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Considering this as a 2nd Camino in September ...

  • Thread starter Deleted member 89967
  • Start date
2020 Camino Guides
D

Deleted member 89967

Guest
Hey Pilgrims...

Having doing the Camino Frances already, and looking into another one now
Im looking into doing this route - backwards. (There is a method to the madness) - Starting in Astorga, or somewhere there and ending in Sevilla.

I know this is a somewhat odd way to do it, but has anyone got any juicy tips/information/whatever... on this route?

Many thanks x
 

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
Considering the temperatures, this sounds prudent. But considering the waymarks and the availability of albergues it is not.

This camino is not marked in the reverse direction and waymarks are rare but sufficient if you walk the main direction, i. e. they only show you where you have to change direction and to leave the path you had been walking so far. If you walk it in the reverse direction you will never know, where to look for the next waymark and it is most likely that you will overlook it. Thats nasty because of the large distances between accomodation and villages. I can remember that I got lost on the track Guillena to Castilblanco de los Arroyos and did not recognize my error for more than 2 hours - fortunately a local farmer showed me how to switch to the correct track without walking back the whole way. So you need GPS to avoid getting lost.

Also it is impossible to predict, if the albergue you will find at the end of the day is already completo as you do not know who is heading for the same destination. This would really give me a bad feeling.

I would rather suggest you walk Santiago-Fatima which is well marked.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
Having doing the Camino Frances already, and looking into another one now
Im looking into doing this route - backwards. (There is a method to the madness) - Starting in Astorga, or somewhere there and ending in Sevilla.
You might find it interesting to read this recent thread - Walking the Via de la Plata in Reverse
Take a look too at Michel Cerdan's Camino de Piedras - a cultural project involving a walk in reverse from Santiago to Guejar near Granada.

Without exaggerating, the plan that you outlined is much more challenging than the Camino Frances. Of course, it's not a wilderness hike. There are albergues and way marking. But it's not a gentle introduction to more self-reliant walking, especially the section from Astorga to Granja. Let me explain why:

1. Astorga to Granja de Moreruela is the least frequented stretch of VDLP. Maybe one of the least frequented stretches of Camino in Spain. You will not see much life as you pass through depopulated pueblos, with few cafes and shops, and no other pilgrims. (Most pilgrims follow the Camino Sanabres between Granja and SDC). Unless you're really looking to "mortify the flesh," my advice would be to forget about starting in Astorga. Better to start in Santiago and follow the Sanabres or start in Zamora.

2. After Granja, you will see more life, but the route is still much quieter than the CF, especially when you go "against the flow". You will have daily encounters with pilgrims heading in the opposite direction (short conversations and then goodbye). You will also meet different groups of pilgrims in the albergues in the evenings. If you appreciate a feeling of community, you may feel lonely when you walk the VDLP in reverse. (By contrast, if you walk VDLP with the flow of pilgrims, the sense of community among the few pilgrims on the route is strong).

3. Way marking is not painted with reverse walkers in mind. You'd be wise to bring maps and/or GPS equipment. Most of the stone cubes on the ground should be visible, I guess. But arrows painted on the fence posts and on the reverse sides of roadsigns ... you're not going to see them unless you stick a mirror on your shoulder.

If you're fully on board with these challenges, then you should have an excellent experience. As you can imagine, you will walk ahead of the advancing winter from the north. You could continue from Seville to the coast and winter there ... :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
Having just walked from Seville to Salamanca I can also atest to the fact that waymarks on the VDLP are a little scarce going in the right direction. So, I would not want to try it in the reverse direction. The VDLP is not at all like the Frances. Many of the stages have little, if any, places to stop between end points. It's beautiful in a remote sense. You don't have the sense of history that you do on the Frances or even the Portuguese. That said, it is a nice walk but different.
 

MikeJS

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)
Just use the Wise Pilgrim app and it will be fine as the apps don’t care which way you are walking.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Since getting to know my fellow pilgrims is a very important aspect of the Camino for me, I wouldn't want to walk any route in reverse.
I would consider doing the Norte. I'll bet that it's lovely in September.
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
When I walked VdlP in May/June 2011 there was a very high amount of pilgrims along the way, I guess more people than me chose that year because of the holy year in 2010. Even though I did not meet up with so many people during the day. Saw most people in the albergues in the evening.
So I would guess that walking backwards does not mean a big differ in social relations. One would even have a richer social life because one would meet new people every night.
I chose to walk via Astorga because I did not want the fight for a bed on the Sanabree, did not meet many peregrinos on the days up to Astorga, but that did not matter.
I have never tried walking backwards on the camino, but I do a lot of that on marked footpaths where I live and see that it is more difficult to see the markings on the way back if you are in unknown areas. Could be bad in mountain areas in fog.
I really can´t remember so many diffycult areas along this camino. I went wrong once because I left the camino to get coffee in a nearby town.
As MikeJS says, the wise pilgrim app would help. When I used it on Camino the Invierno I thought it went the opposite way, going backwards.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
So I would guess that walking backwards does not mean a big differ in social relations. One would even have a richer social life because one would meet new people every night.
I chose to walk via Astorga because I did not want the fight for a bed o
Sure, you would meet a lot of people, but how many would you really get to know?
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
Sure, you would meet a lot of people, but how many would you really get to know?
Well, Trecile, I do not walk the caminos to get to know people, more to relax from daily life, and I must admit that when I left up to Astorga,
I was a bit happy to get away from the bunch of elderly men, who almost never cleared up after themselves.
I was happy to meet some yuong people and more women on the Frances from Astorga.
 

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