A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Alan´s Winter Vdlp -- 2012

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#1
Heading steadily northwards on the VdlP, now having a rest day in Merida, a week and a day out from Seville. Only one morning of drizzle, between Almaden and El Real de la Jara, so can't complain, especially as England seems to be largely under water judging from a brief item on the TVE breakfast bulletin I saw in a bar.

It is very quiet here. In Guillena, there were 2 Murcians and a Québécois in the albergue, but they had been travelling for several weeks on other caminos, so went straight on to Almaden, while I stayed the next night in Castillblanco, as I didn't think a 50km stage on my second day was a good idea.

Since then, in Fuente de Cantos, I met a couple of Germans who were returning to Seville, and nobody else at all (by which I mean other pilgrims - I've met lots of delightful locals) on the camino.

Is there anybody out there?
 

Advertisment

#5
Alan,

As I prefer winter walking I was wondering about lodging on the VdLP Dec-Jan. any feedback on the availability of albergues would be appreciated. I wish you a safe passage and lot's of fun. Keep smiling.
 

Advertisment

nalod

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2011, Finnesterre 2011,Le Puy to SJPDP 2011& 2012,Via de la Plata,Sambrasa 2012, Mozarabe 2013, Portugees 2013.PartNorde 2011, VDPL 2014,St-Guilhem 2014.Espalion-Roncesvalles 2014.Levante2015
#7
Hello and best wishes. You have a beautiful journey ahead of you. I walked it in Feb and March of this year and for 70% of time was alone in the Albergues. Salamanca and Zmora are amazing as are most places.
Very best regards
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#8
Hi Kialoa,

The albergue of the embalse at Alcantara was closed earlier this week, but I'm not sure if that is for the winter, or just for a few days. It was greatly to my advantage, as I stayed in wonderful Cacares for almost a whole day, and arrived at the very pleasant (free) albergue at Casar de Cacares early that evening. I then did a long day to Grimaldo (very cosy albergue, keys at the bar next door, donativo), and a slightly shorter one on to Carcaboso (Senora Elena's private albergue, €11). As you really have to stay in Carcaboso for the long stretch on to Aldeanueva, Alcantara being closed just meant I enjoyed the best part of a day in Cacares (and had to walk for a slightly longer day than planned the next day from CdeC to Grimaldo), arriving in Carcabosa on the day originally planned.

Other albergues I stayed in, earlier on, were Guillena, Almaden, Fuente de Cantos and Aljuescar. Castillblanco albergue closed until Feb 28, but plenty of casas rural etc. Otherwise I stopped at hostals (Almendralejo etc) or other places, but chatting to people didn't hear of any other albergues being closed.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#9
Had a really enjoyable day from Grimaldo to Carcaboso.

Am going to post elsewhere about the problem with Riolobos. Briefly, my view is that there has been deliberate vandalism on the arrows to try get people to detour to Riolobos, and not ill-will by a landowner. But I may be wrong.

Galisteo was such an amazing delight, seeing the former minaret from the distance across the plains, and then having a wander round the ramparts. And seeing several eagles a bit earlier.

I'm now in Carcaboso, having had a wonderfully lazy day doing precisely nothing except write a few postcards and amble around - I'd meant to use the opportunity to visit Plasencia, but stupidly hadn't worked out it's Sunday and the buses aren't working. Sorry to miss Plasencia, but feeling so rested I can't regret it much. Now contemplating the dusting of snow on the sierra south of Salamanca, and the fact that I'm hoping to do 120km from here to Morille in the next three days - to make up for my idleness today ...

Oh, and here's a slightly out of date link to my latest Guardian update:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/the-northe ... days-spain
 

MichaelB10398

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
#10
Read your post today and greatly wishing I could be on Camino. The pull of the Camino stays with me almost daily; so often I find myself drifting off to Santiago. Though it is pleasant to talk with others about the Camino, nothing is as fulfilling as being there.

May God grant you great peace and joy on your journey.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#12
Sadly left Extremadura behind me on Tuesday. It has been amazingly kind to me this time. To have only two hours of drizzle falling on you in two weeks is verging on the ridiculous in December, but that is what happenened to me.

The stretch from Carcaboso to Aldeanueva was longer than it should have been as I followed the hitos towards the end,, rather than the N630, adding probably 2-3km. The aroyo by the A66 was high as well, making for a chilly splodge across without socks or shoes. The albergue in AdC was deserted and seemed to have no donativo box, and nobody in La Union could (or, more accurately, could be bothered) to tell me what to do.

The original plan was to go all the way to Fuenterroble the next day. But I was tempted by the pilgrim discount at Banos to do the circuito romano (you have to show your credencial and get a €10 discount). It was so relaxing and enjoyable, and I felt really clean for the first time in a while. I then spent the night at the Alba Soraya albergue in Las Calzada de Bejar (€10), where Manuela made up a huge fire for me in her empty albergue.

So it was a short day to Fuenterroble, where there was a fire in the main dormitory of the albergue as well - last time I was there I froze quietly in the "American House" to the side.

Don Blas had recommended going to Morille (my next night) via Pedrosillo de los Aires rather than by San Pedro de Rozados, and I'm so glad I did, as I arrived there at noon when there was a matanza in the bar on the edge of the village, and it was heaving with people, and they were handing out plates of delicious unidentifiable (possibly best left unidentified) bits of the pig who had been the star of the show a few hours earlier. The rest of her bits were either hanging out on a sort of washing line in the garden, or being turned into chorizo and salami. Had I stayed until 3.30pm, I could have enjoyed the "degustacion de patatas con sangre" and other delights, but I was already in Monterubbio by then, and a few hours later had a nice quiet dinner in Isa's bar next door to the 6 bunk albergue in Morille, less than 20km shy of Salamanca. (and over half way there ...)
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#13
Well over half way there.

After Morille I was over the battlefield and in Salamanca in good time for lunch - last time I did this trip it was quite overcast, so suddenly coming over a hill before Miranda and getting the dramatic view of the two cathedrals catching the sun in the distance was one of the treats of the trip.

As is Salamanca, of course, and I had a lovely afternoon mostly just ambling around and enjoying te architecture (and the odd pincho in a bar ...). The Salamancans are very aware that they are citizens of no mean city.

It is quite a shock, of course, after three weeks of mostly tiny villages and small towns, suddenly to find yourself in a major city, being jostled by the crowds in the streets and hearing languages other than Spanish for the first time in days.

The next day, in Calzada de Valdunciel I was surprised to find that the fountain was dedicated to the 21st anniversary of the Falange, with their sinister emblem carved in stone above the taps (I'm afraid I was thirsty so I filled my bottle and drank the water, and it was cool and delicious - perhaps there is no such thing as fascist or democratic water). Nearby, under the beautiful baroque portico of the church, was a marble civil war memorial plaque, giving the names of a dozen or so of those who lost their lives "for Spain and for God" (ie, not those who fought for their elected government). At the head of the list was José Antonio Primo de Rivera. Again, slightly surprising, as he wasn't born here and didn't die here.

It is really quite a boring stretch on to el Cubo de Tierra del Vino - worse, I think, than the Zafra-Almendralejo stretch, as at least there you can see the hills east and west and south and north, and shelter from the sun under the olives. Here there is nothing - the motorway beside you, the sun above, and only the tower over Topas prison getting slowly closer and eventually receding.

At el Cubo I was very neatly had. An amiable stocky gent at the edge of the town, who I thought was taking a Saturday afternoon stroll, asked me if I was heading to the albergue. I was, and he offered to accompany me - I assumed, naively, out of disinterested benevolance, and I was glad of a chat after the long flat dull stretch (he breeds pure Arab horses, and is informative about the matanza and local wines). He had me in his private albergue within 10 minutes, and had relieved me of €15 before I had got my wits about me.

This is no criticism at all of the gent in question, just of my stupidity. At no point was I under any compulsion, and, had I not been suffering from a mixture of inertia, manners and embarrassment, at any time I could have made it clear that I wanted the municipal albergue, and gone on my way. But I didn't, so I stayed in his perfectly acceptable place, and not where I'd wanted to be. Sigh.
 
#15
Hello Alan,
You are arriving in Zamora today which is where I just recently spent 17 days as a hospitalero. (We arrive one day early and remain one day after our half month to pass on information to our siguientes.) It is a really wonderful city to be in either as a hospitalero or as a pilgrim although Monday is the slowest day there after all night tapas crawls that the locals engage in on weekends. Thus Monday becomes descanso day for many. If you can get out and walk the main street in Zamora before Angelica and Jose lock the doors at 10, you will see a wonderful meet and greet paseo life of a small but vibrant Spanish city going on.
The museums are well worth viewing as well.
You were asking earlier in the post if anyone was around. We had at least one but often up to 5 every night save one but they were all going in very interesting directions. Some started there, Some stopped. A number were heading in reverse. Some went to Portugal The Via de la Plata gets a good number of cyclists and this gives them a lot of independence from the traditional route.

I hope also that you do not run into the bed bug problems that we were seeing in November. We joked that more bedbugs (some picked up from a hotel in Salamanca) were arriving than pilgrims.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#17
Sunday morning was the first time since Seville 3 weeks earlier when I was actively uncomfortable. I left my entrepreneurial friend in el Cubo just before 8am by the light of the waning moon and Venus, with the prospect of a glorious sunrise. Sadly, it very quickly turned to freezing fog.

And it really was freezing. I come from a Cumbrian hill farm, and spent 2 years as a child in Ottawa city, so I do know something about cold. This felt extreme. For some reason it was just my hands that were affected, but even in their (expensive water-proof) gloves it was painful, and very soon I couldn't hold my sticks and had to bunch up my fists inside the gloves and carry the sticks under an armpit.

Nothing else was particularly uncomfortable. In fact I was probably a walking advert for merino wool, as an impressive hoar frost formed over all my torso, without my particularly feeling it - rather like my alpacas at home (their wool is so efficient an insulation that snow can lie on them and their body heat won't melt it).

And because of the fog you couldn't see how far it was to the next village or anything, which is very demoralising. I was almost crying with pain and self-pity by the time I reached Villanueva del Campean and a life-saving cafe con leche (well over half an hour after I thought I must be due there). My hands were so numb I literally couldn't hold the knife properly to butter my tostada.

Fortunately the fog lifted at about noon, and I was able to enjoy a glorious (still chilly) afternoon watching the dome and tower of Zamora cathedral get nearer. And the first thing I did there was buy a pair of woolen gloves to go under my waterproof ones. The second was to buy a woolly hat (actually the second was to have a copa and a tapa, so the hat was third).

As Tom says, Zamora is a really great place and I'm very envious that he spent 17 days here. I'm having a day of descanso just ambling round collecting Romanesque churches (and the occasional tapa). The paseo last night was fantastic, with all the ladies wearing their full length fur coats (and, for once, actually needing them). I don't think I've caught bed bugs, but I was made a little nervous in the albergue in Grimaldo that there was a fully illustrated 12 page print out from the internet giving more detail than I ever wanted to know about plagas de chinches de la cama. A nice young French group I bumped into after Carcaboso decided to avoid the albergue at Aldeanueva del Camino because they'd heard it was infested, but I stayed there and suffered no particular ill-effects (other than an occasional probably psychosomatic scratching - and perhaps the banos in Banos the next day cured it anyway).
 
#18
Hi, Alan,
Thanks for these great updates. Ambling around to the many (26 I think) romanesque churches in Zamora is a great way to spend a rest day. What a lovely place. I remember the albergue as one of the real gems. Sounds like the weather has taken a turn for winter, probably not surprising but probably not much fun.

I remember it took me 15 days to reach Santiago from Zamora on the Sanabres, so you are on target for a Christmas arrival. You've got some beautiful territory ahead of you, hope you have figured out what to do around Santa Marta de Tera. Stay warm! Buen camino, Laurie
 
#19
peregrina2000 said:
...hope you have figured out what to do around Santa Marta de Tera.
Hi Laurie & Alan. (Nov 2009) In Santa Marta de Tera, 1 km after Santa Croya, there was a refugio (donativo) on the Plaza opposite the romanesque church. I collected the key from Bar Stop. The refugio was a large clean room with beds, hot showers, and loving attention to detail –shampoo, soaps, cleaning supplies and I think a microwave. I purchased supplies in Santa Croya. There wasn't an alimentacion in Santa Marta and neither bar served tapas (I arrived late on a Sunday late afternoon).
Cheers,
 
#20
Hi, lk,

Was it really three years ago that you were walking this route? You probably don't remember this but in response to a post I made about San Pedro de la Nave, you very nicely went to the Zamora tourist office to get info for me on how to visit it (and I did, and it was AMAZING).

Anyway, back to the theme of the main thread, I don't know if you saw Alan's post looking for an albergue between Santa Marta and Mombuey. It's here:

via-de-la-plata-albergues-pensions-and-hostals/topic15699.html

Do you know of anything other than what was suggested on that thread?
 
#21
Three years ago? It feels like just the other day. From Santa Marta de Tera I walked on to Rionegre del Puente (8 hours) where I was tortured by the incessant chiming of the town clock. The albergue is beautiful. From there it is only 8.5 kms to Mombuey. So the following day I took it easy and rested there.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#22
Gosh Zamora’s suburbs are ugly compared to the centre! Very sad to leave having only scratched the surface.

I had been planning to stay at Riego del Camino, as roughly half way between Zamora and Tábara, but the bar was shut and the village didn’t appear to have a great deal to recommend it, and it was only 4pm when I arrived there, so I went on to Granja. Which, other than the splendours of the convent, is not the most exciting place either. The albergue there is fine, and the bar next to it is ok as well – according to the hospitalera’s book, I was the first pilgrim to pass through in a week.

The fog was nothing like as bad as on Sunday, with visibility at around a mile for most of the morning. When I got to the ruins of Castrotorafe, the clouds lifted and I had my first distant glimpse of what I think must have been the foothills that will lead into Galicia.

First thing this morning I turned left at the metal sign that points north to Astorga and west to Ourense. Again, there was a bit of light chilly fog, but it made the landscape look rather lovely, and there were lots of birds on the Esla. The albergue in Tábara is excellent – a decent kitchen, a heater in the dormitory, and oceans of really hot water. (not that I'm using the kitchen - having a nice bit of rabbit in the Casa Roble's €9 menu del dia). According to the visitors’ book, I’m the first person here in a week. Sadly the scriptorium exhibition in the church is closed – the nice barmaid in the Scriptorium bar was very apologetic, and said it had been almost the first victim of the “crisis”.

Thanks for the advice on tomorrow night's stop. It looks as if it shouldn't be a problem - although rain is forecast, so the going may get a bit tougher.
 

Attachments

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#23
I may have overdone the "only 2 hours of drizzle since Seville" line a bit, as arriving in Sanabria today has made up for some of the earlier dryness.

It has been wet. Wet and wet. All day today, and all day tomorrow and Sunday as well, they say. Hey ho. It's a question of left stick down, right leg forward, right stick down, left leg forward, da capo a few tens of thousands of times until you get to where you want to be, making very sure you don't miss any arrows. I did briefly look enviously at a patch of sand by the reservoir just before Villar de Farfon and think what a nice place for a swim that would be and how many pilgrims must have had a dip there in the right circumstances over the last few years. Today was not the day for a dip.

Mombuey albergue is not the best place to dry out damp clothes - I may treat myself to a hotel in Puebla de sanabria tomorrow.

Yesterday I left Tábara in the dark, with the still illuminated tower visible for the next few miles while the camino made yet more detours round muddy AVE works. It’s a very pleasant stroll through the hills for the first few hours, even in low cloud.

Enjoyed the church and statue of Santiago at Sta Marta de Tera. The graveyard does not really contribute to the beautiful Romanesque simplicity of the portico. The lady behind the desk in the church told me proudly that the statue is the oldest known portrait of Saint James as a pilgrim. She also positively insisted on stamping my credencial – “es muy importante” – although thus far I’ve stuck to one stamp per day, at the final resting point. It was a nice stamp, tho’ - of the statue, of course.

Last night was at Calzadilla de Tera, slightly over half way between Tábara and Mombuey. The albergue there is a very decent room on the floor above the jubilados and pensionistas association. Six single beds in a spotless white room with a couple of chairs and a desk – it’s a bit like a hospital ward. A shower with lots of hot water, plenty of blankets, no kitchen (and no bar in the village - and the restaurant with wifi and menu del peregrino across the bridge in Calzada de T is closed on Thursdays, sigh). Donativo.
 

Attachments

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#24
Despite apocalyptic predicitions about today being even worse than yesterday - you know you're in for a bit of a rough time when the weather where you are is a lead item on national TV news - it wasn't that bad. There were some really nasty black clouds apparently heading straight for me, but they decided to go and dump their contents on northern Portugal or somewhere other than my head, which was kind.

I got my first coffee of the day in Asturianos - sadly the Rapina in Mombuey, where I spent a very convivial evening 2 years ago, and which opened at 7am then, is now shut and up for letting, presumably another victim of "el crisis".

And I enjoyed the seven sinners of Otero very much, although slightly shocked to find no water in the fountain there.

The private albergue in Puebla is shut until March 1, so I'm staying across the road in La Trucha (€30). In retrospect, I probably should have carried on into town and stayed at the Carlos V, but wot the hell archie, toujours gai, toujours gai.

The water does seem very high generally so I think I'll probably stick mostly to the main road heading up Padornelo tomorrow (shouldn't be much traffic on a Sunday), as I had enough of wet feet yesterday.
 

Attachments

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#25
Yesterday was best forgotten. Driving rain virtually non stop from Requejo at about 10am all the way to Vilavella, where I stayed in the Porta Galega - and had a restorative caldo galego.

Spent most of the day on the 525 - the unanimous opinion in the Silva bar in Padornelo (well, all four of them - I think the unanamous opinion after I left was probably that I was mad to be walking on such a day) was that the camino itself would be treacherously wet, and certainly the bits I did go on were, with extra waterfalls gushing out of the hillside and pretty horrible conditions underfoot, and it wasn't a day for enjoying views, or pale streams being gilded with heavenly alchemy. The road was almost completely traffic-free, and at least the two tunnels were dry.

So it goes. Forecast is for slightly less horrible today and better by the end of the week.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#26
A nearly perfect day sandwiched between two vile ones. Monday was one of the best days of the whole camino. After a dull morning, I got past A Gudina and onto that amazing high road past the vendas, with the sun deciding that he would, after all, flatter with sovereign face the mountains high. Wonderful views – even back towards Panornelo and the previous day’s sadnesses. And the light. It was just magnificent - even the distant sound of the voladuras making the AVE line and tunnels didn’t interfere with it. It’s so much better than my memory of going by Verin a couple of years ago – which I think was quite dull and frequently quite strenuously up and down rather than staying over 1000m for the best part of three hours.

Campobecerros is briefly a boom town with AVE workers, but fortunately, for one night only as far as I could work out, there was a spare room at Casa Nunez. Dinner there is what they put in front of you, and very good it was too – a rich caldo and then various bits of meat with cabbage, potatoes and chick peas.

Tuesday was back to gloom, as the rain came down again. I probably should have stuck to the road between Tamicelas and Albergueria, as the arrows got worrying thin on the high forest path, and the probably magnificent countryside wasn’t improved by being seen from the inside of a cloud. Albergueria was another disappointment, as the albergue and rincon were closed for Christmas, so I had to go on to Vilar de Barrio. The abergue there is very pleasant, although there was no water because of flooding, but I had a splendid restorative caldo galego and carne at charming Carmina’s just across the way.

Wednesday was fine, although the suburbs into Ourense seem to go on forever, and are as charmless as Basingstoke. For the first time since Fuenterroble, there are (two) other pilgrims in the albergue.
 

Attachments

nalod

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2011, Finnesterre 2011,Le Puy to SJPDP 2011& 2012,Via de la Plata,Sambrasa 2012, Mozarabe 2013, Portugees 2013.PartNorde 2011, VDPL 2014,St-Guilhem 2014.Espalion-Roncesvalles 2014.Levante2015
#27
Great reading your reports. I check my diary from this year as you mention the places you go through. How did you get on going out of Ourense it is the one day that I got completely lost, I still remember it was the 17th March and for an Irishman that is a significant day. Did you taste the bread in Crea.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#28
Good to read your comments, Alan. Your articles are a cut above the usual newspaper accounts of caminos.

Tolerate the rain in Spain - it's still raining in Britain, not only in England. It's better where you are!
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#29
Thanks for your comments Jubilado. I've managed to dodge quite a lot of the rain the last couple of days, and friends back home tell me things are a bit sodden there as well.

Today was a short walk to Cea. I had meant to go on the the monastery at Osseira, but the nice warm albergue was too inviting a place to pass by the chance to clean (and dry) some clothes, so I decided to stay. Although it only started raining in the late afternoon, my feet were still soaked by the water on the woodland paths, many of which were effectively running streams from the torrential overnight rain.

And yes, nalod, that was another reason for the "short" day - I took the left turn out of Ourense, did really well for a couple of hours, then missed an arrow, made the mistake of trying to go forward, ended up doing a bit of cross country (not a good idea in the sodden conditions) and eventually found myself on the right hand route to Cea, having probably wasted over an hour.

But the bread is worth it, and it's a friendly town, and I'm about to go to the pulperia and have, well, some pulpo, I suppose.
 
#30
Oh, the pulpo there is great! And the little store in the square is run by a woman with some beautiful little girls who struck up quite a conversation! Did you meet them by chance?

Hope the weather turns better for Christmas and for your last few days walking.
 

Attachments

nalod

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2011, Finnesterre 2011,Le Puy to SJPDP 2011& 2012,Via de la Plata,Sambrasa 2012, Mozarabe 2013, Portugees 2013.PartNorde 2011, VDPL 2014,St-Guilhem 2014.Espalion-Roncesvalles 2014.Levante2015
#31
Yes Alan I too took the left route and at one stage went around in a circle. Interesting fact that from leaving Seville it was that day was the first day I had rain on the trip (another day it did rain but I had finished walking).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#32
alansykes said:
eventually found myself on the right hand route to Cea, having probably wasted over an hour.

I remember my own (not yours) unreasonable feelings when I lost an hour or two. When I wisened up, I laughed at my irritation. :D
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
#33
Hi Alan,
Just popped in to the forum after a long absence to discover your stream. Really loving the lively, informative account of your VdlP, being reminded of ours in 2011, except we were there in the busy spring with full albergues. You'd find that hard to believe!

Sounds like you coped with the lack of accomodation at the Embalse de Alcantarra. The great albergue there seems to be closed sometimes and with the Hotel LindaMar closed these past 2 years, no alternative. We looked at the LindaMar in June this year, and I guess it's still for sale, a sound building needing some work to return it to pilg accom. Anyone?

So glad you had good weather from A Gudina to Campobecerrus. That's my favourite walk from all the caminos we've done. I realise it wouldn't be much fun in wet weather but we've been blessed twice with 'top of the world' clear blue skies and I'd do it again right now. Do you remember at Campobecerrus if the Albergue Touristico in the old train station, 500m up, up, up the hill was open Alan? It was special, though may have closed with the financial crisis.

Buen camino Alan. May the weather gods be kind.... Carole
 
#34
Alan, this is too late to do you any good, but I saw your reference to the endless Ourense suburbs. When I walked into Ourense on the Vdlp several years ago, I got a lot of good help from the forum on how to find an alternative river-side walk. It is quite lovely, a pedestrian path that takes you right into town.

camino-mozarabe-and-via-de-la-plata/topic5483.html

Definitely worth the detour! Buen camino, Laurie
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#35
Hi Carole,

Yes, that stretch on top of the world past the vendas is one of the (many) high points of this camino for me. I didn't know about a place to stay at the station above Campobecerros. The AVE works there are really considerable (huge tunnels and bridges, supply roads etc), so it might have been subsumed in them for the moment.

And I'm sorry that I didn't do enough research to avoid the suburban route to Ourense, I shall certainly follow Laurie's path next time. The suburbs on the VdlP are a bit of a problem generally - Zamora's northern exit is about as bad as anything in the West Midlands: I think next time I might take a taxi or bus to avoid those 5-6km of horrors (and the ones north of Salamanca).

I did remember Laurie's advice about the asking for blankets when "checking in" at A Laxe's albergue, and the hospitalera rather smugly told me they were already on the beds. Not that it's anything like as cold as it was 2 years ago, so they won't be as needed. The slightly ridiculous movement-sensitive lighting system is still in force, so you've just settled down with a book and the lights go off and you have to get up and wave and settle down again for another 2-3 minutes of reading.

It was strange today, round Lalin, seeing a signpost to Santiago showing a number of km that could fairly easily be achieved in a (long) day. It was slightly bitter-sweet: it is satisfying to be so close to one's "objective". Of course, for many of us, the objective is not "just" the abrazo and the compostella and the sheer spirit-lifting whoosh of finally arriving in the Praza. For me, the camino itself is effectively the objective, and seeing the final goal so clearly signposted is a clear reminder that this year's little adventure is nearing its end. But goodness it's been a good one, and there's always next time, I hope.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#36
alansykes said:
The suburbs on the VdlP are a bit of a problem generally - Zamora's northern exit is about as bad as anything in the West Midlands: I think next time I might take a taxi or bus to avoid those 5-6km of horrors (and the ones north of Salamanca).
A sensible idea. I've done that sometimes.
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
#37
Ahhh, the final day or two...

Hard to finish this 'little life', the mourning starts a few days out..... You want the pain to be over, rejoicing in the ending of such a long walk, but it has become your way of life, you don't want it to end. I don't know the answer Alan, but just to go with the flow, enjoy each and every emotion, think back to how you felt on day one and compare, be grateful and proud. You deserve it. Celebrate!!! :? :( :D
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#38
Well, here I am on a glorious spring-like day with the temperature something over 15!

Sadly the seminario mayor is closed for Navidad, but luckily there was a room available at the place I'm booked in for tomorrow night and xmas day, so I'm safely installed - sheets!, a full-sized bath!

A Laxe to O Outeiro was great - sometimes muddy, but mostly really pleasant - and the sudden view of the Pico Sacro was an unexpected thrill. A flattering number of locals popped out to wish me a buen camino and ask where I'd walked from, and one of them said "¡ay caramba!" when I answered Sevilla - I think I've only ever previously heard that expression in a film or cartoon.

The nice restaurant down the hill from O Outeiro was closed by la crisis - as were a number of parrilladas and bars on the way to Ponte Ulla (including "El Emigrante", where I think I had a pleasant bite two years ago).

This morning I passed the Pico Sacro with Venus still just visible in the gathering dawn.

There is nothing in 1000km that can prepare you for the first sight of the cathedral towers from a distance, and nothing like finally arriving on the praza - especially on a sunny Sunday afternoon when loads of local families were making a Christmas paseo, and happily ignoring the emotional scruffy slack-jawed stranger gawping up at the portico.
 

Attachments

#39
Hi, Alan,

Well done and Merry Christmas. I have very much enjoyed your posts and your online contributions to the Guardian. I imagine Santiago is quite festive at Christmas time, and hope you will enjoy the celebrations. If you're like me, ending a Camino just gets harder and harder as the years go by, so here's to the next Camino! Laurie
 

nalod

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2011, Finnesterre 2011,Le Puy to SJPDP 2011& 2012,Via de la Plata,Sambrasa 2012, Mozarabe 2013, Portugees 2013.PartNorde 2011, VDPL 2014,St-Guilhem 2014.Espalion-Roncesvalles 2014.Levante2015
#40
Well done Alan and a very Happy Christmas from the West of Ireland. I found it a beautiful journey this year and you have relived it for me. I had a Nikon dslr strapped to my body the entire journey and intend to have some sort of an exhibition next year also done a traverse of gr10 Pyrenees this Autumn.

So again have a wonderful time in Santiago.
Dermot (nalod)
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
#41
Congrats Alan. Well done. Thanks for sharing your journey.

Happy Christmas in Santiago. Carole
 
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#43
A marvellous journey Alan. Such a long way makes a special consciousness.

Have a nice Xmas in Santiago.

Merry Xmas, pilgrim.
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
#46
Beautiful! Enjoy it. Buen Camino! :D
 

jennysa

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Camino Aragones 2012, 2017, Via Francigena 2016 & 17,
#47
alansykes said:
As a writer, I don't believe a picture is often worth 1000 words, but there are exceptions. So here's one of the portico on Christmas night with a nearly full moon and Jupiter.
Wow! What a magnificent photo, but I am sure the sight is permanently etched in your mind. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your journey with us.
 

indyrem

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances June-July (2013) Camino Ingles (2015)
#48
Been following your camino- awe-inspiring- Congratulations! Happy Holidays & God Bless!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
May 7 (2013)
#49
Hi Alan, and Merry Christmas. I wish I was on my Camino, but alas, must wait until May 7th. So stoked up about it though that although it is freezing here in Florida, USA right now, I put on my full backpack and hit the indoor treadmill with a 13% incline to prepare for my trek across the Pyrenees. My heart is there already. Will be thinking of you on your journey and wish you Buon Camino!
Jan
 
#50
Felicidades Alan! What a wonderful pictures of the Cathedral by moonlight. I have enjoyed following your journey and will for sure refer back when I finish up the VdlP/Sanabres this summer.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#51
Many thanks to all for kind good wishes, and apologies for lack of response. Am now back home and getting re-acquainted with the mundanities of "normal" life, while still thinking fondly of my little adventure, and hoping perhaps that one day I'll be able to repeat it.

Are there things about my camino that I regret? - of course, including a (mostly weather-related) depressingly large proportion of the walk from Granja to Santiago: perhaps the depression of parts of the final week or so was coloured by the excessive luck of the first four. But was it worth it and do I plan to do it again? - yes, I said, yes I will yes as Molly Bloom put it.

Although wondering whether to try the Norte next time, I suspect I'm too much of a VdlP fan not to do it again, perhaps starting from Cadiz or Malaga if time can be found. Heraclitus tells us that we can't step into the same stream twice, and it's obviously completely impossible to make the same walk from Seville to Santiago. Next time I think I will try to allow an extra few days to see even more wonders, spending longer in Zafra and Salamanca, and making sure I don't miss things like San Pedro de la Nave and Plasencia (and Osseira if my clothes aren't sodden damp at the time ...).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte
#52
Heading steadily northwards on the VdlP, now having a rest day in Merida, a week and a day out from Seville. Only one morning of drizzle, between Almaden and El Real de la Jara, so can't complain, especially as England seems to be largely under water judging from a brief item on the TVE breakfast bulletin I saw in a bar.

It is very quiet here. In Guillena, there were 2 Murcians and a Québécois in the albergue, but they had been travelling for several weeks on other caminos, so went straight on to Almaden, while I stayed the next night in Castillblanco, as I didn't think a 50km stage on my second day was a good idea.

Since then, in Fuente de Cantos, I met a couple of Germans who were returning to Seville, and nobody else at all (by which I mean other pilgrims - I've met lots of delightful locals) on the camino.

Is there anybody out there?

Hi Allen,

It's been a few years since this post and I hope you are doing well. I myself walked the VLDP last year and enjoyed it dearly. I am considering returning this winter to do a portion for the sake of it and am wondering what walking weather in late December/early January is like. I would love to do the stretch between Salamanca and Zamora but am opting to walk from Cadiz to Merida instead as it will be warmer. Any advice on winter walking is appreciated!

Thanks,
Ariel
 

OLDER threads on this topic




Advertisement

Latest posts

Most read today

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 7 1.1%
  • February

    Votes: 3 0.5%
  • March

    Votes: 29 4.5%
  • April

    Votes: 102 15.7%
  • May

    Votes: 165 25.4%
  • June

    Votes: 48 7.4%
  • July

    Votes: 14 2.2%
  • August

    Votes: 9 1.4%
  • September

    Votes: 185 28.5%
  • October

    Votes: 73 11.2%
  • November

    Votes: 10 1.5%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.8%
Top