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Why are there so few pilgrims on the Mozarabe

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Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
I am considering to walk the camino mozarabe as my next camino. It sounds very interesting to walk through Andalucia, visit some cities on the way. When I read peoples reports I read a lot that they met few of none other pilgrims. Does anybody know the reasons for this. I suspect that it has to do with the heat and the difficulty of the terrain (long steep climbs and descents) and the combination of these two factors. Are there other factors to consider?
Can anybody tell me how hard the mozarabe is, compared to other caminos like the Norte, Salvador or Primitivo.
I suppose the best time to do the Camino would be early spring?
 

Raggy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
There may be a combination of real and imagined barriers to greater numbers of pilgrims:

Real barriers include the fact that the Camino is long. The climate is hot in summer (e.g. 45º in Cordoba) and cold in winter (e.g. snow in Granada). The terrain offers a few "typical" Camino challenges (e.g. some roadside walking, some stretches with little shade) and some "special" challenges (e.g. some stages with no water or villages, a scramble up a rocky hill, and dry riverbeds that tire you out)..

Imagined barriers include the reputation that only very experienced or tough pilgrims can handle it. Some guidebooks say that the Mozarabe is "Unsuitable for first time pilgrims," or "Lacks facilities," or "Demands Spanish language ability." I think that this puts people off a Camino that has actually gotten considerably easier in the last few years.

Over time, I think the reptation of the Mozarabe will grow and more people will get interested, despite the challenges. The associations have built up a good network of albergues. They have marked the route very well with yellow arrows. And they are exceptionally supportive and welcoming - especially the association in Almeria.

Comparison is difficult. I don't know Norte, Primitivo, and Salvador. Compared to VDLP, the terrain of the Mozarabe is a bit more challenging with higher peaks to scale. The network of accommodation is somewhat better. The number of pilgrims is lower. The history and cultural heritage is stunning - roman ruins, moorish architecture, prehistoric archeology, and castles. The natural scenery is not better or worse, just different - desert landscapes, Sierra Nevada mountains, Wild West badlands, and wide open prairie lands.

The Almeria Association reports that it issued 1,000 credentials in the first half of this year. If you look at the recent blogs, you'll see more photographs of pilgrim encounters than you might have seen a few years ago. It will never be a crowded path, but I think it might be in the Goldilocks zone for people who want the comfort of a well-supported Camino but the tranquility of a less-discovered route.
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I like it that way...once, many years ago,on the conga line cf made me appreciate the solitude of this and other routes. I found no difficulty with accommodation and distances were fine....will be on it again on july 8th
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
The Association could market it as the "Real Pilgrims" route and men would flock to conquer it. As a woman, no way would I walk a Camino for the first time not being proficient in Spanish with no other Camino under my belt. I will be a solo walker so I'm going to walk where there will be plenty of people and languages I can speak (fluent in french and challenged in Spanish despite a year of it in college). If you look at the gender differences, the French Way used to be walked entirely by men. Now women are the larger group.

So go claim it for the boys! When the men embrace it, the women will start walking it looking for mates.

😂
 

Raggy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
The Association could market it as the "Real Pilgrims" route and men would flock to conquer it. As a woman, no way would I walk a Camino for the first time not being proficient in Spanish with no other Camino under my belt. I will be a solo walker so I'm going to walk where there will be plenty of people and languages I can speak (fluent in french and challenged in Spanish despite a year of it in college). If you look at the gender differences, the French Way used to be walked entirely by men. Now women are the larger group.

So go claim it for the boys! When the men embrace it, the women will start walking it looking for mates.
The tagline that seems to stick is the "El Camino de los sentidos" (Camino of the senses). I prefer that to a macho concept like "conquering" the route. And the gender split on the Mozarabe is more balanced than you might expect:

March 2019: 48 women and 46 men started from Almeria (Girl Power!)

April 2019: 80 women and 149 men started from Almeria

I have a feeling that the average age of pilgrims on the Mozarabe is higher than on some other routes. It's appealing to retired people who have already walked other Caminos and want to try something different, If you speak some Spanish you can have better conversations with local people, but I found Andalusians to be very kind and helpful - even though I have never formally studied Spanish.
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
Piamonte
Elizabethpfad
A couple I met on the Sanabres three weeks back had walked the Mozarabe, and mentioned that it was quite empty of pilgrims. They also mentioned something I thought was pertinent, which was that they were often obliged to ring someone upon arrival at their nightly destination, in order to obtain a key to the albergue/other accomodation. It made it clear to me that some reasonable facility in Spanish would be at least highly desirable.
They had a dog along too; the poor fella looked emaciated and footsore, although I suppose that's neither here nor there.
 
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Raggy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
they were often obliged to ring someone upon arrival at their nightly destination, in order to obtain a key to the albergue/other accomodation. It made it clear to me that some reasonable facility in Spanish would be at least highly desirable.
That's an interesting perspective. I guess they were talking about the unattended municipal albergues between Almeria and Granada. Until recently, pilgrims would pick up the keys from the town hall, police station, or nearby bar. Today, you contact the association to get the code number for a key safe by the door. If you don't speak Spanish, they'll communicate with you through WhatsApp and Google Translate. It's a simple transactional interaction that doesn't require much language ability.

I think Spanish language ability is needed more to book ahead at private accommodations. You may find yourself plunged into a conversation that you're not prepared for. The owner of one private albergue told me: "I have to visit a relative in hospital tomorrow. If you arrive before 3pm, wait at the bar on the left when you enter the town. It's across the road from the town hall. My sister-in-law will be working there. You needn't order anything if you don't want to. Just tell her that you're waiting for me and she'll seat you in the shade with a glass of water." (WIth my basic Spanish, I picked up "I'm doing something tomorrow. 3pm. Wait at the bar.")

For sure, you'll have a richer experience if you speak Spanish well. The same is true on the VDLP or the Sanabres. As for walking 1300km with a footsore dog ... I'd better not comment.
 

Michael-FL

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2021)
I am considering to walk the camino mozarabe as my next camino. It sounds very interesting to walk through Andalucia, visit some cities on the way. When I read peoples reports I read a lot that they met few of none other pilgrims. Does anybody know the reasons for this. I suspect that it has to do with the heat and the difficulty of the terrain (long steep climbs and descents) and the combination of these two factors. Are there other factors to consider?
Can anybody tell me how hard the mozarabe is, compared to other caminos like the Norte, Salvador or Primitivo.
I suppose the best time to do the Camino would be early spring?
This is really intriguing and You’ve inspired me to consider the Mozarabe as a future Camino after my upcoming pilgrimage in 2021.
 

Michael-FL

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2021)
That's an interesting perspective. I guess they were talking about the unattended municipal albergues between Almeria and Granada. Until recently, pilgrims would pick up the keys from the town hall, police station, or nearby bar. Today, you contact the association to get the code number for a key safe by the door. If you don't speak Spanish, they'll communicate with you through WhatsApp and Google Translate. It's a simple transactional interaction that doesn't require much language ability.

I think Spanish language ability is needed more to book ahead at private accommodations. You may find yourself plunged into a conversation that you're not prepared for. The owner of one private albergue told me: "I have to visit a relative in hospital tomorrow. If you arrive before 3pm, wait at the bar on the left when you enter the town. It's across the road from the town hall. My sister-in-law will be working there. You needn't order anything if you don't want to. Just tell her that you're waiting for me and she'll seat you in the shade with a glass of water." (WIth my basic Spanish, I picked up "I'm doing something tomorrow. 3pm. Wait at the bar.")

For sure, you'll have a richer experience if you speak Spanish well. The same is true on the VDLP or the Sanabres. As for walking 1300km with a footsore dog ... I'd better not comment.
Poor doggy!
 

kayagee66

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Le Puy - Roncesvalles (2016)
Figeac - Cahors (2017)
Stevenson Trail (2018
I am considering to walk the camino mozarabe as my next camino. It sounds very interesting to walk through Andalucia, visit some cities on the way. When I read peoples reports I read a lot that they met few of none other pilgrims. Does anybody know the reasons for this. I suspect that it has to do with the heat and the difficulty of the terrain (long steep climbs and descents) and the combination of these two factors. Are there other factors to consider?
Can anybody tell me how hard the mozarabe is, compared to other caminos like the Norte, Salvador or Primitivo.
I suppose the best time to do the Camino would be early spring?
Hi, do you know of the youtube channel of Sara Dhooma?
She posts short daily videos of her walks.
She walked this route. You can see what it’s like and her views of it.
Worth a look.
 

pelerine

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2010j, Primitivo (2013), Plata (2014 + 2015), Salvador (2016), Torres 2017), Portugues (2018
Note to self: take Spanish lessons!
Excellent resolve! It does help to learn a few basic sentences around the question of informing the hospitaleras/os of your arrival or making reservations.

I walked this camino end of April/beginning of May this year (age 78) with my two daughters (in their early fifties) and enjoyed it very much. We tried to find private accommodation as much as possible, but stayed in albergues when there was none available. We found that there were numbers of pilgrims on the way to have company in the albergues, but not to be walking in a crowd. A new albergue was opened in Tocon de Quentar half way between La Peza and Quentar just as we were going to walk that particular stage (28 km). Unfortunately we had our return flight booked and could not add another day. We had however taken advantage of a new casa rural in Nacimiento, thus keeping the stage lengths manageable for me. The members of Asociacion Jacobea in Almeria are extremely helpful and you find all you need to know on their website (the list right at the beginning of this link is not complete, however the info on each stage has been updated): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1v47kW2LHSyIfoWH_HTlrmj6E8YDDRnx0/view

If you would like to read about my adventure here is my blog (in English and French): https://inamzarabe.blogspot.com/

Enjoy your planning, Antonius and Michael!
 

Mera

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France, Camino del Norte, Camino de Madrid
Camino Porto, Camino Primitivo
There may be a combination of real and imagined barriers to greater numbers of pilgrims:

Real barriers include the fact that the Camino is long. The climate is hot in summer (e.g. 45º in Cordoba) and cold in winter (e.g. snow in Granada). The terrain offers a few "typical" Camino challenges (e.g. some roadside walking, some stretches with little shade) and some "special" challenges (e.g. some stages with no water or villages, a scramble up a rocky hill, and dry riverbeds that tire you out)..

Imagined barriers include the reputation that only very experienced or tough pilgrims can handle it. Some guidebooks say that the Mozarabe is "Unsuitable for first time pilgrims," or "Lacks facilities," or "Demands Spanish language ability." I think that this puts people off a Camino that has actually gotten considerably easier in the last few years.

Over time, I think the reptation of the Mozarabe will grow and more people will get interested, despite the challenges. The associations have built up a good network of albergues. They have marked the route very well with yellow arrows. And they are exceptionally supportive and welcoming - especially the association in Almeria.

Comparison is difficult. I don't know Norte, Primitivo, and Salvador. Compared to VDLP, the terrain of the Mozarabe is a bit more challenging with higher peaks to scale. The network of accommodation is somewhat better. The number of pilgrims is lower. The history and cultural heritage is stunning - roman ruins, moorish architecture, prehistoric archeology, and castles. The natural scenery is not better or worse, just different - desert landscapes, Sierra Nevada mountains, Wild West badlands, and wide open prairie lands.

The Almeria Association reports that it issued 1,000 credentials in the first half of this year. If you look at the recent blogs, you'll see more photographs of pilgrim encounters than you might have seen a few years ago. It will never be a crowded path, but I think it might be in the Goldilocks zone for people who want the comfort of a well-supported Camino but the tranquility of a less-discovered route.
Thanks! It was very helpful for my next planning.
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
Note to self: take Spanish lessons!
Sadly it didn't help me! I would start using French verbs and nouns when I thought I was speaking Spanish. My professor was fluent in both so she was constantly reminding me in Spanish when I was lapsing. French is so much more sensible. They have like three irregular verbs in the whole language and every verb conjugates the same way. UNLIKE Spanish which has a billion irregulars that conjugate differently for each verb. Nouns I did okay with but you need verbs to ask questions lol!

@Raggy I was referring to the history of the gender difference on the French route. All I know about this route the OP wrote of was that it will not be suitable for me as a first-timer. Until the infrastructure is built up and it becomes more populated I think many women will continue to go to the more traversed ways until they can gain confidence traveling on foot through a foreign country.

For me, beyond the Frances, I would do the Norte and then the Porteguese route. So I think this is why there isn't more to answer the OP's question. Also I apologize if my humor failed lol. Sometimes I think myself wittier than I actually am but at least I make myself laugh!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2013
Mozarbe/Via de la Plata 2014
Portugese 2015
Del Norte 2016
Via Francigena 2017
Walked the Mozarabe from Granada in 2014. 400km to Merida and did not see another pilgrim, Loved the experience. If there are no other pilgrims there is no snoring.
 

Pilger99

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
addicted since 1999 (Aragones, CF), lots of caminos in Spain and Portugal since then
@lizlane
Language skills make it sometimes easier, but as you have heard, it is very solitary, so no one to speak with.
Older spaniards (now retired) often went to France or Switzerland to find work and learnt some french, the younger generation learns English at school. Though they don't pick up languages easily, Spaniards are curious and communicate not just this their voice but also hands, arms and legs.
Some difference can be seen in the bask country and along the camino Francés "highway". If you leave the CF for some reason @ 10km distance nobody knows what you do, eating times get normal (dinner never before 9pm) and language skills disappear.
In Lisbon and Porto you'll find english speakers everywhere, but if you go into the heart of Portugal you are likely to find the same. Good local language skills and hardly no other. That's like it is.

PS: If all communication fails Google translator can resolve that (at least on a basic level).
Buen camino
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
French is so much more sensible. They have like three irregular verbs in the whole language and every verb conjugates the same way. UNLIKE Spanish which has a billion irregulars that conjugate differently for each verb.
As someone who has studied both languages, with the usual difficulty of an adult learning another language, I find this statement to be the opposite of my experience.

I think many women will continue to go to the more traversed ways until they can gain confidence traveling on foot through a foreign country.
This may be true, for any woman who is not experienced in walking alone. However, I don't know why the gender factor was raised in this thread. I very much doubt there is more risk of women encountering harassment on the Mozarabe than on the Frances.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I very much doubt there is more risk of women encountering harassment on the Mozarabe than on the Frances.
Says one woman who has actually walked the Mozarabe and the Frances, though she's too humble to say so.
Thank you, @C clearly.
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
I recently looked at recent breakdown of pilgrims arriving in Santiago. Women are dominating the French route, compared to years earlier when the French route used to be male-dominated.

The OP was wondering why more pilgrims aren't walking this route. I explained humorously perhaps men should claim it for themselves, a place to have their metaphysical hero's journey. Perhaps people should read all the replies first. I also later apologized if my humor failed. My supposition is that men are less likely to be victims. Women feel strength in numbers. A man might be more likely to embrace a less-traversed path whereas a first time female walker may want to go where the numbers are. If you look at the numbers of male/female completion rates for all routes, women have steadily risen. So either less men are walking, more women are, or a combination. But I thought gender differences and the special challenges that affect both might play a part.

I did not mean to be offensive. Just throwing my humorous two-cents in.
 

El Mayordomo

#MyLongWalk2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Invierno) 2019
I am considering to walk the camino mozarabe as my next camino. It sounds very interesting to walk through Andalucia, visit some cities on the way. When I read peoples reports I read a lot that they met few of none other pilgrims. Does anybody know the reasons for this. I suspect that it has to do with the heat and the difficulty of the terrain (long steep climbs and descents) and the combination of these two factors. Are there other factors to consider?
Can anybody tell me how hard the mozarabe is, compared to other caminos like the Norte, Salvador or Primitivo.
I suppose the best time to do the Camino would be early spring?
I'm doing myfirst camimo (CF) next month - if I get the 'buzz' I plan to do Mozarabe in 2020 (at least as far as Merida) - I know that it is getting more practical down in Almeria!
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
@lizlane I did read every one of the replies. @Raggy gave a very good analysis, based on his experience with the route, and I thought it well reflected my own.

Your suggestion that men should "claim" the route introduced an unfortunate (and even alarming) stereotype without offering any information.

Gender certainly accounts for a lot of different decisions people make, and we could stray off into very complex and un-resolvable discussions about our personalities, motivations, and fears. Attempts at humour on these subjects often fall flat even with an audience you know well. With an international, multicultural audience of strangers, such as our forum, they are not a great idea.

More to the point, I do not see any significant relevance to the Mozarabe route.
 

pelerine

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2010j, Primitivo (2013), Plata (2014 + 2015), Salvador (2016), Torres 2017), Portugues (2018
PS to my earlier post, Antonius and Michael, have a look magwood’s blog and Laurie’s (peregrina2000) during your planning. Theirs helped me a lot although I was not able to do the stages they did!
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
I read a lot that they met few of none other pilgrims. Does anybody know the reasons for this.
Spanish pilgrims often start at home, so most Mozarabe pilgrims will be drawn from the nearby communities. A large number of foreign pilgrims do not go out of their way to walk. A desire for variety my attract some, but I doubt that the Camino Mozarabe will ever be a major draw to first time pilgrims. ;)

If you go, have fun!
 

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
Thanks everyone for the reactions to my questions. If I will walk this camino next year, I probably stop in Merida ( I walked the Via dela Plata some years ago) I don't know yet if I will start in Malaga, Granadaor Almeria. I don't mind, even like to walk alone but in the evenings I do like to meet up with "fellow travellers"
 

Bob from L.A. !

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
Always up for a new challenge.

Duo lingo Day 36 Spanish. What a great app !
 

Raggy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
Thanks everyone for the reactions to my questions. If I will walk this camino next year, I probably stop in Merida ( I walked the Via dela Plata some years ago) I don't know yet if I will start in Malaga, Granadaor Almeria. I don't mind, even like to walk alone but in the evenings I do like to meet up with "fellow travellers"
Where to start is a matter of personal preference. I know that Omar likes to start in Granada. As a city, it is one of the most spectacular in Spain. But I've read a few blogs by people who felt a bit blue after starting in Granada. After a day or two in such a beautiful city, the walk to Pinos Puente is an anticlimax; scruffy suburbs, industrial exurbs, dereliction and neglect. There's beautiful scenery after Pinos Puente, but accommodation costs €18 to €25 per night in the next three towns (Moclin, Alcala la Real, and Alcaudete). This sequence of experiences can be disheartening - and there isn't a chorus of Granada angels to lift the pilgrim's spirits.

I think the pilgrims who start in Almeria may have a different perspective that helps them to ride through the imperfections in the experience after Granada. After 8 or 9 stays at donativos and reasonable private albergues, they know that they're not going to blow their budget on this Camino, and they feel well supported - even if the Almeria angels' territory ends in Granada.

If you start from Malaga, you join up with the other routes in Baena - missing Granada, Moclin, Alcala la Real, and Alcaudete. But you could backtrack to visit Granada by taking a bus from Baena if you wanted to. Jaen is also supposed to be a nice city. I know three people who made detours to Jaen and found it to be well worth a visit.

There's a discussion here about the relative merits of starting in Malaga or Almeria

If you like to meet with fellow travellers, I think you can see from the numbers quoted above that April or May will be more sociable than March.
 
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alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Thanks everyone for the reactions to my questions. If I will walk this camino next year, I probably stop in Merida ( I walked the Via dela Plata some years ago) I don't know yet if I will start in Malaga, Granadaor Almeria. I don't mind, even like to walk alone but in the evenings I do like to meet up with "fellow travellers"
I think the solitariness of this Camino can be exaggerated, or sometimes based on out of date information. When I walked from Almería in late 2016, the local association told me there had been 500 walkers that year, up from 200 the year before, and that they were expecting 1000 in 2017, which I believe they got. And @Raggy says they've already had 1000 in the first half of this year. The local association is indefatigable at promoting this beautiful walk along the lower slopes of the Sierra Nevada, and many other websites, including this one and the very useful French Facebook group Amis Camino Mozarabe Via de la Plata, are also informative and enthusiastic.

So I think you are very unlikely to be alone. Enjoy it, as I hope to again this December.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Walked the Mozarabe from Granada in 2014. 400km to Merida and did not see another pilgrim, Loved the experience. If there are no other pilgrims there is no snoring.
Had the same experience in September 2014 from Granada to Merida. I fortunately speak Spanish otherwise it would have been even more trying, given that I was alone (yes, in every single albergue) for 16 days.
 

pelerine

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2010j, Primitivo (2013), Plata (2014 + 2015), Salvador (2016), Torres 2017), Portugues (2018
I think the solitariness of this Camino can be exaggerated, or sometimes based on out of date information. When I walked from Almería in late 2016, the local association told me there had been 500 walkers that year, up from 200 the year before, and that they were expecting 1000 in 2017, which I believe they got. And @Raggy says they've already had 1000 in the first half of this year. The local association is indefatigable at promoting this beautiful walk along the lower slopes of the Sierra Nevada, and many other websites, including this one and the very useful French Facebook group Amis Camino Mozarabe Via de la Plata, are also informative and enthusiastic.

So I think you are very unlikely to be alone. Enjoy it, as I hope to again this December.
When I walked with my daughters in April/May there were always at least three pilgrims in the albergues whom you did not see while walking. Ideal I think!
 

Paladina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles et al (2018), Mozarabe and more (2019)
I cycled from Malaga to Santiago earlier this month and am now on my way to Santander. Between Malaga and Merida I met only one other pilgrim, a Japanese woman in the tourist hostel in Malaga. The lack of pilgrim fellowship may have been due to my failure to find any open albergues - I camped in the wild for four consecutive nights - but I also never passed any pilgrims along the way. This did not mean that I was totally isolated. My encounters with local people and non-pilgrims were probably more precious as a result. One trustful tourist even offered me a spare bed in her accommodation. If you are open to meeting people you need not lack companionship. Go for it!
 

markgrubb

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016
Hospitalero Miraz 2017
Camino Del Norte 2017
Camino Mozarabe (Almeria) 2019
To answer the original question I would say there is nothing as hard on this camino as on the first week of the Norte. Altitude is usually gained very gradually and almost by stealth and the hardest part is probably walking through the stony, dry river beds.

The infrastructure at present doesn't allow large number of pilgrims with small albergues averaging around 10 beds.

For me the variety of landscapes, the peace and solitude, the incredible welcome and back up of the local volunteers, the privilege of visiting 2 wonderful big cities and contrasting that with humble villages and Europes only desert, the serendipity that allowed me to share stages with 3 other lovely pilgrims, time and peace to be on my own in nature, all in decent weather in spring made this for me the most humbling and spiritual experience I've had on a camino.

I'll go back in a heartbeat when I have time
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016
Thanks everyone for the reactions to my questions. If I will walk this camino next year, I probably stop in Merida ( I walked the Via dela Plata some years ago) I don't know yet if I will start in Malaga, Granadaor Almeria. I don't mind, even like to walk alone but in the evenings I do like to meet up with "fellow travellers"
Well if you’re walking in early Feb I’ll see you there.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances SJPP to Santiago (2016), Le Puy en Velay to SJPP (2018), Santiago to Muxia (2018),
OMG. I was planning to walk the Arles Route next year, now I am feeling the pull towards Mozarabe. Loving all the comments.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
I think the solitariness of this Camino can be exaggerated, or sometimes based on out of date information. When I walked from Almería in late 2016, the local association told me there had been 500 walkers that year, up from 200 the year before, and that they were expecting 1000 in 2017, which I believe they got. And @Raggy says they've already had 1000 in the first half of this year. The local association is indefatigable at promoting this beautiful walk along the lower slopes of the Sierra Nevada, and many other websites, including this one and the very useful French Facebook group Amis Camino Mozarabe Via de la Plata, are also informative and enthusiastic.

So I think you are very unlikely to be alone. Enjoy it, as I hope to again this December.
You are probably right, that's why I mentioned that it was in 2014. I believe that it also depends where you start and the day of the week. I chose Granada but there are many that start in Malaga and most recently many Forum members from Almeria where I hope to start one day.

I hear wonderful things about the Amigos groups, especially from Almeria.

In reference to my solitary walk back in 2014, I remember being in one town where the Policia Local was responsible for the albergue, key pick up etc. They were so friendly and kept insisting that if I wanted to stay an extra day to see if some one else would come I could. Many locals were so surprised to see a woman alone walking that they always stopped me to have a chat. Those are the special moments on the Camino, or the long coffee stops talking to the cafe owner.
 

woofer

Member
Hi there. I walked the Mozarbe from Almeria after Easter. I met pilgrims every day. After 4 months over 400 people had started from there. Have the minimum of basic Spanish but had no problems. The key code from phone contact with organisation was child's play. I didnt find the couple of mountain sections hard but even if you do the scenery is worth it. The wildflowers (even weeds) were beautiful. Another plus was the price of food and snacks which were possibly the lowest of any Camino !
No point contributors saying it's "too tough" because it's too long - like all Caminos there's nothing stopping you doing it in stages ! Several peregrinos I met stopped at Cordoba after a fulfilling fortnight. The weather was lovely for my walk but the final couple of days in Extremadura did get uncomfortably hot (mainly because I walked too far).
Negatives were the stony ground of the dry river beds which I found hard on both feet and shoes and Extremadura seemed to have much more time on the asphalt and marking was not as reliable there. One town close to Merida had arrows facing each other and not a soul to ask because of siesta and presumably the unfortunate depopulation of rural Spain. I'd recommend the Almeria - Cordoba section of the Mozarabe to anyone !!
 

apoivre

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Mozárabe de Almería in March 2019
I think the solitariness of this Camino can be exaggerated, or sometimes based on out of date information. When I walked from Almería in late 2016, the local association told me there had been 500 walkers that year, up from 200 the year before, and that they were expecting 1000 in 2017, which I believe they got. And @Raggy says they've already had 1000 in the first half of this year.
But even 1000 pilgrims in 180 days is not that much. As one of the 94 people who walked (part of) the route this March, I never met another pilgrim on the road. There was this Dutch couple I would bump into at the albergues later in the trek, though. So yes, it is very solitary. And beautiful, as you know.

As to where to start, I'd suggest the Almeria route. Probably not all the way from Almeria, but definitely somewhere before Granada. Maybe start in Alboloduy to skip some riverbed walking? And if you're thinking about early spring next year, bear in mind that the Holy Week starts on April 5. You should either book your accomodation well in advance or plan on finishing the walk before everybody descends on Andalucia for the fiestas.
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Started the mozarabe last week and now having an extra day in baena.met noone else but im staying in pensions,hotels etc. The coming week is all well into the 30s with Saturday 42. I usually start betwen 7.30 and 8.30 depending on distance. Yesterday was 25kms with absolutely nothing in between so i did take extra water but i certainly noticed the extra weight
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Well, I don’t know if the rest of last year’s “mob on the Mozárabe” would agree, but I think our arrangements worked beautifully. Over the course of the fall and winter, 2017, a few people started throwing out ideas on the forum about walking from Almería in spring 2018. Somehow, the word got out, and on a night in mid-April, 2018, about 13 or 14 of us met up in a bar in Almería with some of the amigos for a lovely (but way too short) get together. We then naturally broke off into smaller groups, some walking longer distances, some shorter, and there was no bed crunch. (Except for maybe one night when the Almeria amigos transported inflatable mattresses from one place to another to accommodate the crowd). At least one forum member transitioned from one group to another by hanging back a day.

Some of us had been concerned about the numbers, knowing that there were small albergues in many places. But it all worked out fine. I know there was a crunch in Córdoba with May holidays for those who were a day or so behind me, so that is one place to really pay attention to lodging. Granada, the other main tourist town on the way, has the convent, so you don’t have to worry there.

I think many of those who are attracted to the Mozárabe prefer to avoid groups, but there was no pressure on anyone to walk with anyone else. It was nice to have the random encounters on the camino, the camraderie at night — it made what would otherwise be very solitary into a much more social camino. In fact, IMO, it worked out so nicely that if I am lucky enough to walk the Lana next year, I might try the same strategy. :)
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
This is my 3rd mozarbe from granada and don't recall meeting anyone bu t the owner of hostal hidalgo in alcaudete,on my first time on this route,told me alison raju was a few days ahead of me. I'm guessing this isn't the most popular time. In moclin in the albergue/casa rural la fondacion the person before me was 28/6..almost 2 weeks before me.
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Leaving Espejo today i actually caught up with 3 spanish blokes walking from Malaga. They knew so m e one was walking ahead as they saw my footprints from when they joined the mozarabe. They are stopping in Cordoba because next week will be in the 40s and resume in September. One spoke reasonble English and said his first camino was in 1987, the vdlp then in 1990 the cf which he did again in 1993...but hated it...too crowded!. I didn't tell that it's now basically a conga line racing for beds.
The photos are between Es p ejo and santa cruz...cordoba is in the d I stance to the right.
 

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