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Via de la Plata on 500-700 euros?

Tom

New Member
#1
I've been reading up on the route options for a while now, and have finally decided to go for the Via de la Plata next summer...yes, in July, and yes, I'm probably insane to do that! My problem is that the amount of money I'll have for the journey by next year will be limited to a maximum of about 500 British pounds (700 euros) - I'm a student and I only have a part-time job. All the write-ups and guides that I've read say that an average of about 1000 euros is needed for the VdlP. There is no way I will have that kind of money by next summer. Can anybody say, from their own or second-hand experience, whether it would be possible to complete the VdlP on my budget? I am in very good shape, and would be aiming to complete at least 30km a day, although I realise that summer temperatures may restrict me from doing so. So if anyone has any advice as to how I could keep costs to a minimum, I would be very grateful to hear from you.

Thanks in advance,

Tom.
 

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sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#2
Tom, there have been 33 views of your post and no replies - I haven't walked the Via de la Plata but will make a few suggestions.

On the camino Frances, the general rule of thumb is 1 euro per km walked: 750kms = 750 euro. (Or, 25 euro per day). This figure is derived by assuming that the pilgrim will stay in the albergues and eat frugally. Many pilgrims manage on much less than this by buying food and drinks from a supermecado.

If you start in Seville, the route is approx. 1 000km. Perhaps you could start closer to Santiago? If you start in Salamanca it is only 477kms. Use the http://www.godesalco.com/plan website to work out a route and daily stages.

If there are less albergues on the VdLP you might have to find alternate accommodation, so perhaps a lightweight tent would be an option? July is hot so you shouldn't freeze!

If you play a flute, recorder, banjo or any other musical instrument, you could always do a bit of busking for extra funds (read Ben Nimmo's Pilgrim Snail where he carried his trombone from France to Santiago to raise funds for a charity!) And, when you come back, you can write a new guide - Via de la Plata on 15 euro a day!!
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
#3
Good to hear you are walking the VDLP. Costs are very dependant on mainly 2 things: where you eat and how long you take. I took 41 days in 2006 with one of those being a rest day. This year I went from Granada and took 39 days for the 1200kms.
I usually walk 35 kms per day without any trouble so that would be around 30 days. I usually waited for the menu of the day offered by almost all bars/restaurants which varied from 8-11 euros. But you could buy supplies and cook something up but bear in mind it's not like the camino frances which has an abundance of facilities. Frankly, even with economising I wouldn't like to try it on less than 800-900 euros. The other option is to start in Merida or start in Seville and walk until the money looks like running out.
Having said that the VDLP is a good choice, much more tranquil than the camino frances-come to think of it Oxford street is more tranquil than the CF
 

Tom

New Member
#4
sillydoll said:
Tom, there have been 33 views of your post and no replies - I haven't walked the Via de la Plata but will make a few suggestions.

On the camino Frances, the general rule of thumb is 1 euro per km walked: 750kms = 750 euro. (Or, 25 euro per day). This figure is derived by assuming that the pilgrim will stay in the albergues and eat frugally. Many pilgrims manage on much less than this by buying food and drinks from a supermecado.

If you start in Seville, the route is approx. 1 000km. Perhaps you could start closer to Santiago? If you start in Granada it is only 370kms. Use the http://www.godesalco.com/plan website to work out a route and daily stages.

If there are less albergues on the VdLP you might have to find alternate accommodation, so perhaps a lightweight tent would be an option? July is hot so you shouldn't freeze. If you play a flute, recorder, banjo or any other musical instrument, you could always do a bit of busking for extra funds (read Ben Nimmo's Pilgrim Snail where he carried his trombone from France to Santiago to raise funds for a charity!) And, when you come back, you can write a new guide - Via de la Plata on 15 euro a day!!
Thanks for the advice. I am definitely going to consider taking a lightweight tent or bivvy shelter with me, so hopefully that'll cut down on some of the albergue costs, as well as attempting to eat as cheaply as possible. I'm full of hope, and I think it's entirely possible. And yes, I may even take my ukulele with me - if the money runs out, hopefully my playing will be good enough to get me to Santiago! :D

omar504 said:
Good to hear you are walking the VDLP. Costs are very dependant on mainly 2 things: where you eat and how long you take. I took 41 days in 2006 with one of those being a rest day. This year I went from Granada and took 39 days for the 1200kms.
I usually walk 35 kms per day without any trouble so that would be around 30 days. I usually waited for the menu of the day offered by almost all bars/restaurants which varied from 8-11 euros. But you could buy supplies and cook something up but bear in mind it's not like the camino frances which has an abundance of facilities. Frankly, even with economising I wouldn't like to try it on less than 800-900 euros. The other option is to start in Merida or start in Seville and walk until the money looks like running out.
Having said that the VDLP is a good choice, much more tranquil than the camino frances-come to think of it Oxford street is more tranquil than the CF
Wow, that's quite an impressive time from Granada to Santiago! It was the crowded nature of the CF that put me off to be honest - it seems like more of a tourist attraction than a pilgrimage now. I had previously considered Granada to be too far away a starting point, but I may well reconsider as I know the city and surrounding area pretty well, and it would make a lovely departure point with the Sierra Nevada fading away behind me. What was the route like from Granada to Merida (I assume that's where you joined the VdlP from Sevilla)? Were there many pilgrim facilities - albergues etc?

Tom.
 
#5
I can't tell you how many times I saw areas where I thought, "If I had a tent, this would be a great place to camp out", and these were far from populated areas, where it would be very tranquil. I loved the idea. Since many of the stages were pretty far apart, the idea of pitching the tent would have been welcomed. And all lovely areas, by the way.
Lillian
 

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Camino(s) past & future
2002-2004-2006-2008-2011-2015
Cycled from Scotland,walked Francias, walked V.D.L.P, winter on Francais, stroll on Englaise
#6
Hi all and especially Tom,
The routes to Santiago have welcomed people like us for a very long time. Given the constraints you have may I suggest that you consider taking two/three years to complete the VdlP. My reasons for saying this are as follows:-
The route is superb. Why hurry? It will still be there next year if you return to complete it.
The poor exchange rate between the euro and the pound. Your money may not stretch very far.
Its not always easy to buy food for one and the accomodation may not have an equipped working kitchen.
For me part of the joy at the end of the day is sharing village life with the local inhabitants and pilgrims over a meal and a beer or two.
I came across the following written by a Scottish Mountaineer. I think that it is germain
"attainment of a set objective is but the secondary matter, the traveller should not anticipate the journey's end. So long as he loses conciousness of self, and is aware in all his senses of the present scene, any part of the world is as good as another". (Tom Longstaff - "This is my Voyage" 1950)
Yours Aye
Dael
 

viajero

Active Member
#7
Hi,
This is probably a lame suggestion for a student but...as you are going next summer, if you could try to save or earn an extra 5 pounds per week, that would be about 250 pounds over the course of the year. The five pounds saved each week takes you a lot farther in Spain than it does in Britain. Just a thought...probably a bad one though. Good luck with your planning.
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
#8
Tom
From Granada to Merida there were no alberques but I did stay in sports stadiums twice-flea in one of them! I went from Le Puy last year and took a tent but never used it for a number of reasons-established camping grounds charged similar (occasionally more) than albergues and camping in the bush means you cant wash yourself or clothes very easily. Also if you camp in an isolated area you have the extra problem of finding food and water.
 
#9
Tom said:
I've been reading up on the route options for a while now, and have finally decided to go for the Via de la Plata next summer...
Hi Tom,

I intend to earn money as I go along the route. I set off in about a weeks time. I'll be continuing my journey beyond Santiago in any way I can, but will be making my way to Santiago as a 'true' pilgrim.

I'll be blogging as often as I can and posting all costs as I go. I'm not a serious hiker, nor am I a religious believer. However, I'm quite used to roughing it and sleeping in the wilderness, so I'm hoping not to have to pay for a bed to often. Possibly just every Third day for the sake of good sleep and a shower.

My blog will be a very honest 'warts and all' account. Hopefully with some humour also. You can follow my progress and cash flow at http://www.thelostphotographer.blogspot.com

I've decided to set off from Granada as that is where I live.

TLP
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#10
TLP - many albergues will allow you to use their facilities even though you don't sleep there. We kept meeting up with a French guy who was sleeping in his bivy bag along the way but used the albergue kitchens to cook a meal, the showers, and spend some time with other peregrinos but then off he'd go to find a place to pitch his bivy bag. We passed him a couple of mornings when we had set out earlier that usual and he seemed quite happy.
 
#11
sillydoll said:
TLP - many albergues will allow you to use their facilities even though you don't sleep there...
Thanks for that. Very useful knowledge. For as long as I'm alone I really don't mind sleeping outdoors. In fact I much prefer it if it's not to cold.

Friends will be joining me at points en route and I wouldn't want to put some of them through what I'm willing to put myself. Sharing a cooked meal and a drink knowing they have a safe bed whilst I 'rough it' is probably going to be a good compromise.

I've also been talking to a full time itinerant street person currently here in Granada. He's given me loads of good tips and some tips that I could never lower myself to! Many homeless people in Spain seem to use the routes on their way to mild winter climates on the south coast. I guess people who have walked this route particularly will know that. I tend to socialise on all levels, so no doubt I'll get to know a few of them.

TLP
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
Donating Member
#12
For as long as I'm alone I really don't mind sleeping outdoors. In fact I much prefer it if it's not to cold.
In the last week in Santiago we have had minimum temperatures of 5-8c, so the further north you get the colder your nights will be.

Buen camino,
Ivar
 
#13
ivar said:
For as long as I'm alone I really don't mind sleeping outdoors. In fact I much prefer it if it's not to cold.
In the last week in Santiago we have had minimum temperatures of 5-8c, so the further north you get the colder your nights will be.

Buen camino,
Ivar
5 Degrees C cold already! I'm surprised and thank you. I'm still leaving all garden doors open and sleeping with a sheet here.

I'll be using good knowledge like this and taking care no matter how flippant my blog reads ATM.
 
#14
omar504 said:
Tom
From Granada to Merida there were no alberques...
I've experienced the exact opposite. Plenty of free beds and meals between Granada and Zafra (I strayed off route a couple of times and joined the VDLP further south). Since reaching Merida I've stopped using (or, even bothered looking for) any albergues. Pensions and hostals offer far better value. €10 for a bunk in a tiny shared (6) dorm without bathroom, or €12 for your own room with bathroom and balcony. I am actually getting increasingly sick with the commercial aspect of pilgrimage the closer I get to my destination. Granada to Cordoba and beyond was excellent. Loads of good people and offers of help - bed, food, showers etc with nothing expected in return.

I am making plenty of money mind, so I'm more than happy to pay.

I started out with very little cash in pocket. Having very little, or even no money was an important part of the walk for me. Turns out I'm actually making far more than expected, so I'm donating to local charities en-route as well as raising money via sponsorship for a UK based charity. That said, the rain is a big spoiler for sketching and selling.

Tom (or, anyone else on a tight budget) may like to consider the approach I've taken. It would work just as well for buskers and other street artists. I'm completeing 1 Meter x 3 Meter panoramic sketches in every town and city I visit. Finding a pitch in the central plaza I 'set-up' by taping my paper to the ground with the message 'Yo soy un artista en peregrinacion a Santiago de Compostela para organizaciones de caridad para niños en España and Gales'. I also have a portfolio of small sketches that I sell whilst accepting drops of coins, food, beer and cigarettes! A further explanation on a small card tells people exactly what I'm doing in more detail... 'I gratefully accept donations of money, food, beer, tobacco, socks....anything'. People seem to appreciate the humour and honesty. Explanations are written in English and Spanish. Everyone seems to really like what I'm doing and the generosity of Spanish people has been quite overwhelming. Lots of interest from local newspapers also. Children love the huge sketches of their towns. Any sketches I don't sell I leave for anyone to take.

I'm surviving comfortably on a budget of €20/day and easily earning more than that.

Find a sponsor in the UK to donate to charity when you arrive in Santiago then ask for help from people en-route to get you there. Nothing wrong with that approach IMO (and, it seems the vast majority of opinions). Everyone wins. You, UK charity, local charities and the people of each town get some good entertainment for a few hours, or more.
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
#15
Good to hear that things are going well but albergues in the sense of establishments set up specifically for pilgrims were non existent between granada and merida. I too stayed in hostals/hotels.
 
#16
omar504 said:
Good to hear that things are going well but albergues in the sense of establishments set up specifically for pilgrims were non existent between granada and merida. I too stayed in hostals/hotels.
I have actually spent most nights camping out, or even just sleeping in out buildings between Granada and Cordoba. Very mild evenings (with one exception) and plenty of safe, dry options. So, I suppose I wasn't looking to much for Albergues. However, ther after every Policia Local station I asked at gave me directions to an albergue. The only exception was in Azuaga. There Policia Local told me the albergue had been turned into a museum. They offered to pay for a bus to the nearest albergue (Llerena). I accepted the offer, but failed to find anything in Llerena. Policia Local directed me to the fire station to ask for further directions. The Bombero I asked was very friendly, gave me more directions to a house that I never found. Late, dark, tired and suspecting it was a wind-up, I just booked into a Pension.

Generally, most people I ask don't have any idea what I'm on about. Very few local people seem to know about Routa Mozarabe. But, Policia Local are always helpful and friendly. Apart from the one I hit this morning! I slept under an arch in the main square of Plasencia (got delayed by rain and arrived during early hours). I was woken by a loud stamping boot and with lightning fast reactions sent a right fist in the direction of the noise. Thankfully they saw the funny side and laughed before telling me I wasn't allowed to sleep there.

Other useful sources of advice come from the unlikley source of people living on the streets. Homeless people are often very eager to offer information. In most towns I get to know the street people and share a drink and meal with some of them. They see me sketching whilst enjoying a beer - many of them can relate to drinking on the street! Many of them also use free services in towns offered by charities and the church. They know all about albergues and pilgrim routes.

When I've completed my trip to Santiago and finally returned to Granada I'll visit all the Society of Friends of VDLP between Granada and Zafra and post a list of all the albergues. They do exist. They're just not as commercial, or as easy to find.
 
A

AJ

Guest
#17
When I've completed my trip to Santiago and finally returned to Granada I'll visit all the Society of Friends of VDLP between Granada and Zafra and post a list of all the albergues. They do exist. They're just not as commercial, or as easy to find.[/quote]

It is interesting that the Friends don't know about these albergues. The President of the Malaga friends walked the Camino Mozarabe/VDLP in April/May this year (as did I) and he didn't know about them. He did use facilities provided by the Ayto in some places, as did I.
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
#18
I'm with AJ-I too stayed in a couple of sports complexes arranged by the ayuntamiento but albergues,as generally understood on this forum,were not apparent to me but I would be interested to hear where they were!
 
#19
I'll come back to this at a later date with more detail.

I was lucky enough to meet someone who had completed the route as far as Salamanca not long after I had set off from Granada. He gave me some very good information. There are albergues, but more often it is simply free accomodation for pilgrims (not sports halls, but church houses, rooms in other houses etc). Perhaps I shouldn't give to much information publicly? Obviously, it's a service that's open to abuse. Along the main route since Zafra I have found albergues to be far more commercial and far more tightly controlled (relatively speaking).

Generally my approach in each village, or town was to ask firstly at Policia Local. They would then tell you where to go; the albergue, a house, a bar. Sometimes the people at the place you are told to go to ask you to go back to Polcia Local and ask them to telephone them saying they're sending you over. Understandable.

Not every town and village en-route, but most have an albergue, or at least some sort of free accommodation for pilgrims. Most also offer a free meal. I don't consider myself to be a true pilgrim, and I'm certainly not in need of free meals and beds at this time, but I may be in future.

I don't consider myself to be a true pilgrim, on the other hand, with almost half of the route completed I have yet to meet a single other 'pilgrim' outside of a main city/town and my footprints remain the only footprints on the path even though many albergues are full. I'm getting more than a little suspicious ;)
 

Anniesantiago

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 will be Camino #14.
#20
Photographer, this has been some VERY useful information! Thank you so much!

So, knowing what you know, would it be more useful for me to take a lightweight bivy or could I use my Clark Hammock? Are there places to hang it?

Thanks!
 
#22
Anniesantiago said:
Photographer, this has been some VERY useful information! Thank you so much!

So, knowing what you know, would it be more useful for me to take a lightweight bivy or could I use my Clark Hammock? Are there places to hang it?

Thanks!

I've managed without tent, or ivy. If the weather is mild and dry I have no problem sleeping outside in towns, or countryside. Think I've spent about a total of 7 nights 'roughing it'. Spanish towns are generally very safe. Far more likley to be offered help rather than anything threatening.

There are societies of friends of Camino Mozarabe in Cordoba, and, I'm told Granada. I know that the Cordoba branch meet at Cafe Galicia every Thursday evening. It would be well worth you planning a Thursday in Cordoba to meet up with them if you're intending to walk from Granada (or, Cordoba).

Plenty of places to camp, but I have been warned on Two seperate occasions that it isn't totally safe in rural areas. Told by a couple of alcoholic drifter type folk (nice enough people - do´'t get me wrong) who may have been a little paranoid to say the least, but I listened and took note.

There was only One long stretch between Granada and Cordoba (about 30KM and a bit). Towns and villages are easily reached day by day. Just make Policia Local your first port of call in each village, or town. Speaking a bit of Spanish is obviously a great help. It's appreciated.
 

ajp

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept-October (2009), Sept-Oct (2013)
#23
That sounds like a great challenge, making do with less!
Have you ever read Laurie Lee's book " As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning"? Laurie walked through Spain in 1934 with no money, he had a violin that he played to raise enough to get to the next town, He slept in the open or more often found the hospitality of the Spanish people more than enough ( and that hospitality and kindness is what a lot of the book is about) , the book is dated but well worth a read, if only to inspire you. He was 19 when he did the trip. The book may be out of print but I found a copy at a used book store with no problem.

AJP
Victoria
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1988)
#24
AJP,

Your post reminded me of another good out-of-print English language read on walking in Spain in the early 1900's with little money. It's called "Four Months Afoot in Spain" by Harry Franck (Garden City Publishing, 1911). He travelled from New York to Spain, spent 4 months walking and riding trains, and then returned to NY for $172. A tightwad after my own heart...
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#25
In 1911 the average U.S. manufacturing wage was about $8 per week, so the trip cost over 20 weeks wages!
 

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