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The big map o the Caminos de Santiago

New Amigo

Dominick

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via De La Plata 2018, Finisterre 2018,
#1
Hola Perregrinos,

My name is Dominick and I am from the USA. I am planning to walk the Via De La Plata (VDLP) in September 2018, and would love to hear from people who have walked this route or plan to (maybe at the same time I will be there). I enjoy long-distance hiking, and look forward to the history of the VDLP as well as the entire journey (to include possibly El Camino Frances).

"The destination is the journey"

Dominick
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#2
Welcome Dominick.
There is a lot of information from folks who have walked the VdlP. Hopefully, you will get your questions answered and prepare for your excellent adventure.
 

Dominick

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via De La Plata 2018, Finisterre 2018,
#3
Thanks Grayland,
I am open to the entire experience, so whatever information I don't have before I leave, was maybe meant to get answered on el camino.

Dominick
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues (2013), Caminho Costa (2013), Frances (2014, 18) Mozarabe (2017)
#4
Howdy Pilgrim,

The amenities on the VdLP are much far between, and you will have more heat and sun exposure than you would on the Frances. Another thing to be mindful of, is that you will be starting your trek in a fairly warm part of Spain and then ending it in a much colder and wetter region, so be prepared for all of that.

For me, the part of the VdLP I liked the most was that the majority of this Camino goes through the dry Mediterranean environs that pleasantly dance in my thoughts when I think of Spain, but you also have to deal with the solitude as this Camino is not that well traveled. Case in point, on the Mozarabe, the only pilgrim we saw was a Dutch woman, but when we were on the VdLP proper, the woman disappeared and we ended up walking with an elderly Dutchman...???

One additional tip I would like to mention is make sure your sim card/phone works before starting this Camino. A lot of the albergues we stayed at did not have a host waiting there. Usually there was a piece of paper with a phone number posted at the door of the albergue you had to call for someone to let you in.
 

Dominick

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via De La Plata 2018, Finisterre 2018,
#5
Hola CA,

Thanks for the comments.
I am planning to start in mid to late September, so I am hoping for comfortable weather. However, I agree with what you said about finishing in a colder environment (north/mountains, etc). I will definitely keep that in mind when packing.
I don't mind the solitude that much, and this is one of the reasons why I chose the VDLP. That being said, it would be nice to be around people in the evenings.
I am still working through the phone matter. I currently have Verizon, but I am not sure if this is the best way to go. So, I am considering buying a phone with sim card when I get to Spain. What are your thoughts on that? Did you use any of the VDLP apps to navigate the route or guide books?
Thanks again for some the advice,
Dominick
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues (2013), Caminho Costa (2013), Frances (2014, 18) Mozarabe (2017)
#6
De nada Dominick,

Happily sharing info and experiences are why I'm on this forum.

Overall, it will start getting cooler in Southern Spain in the September, but be advised that they still get heat waves that time of year and they can get brutal, as the Spanish don't do siesta in the afternoon just for the sheer fun of not working.

I can't promise many grand communal pilgrims' meals the way they have on the Frances, due to the smaller amount of pilgrims on VdLP, but one way to break the solitude is consider having dinner at the local restaurant or bar, and chat up the locals with your best/worst Spanish. You'll be going through a lot of villages and towns that are off the beaten tourist path, and if you can speak or try to speak some Spanish with them, you may make some new friends.

As for your phone, you don't need a Spanish sim card or new phone if you only plan on making a few calls as Verizon has affiliations with the Spanish telecoms, but you should contact Verizon to see how much they charge for international roaming and they may have a sweet deal of some kind if you sign up for an international plan. If you do plan on making a lot of calls, then consider a Spanish sim card, which should be compatible with your current phone. The sales reps in the Spanish phone stores can help you with that. Then of course, you also have apps like WhatsApp and Viber if you want to make free calls.

As for using an app or guidebook to navigate the VdLP, I used a book. The practical reason being just in case something happened to my phone. The more personal preference reason being I like having a map in hand when I am trekking, and something to look at other than my phone when in bed, but the Camino apps work well, so check them out if that is your preference.

Finally, if you have not already, and when time allows, check out some of the other threads on this forum. There's some folk on here that are way more better than me in remembering details like where the sim card kiosks are at the airport, or they bring up subjects that I didn't even think to consider that have helped me appreciate and made my trek easier on the Camino.
 

Dominick

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via De La Plata 2018, Finisterre 2018,
#7
Hola CA,

Hope all is well.

I think you bring up a great point: Less Pilgrims may mean more interaction with locals :). This should be a great opportunity to make friends and practice Spanish.
Like you, I prefer using a guide book, for some of the reasons that you mentioned.
As you are aware, there is mucho information out there, and I am trying not to be over-whelmed. I hope to have a good idea developed before I go and leave the rest to providence & serendipity.
Was Camino Addict your trail name?
Gracias mi amigo,
Dominick
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues (2013), Caminho Costa (2013), Frances (2014, 18) Mozarabe (2017)
#8
Estoy bien y gracias Dominick,

Camino Addict is my handle on this forum. Trail names aren't that popular on the Camino, but if that's you on what looks like Mt. Katadhin, I'm sure you've come across your share of unique trail names. Definitely interact with the locals and the pilgrims you meet, as that is one of the great things about being on the Camino. Also, you don't need to sweat the details so much other than making sure you have enough days to get to Santiago. The Camino isn't like the PCT or AT, as civilization will always be close.

¡Buen Camino!
 

Dominick

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via De La Plata 2018, Finisterre 2018,
#9
Hi CA,
Si, I hiked the AT in 2015, and my Trail name was "All The Way" (Todo El Camino). I actually first heard about the Camino when I was on the AT from a German guy who walked a Camino from Germany. Yes, I am very aware that El Camino is very different from the AT (terrain, food, civilization, etc.), but different can also be good, and I am very much looking forward to all of it.
Do you have any recommendations regarding Airlines to get to Spain? Is a visa needed for Spain?

Thanks again,
Dominick
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues (2013), Caminho Costa (2013), Frances (2014, 18) Mozarabe (2017)
#10
Hey D,

Ah, the AT, it took me a few years but I did manage to section hike the whole thing. Most definitely the Camino is different from the AT, particularly and thankfully the food! The worst memories I had on the AT, including my winter treks, was having to eat jerky, Mountain House, and Clif Bars for days on end! That won't be a problem for you on any of the Caminos.

Assuming you have an American passport, as for a visa, unless you plan on staying in Spain for more than 90 days, you don't need one. As for flights, I recommend starting your search on kayak.com to get an idea of what the airlines are charging. I've been using that site for years, and they have never steered me wrong. Lastly, even consider landing in Lisbon, Portugal if the price is right, as that city is fairly close to Seville and Lisbon is worth seeing also.

I hope this all helps.

Salud,
CA
 

J Willhaus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
#11
Hola CA,

Thanks for the comments.
I am planning to start in mid to late September, so I am hoping for comfortable weather. However, I agree with what you said about finishing in a colder environment (north/mountains, etc). I will definitely keep that in mind when packing.
I don't mind the solitude that much, and this is one of the reasons why I chose the VDLP. That being said, it would be nice to be around people in the evenings.
I am still working through the phone matter. I currently have Verizon, but I am not sure if this is the best way to go. So, I am considering buying a phone with sim card when I get to Spain. What are your thoughts on that? Did you use any of the VDLP apps to navigate the route or guide books?
Thanks again for some the advice,
Dominick
Hi Dominick,
We are from the states and use T-Mobile. T-Mobile uses GSM instead of CDMA like Verizon. Your Verizon phone will not likely work in Spain so you will need to either buy a phone when you get there or switch companies. This is not an ad for T-Mobile, but we like it because we get free data and you can make calls over apps like WhatsApp and text for no extra cost. A regular phone call is 20 cents per minute and you don't need any kind of special plan, etc. Our phone also makes WiFi calls so if you can call home for no additional charge if you are in a WiFi zone.

My husband and I were hospitalerios in Zamora on the VDLP this winter. Some pilgrims from other countries had inexpensive flip phones. We also purchased one so that people could call us if needed without paying an additional charge to call our US number (we posted a sign on the door with our number when we were out of the albergue shopping or at church.) I think we paid 27 Euros which also included some free minutes.

Good luck! I am sure you will enjoy your Camino.
Janet and Phil
 

Dominick

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via De La Plata 2018, Finisterre 2018,
#12
Hi Janet & Phil

Thanks for the information. I will talk with T-Mobile and see what they have to offer, and may also purchase a Vodafone.
If I am not mistaken, Zamora is where one can continue north to Astorga. Continuing to Astorga is my plan.
Hospitalerios sounds very interesting, and I hope to talk to some on my journey.
Gracias,
Dominick
 

Dominick

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via De La Plata 2018, Finisterre 2018,
#13
Hey D,

Ah, the AT, it took me a few years but I did manage to section hike the whole thing. Most definitely the Camino is different from the AT, particularly and thankfully the food! The worst memories I had on the AT, including my winter treks, was having to eat jerky, Mountain House, and Clif Bars for days on end! That won't be a problem for you on any of the Caminos.

Assuming you have an American passport, as for a visa, unless you plan on staying in Spain for more than 90 days, you don't need one. As for flights, I recommend starting your search on kayak.com to get an idea of what the airlines are charging. I've been using that site for years, and they have never steered me wrong. Lastly, even consider landing in Lisbon, Portugal if the price is right, as that city is fairly close to Seville and Lisbon is worth seeing also.

I hope this all helps.

Salud,
CA
Hi Amigo,
Thanks again for the great information
I did not even consider Lisbon, and it may even be closer to Seville than Madrid.

Congrats on finishing the AT. It was one of the best and enlightening experiences I have ever had. For similar reasons I am so looking forward to el VDLP.

Dominick
 

J Willhaus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
#14
Hi Janet & Phil

Thanks for the information. I will talk with T-Mobile and see what they have to offer, and may also purchase a Vodafone.
If I am not mistaken, Zamora is where one can continue north to Astorga. Continuing to Astorga is my plan.
Hospitalerios sounds very interesting, and I hope to talk to some on my journey.
Gracias,
Dominick
Yes, Zamora one or two stages before your choice of which way to travel to Santiago. Great town and lots of history if you have time to check it out. We got our flip phone from Orange, but they had to order one from another store since they are not as popular as the smart phone, We used Whatsapp with most pilgrim's which did not cost extra even for calls from the States. You may be able to use Whatsapp with your Verizon phone if you are in a WiFi zone. Friends in the States must also have Whatsapp. The app also was popular with most pilgrim we had last winter using technology. Some pilgrim's were purposely not using technology.

Although we are not long distance hikers in the U.S., we do a lot of shorter off grid hikes here in Idaho. You will find this journey is not as rustic. Buen Camino,
Janet and Phil
 

Portach

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#15
Hola Perregrinos,

My name is Dominick and I am from the USA. I am planning to walk the Via De La Plata (VDLP) in September 2018, and would love to hear from people who have walked this route or plan to (maybe at the same time I will be there). I enjoy long-distance hiking, and look forward to the history of the VDLP as well as the entire journey (to include possibly El Camino Frances).

"The destination is the journey"

Dominick
Hi, I walked Seville to Salamanca last autumn, starting 28th September and the weather didn't cool down until over 2 weeks later. Almost overnight we then went from 30° to 13°C, and we had a hard frost on our morning hike into Salamanca. Consider bringing a hat and gloves, depending on how long/far north you are planning to go, as well as the more obvious layers.
As well as carrying adequate water, you need to be aware that many of the small villages do not have ATM machines, so it is a good idea to carry a few days cash always.
It is a wonderful walk and I am excited to be heading off from Salamanca on April 4th. Enjoy!
 


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