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That's that then

Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#1
Picked up my 8th compostela on time for St Andrew's day. Not a bad camino at all, perhaps not quite as good as walking in last year's drought, but up there with the best anyway. And wonderful to see the cathedral clear of scaffolding for the first time since 2010.

There were moments, scratched to pieces by brambles having missed the path, crawling down a cliff in driving sleat, ankle deep in snow having forgotten to wear my waterproof socks, dripping with sweat at 35c in blinding sun, when I did wonder why I was putting myself through purgatory without the normal preliminary of death. But the moments, hours even, were, as always, heavily outweighed by many more of deep contentment, elation, bliss, even almost exstasy. The bargain this year was certainly in my favour.

I went through 13 provinces, four of which I'd never set foot in before. All of the Camino del Alba, a couple of days on the Levante, three weeks of the Ruta de la Lana, a couple of days each of Sant Olaf and the Besaya, a couple of weeks of the Olvidado, 12 days of the Invierno and a last couple of days on the Sanabrés.

All of them had their points, from the orange blossoms of the hills above Xàbia, the gorges and canyons of the Serpis, Júcar, Dulce, Caracena and many others. In fact I saw more canyons than sheep on the Ruta de la Lana. Then there was Sigüenza with the sadly serene beauty of the Doncel, a "kettle" of vultures at Pelegrina, probably a dozen or more romanesque churches, often in some wonderfully isolated places, the twin joys of the cloister and the chanting at Santo Domingo de Silos, autumn colours in many places, the staggering views from the heights of the mountains of León, two el Grecos in Monforte de Lemos, the probably Templar Castle of Cornatel, the Roman gold mine at As Médulas, the neat vine terraces in the Sil and Miño valleys, a pair of 900 year old Galician cows' heads at Diomondi, the pre-conquista visigothic Christian-Pagan mix at Quintanilla de las Viñas, sleeping in two bullrings and an Inquisition prison, the hanging city of Cuenca, a new (sixth) place to cross the Duero, and much more.

It was very solitary: two other pilgrims passed me in Guadalajara province on the Lana, and I saw two from Málaga on the Invierno, but I was waiting for the el Grecos to open and they were heading onwards.

If it was solitary, the warmth of the people made up for it. I don't think I've ever had such kind treatment, especially on the Olvidado. Some of the hospitaler@s in particular go far above and beyond what can be expected - the feast in Pepe's cave at Villaconejos, Fray Alfredo's generosity of spirit at Santo Domingo de Silos, knowledgeable Luis at Cuenca, witty Maeba at L'Orxa, kind Elena at Vegarienza, the mayors of Mecerreyes, Fresno de Caracena and Caminayo, and charming Rosy making it possible to stay in the mountain village of Fasgar. Also Ender's wikiloc trails and yellow paint, without which it would be quite impossible to do the new mountain variants of the Olvidado, certainly at this time of year, - thank you thank you to them all and to many others.

All in all it was one to remember, and the problem now is working out where to go next year. Perhaps the Vicentina?

DSC_0378.JPG
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014)
Camino de Assisi (2015)
Camino de Santiago (Primitivo) (2017)
#5
Picked up my 8th compostela on time for St Andrew's day. Not a bad camino at all, perhaps not quite as good as walking in last year's drought, but up there with the best anyway. And wonderful to see the cathedral clear of scaffolding for the first time since 2010.

There were moments, scratched to pieces by brambles having missed the path, crawling down a cliff in driving sleat, ankle deep in snow having forgotten to wear my waterproof socks, dripping with sweat at 35c in blinding sun, when I did wonder why I was putting myself through purgatory without the normal preliminary of death. But the moments, hours even, were, as always, heavily outweighed by many more of deep contentment, elation, bliss, even almost exstasy. The bargain this year was certainly in my favour.

I went through 13 provinces, four of which I'd never set foot in before. All of the Camino del Alba, a couple of days on the Levante, three weeks of the Ruta de la Lana, a couple of days each of Sant Olaf and the Besaya, a couple of weeks of the Olvidado, 12 days of the Invierno and a last couple of days on the Sanabrés.

All of them had their points, from the orange blossoms of the hills above Xàbia, the gorges and canyons of the Serpis, Júcar, Dulce, Caracena and many others. In fact I saw more canyons than sheep on the Ruta de la Lana. Then there was Sigüenza with the sadly serene beauty of the Doncel, a "kettle" of vultures at Pelegrina, probably a dozen or more romanesque churches, often in some wonderfully isolated places, the twin joys of the cloister and the chanting at Santo Domingo de Silos, autumn colours in many places, the staggering views from the heights of the mountains of León, two el Grecos in Monforte de Lemos, the probably Templar Castle of Cornatel, the Roman gold mine at As Médulas, the neat vine terraces in the Sil and Miño valleys, a pair of 900 year old Galician cows' heads at Diomondi, the pre-conquista visigothic Christian-Pagan mix at Quintanilla de las Viñas, sleeping in two bullrings and an Inquisition prison, the hanging city of Cuenca, a new (sixth) place to cross the Duero, and much more.

It was very solitary: two other pilgrims passed me in Guadalajara province on the Lana, and I saw two from Málaga on the Invierno, but I was waiting for the el Grecos to open and they were heading onwards.

If it was solitary, the warmth of the people made up for it. I don't think I've ever had such kind treatment, especially on the Olvidado. Some of the hospitaler@s in particular go far above and beyond what can be expected - the feast in Pepe's cave at Villaconejos, Fray Alfredo's generosity of spirit at Santo Domingo de Silos, knowledgeable Luis at Cuenca, witty Maeba at L'Orxa, kind Elena at Vegarienza, the mayors of Mecerreyes, Fresno de Caracena and Caminayo, and charming Rosy making it possible to stay in the mountain village of Fasgar. Also Ender's wikiloc trails and yellow paint, without which it would be quite impossible to do the new mountain variants of the Olvidado, certainly at this time of year, - thank you thank you to them all and to many others.

All in all it was one to remember, and the problem now is working out where to go next year. Perhaps the Vicentina?

View attachment 49508
Thank you for showing us / me your love for the Camino de Santiago - and for the beautiful picture of the Cathedral. I would also enjoy seeing it without scaffolding :)
 
#6
As always, a wonderful account of your pilgrimage! Chapeau Alan, you are one hardy pilgrim.

Luís from Cuenca is the go to person for the Lana. I still have a c/d (how to play it???) and other information he sent me several years back when I was thinking about walking the Lana. As @VNwalking mentioned, you have whet our appetite for several less walked Caminos.

Thank you for sharing.

Ultreia!

p.s. the Rota Vicentina is spectacular, a route worth repeating. I walked north to south (Santiago do Cacém - Cabo San Vicente) March 2016
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF September (2018)
#7
And to you for sharing it with all of us, Alan.
Your chronicle of the Olvidado in particular has probably planted some seeds.
Yes, i have to say it does. I have been researching other pilgrimages in the world, most recently in the UK, but after the terse response oto a post i made about the UK trail system, “ weather terrible, people unfriendly...” etc. it does make me question why i would go any place other than Spain, given the warmth of the people and all the different routes available. Hmmm.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances-(2013/14/18
Camino Salvado Perth -(2015)
West Highland Way (2016)
Lyon France 2017
#9
And thankyou from myself also.....you have certainly whet my appetite and my curiosity - and, you have certainly set my mind to thinking Camino thoughts and walks once again.
 

Felice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
#10
Yes, i have to say it does. I have been researching other pilgrimages in the world, most recently in the UK, but after the terse response oto a post i made about the UK trail system, “ weather terrible, people unfriendly...” etc. it does make me question why i would go any place other than Spain, given the warmth of the people and all the different routes available. Hmmm.
A seed has certainly been planted in my mind about the Olvidado.

Off topic, but in response to your post: the problem with walking UK trails (and my husband has done the Pennine Way, Coast 2 Coast, Hadrians Wall and another one) is not so much the weather, but the accommodation in the UK which is expensive and inflexible and needs to be booked months and months in advance.
I'm a fair weather walker, which is why I continue to head for Spain....
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
#11
When I saw the title I (sadly) thought you had finally had an average Camino experience. But I clicked to read anyway.
You tease, you!
Love your description.
Olvidado or Lana? If you had to choose.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances-(2013/14/18
Camino Salvado Perth -(2015)
West Highland Way (2016)
Lyon France 2017
#12
A seed has certainly been planted in my mind about the Olvidado.

Off topic, but in response to your post: the problem with walking UK trails (and my husband has done the Pennine Way, Coast 2 Coast, Hadrians Wall and another one) is not so much the weather, but the accommodation in the UK which is expensive and inflexible and needs to be booked months and months in advance.
Both like and would add, that much the same seems to be the case here in a lot of parts of Australia...
 
#13
You rock, Alan Sykes. It was an honor to meet you, I sorry I was so beat-up and worn-out and didn't fully enjoy your company.
Next time in Santiago!
What? This meet-up actually happened? No pictures?

Thanks once more, Alan, for your posts. It is such a pleasure to be able to follow you on these camino journeys. Your writing always captures the “essence.”

If you start in Sagres and walk up the coast, you could always detour over and continue on the Portugues Interior, or was that part of your Camino Torres last year? Somehow I have you pegged as more of a mountain goat than a coastal walker. Buen camino, Laurie
 


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