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Bike from Salamanca to SDC


I just returned from part of the Via de la Plata, Salamanca to SDC and have a
few observations that may be of interest. It is my third Camino.

1. Delta charged $150 for the bike from Louisville, Kentucky to

2. Iberia charged nothing from SDC to Madrid.

3. Delta chasrged nothing from Madrid to Louisville

4. Fernando at Velocopedia in SDC is still the best.

5. The Plata from Salamanca to Astorga is rather boring
and "blah". It isn't difficult, just unexciting and un "Camino-
like". I would not recommend it. Benevente and La Baneza are pretty
towns, but not very charming. The country side scenery was not

6. On the South to North segment I passed no other bikers and saw only 2 walkers.

7. Of course, once in Astorga, everything becomes very Camino
traditional. There were a lot of walking pilgrims and many
locations along the way were filled up early in the day. However,
there were still places to stay for a bit more money.

8. On May 20th, SDC was packed. Fortunately I had a reservation at
a hotel.

9. True - the Spaniards speak no English at all on the South to North part.
False - learning Spanish is a necessity. A few simple words is all that is
necessary (i.e. bocadilla, queso, habitation, counting, cafe con leche)

10. I could not find any Jewish remanants on the Plata part as I did on the Camino Frances.

11. All in all, the Camino this year was satisfactory, but not
great. I will do the Camino Frances next year at this time just
like in the past, from SJPP to SDC.

As you can see, I am stuck on the Camino which is quite peculiar for a Jew. I am not particularly interested in St. James but very interested in the Templar Knights. Very peculiar indeed.

Just my impressions. I would be very happy to answer questions.

How to Successfully Prepare for Your Camino
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Re: Judaica from Salamanca to SDC

Dear Larry
One of Spain´s finest Jewish Quarters is along the Via de la Plata, just south of Salamanca in a beautiful mountain town called Hervás. It´s not directly on the Via, but within a couple of kms. Very worth the side trip.

If you´re a biker who enjoys Sephardic cultural remains, I suggest you plot a trip around Catalunya. They are all bicycle-mad up there, and there are wild and wonderful hidden jewels in those mountains if you enjoy "Juderías." Girona is not to be missed, and at least two of the little towns I stumbled on last June had surviving mikvas. (I´d have to look up their names.)

...And there´s the camino, too. Lots of Spaniards start their walk at Monserrat or Ripoll... there´s a seldom-used mountain route up there that joins the Camino Aragonese, but I don´t know how bike-able it is.

You won´t run short on spectacular scenery up there, either. Seeing as you´ve done the Frances already, why keep retracing your steps? Think about El Norte. Or Catalunya. Or the Ruta de Lana, from Cuenca. So much of Spain yet to see!
Hervas is well worth the detour and a lovely town to stay in. We were there in mid April during that inclement spell of weather (the feria in Seville was rained out). No refugio but there is an in town alburgue and if you want to spoil yourself (as we did) consider staying in El Jardin del Convento. The juderia is very large and there is a Beth Shalom casa rural advertised as speaking English, Spanish and Hebrew. We also visited the small juderia in Caceres or at least the site of where it was.

Pity the route to Astorga was not interesting though I have heard that the lanscape on the Ourense route is worthwhile.

How to avoid failure "be prepared"
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"...The Plata from Salamanca to Astorga is rather boring and "blah". It isn't difficult, just unexciting and un "Camino-like". I would not recommend it. Benevente and La Baneza are pretty towns, but not very charming. The country side scenery was not great..." (Larryflo)

I agree... why not the same Camino but by the Sanabria route? It's really incredible, absolutely not boring. Incredible views. In Granja de Moreruela (few after Zamora) you can choose this way, ask Jesus in the Bar "El Peregrino". A very nice person. You will visit lonely but charming and incredible towns and places. Tabara, river Tera until Puebla de Sanabria (very beautiful and touristic town), the Padornelo and la Canda (I passed both with a snow storm, in winter), Lubian, Laza (very famous because it's Carnavales), Ourense ...

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.

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