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LIVE from the Camino Lillian on the Via


Active Member
I have not written anything to the forum regarding my experience on the Via so far, so here goes.

My son and I left Sevilla onthe 6th of May. Our first stop was Guillena. The walk there was hot, very hot, and the only shade was the one tree that you can see from afar and feels like you´ll never get to it. We rested and napped under it. We walked by a Romeria, hundreds of carts drawn by horses and bulls and tractors, carrying families, men and women dressed in Sevillan typical clothing, as they march along to music or the firing of a rifle, to the shrine of a virgin (El Rocio?) I would have loved to join them for I am sure that night was full of music and dancing and food!!

When we arrived in Guillena, we went to the gym where the "albergue" is and I was a most unhappy pilgrim, after such a long, hot day. It consists of a double gym locker, with 4 very dirty mats on the floor. The showers are awesome, though no privacy. Not having a door for the toilet did not become an issue. I cleaned the place, and Moss, from Holland swept and placed all the garbage in a corner. 6 of us slept there (1 on the floor and 1 on 2 benches put together) and it turned out to be a wonderful group of men, from Holland, Spain, France, Germany and the 2 of us. We would meet up for several stages.

I have developed a love hate relationship with the Via. As the way went north it became more beautiful and the quietness was relaxing. The stages though are very long, with no towns in between to rest or eat, and there was a lot of road walking which affected my right hip and leg for a long time. I had to stay in Merida 3 days to rest and get a quiromasajista ( I called him my quiromasadista) to work on it. I was in pain for most of this walking, and I am sure there is a lesson there, but it is hard to pay attention when in pain!

The albergues are not bad at all- Although there were some places that did not have one. Have to use a hostal in those towns. The setting for the albergue in Merida is beautiful... at a park. Some were privado, some donativo only. Some free. Definitely one pays more along this camino than onthe Frances. The menus and the albergues tend to be 1 or 2 euros more. The CSJ guide is not up to date. There are more albergues than they mention. The Germans have a guide which is the most up to date I have seen-

Hospitaleros and hostal owners are mixed...some are wonderful and chatty some are matter of fact pay me and there you go. We had one we called angryman, his face always looking pissed off and when he spoke it was in single syllables with a definite forceful tone. Yet, he owned a free albergue where he did not want any donativo and at dinner he and his frown took the most wonderful care of the peregrinos that ate at his place. He truly does care.

The pilgrims tend to be older. That could be due to the time of year. It bothered me because I wanted my son, who was doing his first camino to have some peers, but he actually did not mind at all. Schools are just letting out in many countries, so I am sure the young are coming soon. Mixed europeans so far. None from across the puddles. OOps, yes, a Korean girl who had jsut finished the CF and then came here to do what she can until she has to leave for Korea. Pronounced MeSong (nice name). I took care of a very drunk German man whom I adore and who I have known since the beginning when at a town (which he liked and wanted to stay there because "it has many many nice benches and a good bar") started putting euro bills in people´s pockets at the bar. I then went around and asked for his money back without him knowing. I got most of it back and slipped it into his credencial. I collected alot of money. He is in his early 70s. A Spaniard, Angel, 75 years old was doing his 15th Camino, the 5th on the Via, his favorite. He would walk 30 to 45 kms per day! Incredible athlete.

Big cities like Sevilla, Merida and Caceres have enough places to see for one to stay a couple of days and tour. They are beautiful, maintained close to what they must have been like hundreds of years ago.

We got our credencial in Sevilla at the office of the amigos of the camino. The cathedral did not have any and they said they usually run out. So remember that if you don´t have one yet.

So finally when outof pain and having a great day walking I ended up with what we believe is tendinitis of the left foot, the one that was doing just fine. It hurts so severely that when I hobbled into Baños de Montemayor I told my son I could not go on. Luckily I have family in Madrid and since the options were bus to Salamanca or Madrid I opted for Madrid thinking this is not going to go away in just a couple of days. It has now been a week and it is still inflamed. I have gone to the hospital (which would not do anything for me, no x-rays, no prescriptions, nothing) and was dismayed at their refusal to treat me. I still do not understand it. I went to a private trauma doc I found in the yellow pages and he has seen me and said, "Yes, much swelling." (duh) ....RICE (as we call it)...Rest Ice Compression Elevation (I am throwing in an occasional Ibuprofen) and when it gets better I have every intention of walking again!

In the meantime my son, who is with me, has decided to walk the Camino Frances. Tomorrow he is leaving for Roncesvalles to begin walking. I am excited for him, and pleased that he would even entertain the idea of walking some more. He has been an excellent companion along the camino.
I assume it is still the same as fas as buses? Only bus from Pamplona to Roncesvalles leaves at 6pm?

Some of the highlights....wildflowers galore, Roman ruins, Roman baths (oh yeah...quite the sensuous treat in Aljucen). Went to a tablao (flamenco bar) and sat across someone who went to high school with my daughter!). Huge boulders dotting the landscape, stork nests with babies, walking amongst a huge herd of sheep. Walking between bulls, big black ones! And the people of course!
Here is a link to my pics, if you so desire. Warning, there are many! ... Id=1953204

So that´s it so far....483 kms down.... I cannot wait to get back
Hasta la Via
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I jsut got off the phone with an English woman I met on the Camino and she has not seen one pilgrim, not a soul for 6 days! She is starting to get really really lonely; even when one loves some solitude, there is something to say about being with others.
So if the CF is fuller than you want, you know where to head off to!
Also, the weather has been a bit crazy.
We were very hot the first day and very nice for the next few and then it got overcast, then rainy and windy and cold. When I left Baños I was wearing everything I owned, due to the humid windy cold. I think it is starting to get better. Not sure about the CF.
Lilli...wishing you gute besserung...get well and keep posting...I enjoyed ready your posts so much...Its amazing what hurts and what doesn't...been home 3 days and parts of my shoulders are still numb...but the feet...they be happy! Which nearly constitutes a the right foot (once royally stomped on by a horse) always gives me pain doing long distances at home...Nada on Camino!!


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