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LIVE from the Camino VDLP from Seville - Jan 2022

Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
C. Norte Sept/2022
Will be leaving Seville in a week or so to try my luck on the VDLP. I say luck as I've been struggling with a knee injury for almost a year. Physio says I'm getting better so why not.

Where can you get a Credencial in Seville? The Cathedral?
 
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Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
Also available from Albergue Triana
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
I second the Triana which is just off the Camino. I've stayed there three times before starting off from Sevilla.

Don't expect you'll meet many pilgrims this month but one never knows. I walked it beginning of February and there were 5 of us that started the same day. After about 4 days the group got smaller and until Salamanca where I stopped I was with only one other pilgrim.

Do call ahead as some albergues were closed.

Hope your knee hold out.

Ultreia!
 
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Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
C. Norte Sept/2022
Lucky you to go walk a camino.
Hope your knee will be fine.
Buen camino

Thank you.

On each of my caminos, there has always been some family matter going on the background. On my first, a brother-in-law died (cancer); on another a brother had open-heart surgery; a third saw another brother get pre-emptive liver cancer surgery through the excellent Oz system. This time round, I have another brother-in-law with quite severe cancer who I will stop and say prayers for.

What comes out of all this, is that if you wait to do a Camino, you may never get the chance to fulfil your wish. So I tell my children I am off spending their inheritance and will continue my journeys as I am blessed with relatively good health.
 
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Thank you.

On each of my caminos, there has always been some family matter going on the background. On my first, a brother-in-law died (cancer); on another a brother had open-heart surgery; a third saw another brother get pre-emptive liver cancer surgery through the excellent Oz system. This time round, I have another brother-in-law with quite severe cancer who I will stop and say prayers for.

What comes out of all this, is that if you wait to do a Camino, you may never get the chance to fulfil your wish. So I tell my children I am off spending their inheritance and will continue my journeys as I am blessed with relatively good health.
I hope they heard you. I do. I'm not deaf...😁. Seriously, I agree. I wish you continuing good health and may the obstacles fall away effortlessly.
Edit: I am not meaning to be (too) smart - ie, corned beef = deef. I just understand the lingo.
 
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Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
C. Norte Sept/2022
Need a bit of help.

Have been into the Cathedral in Seville to buy a Credential but they don’t have them. Anywhere else I can check tomorrow?
 
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Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
C. Norte Sept/2022
Learned a new Spanish word today. Animo - or cheer up. Was on a sign declaring there’s only a further 927km to Santiago.

Stopped at Castillo Blanco as there was no accommodation showing for further on. Glad I did as it’s a good place for a stopover. Plenty of Menu del dia as well as an ATM and a good range of shops. Some pilgrims about but few in number which makes the lack of accommodation seem odd.
 

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Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
C. Norte Sept/2022
Leaving Castilblanco you are on the road for about 10 (not 20) miles until you reach the gates of the park. As others have said, if you want to take a taxi for that section, you’ll not miss much.

Almeden is much quieter than Castilblanco before it and El Real de la Jara after it. Seems to suffer as no one stays there due to the lack of accommodation. And accommodation is lacking as no stays there.

El Real was worth stopping with an excellent bar next door to the Ayuntameiento. And got a pic of some noisy storks on the church roof.

Tomorrow should be Zafra and perhaps a jump forward to Merida as I’m short of time now having spent a few days in Seville.
 

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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
you are on the road for about 20 miles until you reach the gates of the park
A correction that might be significant... :)

The distance is only half of that. You are on the road for about 10 miles (17 km) until you reach the park. Then you have another 8 miles (13 km) to reach Almaden.
 

Peregrinopaul

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
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VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
Almeden is much quieter than Castilblanco before it and El Real de la Jara after it. Seems to suffer as no one stays there due to the lack of accommodation. And accommodation is lacking as no stays there.
This surprised me. There used to be I think 3 accomms in Almaden - I always liked Casa Concha. It sounds like the place has been badly hit.
 

Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
C. Norte Sept/2022
Possibly the accommodation has been hit. Last nights hotel only had two guest despite having about 40 rooms.

Can understand why the hostess was miserable.
 
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Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
The distance is only half of that. You are on the road for about 10 miles (17 km) until you reach the park. Then you have another 8 miles (13 km) to reach Almaden.
I walked that stage yesterday and it definitely isn't 20 miles :) Though as I started that morning from Guillena it certainly felt like it at times.
 

pasiño a pasiño

sin dolor no hay gloria
Past OR future Camino
2018 Via de la Plata | next Francés again....
In Almaden is a wonderful paradise for mistreated animals (mostly horses) runs by a women from the Netherlands and volunteers. I visited in 2018 when I met some of them in the Bar in town. definitely worth it to say hello! The place is dependent on donations.
 

Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
C. Norte Sept/2022
How do you pronounce ‘sello’. I must be massacring the language as when I asked today, they produced sticky tape.

We got there in the end.
 
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pasiño a pasiño

sin dolor no hay gloria
Past OR future Camino
2018 Via de la Plata | next Francés again....
How do you pronounce ‘sello’. I must be massacring the language as when I asked today, they produced sticky tape.

We got there in the end.
or like the "y" in mayonnaise so every double "ll" is like this....same in Sevilla for example.
 

Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
C. Norte Sept/2022
Thanks for the pronunciation.

Great start to the day yesterday with bright sun and frost in the hollows. After a few hours the cold of the frost is replaced by coldish wind from the east which helps keep you cool but not cold.

Stayed at Hotel Leo in Monesterio whose only fault was a broken room thermostat which meant the room felt like a sauna which is not too bad for January.

Once you leave Monesterio there’s a climb followed by the opening up of the plain in front of you. Excellent day over ground that reminded me of the meseta on the Frances.

The sleepy villages up to Zafra are even more sleepy in the winter. You get a slight glance and sometimes a Bon Camino. Seems it’s a bit too early for pilgrims. Didn’t see any all day.

Added in a pic of the aptly named Villa telling me I’m sub 900k to Santiago
 

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Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
C. Norte Sept/2022
Zafra - Merida is similar to previous section. A short climb out of Zafra brings you to a Sierra (more of a hill really) and the meseta like plain opens in front of you.

Still sun but a noticeably colder wind which meant for more frequent stops for a warming cafe con leche.

Though the going is flat, it is also monotonous with acres and acres of vines and olive groves. Though the yellow arrow are there if you miss one, there are no features that can help you reorientate.

To break the monotony I pulled off to Almedralejo for lunch and found a McDonalds with a beautiful park just across from it. Nice town reflecting the agricultural businesses around.

All day you could see farmers out tilling their field, or trimming and burning the old wood. The occasional stop to warm up by these fires was welcome.

No signs of any pilgrims except for a group of 4 Spanish with their new day packs and shells just north of the town.

Merida is an eye opener. Such a wealth of Roman remains within the town including the excellent museum which was free on Saturday afternoon. Good place for a rest day. And the best olives I have ever tasted. Size of walnuts, ripe and soft. I had two plates.
 

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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
Zafra - Merida is similar to previous section. A short climb out of Zafra brings you to a Sierra (more of a hill really) and the meseta like plain opens in front of you.

Still sun but a noticeably colder wind which meant for more frequent stops for a warming cafe con leche.

Though the going is flat, it is also monotonous with acres and acres of vines and olive groves. Though the yellow arrow are there if you miss one, there are no features that can help you reorientate.

To break the monotony I pulled off to Almedralejo for lunch and found a McDonalds with a beautiful park just across from it. Nice town reflecting the agricultural businesses around.

All day you could see farmers out tilling their field, or trimming and burning the old wood. The occasional stop to warm up by these fires was welcome.

No signs of any pilgrims except for a group of 4 Spanish with their new day packs and shells just north of the town.

Merida is an eye opener. Such a wealth of Roman remains within the town including the excellent museum which was free on Saturday afternoon. Good place for a rest day. And the best olives I have ever tasted. Size of walnuts, ripe and soft. I had two plates.
Mmm...love Spanish olives!
 

Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
Just as well - in every second bar on the VdlP you can expect to be given some along with your drink!

I'm in Zafra today. The free tapas score so far has been (1) liver and onions, (2) olives in garlic oil, (3) croquette and a fritter of some sort. I ordered a pork sandwich in one bar. Not exactly lunch - more a culinary pub crawl. Happily I am now filled, rehydrated and lightly anaesthetised :)
 
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Just as well - in every second bar on the VdlP you can expect to be given some along with your drink!

I'm in Zafra today. The free tapas score so far has been (1) liver and onions, (2) olives in garlic oil, (3) croquette and a fritter of some sort. I ordered a pork sandwich in one bar. Not exactly lunch - more a culinary pub crawl. Happily I am now filled, rehydrated and lightly anaesthetised :)
I love Zafra!! Bradypus are you on Camino too?
 

Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
C. Norte Sept/2022
I was going to suggest that people might consider skipping the next section and take the train to Merida. May as well start with @Bradypus

I’m on my way to Madrid after finishing in Caceres. As it’s only a few hours flight back to Spain, I will save the next part for later.

It’s been sunshine all the way so a good time to do a southern Camino.

Will add a few route notes (aka where I got lost) when I am back.

Sign in Seville - why limit happy to an hour?
 

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Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
I was going to suggest that people might consider skipping the next section and take the train to Merida. May as well start with @Bradypus
I don't like to skip stages. Even in the less appealing chunks of flat agricultural land there is usually something to interest me. Or I can let my mind wander while my feet are more or less on autopilot.
 

Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
C. Norte Sept/2022
Merida - Caceres

In this section you return to the scrub land and farms of the earlier sections. Lots of long sandy stretches or red soil paths.

I have a rant about Camino signs in these sections. Who thought that small, grey marble cubes with a yellow square were anything other than confusing. They look expensive and clearly useless as others have sprayed a more useful yellow directional arrow on them.

The photo shows a comparison with an eye level sign compared to the useless lumps.

Perhaps @Bradypus will take a can of paint with him and sort the ones that have been missed.

Rant over till the next time
 

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Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
C. Norte Sept/2022
As promised before, some routes notes for those doing the VDLP later this year.

I have to thank the many contributors to the 'virtual' VDLP plan that was started nearly a year ago. I has proven to be a very useful source of information for those starting out on the VDLP at whatever stage. My comments relate to issues and updates found on the first 200 miles from Seville to Caceres.

Day 1 of Virtual Plan: Seville to Santapoce / or Alternative route by the river

I did both as one of my sight-seeing days was spent at Italica's Roman ruins which is worth a half-day visit. The route there is through a lot of industrial areas so if you are taking this route, the arrival at Italica is worth it. The alternative 'river route' is nice but would not sacrifice a visit to Italica to do it.

Day 3 of VP: Guillena to Castilblanco de los Arroyos

When you leave Guillena after about a mile, there is an industrial estate on your left which you enter. It's very busy with buses moving around. At the end you take a right turn and about 100yds is the yellow sign for the VDLP. There is a fence on the right and when that becomes a wall, you've gone too far (as I did)

When you walk through the scrub about 3 miles before Castilblanco someone has put up a sign saying 'water' in multiple languages and pointing to the right. There is a pump there but it was wired off. I'd take that as a warning not to sample.

(Edit: Location 3D with thanks to @diegoromerosm and his amazing site.)


Castilblanco has lots of cafes including one that serves Desayuno from 4a.m. according to the sign outside (pic). Not something I checked but perhaps someone else can try!
 

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Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
C. Norte Sept/2022
Day 6 of VP: Real de la Jara to Monesterio

In this stage you'll pass the Complejo Leo Service Area. They do a wide selection of food there and worth the stop. The adjoining hotel looks very nice and identical to the one I used in Monesterio - clean, functional and excellent service.

In Monesterio, there is a Camino exhibition but it seemed to be closed for the winter.

Day 7: Monesterio to Fuente de Cantos

As you approach Fuente de Cantos you have to cross a road but to the right is a well stocked supermarket to provide lunch for the next day. The signs as has been mentioned before need your concentration.

Before you get there, there is a simple open air 'Cathedral' which someone has spent some time arranging. Quite moving in a way. Its just after the arroyo that @peregrina2000 mentions.

(Edit: Pic of location added))

Day 8: Fuente de Cantos to Zafra

I stopped at the Ayuntamiento in Calzadilla de los Barros who stamped my credencial as someone mentioned that they would. The Ayuntamiento in Almadén was also helpful.

I managed to get a good deal at the Parador in Zafra at €75 including breakfast. It was better than all the other deals available from the Paradores site so it pays to check. I use the Trivago comparison site.

The open air centre of the Parador would be excellent in summer but a little to bracing for a January evening.
 

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Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
C. Norte Sept/2022
Day 10: Zafra to Villafranca de los Barros

**As you approach the A66 just before Villafranca the farm road turns sharp right leading away from the A66 and the railway. The problem is that you have is that you need to cross the railway to get to the old bit of road that leads to the N-630. You have to travel under the highway until you see a break in the fence on the right or travel another 100 yards to the official route. I got off the N-630 as quickly as I could.

(Edit: See pic of the crossroad. You need to go straight over the railway. Thanks to @diegoromerosm and his maps)

Villafranca like Almendralejo just further on are a good size with Almendralejo being better with the range of shops and accomodation. If you want to detour off the route, it will be worth your while. There is also a mainline station there if you need to get further on to Merida.

In the same way as Almendralejo is worth stopping at, Torremejía further on is worth missing as it has neither the shops, facilities or points of interest that I could fathom. After all nothing will compare to Merida further on.
 

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Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
C. Norte Sept/2022
Day 16: Mérida to Aljucén

As you leave Merida, you come to Proserpina with its lakeside restaurants of which there are many (and closed in the winter. Next to the lake but below the lake's level are more Roman ruins. It looks like a good spot but far too close to Merida for anything other than a short break.

**At about 8 miles out of Merida and just past the lake, the road takes a turn to the right. You'll be turning left off this road shortly after along sandy roads towards El Carrascalejo. The Albergue there looks very smart from the outside and seems in use.

I liked Aljucen as they seem fully on board with the pilgrim tradition. The municipal albergue appears to be open, and the cafe across from it (Kiosko El Parque) has an ATM. There is an interesting form of advertising too just as you approach.

Day 18: Alcuéscar (or Cruce de Las Herrerías) to Aldea del Cano

Aldea del Cano was very quiet on the Sunday afternoon I when I passed. There was a place just south of there (Pecado?) which had a full car park. Sunday seems the day for visiting the local Centro de Mayores.

After Aldea I pressed onto Caceres but only as far as the Renfe station for the last train to Madrid.

Now onto planning the next section when time allows.
 

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Via2010

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
Castilblanco has lots of cafes including one that serves Desayuno from 4a.m. according to the sign outside (pic). Not something I checked but perhaps someone else can try!
It is true. I was there in June 2019 and it was open by 4.30 and everything in perfect order. So I think, they really open at 4.00 o'clock, at least in summer when pilgrims to avoid the heat on this heavy stage want to start early.

BC
Alexandra
 
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Day 16: Mérida to Aljucén

As you leave Merida, you come to Proserpina with its lakeside restaurants of which there are many (and closed in the winter. Next to the lake but below the lake's level are more Roman ruins. It looks like a good spot but far too close to Merida for anything other than a short break.

**At about 8 miles out of Merida and just past the lake, the road takes a turn to the right. You'll be turning left off this road shortly after along sandy roads towards El Carrascalejo. The Albergue there looks very smart from the outside and seems in use.

I liked Aljucen as they seem fully on board with the pilgrim tradition. The municipal albergue appears to be open, and the cafe across from it (Kiosko El Parque) has an ATM. There is an interesting form of advertising too just as you approach.

Day 18: Alcuéscar (or Cruce de Las Herrerías) to Aldea del Cano

Aldea del Cano was very quiet on the Sunday afternoon I when I passed. There was a place just south of there (Pecado?) which had a full car park. Sunday seems the day for visiting the local Centro de Mayores.

After Aldea I pressed onto Caceres but only as far as the Renfe station for the last train to Madrid.

Now onto planning the next section when time allows.
Thank you for this summary of your camino. I will be starting early April and your notes here will help. Hope your knee recovers completely and you return soon to continue on with the VdlP. Gracias!
 

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