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In Hindsight

Kev&Kath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - Oct/Dec 2021
VdlP - Apr/Jun 2023
VdlP planning for '23 continues at pace, and today I was re-examining our expected 'rest days' in the quite obvious places such as Zafra, Merida, Caceres, Salamanca, Banos de Montemayor and Ourense. While reviewing, my mind casts back to the Frances and the 'in hindsight' position that there were quite a few places we would have liked to have spent more time in...but didn't (Ponferrada and Santo Domingo de la Calzada immediately come to mind). So...for those that have walked the VdlP...do you have an 'in hindsight' perspective on towns that you might have really wanted to spend more time in?

Thanks, in advance, for any feedback.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I assume not mentioning Seville was because it was obvious. But a couple of days there plus Italica is worth while.
 
I assume not mentioning Seville was because it was obvious. But a couple of days there plus Italica is worth while.
Yep...Seville is getting three days. We're actually starting in Cadiz, so Seville is nicely positioned for an extended break. Cheers.
 
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My vote would be Zamora. I found Salamanca exhausting!
A problem would be that you probably wouldn’t be permitted 2 nights at the beautiful albergue.
The old town is so compact, and a delight to soak in. I went into overdrive with my camera just at the Cathedral. Wait till you see those tapestries. And the river with it’s waterwheels.
I once posted that I wanna see more o’ Zamora.
 
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My vote would be Zamora. I found Salamanca exhausting!
A problem would be that you probably wouldn’t be permitted 2 nights at the beautiful albergue.
I agree with Paul. Loved Zamora., but we all don’t look at places in the same way.
The scenes around Zamora and the river & bridge are gorgeous ; especially if you get the timing right before evening of shots back toward the bridge.
Re accommodation: lots of reasonably priced hostels there.

@Kev&Kath I’m wondering how much time you are planning for your trip from Cádiz to Santiago?
Are you planning Baños de Montemayor and Ourense in order to enjoy some time at the baths?

Depending on time available ; you can sometime work a ‘rest day’ into the schedule by walking a short day and having a free afternoon there.

You may find that some of the lesser discussed places may appeal to you and you’ll call a rest day there.

Happy planning and it’s a wonderful route.
Buen camino.
Annie
 
If you are able, have a few rest days with Don Blas at the Casa Paroquia in Fuenterroble de Salvatierra, before Salamanca.

Cheers!
Lovingkindness

Videos
I thought of suggesting this myself, too. Fuenterroble was an experience I shall never forget. It is the epitome place of rest and contemplation. By co-incidence I posted this on another thread 2 days ago, initially referring to the Baños albergue:
" I have fond memories of the place from 2012. Shared the albergue with one other peregrino, a Spanish gentleman, walking. (I was on a bike). He turned out to be the Professor of Sociology at Barcelona University, spoke excellent English, and was a fount of knowledge on all things camino. He suggested the baths.
He also insisted that I should stay at Fuenterroble, which I would have missed because I was doing two walk-stages per day. That turned out to be a wonderful experience, and remains my all-time favourite Albergue, still run by Fr Blas, I understand."
 
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Just depends on what you’re interested in, but I would put Zamora above (actually way above, if you like romanesque architecture, castles, and love modernist neighborhoods) Zafra, Ourense, and Baños de Montemayor.

Everyone has different opinions, of course, but I found that Zafra was fun for an afternoon (two plazas, nice ambiente) but the nickname of “the little Sevilla” is hyperbolic, IMHO. Ourense is not one of my favorite Spanish cities but the pórtico in the cathedral is apparently Maestro Mateo or his workshop and retains a lot more of what I think is the original paint than in Santiago. If you want a visit to the baths that would be a good reason to spend an extra day, though one year when I was there, we got the little train out in the afternoon, had our bath, and were back in time for regular bedtime. Baños de Montemayor is a pleasant place, but again unless you want to partake of the baths, I never found a whole lot to take my attention.

Let me stress, that these are my OPINIONS, and just like noses, everyone’s is different.
 
My vote would be Zamora. I found Salamanca exhausting!
A problem would be that you probably wouldn’t be permitted 2 nights at the beautiful albergue.
The old town is so compact, and a delight to soak in. I went into overdrive with my camera just at the Cathedral. Wait till you see those tapestries. And the river with it’s waterwheels.
I once posted that I wanna see more o’ Zamora.

Why was Salamanca "exhausting"?
 
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To all who have made comments: Thank you, thank you, thank you. I just bought the guide on the Sanabres and have started planning for next year. I wish there was one forum thread to go to called "In Hindsight," devoted to places not to be missed on the many camino paths. My wife and I have returned to places on the Frances we missed in our first walk. It's taken a number of years and creative paths, but we've done them all. Since that first camino, we have made sure we spend extra time on other caminos we have walked. We just got home from walking the Portugues, and we did not miss the highlights, which include Tomar, Coimbra, Porto (four days!), Ponte de Lima, Valenca/Tui and Pontevedra.
 
Yep...Seville is getting three days. We're actually starting in Cadiz, so Seville is nicely positioned for an extended break. Cheers.
To my mind Cadiz & Sevilla are both great cities, worthy of a couple of days each, but the walk between them must be pretty mundane as it is nearly all across the Guadalquivir flood plain. Take the train or bus so as to save yourselves for the more interesting landscapes.
PS: why plan in such detail, if you like a place stay, if you don't move on? Plenty of interesting cities on this route.
PPS: I'm a bicigrino so my opinions may not count for much on this forum :)
 
VdlP planning for '23 continues at pace, and today I was re-examining our expected 'rest days' in the quite obvious places such as Zafra, Merida, Caceres, Salamanca, Banos de Montemayor and Ourense. While reviewing, my mind casts back to the Frances and the 'in hindsight' position that there were quite a few places we would have liked to have spent more time in...but didn't (Ponferrada and Santo Domingo de la Calzada immediately come to mind). So...for those that have walked the VdlP...do you have an 'in hindsight' perspective on towns that you might have really wanted to spend more time in?

Thanks, in advance, for any feedback.
Granada for sure, prob also Cordoba.
 
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My vote would be Zamora. I found Salamanca exhausting!
A problem would be that you probably wouldn’t be permitted 2 nights at the beautiful albergue.
The old town is so compact, and a delight to soak in. I went into overdrive with my camera just at the Cathedral. Wait till you see those tapestries. And the river with it’s waterwheels.
I once posted that I wanna see more o’ Zamora.
Not too worried about the albergue in Salamanca. For 'rest days' we've always opted for a hotel/pension. Such simply allows a more relaxed day where you can leave your gear and wonder the streets without the backpacks.
 
If you are able, have a few rest days with Don Blas at the Casa Paroquia in Fuenterroble de Salvatierra, before Salamanca.

Cheers!
Lovingkindness

Videos
Thanks Lovingkindness. I have read of Padre Blas and appreciate your reminder to visit when passing through Fuenterroble. The conundrum here is we're stopping for a rest day in Banos de Montemayor...with Fuenterroble the likely night stop after our rest day. We really do need to just take MORE time!!
 
I agree with Paul. Loved Zamora., but we all don’t look at places in the same way.
The scenes around Zamora and the river & bridge are gorgeous ; especially if you get the timing right before evening of shots back toward the bridge.
Re accommodation: lots of reasonably priced hostels there.

@Kev&Kath I’m wondering how much time you are planning for your trip from Cádiz to Santiago?
Are you planning Baños de Montemayor and Ourense in order to enjoy some time at the baths?

Depending on time available ; you can sometime work a ‘rest day’ into the schedule by walking a short day and having a free afternoon there.

You may find that some of the lesser discussed places may appeal to you and you’ll call a rest day there.

Happy planning and it’s a wonderful route.
Buen camino.
Annie
Annie thank you...and yes it is always 'happy planning'!

I have 'scheduled' a relatively short day walking from Villanueva de Campean to Zamora (18.5km)...so should hit town early enough to get a sense of it all. I suspect (looking at the ticks of approval/recommendation across this thread) Zamora will just demand a rest day!

The above aside, Cadiz to Santiago is currently programmed for 61 days in total - inclusive of 9 rest days (three of which are in Seville). Currently thinking rest in Seville, Zafra, Merida, Caceres, Banos, Salamanca and Ourense......and Zamora (?) :)


Cheers Annie
 
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Just depends on what you’re interested in, but I would put Zamora above (actually way above, if you like romanesque architecture, castles, and love modernist neighborhoods) Zafra, Ourense, and Baños de Montemayor.

Everyone has different opinions, of course, but I found that Zafra was fun for an afternoon (two plazas, nice ambiente) but the nickname of “the little Sevilla” is hyperbolic, IMHO. Ourense is not one of my favorite Spanish cities but the pórtico in the cathedral is apparently Maestro Mateo or his workshop and retains a lot more of what I think is the original paint than in Santiago. If you want a visit to the baths that would be a good reason to spend an extra day, though one year when I was there, we got the little train out in the afternoon, had our bath, and were back in time for regular bedtime. Baños de Montemayor is a pleasant place, but again unless you want to partake of the baths, I never found a whole lot to take my attention.

Let me stress, that these are my OPINIONS, and just like noses, everyone’s is different.
Peregrina...thanks so much for your input. Just another strong 'vote' I suppose for Zamora! With such guidance from the experienced walkers here I'd be foolish to not opt for a night in Zamora!

I identified Banos as an overnight because of the baths. I picked Ourense as (on current planning) we'll need a rest stop somewhere on the Sanabres. Ourense looked interesting because of its size (but expect it's the Sanabres equivalent of Sarria). Judge is still out on this leg of the pilgrimage.

Thanks again!!
 
To my mind Cadiz & Sevilla are both great cities, worthy of a couple of days each, but the walk between them must be pretty mundane as it is nearly all across the Guadalquivir flood plain. Take the train or bus so as to save yourselves for the more interesting landscapes.
PS: why plan in such detail, if you like a place stay, if you don't move on? Plenty of interesting cities on this route.
PPS: I'm a bicigrino so my opinions may not count for much on this forum :)
Oh I think bikers can provide some great advice. I enjoy the different perspective and comments. A friend of mine just completed the Frances, and taking a view of that 'path', from his perspective, was really fun.

I had read that the path from Cadiz to Seville was not that interesting and, initially, had planned to simply start the VdlP in Seville. We were always going to visit Cadiz - with a train ride into Seville after the visit. However, I came across a YouTube series by a Spanish guy that presented the walk (Via Augusta) in quite a positive light. I didn't understand a word he said (all in Spanish), but he filmed enough to spark my interest, and a bit of follow-up research on the region. Given we're not too restricted inv time...we're now really looking forward to a week's walk along the Via Augusta.

As for planning in detail...well....I enjoy it a lot and it gives me a sense of what to expect on a daily basis. Did the same for the Frances and it worked for us, but scheduling does (as I noted in this thread) lead to a bit of post-pilgrimage hindsight reflections :)
Do appreciate you taking time to comment!

PS The Spanish guy is Alvaro Lazaga Busto

 
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VdlP planning for '23 continues at pace, and today I was re-examining our expected 'rest days' in the quite obvious places such as Zafra, Merida, Caceres, Salamanca, Banos de Montemayor and Ourense. While reviewing, my mind casts back to the Frances and the 'in hindsight' position that there were quite a few places we would have liked to have spent more time in...but didn't (Ponferrada and Santo Domingo de la Calzada immediately come to mind). So...for those that have walked the VdlP...do you have an 'in hindsight' perspective on towns that you might have really wanted to spend more time in?

Thanks, in advance, for any feedback.
Best spot in Ourense.

Buen Camino
Miguel
 

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Oh I think bikers can provide some great advice. I enjoy the different perspective and comments. A friend of mine just completed the Frances, and taking a view of that 'path', from his perspective, was really fun.

I had read that the path from Cadiz to Seville was not that interesting and, initially, had planned to simply start the VdlP in Seville. We were always going to visit Cadiz - with a train ride into Seville after the visit. However, I came across a YouTube series by a Spanish guy that presented the walk (Via Augusta) in quite a positive light. I didn't understand a word he said (all in Spanish), but he filmed enough to spark my interest, and a bit of follow-up research on the region. Given we're not too restricted inv time...we're now really looking forward to a week's walk along the Via Augusta.

As for planning in detail...well....I enjoy it a lot and it gives me a sense of what to expect on a daily basis. Did the same for the Frances and it worked for us, but scheduling does (as I noted in this thread) lead to a bit of post-pilgrimage hindsight reflections :)
Do appreciate you taking time to comment!

PS The Spanish guy is Alvaro Lazaga Busto

Kev & Kath, thanks for your gracious reply. Maybe I should qualify some of my comments a little; I don't know the route of the Via Augusta but I have ridden 2 or 3 times Sevilla - Cadiz and the worst (boring, flat, uninteresting) part is from a few kms south of Sevilla to Jerez being across the agricultural flatlands of the Guadalquivir flood plain, maybe think about a train across that section. However after viewing a couple of Alvaro's videos (and he seems to be a Chambao fan) why not start in Tarifa? The coastal route from Tarifa to Cadiz is really nice. Anyway Jerez is of course a stopover to enjoy the Sherry culture and maybe some flamenco.

What's' your schedule? As you'll know the summers (and often late spring / early autumn) are hot - it's almost 30° on the coast now and hotter inland. Have a great camino, Richard
 
Kev & Kath, thanks for your gracious reply. Maybe I should qualify some of my comments a little; I don't know the route of the Via Augusta but I have ridden 2 or 3 times Sevilla - Cadiz and the worst (boring, flat, uninteresting) part is from a few kms south of Sevilla to Jerez being across the agricultural flatlands of the Guadalquivir flood plain, maybe think about a train across that section. However after viewing a couple of Alvaro's videos (and he seems to be a Chambao fan) why not start in Tarifa? The coastal route from Tarifa to Cadiz is really nice. Anyway Jerez is of course a stopover to enjoy the Sherry culture and maybe some flamenco.

What's' your schedule? As you'll know the summers (and often late spring / early autumn) are hot - it's almost 30° on the coast now and hotter inland. Have a great camino, Richard
Richard...oh yes...the Sherry will be interesting! I listened to a podcast some weeks ago describing the Sherry triangle between Jerez de la Frontera and El Puerto de Santa Maria (can't remember the third apex) and was, again, encouraged by what this region, along the Via Augusta, has to offer. We're quite excited by the prospect of walking this leg.

Our schedule has us flying into Madrid on 3 Apr. Train to Cadiz on 5 Apr and we'll start walking out of Cadiz on 7 Apr (right in the middle of Semana Santa...by design). Plan to 'hole up' in Jerez Easter Sunday night and Monday. Hopefully, into Seville on 15 Apr and push on up the VdlP from there on 18 Apr. I'm eager to think the temps, by mid-April, will be on the rise and rain...less frequent. We walked the Frances in '21... late season (Nov/Dec) so we're really hanging out for days where the puffy jackets can be swapped out for shorts!! We'll see :) By mid June...well...God willing...a dip in the ocean off Fisterra!!
 
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Great to hear the planning is in full swing and that you are still planning the via Augusta ! You've identified all the great stops en route. Reflecting back there was no small town I wished I'd stayed longer in. Often it is the people you are with/meet, the body or the weather that influences the experience/decision. Just leave your plan flexible and take it as it comes. I find that I look forward to getting to one of the major places then long to be underway again ! On the Sanabres - Pueblo de Sanabria is really lovely if you were wanted a rest day between Zamora and Ourense. Not much in Funteroble and is close to Salamanca. Banos is really nice but the pools were not hot ! Really looking forward to your blog once you get underway !!
 
Great to hear the planning is in full swing and that you are still planning the via Augusta ! You've identified all the great stops en route. Reflecting back there was no small town I wished I'd stayed longer in. Often it is the people you are with/meet, the body or the weather that influences the experience/decision. Just leave your plan flexible and take it as it comes. I find that I look forward to getting to one of the major places then long to be underway again ! On the Sanabres - Pueblo de Sanabria is really lovely if you were wanted a rest day between Zamora and Ourense. Not much in Funteroble and is close to Salamanca. Banos is really nice but the pools were not hot ! Really looking forward to your blog once you get underway !!
Thanks Blister Bill. Your comment on '...longing to be underway again' certainly resonates with me. Felt that a couple of times on the Frances...just felt like walking when a 'rest day' had been programmed. So yes....not attempting too much planning post Seville, and will just see where our efforts land us. Cheers, Kev
 

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