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The big map o the Caminos de Santiago

Kiwi bicigrina VDLP.

Camino(s) past & future
July 7th 2014 Camino Frances
Camino Portugues 26 July (2016)
#1
Hola. Well I thought I was going to be able to do a daily blog for those interested in my riding challenge, but the challenge has been too tiring to worry about up till now. Anyway I started VDLP 19th Sept and have stopped at a little albergue that has only been open 2 weeks called “La Casa del Molinero”. .
Day 1 leaving Seville to El Real de la Jara (85ks)(and it were not for the Carvelho hill just before Almaden de la Plata) I would have done a longer ride but that hill is a beast for cyclists. You cannot ride up- like the book says you walk. From Guilena to Castilablanco de los Arroyos I found that section hard as the rocks and the terrain really wasn’t great for cyclists. In the book it said cyclist take the road. I should have listened and so if there are fellow cyclists out there wanting to do VDLP - defintley take the road on that stage. So I stopped in El Real at the albergue there for the night. Unfortunately there were 2 inconsiderate people who decided to cook their dinner at 11pm and 12am respectively which did not make for a good sleep. Suffice to say I had a few choice words to say to them while they were making a loud racket. Decided at 5 am to get up and left there by 6am. I only hope they heard me.
Day2 another long hot day in which I decided to ride to Merida (137ks). All of this part I was able to stay on the walkers path. The bike took a pounding but It’s has lasted. The terrain is good for the bike also as it’s mainly flat for the most part, gravel roads, rocky roads etc etc but all doable. Actually I got my 1st puncture just before Torremejia. Watch out for those prickly weeds as they are sharp and one managed to lodge itself into my tyre. 2pm extreme heat and it was not a good time to get the puncture but s... happens and you deal with it. It’s defintley hot here so I’m glad I used a camel back as I would freeze my water the night before and it pretty much stays ice cool for at least 6 hours. If I stopped at a bar I would just ask for ice and most of them were only too happy to give me ice.
Day 3 Merida to Casar de Casares 97kms. Decided I’d start late so left Merida at 10am. It started out fine for the 1st few kilometres then you turn inland and ride on sand and rocks. I found the ride to Aljucen quite tough as the book says no alternative routes so I stuck to the walk. There was definelty some rough bits where I ended up walking the bike, the huge boulders etc just did my head in and there was no road really. Again very hot looked at my temp gauge is 36degrees by midday. Stopped a couple of times for something to drink and filled up my camelback. You defintley have to go prepared and top up your water supply. From the locals knowledge they say it has been extremely hot for late September. Anyway got to Casares and I must have missed a turn because I ended up on a track to nowhere for 4 km before I realised I’d taken a wrong turn so this added an extra 8 km to my already long day. Finally got into Casa de Casares and stayed at the municipal albergue. It was clean, had kitchen, showers and toilets, washing machine all for the princely sum of 5 euros. Oh and there were only two other people there and we were all cyclists.
Day 3 I decided to ride to Aldeanueva ((115ks). Left Casa de Casares and the dirt road is fine for the 1st 14ks. Went by about 7-8 walkers around 7.30am so it was nice to see. At the 14k mark there were options for cyclists and this time I listened and jumped on the N630. You were able to hook back up on the path around the 21k mark. When I got the this stage I saw the pathway up and thought “yea nah” it would have been tough so I stuck to the road and the alternative route for cyclist all the way through to Olivia de Plasencia. Now I only went to Plasencia because I was nearly out of water so
Went the extra 7kms to find nothing open. It is Saturday and I could t find anything. Another pilgrim told me later that there was water fountain in that town but I didn’t see it. Anyway I was desperate so I stuck to the road I’m the hope of finding a garage 7-8ks later my prayers were answered and there was a repsol bit even better before the reps there was a bar and it was opened so I went for it. After replenishing my water I pretty much stayed on the road 17ks to get into Aldeanueva. Along the road I met up with 3 frenchies lovely older gentleman but only one could speak English so chatted to him for a while then carried on. On arrival in Aldeanueva del Camino I went to the municipal albergue but it was not open. I then carried on to La casa do me Abuela. Lovely hostel for 13 euros and 15 if you wanted breakfast. It had washing machine, dryer and aircon so perfect place to stay and the rooms were very clean and tidy.
Day 5 Aldeanueva to Calzada de Valdunciel 117ks. A gorgeous rustic casa that was the perfect place at the right time. Having just ridden 117 kms from Aldeanueva, my phone and Garmin both lacking battery time and it was hot hot hot, I just happened to stop right outside this new Albergue. If your coming in from Salamanca it’s only another 17kms but it is perfect. Myself and my new german friend David were the only 2 in the place and it was lovely.
Anyway to cut a long story short, I awoke to find my back wheel down and I only had 1 spare tube so it’s a no brainer, I’ll stay another day. Jumped on the bus to Salamanca for 1 euro and spent a bit of time checking out Salamanca. It is a beautiful place so a stop is well worth it. Found the local bike shop in the central area and they were very helpful so bought a couple extra tubes there and have arrived back at this lovely casa. Will see what tomorrow brings. Hoping to ride to Tabara as I’m going to to the Sanabres and be back in Santiago in 4 days.
Cheers everyone. I hope it’s not too long winded but while it’s still fresh in my mind I thought I’d let any fellow cyclists know what it’s like to ride the Via. It’s defintley not easy and I’m riding. Hats off to the walkers because having walked the France and the Portugese this one is defintley harder. Signing off for now. Buen Camino...
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
#2
Glad you enjoyed the ride, the VdlP is rightly popular with cyclists and it sounds like despite your trials you have been enjoying it. Also sounds like we met the same David in Salamanca. Happy trails.
 
Camino(s) past & future
July 7th 2014 Camino Frances
Camino Portugues 26 July (2016)
#3
Hi there hey nice to finally chat with some fellow kiwis. David did mention he’d met two
Kiwis so it’s nice to know your out there. Where are you headed tomorrow. I may see you on the trail. Be nice to chat if possible. Buen viaje/Camino. Ingrid.
 
Camino(s) past & future
July 7th 2014 Camino Frances
Camino Portugues 26 July (2016)
#4
Day 6 Calzada de Valdunciel to Tabara 118ks. So today’s ride was hhhmmmm interesting. I met up with 2 fellow kiwis which was cool, then caught up to my German friend David not far out from
Zamora. Decided to meet up with him there for a cuppa and I did think I’d do a short ride today and stay there but then just carried on. Anyway the track today was constant gravel, or sandy paths. In some places it was a little rough but again good for a mountain bike. After leaving Zamora I got another puncture from those little prickly weeds again. Man you’ve gotta watch that. If anyone is going to ride the Via, take tubeless and put the gooey stuff inside. It saves a big hassle. I am down to 2 spare tubes now. Around Montmartre it got a bit confusing because as I came up to this roundabout there were 3 signs on 3 different exits of where to go from here. I tell you it was a bit of a pain. I was going to take the easy path which would have got me to Tabara in 28ks but It felt wrong so I eventually took one of the other 2 paths which got me to Tabara in 50kms but 5 k out from Tabara another puncture so I wasn’t too happy by then. Chamged the tyre again and I am now down to one tube and hoping I can catch the bike shop in Pueblo de Sanabres Tomorrow before I pop another. Defintley come prepared with spare tubes and or do the tubeless thing. These roads are not very forgiving. Well that’s it for today folks. Hope this helps with anyone thinking of riding the Via. For the most part I have managed to stay on the walkers pathways for 95% of the time and only took
alternative routes when I could see it was going to be a tough road to ride. That’s it from me, until tomorrow. Adios and Buen Camino.
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
#5
Oh dear, but at least tyre punctures are easier to fix then those on your toes.
 
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Paladina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled caminos francés, Finisterre, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles et al (2018)
#6
Hi Ingrid, I’m glad to hear it’s going well for you, but I'm not surprised you’re tired: you seem to be putting in some very long days. Are you pressed for time? I don’t recall a killer hill before Almaden, but I do remember a series of strenuous climbs on an unintentional detour throughout the Sierras on the far side of El Real de la Jara. The major impediment for me in late May was mud and /or flooding rather than thorns, but I see no compelling reason to use tubeless tyres. I’ve just changed a set of Schwalbe Marathons after more than 5000km of on- and off-road use, and still no punctures. The only use for the spare tubes and patches I carried was to facilitate other cyclists’ roadside repairs. Anyway, I hope the Sanabres will be kinder to your tyres. Enjoy the rest of the journey!
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
#7
Okay I am going to dip out of this debate as tubeless, tubed, sounds like pilgrims arguing over uses of walking poles to me and is way past my level of experience to comment.

All power to you Ingrid, may you be past peskie thorns, your tyres remain pumped and the bars be open for coffee or beer whatever you need it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
July 7th 2014 Camino Frances
Camino Portugues 26 July (2016)
#8
Hi Paladina. The killer hill was when we turned off into the National Park before Almaden de
La Plata. We had to climb the Calvario hill then a good downhill into Almaden. Having just completed the Camino Del Norte and part of the Camino Portugese backwards into Porto with 14 other kiwi mates I was always going to be pressed for time, but then I knew that going in. I think what I’ve found out on the Camino is the heat certainly gets to us kiwis as I definitely wasn’t prepared for
that. I have managed to get here (Puebla de Sanabrea) and see the best mechanic ever. Ramiro was his name and if any other cyclists get into trouble go see him. He was awesome. He did a thorough service job on the bike so she’s is running smoothly now. Thanks Helen I’ll be looking forward to my cola light at whichever bar may be open when I swing by and hopefully those pesky thorns will now be getting slimed. I hope you and your daughter are having a great Camino and that your foot is healing well. It was too bad I couldn’t stop and chat longer but as I said above time is not on my side for this camino. It’s defintley been a blast and if I ever come back to do VDLP it will be at a more sedate pace. Go hard go well and who knows we may meet again. Buen Camino. :cool:
 


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