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Via de la Plata - October (and November!) 09

isabelle304

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPP-Santiago) (Oct-Nov 08)
Santiago to Finisterre (Nov 08)
Via de la Plata/Camino Sanabres (Sevilla-Santiago via Ourense) (Oct-Nov 09)
Camino Primitivo (Oviedo-Santiago) (Sep-Oct 14)
I walked the Camino Frances last October/November and when I was not looking, I caught the Camino bug :wink: .

The Camino has been in my thoughts for most of this past year. Around 28 September (in 9-10 days), I am off to Spain again, this time to walk the Via de la Plata.

I am posting this on the off-chance that anyone reading this forum might come across me out there - I did the same thing last year and was delighted when fellow forum member Paul (from Ireland) approached me in Zubiri and introduced himself.

Just a few questions for now:

1. I have the CSJ guide to the Via but while reading various VdlP blogs I have become worried I might get lost without proper maps so I have decided to get hold of "El Via de la Plata a Pie y en Bicicleta" when I get to Seville. Is that book easily available in the Sevilla bookshops?

2. My dentist recommends to me the Hotel Simon in Sevilla - unfortunately it is about 5 years since he stayed there so I am not sure I can trust this recommendation. Any other I could try? For my time in Sevilla I don't want to stay in hostels/albergues.

3. I intend getting hold of a PAYG Sim card when I get to Spain - does it make a difference which mobile company I go for? I need to have data access so that I can do quick Twitter/Facebook updates for my friends while I am on the road and also access the internet on the move in emergencies (for Google maps for example).

I got very anxious and a bit stressed last year while preparing for the Camino Frances (could hardly sleep at night!) and this time round I thought it would be different but it's happening again!

I suppose it does not help that once again I have not prepared at all physically and am now 70lbs overweight intstead of 60 !!! (I lost 20lbs doing the Frances last year but have had a pretty inactive year since then so the weight has all come back, and has brought some friends!). This means that once again I'll be a tortoise rather than a hare. Already aware that my arrival will be well into November, I am making sure I am taking enough warm clothes, and have upgraded my 2-season duvet to a 3-season one (a bit heavier, but I am sure it will be worth it). I remember meeting a young German called Julia in Astorga last year, she had just joined the Frances from the Via de la Plata and told me she had been terribly cold in albergues whilst walking the Via and had had to buy an extra sleeping bag!

I also remember she had decided to join the CF in Astorga because she was feeling a bit lonely on the Via - not many people to talk to. I am curious to find out how I handle this, but at this moment it's actually one of the attractions of the Via for me - last year by the time I got to Astorga I was just sick and tired of other pilgrims and towards the end of the Camino in Galicia, took to staying more in hostals and casas rurales than in albergues.

I'll post again just before I leave - to give details of my blog - I am ashamed to say I am presently updating last year's Camino Frances blog entries and photos, hopefully I'll have finished it by the time I leave for Sevilla! And of course I'll also post on the "Live from the Camino" sub-forum - it's my favourite one - I love following the posts on there.

Isabelle
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
My first camino was the vdlp in 2006 and enjoyed the isolation...but that's not to say I was on my own, there were others staying in some of the albergues at other times it was just me and a Danish bloke I met. In 2008 I walked from Granada and joined the Vdlp at Merida and there were a lot more pilgrims and this year I walked from Salamanca and some albergues were almost full! That's a round about way of saying you will not be alone but not like the stupidity of the crowds now on the CF.As for a map,it is very well marked and from memory the guide book you mention is very heavy. The raju book is out of date and wrong in places but it is compact and has maps (rough though they are!). I do like the vdlp,it starts flat and does have varied scenery and there are some longish stretches but at least you don't get babied like the cf. By the way I stayed in htel simon too-nice and right near the cathedral and coincedentally in the same street as the first waymarker.
 

skilsaw

Veteran Member
I think the main summer rush will be finished on the Camino Frances in October.
I walked the VDLP in April/May 2006 and took the turn off to Astorga, and was glad to meet the pilgrims on the CF.

I used the Confraternity of St James guide and "Walking the Via de la Plata" by Ben Cole and Bethan Davies. The book contains basic maps. Updates to the book are available at pilipalapress.com

I wish you good weather and happy trails.

David, Victoria, Canada
 

gyro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos: Frances, Ingles, Portugues, de Norte
Via(s): de la Plata, Mozarabe
skilsaw said:
I used the Confraternity of St James guide and "Walking the Via de la Plata" by Ben Cole and Bethan Davies. The book contains basic maps. Updates to the book are available at pilipalapress.com

David, Victoria, Canada

Dear Isabelle,
I walked the VdlP in two stages over two years:
1. April 2006: a 500km pull from Seville to Salamanca
2. July 2007: a 500 km pull from Salamanca to Santiago
I wuold echo David here:
The CSJ guide and the Cole/Davies books were both helpful - with very few actual errors. Both books were "out of date" --life having moved on, hostels and albergues coming and going, the path being diverted to avoid roadworks etc -- but I never found this to be a particular issue.

The worst thing that happened to me was to pitch up in a small village in Galicia to find the "superb and welcoming hostel" closed and no prospect for an evening meal. Luckily, I found a shop - a tin of tuna, another of tomatoes, an onion and some rice turned itself into a edible dish.
I would advise you to keep some "emergency ration" bars -- like the nature bars one finds in the mountaineering shops. Or a pack of these revolting "just add hot water for a delicious stew" meals.

As an elderly lumbering tortoise myself, my advice to to take it gently -- 20km per day is fine. there is no race to be run. and it is your journey - there is no need to follow anyone else's instructions.

Let the route come to you in its own pace.
Gyro
 

isabelle304

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPP-Santiago) (Oct-Nov 08)
Santiago to Finisterre (Nov 08)
Via de la Plata/Camino Sanabres (Sevilla-Santiago via Ourense) (Oct-Nov 09)
Camino Primitivo (Oviedo-Santiago) (Sep-Oct 14)
Thanks omar/david/gyro for the advice and words of encouragement.

Not much longer before I leave - my flight is on Tuesday 29th Sep - I am flying from London Gatwick to Malaga (landing 1pm), and from there on to Seville, not sure yet if I'll take the bus or the train from Malaga airport to Seville (still got research to do on that one!).

I've booked myself into Hotel Simon in Seville.

I'll spend Wednesday having a quick look around Seville then I'll set off on the VdlP on Thu 1 October.

When I get to Seville I'll need to get to Decathlon in Camas - is it easy to find/is it anywhere near the VdlP route?

As for a guide with maps, I got hold of an obscure self-published guide written in French - "Via de la Plata Carnet de Route" - it's tiny (the size of a very thin paperback) and has maps. It is also downloadable for free from Lulu (http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-b ... ute/607958). Published 2006 so of course it will not be up-to-date but will be better than nothing.

Am taking a slightly larger rucksack for this than I took for the CF. When I walked the Frances, my Osprey Aura 35 was great but absolutely stuffed - no spare room for food or my winter jacket or my sleeping bag - all that had to be attached to the outside of the rucksack and I hate that! So I up-sized to the Aura 50 - it does not look as good but it has more pockets/is more practical. Will be very careful not to get carried away and feel I have to fill it up. (The Aura 35 is more suited to summer caminos, methinks )

3 days to go - and so much to do before leaving!!!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Isabelle,

I don't know specifically about Camas' Decathlon, but my experience with Decathlon is that they are always located out near an interstate in an industrial/big box commercial area and are usually impossible to get to on foot or with public transportation. I would think that the best way would be a cab from Sevilla. As you probably know, the Vdlp does pass through Camas, or at least one branch does, but when I walked from Sevilla in March, the route took me through the town of Camas, not the commercial areas near the interstate ramps.

If you do a google maps search, it looks like the Decathlon is about 4 km from your hotel.

On google maps, I plugged in garcia de vinuesa, sevilla, spain for starting point (street the Hotel Simon is on) and Calle Poeta Muñoz San Roman, camas, spain for destination (street listed for Decathlon's Camas store) and it looks like a fairly easy automobile trip. They do give walking directions as well, which looks like it may be on the Vdlp but I'm not sure.

Hope this helps, and hope you have a buen camino on the Vdlp. I had hoped to walk Sevilla-Santiago in March, but I had a heel injury that forced me to stop in Caceres. I will be back next spring to try again, so I'm looking forward to hearing about your experiences on the route.

All the best, laurie
 

isabelle304

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPP-Santiago) (Oct-Nov 08)
Santiago to Finisterre (Nov 08)
Via de la Plata/Camino Sanabres (Sevilla-Santiago via Ourense) (Oct-Nov 09)
Camino Primitivo (Oviedo-Santiago) (Sep-Oct 14)
Hi Laurie

Thank you ever so much for this - I feel stupid :oops: for not having thought of entering this data into Google maps myself - I only looked a the little location plan on the Decathlon website and got stuck as it's not very clear.

I've now looked at the Google map properly and it looks like Decathlon is not too far off the VdlP (via Camas) route, provided I turn left instead of right when I get to Camas. However, as I did not intend to go via Camas, but direct to Santiponce, I think I'll just, as a little taster, walk to Decathlon when I get to Seville on Tuesday, that will enable me to work out the exit route out of Seville in advance. Then, when I set off properly on Thursday, I can just turn right after crossing the Guadalquivir and avoid Camas.


isabelle
 

Debinq

Active Member
Hola Isabella
Hope this catches you before you leave on Thu 1st Oct - I haven't got much to add to the excellent advice Gyro posted last week; I did the VdlP from Sanabria in Oct 06 - so being 3 years ago I'm sure things have changed here and there. I found it very beautiful altho' a bit solitary at times on some stretches; one night I was in a refugio (at Xunquiera) as the only peregrino! Hope the weather for you is better than I experienced, especially from approx 15 Oct onwards... based on that experience I'd say the My Fair Lady lyric is wrong: the rain in Spain does NOT mainly fall in the plain, it positively buckets down in the Galician hills! So a GOOD PONCHO wouldn't be a luxury.

Happy trails and buen camino

Peter
 

isabelle304

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPP-Santiago) (Oct-Nov 08)
Santiago to Finisterre (Nov 08)
Via de la Plata/Camino Sanabres (Sevilla-Santiago via Ourense) (Oct-Nov 09)
Camino Primitivo (Oviedo-Santiago) (Sep-Oct 14)
Debinq said:
Hola Isabella
Hope this catches you before you leave on Thu 1st Oct - I haven't got much to add to the excellent advice Gyro posted last week; I did the VdlP from Sanabria in Oct 06 - so being 3 years ago I'm sure things have changed here and there. I found it very beautiful altho' a bit solitary at times on some stretches; one night I was in a refugio (at Xunquiera) as the only peregrino!

Happy trails and buen camino

Peter
Hi Peter. I have indeed caught your message. Am still in Sevilla but am setting off tomorrow morning. I do hope I have many nights when I am the only pegregrina in the refugio - at least I won´t have to worry about who I disturb with my snoring!

From now I will be posting on the LIVE from the Camino sub-forum - I´ve already started this thread: live-from-the-camino/topic7040.html

Hasta luego!

Isabelle
 

donnikko

New Member
Via de la Plata in November?

Hello everybody!

I know that I am a little late due to the last projects recently finished, but now I would have finally time to go for the long walk, unfortunately it's almost winter time...
So my question: is there anybody here who has done the via de la plata starting end of October?
Is it feasable or can weather conditions after Salamanca become really cruel (keeping in mind that good equipment is everything...almost)?
Will the pilgrims refuges still be accessible or do I have to go for hotel's/pensions?
Will there be anybody on the trail to share a chat in that time of year or will I be almost alone?

Any kind of suggestion is greatly appreciated and if all the replies for the above questions will be more or less negative...ideas for a long-distance pilgrim-hike in winter-time are greatly appreciated!

Thank you very much,

Klaus from Venice, Italy
 

lovingkindness

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
Re: Via de la Plata in November?

donnikko said:
Hello everybody!

I know that I am a little late due to the last projects recently finished, but now I would have finally time to go for the long walk, unfortunately it's almost winter time...
So my question: is there anybody here who has done the via de la plata starting end of October?
Is it feasable or can weather conditions after Salamanca become really cruel (keeping in mind that good equipment is everything...almost)?
Will the pilgrims refuges still be accessible or do I have to go for hotel's/pensions?
Will there be anybody on the trail to share a chat in that time of year or will I be almost alone?

Any kind of suggestion is greatly appreciated and if all the replies for the above questions will be more or less negative...ideas for a long-distance pilgrim-hike in winter-time are greatly appreciated!

Thank you very much,

Hello, Klaus from Venezia. I am currently walking the VdP. Whenever I stay in refugios and albergues I take the time to read current and past Peregrinos Libros. In every one there are entries dating right through the winter months, over Christmas, January and through March, although not a great many of the latter. I began this Camino in Cadiz on 20 October, 2009. Whilst I have only encountered two other peregrinos, briefly during the day, there are others out there behind me and in front. I hear of them from the hospeteliers and read their occassional comments. There are also cyclists who tend to travel in ´flocks´, adding a snoring obbligato to fitful refugio sleeps. Late October has worked out well/is working out well for me as a starting time. Regards, Lovingkindness

Klaus from Venice, Italy
 

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