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LIVE from the Camino Vía Serrana Nov-Dec 2022

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
Some in the past; more in the future!
The bar/restaurant where he will be eating will be thankful if the mud has dried and fallen off his shoes!😅
Burger King didn’t mind. 🤣 (The Mexican restaurant where I wanted to eat was closed because we are in the midst of some mid-week holiday puente here right now, and BK was right across the street, and open.)
 
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A selection of Camino Jewellery

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
Some in the past; more in the future!
Day 9 - El Coronil to Utrera: ~19km

Camino arrows are a bit like life: both can be crooked sometimes, but in the end they point you in the right direction.

078EADEE-4B4A-4923-80CE-8E8C39D2A59D.jpeg

Today that direction is towards Utrera, the last major stop before Sevilla. It’s a flat, muddy path through brown fields but there’s some sunshine in the morning and I’m happy to be walking. I turn around and see the mountains disappearing in the distance and think about how far I’ve come.

05324737-CE8B-475F-AD18-A87C17858CE0.jpeg

At Los Molares, a construction worker stops me to ask if I’m walking the camino. When I say that I am, he enquires about my stages and distances, we chat for a minute, and his interest brightens my day. He wishes me a buen camino, only the second time anyone has done that on the Vía Serrana.

Utrera feels like a mini-Sevilla and it’s nice to walk through its charming alleyways on the way to my accommodation. It’s gloomy by the time I arrive and rainy later, but that means I don’t have to be a tourist and instead I can rest ahead of my final day tomorrow. Because it looks like I might need it!



Not many practicalities today as it’s all pretty straightforward. In Utrera I’m staying at Hotel Veracruz, a little more expensive than what I’ve been paying at €49, but it’s a nice place and it’s in the northern part of town, which slightly lessens the length of tomorrow’s stage. I’ve decided to walk it after all, as it would be a shame not to complete the entire journey on foot at this point.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
Camino arrows are a bit like life: both can be crooked sometimes, but in the end they point you in the right direction.
I love this analogy!
I’ve decided to walk it after all, as it would be a shame not to complete the entire journey on foot at this point.
I figured you would decide to finish this journey on foot after a hard think. After all, what's one more day at this point after you've come so far. Even if it's quite a long stage, it's just the one final piece to complete the puzzle all on foot and put an "exclamation point" at the end of it!
🥾....................................🥾!
 
The Way: Through a Field of Stars (audiobook)
A great book to listen to while training for the Camino or to relive the experience!

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
Some in the past; more in the future!
Oh Nick I feel your pain. 😫. that video brings back memories of Chemin d’Arles where the Way sometimes takes you through private farmlands. One particular day we had to walk through recently ploughed fields, made into thick mud after many days of rain. I thought I’d tied my shoes tightly enough - but alas no. As I tried to lift up my heavy mud laden foot, the whole shoe came off. If I hadn’t had my poles I’d have fallen over. Getting my foot back into the shoe was quite a feat. Don’t know how I would have done it if I were on my own - as you are - without Domi to hold me upright!
That’s some serious mud-caking! I haven’t come out of my shoes (yet!) but my feet do move around a lot in my shoes while mud-caking, which leads to blisters. And the whole thing just slows me down. Anyway, there was still some today but not as bad as yesterday.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I am currently reading "The Crossway" by Guy Stagg - and some of his stages on the Francigena were a torment of mud.

I've worn sandals through deep mud. It's easier to wash off bare feet and sandals, but you do have a danger of gritty bits causing rubbing and blisters. And cold feet.

Anyway, my sympathy Nick. It is the price you pay for walking while the rest of us are stuck at home.
 
John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
Get your today and start planning.

amancio

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
I am currently reading "The Crossway" by Guy Stagg - and some of his stages on the Francigena were a torment of mud.

I've worn sandals through deep mud. It's easier to wash off bare feet and sandals, but you do have a danger of gritty bits causing rubbing and blisters. And cold feet.

Anyway, my sympathy Nick. It is the price you pay for walking while the rest of us are stuck at home.
I am a sandals man for mud too! you can easily submerge your feet in any stream to clean your shoes and feet in seconds!
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
Some in the past; more in the future!
Day 10 - Utrera to Sevilla: ~34km

Eleven days ago, I took this photo of the sun’s first rays softly lighting up the AD 1198 Giralda beside the world’s largest medieval Gothic church, the cathedral of Sevilla.

7316F56E-105C-4F20-B48E-F71F6557A02C.jpeg

Then I took a bus to one of the Pillars of Hercules, gazed across the Mediterranean to the twin pillar on the north coast of Africa, turned around, and started walking back.

Halfway through the Vía Serrana, my camino and my world changed due to a family medical diagnosis. The exhilaration of the first half of the camino, of walking through the Canyon of the Vulture Nests, of the spectacular first glimpse of Ronda impossibly perched on a cliff top, of mountains and olive groves and whitewashed villages and all the magic of Andalucía — that all vanished.

I decided to keep walking, because my loved ones are all on different continents and I didn’t know what else to do. The walking helped — it must have helped — but I could barely pay attention to my surroundings. From the next three days, I remember tunnels and a castle and almost nothing else. Then last night it hit me that there was only one day left.



For the final act of the Vía Serrana today, I’m faced with a 34km stage in the rain. I almost skip it and take a 30-minute train ride from Utrera to Sevilla instead, because how much fun is it going to be to walk 34km in the rain?

But having fun isn’t why I’m walking this camino anymore. The pilgrimage has been stripped down to its most basic, persevering form: putting one foot in front of the other.

So that’s what I do today. After three hours of off-and-on drizzle in the early morning, biblical rain arrives and there’s nowhere to hide on the open plains, so I get drenched. By the time I reach the outskirts of Alcalá de Guadaira, the streets have become rivers and waterfalls are cascading down staircases.

The rain eventually stops and Sevilla arrives more quickly than I thought, but it takes an age to make it through the outskirts. Then I’m in the centre and it all comes at once — Plaza de España, the Universidad de Sevilla (where I once attended a paleography colloquium), the Real Alcázar, the cathedral. Suddenly the Giralda is soaring above me, I’m back to where I began, and it’s over.

I don’t know what to feel, but mostly I’m just exhausted. I take the same photo I took before, yet it’s somehow completely different. It’s dull and gloomy and looks pretty much like the last four days have felt.

DB7063BE-5DB7-4E81-B903-38F6161BAD29.jpeg

But I don’t want that to be my last memory of this camino, so I go back 90 minutes later at nightfall and take the same photo for the third time, with lights and bells and whistles. It’s the brightest one of them all, and that’s how this journey ends.

6190EB40-681B-4452-B891-8F604C70F590.jpeg
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
Nick, in its "own unique way", filled with both sadness and accomplishment, this is a day to cherish.
Thank you for all the interesting tidbits and beautiful pictures along the way. You have definitely gone full circle; experiencing exuberance, weather changes, and emotional pain, but ending with a bright light in one of your favorite cities.
Well done!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Unbelievable, Nick, how you capture what the camino has meant for me, too, in similar and dissimilar circumstances. Your words are gut-punching, hard to describe the strength and the hurt that come through on the written page. I don’t want to dramatize, because I know it’s just a walk, but you describe the essence of solitary caminos for me and shine a light on the solace and the many blessings they provide. It’s you, your demons, your angels, and one footstep after another.

Safe travels home, and hoping that the intercontinental family will soon be together, or at least parts of it.
 
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
The joy, the sorrow, life. And step by step walking into the fullness of that, with an open heart. Because...what else can we do?

Nick, I'm sorry. And am glad for you. Both.
May you and your loved ones have all strength for the way ahead. Healing, if it's possible, and peace if not.

Thank you for the incredibly moving post. It went to a deep and quiet place.
 

JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Time of past OR future Camino
CF whole & part 12-19, VF 17, VDLP+ptSbres22
Gosh, Nick - to experience so much joy, and then so much sadness on this camino - and with the range of weather and terrain conditions - no wonder you’re exhausted.

Thank you so very much for sharing your journey with us - your wonderful words and your beautiful photos have been such a privilege to read and to see.

Best, best wishes to you and your loved ones and may all be well -

Jenny
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Time of past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I decided to keep walking, because my loved ones are all on different continents and I didn’t know what else to do.
Every time my darling and I fly over 18000km to walk in Europe, we know how you feel, @jungleboy . It's the tyranny of distance.

Thank you for sharing your journey, may your return home be safe. You and your family across the continents remain in our thoughts and prayers.

Ultreïa!
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF: 2001, 02, 04, 14. Ourense to Santiago 2019.
Day 10 - Utrera to Sevilla: ~34km

Eleven days ago, I took this photo of the sun’s first rays softly lighting up the AD 1198 Giralda beside the world’s largest medieval Gothic church, the cathedral of Sevilla.

View attachment 137938

Then I took a bus to one of the Pillars of Hercules, gazed across the Mediterranean to the twin pillar on the north coast of Africa, turned around, and started walking back.

Halfway through the Vía Serrana, my camino and my world changed due to a family medical diagnosis. The exhilaration of the first half of the camino, of walking through the Canyon of the Vulture Nests, of the spectacular first glimpse of Ronda impossibly perched on a cliff top, of mountains and olive groves and whitewashed villages and all the magic of Andalucía — that all vanished.

I decided to keep walking, because my loved ones are all on different continents and I didn’t know what else to do. The walking helped — it must have helped — but I could barely pay attention to my surroundings. From the next three days, I remember tunnels and a castle and almost nothing else. Then last night it hit me that there was only one day left.



For the final act of the Vía Serrana today, I’m faced with a 34km stage in the rain. I almost skip it and take a 30-minute train ride from Utrera to Sevilla instead, because how much fun is it going to be to walk 34km in the rain?

But having fun isn’t why I’m walking this camino anymore. The pilgrimage has been stripped down to its most basic, persevering form: putting one foot in front of the other.

So that’s what I do today. After three hours of off-and-on drizzle in the early morning, biblical rain arrives and there’s nowhere to hide on the open plains, so I get drenched. By the time I reach the outskirts of Alcalá de Guadaira, the streets have become rivers and waterfalls are cascading down staircases.

The rain eventually stops and Sevilla arrives more quickly than I thought, but it takes an age to make it through the outskirts. Then I’m in the centre and it all comes at once — Plaza de España, the Universidad de Sevilla (where I once attended a paleography colloquium), the Real Alcázar, the cathedral. Suddenly the Giralda is soaring above me, I’m back to where I began, and it’s over.

I don’t know what to feel, but mostly I’m just exhausted. I take the same photo I took before, yet it’s somehow completely different. It’s dull and gloomy and looks pretty much like the last four days have felt.

View attachment 137937

But I don’t want that to be my last memory of this camino, so I go back 90 minutes later at nightfall and take the same photo for the third time, with lights and bells and whistles. It’s the brightest one of them all, and that’s how this journey ends.

View attachment 137936

🙏🏾❤️🙏🏾

Buen camino.
 
How to avoid failure "be prepared"
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
Some in the past; more in the future!
Thank you again to everyone who offered support during a difficult time. It wasn’t easy dealing with this by myself but your heartfelt messages meant a lot and gave me the strength I needed to continue. What a wonderful community we have here.
😍
 
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Pelerina

Camino Walker
Time of past OR future Camino
since 2011, ongoing.
And thank you Nick. 🙏 When we reveal what’s in our heart and lay bare our vulnerability, we open the way for others to show their understanding and compassion. We can all relate to what unfolded during your walk and we are richer for you sharing that with us. Safe journey onward ❤️
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Thanks so much for sharing so many special moments, so many feelings in just a bunch of days....
The "biblical" rain in Ronda left images like this, it seems you just finished right on time before the deluge. A big hub, Jungleboy!!!

1670670388105.png
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
Some in the past; more in the future!
A quick summary with some thoughts on the Vía Serrana to wrap this up, trying to objectively separate out the circumstances.

Firstly, I think it's a great camino overall, either as a precursor to the VdlP or as a stand-alone walk. I don't often say this after a camino (even after one I've really enjoyed), but I would like to go back and walk it again one day, for various reasons.

I only had limited time so I chose the 10-day itinerary. If I walked it again I would probably take an extra 2-3 days of walking plus a rest/sightseeing day in Ronda. This time I felt I missed some short diversions that could have been interesting and didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked exploring certain end-of-stage towns (e.g. Olvera) and some others mid-stage.

I think of the camino as unfolding in three distinct parts:

Part 1 (my days 1-3): La Línea to El Colmenar

Nice but unspectacular, more like 'setup' for the stages to come. Gibraltar is fun as a side trip from La Línea. Jimena de la Frontera is really the only historic town on these stages, with a castle and a nice town centre. The trail is rural and without much asphalt (IIRC), the views back to Gibraltar on the first day are great but other than this, the scenery is perhaps just 'pleasant', especially compared with what's to come.

Part 2 (my days 4-7): El Colmenar to Coripe

These are the queen stages of the Vía Serrana and I think they would stack up pretty well with the best four consecutive stages on any camino. The scenery is spectacular, starting with the canyon and continuing with mountains and olive groves and lots of panoramic views on all four days. Ronda is a fantastic city and well worth exploring. The other interesting things are the Roman theatre (requiring a detour), the town of Olvera and the abandoned railway tunnels between Olvera and Coripe.

Part 3 (my days 8-10): Coripe to Sevilla

These stages are on flat plains as the mountains recede into the background, so IMO it's the least interesting scenery of the camino. The path tends to be either on road or through fields, which were brown for me in December. On the plus side, there are several castles along the way and Utrera and Alcalá de Guadaira are historic towns with things to see.
 

debigetsout

Donating Member
Time of past OR future Camino
all
This thread has been super helpful because we are planning on doing this walk beginning in mid-January. Flight to Sevilla purchased, so it's getting pretty real. My partner has been doing some detailed planning, which we will be pleased to share on the forum later. But, for now, a quick question. Is there a credential booklet for the Via Serrana? Can one get stamps along the way? If the latter is possible but not the former (perhaps it is common for bars and accommodations to have their own stamp?) we will improvise.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
Some in the past; more in the future!
This thread has been super helpful because we are planning on doing this walk beginning in mid-January.
Thank you and buen camino!

Is there a credential booklet for the Via Serrana?
Not specifically for the Serrana as far as I know but a regular credential will do. You can buy them at Triana Backpackers in Seville if you can’t get one beforehand.

Can one get stamps along the way?
Yes, all hotels I asked had a stamp. On the day my camino changed, I stayed in a place with self check-in and didn’t get a stamp or even think about stamps that day. Then I didn’t bother getting any the rest of the way.

Also, you can get one at the Gibraltar tourist office if you go there before starting.
 

alipilgrim

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Listed in my signature
Hi Nick,

You mentioned you found the gps tracks invaluable. From where did you source the tracks? Thank you...
 
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Get your today and start planning.

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