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Woman alone of Via de la Plata

dawn.amanecer

New Member
Hello!
I've had some pilgrims recommend that I do the Via de la Plata. Last year I went from SJPP-Stgo. and I'm now ready for a new Camino. I'm very hesitant about the Via de la Plata because I am a woman traveling alone and I feel much more comfortable doing a Camino where there are other pilgrims and plenty of albergues. I was thinking about Caminos in France but I'm afraid that they will be too expensive. What month is the most popular for the Via de la Plata? Will I feel safe there? I felt very very safe on the Camino frances last summer.
Buen Camino,
:)Kelly
 

madrid12

member
Hello
I walked the vdlp [woman alone] in February/March 2004 from Seville to Santiago, Finisterre and Muxia and always felt safe. I did not see many other pilgrims but I enjoy walking alone. I stayed in a mixture of alburgues and hostels. I think it is probably busier now. I really enjoyed all the diferent places and countryside.
 

MermaidLilli

Active Member
I walked with my son until Banos de Montemayor and then was alone. I have always felt safe. Yes I was alone much of the time but I had no concerns. I walked from May until July
Lillian
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Two (male) friends of mine did the Plata last April and found it very empty -they did meet up with folk but it was very quiet compared to the Frances - 9,000 a year compared to 138,000?. They also said that they sometimes had very long walks between refugios and sometimes had to stay in hotels.

However, they also said that it was utterly wonderful, beautiful, splendid and stunningly friendly as locals weren't 'jaded' as they can be on the Frances. They said that they met some women and they seemed ok and quite content.

It is an interesting thing isnt it, the perception of violence and attack. In any UK city the most vulnerable people to violent attack are, in this order, black males 16 to 21, white males 16 to 21, black males 22 to 32, white males 22 to 32, and only then women black or white 16 to 23, and so on ...

As a male, although verrr peaceful and now quite ancient, I allow no man to touch me without that I respond. - but if I was a woman? I would carry a revolver.

That being said, you can buy and carry - quite legally - pepper spray in France and Spain. If you want to carry something like that you can buy it on the internet and have it delivered to your first arranged place of stay (with their permission) or poste restante it.
 

dawn.amanecer

New Member
Thanks so much for all of your advice. When I did the camino frances last year I did carry pepper spray although I felt very very safe and surrounded by people constantly. All of your comments have really helped me to understand that I would probably be very lonely doing the Via de la Plata. I am very social and I think that maybe I'll either just go back to the camino frances or I'll start in Le Puy, France and make my way to Spain and then on to Santiago. Thanks so much!
Buen Camino,
:roll: Kelly
 

MermaidLilli

Active Member
Oh noooo, Kelly, I hope it was not my notes that made you change your mind!! I too am very social, and I met people all along the way. Whether they were pilgrims or locals, hospitaleros... And from what I see, this year has more people on it just from this forum alone, than I remember from last year. I met 3 people from forums.
The Via is wonderful, beautiful, different. I would go back and do it again, I liked it so much.
Think about it
LOVE
 

dawn.amanecer

New Member
Hi Lillian,
Last summer I ran into an American girl just after Burgos who had attempted the Via de la Plata. She said that she had started it, found no one, then ended up sleeping in a shelter without walls with some random man. She freaked out and came to the Camino frances. That's kind of what gave me the impression that I wouldn't run into anyone. Then after reading many forums on the Via de la Plata people keep emphasizing that it's great to be alone on the Camino. I really wouldn't want to be alone. Did you really feel like there were other pilgrims when you did it? I've got 3 months so I can always do the Camino from Le Puy into Santiago and then attempt the Via de la Plata or viceversa. I'm just afraid of getting on the VdlP and feeling isolated. What do you think? Thanks so so much for your input!
:roll: Kelly
 

MermaidLilli

Active Member
Compared to the Camino Frances, yes, the difference is huge! In Merida, though, the albergue was full. There are less walkers but more cyclists, for sure. When I walked the Frances, I too had time to walk alone, especially since I left later than most and was not in the crowd, until I reached the albergues. You are obviously the best person to decide whether to walk it or not, since my input is about my personal experience, one which I enjoyed. Different caminos, different experiences.
Definitely less people on the Via, but every pilgrim that I saw became part of that day's intimate group. We ate and drank wine together in the evenings. Occasionally I walked with someone, but that was few and far between.
I do think there are more people this coming year, like I said, due to the popularity of the camino and with the Frances being so crowded, many are looking at alternative routes.
After I arrived in Santiago, I walked to Finisterra. At one of the stops, I was the first person there, the albergue was closed, so I stayed in a little cafe for a few hours, until it was time to get back to the albergue. Much to my surprise there were dozens of people and backpacks all lined up in a row. I had never seen that before in both of my caminos. I was so surprised!! So I put mine on the end and got tsk-tsked. Apparently I put mine at the beginning and not the end. I had no idea hot it worked!
So I moved it to the other end and luckily I got the last bed. Phew!! I just would hate to have that happen often, that uncertainty of getting a bed. Not an issue on the Via.
Being part of small groups, I felt that even the hospitaleros were more attentive as well. They have hard work dealing with peregrinos day in day out and I imagine some might not be as hospitable after a while, but on the Via all were incredibly wonderful.
And yes, I was alone in the albergue a couple of times, but I am so fine with that. I tended the gardens of one, picking weeds, deadheading the flowers, watering and decorating. Had a sweet time. So, we are individuals and what works for one, doesn't for others.
It's just that it is so beautiful along the Via, and the cities you go through are so historical. Santiponce/Italica with its Roman ruins, Merida, Caceres with its old town preserved so that it feels like it must have hundreds of years ago, Salamanca with its university and tourists, Zamora, my favorite, during their patron saint's festivities. Walking in Galicia, mountains, castles....Got to look at that as well. All parts of the experience.
No fear!
Lillian
 

MermaidLilli

Active Member
Ohh, and how could I forget.... Sevilla!!
Beautiful, incredibly beautiful, fun. Went to a futbol game and went to a little hole in the wall for some down-home flamenco. Met several pilgrims there as well.
How can you resist??
Lillian
 

dawn.amanecer

New Member
We are all so passionate about our Caminos that it is so easy to pull in other pilgrims! I'm just going to let the darn Camino decide for me and see what happens. I have faith that wherever I end up, I was supposed to be there.
:D Kelly
 

Cecilia

New Member
Hi Kelly,
In less than a month 4/23, I'll be a pilgrim woman that will be we walking by herself on Via de la Plata from Sevilla. I would be a BIG lier :wink: , if I wouldn't admit to myself of being a bit aprehensive in these last few days. After reading various forums - English & Spanish, I haven't read of anyone who'll be on the Camino at the same time as myself. Plus, considering the long stages, my training has not been as good as I would have liked to.

However, I've been longing to do this Camino since I completing Camino Frances in 2005. From Camino Frances, I remember of others with great physical challenges than mine (I had injured my knee just prior to beginning that Camino). I remember in the first 2 weeks, not many people bothered to interact with my son or I -- aside from a "Buen Camino". And we're very social people! :D but most were busy with their own groups. But that worked out great, as it allows us space for inner reflection and contemplation before we engaged into days-long conversations with other pilgrims, of speaking to people working on the fields, and the old ladies in the small villages.

So next month, while very cautious about my safety, I know that I never walk alone. Papa Dios and all my angels walk with me every day. I'm looking forward to walk a Buen Camino under open skies. I know that your spirit will guide you to walk the Camino that is right for you.

Buen Camino,
Cecilia
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Amen to that Cecilia -

- I'm not Irish, but ...you most likely already know that the Irish are known for their blessings ... here are two for your Camino ... and for you all stepping out this year ...

May the long road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
The rains fall soft upon the fields and
Until we meet again
May the Good God hold you in the palm of His hand


&

May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow
May the soft winds freshen your spirit
May the sunshine brighten your heart
May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you
And may the Good God enfold you in the mantle of His love
 

madrid12

member
Hi Kelly
Although I did'nt see many pilgrims, it was Feb/March, I met lots of local people which I feel gives something back to the camino, using local shops, bars and restaurants. Everyone made me really welcome, from leaving some pegs on my bed so I could hang my socks to dry, sitting around a table with a heater underneath [ I forget what they are called] and to trying to teach me to crochet. But you go with whatever feels best for you at the time.
Buen Camino.
 

dawn.amanecer

New Member
I would like to thank all of you once again for your input. Cecilia, I wish that we were going around the same time. We could have begun together.
Buen Camino,
:D Kelly
 

vanjohn

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2008 StJPP - Santiago, 2009 Sevilla - Finisterra, 2010 StJPP - Santiago, 2011 Sant Pere De Rodes-Monserrat-Puente La Reina, The Future ....sure only God knows!
Hi
I am leaving Ireland on 24th of April and Want to start walking on the 27th. Like you I would like to meet somepeople who are going the same way. If anybody wants to get in contact I would be delighted to see if it could work out. I can provide details to allow you to see I am is bona fide.

John
 

MermaidLilli

Active Member
Before I left for the Via, I knew of a couple of others who were going as well around the same time. We made a decision to stay in touch via email, since it is available quite frequently, until we finally made connection and met. That was fun. I also bought a phone and that allowed us to make a direct connection for that eventual meeting. Also the book in the albergues where you can write is a way for people to make connection. One forum member found my messages and wrote in the email about how close we were walking. And we met as well.

All different ways to communicate.
Lillian
 

Cecilia

New Member
Thanks Br. David for the lovely Irish blessings. They brought me that energy that we pilgrims feel when on the Camino. It's like I'm already walking. :arrow:

Buen Camino,

Cecilia
 

Cecilia

New Member
dawn.amanecer said:
I would like to thank all of you once again for your input. Cecilia, I wish that we were going around the same time. We could have begun together.
Buen Camino,
:D Kelly

Hey Kelly- there're more Caminos. If not VdlP, maybe Camino Ingles or Camino del Norte. :D
Buen Camino,

Cecilia
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
Hi Kelly, just another thought for you to consider as I know that you are tossing up about the route from Le Puy. It is quite possible to walk that 9From le puy, I mean) and then walk (or train it) out to the coast and connect up with the Camino del Norte. There appears to be quite a few people planning that trip. Good luck with you decisions. regards, Janet
 

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