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VdlP in July/August

2020 Camino Guides

katie@camino

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, SJPDP-Finisterre 2016; CPort (Central) from Porto 2017;
CPort (Coastal) from Porto 2018.
I am wondering about the feasibility of walking the VdlP starting early July? I will have 7-8 weeks holiday at that time of year.

I am Australian so am use to heat, although I don't love walking in it. I'm a pretty fast walker and would aim to start by 6am, finish by 12-1pm each day. I enjoy solitude and, after recently walking the CF in snow, hail and driving rain, I have decided I much prefer a warmer camino, particularly because of the lighter pack a summer Camino allows for.

Given these factors, would a VdlP be feasible?

Thanks in advance for any insight you can share :)
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I've just seen a post saying that it was 35C in Sevilla today. By July you have to allow for the possibility of 40+C. Is that within your comfort range? Certainly not for a chilly Scot like me :) There are a few sections where it is possible to go for 20 - 30 km without any water sources and carrying enough is vital. There have been deaths as recently as last year of relatively fit people in heat and hydration related illness. Only you can judge your own ability to function in such conditions. People do walk in July and August. Personally I would not choose to be amongst them.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I was from the San Joaquin Valley and the Desert Hot Springs area.
I was used to 105-115-120 degree F. days during summer.
The VDLP kicked my ass and we nearly died because more than a few fountains were dry and it was so hot.
If firemen had not come to our rescue with water, it's very possible we would have faced serious consequences.

We were advised NOT to walk in July/August but thought since we were "used to the heat" it would be ok.
We were arrogant and stupid.

The amount of water you will have to carry for long distances in order to be safe is heavy and is insane.
That coupled with dry fountains makes it too dangerous to walk during those months, in my EXPERIENCED opinion.

Walk a different route, or choose a different time.
That's my advice.
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
just looked at a web site for Seville..average for July August is 28..seems low but these are the months I walk. I usually leave about 8am but that depends on how far i'm going. If it's say 25kms I can do that easily in 5 hours so I arrive just before 1pm by which time it's not hot..that comes way later at about 5pm by which time I've had lunch and a nap.
starting from Granada 8/7
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
Extremadura is "the frypan of Europe". And that is the region that is most likely to kill you.
There are hotspots literally where people have gotten into strife. One is the Merida-Aljucen-Alcuescar leg. I totally recommend stopping at Aljucen as people who try to do the whole lot get into strife trying to get into Alcuescar.
The whole northern part has to be carefully done otherwise you will have some very long days and very short ones. Make sure you have phone numbers for all the hostals and albergues in the area especially around Caparra. We almost ran out of water there (200ml left between two was it) and the info centre closed early so we couldn't access the vending machine. Since we had the phone numbers for the Hotel Asturias we were able to get picked up. Take a look at my thread about my June-July 2015 camino. You need to assume that the only guaranteed water is a bar and even they can close unexpectedly. The weather will be even hotter than what I experienced. Read up on heat indexes and heat stress. Water needs vary so much. I just did the Levante and Invierno and rarely went through a litre of carried water because the temp was rarely above 20 degrees. Guaranteed to need to pee behind a bush about an hour after breakfast and usually the same after a bar stop. On the VDLP I was hydrating like crazy and still peeing brown and rarely needed to find a toilet-tree. You would be starting a month later than me so it would be hotter.
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024

m108

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011-2016
I went through the Salamanca-Astorga section in August (I was 63 then). I started walking at 6 am and ended at 13:00. Yes, it was VERY hot (although this is the northern part of VdlP). Walking was not problematic, with sufficient water. My problem was the time from 13h to 22h - you just have nothing to do with this heat - walking around is impossible (at least it was me), but there are not many other content - it's not Frances. And the heat only gets a little off at 22:00.
In 3 days I will go again - I will repeat Salamanca-Astorga and I am very happy that the conditions will be different (I hope)
 
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omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Extremadura is "the frypan of Europe". And that is the region that is most likely to kill you.
There are hotspots literally where people have gotten into strife. One is the Merida-Aljucen-Alcuescar leg. I totally recommend stopping at Aljucen as people who try to do the whole lot get into strife trying to get into Alcuescar.
The whole northern part has to be carefully done otherwise you will have some very long days and very short ones. Make sure you have phone numbers for all the hostals and albergues in the area especially around Caparra. We almost ran out of water there (200ml left between two was it) and the info centre closed early so we couldn't access the vending machine. Since we had the phone numbers for the Hotel Asturias we were able to get picked up. Take a look at my thread about my June-July 2015 camino. You need to assume that the only guaranteed water is a bar and even they can close unexpectedly. The weather will be even hotter than what I experienced. Read up on heat indexes and heat stress. Water needs vary so much. I just did the Levante and Invierno and rarely went through a litre of carried water because the temp was rarely above 20 degrees. Guaranteed to need to pee behind a bush about an hour after breakfast and usually the same after a bar stop. On the VDLP I was hydrating like crazy and still peeing brown and rarely needed to find a toilet-tree. You would be starting a month later than me so it would be hotter.
I've done the Merida-Aljucen leg several times and always stopped there..its a 16km stroll, next leg is 20kms. I never dreamed of doing it in one go..and never met anyone who had..after all their are 2 albergues there. Looked back at my diary for the 40kms from Carcaboso.."left at 7.30am..cool,few drops of rain.." I did it other times both before and after that and seems with no problems. Of course I'm careful...and if I'm at all apprehensive there's always taxis
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature
I am wondering about the feasibility of walking the VdlP starting early July? I will have 7-8 weeks holiday at that time of year.

I am Australian so am use to heat, although I don't love walking in it. I'm a pretty fast walker and would aim to start by 6am, finish by 12-1pm each day. I enjoy solitude and, after recently walking the CF in snow, hail and driving rain, I have decided I much prefer a warmer camino, particularly because of the lighter pack a summer Camino allows for.

Given these factors, would a VdlP be feasible?

Thanks in advance for any insight you can share :)
Hi! Of course it’s feasible, people have done it.... BUT ... would I recommend it? No.
Like @Donna Sch I walked it in June and I found it hard going at times.
Starting early? It is pitch black at 6 am. From memory, it started getting really hot by 9am.
Lighter Summer pack? No. You need to carry a minimum of 3 L of water and that often wasn’t enough. Also after about an hour on the road, the water was unpleasantly hot. (Not warm, hot!)
Resting at night? Unless we stayed in rooms with A/C (not easy to find) we couldn’t sleep as the temperature in the albergues at night didn’t fall below 33 deg.

I walked the Via Francigena in July/August during a heatwave (around 40 deg +) and it wasn’t as bad as the Via de la Plata. (Mountains, forests...). There is no shade is Extremadura. Bring an umbrella!

The stretch from Salamanca onwards was cool but the heat started again around Ourense....

Only you can decide 🙂
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature
I've done the Merida-Aljucen leg several times and always stopped there..its a 16km stroll, next leg is 20kms. I never dreamed of doing it in one go..and never met anyone who had..
Maybe that was my mistake 😉
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
With good preparation (leaving and arriving early, carrying loads of water, protecting yourself from the sun) it is doable. But it is not nice. Like @m108 said, it is pretty boring to arrive in an almost empty village at 1pm. And you won't enjoy the walk as much as you could. Starting out in the dark, no picknicking on the way, taking a nap in the grass or explore a little church, because you are always a little bit in a hurry.

I also did Salamanca - Astorga in August, but skipped the last three stages out of boredom.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature
2 easy stages!
I know but we arrived so early... (Can’t remember exactly but around 10/11 ish? We had a drink in a café , stocked up on water and decided to walk on ... Hmmmm.... 😳😁
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I know but we arrived so early... (Can’t remember exactly but around 10/11 ish? We had a drink in a café , stocked up on water and decided to walk on ... Hmmmm.... 😳😁
Oh...when it's a short stage I leave at an appropriate hour so I left Merida about 10am
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
I would agree pick another Camino to walk. I will walk the VDLP one day but I plan to start around March 1.
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I would agree pick another Camino to walk. I will walk the VDLP one day but I plan to start around March 1.
But you'll get crowds!
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
But you'll get crowds!
It wasn't crowded for me on the Norte last September-October. In fact after about you start leaving the coast and heading south I don't think I saw more then 4 or 5 pilgrims a day tops! I walked Le Puy to Santiago (but it was in 2014 so I am sure it has changed) It was really mellow in September in France. Lots of days I didn't see anyone. I personally would not want to walk in that heat. I don't think it would be a great idea for my health. My friend walked last year and a pilgrim died of either heat stroke or dehydration in October. I agree also about the crowds on the CF. I am walking it this year but I am walking to of SJPP on October 29th!
If you mean the crowds on the VDLP in March if I am reading the statistics correctly in March of 2019, 95 people started in Sevilla and finished in Santiago. Not too crowed hahaha
Buen Camino
 
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omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
It wasn't crowded for me on the Norte last September-October. In fact after about you start leaving the coast and heading south I don't think I saw more then 4 or 5 pilgrims a day tops! I walked Le Puy to Santiago (but it was in 2014 so I am sure it has changed) It was really mellow in September in France. Lots of days I didn't see anyone. I personally would not want to walk in that heat. I don't think it would be a great idea for my health. My friend walked last year and a pilgrim died of either heat stroke or dehydration in October. I agree also about the crowds on the CF. I am walking it this year but I am walking to of SJPP on October 29th!
If you mean the crowds on the VDLP in March if I am reading the statistics correctly in March of 2019, 95 people started in Sevilla and finished in Santiago. Not too crowed hahaha
Buen Camino
I did mean the VDLP which some posting now have commented on the numbers. Yes Le Puy was great..can't believe it's 12 years ago. I heartily recommend from Mont St Michel to SJPDP I got to stay in champagne castles and virtually untouched fully stocked refuges etc etc
 

katie@camino

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, SJPDP-Finisterre 2016; CPort (Central) from Porto 2017;
CPort (Coastal) from Porto 2018.
Thanks everyone. Think I'll shelve the VDLP plan for July/August and try another route. Much appreciated!!
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
I did mean the VDLP which some posting now have commented on the numbers. Yes Le Puy was great..can't believe it's 12 years ago. I heartily recommend from Mont St Michel to SJPDP I got to stay in champagne castles and virtually untouched fully stocked refuges etc etc
I would love to do that Camino again. I had some spectacular meals in some of those rural gites, especially. Every vegetable out of the garden. Homemade jams, spectacular dinners and breakfasts and of course that French wine and bread!!! Oh, I want to go back right now!!!!!!
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I would love to do that Camino again. I had some spectacular meals in some of those rural gites, especially. Every vegetable out of the garden. Homemade jams, spectacular dinners and breakfasts and of course that French wine and bread!!! Oh, I want to go back right now!!!!!!
There are 2 routes from mont st michel...i had intended doing the r oute i haven't done but decided on spain BUT next year b e ing holy year i will avoid spain and head to spain......by the w a y maybe we should keep mont st michel quiet!
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
There are 2 routes from mont st michel...i had intended doing the r oute i haven't done but decided on spain BUT next year b e ing holy year i will avoid spain and head to spain......by the w a y maybe we should keep mont st michel quiet!
I am going to check that route out. Is there stuff about it here on the forum? Have you ever walked the CF in winter? Looking forward to it.
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I doubt there's much on this forum about those routes...it tends to be the CF forum. Never done the CF in winter...never will either!
 

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