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Granada - Merida-Salamanca

gyro

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Caminos: Frances, Ingles, Portugues, de Norte
Via(s): de la Plata, Mozarabe
Good morning everyone,
I'm Gyro - a elderly Scot who has plodded along a few caminos in his time. The Camino Frances was the first (12 years ago), then Via de la Plata from Sevilla to SdeC(4 years ago), and finally the Camino Portuguese last April. I popped into the Camino Travel Centre when I completed that last one, and had a very pleasant chat with our dear moderator.
Hello, my dear Ivar.

This year's plan is to walk from Granada to Merida in mid-April, perhaps pushing onto Salamanca if I have time. I have walked the stage from Merida to Salamanca in the past,but the Granada-Merida journey is a new one to me.

I am amazed to find so much online information about this route and shall spend many a happy hour downloading materials, making notes, checking things twice etc. I see that Alison Raju of CSJ has a guidebook.

But does anyone have any recent experience or advice or tips or recommendations about any stage in this route? The kind of happy discovery one makes when on the journey, not mentioned in any literature or website? We all experience them as we rattle along the paths. I wonder if any of you would be kind enough to pass one or two of them onto me?

Kind regards and Buen Camino
Gyro
 
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solong

New Member
Hello Gyro:
  Have you read Tony Kevin's book "Walking the Path"?He walked from Granada to Santiago in 2006. Always relevant as a meditative journey, it also includes historical perspectives and observations on contemprary Spain.
 

bjorgts

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Caminos in Spain, France, Portugal, Germany since 2003. Last: Malaga - Cordoba November 2019
My plan is to walk Granada - Cordoba a week in April this year. So I am also planning. I have the Alison Raju guide since I have walked Via de la Plata. If you read German, Conrad Stein Verlag has a new guide "Mozarabische Jacobsweg von granada nach Merida". The book seems to be very good. On http://www.conrad-stein-verlag.de you find updatings of this book (2008). Most of it is coments to the text in the book, but it you can also find information about recomended places to sleep and things like that.

From Castro del Rio to Cordoba it is 39 km. There is nothing in between, but I have found out that you can go to the small town called Santa Cruz. It has two hostals.

May be we will be there at the same time. Bjørg
 
bjorgts said:
...

From Castro del Rio to Cordoba it is 39 km. There is nothing in between, but I have found out that you can go to the small town called Santa Cruz. It has two hostals.

May be we will be there at the same time. Bjørg

I slept in the porch of some sort of community center there :D Initially, I got a very rude awakening, but ended up being invited to a fiesta, fed to the point of bursting, staying another night and being sent on my way with a packed lunch and new bottle of water. Fond memories of many good people.
 
IME Spain is a very, very safe country where people are far more likely to look out for each other than cause harm. The proch/verander of a municipal building is a place provided for public use as far as I'm concerned. The 'rude awakening' came from a very verbal woman who later apologised to me, because she didn't know I was a pilgrim. It was actually a very strange village. I asked another woman for directions to a church. She asked me if I took communion. I told her I didn't (I'm not a church goer - not even a believer), so she refused to tell me where the church was! On the other hand I was treated fabulously by most. Even as I walking out of the village with my packed lunch I was dragged into a bar and fed more food and beer before I was allowed to leave.

However, it is worth mentioning that a real danger does exist in some places. I have met many rough sleepers and street people on my walks. Only the other day I read a newspaper story about a young Slovenian who I spent some time with in Valencia being found dead in a clothes recycling bin. Very sad. All of the times I have chosen, or been forced to spend a night sleeping rough myself I chose as safe a place as possible. Usually in town centres under bright lights, with CCTV where police patrol regularly.

I often get a very snobish reaction from some pilgrims when I tell them I have slept rough, or camped out. It seems to be frowned upon by those fortunate enough to have the money to pay for hotels in every town. Instead they use the albergues and look down on those who are using albergues because they have no other options other than camping, or sleeping out. Strange World sometimes!
 
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gyro

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Caminos: Frances, Ingles, Portugues, de Norte
Via(s): de la Plata, Mozarabe
solong said:
Hello Gyro:
  Have you read Tony Kevin's book "Walking the Path"?He walked from Granada to Santiago in 2006. Always relevant as a meditative journey, it also includes historical perspectives and observations on contemprary Spain.
Dear Solong,
I had heard of the book, but have not read it. I guess a trip to the library is on the cards.
Many thanks for the advice
Gyro
 

gyro

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Caminos: Frances, Ingles, Portugues, de Norte
Via(s): de la Plata, Mozarabe
bjorgts said:
My plan is to walk Granada - Cordoba a week in April this year. So I am also planning. I have the Alison Raju guide since I have walked Via de la Plata. If you read German, Conrad Stein Verlag has a new guide "Mozarabische Jacobsweg von granada nach Merida". The book seems to be very good. On http://www.conrad-stein-verlag.de you find updatings of this book (2008). Most of it is coments to the text in the book, but it you can also find information about recomended places to sleep and things like that.

From Castro del Rio to Cordoba it is 39 km. There is nothing in between, but I have found out that you can go to the small town called Santa Cruz. It has two hostals.

May be we will be there at the same time. Bjørg
Dear Bjorg,
thank you so much for posting. It would indeed be wonderful if we met up on the camino. Like you I have the Alison Raju Guide for Seville-SdC. and I intend to get the Granada-Merida supplement.
Kind regards
Gyro
 

gyro

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Caminos: Frances, Ingles, Portugues, de Norte
Via(s): de la Plata, Mozarabe
TheLostPhotographer said:
I often get a very snobish reaction from some pilgrims when I tell them I have slept rough, or camped out. It seems to be frowned upon by those fortunate enough to have the money to pay for hotels in every town. Instead they use the albergues and look down on those who are using albergues because they have no other options other than camping, or sleeping out. Strange World sometimes!

Yes, it is a strange feature of pilgrimage life. I remember on the Via de la Plata, a genuine down-and-out (is the Spanish "transuente" accurate here?) turned up at the door of the pilgrim's hostel and was refused entry by the hospitalera. On one hand, all the pilgrims were relieved that they would not have to watch their belongs all night. On the other, someone who needed a place to sleep didn't get one.
I never did reconcile that event. and I will cheerfully admit to social naivity.
Gyro
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
Someone more knowledgeable of Spanish life can inform me, but I was told that many municipalities had hostel facilities for the homeless and travellers. There was a desire to keep them separate from pilgrims as some of the homeless were unstable or drug-users-- if this is accurate, then the hospitalero might simply then having been doing their job.
 
oursonpolaire said:
Someone more knowledgeable of Spanish life can inform me...

I'm probably not much more knowledgable.

This is something that really grates me. Personally, I have been refused entry to 2 albergues for not having the right equipment (only reason I can think of because I was never given an explanation).

On Mozarabe, some of the pilgrims accommodation is actually homeless night shelters. That is what an albergue was originally - shelter for a night for any itinerant, or someone looking for work. They still are. Most cities and towns in Spain have an albergue that, by law, will provide a bed, shower and meal for one night only if you genuinely need it. It really annoys me that people genuinely in need, travelling to find work have to go without the facility when pilgrims who could afford a hotel are filling all the albergues.

Here in Santiago the homeless albergue has recently been restored. There are plenty of people with 'issues' using pilgrim albergues as accommodation. The private albergues will generally accept cash from anyone if there are empty beds. I've met many young people with mental health problems who latch onto hope that religion/God will help them. Some have drink problems. The sickening irony of them being left on the streets is the very reason I don't like organised religion.

The other thing that I have experienced over the past 16 months of travelling is the way peoples perceptions of you change when you look 'wrong'. The poorer you look - the less people trust you. That's a bit stupid really. It's the rich f***s we need to be more carfeul about!
 
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Kate fowles

Meerkat kate
Year of past OR future Camino
None yet
Dear Solong,
I had heard of the book, but have not read it. I guess a trip to the library is on the cards.
Many thanks for the advice
Gyro
It's a fantastic book. I am reading it at the moment and really keen to try that route but what a quandary - we can only get at most 3 to 4 weeks off...and have to get to Santiago because this is our first.
 

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