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Vía Serrana: some last thoughts

Discussion in 'Via Serrana' started by alansykes, Nov 4, 2017.

  1. alansykes

    alansykes Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I recently finished the Vía Serrana, from the church of Santiago at La Línea de la Concepción (just by Gibraltar) to Seville, going by Ronda. I thought it was mostly a wonderful wonderful 250km camino.

    Signage: mostly pretty good. Going from Jimena de la Frontera to Ronda you are mostly in a lovely valley on a cañada real with a river and a railway for company, so virtually impossible to get lost. After Ronda I did lose the arrows on a couple of days, but that was probably me rather than them. The wikiloc tracks the Cádiz Jacobeo people have produced are excellent.

    Accommodation: there is effectively no pilgrim infrastructure, other than an albergue/homeless hostel shortly before Seville. Places near the coast, indeed most of the way to Ronda, can be pricey, so it was probably my most expensive camino per day. I arrived at El Colmenar (on Columbus Day) to find everything full, so got a train back to Jimena de la Frontera and stayed another couple of nights at the station hostal, Los Arcos, old fashioned but fine, catching a 6.53am train back to the next day's starting point (with the added advantage of not having to heave my rucksack up the Cañon de las Buitreras). After Ronda there are reasonably priced hostals in every town - or, in the case of Setenil de las Bodegas, a large house to myself for 25€. There were no other pilgrims, even after the Serrana joined the more popular Vía Augusta at Utrera.

    Landscape: I think this was probably the most beautiful camino I've walked, especially the hilly section from Jimena de la Frontera to Coripe. It was quite hard work in places, mainly because of the unseasonable heat, but well worth it - fabulous views, flowering pueblos blancos, eagles and vultures, deer and rabbits, the river singing beside you. Every turn in the valley produced another magnificent vista. Much of the walk was through beautiful forests, providing much needed shade. I didn't like the last few flat days to Seville, but again the heat (and mostly shadeless conditions) didn't help.

    Food: it was usually possible to get a good meal at even the smallest places. At Benaoján, the village restaurant was shut (on a Saturday?) but the station bar did excellent and varied tapas, more than enough until I caught my train "home". Most days I had excellent salmorejo, which I never realised could be so varied. Also a lot of good fish - in fact, other than occasional taquitos in the salmorejo, I had almost no meat the entire camino. Some decent wine too, including Ronda's own - although, at 14%, to be treated with caution.
     
  2. lovingkindness

    lovingkindness Veteran Member

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    ...Bravo, Alan.
     
    domigee likes this.
  3. HeidiL

    HeidiL Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Now THIS sounds like a good winter camino! If you post your distances and accommodation here, I will be very, very grateful...
     
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  4. alansykes

    alansykes Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Hi there, here are the wikiloc tracks for the stages the Cádiz Jacobeo people recommend. https://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/user.do?id=2094521&from=10&to=20
    I split a couple of days due to heat/a dodgy knee. And their tracks are a lot better than mine, which went badly wrong a couple of times after Ronda.

    For the first stage I stayed at a friend's by the coast, day 2 Hostal Sabana, San Martín del Tesorillo (40€), days 3-6 at Hostal Los Arcos (25€), Jimena de la Frontera (3 trains a day north and south, the camino passes all the stations on the line), day 7 at a friend's in Ronda, day 8: Casa Mina, Setenil de las Bodegas (25€), day 9: Pensión Medina, Olvera (20€), day 10: Pensión Coripe, Coripe (25€), day 11: Hostal Boby, Montellano (30€), day 12: Hostal Minas, El Coronil (30€), day 13: Hostal Hidalgo 2, Utrera (20€), day 14: albergue, Alcalá de Guadíara (donativo).
     
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  5. pelerine

    pelerine Member Donating Member

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    Hi, alansykes! I am collecting info about the Via Serrana and am very grateful for your posts! One question: I can handle steep ups and downs, but not sheer drops next to my path - is the Via Serrana "doable" for someone like me?
     
  6. alansykes

    alansykes Veteran Member Donating Member

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    This was the worst day as far as steepness, up and down the beautiful Cañon de las Buitreras (Vulture Gorge). It's 200m of ascent in about 1km, and has some bits with stepping stones and others over rough scree. Never quite sheer drops next to the path, but I'd not like to do it if it was wet. I only did 14km that day, but it felt like 30 (not helped by 35° heat). Very lovely, but quite hard work.

    https://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=20377522
     

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  7. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    I must be very bad with spatial reasoning, because I cannot for the life of me figure out where you were when you took that. On a path crossing over the gorge? On one side of the gorge looking over and down?

    That is a very awesome picture! Are you going to continue a live thread from Sevilla, Alan? (fingers crossed ;))
     
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  8. pelerine

    pelerine Member Donating Member

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    Well, I do not think the Via Serrana is for me. At 77 I have to be careful what challenges I take on!
    Are you on the Camino deTorres now? I seem to remember that you wanted to continue your walk that way.
     
  9. t2andreo

    t2andreo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Given your experience with multiple Camino routes, in your view, what would be optimal times of year to walk the Via Serrana, and possible connect to the Via de la Plata? I am starting to research good winter routes. I presume most of these are in the south of Spain.

    Thanks.
     
  10. HeidiL

    HeidiL Veteran Member Donating Member

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    In my Northern view, Via Serrana looks just about perfect for February or so...
     
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  11. alansykes

    alansykes Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I think you're right, leave the coast c14 Feb and get to Seville to start the Vía de la Plata around the first of March. Can be wet, but very unlikely to be cold (certainly not by our standards, but possibly by Floridian ones ...).
     
  12. t2andreo

    t2andreo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Thank you!
     

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