Tag Archives: Vía de la Plata

Days 6-8 on the Vía de la Plata


[Fuente de Cantos]

The approach to Fuente de Cantos, which is one of those towns you can see from so far away you become convinced you'll never actually arrive.

All’s going well since I last wrote. It’s actually looking like rain, here in Villafranco de los Barros (well, actually several kilometres outside in the La Almazara albergue).

Saturday and Sunday were somewhat cooler than earlier—more like really warm spring days, than serious summer (though I realize that real summer here is even hotter). Today was overcast, and it’s extremely windy.

I’m rather in the middle of nowhere, pilgrim-wise. I know of a few people who are definitely behind, and I assume a number of people I know are ahead, but so far there are no pilgrims here. That’s probably mainly because tomorrow’s walking stage is long anyway, and I’ve added to mine by staying here. Oh, well, I’ve done a few relatively short days. I’ll probably survive.

The pilgrim situations stays pretty much the same. I’ve met a few more French pilgrims, one more Dutchwoman, and a few more young pilgrims, and have heard of a Japanese man and another Canadian. There are a number of Spanish people on bicycles—some at least heading for Santiago—but I haven’t met any walking. The albergues at major stops tend to be full at night, but at the moment I don’t think walkers would have a huge problem with accommodation, since cyclists generally arrive quite late to fill up the albergues. Of course I’ve been avoiding the major stops for the last few days, so I’m not the best authority, but I have talked to a few people who are in a better position to know what’s going on.

More pilgrims seem to want to walk completely alone than on the Camino Francés, and some chose this route precisely for its supposed solitude, which isn’t much in evidence (although there are still a lot fewer pilgrims than I found on the Camino Francés even in October). Actually, I’ve had a fair bit of walking solitude pretty much by accident—I often seem to leave a bit later than everyone else, regularly get lost finding my morning arrows, and then walk slowly. So everyone else disappears up ahead.

There isn’t a lot of specifically pilgrim accommodation in this area, so I’ve been staying in albergues turísticos. These are kind of like paradores (beautiful old buildings turned into five-star hotels), only not quite five-star. They’re beautiful, but much less impressive buildings that have largely dorm accommodation. Anyone can stay in them, but pilgrims generally save about €5.

They’re a step up from pilgrim albergues, price-wise, but also in terms of what you get for your money. There’s soap in the bathrooms. There’s bedding on the bunk beds, so no rustling of sleeping bags. They generally give you a huge, fluffy towel —today’s came wrapped in plastic (well, they’re huge and fluffy compared to my minuscule sports towel). The last two used to be convents; the one I’m in now is a gorgeous building that used to house an oil press.

Day 6: Monesterio to Fuente de Cantos (22 km)

[Semana Santa rehearsal]

I was on a grocery run in Fuente de Cantos when I ran into a procession. Since Semana Santa hadn't started yet, and there wasn't a huge crowd, I assumed it was some sort of rehearsal.

Up until Monesterio, I’d mainly been seeing the same people each evening. We all started out on the same day, and had been walking the same stages because there weren’t a lot of options. In Monesterio, a bunch of us had dinner together to say goodbye. Netty from the Netherlands was heading home; Ip from Denmark was going to go farther the next day than the rest of us planned to walk; and his fiancée, Anni, was going ahead to Mérida to nurse her wounded feet and hope they’re capable of serious walking by the time Ip catches up to her.

(Practical note: if you’re travelling with a member of the opposite sex, a ring could come in handy in Monesterio, and having the same last name wouldn’t hurt. Apparently hotel receptionists are keen to avoid “immorality” in their hotels. One man and woman I know who were travelling together were only grudgingly permitted single beds in the same room.)

I’d left Andalusía for Extremadura on my fifth walking day, but the landscape didn’t really begin to change until the next day (see the photo at the top of this post). I’d been walking for a while with Hermione, an Englishwoman who’s actually walking from the Canary Islands to her home in England (via a ferry from Santander), when we found ourselves surrounded by rolling hills—like the English moors, Hermione said.

It was a beautiful, highway-less walking day. The somewhat cooler weather didn’t hurt, either.

I had a relaxing afternoon and evening in the albergue turístico (which is nice and has a free computer with very slow Internet), wandering around town and chatting with other pilgrims.

Day 7: Fuente de Cantos to Puebla de Sancho Pérez (21 km)

[Albergue in Puebla de Sancho Pérez]

The albergue turístico in an old monastery just outside Puebla de Sancho Pérez.

I actually passed through a town after an hour or more of walking. It was very exciting, because since the first day of walking, this was the first time I’d walked through a town, instead of stopping there for the night.

The terrain has become more what I expected on this route—partly flat, with rolling hills to keep things interesting, but no horrifically steep ascents or descents.

Most pilgrims went on to Zafra, a bigger town with more monuments and things, but I stopped just before, in Puebla de Sancho Pérez. The albergue there is about 10 minutes off the Camino, and very quiet. The hospitalero told me they mainly get German tourists, because their guidebook recommends the place.

I was sitting there writing in my journal when the hospitalero came up. I couldn’t understand everything he was saying, but he seemed to want to know if I wanted to see the Virgin.

I didn’t really understand, but I’m generally up for anything, so I followed him to what must have been the convent’s church. He led me up some stairs at the back—it felt very behind-the-scenes—to a little room where a family was looking to a statue of the Virgin Mary holding the Baby Jesus, already on a float for Semana Santa (the week before Easter, when Spanish churches parade their statues through the streets on floats). Through a big window behind us, people in the church could look up to see the statue.

[Semana Santa]

The beginning of the Semana Santa festivities. Unfortunately my camera batteries died so I couldn't photograph the whole thing.

Later, Sanna from the Netherlands and I had dinner in town, and watched the Semana Santa festivities at the main church. A bunch of people, including a lot of very excited children, led the way, wearing garments with an unfortunate resemblance to KKK uniforms, except the headgear is green. Then came the floats: one with Jesus accepting a grail-like cup from an angel, and then, after a marching band and a lot of fanfare, another Mary, this one very sad, with eyes that somehow glistened as if with tears.

Sanna and I couldn’t figure out how the floats were propelled until we peeked underneath and saw a whole crowd of people down there pushing.

Day 8: Puebla de Sancho Pérez to La Almazara (17 km)

[Los Santos de Maimonas]

Los Santos de Maimonas (I think), just after Zafra.

A short day, I know. I probably put in a few extra kilometres wandering around Zafra, though.

The way marking is still generally good, but there are fewer arrows, and they’re farther apart. In Zafra (for me at least, and do keep in mind that I have a talent for getting lost everywhere), they led me into a park, and then evaporated.

Luckily the park is in front of a tourist office, so I grabbed a map from that, compared it with my own bare-bones map, and figured out that I had to keep going straight. I dodged into the historic part of the city for fun, and navigated my way out of that.

I walked to Los Santos de Maimonas with Marcos, a young German guy who’s having some serious foot problems, since he was forced to buy new hiking boots a few days ago after his old ones fell apart. The tourist information guy in Los Santos was very helpful, mapping out a route through town for me that passed the post office and a supermarket.

I was also able to see the church. As I understand it, churches along this route are usually closed, but during Semana Santa there often seem to be people around readying floats, and they don’t seem to mind the occasional pilgrim wandering inside.

(Practical information for Los Santos de Maimona: there are washrooms in the same building as the tourist information centre, and a fuente on the square by the church—you can find both by following the yellow arrows. The arrows are another matter. They’re generally painted on the side of the curb, so look down by your feet, and you should be okay.)

The walking today was fine—lots of flowers, olive trees and grape vines. For my own aesthetic sensibilities, of course, I’d prefer stone fences to mesh and barbed wire, and no electric wires (they rather interfere with the view). If someone would move the highway and railroad, it would be even better.

What I really want is the medieval view without the medieval inconveniences (bandits, battles, horrific roads, manure piles, etc.). Unfortunately (or probably fortunately, when you get right down to it), the world doesn’t revolve around my desires.

And really, the walking is great just as it is.

* * *

If you’ve enjoyed this, you may want to read more of my Live from the Vía de la Plata posts.


Posted by Anna-Marie Krahn at 8:25 am
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Days 1-5 on the Via de la Plata


[Daisies and pilgrim]

Soon after Guillena, on Day 2.

Well, here I am in Monesterio, on the Internet thanks to today’s major Camino angel: the young guy behind the bar at my hotel (there’s no albergue here), who has let me use his laptop. Finding Internet is rather a challenge since Sevilla, and hasn’t exactly been a first priority.

So … I hardly know where to start. Let me give you an overview.

Weather: Beautiful early in the morning; very hot by late morning; horrifically hot by the afternoon (though quite nice in the shade, of which there is unfortunately not enough).

Terrain: Not nearly as bad as, say, the Chemin du Puy, but considerably hillier than my guidebook led me to believe. There have been a couple of hills that could compare with, say, the descent into and ascent out of Conques on the Chemin du Puy, or the climb to O Cebreiro on the Camino Francés.

Way Marking: Generally excellent. They’ve even put arrows quite frequently along long straight stretches, which is wonderful for paranoid people like me, who start to worry that we’ve missed a turn-off if we haven’t seen a yellow arrow in the last five minutes.

Pilgrims: So far I’ve met one Frenchwoman, one Austrian, two Danes, six Norwegians (but they were all together), one Dutchwoman, one woman from Australia, one Englishwoman (who’s actually heading for Santander), one Italian, and approximately five hundred Germans. Well, not quite. There are three of us under 40 (maybe even under 50). There are probably slightly more men than women. More than half are going all the way to Santiago this time.

Of course, I haven’t met a huge cross-section of pilgrims yet, since at the beginning most people do the same stages. So far the albergues have a number of people in them, but aren’t actually full.

Oak Trees Seen: Approximately five million.

Number of People Who Have Kindly Given Me Directions, Honked Horns in Encouragement, Etc.: A lot. Thank you all.

Languages Spoken: English and Spanish, of course, and French and a little bit of German. At one point I was translating from Spanish to English for a German guy, even though my Spanish isn’t wonderful, and he doesn’t speak very good English.

Blisters: Two—both on my hands, from the beautiful walking stick I picked up yesterday.

Blisters Narrowly Averted By Prompt Application of Anti-Blister Bandages: Two (I hope—one is still a little iffy).

Number of Times Stopped to Root Madly Through Pack to Make Sure Haven’t Left Something Behind: Too many to count.

Number of Items Actually Lost: One—a pen.

Number of Photos Taken: Lots.

Slowest Pilgrim Around: That would be me. Not only do I walk slowly, but I’m constantly stopping to apply sunscreen (I always forget to do this before leaving), dig through my pack, find anti-blister pads, take photos, etc. And then I seem to be among the last to leave, so by the time I reach my destination people who started 15 kilometres are passing me, faces red and determined. They never seem to want to stop and talk.

Day 1: Sevilla to Guillena (about 23 km)

[Camas]

I lost the arrows for the first time at this traffic circle in Camas. A man selling lottery tickets kindly sent me in the right direction, to the road on the left side of the church.

I stayed at Triana Backpackers, which is a beautiful place and has a pilgrim discount and provides pilgrim credentials. But because it’s not pilgrims-only there are people coming and going at all hours, which makes it rather noisy. I highly recommend earplugs.

I never did find that elusive first arrow by the cathedral (though I did, as I’m sure you’ll be thrilled to hear, find my hat).

I made my way from the cathedral to Triana, where I’d seen an arrow, and had only one problem following the arrows after that—and that was in a town, where I could easily ask for help.

There’s a lot of highway walking, and the route goes through the towns of Camas and Santiponce. After that, it veers off onto a country road with a few hills.

Then it’s straight, straight, straight along the shade-less road. And just when you think you’re about to arrive in town, the road veers off to the right. Never fear! You’re really almost there. There’s just that tricky stream to ford first.

It’s the second of two streams that need to be crossed—I managed the first easily enough with the help of a stick I grabbed off the ground (I hadn’t yet found my wonderful walking stick). The second was trickier to get down to, but an Englishwoman braved the very steep bank, and directed the rest of us to a gap between a fence and a wall of cacti, from where we could slide down the bank and cross without too many problems.

The new municipal albergue is quite nice, with a full kitchen (reasonably well-equipped) and a wonderful hospitalera.

Day 2: Guillena to Castilblanco de los Arroyos (18 km)

[Pump]

The pump in the middle of nowhere.

Apparently you’re supposed to ford the river on the way out of town. I followed the arrows instead, and ended up with a not-great but tolerable highway walk, until I could turn off onto a much more rural road, when the walking got much nicer.

The scenery here isn’t postcard-pretty, and it’s certainly not what you expect from a walk in rural Europe, but the scrubby trees and hills have been growing on me, and the flowers provide welcome bits of colour.

I was told there’s no water on this stage, but there actually was some halfway through (but I wouldn’t count on it not being dry). I couldn’t resist following a sign that said “Water” in several languages, and found a pump in a field surrounded by flowers. Of course I dumped out some of my water and refilled it, just because pump water is so much more exciting than tap water.

The problem with having no towns along each day’s walk (as it’s been for the last few days) is that it’s hard to tell how far you’ve walked. I never know if I have five kilometres to go, or 15.

In this case, you cross a road about four kilometres before town. I found some pilgrims sitting in the shade there, and we walked in together.

I’d heard the albergue might not be great. I found it to be quite basic (and lacking in plates, cutlery, etc) but perfectly fine. Marcos, a young German guy, and I even managed to cook dinner, while he gave me German lessons and I helped him out with his Spanish.

Day 3: Castilblanco de los Arroyos to Almadén de la Plata (30-ish km)

[Descending]

The descent into Almadén de la Plata.

Yes, that’s right. Thirty kilometres. And I lived to tell the tale.

The first 16-ish are along a never-ending highway.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s an extremely nice highway, as highways go, through the countryside with about two vehicles per hour. The problem is that it doesn’t end. The arrows go on and on and on until you think surely you’ve done the whole 30 kilometres. But it just keeps going.

For anyone who’s planning to do this route, here’s information I wish I had. There are kilometre signs along the way, counting down to who-knows-where. The first I noticed was at kilometre 15. The entrance to the park, where you turn off the highway, is at kilometre four. Maybe this won’t help you, but I find it helps to know exactly when something is going to end.

The park is some kind of nature park—but it’s not nature as we understand it in North America. The trees are very cultivated. It’s nice, though, in that scrubby sort of way. The problem being that it is currently ridiculously hot and 30 kilometres is a long way for us lesser mortals, and this section stretches on and on and on as well.

I used chocolate to keep myself going.

Eventually there is a hill, by the shell of a house, and the scenery changes a bit. Then you come to a place where I narrowly avoided getting lost (and my Danish friends did get lost)—you have to go through a gate, and walk through a herd of cows.

Then there’s that hill, the worst one I’ve encountered so far. It is extremely steep, and littered with small stones. I’d met up with the Danes, who were no longer lost, by this point, and we puffed up the hill, too exhausted to really enjoy the lookout point at the top. Luckily I’d dug through a pile of chopped-down trees a few hours ago and found my stick. I was definitely happy to have it for that hill.

There was one sight we did really enjoy: Almadén de la Plata, where we would spend the night, which was just down an equally steep descent.

The albergue there was basic but fine. It was just nice to stop walking, really.

If you’re looking for a bar, I’d really recommend La Espuela. There was a Menú del Día for eight euros, and the owner’s constant refrain was, “If the pilgrims are happy, I am happy!” The food was great (as a vegetarian in Spain I am a connoisseur of tortillas con patatas—potato omelettes—and this one was quite good). The owner also brought us tapas and a sweet alcoholic drink of some sort for free.

Day 4: Almadén de la Plata to El Real de la Jara (14-16 km)

[Pigs]

Pigs, right on the Vía de la Plata route.

This was my favourite walking day so far—partly because of the distance, of course. I took the hilly route instead of the highway route, and kept going through the nature park, which was beautiful. The pig farms, with the black pigs of the region rooting around right on the route, provided slightly surreal entertainment. And there was no real highway walking at all.

I was going to stay at the municipal albergue at the entrance to town, but it turned out everyone I knew was at the private one farther into town, so I went there, too. It was a little odd—there was no real separation between pilgrim quarters and the family house, and there was no kitchen at all.

I climbed up to the castle, but it’s been rebuilt, so lacks the atmosphere or proper ruins.

Day 5: El Real de la Jara to Monesterio (22 km)

[Castle]

Just outside El Real de la Jara: proper castle ruins. Note the stepping stones for crossing the water, the pilgrim information plaque, and, beside it, the cube that marks the old Roman road.

The first half of the walk is beautiful, along an almost traffic-free country lane. The hermitage where San Isidoro’s remains rested on their way north was a real disappointment, though—covered in graffiti and surrounded by highway.

After that, there’s intermittent highway walking, before the arrows lead onto a side road. Then there’s a hill, which isn’t horribly steep but just never seems to end. The good news is that when you reach the top, you’re almost in Monesterio.

There’s no albergue here. I bumped into some German pilgrims I’d never met before and we found the Hostal Extremadura. It was full, but there’s a place nearby that’s associated with the Bar Extremadura that has rooms.

So Edith from Germany and I are sharing a hotel room. It has an en suite with a proper shower! And towels! And real blankets! Pure luxury, and all for 15 euros.

And That’s It

Anyway, I should probably give Wonderful Bar Guy back his computer. He keeps telling me it’s okay to use it, but I’ve been here for quite a while. This probably isn’t as edited as usual—sorry, but I don’t have my proofreader here and am feeling weirdly shaky from the heat or the coffee or something.

If you have any questions about this stage, please feel free to ask, either in the comments or through my contact page. I’ll try to answer the next time I find Internet access.

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If you’ve enjoyed this, you may want to read more of my Live from the Vía de la Plata posts.


Posted by Anna-Marie Krahn at 8:59 am
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Summer in Sevilla


[Sevilla cathedral]

The cathedral, with the Giralda tower (originally part of the mosque that once stood on the cathedral site, but added to by Christians) on the far right side.

I’m finally in Spain!

I got seriously spoiled on the way here—I was picked up and dropped off at airports and taken to see interesting things, and of course got to have a great time seeing friends around Toronto and near London. Lots of thanks to Kelsey, Sarah, Kenneth and Bob (and of course to Analisa here in Spain). It was great to see you.

It’s summer here in Sevilla, or might as well be. Of course, having visited Granada in August, I realize this isn’t what it’s actually like here in summer, but it’s respectable summer weather for a lot of the rest of the world. According to a sign I saw, it was 26 degrees Celsius. Not quite, I have to admit, the walking weather I was expecting.

I got off to an excellent start yesterday evening after I arrived, getting lost twice on my way to my albergue. This obviously bodes well for the next 1000 kilometres.

[Santiago]

Santiago, on the cathedral.

Really, I can’t even find the first yellow arrow that’s supposed to guide me from the cathedral, although I’m quite proud of myself for locating the figure of Santiago on the outside of the cathedral, a task that took approximately forever. I knew the statue was on the west side of the cathedral, so I looked on my map, and figured out which side that should be. Then I paced up and down in front of that (rather long) side, but there was no Santiago Peregrino to be seen.

That was around lunchtime. I went back in the evening, and finally realized my map must not be oriented traditionally, with south at the top. The sun, which was pretty near the horizon by that point, was, of course, a better indicator. Once I’d finally realized that, I found Santiago in a group with 23 other religious figures above a major entrance, looking very prayerful and serious.

To celebrate, I got some lemon ice cream, quite possibly the best ice cream ever, which I haven’t had since I visited Granada nine years ago. Then I tried to find the yellow arrow that is supposedly on a street light across from the Santiago the statue.

All I could see were stickers with yellow arrows that look like lightning bolts, which can be found on just about every lamppost on the street. I suspect they have more to do with the power lines on the top of the lampposts than they do with the Vía de la Plata. I hope I’m wrong. It would be seriously embarrassing to get lost in the first two minutes.

Luckily, I have seen my one and only yellow arrow so far a little farther along the route, so if all else fails I’ll cross the Puente de Isabel II into Triana (where I’m actually staying) and take it from there.

I’ve seen several pilgrims, but I have yet to meet any.

“Are there any other people here walking the Camino?” I asked the receptionist last night as she showed me around my albergue.

“The pilgrims are all in your room,” she said. “We put you together so you can talk to each other.”

Which sounds nice, but this was after 11 p.m., so all the good pilgrims were asleep. I saw one this morning in the erratic light from a flashlight, but others were still asleep and we all left the room at different times, so there was no chance to talk.

[Juderia]

A sign in the Barrio de Santa Cruz, reminding visitors that it was Sevilla's Jewish Quarter before the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492.

I saw a few other pilgrim-looking people around town (the backpacks with the scallop shells tend to give them away) but since I was more of a tourist-looking person at the time none of them so much as glanced twice at me.

Later I thought I was talking with another pilgrim. Since he came into my dorm room and threw himself on a bed I figured he must be a pilgrim.

He was a young guy from Brazil, he told me in rapid-fire Spanish I sort of understood. He kept going on about “amor” and “passión”—from what I gathered he was in love with someone in Portugal.

But when I asked him, in my bare-bones Spanish, if he was a pilgrim, he didn’t know what I was talking about.

A little later, he started to laugh long and loudly over nothing I could see. So it’s probably just as well he’s not a pilgrim.

[Alcazar staircase]

A staircase in the Alcazar palace.

Even apart from pilgrim-watching and Santiago-locating, I’ve had a busy day. Since the Roman ruins at Italica will be closed tomorrow, I took the bus out to see them (they were old).

And I wandered around the Barrio de Santa Cruz, which used to be the Jewish Quarter (it was quaint and crowded), had lunch with Analisa (she was a lot of fun to get lost with) visited the cathedral (it was enormous, and enormously full of tourists), climbed the Giralda (it was tall), and stopped by the Alcázar (it was beautiful).

Then I became convinced I had lost my sweater, and despite the sweaty weather, panicked. I figure it’s not a real trip if you don’t have something to panic about.

As it turns out, the sweater is here, and I am here and very ready to start walking.

Only 21 kilometres tomorrow—practically nothing. After all, I’ve done the occasional ten-kilometre walk. And it’s not like the sun is going to be beating down on me like some fiery furnace or anything like that.

Speaking of which, it’s panic time again. I haven’t seen my hat since I left home.

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If you’ve enjoyed this, you may want to read more of my Live from the Vía de la Plata posts.


Posted by Anna-Marie Krahn at 1:59 pm
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I’m Off Then (to Toronto, England and … oh yeah … Sevilla)


[Walking stick]

After I decided to walk the Vía de la Plata back in January, I spent some time on the Internet reading about cities along the route and dreaming.

Most of the websites I found were aimed at tourists, and included sections like Getting There and Away. The first time I saw those words, my instinctive response was confusion.

Obviously, you get there on foot and leave walking.

A split second later my brain kicked in and reminded me that most travellers take planes, trains and buses.

I’ve been one of those travellers. I backpacked around Europe, volunteered in Thailand, worked in England and travelled in Mexico, Southeast Asia, and a bit of China. And then I walked the Camino from Le Puy to Santiago, and decided walking was by far my favourite way to travel.

So I’m off again in two days. I’ll be doing some non-walking travel for the first week: flying to Toronto to visit friends, then to England to see another friend … and finally to Sevilla, where I’ll start walking the Vía de la Plata.

I’ve spent the last few months accumulating information and other things I’ll need for the trip, walking around the neighbourhood with my backpack, and buying a variety of airplane tickets. And I still can’t believe I’m really going.

It seems too good to be true.

* * *

As far as this blog goes, I have at least one post ready for you next week.

After that, I’ll try to keep you posted intermittently (I’m aiming for at least once a week) about my Vía de la Plata walk.

If you want to follow along, you could sign up to receive posts by feed reader or e-mail (just use the box on the right side of this post; Google and I both promise not to use your information for nefarious purposes), or “like” the Pilgrim Roads Facebook page to receive updates in your Facebook feed.

Or of course you could just check back here occasionally.


Posted by Anna-Marie Krahn at 2:50 pm
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Vía de la Plata Albergues Quick Guide


Note: I updated this on June 22, 2011, after my own Vía de la Plata walk.

When I walked the Camino Francés, I got a list of albergues at the pilgrim office in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. It included basic information on the albergue facilities, and amenities in the town.

I had a guidebook as well, of course, but it was nice to have something to glance at quickly to figure out where I might stay that evening.

I couldn’t find anything like that on the Vía de la Plata, so I created one myself … and thought I would share it with you.

It’s based on information from Mundicamino, the Eroski Consumer site, the Camino Guide, and my own experiences. I also got some distances from the Godesalco Camino Planner. When two sites contradicted each other (and another didn’t weigh in), I put in a question mark, two numbers with a slash in between, or in the case of distance, a range.

It’s four pages, and includes the Vía de la Plata from Sevilla to Astorga, and the Camino Sanabrés from Graja de Moruela (soon after Zamora) to Santiago de Compostela.

Disclaimer

I’m sure this is nowhere near one hundred percent accurate, and it really shouldn’t be used without a guidebook—it doesn’t give any route instructions. Also, some of the albergueslisted may be closed—at least for part of the year.

I’d appreciate any updates you want to send me, but since I’m now back from the Vía de la Plata, it’s unlikely to stay completely up-to-date.

A Few Explanations

I suspect that often when there’s a question mark under “Heating,” the albergue in question has a very basic form of heating.

Under “Price,” “WB” means with breakfast and “HB” means half-board, (bed, breakfast and dinner).

“Hours” sometimes seems to represent the hours you can check in, and sometimes just the times when the albergue is open. I’m not sure of the difference myself.

“Reservations” means that reservations are accepted. It often means the accommodation isn’t solely for pilgrims.

Places with a restaurant or bar might not offer evening meals (since not all bars serve meals).

Stores may only have very sporadic opening hours—some are only available a few days a week—and bakeries may be located in grocery stores.

Internet isn’t widely available in albergues, but it’s often provided in libraries or other public buildings for very specific hours.

The Downloads (PDFs)

Vía de la Plata Albergues Quick Guide – Letter size

Vía de la Plata Albergues Quick Guide – A4 size


Posted by Anna-Marie Krahn at 1:19 pm
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This Week in Pilgrimage: The Final (For Now) Edition


[Eau potable on the Chemin du Puy]

Photo of the Week
This looks rather spring-y, but I actually took it in late summer, in Rochegude on the Chemin du Puy.

-it’s april(yes,april;my darling)it’s spring!
—e. e. cummings

Okay, so it’s not April. And it’s not actually spring here, either. The only leaves on the trees are dead ones from last year and there’s no sign of the season’s other harbingers: road construction crews and robins.

But it’s coming. It felt positively warm on Wednesday, without even a hint of winter chill.

Apparently if I hit just the right pace, I can keep up with spring all the way from Sevilla to Santiago. Though since I have no intention of walking thirty kilometres per day (just over twenty is more my style), summer is likely to just barely beat me to Galicia.

As of next week I’m going to be scaling down to two posts per week, with no weekly summary. I just don’t have time: I have approximately one million (give or take a few hundred thousand) things to do before I leave in less than a month (!).

But I will still post interesting links to the Pilgrim Roads Facebook page and will try to do more on Twitter, so please do join me there.

The usual disclaimer: I’ve done the best I can to ensure accuracy, but a lot of this information comes from Spanish sites and my Spanish is a long way from perfect.

  • The Roman Vía de la Plata is going to be unburied and restored where it passes through Aldeanueva del Camino in the province of Cáceres. Once the project begins, it’ll take about fourteen months to finish.
  • The first guidebook to the Camino de Inviero was recently published. Apparently there’s a serious lack of signage and albergues on the route. .
  • Representatives of seven municipalities in the province of Málaga recently visited Galicia. They hope to import some of the Camino Francés infrastructure to their branch of the Camino Mozárabe.
  • An old pilgrim hospital (lodging house) in Undués de Lerda on the Camino Aragonés is going to be restored and converted into an albergue and museum.
  • The board of directors of Abraham’s Path/Masar Ibrahim al Khalil is currently walking the entire Palestinian section of the route. You can follow along (they have tons of wonderful photos) on their blog and/or Facebook.
  • The Camino Documentary is holding a benefit in San Francisco on March 14, and is looking for pilgrims in that area to help out.
  • Robert Ward (author of All the Good Pilgrims) has started blogging about his reconnaissance trip along the Via Francigena. He wasn’t actually walking—he hopes to do that later this year—but he has some great stories. You can also keep track of what he’s up to on his brand new Facebook page.
  • The Confraternity of Pilgrims to Jerusalem, which meets on Facebook, has been busy lately. If you’re thinking about a walking trip to Jerusalem, it’s a great place to learn more about the trip.
  • Five municipalities in Castilla y León are asking for a million euros to improve the Camino in their area in a number of ways in order to attract more tourists. .
  • Two Spanish journalists recently walked the Camino Francés with a donkey. The story is in Spanish, but you can get the gist of it through an on-line translator. There’s even a blog, written from the donkey’s perspective.

Ultreïa, everyone, and I hope you all have wonderful weekends!


Posted by Anna-Marie Krahn at 4:37 pm
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Comments Off on This Week in Pilgrimage: The Final (For Now) Edition