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Time recommendations and budget for VDLP

#1
Greetings,

For the past two days I have been entranced with the notion of the Camino and have cancelled all other plans in order to have a month free from late August to the end of September.

I have two main questions for all of you experienced on this route.

1) I am a quick walker and fit and due to time restraints would like to walk the Via de la plata in 30 days. Is this possible, and if so, how strenuous is it likely to be? I know many people emphasise the beauty of taking it slowly and to some extent I agree but I am also one who enjoys long days of walking and the struggles associated with it. If it's not possible or recommended to walk the VDLP in 30 days, I was thinking of starting in Merida. This sounds like a stupid question but do many people start further up from Sevilla or is there an understanding that the pilgrimage should begin at a set place and cutting off the first 250 km is some kind of 'cheating'?

2) Because I am a student and have been for many years my budget is severely limited. Can someone give me an idea of how little I can survive on per day. I am fine with the grottiest of accommodations and simplest of foods.

any help is appreciated on these simple and naive questions!

Best,
michael
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#2
Via de la Plata

Hey Michael,
There is no such thing as a starting place on any of the camino routes. If a man living in Merida wants to walk to the tomb of his Saint, he won't double back to Sevilla in order to walk to Santiago! You start whereever you want to.
The approximate cost is between E20 and E30 per day. This will allow you a E3 donation at the refuge (some ask for more) E5 for lunch, about E8 for supper and a couple of extras for cold drinks, Madalenas etc.
If you are young and strong, you can easily walk 30kms per day. (I was young (56 years young) and strong in 2002 when I walked from Roncesvalles to Santiago in 27 days - averaging about 28kms per day.
Some days we walked 15 kms and on others over 40kms.
My advice would be to start off doing shorter distances and as you become physically, mentally and spiritually fitter, walk your longer distances.
Good luck!
 
#3
Michael - the people in hostals and albergues say that many people walking the VdlP start at many different places - some in Sevilla and others further along the route. If you use this site: http://www.godesalco.com you can plan the different stages of the route from Merida - I found this invaluable as i did the Guide by Alison Raju. By my reckoning it is about 27 days or so to Santiago from Merida but some of the stages are demanding and you may need rest days.

Buen Camino
 
#4
From memory the El Pais guide to the VdlP starts in Merida so there's another precedent for you. As everyone else has said start there if it suits your schedule.

Sil's figures are right for where there is a refugio/albergue but these used not to be there in every town and village and a basic hostal/pension may be necessary sometimes and this will add to your cost.

In addition to those mentioned the http://www.mundicamino.com website is good for the refugios and route as is http://www.caminosantiago.org/cpperegrino/cpalbergues/viaplata.html for accommodation
 
#5
I won't comment on the length, as we did only the last 250km, but I think I can help on the costs. The recommended donativo is E3, but I was disappointed to see that few actually gave it. All too often, as we departed an albergue and dropped in our donation, it sounded as if ours was the only donation in the box.

Small though the difference sounds, I think you can count on E9-10 for a menu del dia at dinner. We felt fortunate to pay only 7, which happened just once. You can manage a breakfast of a magdalena and cafe con leche for about E2.50.

That said, we met a 25-year-old Japanese man who told us he was making it on E5 per day. That meant no meals out, and simple bread and processed cheese for meals each day. We took him out for a square meal the one night we crossed paths.

Best of luck,

Steve S
 

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