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Live from the Via de la Plata

isabelle304

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPP-Santiago) (Oct-Nov 08)
Santiago to Finisterre (Nov 08)
Via de la Plata/Camino Sanabres (Sevilla-Santiago via Ourense) (Oct-Nov 09)
Camino Primitivo (Oviedo-Santiago) (Sep-Oct 14)
... well, not quite live from the VdlP, but live from Seville in any case. Arrived this afternoon and the weather is muggy sticky hot - it´s been drizzling a bit this evening and it helps to cope with the heat but not much.

I checked into the Hotel Simon, then walked 15-20 mins to the Amigos office (they are meant to be open 7-9pm) and found the door locked and a notice on the door saying that if they are unexpectedly closed, the credencial can be obtained from.... the Hotel Simon!! Doh!

In the 5 mins that I was in front of the Amigos office, 2 other people (both Spanish) also showed up wanting a credencial - I guess this shows I won´t be the only one on the VdlP after all.

Am not really "feeling" Seville - the amount of car traffic really irritates me - there are cars even in places where there should not be cars! I can´t wait to get away to a bit of peace and quiet, and in fact if I had not prepaid the hotel for 2 nights, I might have left tomorrow morning instead of Thursday!

I have planned to get up really early tomorrow and explore the city before it gets busy - I might then feel differently about it. There are some lovely buildings but all I am aware of at the moment is the amount of tourists, the cars everywhere, and the smell of horse pee and horse poo drifting here and there!

Isabelle
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Isabelle - I hope today is better for you - enjoy the Bario Santa Cruz, get down to the huge park and rent a bicycle, visit the splendid Plaza Espana with its magnificent fountain, go see the biggest Cathedral ever, feed birds in the square and take your pick from the finest tapas Spain has to offer. If that isn't enough, go dance flamenco :)
 

isabelle304

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPP-Santiago) (Oct-Nov 08)
Santiago to Finisterre (Nov 08)
Via de la Plata/Camino Sanabres (Sevilla-Santiago via Ourense) (Oct-Nov 09)
Camino Primitivo (Oviedo-Santiago) (Sep-Oct 14)
JohnnieWalker said:
Isabelle - I hope today is better for you - enjoy the Bario Santa Cruz, get down to the huge park and rent a bicycle, visit the splendid Plaza Espana with its magnificent fountain, go see the biggest Cathedral ever, feed birds in the square and take your pick from the finest tapas Spain has to offer. If that isn't enough, go dance flamenco :)

I went to the Plaza de España this morning (I always intended to see it anyway) and was gutted to find when I got there that it is under some kind of renovation so the whole view of it is blighted by tall metal mesh barriers and a huge row of portacabins! :( I was only able to admire it from afar - i´ll post a couple of pictures next time I am able to do it so you´ll see just how awful it looked.

I am in no shape to dance flamenco right now as my feet are killing me. I walked to Decathlon this morning also - it turned out to be just about 10mins off the VdlP - as you get to the point where you have the choice to either continue straight ahead to Camas or turn right to go direct to Santiponce, you can actually see Decathlon in the distance a bit to the left.

On my way back from Decathlon, a young Spanish man on a scooter stopped to talk to me - initially asking me questions about the Camino. He looked about 15 or 20 years younger than me. Very soon however he started asking me more personal questions and asked me if he could spend the day with me. I promptly said no and started walking away but he remained undeterred and followed me - he was still on his scooter at that stage. This was where the path is very quiet, only used by pedestrians, cyclists, motorbikes and the odd bus. There was nobody else around so I accelerated - he stopped his scooter, got off and started walking next to me, squeezing my arms and grabbing me by the neck and shoulders :shock: . Thankfully I am quite a bit bigger than he is so he could not succeed in stopping me and I kept wriggling away and pushing him away but I got slightly worried as we were coming up to a small underground tunnel and there was no way I was going to go down there with him still trying to grab me. At the tunnel however he seemed to become concerned for the safety of his scooter, bid me farewell and went back the way he came.

Funny thing is that yesterday as I was standing in front of the cathedral, I was accosted by a tiny elderly Spanish gentleman who also followed me around and started grabbing my hands and arm and telling me how beautiful I was! (Thankfully he was very elderly so I quickly lost him by sprinting into a shop and exiting the shop from a door at the back).

I am irritated but also slightly bemused by all this - I am a 45 years old, big woman, not used to being pestered by over-zealous males... First thing I do when I get my hands on a dictionary is learn to say: "Don´t touch me - I think I have swine flu!" :mrgreen:
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Isabelle,
Well, look at this way, things are just BOUND to get better! Your anecdote reminds me of a smilar thing that happened to me last year somewhere after Melide. A man got off his bike in the woods, walked with me making nice chit chat for a few minutes and then tried to get up close and personal. I shouted something like ?No le da verguenza, hombre??? and off he went in the opposite direction. About a half hour later, he was coming back up the hill behind me, and I saw him open the gate to his house -- I went back a few meters and inquired whether he would like to introduce me to his wife or other family members inside. (Actually, I was a little surprised at myself for saying that, because I am usually pretty timid in those sorts of situations, but I was just incensed at the time) As you might guess, he literally ran to the house and slammed the door shut behind him.

Too bad about the Plaza de Espana. When I was there in March, some work was beginning, but they had only blocked off a few of those provincial tiles. And these big works seem to take forever to complete. It seems that everyone who walks a Camino has to deal with some beautiful monument or another being covered in scaffolding. But maybe you will have better luck in some of the great cities along the way. Wishing you a terrific Vdlp, Laurie
 

isabelle304

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPP-Santiago) (Oct-Nov 08)
Santiago to Finisterre (Nov 08)
Via de la Plata/Camino Sanabres (Sevilla-Santiago via Ourense) (Oct-Nov 09)
Camino Primitivo (Oviedo-Santiago) (Sep-Oct 14)
I did not think it would take me such a long time for my 2nd post on this thread but I have had some real problems finding places with internet access - either there is nowhere, or if there is access (in a Casa de Cultura or biblioteca etc), it always seems to be CLOSED when I happen to be there!!!

Right then. Day 28 of my camino and I´ve only just reached the half-way stage - Salamanca! It´s therefore taken me nearly a month to do one half of the VdlP :oops:

First two weeks I found really hard - my lack of physical fitness a great handicap during days where the temperature sometimes reached 37 degrees centigrade. I sweat A LOT and therefore needed to carry 3 litres of water (at least) each day. I started having problems with my feet from Day 3 (going down THAT hill just before Almaden de la Plata). Mostly heel pain and toes swelling up and going black.

The day I walked the 21.5km from Aljucen to Alcuescar (Day 14), my feet got so painful that I had to take off my shoes and walk in my Crocs - I got to the albergue around 4pm, with 4 toe nails having turned black. I felt so despondent and fed up that day that I seriously thought about giving up once reaching Caceres. A small group of 7 French pilgrims whom I had met the night before bullied me into going to the Medical Centre in Alcuescar and seek help, which I did. The doctor there just seemed to think my shoes were too tight (those are the same shoes I wore on the Camino Frances last year and did not have any problems with!). He took a needle and pierced through one of my toenails (the one that looked the worst), squeezed some blood out and sent me on my way.

Thankfully there was a good atmosphere at the Alcuescar albergue that evening and the French pilgrims were very supportive of me, this encouraged me to carry on and not throw in the towel in Caceres as I had planned. It´s now 2 weeks later and as I was getting changed last night and putting on my trousers, I felt one of my large toenails coming off :shock: There is a podiatry clinic here in Salamanca which the hospitalera at the albergue referred me to - I went there this morning. The podiatrist totally removed my 2 big toe-nails - I am already missing one small toe nail, that one turned weird and fell off a week ago. I don´t yet have new nails growing on those 3 toes but the podiatrist is adamant it is not a problem for me to continue walking like that (I am mainly concerned about infections but I´ll just keep them bandaged).

A lot of pilgrims I have encountered are only walking part of the VdlP, or skipping parts (by taking buses etc). Salamanca seems to be a popular place for people either to stop their camino, or start it.

On the whole, I am enjoying the quietness of the VdlP. I spent 7 nights in a row alone in albergues (in Embalse de Alcantara, Grimaldo, Galisteo, Carcaboso, Oliva de Plasencia, Aldeanueava del Camino and Calzada de Bejar) but that is not a problem for me. In Fuenterroble de Salvatierra we were 5, and in San Pedro de Rozados only 2.

My favourite albergues so far: the old olive oil mill 4km before Villafranca de los Barros (am I the only one who actually likes the fact it was in the middle of nowhere?), the convent in Alcuescar (peaceful and welcoming atmosphere), Embalse of Alcantara albergue (brutalist? architecture), Alba-Soraya in Calzada de Bejar (very warm, friendly and lively hospitalera) , the parroquial albergue in Fuenterroble, and of course the albergue here in Salamanca.

My only bad albergue experience: in Aldeanueava del Camino. As I stood in front of the albergue with my rucksack on my back, the old lady hospitalera, without even saying hello or giving me time to say hello, asked me aggressively what I wanted. Once I explained I needed the albergue, she reluctantly allowed me in. Once I had filled in the register, she violently slammed a wooden box on the table and simply said "Donativo!". I asked how much other people donate and she said "5 euros". I paid up. She said "If you are cold during the night, just shut the windows!" and stomped off back to her house 2 doors down. My feet were particularly painful that day otherwise I might have gone off in search of a pension or hostal. As things were, I just took a quick shower and got into bed straightaway, feeling slightly miffed but on the whole also bemused as I just could not believe how unpleasant that lady was :shock:

The positive thing is that in the past week I have clearly felt my fitness improve. I managed my longest day (29km from Fuenterroble de Salvatierra to San Pedro de Rozados, including that section up the hill to Pico de la Dueña) in 9 hours, which for me is very good, believe me! and the best thing is that when I did get to San Pedro I was still able to stand up and walk normally without too much pain :mrgreen:

So on the whole I´ll conclude by saying that I am glad I have stuck with this. This camino is physically much harder for me than the Camino Frances but, because of that, much more rewarding - black pigs, one escaped bull, majestic birds of prey, olive trees as far as the eye can see, Roman bridges galore, reservoirs of the most beautiful colours, Galisteo (how amazing is that entirely-walled town!!) - those are all memories I´ll keep for ever. Am hoping to make it to Santiago by the end of November at the latest (the slowest pilgrim ever, I think!) and hopefully with some toenails still left.
 

andy.d

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Levante 2009
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2011
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2014
Pilgrims Way Winchester - Canterbury
Camino Ingles (Ferrol) 2015
Cistercian Way (Wales) 2016
Isabelle,

Good for you - stick at it. For me, the Camino, which i´ve just finished was one of the best and one of the hardest things I´ve done.

¡Venga Peregrina!

Andy
 

isabelle304

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPP-Santiago) (Oct-Nov 08)
Santiago to Finisterre (Nov 08)
Via de la Plata/Camino Sanabres (Sevilla-Santiago via Ourense) (Oct-Nov 09)
Camino Primitivo (Oviedo-Santiago) (Sep-Oct 14)
Thanks Andy for the words of encouragement.

Amazingly, this is now the second day in the row that I have internet access. Today I am in Calzada de Valdunciel, about 16km from Salamanca. Am really impressed with the friendliness of the people in this village, and particularly impressed by the albergue - a cute little house, well decked out, and someone went through a lot of trouble preparing a Pilgrim Information folder containing loads of useful information - in various languages!! Am typing this from the library (free internet access for pilgrims). Tonight in the albergue we are 4 (2 German men, 1 Irish man and myself).

Weather still hot and sunny during the day but the mornings and evenings are getting chilly and require my wearing my fleece. I´ve only had 2 days of rain since leaving Seville on 1st October.

Tomorrow I am off to Cubo del Vino. Am still walking a bit gingerly owing to my missing toenails and want to avoid walking c. 30km a day if I can avoid it.
 

evanlow

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
I blogged about my via de la plata last year.

Yes, Calzada de Valdunciel's is a nice place and the librarian is so friendly.

You can check out my blog for the period between late april to june 2008. Hopefully it will provide more information for you in your next leg of your camino.

Buen Camino!

http://camino.wificat.com
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
isabelle304 said:
The day I walked the 21.5km from Aljucen to Alcuescar (Day 14), my feet got so painful that I had to take off my shoes and walk in my Crocs - I got to the albergue around 4pm, with 4 toe nails having turned black. I felt so despondent and fed up that day that I seriously thought about giving up once reaching Caceres. A small group of 7 French pilgrims whom I had met the night before bullied me into going to the Medical Centre in Alcuescar and seek help, which I did. The doctor there just seemed to think my shoes were too tight (those are the same shoes I wore on the Camino Frances last year and did not have any problems with!). He took a needle and pierced through one of my toenails (the one that looked the worst), squeezed some blood out and sent me on my way.

Thankfully there was a good atmosphere at the Alcuescar albergue that evening and the French pilgrims were very supportive of me, this encouraged me to carry on and not throw in the towel in Caceres as I had planned.

Isabelle, You are one courageous lady!!! Having had black toenails once myself, from boots that were too tight, I know the pain they can cause, with all that extra fluid under the nail. How great that you were supported by that group of French pilgrims, and that it inspired you onwards.
I was slow too. I don't think it matters: just think of it as more time for a rich experience!
Buen Camino for the rest of your journey. What you have done so far has been inspirational.
Margaret
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Isabelle,

Just another round of applause from me. It sounds like you've overcome some pretty substantial challenges, and that the rewards have maybe been as great as the burdens. Keep posting when you can, we love to hear from you!

Laurie
 

skilsaw

Veteran Member
Isabelle, your perseverance is an inspiration.

Here is a thought on the black toe nails...
You are wearing the same boots last year's camino when you didn't have the toe problem. Right?

Are you wearing heavier socks?
Or are your toe nails protruding past the end of your toes?

I lost one toe nail in 2006 and I think it was because it was too long to begin with. Or my heavy socks could have balled up at the toe.

I recommend an antiseptic called "Betadine" when you loose a nail. I picked it up in a small town farmacia.
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Isabelle

Your positings are really wonderful. Please keep them coming. You have shown a lot of courage and endurance and you are really embracing this route with all of its challenges and difficulties. I hope you survived Cubo del Vino which when I was there had an albergue and hosiptalera from the local priest's house both of which were errrr unusual :)

Keep going - Animo peregrina!
 

Sagalouts

RIP 2015
Isabelle
can only echo what John posted.
sat here in comfortable Norfolk reading your postings over breakfast-Admiration and much respect.
Ian
 

evanlow

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
Isabelle,

I hope you enjoy Zamora (in another day or 2) as much as Salamanca. The albergue is new and the kitchen facilities is excellent (as with all new albergues).

As noted, you have the admiration and respect from every pilgrim in this forum who has seen what you have gone through. In another week or so you will have a challenge after Pueblo de Santabria when the terrain becomes mountainous as it goes into Galicia. Please be careful, and if the weather during the crossing is bad, you may want to consider the alternate route via Verin at a lower altitude.

I think we will all toast to you when you arrive in Compostela.

Monitoring your progress anxiously.....
 

isabelle304

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPP-Santiago) (Oct-Nov 08)
Santiago to Finisterre (Nov 08)
Via de la Plata/Camino Sanabres (Sevilla-Santiago via Ourense) (Oct-Nov 09)
Camino Primitivo (Oviedo-Santiago) (Sep-Oct 14)
Thanks everyone for all the messages of support - they mean a lot to me.

evanlow said:
Isabelle,

I hope you enjoy Zamora (in another day or 2) as much as Salamanca. The albergue is new and the kitchen facilities is excellent (as with all new albergues).

Am in Zamora albergue right now and indeed enjoying it very much on its first day of reopening, everything is spic and span and smells new and lovely (especially the bed linen). I took 4 days to do Salamanca-Zamora, which is a bit much, I know, but am still trying to avoid doing 30-km days. From tomorrow I´ll try and step up the pace.
 

isabelle304

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPP-Santiago) (Oct-Nov 08)
Santiago to Finisterre (Nov 08)
Via de la Plata/Camino Sanabres (Sevilla-Santiago via Ourense) (Oct-Nov 09)
Camino Primitivo (Oviedo-Santiago) (Sep-Oct 14)
JohnnieWalker said:
I hope you survived Cubo del Vino which when I was there had an albergue and hosiptalera from the local priest's house both of which were errrr unusual :)

In Cubo del Vino I dealt with a lovely hospitalero called Felipe - he had trained to be a priest when he was young but had then decided to give up the priesthood when he realised he liked women too much :D !

The albergue there was nicely equipped - did not notice anything unusual at all. It was however located next to a funeral home and there was a funeral going on when I arrived there, which went on for most of the afternoon, with many people of the village congregated outside in a noisy but sombre mob. The deceased was a local 93-year old man who had lived long and well :D .
 

isabelle304

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPP-Santiago) (Oct-Nov 08)
Santiago to Finisterre (Nov 08)
Via de la Plata/Camino Sanabres (Sevilla-Santiago via Ourense) (Oct-Nov 09)
Camino Primitivo (Oviedo-Santiago) (Sep-Oct 14)
skilsaw said:
I recommend an antiseptic called "Betadine" when you loose a nail. I picked it up in a small town farmacia.

I meant to reply to this last time I was online (in Zamora) but I was borrowing the hospitalero´s computer in his office and did not want to overstay my welcome!

Just to say - thanks for the advice. I bought a small tube of Betadine gel and have been spreading it on my ugly concave toes every day. Still no sign of new nails but at least they are not feeling as tender as they were.

Am now in Santa Croya de Tera and am typing this from the very welcoming Casa Anita. I am quite lucky in that the albergue was closed yesterday and now the owners are going to close it for one week as it is very quiet so I just caught it on the one day it is open.

Since leaving Zamora the weather has turned from being pleasant and warm to cold strong winds blowing the wrong way (ie against me rather than behind me!). Yesterday and today especially have been extremely hard, the wind is such that each step forward is a struggle. Sometimes the wind changes direction and tries to get me from the side. If you´ve heard of a slow pilgrim zigzag-ing like a drunken woman on the Camino between Granja de Moreruela and Santa Croya, that will be me! It´s extremely cold. Until Zamora I only needed to wear a long sleeve t-shirt and a summer top to walk. I am now like a mummy: 5 layers including a thick fleece + my anti-wind anti-rain jacket, my woolly hat and gloves, and a hood. I also have to wear my sunglasses to protect my eyes from the wind, I look like one of those polar explorers, with not an inch of my skin showing!

Since leaving Zamora, I have been on my own again without seeing any pilgrims - tonight will be my 4th night alone in a row. However since I reached Granja de Moreruela (where I left the VdlP "proper" to take the Camino Sanabres), I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I am just getting desperate for a washing machine. I do wash my clothes by hand as often as I can but they never seem to be really clean.

Anita´s husband has lit a nice log fire in the big chimney in the kitchen and the whole house smells of wood burning - I love that smell, very homely.

Hope to post again soon.

Isabelle


PS: If anyone reading this is likely to use the municipal albergue at Montamarta in the near future, DON´T! I can see it used to be very nice once upon a time, but it´s now fallen into neglect. It´s extremely dirty and run down and, being a bit isolated, is extremely spooky if you are there on your own at night. It´s right by quite a busy section of the N630 and has lots of traffic, including heavy lorries, hurtling by incessantly.
 

andy.d

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Levante 2009
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2011
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2014
Pilgrims Way Winchester - Canterbury
Camino Ingles (Ferrol) 2015
Cistercian Way (Wales) 2016
Isabelle,

Domingo, Anita's husband, will give you good advice on stages for the next few days (if he doesn't, see the section on stages on my blog). I found these to be manageable and meant good accommodation.

Send my love to Anita and Domingo - and it is good to know that the letter p works on their keyboard now.

Not far now - keep going,

Andy
 

Canuck

Veteran wanderer
Camino(s) past & future
?
[/quote]


PS: If anyone reading this is likely to use the municipal albergue at Montamarta in the near future, DON´T! I can see it used to be very nice once upon a time, but it´s now fallen into neglect. [/quote]

Although I agree that it's not in very good condition, that albergue remains one of my best stops on the VDLP.
That night one month ago, I met the most interesting peregrino I had ever met, a 75 years old Scotish by the name of Felix, who was completing the Camino de Alicante. As well, there was a cyclist couple from Pampelona with whom I had an excellent and most friendly encounter, after five very lonely and difficult stages.
This goes to prove that one's experience can be very different from someone else's, in the same conditions. Had I followed your advice, I would have missed this important moment of my camino.
Cheers,
Jean-Marc
 

isabelle304

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPP-Santiago) (Oct-Nov 08)
Santiago to Finisterre (Nov 08)
Via de la Plata/Camino Sanabres (Sevilla-Santiago via Ourense) (Oct-Nov 09)
Camino Primitivo (Oviedo-Santiago) (Sep-Oct 14)
Isabelle304 said:
PS: If anyone reading this is likely to use the municipal albergue at Montamarta in the near future, DON´T! I can see it used to be very nice once upon a time, but it´s now fallen into neglect.

Canuck said:
Although I agree that it's not in very good condition, that albergue remains one of my best stops on the VDLP.
That night one month ago, I met the most interesting peregrino I had ever met, a 75 years old Scotish by the name of Felix, who was completing the Camino de Alicante. As well, there was a cyclist couple from Pampelona with whom I had an excellent and most friendly encounter, after five very lonely and difficult stages.
This goes to prove that one's experience can be very different from someone else's, in the same conditions. Had I followed your advice, I would have missed this important moment of my camino.
Cheers,
Jean-Marc

I am glad you had such a good experience in Montamarta but it was just chance you happened to meet those interesting people there - you could have met them anywhere. I imagine at the time you visited, when the weather was warmer and the albergue had maybe been cleaned within the week, the fridge not been switched off and smelling awful, etc, the experience might have been a happier one. What I did not mention last time I posted is that I also was bitten by bedbugs in Montamarta, so you can imagine I wish I had never set foot in the place and wanted to warn people as to the status of Montamarta NOW.
 

andy.d

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Levante 2009
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2011
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2014
Pilgrims Way Winchester - Canterbury
Camino Ingles (Ferrol) 2015
Cistercian Way (Wales) 2016
Good to hear from you again Isabelle.
Where have you got to now?

Andy
 

isabelle304

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPP-Santiago) (Oct-Nov 08)
Santiago to Finisterre (Nov 08)
Via de la Plata/Camino Sanabres (Sevilla-Santiago via Ourense) (Oct-Nov 09)
Camino Primitivo (Oviedo-Santiago) (Sep-Oct 14)
Have now made it to Ourense.

The strong wind I mentioned last time I posted continued to give me a hard time until Puebla de Sanabria. I then had several cloudy but calm days from Puebla to A Gudiña, and since A Gudiña it´s been pretty much rain, rain, and more rain. I discovered between A Gudiña and Laza that my water-resistant trousers only resist light showers and were just no match for the horizontal Galician rain. Within 10 mins of setting off that rainy day, my legs were absolutely dripping wet. It was also extremely cold that day and it´s in a miserable state of mind I arrived at Campobecerros and decided to stay there for the night (the bar there also has rooms) instead of continuing on to Laza.

As far as other pilgrims go, still pretty sparse. In Puebla de Sanabria, after having been 6 days without seeing another pilgrim, I was caught up by a young Japanese woman called Emi. Emi had been walking always one day behind me but that day, decided to walk 41km (from Rionegro del Puente to Puebla), thus covering in one day the distance it had taken me 2 days to do! For the past week, her and I have been walking at pretty much the same pace and thus been meeting up in the albergues. It´s nice to have a bit of company. Tomorrow however she continues, while I will stay in Ourense one extra day.

We had a fun stop at the Rincon del Peregrino in Albergueria. We had initially just walked past it, intending to sit on a bench a bit further on to eat a sandwich and then go into the bar for a drink, but the owner saw us walk past and came out with his stamp and ink pad and seemed a bit shocked we had walked past without going in :D He then ushered us in, sandwiches and all, and we did the usual stuff with signing the shells, screwing them to the wall, taking photographs, etc. At that point, 4 journalism students arrived, with huge mic, big light, big camera and all, to interview the bar owner for a college project on small villages and communities. Once he was done, they then turned to me and proceeded to interview me! Thankfully the questions were simple and I was able to give simple answers in my bad Spanish. We all had a good laugh and I made them promise me not to make me famous! Once the students were gone, the bar owner then showed us the house opposite the bar which he is in the process of doing up as an albergue. There will be room for about 14 people, with beds on a sort of mezzanine floor upstairs, and a kitchen and dining area downstairs, and one unisex bathroom downstairs. This is so great - from next year there will finally be an albergue in Albergueria!

I am writing this from the albergue in Ourense, which is very warm. Makes a nice change as for the past few days we have been struggling to dry off, the heating in the Xunta albergues tending to come on late in the evening or not at all. Emi has gone off to the hot springs - I will visit them tomorrow.

Hoping to be in Santiago finally within the next week. It´s been a really long trip for me and it feels like a lifetime ago that I set off one extremely hot day from Seville. I cannot wait to see the spires of the cathedral once again...
 

isabelle304

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPP-Santiago) (Oct-Nov 08)
Santiago to Finisterre (Nov 08)
Via de la Plata/Camino Sanabres (Sevilla-Santiago via Ourense) (Oct-Nov 09)
Camino Primitivo (Oviedo-Santiago) (Sep-Oct 14)
Wooohooooooo! I´ve made it!!! I am in Santiago!!!! And officially the slowest pilgrim EVER to walk the VdlP: 54 days!!!!

After my day off in Ourense (including the obligatory trip to the hot springs, 4 or 5 kms away), I found that I really struggled to get up each day, and felt sluggish and like I was walking in a daze. I therefore had to do the last leg in 6 days (Ourense-Cea, then Cea-Castro Dozon via Oseira, Castro Dozon-A Laxe, A Laxe-Bandeira, Bandeira-Vedra and finally Vedra-Santiago). Weather was good the first two days (ie it did not rain!), but the rain returned on days 3, 4, 5. This morning I was pleased to wake up to patches of blue sky - last year I had arrived in Santiago in the rain, today I arrived dry. In front of the cathedral there were many pilgrims arriving from the Camino Frances - there was even one woman with two small donkeys :D

When I set off from Sevilla I had planned to walk to Finisterre again (and on to Muxia) but the VdlP has just taken too much out of me and I am too worn out (and sick of the rain) to continue so I will give Finisterre a miss this time.

My initial thoughts on the VdlP is that, by being much harder than the CF, it is also much more rewarding. I have found the scenery, fauna and flora more interesting, as well as the cities - in fact I absolutely fell in love with Salamanca and cannot wait to return there! Sleeping alone in albergues has not been a problem for me, although there have been one or two where the atmosphere has been a bit spooky at night. Seeing no other pilgrims for days on end has not been a problem either, but I would not be adverse to walking this route again in the spring when there are more people around, just to get a taste of the different vibe on the route.

When I get home I will write out my blog and post photos and my personal thoughts on all the albergues and hotels where I stayed - they might be of use to others.

Many thanks for all those of you who have given me advice and encouragement on this thread - I did have some really low days and many misgivings during the trip - especially when I started losing toe nails :shock: and also when I got bitten by the dreaded bedbugs :evil: . I´ve learnt (the hard way) that I MUST be fit if I am to walk this route again (or any non-CF route).

To those of you still walking the VdlP now, I wish the very best and am just sorry I did not get to meet you.

Isabelle
 

andy.d

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Levante 2009
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2011
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2014
Pilgrims Way Winchester - Canterbury
Camino Ingles (Ferrol) 2015
Cistercian Way (Wales) 2016
Isabelle,

Fantastic - congratulations!

And don't worry about the slowness. In fact I took longer than you from Ourense because it felt right to go slowly at that point of the Camino - and I had all my toenails.

Looking forward to your blog and photos - let us know the address.

And enjoy Santiago

Andy
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Isabelle,
Your post gave me a joyful start to the day! Congratulations and I hope you revel in a well-deserved sense of accomplishment. I really appreciate the fact that you were frank and upfront with the ups and downs throughout this walk (mental ones, I mean, not just physical). And, like Andy, I eagerly await reading your fuller accout of the entire walk.

I hope to walk from Sevilla starting in early May and I'm sure I'll benefit a lot from your experience --I assume you're idea about walking in the spring isn't for spring 2010, but if it is, I hope we can meet on the road.

Congrats again, Isabelle, time to enjoy life without a pack on your back! Laurie
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
Congrats Isabelle!

We must have been on the Obradoiro at the same time, I took a picture of the girl with the two donkeys as they walked off the square!

Saludos,
Ivar
 
Hi Isabelle,

Congratulations ! I am only just reading reading all of your entries, and am really glad I am catching it just as you complete your walk. Kudos to you for your perseverence despite the challenges.

I completed my walk on CF on Oct 29, and had returned home by Nov 4, but it took me a while to settle in to 'regular' life. Not entirely sure why. It feels like I am still internalising my experience on the camino.

I look forward to your blog. I am already thinking of another camino, and I am rather keen on Vdlp (or del Norte), possibly for spring of 2011.

Rest well, keep well, and a safe journey home.
Rebecca
 

evanlow

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
Congratulations Isabelle.

I can understand how you feel not continuing to Finisterre. The last 200 km in via Plata is a killer after the nice flat plains. And the weather was cold and wet in Spring! Can't imagine it now...
 

isabelle304

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPP-Santiago) (Oct-Nov 08)
Santiago to Finisterre (Nov 08)
Via de la Plata/Camino Sanabres (Sevilla-Santiago via Ourense) (Oct-Nov 09)
Camino Primitivo (Oviedo-Santiago) (Sep-Oct 14)
Was looking last night through the 1000-odd photos I took on the trip and thought I´d post here my 9 favourites. I´ll post more on my blog.

Thanks again for all the positive messages.

Isabelle


One morning between Almaden de la Plata and El Real de la Jara. A herd of goats (without goatherd or dog) advances towards me at a small gallop. I just had time to step aside to let them pass.


Olive trees as far as the eye could see. Between Fuente de Cantos and Zafra.


Between La Calzada de Bejar and Fuenterroble de Salvatierra. That cow had the most amazing long neck!


I am here with Joanie, who was the hospitalera at Salamanca albergue at the time of my stay. My thighs look enormous because I had lots of stuff in my pockets! I am smiling as I have just been told by the podiatrist at the Foot Clinic that I can continue my trip.


Between Santa Croya de Tera and Rionegro del Puente - I could not see the arrow for the trees :D


Just outside Cernadilla one early morning. He stood like that a long time watching me watching him.

Leaving Requejo de Sanabria as morning dawned. You can clearly see the multiple layers of clouds.


The owner of the "Rincon del Peregrino" bar, in Albergueria, in front of what is going to be the new albergue (from next year). He is laughing while pointing at the enormous cement pole going through the first floor balcony.


Isabelle arrives in Santiago on Day 54 finally and looks ahead at the cathedral spires! This was taken on the Calzada de Sar, presently closed to pilgrims while they are redoing the resurfacing/re-laying the stones. However the work is nearly finished and when I saw that some of the locals were using the street, I ventured down it too (I´d been looking forward to walking down that street the whole trip!)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Isabelle,
Can't wait to read your blog and your impressions of the entire journey. Did I miss a posting here that gave us its web address?

Those photos are terrific -- the one of the goats and the one of the sunrise were my favorites, and the one of your smiling face leaves no doubts about your state of mind at that point. I have to say I'm not sure my hand would have been as steady as yours was if a herd of goats was stampeding in my direction!

Laurie
 

andy.d

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Levante 2009
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2011
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2014
Pilgrims Way Winchester - Canterbury
Camino Ingles (Ferrol) 2015
Cistercian Way (Wales) 2016
Fantastic pictures!
I've got one of exactly the same view of Requejo at dawn but with no clouds on Dia de Hispanidad.
Great memories!

Andy
 

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