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Via De La Plata in reverse, starting in November.

mattck

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Future Via De La Plata
So running/walking the Via De La Plata, starting in a couple of weeks... In reverse from Santiago to Seville. A good or bad idea?

I've always wanted to travel this route, but given the time of year we're approaching, I figured doing the route in reverse would be the better option for the weather.

I realise it's a pretty solitary trail as it is, but I'm mostly concerned with whether albergues will be reliably open during November/December, and the availability of food.

Appreciate any thoughts!
🙏
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Hmmm. I have a bunch of questions first...

Have you walked/run any caminos before? Do you speak Spanish?

How flexible are you with respect to accommodation - in other words, will be you be relying on albergues to keep the cost down, or are you asking more generally about accommodation?

Since you will not be walking with a clear destination of the Santiago cathedral, what are your expectations and motivations? There are many possible and valuable answers here - getting exercise, seeing the sights, contemplation, meeting pilgrims from around the world, getting to know the "real" Spain - but our thoughts on whether this is a good idea or not, for you, will depend a lot on what you are looking for.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
P.S. Welcome to the forum! I hope my questions above don't seem too blunt, or argumentative! I think we can have an interesting discussion of your plan, its pros and cons. We just need to know you a bit better to be helpful. 🙂
 

Paul J W

Paul J
Past OR future Camino
Miscellaneous camino routes since 2000.
Give it a go Matt! Almost impossible to answer your specific question. Only you will know whether it was a good idea or not! And don’t be deterred by being asked “what are your motivations and expectations” - you are accountable only to yourself!

Good luck and, whatever, enjoy!

Paul
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
don’t be deterred by being asked “what are your motivations and expectations” - you are accountable only to yourself
I agree, and don't mind what they are. I asked only because he asked for our thoughts, and that is where my thoughts went.
 
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mattck

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Future Via De La Plata
Hmmm. I have a bunch of questions first...

Have you walked/run any caminos before? Do you speak Spanish?

How flexible are you with respect to accommodation - in other words, will be you be relying on albergues to keep the cost down, or are you asking more generally about accommodation?

Since you will not be walking with a clear destination of the Santiago cathedral, what are your expectations and motivations? There are many possible and valuable answers here - getting exercise, seeing the sights, contemplation, meeting pilgrims from around the world, getting to know the "real" Spain - but our thoughts on whether this is a good idea or not, for you, will depend a lot on what you are looking for.
Hey, thanks for the reply!

This would be my first Camino, though I'm a regular long-distance runner (30-50km) and no stranger to the outdoors. Unfortunately, I don't speak Spanish - I have a little knowledge from whilst I was learning last year (I was planning to spend the year in Spain, before covid hit), but my knowledge is very rudimentary.

What do I want to get out of it? Well, I've always loved the idea of traversing a country, and would aim to continue further south to the coast should it go well. I've got a lot of free time on my hands and feel like it would be a great experience both physically and mentally. It seems like a unique and intimate way to explore a country that's relatively new to me. Were this another time of year and on a different route, then of course the idea of meeting a lot of different people would be enticing, but I wouldn't really be expecting that this time around.

If I were to be succinct with my motivations, it would be the physical/mental challenge of it, and getting to see Spain and appreciate any culture that came my way.

If I'm honest, then yes the albergues would be ideal to keep the costs lower. I would be happy to stay in other places here and there, but were I to know in advance that a lot would be shut, then I would probably postpone the idea.

Not sure if that's actually answered your questions or if it's a little vague!
 
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Past OR future Camino
2012
OK, against my better judgment I’m assuming you’re not trolling and are sincere in your intentions to “run” a pilgrimage route from Santiago. You’re planning to run it with no previous experience of pilgrimage or the route you’ll be taking.
None of which should be a problem though you’ll no doubt cause confusion in the Albergues that are open given that you’ll be heading the wrong way and won’t even have a Compostela to show you’re just a pilgrim heading home.
If I was you I wouldn’t even bother seeking advice or even approval from this forum of Pilgrims, I’d just go for it. The Camino is a pilgrimage to the bones of an Apostle? So what. It’s just a road
 

mattck

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Future Via De La Plata
OK, against my better judgment I’m assuming you’re not trolling and are sincere in your intentions to “run” a pilgrimage route from Santiago. You’re planning to run it with no previous experience of pilgrimage or the route you’ll be taking.
None of which should be a problem though you’ll no doubt cause confusion in the Albergues that are open given that you’ll be heading the wrong way and won’t even have a Compostela to show you’re just a pilgrim heading home.
If I was you I wouldn’t even bother seeking advice or even approval from this forum of Pilgrims, I’d just go for it. The Camino is a pilgrimage to the bones of an Apostle? So what. It’s just a road
Why would I be trolling? Life is incredibly multi-faceted, and the beautiful thing is that there are so many ways to approach it. So long as we aren't negatively impacting anybody else then, why should it matter how we choose to experience it? Appreciate the gatekeeping though.
 

mattck

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Future Via De La Plata
Hi there @mattck
For Christmas I would aim for Fuenterobble de Salviaterra, 50 kms after Seville, staying there for a few days. The festivities are wonderful.

Cheers
Lovingkindness
Thanks for the suggestion, though it would seem it's 400km+ from Seville, south of Salamanca... Perhaps I'm looking at the wrong place?
 
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lovingkindness

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
.
Thanks for the suggestion, though it would seem it's 400km+ from Seville, south of Salamanca... Perhaps I'm looking at the wrong place?
No, I had a mental slip. Fuenterobble de Salvatierra is 50 kms from Salamanca, not Seville, and just 6 kms from Guijelo, a town famous for its jamon iberico! Padre Blas and the village folk are very welcoming. I spent Christmas there in 2009 after having walked the Vdlp to Santiago de Compostela. There was a feast on Christmas eve in the casa paroquia followed by midnight mass in another village. One of the mountain villages close by had transformed itself into a living nativity. People travelled to see it from far and wide. The albergue in Fuenterobble de Salvatierra was the very first one to be established on the VdlP. Padre Blas and the village folk have devoted themselves to pilgrims. The history of the village is interesting, too...
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Not sure if that's actually answered your questions or if it's a little vague!
No, that helps a lot. The obvious disadvantages of walking backwards are that it is harder to follow the way markers (so GPS tracks are useful), you will not see other pilgrims more than once, in passing, and I'm not sure whether some albergues might not accept you as a pilgrim since you are clearly not walking either to Santiago or home.

The obvious (and maybe only) advantage of walking backwards would be the weather.

But seriously, if this strikes your fancy, go for it!
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Past OR future Camino
2018
I don't know about running it backwards (I have a hard enough time finding my way on the Camino going forwards). But I HAVE wondered why more people don't run the Camino. Back in the olden days, I did a lot of distance running and, especially the Frances, would be totally doable and fun, I think.
 

Xali1970

Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
Weather wise you'll be cold... central Spain gets quite cold around that time, the direction won't matter an awful lot. Daytime temperatures will be less than 10°C, with frost overnight likely. I was in Seville late November in 2018 and enjoyed temps in the low 20s°C, and dealt with frost overday about halfway.
Accommodation wise, should not be an issue re number of people -though I've no idea of the Covid19 situation on the trail- , going counter to the main direction means you won't be able to maintain a small group of comrades. It can be helpful, but you know best if you need company or not.
As for accessing the albergue/pilgrim's network, the businesses along the via de la plata have come together to promote that trail as a tourist activity (Look up via de la plata association). Accessing services should not be particularly challenging.
Have fun.
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I’d suggest using Gronze.com or other albergue lists to (a) see if they are open (call to confirm) and (b) if they accept non pilgrims (that would be you). Some (especially the donitivo/church ones) are only for pilgrims. Then calculate cost. Might be less expensive and warmer to just find hostels in the south of Spain (or any other country) and map your own way between them since your plan of going against the flow, traveling in an off-peak time on a less popular route while not speaking Spanish will likely result in little company on the way. You might reconsider and travel with the flow as far north as is comfortable for you, then relocate to another warmer route and head north again. At any rate, Buen Camino.
 
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mattck

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Future Via De La Plata
Hi all,

Appreciate all the responses, and sorry for the delay in getting back to you, it's been a weird few days. Lot's of valuable information you've given me though, thanks. I now have to be back in the UK at the start of December, so this plan isn't going ahead. Though this might be for the best. I'll do the Via come next year, and in the proper direction!

That said, I would still like to do a Camino throughout November. Either a shorter one, or a portion of one (500-700km?), though not the VDLP as I'd like to complete that in one go. So I now need to decide on which would be best for the time of year, if any.
 
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Xali1970

Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
Hi all,

Appreciate all the responses, and sorry for the delay in getting back to you, it's been a weird few days. Lot's of valuable information you've given me though, thanks. I now have to be back in the UK at the start of December, so this plan isn't going ahead. Though this might be for the best. I'll do the Via come next year, and in the proper direction!

That said, I would still like to do a Camino throughout November. Either a shorter one, or a portion of one (500-700km?), though not the VDLP as I'd like to complete that in one go. So I now need to decide on which would be best for the time of year, if any.
Primitivo,
Short and sweet, (15 - 16 days at a leisurely pace)
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Last October-November I did the Vasco del Interior/Bayona from Irun to Burgos. It was a very pleasant 11 days, and could be done in less. There were very few other pilgrims on it. However, I don't know whether the albergue system will be functional now, given Covid.
 

mattck

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Future Via De La Plata
Last October-November I did the Vasco del Interior/Bayona from Irun to Burgos. It was a very pleasant 11 days, and could be done in less. There were very few other pilgrims on it. However, I don't know whether the albergue system will be functional now, given Covid.
That's certainly an area I would love to explore. Intended to spend a few months around there, but then covid hit. Wasn't aware there was a route going through.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
This would be my first Camino, though I'm a regular long-distance runner (30-50km) and no stranger to the outdoors. Unfortunately, I don't speak Spanish - I have a little knowledge from whilst I was learning last year (I was planning to spend the year in Spain, before covid hit), but my knowledge is very rudimentary
Well, @mattck,
I’m late to the party, but I would suggest you consider the Camino Francés. In November, it’s the camino that will have the most infrastructure available. There are places to stay along all the other caminos, but it would require more planning and less flexibility with stage distances. There really aren’t too many places (except around O Cebreiro) on the Francés where snow would be a consideration. There are always people walking the Francés in winter. It’s also the camino where more English will be spoken.

It‘s a very beautiful route, and in November it won’t be crowded. Roncesvalles to Santiago, at least according to the road sign, is 790 kms. Maybe start in Pamplona? or Burgos?
 
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ortemio

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances,14,
Frances,15
Madrid,15
Salvador,15
VdlP,Sanabres
Porto,16
Levante,17
Mozarabe,18
Norte,19
I remember In the Spain section of the Portugues , the hospitalero refusing to give a bed to a cyclist that was heading in reverse (south to Lisbon), making him wait until after 9PM to make sure no more pilgrims (heading to Santiago) would arrive.

Winter in the via de la Plata is rainy and the river crossings can be a real pain.

Just another data point to consider.
 

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