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VdlP 2020 maybe

Robo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
Alone.
------------------------------
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
with my wife Pat.
------------------------------
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
together again :-)
#1
I haven’t even got home yet from our CF and I’m planning the next Camino, :oops:

Does this addiction get worse over time.? I’ll be planning 2022 by the end of the year :eek:

I reckon I’m done with the CF. It’s just getting too crowded and touristy at the time of year I enjoy. Late April start.

And I think I need a long and lonely (relatively) Camino to compensate a bit ;)

So i’m Reading all the great reports and blogs about the VdlP.

The one thing i’m Pondering , is the weather.

Any thoughts or advice would be most appreciated.

I don’t mind rain. Or a bit of a chill. But temps consistently over 30 C wear me down a bit and mean carrying a lot more water.

So what time of year would the weather likely be around 10-25 C ?

And accommodation open of course! I’ll need to start locking in dates and warning people at work. This one might take me a while. :oops:


Oh. One other question. What is a good local SIM card to use on this route, being fairly remote.

I have always used Vodafone on the CF but this year it was useless. And I think based on that experience, i’ll carry 2 different ones just in case.
 
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C clearly

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#2
Yes, I'd recommend the Via de la Plata, starting in early-to-mid March. I know people will tell you about the terrible weather they had, but I've been there twice in March and it was mostly great walking weather. That time period probably offers your best chance of the weather you'd like. Take the usual layers, and your umbrella.

It is not what I would call "remote" and there is good phone reception all along. (My problem with phone plans is in knowing exactly what (minutes, GB) I have on the plan. Reception has always been OK.) I walked to Astorga and stopped there, so I don't know the Sanabres part. There are very few stages of 30 km, and they can easily be managed with taxis. Private accommodation is readily available.

Do you feel the need to arrive in Santiago? Starting in Merida is a good option, in my opinion, if you want to shorten the journey by 10 days.

Send me a PM if you'd like a spreadsheet of the towns, distances, and general accommodation types, showing exactly where the longer stages need to be managed.
 

MileHighPair

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012, 2014: Cam. Frances
2015: Chimayo, USA.
2016, 2017: VdlP
2018: Madrid and Ourense
#3
Robo, in 2017 a March 1st start date was perfect for the VdlP. Cool temps and sunny skies almost the entire 40 days. This year both March and April were extremely wet with large sections of the route nearly impassable. The temperatures are fairly predictable for the spring, but the moisture is the great unknown.

Is there a personal reason you like to start in late April? Spring does come early to southern Spain, so we choose earlier starting dates. As Cclealry suggested, we started in Merida in 2106 and made the walk just a tiny bit shorter than a full Camino Frances.

You can see our blog (2016 and 2017 both for portions of the Via, and even this years posts for the last 100+ km of the Sanabres, for some details. Buen Camino!
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
#4
I feel like might be expelled from the forum for saying this but are you sure you want to walk this route? Having just cycled the opposite direction I didn't see very many happy looking pilgrims coming the other way. Ok to be fair, I didn't see very many pilgrims so it's a small sample size, and the weather wasn't brilliant, and it's just my view but I would think about this route carefully.

The part around the reservoir to Canaveral was hot when I was there, it wasn't August hot, prob 25C (far hotter in the sun), but it was hot enough to be brutal walking conditions, a number of pilgrims had 2 x 2l bottles of water strapped to the front of their rucksacks and more water bottles in side pockets. I took the wrong road out Caceres and met a clump of pilgrims heading into the town who all seemed totally fed up. It was a cool, blustery, drizzly kind of day and maybe someone had snored in the Albergue so no one got any sleep, and of course I was an evil cyclist going in the wrong direction but my cheerful calls of buen camino rarely got a response. On the other hand I did meet two super enthusiastic Spanish pilgrims in Salamanca just about to start.

Some of this route is stunningly beautiful and there are some fantastic historic places to visit. It's not really remote but it did look like a lonely walking route and definitely not a route for people who think the meseta between Burgos and Leon is boring! I understand why the caminos are special but if I had 6-7 weeks off work and could do anything I am not sure I would choose to walk this route (but obviously that's a very personal call).

I had very few issues with my vodaphone sim, it was pretty rare that I didn't have 4G reception.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#5
@Robo
I did not enjoy my walk on the VdlP last fall. To begin with, it was much too hot for the first 500 km: 30 and up until Salamanca, although I had started in October. I chose that time of year hoping for cooler weather and because postings on the forum from the previous spring had indicated that massive amounts of rain were making the route impassible in places and very unpleasant. But the main challenge of the route for me was the absence of pilgrimage sites: churches almost never open and no visible focus on the route as a way to Santiago. For anyone who is excited by Roman monuments and ruins, the VdlP would be a sheer delight. But if you want a place to sit and meditate in a church for awhile or receive a pilgrim blessing, you would look long and hard on the VdlP. What I remember are hot, dry, gravel roads, relatively little attractive scenery until the Sanabres, and few locations with a focus on pilgrimage. But of course others will have experienced it differently.
 

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Robo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
Alone.
------------------------------
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
with my wife Pat.
------------------------------
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
together again :-)
#6
Thanks for the feedback so far everyone. I am not yet deterred ;)

I’m not too phased by the weather. The CF this year was fairly wet! But it would be nice if it was not too hot. Though now I have my trusty umbrella, that is less of a problem. I realise picking a date is a bit of a lottery.

And being alone, I actually like. It creates less distraction. I am happy lost in my own thoughts all day. Though a companion at dinner is nice too......

And whilst I do walk for spiritual reasons, I don’t need open churches or blessings to fulfil that. I find the open landscapes are the places where I find His presence felt the most....

I guess I always have the option of switching to another route part way.....

It’s great to hear about the experiences of others though. All part of the planning process and lots of useful tips gained in the process.
 

jsalt

Jill
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salv-Primitivo
#7
Hi Robo, if you are set on the VdlP then read no further.

But if you are not completely set on it yet, then I can highly recommend the Madrid – Salvador – Primitivo combo. Each section is completely different.

I loved the quiet, flatness and long easy walks of the Camino de Madrid, and thoroughly enjoyed the company of my two forum camino buddies for menu del dia and tapas. We met few others in March. Lots of interesting old towns, villages and churches all along the route.

We split in Sahagun, where I thought about walking the CF as far as Leon, but I freaked a bit at the crowds of pilgrims in town, and instead took the morning train to Leon, where I spent the night.

I set off alone next morning on the Camino del Salvador, but soon met two others in the albergues, and we experienced some challenging adventures in the snow (early April).

From Oviedo I set off alone again on the Primitivo. And that was completely different again. About 12 of us were walking parallel, and, as happens, we soon formed a “camino family”. So, of course, I remember the Primitivo from the great friends I made along that route. The Primitivo is a very beautiful route through the mountains, a lovely contrast from the flatness of the Madrid.

Jill
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
Alone.
------------------------------
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
with my wife Pat.
------------------------------
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
together again :-)
#8
Sounds great Jill. You’ve got me thinking ;)

The other one on my bucket list is Le Puy. But I’d kind of like to have one long journey that finishes in SDC. Not sure I would enjoy transitioning to the CF yet again.
 

hel&scott

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 Seville - Finestere, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
#9
Yes @Albertagirl , an utter delight if you are into Roman history but not so much if you are looking for churches. Personally I like to do my contemplative thinking out on the open road.

@Helen1 has a point too, it's a great cycle route, but if you are an experienced long distance addict walking is good too... Just watch your water and weather

@Robo keep checking the blogs and you'll find your answers, is supposed to be a great Spring walk but we found it ok in Autumn, is hot further south but temperature started to drop off from Merida, and by Salamanca we had the thermals out. I will be doing it again this Autumn so either it's been so long that only the good memories remain, or I suffer too badly from walking sickness that I just don't care.
 

cindyjo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012
Camino del Norte /Primitivo (2014)
Chemin la Puy (2016)
Camino Portuguese (2017)
#10
I completed the VDLP in mid April, leaving Merida March 15. I left in March because I don’t do heat well, but I was surprised to find rain, snow, hail and wind. Although I wasn’t prepared for such cold weather, I loved the VDLP. I walked the Sanabres to Santiago and found the weather much warmer in Galicia. From talking with locals, this was an unusual year. They were ready for better weather even though they experienced a drought the year before. I agree that the religious component of this route was missing, but there’s lots of beautiful and interesting landscapes to inspire and nurture your spiritual life. You mentioned the walk from Le Puy, it is one of my favorites too. A different experience and one you can finish in St Jean Pied de Port if you don’t want to walk the CF. All the routes mentioned have their own unique pleasures and challenges. I suspect if you’ve been bitten by the Camino bug, you’ll enjoy them all. Buen Camino
 

Paladina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled caminos francés, Finisterre, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles et al (2018)
#11
I haven’t even got home yet from our CF and I’m planning the next Camino, :oops:



I reckon I’m done with the CF. It’s just getting too crowded and touristy at the time of year I enjoy. Late April start.

And I think I need a long and lonely (relatively) Camino to compensate a bit ;)

So i’m Reading all the great reports and blogs about the VdlP.

The one thing i’m Pondering , is the weather.

Any thoughts or advice would be most appreciated.

I don’t mind rain. Or a bit of a chill. But temps consistently over 30 C wear me down a bit and mean carrying a lot more water.

So what time of year would the weather likely be around 10-25 C ?

And accommodation open of course! I’ll need to start locking in dates and warning people at work. This one might take me a while. :oops:
.
I began the VdlP/Sanabres on May 24, cycling when I could and walking when I couldn’t. The weather was abnormal this year, nearer 10 deg than 25, often wet, and very muddy, but this did not dampen my enthusiasm for the route. On some sections I met no other pilgrims at all, and I never had a problem finding a bed in an albergue. I loved the silence, the solitude, the diverse terrain, and the hospitality and communal meals for the small number of pilgrims in some of the donativo albergues. Like you, I do not want to follow the CF again, but I would happily repeat this route. Albergues are fewer and further between, so you would need to carry more water whatever the weather.
 

TMcA

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
#12
For future planning...

A late April start is perfect for the Le Puy route. (May is busy but you would be ahead of the crowd if you were to start between April 20-25.)

Pros: Better food, better wine (my opinion), and better accommodations.

Cons: A little more expensive and most hikers are French, so that is the language you will be hearing most of the time.

Tom
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
Alone.
------------------------------
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
with my wife Pat.
------------------------------
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
together again :-)
#13
Thankfully Tom, my French is better than my Spanish.
Which would not be difficult!

I like the idea of Le Puy, but also want to do a route that will end in Santiago.
Le Puy means doing the CF again, and I think the crowds are just getting too much for me there.....
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#14
I walked the VdlP and Sanabres in three sections over the past couple of years. From Sevilla to Calzada de Bejar was during October and the earlier part was unusually hot (33C+) but after a week or so temperatures dropped to more manageable levels for this cold-blooded Scot who struggles in heat. The two stages from Calzada de Bejar to Santiago were walked in January and February and were mostly quite cool and pleasant with a few seriously cold and wet days - including a few hours of blizzard conditions on the Sanabres. I am used to winter walking in the Scottish hills and nothing I encountered was troubling or especially unpleasant. In 20 winter days walking on the VdlP I only met 5 other pilgrims. Only two of those on the final 100km section from Ourense to Santiago. Much more to my taste than the manic rush of the Camino Frances these days.
 
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Robo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
Alone.
------------------------------
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
with my wife Pat.
------------------------------
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
together again :-)
#15
Thanks @Bradypus . Though your idea of cool weather and mine might be different.

I came back from the CF a week ago to a very chilly 12 C in Sydney.
Wearing 2 merino shirts and a fleece to work!
 

sharon w

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007
Camino Portugues 2009
Via Podiensis, Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre 2012
Cammino di Assisi 2014
Via Podiensis, Camino del Norte, Camino Frances(Astorga to Santiago) 2015
Aussie Camino 2016
#16
Walked the VDLP last year starting in April. It was a fantastic experience. The weather was great, there were just enough pilgrims - in fact too many in some albergues! So, I would say do it!
 

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