1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Live: Greetings From A Bicigrino On The Vdlp

Discussion in 'Camino Via de la Plata - The Silver Route' started by Wily, Apr 18, 2019.

  1. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2016
    Messages:
    2,032
    Likes Received:
    4,213
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    Hey All - Just finished Day 1 of my bike Camino on the VDLP. First, flew Vueling from CDG to Sevilla. Quite impressed! An excellent flight! Sevilla is crazy as it is Semana Santa. Would like to spend more time there, but at a quieter time of year! Spent the night at Triana Backpackers. A hostel that I’d gladly stay in again. They had my rental bike ready to go!

    Began riding just after daylight. A light rain stayed with me for the first couple hours. Great signage! Yellow arrows everywhere! Easy to find my way out of Sevilla. My plan is to ride three stages a day (más o menos). By late afternoon, I ended my day in Almadén de la Plata or 42 miles/70 klm from my starting point. A thunder storm, with lightening, encouraged me to stop a bit short of my intended destination of El Real de la Jara. Will pass through there tomorrow morning and stop for coffee.

    Due to the rain, hit some tough mud today. Wheels, gears, everything, including me, encased in mud. Numerous stops to try to clear out this mess so as to just keep riding. Luckily, I found a gas station with a high powered hose to clean up the bike. Still, great fun! My first impression: doing a Camino by bike is no walk in the park! I may very well be the most tired peregrino in the albergue tonight.My plan to arrive in Santiago eleven days from now will be a challenge. Tomorrow begins with a 33 km uphill stretch on trails before heading down to Zafra. Actually, after a good hot shower this afternoon, I’m already looking forward to tomorrow’s ride. Maybe, less mud!

    Looking forward to a very hearty meal tonight. But, in the mean time, I’m enjoying some local wine with a delicious bowl of snails (just 75 cents US) at a very local cafe/bar. A delicious plate of conejo was for dinner! Life is Good and Tasty,

    Buen Camino Amigos!

    0FD761A2-8FF3-4A6E-9535-1893CCC63455.jpeg FD3DC6AF-3E5E-4724-93EE-C500D3874A06.jpeg DEEA9336-0BD6-4C69-97CE-0B6C8B876054.jpeg
     
  2. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Collect moments, not things

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2017
    Messages:
    418
    Likes Received:
    1,059
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Arizona
    Wily.....great to hear from you! Many of us were waiting to hear about that first day. Ahhhhh...you hooked me on the challenge when you said this is "NO WALK IN THE PARK". You are doing GREAT! Ummm...after a muddy day of riding, I'm sorry...don't think I could end it with a slimy bowl of snails. Haaa! I know, it was just a snack. Did your bike rental come with the luggage bags too, or did you bring those? Excited to hear more Bicigrino!! :D
     
    Ginamarie, UnkleHammy and Wily like this.
  3. Ginamarie

    Ginamarie Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2016
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    155
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    WOW Wily! That sounds tough slugging through all that mud. It will be fun following you on this journey, Thanks for keeping us 'posted'!
    Be safe.
     
    Wily, UnkleHammy and hindsfeet like this.
  4. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2016
    Messages:
    2,032
    Likes Received:
    4,213
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    Hey Hindsy - First Happy Easter! Semana Santa is certainly a special week here in Spain!

    My rental did come with bags and tools! Over four days in rain and mud, it has performed perfectly! Very, very pleased with what Triana Backpackers equipped me with. However, as it is really very early in the biking season for me, my rear end still needs some conditioning. Just a bit on the sore side. Always glad t get off the bike at the end of the day! Buen Camino!
     
  5. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2016
    Messages:
    2,032
    Likes Received:
    4,213
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    Hey All -
    Day 2 - probably the toughest day I have spent on a Camino! Made my goal of the 75 kilometers or Stages 4, 5, and 6 of the VDLP. Out of Almadén, the first 33 km were up-hill including sections on rocky trails where I had to push the bike. This bike happens to be quite heavy even for a mountain bike. Plus, with two loaded panniers on the back wheel carrying my gear it makes for a heavy load particularly when you’re pushing it up a goat trail. Nonetheless, by the time I arrived at the end of the stage in Monestario, I was more than ready for a giant bocadillo de jamon iberico. The trail got much friendlier after crossing the mountain, but late afternoon thunderstorms slowed me down a bit. At one point, my only recourse was to take refuge under a large oak, probably shouldn’t do that during a thunder storm, but there were no other options out in
    the wide open spaces. I was able to sit out a second downpour in a lovely cafe/bar with a nice cold beer just a short ride to my destination of Zafre. Completely beat when I arrived at the albergue after 10 hours in the saddle! Still, I had a voracious appetite and enjoyed some delicious bacalao al ajillo. Although I’ve only met a couple pilgrims biking the Camino, there were at least seven other bikes at the albergue.

    Day 3 - oh, what a difference a day makes! Traveled today from Zafra to Merida or an easy 60 km. Most of the terrain was flat, but it did seems to have a slight uphill grade which required constant peddling (no coasting today). Another rainy morning and more mud! Even after the rain stopped mid-day, one still had to contend with the soft trail conditions (good for walkers, but tougher on a bike). The last 8 km or so into Merida were on a path through a muddy farmer’s field. From Torremejia to Merida (Stage 9) both hikers and cyclists were on either a highway or a muddy field. Not a great stage for any of us! Found a car wash to power off the mud from both the bike and me!

    Impression of the day: there are some very long stretches of the VDLP with no services. For example, from Villafranca to Torremejia (27 km) it’s a long, rather lonely, straight shot along the Roman Road. Even on a bike, it seemed to go on forever. This is undoubtedly a tough stage for walkers. Flat terrain, but absolutely nothing between the two end points.

    Merida seems to be a great city. Sunday is Easter, so it’s pretty lively tonight (plus we’ve finally gotten some good weather). Staying at the municipal albergue (20 beds) which is quite nice. Even on the long stretch of Camino I mentioned above, I only passed 12 hikers. Getting a bed without reservations has been no problem so far. On to Caceres next for Easter! Buen Camino Peregrinos!

    442D6444-181C-42E0-9220-BD4A7085D937.jpeg 449B0081-51A8-442A-B148-176C0A0ED75A.jpeg 82EBADF6-09FE-43D9-B98F-48D736B0146A.jpeg FB65769B-09FB-4E3C-A19E-C8B809CEB380.jpeg A6BDFE60-8DD4-4468-8878-0F23265C9EE0.jpeg
     
  6. Ginamarie

    Ginamarie Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2016
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    155
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Hope you are spending a lovely Easter in Careers. Merida has a lot of Roman ruins; an old bath house and a 'circus'arena where they did who-knows-what. Did you see any of that on the Roman road? I hope the rain is over, you've probably had enough of that. Pushing a bike with all that weight up a rocky hill!! You are the MAN! Keep up the good work.
     
    Wily, Amy Brooks and UnkleHammy like this.
  7. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Collect moments, not things

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2017
    Messages:
    418
    Likes Received:
    1,059
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Arizona
    Happy Easter! Well, I wanted to understand a bit more of Semana Santa. Did some research...wow, you are right in the middle of a lot of tradition, it sounds like a stunning experience!
    I will remember Triana Backpackers for sure, sounds like an amazing way to plan a bike Camino.
    Thanks for keeping us posted! Buen Camino!
     
    Wily, Amy Brooks and UnkleHammy like this.
  8. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Collect moments, not things

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2017
    Messages:
    418
    Likes Received:
    1,059
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Arizona
    Wily, you ARE getting a workout! I was getting really hungry reading about it!!! Is it what you expected? Oh yeah, we don't EXPECT anything on the Camino....it just comes to us hour by hour!!
    Wishing you the very best! Buen Camino! :D
     
  9. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2016
    Messages:
    2,032
    Likes Received:
    4,213
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    Hey Hindsy - Yes, getting quite the workout! Really, more than I expected. I’ve now been on the road for seven days and have traveled 464 km. Although I’m on schedule, I didn’t plan for the weather to turn as bad as it has. Five days of rain out of the seven with temperatures often in the 40s. One more day of this and then it gets better! My typical day has been 8-9 hours in the saddle over very mixed terrains. No complaints about the trail; just the weather for cycling. Judging by the monitor I wear when exercising, my biggest calorie burn one day was over 8k. Typically, I go through 5k calories most days. So, yes, it’s quite a workout. Actually, at this point, my legs have acclimated to riding! It’s a bit tough to keep up with the younger riders out here, but that would take a pair of 25 year old lungs! In any case, great fun, a huge challenge, and the people, as usual, are wonderful! Buen Camino peregrina!
     
    Amy Brooks, UnkleHammy and hindsfeet like this.
  10. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2016
    Messages:
    2,032
    Likes Received:
    4,213
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    Hey All - Greeting from the VDLP. Day seven is complete and I’ve reached Salamanca. 19 stages completed; 17 to go. It may be tough to get them all done in the next five days, but I’m going to give it my best try. Probably overestimated what I could do in 12 days. 14 would have been better. As much as I’d like to arrive in Santiago, I’m going to be very satisfied with however far I make it. It’s all about the journey, not the arrival.

    Although I haven’t spent much time at any one place, the trail has been excellent and the towns and cities where I have stayed interesting and well worth revisiting. Loved the Roman ruins in Merida, the medieval city of Cáceres, and now the university center of Salamanca. As elsewhere, of course, great cathedrals, fabulous architecture, and a sense of history that begs one to learn more.

    From a Camino perspective, the trails have been well signposted. Let me mention how pleased with the Windy Maps App that I am. It’s not perfect, but I have very much appreciated the GPS feature which lets me know exactly where I am on the trail. I have made a wrong turn or three, and with this App, I’ve easily gotten back on track. As someof the stages are very long, knowing how you’re progressing has been helpful. As it’s free, it’s well worth having downloaded on your phone.

    I’m in a small hotel here in Salamanca overlooking the Plaza Mayor. Perfect timing since all my clothes are damp from the rain and I have them spread out all over the room. For €25, it’s a well earned splurge! As for the albergues, they’ve been great! I’m very impressed by the quality and conditions of every place I’ve stayed. My fellow peregrinos have been both wonderfully charming and considerate. Few seem to be racing out at 5 am waking everyone else up. Had my first pilgrim’s dinner at an albergue last night in La Calzada de Béjar. The downside of cycling is that I don’t make a Camino family as I only see these folks one time. But, I do try to enjoy their company to the max when I have it.

    Let me make just one more observation tonight and then close. For anyone looking for a Camino that is not crowded, this would be a good one to consider. I have only met one “first time” pilgrim this past week. The folks traveling this path have any number of other Caminos under their belt. But, to the person, people are here because it’s not crazy busy! One can really walk alone! But, at the end of the day, the albergues have a good number of hikers in them for the camaraderie we all enjoy. Buen Camino Amigos!

    2A7B0288-42AC-4EBE-B40C-A7C5EA5D9E50.jpeg B9C06DD5-160D-425A-8EEC-5264054A560E.jpeg 8D7045AA-6197-4057-B471-BAD5DC7D3D14.jpeg 3EBCC27A-2BAF-450A-A588-A5020D48EF70.jpeg 58C53A3B-4BEF-4792-B03D-BA2CB3FD3227.jpeg BC9DF05B-0A99-46AE-887D-AAC41D5FD9AF.jpeg F7D1978E-6203-4BEB-8917-AE3FC49870C4.jpeg
     
  11. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Collect moments, not things

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2017
    Messages:
    418
    Likes Received:
    1,059
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Arizona
    Whoa!!!! I'm sorry Wily, just thinking about all the great food I could consume while burning those kind of calories! Ha..........I know, it's not all about the food. :D I wish for you beautiful sunny days ahead. You are covering a lot of ground, I bet you are really feeling stronger. Did you find a place to get a great leg and back massage? Sounds like that would be a treat!! Buen Camino!
     
  12. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2015
    Messages:
    460
    Likes Received:
    1,153
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Dublin
    Hi Wily

    Great reading about your latest adventure. Looks like you've been a bit unlucky with the weather. We spent a week driving from Pamplona to Santiago in the first week of April and the weather wasn't great either but it was lovely to visit without the effort, gave us a taste for the Camino again and we are hoping to walk from Porto this September/October.

    Buen Camino and be safe.

    Greg
     
    Wily, Amy Brooks, hindsfeet and 3 others like this.
  13. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2015
    Messages:
    832
    Likes Received:
    1,189
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Fresno, California
    @Wily sorry to hear about your rain and cold traveling while I am here in Fresno being forced to live in 94 degree weather with no rain. And I am forced to use my nice air conditioning system which is being completly run by my solar array.
     
    Wily and Ginamarie like this.
  14. Amy Brooks

    Amy Brooks Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2018
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    143
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Forest Grove, Oregon
    Wily

    So great to follow along on your adventure. Love the pictures - a stork's nest - wow! And the ruins look amazing and as you say - motivation to learn more about this area and this Camino.

    You have mentioned that this is the less traveled path - has it been easy to find and get a spot in the albuergues? Have you crossed paths with other bikers? How has the pannier set up worked for you - given the rain?

    Wishing you continued good and safe travels.

    Buen camino
    Amy

    PS - 9 days til I fly to Porto.
     
  15. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2016
    Messages:
    2,032
    Likes Received:
    4,213
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    Hola Amigos - Just a brief note as I’m heading out to find dinner.

    As I was resting at the top of a long climb today, a farmer passed by and reminded me how to get to Santiago: poco a poco. Oh, how true those words are. Arrived in Galicia this morning - poco a poco! Life is certainly good! Buen Camino!

    AFA36665-5D07-4BD9-8F9A-7B5AB15FAFB0.jpeg
     
  16. Ginamarie

    Ginamarie Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2016
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    155
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Nine days-how exciting!! Your first time on CP? Let us know how it goes. Enjoy every day.
     
  17. Amy Brooks

    Amy Brooks Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2018
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    143
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Forest Grove, Oregon
    Ginamarie

    Thank you so much - yes my first Camino... I am very excited. I am in the pack/repack/repack again phase. :)

    I will definitely stay in touch.

    Buen Camino
    Amy
     
    hindsfeet, Ginamarie and UnkleHammy like this.
  18. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2015
    Messages:
    832
    Likes Received:
    1,189
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Fresno, California
    I had to repack the morning I flew out.
     
    hindsfeet, Amy Brooks and Ginamarie like this.
  19. Amy Brooks

    Amy Brooks Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2018
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    143
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Forest Grove, Oregon
    Too funny... I will likely be the same... my bedroom looks like a messy version of a NASA excursion to space.
     
    hindsfeet, UnkleHammy and Ginamarie like this.
  20. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2016
    Messages:
    2,032
    Likes Received:
    4,213
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    Je suis arrivé!

    C7BB6C58-4809-4849-9908-C5BAE6DACD13.jpeg
    Monday morning arrival into Santiago! A short 35 km today! It was great to return the bike, settle into The Last Stamp Albergue, and walk around Santiago. Only about a half hour wait at the Pilgrim’s Office. Santiago is busy! Lots of pilgrims and tourists. The cafes are full, wine seems to be flowing generously, and the weather is beautiful. A very different type Camino by bike. I’ll share some of my overall impressions as I put them together over the next few days. Off to Barcelona in the morning and then home the next day. And as you can see, the scaffolding is gone from the front of the cathedral. It’s quite beautiful! Buen Camino!
     
  21. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2016
    Messages:
    2,032
    Likes Received:
    4,213
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    Hi Amy - The albergue system has been excellent. As I didn’t arrive til late in the afternoon, usually between 4-5, I was a bit nervous in the beginning about whether or not I’d have any difficulty finding a bed. As the VDLP is lightly traveled, at least right now, I easily found a bed in every albergue that I stopped at. Many were relatively small, but none were full. A real mix of albergues, but most of them were quite delightful with wonderful pilgrims. Typically, eight to fifteen hikers were at the albergues where I stayed. I also enjoyed chatting with many along The Way. I was worried starting out sharing the path with the hikers. Not an issue at all! I brought along a bell for my bike that seemed greatly appreciated by those I approached. Compared to the CF, hiking or biking, one is alone most of the time. There is no competition for space or beds.

    I wish you a great Camino in Portugal. Enjoy! Bom Caminho!
     
  22. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Collect moments, not things

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2017
    Messages:
    418
    Likes Received:
    1,059
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Arizona
    CONGRATULATIONS WILY......I bet it felt wonderful coasting into Santiago. Can hardly wait to hear the details. Enjoy Santiago once again! Safe travels home my friend.
     
    Wily and UnkleHammy like this.
  23. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2016
    Messages:
    2,032
    Likes Received:
    4,213
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    Hi Hindsy - Once again, it felt great to arrive in Santiago. The front of the cathedral is now just magnificent. Here’s a couple pics.

    9BF92CC3-6168-4EF3-A0E4-EFEC942E5ECA.jpeg 38404796-78BF-4453-A946-23EF15DFECF6.jpeg 1AA0467D-81E3-4E31-B993-A7BE2727DB60.jpeg C5938C7B-E183-423C-99F3-E327834D3D10.jpeg

    Work has now begun on the interior. The scaffolding will undoubtedly be there for awhile. But, if the exterior is an example of how it will look when finished, we all have something to look forward to in a few years.

    On a totally different topic, you know I love good Spanish food as much as anyone. I have to say that Barcelona has completely overwhelmed me! If I had to pick one destination for the “foodie”, it might very well here, particularly in the older quarters of the city. For my waistline, it’s good I’m only spending 24 hours here. Buen Camino Peregrina!
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019
  24. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Collect moments, not things

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2017
    Messages:
    418
    Likes Received:
    1,059
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Arizona
    Wily, looking forward to seeing the Cathedral again! Wow...no pics from Barcelona (you know what I mean) Ha...........yum
     
    Wily likes this.
  25. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2016
    Messages:
    2,032
    Likes Received:
    4,213
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    Ok Hindsy - Lunch in Barcelona! Buen Provecho!

    38E70E5C-A371-4D74-96AF-4192F9E0516F.jpeg 1A17DE2E-4BE4-46E2-9808-5DE7D489FD2E.jpeg
     
    Amy Brooks and hindsfeet like this.
  26. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Collect moments, not things

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2017
    Messages:
    418
    Likes Received:
    1,059
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Arizona
    Amy Brooks and Wily like this.
  27. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2016
    Messages:
    2,032
    Likes Received:
    4,213
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    Some Observations On Cycling the VDLP
    1. Like any other Camino that I’ve been on, the VDLP was both challenging and enjoyable. It’s a long trek with a lot of variety from south to north.
    2. I followed the VDLP up to Granja. At that point, one can continue north to Astorga or veer off NW to Santiago on the Camino Sanabres. My route took me on later.
    3. Whether hiking or cycling, a 1000 km Camino is a challenge to any pilgrim.
    4. A number of great cities are found along this Way: Sevilla, Merida, Carcaboso, Salamanca, Zamora, and Ourense. A disadvantage of cycling is that I couldn’t spend an overnight in every city.
    5. From a cyclists perspective, the terrain on the Camino was tough! There’s a good deal of uphill riding from goat trail type-sections to more gently rolling hills. In Galicia, there are no flat roads: only ups followed by descents.
    6. I was a bit unlucky with weather. There was a great deal of both rain and cold temperatures the first week. The very wet conditions also presented challenges on the trail: mud and very soft, wet sand. Trail riding was a bit slower than I had expected. At times, it was necessary to stop and de-mud the bike gears in order to continue. Walkers had the same mud to contend with, but the otherwise softer trail was also a positive for them.
    7. Although I did accomplish my goal of averaging 50 miles/80 km a day, in hindsight, I should have increased my number of days on the trail and cut back on my daily mileage. Instead of averaging three stages a day, two would have been better for a number of reasons. Although a number of reports that I read before going sketched out a 12-14 day bike Camino, I would now recommend 16-18. Being in the saddle 7-9 hours a day is grueling. Plus, there’s more to a Camino than just covering the distance. Rest days should also be included.
    8. Cycling a Camino is a pretty solitary experience. The relationships many of us love aren’t really possible when fellow pilgrims are only seen once. Further, at least at this time of year, there were not a lot of pilgrims on this particular Camino. If one wasn’t with a partner, most were walking alone. Even on the bike, I would only pass hikers early in the morning and not very many of them. Later in the day, I literally had the Camino to myself.
    9. I met very few folks who were doing the VDLP as their first Camino. One gentleman who I met near the end was on his ninth Camino. A lot of veteran walkers on this route.
    10. Compared to my other Caminos, I have to say that there were more longer stages some with no options for stopping short. Although this really wasn’t an issue as a cyclist, I know some hikers who did feel the strain of very long days on the trail in order to complete a stage. There were some nice straight Roman roads that seemed to go on forever.
    11. The physical, psychological, and spiritual challenges that walkers face are also there for the cyclist. More than once, I found myself asking, “why am I doing this?”
    12. At the end of the day, the albergues were a most welcomed harbor. From municiples to privates to donativos, I was able to stay in a good cross-section of albergues along The Way. Without reservations, I found room “in the inn” every night! Quality and services certainly varied, but, overall, I’d go back and stay a second time at almost every one of these shelters. The number of pilgrims varied from anywhere from six to fifteen a night, but all still had room for late arrivals.
    13. Only one spot offering a group dinner, the usual €10, and it was a highlight of my trip. After a long, cold, wet day on the bike, a roaring fire, a hot meal, good company, and a cozy bed were all that was needed.
    14. Although the bike I rented was brand new, again in hindsight, folks with their own bikes on the trail were probably better off. My rental was very heavy and didn’t have the type of tire tread that I would have preferred. Bringing my own bike, although an expensive and logistical problem, would have offered a different ride. Purchasing a bike might be another good option, but I don’t know if one could sell it at the end of the journey. I found three types of cyclists: trail only riders, road cyclists, and like me, those who went between the two. My first week was entirely on the Camino trail. Due to time constrains and slow trail conditions, I switched back and forth my last five days in order to make it to Santiago. With a few extra days built into my schedule, I could have ridden almost entirely on the trails. Nonetheless, the N630 and the N525, were excellent routes for anyone riding the roads. Most of the time, they paralleled the Camino trail and there was very little traffic to contend with.
    15. For me, the biggest negative of cycling a Camino was the lack of relationships that naturally develop as one sees the same people day after day. But, as usual, what a nice group, albeit a different group, of pilgrims I got to spend evenings with in the albergues. It was also enjoyable to just stop the bike from time to time and chat with a pilgrim taking a break. Although I met few Americans in this route, the Europeans I got to spend time with were quite enjoyable.
    16. I never sensed that the bicycle on the trail was a source of annoyance to those hiking. I brought a bell with me and announcing my approach from behind seemed greatly appreciated. Due to the crowds on the CF, I would think twice about cycling that route. On the VDLP, there were no issues regarding sharing the trail. As I said above, pilgrims of any sort were few and far between.
    17. For anyone considering cycling a Camino, be sure you can take care of your own bicycle maintenance. I had three flats in the first three days! It could be miles and a long push until one found services if you couldn’t take care of your own repairs. Bike shops are few and far between and generally found only in the larger cities. Cycling with a partner might not be a bad idea!
    18. Just like when walking, conditioning is important. As spring comes late to upstate NY, I had very few road miles on my legs. However, to avoid the much higher temperatures that the VDLP is known for later in the season, it seemed prudent to train as hard as I could in the gym and commit to a Camino earlier in the season. The cold, wet weather, by all accounts, was a bit unseasonable and not under anyone’s control. However, by the time I reached Galicia, it was full spring and one of my driest and warmest experiences I’ve had in this province.
    19. The VDLP was a good choice. Now that I’ve gotten to cycle a Camino, I have a much better sense of the type of experience biking offers and how it compares to walking. A bicigrino earns his Compostella just as all the peregrinos walking. But, for me as I have mentioned a number of times, on this Forum, doing a Camino is all about the human experience. On the bike, one looses some of this. I do look forward in the near future to again strapping on the hiking boots and walking the trails toward Santiago. Buen Camino!
     
  28. Amy Brooks

    Amy Brooks Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2018
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    143
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Forest Grove, Oregon
    I could live in Barcelona just for the jamon... and well everything else that is so wonderful there. Despite the overtourism - it remains one of my favorite places.
     
    Ginamarie likes this.
  29. Amy Brooks

    Amy Brooks Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2018
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    143
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Forest Grove, Oregon
    Wily

    Thank you for that thoughtful reflection on your experience biking a Camino and traveling on the VDLP. And for answering all my pesky questions!

    I suspect this route will become more popular for those seeking a more solitary experience. I wonder if the infrastructure will increase with more pilgrims. Doesn't seem to be at that tipping point yet. Yesterday more than 1,700 pilgrims arrived to the pilgrim office - and it is still early in the season. Amazing.

    Buen Camino
    Amy
     
    UnkleHammy, hindsfeet and Ginamarie like this.
  30. Ginamarie

    Ginamarie Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2016
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    155
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    EXCELLENT obsevation notes. Thank you for sharing. I'm so happy to hear you had a nice well-rounded experience on your first biking camino.
     
    hindsfeet likes this.
Loading...

Share This Page