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Start in Guadalupe?

dancamino2010

New Member
Hello-

I am planning my first Camino, hoping to start in May or early June. I'm 65 years old, and will be walking alone. I'm sure I'll have several questions, but right now I have just two:

1. Any idea of how crowded this route will be, considering that it's a Holy Year? Can I count on finding inexpensive places to stay as I walk? (I would like to walk about 15 or 16 miles per stage on average.

2. Partly to reduce the distance somewhat and partly for sentimental reasons, I am considering starting in the village of Guadalupe in Extremadura. (I lived there for a short while in the early 1970s.) I know the Camino does not actually run through Guadalupe, but how close is it? Would it be hard to find the Camino from there? (I am no longer nearly as conversational in Spanish as I was 40 years ago, but I can probably get by OK.)

Thanks for any help you can give me!
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
dancamino2010 said:
Hello-

I am planning my first Camino, hoping to start in May or early June. I'm 65 years old, and will be walking alone. I'm sure I'll have several questions, but right now I have just two:

1. Any idea of how crowded this route will be, considering that it's a Holy Year? Can I count on finding inexpensive places to stay as I walk? (I would like to walk about 15 or 16 miles per stage on average.

2. Partly to reduce the distance somewhat and partly for sentimental reasons, I am considering starting in the village of Guadalupe in Extremadura. (I lived there for a short while in the early 1970s.) I know the Camino does not actually run through Guadalupe, but how close is it? Would it be hard to find the Camino from there? (I am no longer nearly as conversational in Spanish as I was 40 years ago, but I can probably get by OK.)

Thanks for any help you can give me!

Hi D
Welcome

I'm sure people will be along to give good detailed advice, but there is a lot already on the forum for you to read. A map will show you what you need to know about Guadalupe's distance from the Camino and where to connect.

As for great numbers, you are on one of the least crowded ways, and I think you'll see few people there especially when you are going. Have a great time!
:arrow:
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Dan,

I'm basing this only on my familiarity with Spain and a quick look at a map, but I would think that the best place to connect with the Vdlp from Guadalupe would be in Caceres. Google maps shows a 124 km driving route, but it looks like a big chunk of that is on the autovia, and of course there's no where to walk on the highway. None of the road options is too direct, there's a lot of unpopulated land in that part of Extremadura. But since Guadalupe is a pilgrimage destination in itself, maybe there are marked walking paths connecting it with the Via de la Plata. I'm not sure how you'd find out though.

Others who have walked more of this route than I have will undoubtedly have better information about your other question, but I walked from Sevilla to Caceres in late April of this year, and the numbers of people walking were frequently greater than the numbers of beds in the albergues. In most of the places, there are private accommodation options that were between 20-30 euros, though. I expect that next year will be quite a bit more crowded than this year, but I know that new private albergues are continually opening up. I think there will always be a place for you to sleep at the end of the day, especially if you have the flexibility and the money to go for a private place.

I'm planning/hoping to start again in Sevilla the first week of May, and this time I hope to make it all the way to Santiago! Laurie
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Wow, Jean-Marc,

How do you guys find this stuff? Though the map is very small, the text does say that there's a camino from Caceres to Guadalupe. Of course, Dan would be walking in the opposite direction, so the ease of using it will depend on how well marked and how well trodden it is. But the terrain is pretty flat and uncomplicated in that part, so if there's any path at all, it should be easy to follow.

sounds like a great plan! Laurie
 

Canuck

Veteran wanderer
Camino(s) past & future
?
peregrina2000 said:
Wow, Jean-Marc,

How do you guys find this stuff?
Laurie

Easy Laurie. Interest and a good search engine in different languages.

peregrina2000 said:
Though the map is very small, the text does say that there's a camino from Caceres to Guadalupe.

There's also an interesting one from Plasencia (10 km from Carcaboso) worth exploring.

Enjoy!
Jean-Marc
 

dancamino2010

New Member
Thanks to everyone who replied!
I am going to continue working on this.
I have to say that I'm somewhat discouraged at the prospect of huge crowds even on the Via de la Plata, which is supposed to be one of the less-traveled routes. I do look forward to meeting other peregrinos over dinner etc., but I don't want to get caught up in tourism gone wild. If the Via de la Plata is going to be crowded, what will Compostela be like?
I could wait a year ... but for a variety of reasons it seems important to me do do it now.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks Jean-Marc,

I read through the blog post that accompanies the map, and it looks like the "senalizacion" (marking) is still in the early planning stages. So I wouldn't count on finding any markings of the route from Guadalupe to either Caceres or Plasencia. But there may be secondary roads all the way to either place.

Laurie
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Dan,

I'm the one who mentioned the "crowds" on the Vdlp. I certainly didn't mean to dissuade you from your great plan. Saying that there are crowds is all very relative -- crowded in Aljucen (on the Via de la Plata), where there is one three bedroom albergue with space for about 15 people, is very different from crowded in Los Arcos (on the Camino Frances) where there are at least three albergues and some private pensiones. I just don't think you are going to feel like you're in a rush for beds on the Vdlp, at least I hope not.

The nice thing about the Vdlp is that it never joins up with the Camino Frances, unlike many of the other "alternative" caminos. So you won't see the crowds till Santiago, at which point you'll probably be kind of bummed out anyway since your journey is ending -- and in Santiago there seems to be a limitless supply of beds for pilgrims. I would say, don't let the prospect of crowds deter you, if the Camino is calling, go for it. I hope to start in Sevilla next year in early May, and no prospect of crowds can deter me!

Laurie
 

bjorgts

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos in Spain, France, Portugal, Germany since 2003. Last: Malaga - Cordoba November 2019
I have been walking different parts of Via de la Plata for some years now, always in April/May. My opinion is that you may find that there are more people than beds on the albergues from time to time, but that is because there are not so many albergues and not so many beds. You will not be alone out there in May/June, because spring is the most popular part of the year for walking there, but during the days, you may very often not see a singel walker. "Crowded" is a very relative word. It depends on the amount of beds. Many places there are few. But you can walk in solitude! Good luck! Bjørg
 

William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
I would say the route is easily doable to Caceres. We were in Guadalupe this summer. The first few days through the mountains will be very interesting after that you are on to the meseta. As you know the road out of Guadalupe to the West goes South to Canamero but there are forest paths. It will be harder to avoid the roads on the plain but there are minor ones which are very quiet now the autovias take most of the through traffic.
 

dancamino2010

New Member
William Marques said:
I would say the route is easily doable to Caceres. We were in Guadalupe this summer. The first few days through the mountains will be very interesting after that you are on to the meseta. As you know the road out of Guadalupe to the West goes South to Canamero but there are forest paths. It will be harder to avoid the roads on the plain but there are minor ones which are very quiet now the autovias take most of the through traffic.

Thanks! I did quite a bit of walking the mountain trails around Guadalupe when I lived there (this would be back in the late 60s or early 70s) and I remember how wonderful they are. At least back then, however, they were totally unmarked. I would be unable to find my way to to Caceres unless that has changed, or unless I stuck pretty religiously to the roads.

I'm also thinking a GPS could help, though that would entail some learning on my part. I have a GPS in my car, but a trekking model would be quite a different animal!
 

dancamino2010

New Member
bjorgts said:
I have been walking different parts of Via de la Plata for some years now, always in April/May. My opinion is that you may find that there are more people than beds on the albergues from time to time, but that is because there are not so many albergues and not so many beds. You will not be alone out there in May/June, because spring is the most popular part of the year for walking there, but during the days, you may very often not see a singel walker. "Crowded" is a very relative word. It depends on the amount of beds. Many places there are few. But you can walk in solitude! Good luck! Bjørg

So, what happens when the albergues is full? Is there a decent chance of finding other inns? Would it be worthwhile to carry some kind of mat or inflatable mattress for sleeping on floors?
 

bjorgts

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos in Spain, France, Portugal, Germany since 2003. Last: Malaga - Cordoba November 2019
I think you should not worry. If you do worry, you often start walking faster and focus on the bed. That is not good. There will always be a solution. We carried very thin sleeping mats for the first two parts (untill Salamanca). We just used them twice; in Guillena and Torremejia. Both places have or will have albergues now. We found it to be too much trouble carrying the mats, so now we walk without. If you have a very low budget, you could bring one, but if you can pay a bit more from time to time, there is always a solution. Use a good guide, and you will know the posibilities from one day to another.

Since I want very much to walk without the rush for a bed, we often start late and walk slowly. Then you are sure to be the latest after all... and can take your time.

In Torremejia, a walking friend of us ended up sleeping on the floor on some newspapers. He called it an interesting experience that he would not repeat. But be sure, he will always remember that night - with a smile I suppose.
 

dancamino2010

New Member
Thanks to everyone for your friendly advice! When I was a whole lot younger I did a fair amount of hiking, and I have also had a decent amount of experience in a variety of foreign countries. However, now that I've reached geezer status and will be walking alone, I've been a little bit nervous. You guys are giving me courage!
 

bjorgts

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos in Spain, France, Portugal, Germany since 2003. Last: Malaga - Cordoba November 2019
May be it can give you even more courage to know that Bjørg is a woman... I am 57 years old, have walked some thousand kilometers on different caminoes together with my husband, but also 900 km on the french route from France alone. I dream of walking Via de la Plata alone in 2012. Dreams are important! Bjørg :wink:
 

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