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Walking the Via de la Plata

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Hello everyone

I'm contemplating walking the VDLP in September/October 2012 (yes a long way off I know) and wanted to hear from anyone who has walked it in it's entirety during Sept/Oct in the last 2 years?!

Jacqui :D
Hike 30 miles on California’s Santa Catalina Island as part of the Catalina Camino
Weather wise, it's the best time to go. And while this means that there will be more people on the route, the numbers are still tiny compared to the other camino's.

Don't leave it much later though as many of the towns and services start to close down, and in the high sections it can start to cool off. When we walked from Seville to Finisterre in 2008 we found it got pretty cold after Salamanca (frosty morning and time for thermal underwear - but not frozen).

Yes it's long 1,100 km+ but it's a joy. So long we split out blog into three sections, but it will give you some idea of what to expect:
• Camino Mozárabe from Seville though Mérida and Salamanca to Zamora ... 38225.html
• Camino Sanbrés from Zamora, through Ourense to Santiago de Compostela ... 56806.html
• Camino Finisterre from Santiago to Finisterre the mythical end of the world. ... 51707.html
Hi Hel and Scott

I must be missing something because the links you provided for your three part blog on hiking the Via de la Plata in September and October brought me to a general blog space for Spain where I couldn't find your narratives. Can you help?

I too will be travelling the Via de la Plata in September and October 2010.

Bill Beahen
Ottawa Canada
JacquelineRowe said:
Hello everyone

I'm contemplating walking the VDLP in September/October 2012 (yes a long way off I know) and wanted to hear from anyone who has walked it in it's entirety during Sept/Oct in the last 2 years?!

Jacqui :D
Hi Jacqui
What is it you need to know? I walked the VdlP last year in October/November and it was a great experience but quite a challenge. Do you speak some Spanish? It will definitely help. Have you walked any other route? That will help also (even if just for comparison purposes). When I started in October from Sevilla, I really struggled with the heat, and often during the first week had to have 2-hour breaks in the afternoon to lie in the shade under trees just to wait for the heat to subside. I imagine in September the heat will be even worse. Between Sevilla and Salamanca (half-way through) I had just 2 days of rain. After Zamora it got really cold and windy. After Puebla it got really wet, as well as cold.

It was a solitary route for me - just the way I like it (I had not really enjoyed the crowds on the French route the previous year) and I spent many nights alone in the albergues. Again, I am guessing that if you start a month earlier, you will encounter more people than I did. The majority of the pilgrims I met had walked other routes previously.

I am not going to waffle aimlessly but would be happy to answer specific questions. Despite its challenges, I absolutely LOVED the VdlP and it will remain for ever in my mind as an amazing experience and a great personal achievement. I am terribly lazy so have not got around to writing up my blog of the trip yet but your post has reminded me I need to do so very soon :)
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Mig - Thanks for the fix on the blog links, not sure what happened there bit of a technological melt down. maybe we should stick to walking.
Hi Jacqui - I walked from mid Sept to mid Oct 2009. A few random thoughts:

- Andalucia and Extramadura are hot and dry - not dangerously so if you're sensible, but it can be uncomfortable at times. The countryside gets pretty parched so dont expect too much greenery. The holm oak thrives but not a great deal else. As you go north above Ex'dura it will get a little cooler (getting into Oct)- though still warm. It only rained one day on me- but boy did it rain!

- There weren't too many people around esp on the southern reaches - It wasn't uncommon to be the only one in the hostel. Bring a book or two - they're worth the weight- sometimes you may get to your destination at 2/3 pm which makes for a fair bit of spare time if its a village and you're on you're own

- Not sure how your Spanish is - I had nothing but a phrase-book and faired OK - but I was maybe fortunate that I didn't need anything complicated. The locals English was a good as my Spanish.

- Alison Raju's guide is good. You prob won't need it all that often but it's comforting to have when the arrows get a bit thin on the ground.

- A few dogs but most were chained or confined.

- Some of the cities you pass through are stunners - Salamanca is beautiful. You really appreciate a bit of civilisation after been in the wilderness

- Astorga? Some people join the Frances by way of Astorga but I wouldn't - bear left, Sanabria is lovely

- Great beer - esp in Galicia.
Just walked the Ruta from Salamanca, during the month of May. It was absolutely lovely, with all wildflowers and GREAT weather.

Some suggestions:
- Do not go via Astorga but take the Ourence road, much more quiet... and beautiful nature. Lubian is gorgeous and many old little villages along the road.
- Take the road via Osseira from Ceia, it is a bit longer, but definitely worth the detour. The monastery is gorgeous.
- Stay at the Albergue in Alberguria, Zamora and Lubian.

- Use some good footcream in the morning before starting to walk.
- Stop every 1 1/2 hour for about 15 minutes, take your shoes and socks of and let it dry.
- if you have blisters, pierce several times a day with a clean needle.
Order a "Grande Cana" instead of a bottle! And have one for me...!
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
Hi Jacqui

See my blog for complete information on my walk from Sevilla to Santiago September/October 2010. As you will see I loved the experience and I will return to do the same route sometime in 2013.

Buen camino

Bill Beahen

That's a great time to go! It may be a little hot or a little cold, but nothing too extreme. You shouldn't have too much rain. You'll see some people; more than at other times of the year. There aren't too many menacing dogs, but there definitely are some, so be prepared (have walking sticks or remember to pretend to pick up a rock and throw it). You'll get lots of attention and love from the locals because you'll be one of just a few!

Hello fellow travellers,

I am walking from Pueblo de Sanabria to Muxia in August 2012.
Yes I know Mad dogs and Englishmen and all that (and women too)...

But my specific question is: Do I need to book accommodation in towns/villages on the Via de la Plata or can I assume that the locals do not fill up lovely Spanish villages at weekends (e.g. Laxo, A Gudina etc)

I was thinking that I could just rely on Pilgim refuges/Albergues but if anyone knows different can they please let me know. I think coping with the potential heat in August will sap my patience/will without turning up at my destination to find there is 'no room at (the proverbial) inn'....

On the other hand if anyone knows (with some certainty) that there will only be mad dogs and Englishmen around in August can they please let me know so I bring plenty of rocks. I might even invest in a strait-jacket.
I have very limited knowledge of the VdlP - check out the very bottom of page However, at the beginning of May many albergues were full by 3 p.m. and some villages are small. So I guess accommodation for mad English men might be limited.
Good luck - and may you have sunshine, unlike me!
Buen camino!

Hi, I walked the VdlP in May this year, The Albergue in Lubian filled up quickly and so did the Private hostals in the Village (four people had to sleep on the floor), Campobeccerros: The Albergue was closed and the only other place (4 beds) was full, The lady at the Hostal kindly took me in her car to Laza and assisted me to get a bed. Ourense: The Albergue was filled to capacity, but Ourense is a big city and there are plenty private places to sleep. Buen Camino!
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
I believe August is the big vacation month in Spain for Spaniards, so I would definitely book ahead in any towns/cities where you definitely want a bed.

Thanks all for the good advice. I guess that when in doubt I will book somewhere, especially in the larger towns that might be tourist destinations. :)
Jacquie - by now you should have completed your camino. So how was it?? I am contemplating this route in May-June 2013 (probably start in Granada with a few bus side trips). Any tips on accommodation; language etc would be greatfully received. Regards Saint Mike
Hi Mike

I see from Jacquis' blog that she is currently walking the Frances again, with 2 friends. I walked the VdlP in April/May last year and LOVED it. You ask on tips re language - you really must have passable Spanish to make your way comfortably. I met an American who was going home after 1 week because he had not met anyone else who spoke English, and an Aussie friend who walked it in April/May this year from Seville to Salamanca met only 3 other pilgrims who spoke English during her 3 week walk. Without some Spanish [or German!] it can be very lonely in the albergues at night.


Be brave. Life is joyous.

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