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Is the VdlP for me?

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Year of past OR future Camino
yes...
Hello - those of you who know me will appreciate that I've um'ed and ah'ed about this route for a while. The route calls me for sure. We spent our honeymoon in Seville, I love the area and it feels like a camino for me.

My worries are that I'll feel too isolated. I'm a bit of a scardy cat... cows roaming around with no fences can cause a bit of a panic, big dogs, bees and so on; you get the idea! I'm not looking for the busy paths of the CF but I do take comfort knowing that there could be someone not too far behind or ahead of me if I was in trouble. And it would be nice to walk with a few familiar faces for a part of the day, and particularly at the end of the day.

So - how isolated is the route? If I started on the 19th September would there be other pilgrims around for me to not feel alone?

This really is my only concern... so I'd be grateful for your feedback.
 
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LTfit

Veteran Member
My gut feeling says maybe this route is not for you and believe me, this is coming from someone who loves the Plata. Or plan to walk with someone.

There will be loose bulls and certainly cows at times, dogs too. Maybe pigs. I keep my walking sticks close behind me and walk on. Have held my breath a few times but nothing has happened to date.

You will walk several stages where there are no towns in between (stage 3 comes to mind from Castilblanco to Almadén).

It is a route with less traffic, it's hard to say how many will be walking mid September although I assume more than what I encountered in July and February (4-5 pilgrims) up to Salamanca. I also walked Salamanca -SdC in October and Zamora - Santiago in July. Both times there were a handful of us.

I was lucky enough to meet people (I speak Spanish) who became walking partners but it is really the luck of the draw. You just don't know.

This might not be what you want to hear - I could have said "go for it!" and don't let fear hold you back but I am not sure if that is what you want or need to hear now.

Good luck!

ps I've walked several Caminos entirely by myself and it is pretty tough not seeing anyone for days and days.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I'll piggy back on LT's comments and say that I too walk alone a lot (unless I'm walking with LT as I was for part of last year :)). I am not a risk taker, I am not a trail blazer, but over the years I have just found that walking alone on untraveled caminos is my preference. I do relish always having some part of my camino be a more social one, because as LT says, solitude for days and days on end gets kind of hard. If you speak Spanish you can solve that by going to a bar/café, where frequently people strike up a conversation (as I am quite a rarity in many of these places -- I've had the mayor come down to meet me and buy me a drink in some place on the Olvidado, in fact). You won't really know if you like walking alone till you try it, but I understand that setting out from Sevilla might not be the best way to try it.

Based on what LT says, I think it's likely you will walk alone during the day but usually find a few other people in the albergues at night.

If you are looking for caminos in September with more traffic, I'd try maybe the Norte or the Primitivo. That could be a good first step in the transition to see if you like walking alone. Many fewer loose animals on those caminos, too. (though I will elaborate on what LT says about bulls -- I've been reassured more than once that the males out in the fields are never going to be "toros bravos", the kind they raise for bullfighting, so I think many of us English speakers have visions of these guys racing after pilgrims in their red altus ponchos, and that just isn't going to happen).

Buen camino, LesBrass. Laurie
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
I did find a lovely group of pilgrims when I joined at Mérida, and kept pace with them on and off right up to Santiago. Pilgrims on the route in May were overwhelmingly French and male - for most of the time I could find no female company, and although I am comfortable with the guys, it was such a treat when I could talk to an occasional peregrina. Enjoy your planning, whichever route you decide upon.
 
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Harington

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Vézelay/Francés 2011, Primitivo 2012, VdlP 2013, Via Domitia 2014, Inglés 2015, Francigena 2016
Hello - those of you who know me will appreciate that I've um'ed and ah'ed about this route for a while. The route calls me for sure. We spent our honeymoon in Seville, I love the area and it feels like a camino for me.

My worries are that I'll feel too isolated. I'm a bit of a scardy cat... cows roaming around with no fences can cause a bit of a panic, big dogs, bees and so on; you get the idea! I'm not looking for the busy paths of the CF but I do take comfort knowing that there could be someone not too far behind or ahead of me if I was in trouble. And it would be nice to walk with a few familiar faces for a part of the day, and particularly at the end of the day.

So - how isolated is the route? If I started on the 19th September would there be other pilgrims around for me to not feel alone?

This really is my only concern... so I'd be grateful for your feedback.
Loads of other pilgrims. I started 17 September (2013) and there was a perfect balance of always people to share evenings with, but solitary walking if that's what one wanted. It was the best time ever.
 

murraydv

Via de la Plata / Sanabres / Camino de Levante
Year of past OR future Camino
Completed Via de la Plata (2018).
Started Camino de Levante (2019).
Hello - those of you who know me will appreciate that I've um'ed and ah'ed about this route for a while. The route calls me for sure. We spent our honeymoon in Seville, I love the area and it feels like a camino for me.

My worries are that I'll feel too isolated. I'm a bit of a scardy cat... cows roaming around with no fences can cause a bit of a panic, big dogs, bees and so on; you get the idea! I'm not looking for the busy paths of the CF but I do take comfort knowing that there could be someone not too far behind or ahead of me if I was in trouble. And it would be nice to walk with a few familiar faces for a part of the day, and particularly at the end of the day.

So - how isolated is the route? If I started on the 19th September would there be other pilgrims around for me to not feel alone?

This really is my only concern... so I'd be grateful for your feedback.


Hello. I am doing the VDLP for a week each year which will get me through the journey in four weeks. I am doing it with my brother in law, but I intend to come back to do the whole thing on my own. I think that you have got good advice from other responses to your post.
For me, I would not worry about cows, bulls, pigs or bees. But it is going to happen and you have to establish your own comfort in dealing with that. As others have said also, there are places where you will see plenty of people, but there are places also where you can be quite isolated for several hours in the day. But, if you are nervous, then you could start out early in the morning in the knowledge that, somebody will always catch up with you. Better to have people behind you rather than in front. Camino cyclists will always pass you.
As others have said, there can also be significant gaps between towns. For instance, from Fuenterroble to San Pedro (just before Salamanca) is a 28 klm stretch with nothing in between. Even the sound of traffic in the distance can be a comfort

At the end of the day, you will have to establish your own comfort zone. There is no point in being stressed or worried as you begin your walk each day. You really need to be comfortable with the challenge.

I love the route and it is a pity that you might miss it. Can you find somebody who you would like to walk the VDLP with?
I hope that you get to do it, one way or another.
Dave
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Yikes. But thanks @LesBrass for the good question and to the others for very direct answers.

I share your concerns @LesBrass and was thinking about VdlP last fall. But my dates were Oct-Nov and I decided it would probably be a bit too lonely, even though I prefer to walk alone. I thought spring would be better. However, the only time I can go this year is at the start of March, probably a month before most people set out on this route. My sister-in-law has decided to come (first-time pilgrim; knows not what she is in for) I will have good company and hopefully I can run faster than her!

Now I just need to decide where to start. Can someone please tell me where the bulls are? :D

There is no point in being stressed or worried as you begin your walk each day. You really need to be comfortable with the challenge.
This advice from @murraydv resonates with me. Sure I get very nervous when I see a loose dog, etc., but overall I feel comfortable with the challenge.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
The only bulls I remember seeing on the Vdlp were on the lovely path between the Arco de Caparra and Oliva de Plasencia, but they were all behind huge and imposing gates, walls, and fences. Bulls are too valuable an investment for the owners to let them wander loose, they would be stolen in a minute. Steer are a different story, but I will have to really dig through my Vdlp memory to see if I can remember seeing any. I know there was an old McDonald farm type place I walked through in Extremadura somewhere, but they were lazy pigs, chickens, etc.

Here is a thread I remembered:
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/crossing-bull-enclosures.28418/

On this thread I recounted an incident with steers on the Vdlp, but I don't have any memory of it right now. I'll go back to my journals.

Buen camino, Laurie
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Year of past OR future Camino
yes...
Hello and many thanks for all have who contributed and given your honest thoughts and feelings. It does help a lot.

I don't mind the long gaps between towns and I dont mind walking alone but I think that I may dislike walking in isolation without another soul around all day. I like the idea of starting early and folks catching me... I tend to be up and off bright and early anyway so this is an option.

I guess I am a little bit of an anxious person - walking passed a very big dog would take a lot of courage - but I did it a couple of times on the CF. Walking through a field of cows would also take a lot of courage... but again I did to it on the CF. The difference was that on the CF I kind of knew that if I waited a few minutes someone was bound to come along and this helped. I would also worry about being a solo woman walking alone... and again knowing that there was another pilgrim 5 minutes back the road would make me feel safer.

However, would these concerns make the walk too much for me to cope with? That's what I have to decide I guess? Maybe it could be good for me? Maybe it would terrify me... I've always thought i was quite a tough cookie but I know what makes me fret? When I was training at home I walked along the Vezelay route and I never saw another person (apart from when I was literally followed into a public loo cubical by a rather unpleasant chap!)

Well I have some thinking to do... am I brave enough to take that step!? Maybe because the CF is getting busier more and more folks will switch and make the other routes more busy? I do speak good french so this would help... and I dont mind the company of men so again that isn't a problem.

many thanks folks... I really do love the idea of walking this route but... well... I have a little while to consider the options.
 
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Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Could you walk with a friend?
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Year of past OR future Camino
yes...
Could you walk with a friend?

that's an option I'm exploring but most aren't as mad as me :rolleyes: My sister has said she's like to walk a week or so with me... but it maybe harder for her to get to and from the camino than she thinks? But certainly woth exploring as an option.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hello and many thanks for all have who contributed and given your honest thoughts and feelings. It does help a lot.

I don't mind the long gaps between towns and I dont mind walking alone but I think that I may dislike walking in isolation without another soul around all day. I like the idea of starting early and folks catching me... I tend to be up and off bright and early anyway so this is an option.

I guess I am a little bit of an anxious person - walking passed a very big dog would take a lot of courage - but I did it a couple of times on the CF. Walking through a field of cows would also take a lot of courage... but again I did to it on the CF. The difference was that on the CF I kind of knew that if I waited a few minutes someone was bound to come along and this helped. I would also worry about being a solo woman walking alone... and again knowing that there was another pilgrim 5 minutes back the road would make me feel safer.

However, would these concerns make the walk too much for me to cope with? That's what I have to decide I guess? Maybe it could be good for me? Maybe it would terrify me... I've always thought i was quite a tough cookie but I know what makes me fret? When I was training at home I walked along the Vezelay route and I never saw another person (apart from when I was literally followed into a public loo cubical by a rather unpleasant chap!)

Well I have some thinking to do... am I brave enough to take that step!? Maybe because the CF is getting busier more and more folks will switch and make the other routes more busy? I do speak good french so this would help... and I dont mind the company of men so again that isn't a problem.

many thanks folks... I really do love the idea of walking this route but... well... I have a little while to consider the options.

It my be that you won't know till you try it. And the public transportation system is so good in Spain that if you do start out and decide it was a disastrous mistake, you won't have lost that much time and can get yourself over to another camino pretty quickly. It's good to hear a lot of perspectives, but as you said, LesBrass, it's really just something for you to hammer out yourself. Buen camino, Laurie
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I share some of your dilemas @LesBrass. I like some solitude on my walks but need companionship and company at the end of the day. I have walked with my husband, and also friends, but that always involves compromises. I love the idea of the VDLP but know that I'd get lonely and probably freaked out with imaginary dangers. Or even real ones.
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
The challenge of the VDLP is not the walking itself but the mental challenge. Not knowing how much company you will have. But ultimately you only need to meet one person. Make sure you have some music or podcasts or something for those times when the road is long and not as interesting or you are simply talked out. There was only one part where the cows were on my side of the fence and rather close but they were very friendly. Other times the farmer tends to be close by. Sticks are handy though.
I was expecting to walk days alone but it didn't actually work out that way. There was only one day when I set out completely by myself and I ended up catching up to pilgrims I had already met. I did my camino over June-July so there were reasonable numbers.
 
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LesBrass

Likes Walking
Year of past OR future Camino
yes...
I love the idea of the VDLP but know that I'd get lonely and probably freaked out with imaginary dangers. Or even real ones.

Kanga, I think this sums it up perfectly! One of the side effects of my drugs is that it has made me more anxious generally and sometimes the percieved dangers are worse that the real ones. :oops:

Thank you so much for all of your information; it has helped me a lot. I do want to walk the VDLP but maybe this year is not the year? I had set my heart on walking the CF again from SJ to Fisterra... I should go with this as I've been planning this.

My husband is starting to think about being able to walk with me and still do the occasional work day online. I also think I'd love to walk the VDLP in spring so maybe it's something that we can do together in a year or two.

This is my thinking today... who knows if this is the final plan... but I'll go with this for now

Many thanks again! :cool:
 
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