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Portugal, Sevilla, Norte, or The "original route"?

Priscillian

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 1999, Aragones 2000, Desde Le Puy 2002, Portuguese 2009, hoping RDLP 2014
I made my first Camino on the Camino Frances, my second starting from the Camino Aragones. I have walked in France. After 10 years the Camino is calling me once again. But from where? I am older and know that that must make difference. I know I will not find the same conditions on any of the most travelled routes. I want to gain knowledge and personal experience to perhaps incorporate into a sequel to my book Pilgrimage to Heresy: I want now to look at the building of the Cathedral in the 9th and 10th centuries. But I want to find an authentic experience. I feel drawn to The Camino Portuguese in 2009. But would I be wiser to look at other routes: The Camino de La Plata, for example (I live in Andalucia)? Where, if anywhere, does the "Authentic Camino Experience" best represent itself now?
Any suggestions?
Thanks,
Tracy Saunders
http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.com
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Tracy
I think you would find the camino frances vastly different now from 10 years ago. Each camino route has different challenges and attractions. I loved the Le Puy route with the varied scenery and passing through some of the beautiful towns of France like Conques,Cahors, Figeac etc. The Granada route was more isolated with only one other pilgrim to Merida but seeing the alhambra and cordoba were definite highlights. Having said that the via de la plata is a good compromise between being isolated and overcrowded. It was my first camino and is well marked and passes through several notable towns like Caceres and salamanca.
As for "Where, if anywhere, does the "Authentic Camino Experience" best represent itself now?" that's a can of worms and, in my opinion, some think that the most popular=the most authentic but I think you should not worry too much about it-the experience has it's own authenticity
 
Dear Priscillian,
You raise an interesting question: finding theauthentic experience of the pilgrim.

Well, let me give you my two cents. I followed the Via de la Plata from Sevilla to Salamanca in March 2006, then completed the journey from Salamanca to SdeC (via Orense) in July 2007.

The first leg really was wonderful. There was an adequate range of albergues and other pilgrim support in most small towns. The Extremaduran Regional government has opened a string of hostel along the way and well as placing the oddest directional cubes (yes, cubes) in addition to the traditional yellow arrows.

But depopulation has left many villages deserted and the landscape empty, so there is much time for solitary reflection.Rarely were there more than 20 pilgrims in a hostel, but this lent itself to lengthy joyous chats and plenty of mutual support. [I can still remember Kim, a wonderful Catalan nurse, tending to my tattered feet....Greater love hath no man etc]

Over the 20 days of the first stage, I got to know some wonderful pilgrims who are still good friends. Rarely were there more than 20 pilgrims in a hostel.

And the thrill of arriving at a city after a week in the country. Zafra, Merida, Salamanca are all wonderful locations to explore.

Finally, it is the changing landscape and vegetation. From the orange trees in Seville, through the olives and vines to the wheat fields of Castille-Leon. And I have to mention the all too common Black pig.

So, V de la P gets my vote.
Kind regards
Gyro
 
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The "cubes" along the Via de la Plata in Extremadura are modern reproductions of the Roman mile stones or miliarios that were waymarks on the old Roman road from Merida. You probably also noticed the archeological digs along the way; the Via de la Plata is redolent with the history of Roman occupation of Spain.

Mary Pat 8)
 

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