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LIVE from the Camino On the Levante for summer

Discussion in 'Camino de Levante' started by gracethepilgrim, May 22, 2017.

  1. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    Countdown has begun. Soon about to depart for the 41 hours that will get me on planes, buses and trains from small-town New Zealand to Valencia.

    Before I depart for the Levante I must thank all the supporters. Those who have walked in previous years and the ‘newbies’ walking in 2017. ALL your information, hints and tips have been instrumental in helping prepare for my summer camino.

    Thanks especially to Laurie, Kinky, BP, and more recently Matt, Joseph, James and @moromauro.
    I’ll try to add to our forum ‘vault’ of Levante info as I walk.

    Of course, I have no issues with skipping, swapping or stopping if the ‘bones’ can’t keep me on track :):D;)
    Thanks again and stay tuned. Cheers, gracethepilgrim
     
  2. NicP

    NicP Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Via de la Plata, Seville to Santiago de Compostella via Astorga, then Finisterre... April and May 2016
    Have fun, would love to hear how it goes....
     
  3. coober

    coober Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    Del Norte 50% 2017
    Primitivo 2017
    Buen camino Grace.
     
  4. mspath

    mspath Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    Grace,

    Wishing you all the best as you begin your camino. May you have blue skies, dry paths and happy companions. Looking forward to reading your memories.

    Godspeed,
    and in the truest sense,
    Ultreia!
     
  5. SabineP

    SabineP Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    some and then more.
    Ultreïa Grace!
     
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  6. karenannmurray

    karenannmurray New Member

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    Beun Camino Grace - I am from NZ also and did the Camino Frances in 2012 - I am off in 2 weeks to do the Portuguese Coastal walk and very excited. The road to Santiago just keeps calling even after you've walked it!
    Maybe we will cross paths in Spain but if not enjoy your journey
     
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  7. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances ('09, '11 - entire, '14, '16),
    Finisterre ('11, '16),
    Madrid ('14),
    Invierno ('14),
    Levante ('15+'??),
    Sanabres ('14, '15 - entire),
    Muxia ('15),
    Bayona ('16),
    Salvador ('16),
    Ingles ('16)...
    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    GGG = Go, Go, Grace :D
     
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  8. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    Kinky, I hope that's a G G Good omen for me. :)
     
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  9. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    Karen, you'll love it! Now you're officially addicted. We'll catch up some time in NZ to compare notes. Buen camino ( from Auckland airport, first flight down)
     
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  10. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    Location:
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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances ('09, '11 - entire, '14, '16),
    Finisterre ('11, '16),
    Madrid ('14),
    Invierno ('14),
    Levante ('15+'??),
    Sanabres ('14, '15 - entire),
    Muxia ('15),
    Bayona ('16),
    Salvador ('16),
    Ingles ('16)...
    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    I don't doubt about that. It's just the solitude you'll have to cope with I'd say...
    But really, it is a very contemplative Camino. Not at all like CF, VdlP or Portugues. Locals are very nice although not all of them knows about the route so don't take their direction for granted :)

    You'll be OK, Grace. Anyway, at least one of Levante Alumni will be online if you need help. If you'll buy Spanish SIM card there aren't any more roaming charges as of 1st of June within the EU. My cell phone No. is: +386/(0)41/711-339 if in immediate need.
     
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  11. CaminoDebrita

    CaminoDebrita Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Camino Somewhere September 2017
    Have a very Buen Camino!
     
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  12. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Hi grace,

    Buen camino. Wishing you a wonderful Camino Levante. I'm in Irun and will start the Norte in about an hour. Do you have an idea about the days you are going to be in Santiago? I will be taking a four or five day break in the middle, so we may just coincide. Buen camino, Laurie
     
  13. GettingThere

    GettingThere Active Member Donating Member

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    (Going again Sept 2017)
    Another Buen Camino from NZ! Have a wonderful trip, Grace, I'll be looking forward to your posts. Hope that lovely looong flight goes smoothly too!
     
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  14. JohnnieWalker

    JohnnieWalker Nunca se camina solo Donating Member

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    Buen Camino Grace - this is an EPIC route and you will walk through "all" of Spain. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Don;t be surprised though if you meet other pilgrims the route is becoming more popular every year.

    Best wishes

    John
     
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  15. andy.d

    andy.d Veteran Member

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    Location:
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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2014
    Pilgrims Way Winchester - Canterbury
    Camino Ingles (Ferrol) 2015
    Cistercian Way (Wales) 2016
    Go well - I've wonderful memories of it

    Lots of prayers

    Andy
     
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  16. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    Laurie thanks for well wishes, and back to you on the Norte. Unfortunately this trip I'll only have enough time to get 'close' to Zamora. Mayne we'll meet up next year. Buen camino
     
  17. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    Thanks to everyone sending wishes and coming along on this 'epic' ( thanks John) journey with me, in spirit. I survived the long trip and made it to the wonderful Pilgrim Assn before 1.30.

    THAT was epic! What a wonderful bunch of committed Levante-lovers. I was welcomed so warmly and felt very honoured to be offered homemade tortilla y salchichón. Instantly feeling at home back in Spain.

    Many thanks to Jean-Luc, Lorenzo, the two Pilars and all the others whose names I didn't catch. With your dedication our caminos are so much richer. Muchísimas gracias.

    Ps I'm having a rest day to enjoy Valencia before setting off.
     
  18. norelle

    norelle Member Donating Member

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    Hi Grace

    I'll be following your posts with interest. I think my next camino will be the Via de la Plata but I'm developing a definite interest in these very quiet caminos!

    enjoy Valencia and buen camino!
     
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  19. moromauro

    moromauro Member

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    Plans: C. Levante, Valencia-Zamora; C. del Salvador+ C.Primitivo.
    Just the same as me, this year!

    Maybe i could walk a couple of stages after Zamora but it doesn't make sense, as i already know those stages, both towards Sanabria and Astorga.

    Though being a bit late, i want to wish all the best in your Camino: enjoy all the beauty and open spaces the inner and "deep" Spain has to offer!
     
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  20. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    First. So sorry if I didn't reply. I blew up my charger and have had a few adventures
    First 3 days from Valencia:

    And what an adventure it has been! Well I started the first day and walked only to Silla and found the marking pretty good but very few arrows in the pueblos. The lovely people from the Pilgrim Association have told me that the ayuntamientos will not let them put arrows in these towns-such a pity

    At this point I have to say the first three days is a lot a lot a lot of walking on asphalt!

    Things went a little awry yesterday with an abnormal rise in temperature (for spring) to over 32°c.

    As others have said it is very open with no shade at all and the stretch into Moixent is a killer in the heat and I'm sure it's many more kms than the guide. Thanks to Ella (my sun umbrella) I survived but only just. The plan to stay here was upset due to no water in albergue el Palau (despite booking earlier in the day) and other places were booked out due to a conference.

    I'd met a French pilgrim so at 4pm we continued to Canals, 2 more hours in searing heat. What a wonderful surprise to find (after some bad reports) that the Albergue is great. The police were really helpful. The albergue was lovely and clean and we had a room each. Shower a bit wonky but hot. A little problem with the keys because the police keep hold of them and every time you leave the Albergue you have to visit the police for them to come and open the door for you.

    The best part..... it's situated over the market so there's early coffee!

    An easy day today to Moixent with a few clouds (yay) but still asphalt between the orange groves. Just after Canals you have to take off your shoes to cross a stream. It's VERY slippery. Careful

    In Moixent at the local Albergue next to police. Super!! Clean, 2 bunks, a bath! But no kitchen. Plenty of bars. Tonight we are 3 pilgrims. Myself and 2 French Gents. I have another story but wine awaits.
     
  21. Mike Savage

    Mike Savage So many friends to meet . . . so little time Donating Member

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    I don't know how I missed this . . . Have a wonderful time Grace and Buen Camino!
     
  22. SabineP

    SabineP Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Enjoy the wine Grace! And good luck with those temperatures...
     
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  23. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    And now for the amazing coincidence!

    I'd settled in to Moixent and decided to go to a quiet bar to eat and catch up on the diary. After asking around in local shops I was told about a restaurant on the outskirts ( sorry I didn't get the name but it's opposite the Repsol station). I crossed the river, climbed the stairs and continued straight on 100m or so to arrive. (You only see a car park and some tables on a terrace) On entering you find a restaurant serving delicious homemade food. I looked around for a table for 1 .... and noticed some frantic waving.

    Guess who ?? It was the wonderful team from the pilgrim association in Valencia. They were as surprised as I was.

    They'd been to Almansa to check and replace their super wooden camino signs.

    What followed was a delicious meal, fun conversation and more gifts for me. I'm now the proud 'wearer' of an Association bandana.

    I'm so humbled by the generosity of these lovely people. So, thanks again to Pilar & José, and Pilar & Lorenzo for a wonderful memory.
     
  24. Mike Savage

    Mike Savage So many friends to meet . . . so little time Donating Member

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    That's the Camino all right! :D
     
  25. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    Levante ('15+'??),
    Sanabres ('14, '15 - entire),
    Muxia ('15),
    Bayona ('16),
    Salvador ('16),
    Ingles ('16)...
    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    Actually you were on the way to former albergue at the Red Cross/Guardia Civil headquarters. As I've seen the photos of a new refugio I'm kind in a doubt that it's a better solution to the older one. Well at least the older one has more "patio" space but the new one is closer or almost in the center of Moixent.
     
  26. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    And Kinky you can't beat an early coffee
     
  27. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    Day 4. Moixent to La Font de la Figuera

    What a lovely walk today especially because there was a fresh wind and temperatures only reached mid 20s. The Camino started off through groves of apricots. It was lovely to see farmers picking by hand, unexpected on a Sunday. These were followed by almond trees, olives, and then grapes. Who knew that this area produces some very good wines. Of course I'll try a couple this evening and report back. (The suffering of a Pilgrim )

    At only 18km it's a lovely easy stage but being Sunday we (3 pilgrims now) had to think ahead and bring some food for the long trek to Almansa.

    The policía was closed today but fortune is a fine thing .... we chanced upon someone who had the phone number of someone who could unlock the Ayun, stamp credentials and copy passports.

    So the rumours of concrete bunks in the Albergue are true but there are 5 mattresses (even though they are wider than the bunks and liable to go flying in the middle of the night). Perhaps I shouldn't try the local wine after all.

    If you hear no more from me you'll know it was the famous concrete bunks that got me.

    A hint: when the guidebook says to phone ahead, phone ahead (all booked for the Nuns tomorrow)
     
  28. moromauro

    moromauro Member

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    ...so slippery that i fell down in the water!

    Nothing better than an actual proof to confirm your warning!

    :-D
     
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  29. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    Absolutely. It was like jelly on glass
     
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  30. domigee

    domigee Veteran Member

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    Very envious Grace, that Camino is earmarked for next years, God willing :)
    Ultreia!
    Dominique
     
  31. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    Ingles ('16)...
    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    Interesting... I look at yours (@gracethepilgrim / @domigee ) avatar photos and thought to myself you could be the same person just that one is "leaving" and the other half of that same person is "coming" :D
     
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  32. domigee

    domigee Veteran Member

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    :D
     
  33. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    Day 5 La Font - Almansa

    I survived the rather comfy 'concrete bunks' to tell the tale (didn't end up on the floor)

    With the impending 'long day' it was an early start from right beside the Albergue. Pretty walk with less asphalt than past days ( a big cheer from my feet). At this time of year the wheat is sprouting everywhere and looks glorious waving in the breeze. It's pretty open all day but there is a shady stop after 3.5 hours (phew!) at an abandoned house to air the feet and have a snack.
    Unfortunately the flood is still causing pilgrims to detour along the main road but it's well signed. After a few km there is a softer side track.
    In Almansa I stopped at the policía on the main road and asked directions to the nuns. A policewoman kindly gave me a marked map. Staying with the nuns is nice having your own room but there's not much atmosphere and you have to buzz every time you want to enter. Always thankful for the opportunity though. Unfortunately the castle is closed for 'obras' but you can see from the outside. And as an FYI, the famed restaurant Hogar del Productor is closed on Mondays. It's opposite the back entry door of the nuns so would have been very convenient. There are plenty of nice bars to choose though.

    Day 6 Almansa - Alpera

    Wow! Today was spectacular. The skies threatened to open up all morning but the crackling thundering storm moved all around the path of the camino, as it skirts the Sierra de Mugrón ( traversing The Meseta de Mugrón). Gorgeous fields of wheat, some more olives, vines and ever-present poppies to contrast the various greens and today's black-grey sky.

    Again I'd like to say thanks to the pilgrim association for the signing- it's been super. No problem at all. If in any doubt I've been reassured with my downloaded maps.me tracks. ( not bad for a techno-gumby )

    Alpera is a sweet wee town and just in case you didn't know, there are 5 (yes, I counted) horno/panaderías. So fill your boots on local goodies.

    Albergue is great. Key and pay 7€ at Ayun. It's about 100m from there above a 'social centre' of sorts. 2 rooms, 5 beds total, a clean bathroom and small salon. Downstairs you can share the frig and microwave, and use the patio to hang washing.

    I ate at Bar Rincon. Nice food but not particularly pilgrim-friendly. Will try Laurie's Bar Stop later today

    A big thanks to Kinky for Whatsapp-ing me the instructions to exit via train station.
     
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  34. JLWV

    JLWV Member

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    Levante 2017 initiated again
    From Zamora there is a third option, through Portugal, connecting to Sanabres about Verin.
    Buen Camino
     
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  35. Mike Savage

    Mike Savage So many friends to meet . . . so little time Donating Member

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    It sounds absolutely wonderful Grace. Thanks for the update!
     
  36. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    Day 7 Alpera to Higueruela to Hoya Gonzalo

    Thanks to Bar Stop I was able to get a 6am brekky before leaving the village. I had decided to take the exit that goes via the old railway. Kinky had resent me the route and it's very easy as you head out the door of Bar Stop, across the centre plaza and you're on your way. Arrows start after about 100m. Unfortunately I was a little asleep reading emails and missed the Right turn at the T-intersection making it an extra 4 km for the day. I'm a plonker! Note to Jean-Luc to place an extra arrow at this point

    But it was a super sunrise, gently waving wheat fields, lots of Grenache grapevines, and the ever present sieras in the distance.

    Arrived into Higueruela and decided to check out the Albergue. The lovely people at Bar Posada gave me the key. ( remember to ask them to show you the hiding place for the morning)Not
    Although it's simple it's all you need. 3 beds, a shower and toilet and use of the kitchen type room when locals not there. I think there was a frig but nothing else. After a rest I had a wonderful menu (€10) back at bar Posada (try the homemade postres) and thought I'd tackle the next 11 to Hoya Gonzalo.

    Wonderful country walk. Quite spectacular scenery with caves appearing in some of the cliffs.

    Because the Ayun was closed there for a fiesta day, the people at Bar Marin kindly phoned for someone to come and unlock the Albergue. It's quite new and scrupulously clean. Upstairs It has two large bedrooms - each with 4 bunkbeds and separate large bathrooms. A well-equipped kitchen and dining is downstairs with a TV even. Good for €10

    Just as I'd settled in, a massive storm passed through the area with floods flowing down the street. It's certainly dropped the temperature!

    La Mancha has very unpredictable weather.
    Ps. Dealing with shin splints so see how I go


    Day 8 Hoya Gonzalo to Albacete

    Another great start, finding a 'blokes' bar open for brekky in HG. Sorry I didn't get the name but it's opposite the bakery.

    Another glorious day, perfect weather, beautiful sunrise. Leaving at 7, I arrived at Chinchilla de Montearagon around 11 o'clock. It was one of my favourite legs so far. All on country paths. Wide open spaces and guess what...wheat and grapes.

    Chinchilla is a beautiful town to either stop and stay a night or at least spend some time looking around. The lovely lady in the tourist office took care of our bags while we wandered up to the castle, which was closed unfortunately, and then around the beautiful old town.

    After lots of water and a snack I decided I felt ok to continue to Albacete (big mistake). Sun up high and absolutely no shade or anywhere to stop and rest. I had my trusty Ella Ella (sun umbrella) but it was HOT and an endurance test. It qualifies as my least favourite leg so far passing about 2km of abandoned factories.

    I hobbled into Albacete and headed to the first farmacia for stronger pain killers. Now resting in Hostal Atienza. Feet up the wall yoga pose
     
  37. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    So sorry to hear you added 4km after Alpera.
    And yes that's really a long and boring slog to Albacete. I cut in half from HG to Albacete. If you walked through poligono industrial after CdMA that was Camino Sureste. Levante goes to the left side of the autovia. But no real place to rest and very little shade a bit before entering the city. So no real difference between the two I'd say.
     
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  38. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    Jean-Luc has sent me a PM about that spot and because I can not add photos to a PM reply I'm gonna do it here. Although I don't have the photo of that T-junction here's the photo taken a bit before that spot (I'm sure after crossing the RR) in the direction of Higueruela:
    0370-nice vista (Alpera-Higueruela, 16.06.2015).JPG

    And this one a bit after the right turn at T-junction:
    0372-through pine plantation (Alpera-Higueruela, 16.06.2015).JPG

    Maybe Grace will explain what went wrong and where exactly :)
     
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  39. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    What went wrong was ME being a dill/plonker/tonta. On my phone not paying attention even though I knew to turn R at the T-intersection after railway station. I was walking with a French pilgrim who was in front. He missed the R turn and I just followed. Apart from this spot there are arrows starting about 100m from Alpera to the railway.
     
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  40. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    Aah that makes sense. I asked the girl in the info office to mark the Levante salida on a map so I didn't end up on Sureste. The route I took is what she marked. Oops. Anyhoo, I'm in La Gineta now. Resting leg. Shin splints really bad so will not be able to walk to La Roda today. A bit of re-planning needed. Time for a couple of rest days. And it's a scorcher today!
     
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  41. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    @moromauro reported that there is a new albergue in La Gineta so you should be OK:
    "IMPORTANT!
    In La Gineta there is a new accomodation for pilgrims (formerly hosted in the polideportivo): it's a small building with 3 rooms, located between the barracks of "Guardia Civil" and a soccer field, in the westernmost and newest part of La Gineta; the rooms are actually the locker rooms of the soccer field but they seem to be used mostly by pilgrims (the soccer field appears to be in bad conditions and hardly used).
    Each room has a separate entrance (and different doorkeys...) and its private toilet with a shower; each room can fit up to 2 hosts sleeping on mats put directly on the floor, so we have a total amount of 6 places.

    If you plan to sleep in the albergue in La Gineta you'd better get to the local Ayuntamiento (city hall) before 2 P.M. in order to collect the keys: a french pilgrim starting today from Albacete did it while me, coming later because of my long stage, found everything closed (ayuntamiento, local police, polideportivo) and had to ask people in the village on how to get in touch with someone helping me enter the albergue (i didn't know yet there was already the french pilgrim around).

    I could solve the problem just calling a private phone number someone in the village gave me (it was the vice-mayor's number) and using my good knowledge of spanish (yes: us italians and spaniards are close cousins!)"
     
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  42. Mike Savage

    Mike Savage So many friends to meet . . . so little time Donating Member

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    So true. A couple of years ago on the Francés I talked with an Italian man for an hour before his wife caught up with us and promptly told me in English that I could not talk with him since only spoke Italian. I promptly told her where they were from, how many kids they had, what their names were, etc. Between my poor Spanish and both of us wanting to communicate it worked quite well though it was slow.
     
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  43. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    All on my own in the Plaza de Toros today with swollen bandaged shin well elevated. It's quite surreal!
    I have Strict instructions from the medical centre to rest 2 more days. Not sure if I can stay in the Albergue for 3 nights. La Roda is a lovely place to rest but it's a long way hobbling from plaza to nearest bar ( for refresco only, I promise)
    The next short stage to Minaya is only 17km so it may be tomorrow. Until then, I'll behave and rest
     
  44. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Use ice!!!!!
     
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  45. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    :):)Yep have been (in my drinks as well;))
     
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  46. JLWV

    JLWV Member

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    Levante 2017 initiated again
    Thank you Kinky
    Nice pictures
     
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  47. JLWV

    JLWV Member

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    This sounds familiar to me.
    I am always happy to exchange with other pilgrims, or local peoples, but I have observed that when I walk with company I have less notes in my diary book, and I make more way mistakes....
     
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  48. andy.d

    andy.d Veteran Member

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    Hope you're OK Grace - really good to catch up with your Camino. Lots more albergues than when I walked ages ago.
    Go well!
     
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  49. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    Agree, La Roda is nice. But I also agree with advice given by the medics. A friend of mine didn't listen last year and she'll never walk properly again in her life!!!
    Ice on your shins and in your refrescos :D
     
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  50. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    Update: after 2 nights in gorgeous La Roda and a visit to the medical centre I decided to take on board all advice and rest/repair fully

    Off Piste: so here I am in my old stomping ground of Sevilla. It's 4 days since my last camino (confession of a pilgrim)

    Today is the first day I can walk without strong pain so I know I'm doing the right thing. I'll probably head to Toledo later in the week and pickup the Levante from there. The La Mancha section will be there for another day.
    Thanks to everyone for your kind words of encouragement and support. What a great community we have.

    I'll post again once I get going. Until then there's lots of jamón ibérico to get through.
    Cheers Grace
     
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  51. andy.d

    andy.d Veteran Member

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  52. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Grace, if I were you, I'd think about taking some of those rest days in Toledo. There is really a ton to see there too. Hope you are recuperating well. Buen Camino, Laurie
     
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  53. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    Thanks so much for the link, Andy. It resonated with how I've been feeling. Patience is my struggle. I'll see how I go from Toledo but maybe this year is supposed to just be a rest.
    And Laurie I'll definitely take time to enjoy Toledo. I walked a fair bit today meeting up with friends and may have been hasty.
    You forum 'family' are simply wonderful. I'll have a toast to you tonight with a manzanilla (fino). ;):p
     
  54. moromauro

    moromauro Member

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    I read this Forum after some day of absence, because i enjoyed a couple of rest days in Madrid and, last tuesday, i had my flight back to Pisa.
    Back to the job and to all familiar duties, then, and little time to stay connected.

    Take good care of yourself, Grace, -just as you're doing right now- and remember that this is not a race at all!

    Just enjoy your rest days and, when your feet allow you, your visit of Toledo, the stages afterwards (if possible) and the discovering of Avila will pay you back for these cares you took for your body!
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017
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  55. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Enjoy, Grace! Your comment reminded me of what a colleague once told me. She had been given a year'a leave of absence to accompany her spouse to southern Spain. When her boss asked her what she hoped to accomplish there, she told her that she hoped to learn to differentiate between a dry sherry and a very dry sherry. You should do the same. :)
     
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  56. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    Oh Laurie I am, I am. Right now in fact. :):D:):D
     
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  57. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    IMG_2531.JPG Now a Manzanilla expert. Also queso. Must try, queso de Payoyo

    Stay tuned. I'll have 'pilgrim ' news tomorrow I think
     
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  58. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    Day 9 Minaya to San Clemente

    On the road again...,,.
    I did my first day back as a pilgrim after a week swanning around Seville like a Gastro-tourist.
    The train dropped me at Minaya station at 7.40am this morning. The walk into town added 4 km to a short 17km day. It was very successful with little word from my shin.
    Another very hot day of high 30s but I'd arrived by noon.
    I'm at the lovely Albergue in SC. it has 3 rooms sleeping 4. A very clean bathroom, lovely hot shower. Nothing else though. No kitchen but plenty of options in SC. You get the key from the Museo in main plaza. It's free.
    Note that Restaurant La Posada del Reloj is closed and for sale.
    So that's my short update. Trying for 24km tomorrow. I've been told it's still getting hotter.
     
  59. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    Just a heads up for left turn approx.5kms out of SC. You'll see two white houses to your left with a light gravel track going slightly uphill to them. Take it!
    Once getting to those houses you'll already see the Santiago de la Torre Castle. That's your goal and soon (after much garlic scent in the air) you'll be in Las Pedroneras.
     
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  60. Donovan

    Donovan Active Member

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    Walk between the buildings (picture from Laurie's 2013 blog!), follow the road and after a few minutes an arrow directs you off to the right.
     

    Attached Files:

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  61. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    These are exactly the houses you have to turn left and walk that path straight on: 2015-06-24 11.52.53.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
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  62. Donovan

    Donovan Active Member

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    I turned LEFT off the Camino path to go to these houses. The right turn was made a km or so after the houses
     
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  63. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    Thanks boys. This is a Super-live post. I've just turned at the houses. All good so far. Bkess
     
  64. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Yay. Grace is back on the Levante!!!
     
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  65. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    Laurie, I'm doing my best in the heat. I've decided to break next stage into 2 days with a stop in moto del cuerva before El Toboso.
    I'll get today's stage written up and posted soon. After siesta ;)
     
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  66. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    Of course, my mistake. Corrected now. Thanks.
     
  67. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    Day 10. San Clemente to Las Pedroneras 24km

    Because of the current heatwave (temps of 40c forecast) I'd planned to leave at 6am. It was a good idea as I arrived to LP by 11am. A fresh breeze helped make it an enjoyable walk on mainly soft farm tracks. Beautiful sunrise.

    The usual miles and miles of grapes today but new today were the fields of purple garlic. Las Pedroneras is famous for it. In fact I had a lovely chat with an elderly character in LP who is the current champion grower.

    This stage is without coffee stops but it's made more fun because you pass through an abandoned village, centred around a castle. It was originally the property of the Order of Santiago. It's the type of castle kids (young and old) dream of. Unfortunately a lot of the wooden internal structure is collapsing and it's quite unsafe. Great fun to poke your head in all the openings though. It's the perfect place for a break. I had a nice chat with the lady shepherd who lives next to the castle.

    LP is such a different town to San Clemente. It's very agricultural and doesn't seem to have a central shopping centre.

    I first headed up to the old town to visit the ayuntamiento for a sello and information. There I was given a map of the town (very useful) and a list of pilgrim accommodation. Kinky had recommended Casa Mauricio, a little apartment with kitchen for €20. Perfect and only 5 mins from Ayun. Address is C/ Los Molinos, 3. Best to ask for directions to the Centro de Salud as it's 40m away. ph 610878574 Vincent or Maria Julia

    Maria Julia recommended a great restaurant down on the main rd - Restaurant Castillo. Awesome menu €10 with many ajo choices! I'll be eating very light for the next couple of days

    So far all going well with my spectacular return to the Levante. I'm so pleased I decided to continue. The high temps are a challenge but I'm choosing as short should stages possible.
     
  68. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    Ingles ('16)...
    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    Grace Whatsapped me about going to Mota tomorrow but it's easier to reply here with the keyboard :)
    If you will make a rest stop in Sta.Maria de los Llanos (approx.15km after Las Pedroneras) I reccommend the last bar in the village El Jardin. Very pilgrim friendly. The son was bartender when I arrived and he gave me huge bowl of olives with my beer. When his mother arrived and I ordered second beer she was kind of angry that her son gave me only olives and she then gave me baked chorizo and chicken wings as tapas. There was so much I had it for my lunch :D

    IMG_4500.JPG

    In Mota del Cuervo there's no albergue although some sources have it. I guess it was closed in last years. So I stayed in the cheapest option which was Hostal Plaza for 26€ (cash, pilgrim discount). Nothing to really rave about. Supermercado across the street and parking lot. And nice Plaza Mayor with Chino store (drinks and food also) across from the Ayto. building.
     
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  69. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    Location:
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    Camino(s) past & future:
    '03CF, '08VdlP, '12Porto, '14VdlP via Port '15CPI ‘17Levante to Toledo
    Day 11. Las Pedroneras- El Toboso (too blooming far, maybe 30km)

    The morning went smoothly but waymarking was lacking or either faded/covered. If I hadn't had the tracks on maps.me I may have been in strife.
    I had the first coffee stop in El Pedernoso (note that the 2 bars on the camino are not open before 8, you can find one open on the Madrid carretera up and over from the church)

    Second coffee (priorities ) was in Sta. Ma. de los Llanos, Bar Rincón opposite the iglesia.
    While here, i tried to find someone to open the church to see the tiny bronze Virgen but the priest was away.

    From here it's a nice 4km walk- yes, more grapes, to Mota del Cuervo. It seems a pretty place to stay but i kept on th El Toboso.

    After 12 noon it is horrendous in this heatwave Spain is experiencing at the moment. If not for Ella Ella I would not have made the last 11-12km from Mota.
    Yay for silver sun umbrellas.

    It's an easy walk but was blistering today. And definitely more than the kms in the guide (or maybe I was hallucinating) it felt like 11 or 12

    I'm staying at El Quijote for €15 in a nice room w bathroom but no fan or air. It'll be a hot night.

    I braved the afternoon temps to visit 'Dulcineas House' and The Cervantes Museo (lovely air-con).

    Tomorrow is a fiesta for Corpus Christi so I'm not sure where I'll end up. I'm hoping for la Puebla de Almoradiel. Of course another 6am start
     
  70. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    Day 12 El Toboso to La Villa de Don Fadrique

    What a great start - cafe con leche at 6am at Bar Rocinante on the way out of town.

    Take note that soon after leaving town ( after turning right onto the farm track) you come to a fork. There is a rock strategically placed in the middle marking the Sureste to the left and Levante to the right. The Sureste avoids Quintanar and is approx 2-3 km shorter. I took this option and went straight to Almoradiel.

    Second coffee at Bar Carlos on the corner of the plaza next to the church.

    It was a fiesta on Thursday so La villa de Don Fadrique was mostly closed. I managed to find Bar Deportivo open. I can definitely recommend the food and service. It's one of those bars that gifts you a tapa with each drink. Absolutely the best tortilla so far

    I stayed at El Rincon del Infante on the corner of Plaza Major. Juan and Margarita are wonderful hosts and I enjoyed a cool night of sleep with air conditioning. Juan is a true 'hospitalero' giving so much of his time and resources . I hope in the future that pilgrims do not abuse his generosity. I'm trying to be delicate here.

    Day 13 Don Fadrique- Tembleque

    Thanks to Juan I only had an 18km walk. He generously drove me to Villacanas so I could walk a short distance today.

    It's not the most exciting walk, again quite flat and mostly on a service road next to the carretera. The Sureste takes a route a little further from the road but is also a little longer.

    I've now succeeded in visiting all the Don Quixote special places I had dreamed about. Today, standing in the centre of the old plaza in Tembleque I fulfilled the last one.
    It's a really pretty pueblo with some amazing structures apart from the plaza. The Iglesia can be visited a little before mass; the information office is on the plaza and allows you a second floor view of the plaza; and the biblioteca is open after 5. Originally A very unique octagonal ermita built in 18th century .
    I'm staying in Balcón de La Mancha well situated between the iglesia and the plaza. (Ph Sagradia? 615599472 or ask at the corner bar next door)
    It's great, super clean and a fully equipped kitchen (or you could just head to the local casino and try some mistoso with your tapas)

    So this is my last Levante post for 2017. I'm taking the bus to Toledo tomorrow to give my shins a wee rest.

    Thanks to everyone for all your support. I have to say it's the hottest of any Camino. Unfortunately I've just been unlucky with the heatwave and my cranky legs. I've thoroughly enjoyed it all though. What a 'different' camino and so Spanish, in a good way. The food and wine have been incredible quality and price. Accommodation great. Lovely albergues and hopefully some more after La Roda in the coming years.

    I'm off to the 'casino' to learn cards from the oldies.
     
  71. pilgr

    pilgr Guest

    Thank you Grace for sharing your camino! I just came across the blog today and busily caught myself up. I just got an email today from an espanola I met in Benavente. She said the heat wave has been punishing with people not leaving their homes until way into the evening. Yikes!

    I wish you well the rest of your summer :)
     
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  72. gracethepilgrim

    gracethepilgrim Active Member Donating Member

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    Thanks Matt your notes were super helpful for me. You certainly picked a better time to start than I did. Great memories regardless, eh?
     
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  73. pilgr

    pilgr Guest

    Yes, when I started walking, the locals would turn to each other after they saw me and ask themselves if it was already time for the pilgrims to be coming through. With climate change, temps are headed north and what use to be spring is now summer, and what use to be summer is now uninhabitable. It seems Toledo is the intolerable flexion point for pilgrims walking in uninhabitable heat. I know before Toledo, outside Docinea's town I got hit with nasty heat in early March only to be followed several days later with snow/hail as I arrived in Toledo.

    I will just offer up (unsolicited of course) that as you know, it is totally within Camino tradition to do sections of the same camino, year to year. So coming back for phase two departing from Toledo could be an option. And it is so worth it, IMHO.
     
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  74. LesBrass

    LesBrass Likes Walking

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    yes...
    @gracethepilgrim ! Nooo! I missed your walk! I've just found this post and I'm gutted! I'm sad that you had shin splints but loved reading your posts.

    And watch this space as the Levante is on my hit list... I really think this is another camino that I would love
     
  75. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Thanks, @LesBrass, for bringing this up to the top. The last time I saw a post from Grace, she was starting out from San Clemente. So sorry to hear how it ended for you this year, but also happy to see how you really took it in stride. I remember being shattered in Cáceres one year with unbearable heel pain and acted like a real baby till I realized that it's all part of the camino.

    Hope you had a fabulous time in Toledo -- when the tourists are gone and the souvenir shops closed, it's about the most beautiful city you can imagine.

    Buen camino, Laurie
     
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