One of the wisest sayings known to us is the adage which states love is a journey, not a destination. It acknowledges that love, like change, is one of the few constants in the universe, and that it is something etheric, an intangible force beyond our physical beings. As such, when love is true, is easily shifts and adapts to fit the changes around and within us, winding them together with an overarching sense of harmony and meaning.
This reality is beautifully demonstrated by the union of Anastassya and Paul, who first met in the wild and rugged land of Kazakhstan, where Paul was working at the time—but this was only the beginning of their great journey. In the fall of 2013, Paul and Anastassya decided to test the strength of their bond, and the task they undertook was far from conventional: They decided to walk the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James), an ancient pilgrim route which stretches for almost 800 km from St. Jean-Pied-du-Port near Biarritz in France to the tomb of St. James (Santiago in Spanish) in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
This route demands much of travellers, who often walk 20-plus km every day, hiking up and down through the mountain passes in the Pyrenees and then meandering through the vineyards and villages of Rioja country. Soon, the pace of modern life and all of its distractions fades away, and one is faced squarely with one’s inner self while also coping with the physical demands of endless hard walking. This journey is not merely a pilgrimage to honour the remains of St. James, is pilgrimage into the deepest recesses of the heart, into who you are when all that matters in life is finding simple food and drink and a place to rest at night. It is therefore little surprise that people say if a couple can go through the Camino, they can survive anything.
Paul and Anastassya passed this ancient test of faith and love, and so decided to cement their union with a simple wedding in Paphos. This beautiful coastal town, the supposed birthplace of the mythical goddess of love, Aphrodite, was the perfect location for their very small and intimate ceremony. As you can see from the photographs, which were taken near Paphos town hall (situated in the Old Harbour, near the beach), this was a beautiful and very “full of feeling” wedding. The playful smiles of Paul and Anastassya and the open delight in their eyes shows that for this couple, there is no destination—Wherever they are, they are home with each other.