via de La Plata comes next.
Host: Does the Camino Road reach the end of the earth as the Romans claimed and defined the city of Finisterre?
Veneta: Well, yes it does. There are even rituals about burning shoes, and bags, throwing clothes and backpacks into the sea. If one has traveled 800 - 900 kilometers on the French road passing the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela then one can make another 100 kilometers to Finisterre to the end of the earth.
Host: “Buen Camino” this is the greeting you use when you meet other people who have taken this path. What interesting people have you met?
Maxim: “Buen Camino” if you go, you will mention it between 200-300 times a day because you meet all kinds of people. We met very interesting people from all over the world who didn't care where we were from, where Bulgaria was, what we were doing if we were famous. It was important to them that we were there, that we were together, and it was important to us, and we didn't care about them. We had great conversations. One of the last days, we were talking to an English woman about whether she was worried about traveling alone and she told us that you can never be alone on Camino. And that's a fact because you meet interesting people every kilometer. You talk to them you keep going together. Some are faster, others are slower. And I for one at one point called it the most interesting social network in the world. Because on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you go look at a picture of a person, you invite them as a friend and if they're nice they'll accept you, if not they won't. Whereas there you have no choice. You can't block anyone, you can't unfriend. You just walk with these people and talk. Everything was super positive, and we came back full of positive energy.
Host: What have become your favorite spots from this trip? Because the Camino goes through many different places.
Veneta: Almost all the places we've gone through have stayed with us in some way. We went through beautiful eucalyptus forests with amazing smells. Through fields, through farms with cows. It's very hard for me to say I have a favorite nook or place. Much more memorable for me were those encounters with people and the moments spent in one place or another.
Maxim: We do have a favorite discovery though and that's the amazing combination of their local wine, jamon, and cheeses. But you know after 2-3 days I would get up in the morning and start thinking about my evening bottle of Rioja. We told ourselves we had 20-25 miles to the next place and in the evening, we just had to find a place with great wine. And it's the small elements that ended up making our whole trip very interesting and relaxing. Yes, we had calluses, our feet were swollen we had muscle strains. However, it doesn't matter at all against the backdrop of having a nice time and the interesting things you encounter. If it was easy what fun is that? After all, easy things don't give you pleasure. It may give you some momentary relaxation, but it's the hard things that give you the real pleasure in human life.
Host: I was impressed that in the book you mention the town of Behar in Spain from which your ancestors were expelled. Could you tell us?
Maxim: We were there two months ago, and it was super interesting. One of the Camino roads goes past Behar. Even when we were there, we saw a map of exactly where it goes. It's a lovely town about 250 kilometers from Madrid, close to Salamanca. Legend has it that in 1492 the Spanish Queen expelled by decree all Jews who did not accept the Catholic faith from Spain. According to legend, many of these people who left Spain then took the names of the towns they came from. And it is my explanation that my ancestors were given that name because they fell then into the Ottoman Empire. We are from Shumen where there are many Bulgarian Turks and I guess that's why they settled there. We were fascinated by a wonderful place with very nice people. What we are doing now is to have all Behar people from all different countries meet. And I would be very happy to get some 1,000 people in town next year so we can see each other.
Host: I'd also like to turn the tape back to your previous book, which is about Seychelles recipes and more about heaven on earth.
Maxim: It was born out of the show "The cherry on the cake" in which I cooked Seychellois cuisine. I collected these 25 recipes with the help of a Bulgarian friend who spent many years in the Seychelles and now has a restaurant in Ruse, Milen Velikov. I decided to publish books with interesting recipes and stories. It is already translated into English and Veneta will translate it into French. You can buy it in English on Amazon.
I'm very glad I did it as quickly as our Camino book. We did it from the heart and it turned out well. And because I've written a lot of business books, I started saying I write interesting books that get bought. Because business books have a very narrow readership.
Host: Thank you very much for that participation.