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Starting The Via De La Plata From Seville Next Week

Discussion in 'Camino Via de la Plata - The Silver Route' started by Ted, Sep 6, 2016.

  1. Ted

    Ted Ted Trekking

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    Thank you everyone for the great advise on the VdlP! I will be flying to Barcelona and then taking either the train or plane to Seville, September 15-16th. I will probably stay the night in Barcelona because my flight gets in so late, but will head out to Seville the next day. Does anyone have any recommendations where to stay in Barcelona near the airport or train station? And then in Seville near the cathedral near where I assume I will start the Camino?

    Thanks,
    Ted
     
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  2. Magwood

    Magwood Super Moderator

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    I stayed in Seville last year with my daughter, but the hotel was probably a 10-15 minute walk from the cathedral. You will find plenty of choices on 'booking.com'. Seville is a fabulous city to explore if you have a day or two to spare before you start your Camino. As is Barcelona of course. So many wonderful places and such little time to discover them fully.

    I walked the Camino Mozarabe last year from Malaga which joins the VdlP at Mérida. It is a lovely Camino. Will you take the Sanabres option? Or walk north to join the CF?

    I hope the heatwave has abated before you start, we have temperatures of over 40 degrees centigrade in andalucia at the moment.

    Take care and Buen camino!
     
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  3. Ted

    Ted Ted Trekking

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    Thank you.

    I am not sure, but I will probably take one of the other options as I just finished the Francis in June with my daughter.

    Yes, I have been watching the temperature and am hoping it cools down a bit. I am from California and use to walking in some heat, but obviously prefer cooler weather.

    I hope to have time after the Camino to see Barcelona as I fly back from there. Seville, I'll play by ear.

    Thanks,
    Ted
     
  4. Fionna

    Fionna Member

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    I've just heard of this route and am interested in a) the planning and b) your experiences, Ted. I see that others have suggested it is longer than the Camino Francés. Can you tell me more about it as I've read that it starts in Saville. How long is the full route and how well supported is it compared to the Camino Francés? As you are starting further south I suspect the weather experience, at least, will differ! Buon Camino anyway!
     
  5. Ted

    Ted Ted Trekking

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    Hi Fionna,

    I have to tell you that I just decided on the Via de la Plata a few weeks ago and am still trying to get information myself. I believe it is approximately a little over 600 miles (966k), but it depends on which way you go once you are near Zamora because there are three options at that point. One connects with the Camino Francis. One goes partially through Portugal, which I understand has some steep climbs through the mountains. And the third I understand is quite scenic. I haven't decided on which one of those two not connecting the Frances I will take since I just finished the Francis in June.

    From the information I have recieved from others it is very lightly traveled and services are much further apart making for longer distance days. Someone told me there were somewhere around 250 pilgrims registered in Santiago in September that had started in Seville. Someone else said there were days where they never saw another pilgrim, yet there were just enough that there was always someone you could share a meal with and relate too. Someone else said that the VdlP is what the Camino Francis was twenty years ago.

    I surely don't know enough about the Plata to sound like I could give you good information. Again, I haven't walked it yet and am still trying to get as much information myself before I start next week.

    Ted
     
  6. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Hi Ted

    I don’t have any accommodation recommendations for Barcelona but, although it’s a while ago when I stayed in Seville before setting off on The Vie de la Plata, I stayed at the hostal Monreal – Close to the cathedral and in a beautiful old building – But certainly not luxury, so well priced for pilgrims ;-)

    Details on http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/128755/

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
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  7. Magwood

    Magwood Super Moderator

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    @Fionna and @ Ted, you are both welcome t take a look at my blog. I posted live from the VdlP from Mérida right through to Finisterre, via the Sanabres. You will find lots of information and pictures relating to accommodation and scenery. My blog stages 1-18 were on the Camino Mozarabe. Scroll down to Day 19 to 52 for Mérida to Finisterre.
    https://magwood.me/camino-mozarabe/

    I walked in May 2015 and there were plenty of pilgrims walking. Not so many that the track was overcrowded but more than enough at the stage end - I guess between 10 and 20 or more. When I walked the other pilgrims were predominantly French, then German, then a mix of other nationalities. They were also predominantly male.

    I enjoyed this Camino a great deal and made many good friends.
    Happy planning!
     
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  8. Ted

    Ted Ted Trekking

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    Thanks Rob. You were one of those that gave me good advice. And, darn, you were also one that got me to change my mind! Ha ha!
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
  9. Ted

    Ted Ted Trekking

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    Darn, your way sounds so interesting that now I am having second thoughts about which way to go? But that is the beauty about the web site, and that's getting such good information and advice. As I mentioned, I decided on the Plata at the last minute because I originally had planned to start in Barcelona. My first Camino (Francis) that I just finished in June, I planned months ahead, but this one was a spur of the moment and I don't have solid plans. It might be a learn as I go, and that will make for an interesting and challenging Camino.

    Thanks for the information,
    Ted
     
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  10. Fionna

    Fionna Member

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    I'm really interested in this one, and the information on Magwood's blog (but only read some of it...must get some route maps so I'm sure of where each place is!). Out of curiosity why have you gone for a second Camino so soon after your first? Are you super fit? Magwood, it looks as if you've done several now, like Rob. What draws you to keep doing them?
     
  11. Ted

    Ted Ted Trekking

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    Hi Fionna,

    For me it's because I love to trek, and because I can. Life is short and you never know what it will bring you, no matter what age you are.

    I have to admit that I started the Francis with some apprehension because I am use to trekking here at home by myself and in very remote places. However, the Francis was also an opportunity to trek with my 23 year old daughter, and I enjoyed and loved the whole experience! And as it turned out, one of my favorite things about the Camino was all the wonderful people I met.

    I am looking forward to another great Camino experience and whatever it will bring me.

    Yes, I do have another long trek planned next January too, and I will be sixty-six by the time I finish that one.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
  12. Fionna

    Fionna Member

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    Ted...your photo shows you with a pull along trolley...did you bring that on your Camino?!
     
  13. Ted

    Ted Ted Trekking

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    Yes, I did. I had a back injury and have difficulty carrying a backpack for long distances. It is a two wheel hiking cart (Wheelie) that I ordered from Holland a few years ago. I used it last year to trek over 2,300 k from my home to Canada. At times I had over 85 pounds (38 kilos) of total weight (lots of water) so I couldn't carry it on my back. I thought it would work well on the Camino. However, it was a little difficult on the rough terrain and some of the steeper rough inclines. On flat and smooth surfaces it was wonderful. Would I recommend it over a light backpack? Yes, and no!
     
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  14. Fionna

    Fionna Member

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    Wow! 38lbs! The thought makes me cry!!! But I guess if you're away from a home a long time the weight goes up. I've resigned myself to using a baggage transfer service and a light day-back pack to prevent aggravating a shoulder injury...also because I want to enjoy my walk rather than stagger.
     
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  15. Ted

    Ted Ted Trekking

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    No, that weight was on my trek here. On the Francis I had about 17 pounds (7.7 kilos) in my backpack that I placed in the Wheelie that weight about 7 kilos, so about 15 kilos total.
     
  16. Dominick

    Dominick New Member

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    Hi Ted,
    My name is Dominick, and as I was going through some posts of VdlP, I notice you did the VdlP at about the same time I am planning on doing it in 2018. I have just started my planning and do not seem to be finding a Guide/route book with regards to the VdlP, like the Camino Frances and a few others. Were you able to find a Guide book? Do you have any suggestions / wisdom regarding the VdlP Camino?
    Thanks,
    Dominick
     
  17. Ted

    Ted Ted Trekking

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    Hello Dominick,

    How exciting to hear that you are going to trek the Camino Via de la Plata!

    I have to tell you that when I did it I did not prepare well, not knowing much about it and not even having a guide book. At the time the only real guide book that I heard about was, “Via de la Plata Guide of Saint Jame’s Mozarab Way.” This was the only English one I had heard of at the time and picked one up at a hotel near the cathedral in Sevilla. It is published by the Amigos del Camino de Santiago de Seville, and it was a slightly older book that was helpful but very basic. It was not at all as comprehensive as the great guides for the Camino Francis, but adequate to get you by. Also, the Plata is not marked as well as the Francis with signs and arrows, so it helps to have some guidance in a book. There may be better guide books now, or even an updated version of the guide I had?

    However, the best thing that I ended up using was a Plata cell phone app for my Iphone! I ended up walking with a great German guy that got me set up with it. He gave me a Simms card that he bought at the local grocery store for my cell phone that you can add phone and data time to at many stores, gas stations, etc. It was fairly inexpensive and gave me plenty of data to use the app on the Plata. I unfortunately didn’t get it until a week on the Plata. I loaded the Via de la Plata app through the online Apple Store, so you may get it through another source if you don’t have an iPhone? I still have it on my phone now and gets updated, so I’d definitely use it again if I trek the Plata again. The program is great because it actually uses a live map program (gps) so you can see if you are walking on the right street, trail, etc. It also lists hotels and albergues, phone numbers and addresses. It saved me many times when I didn’t see those arrows, or lost my way. It is definitely a plus!

    I don’t know how much information you are looking for, but I, or probably many others that have walked the Plata, would be happy to give you as much information as you need. We all have different experiences and I am sure we all might have different advise.

    If you plan to trek the Plata in September, at the same time I did, be aware that it is still a very hot time of year. The first two to two and a half weeks were gruling because of that heat. It usually started out cool in the morning and by noon or one it got hot, and it stays that way until five or later. Like clockwork. Then going into November the weather suddenly changes and it is cool to cold, with days of rain. The best you can do is be prepared.

    The Via de la Plata is so different from the Camino Francis. There are few pilgrims, fewer places to stay and eat, longer distances to walk, and overall more challenging. I stayed in several albergues by myself. But, it will be a great and rewarding Camino! You will love it!

    I just had surgery on my knee and have been sidelined for the last year because my injury, but hopefully I will trek another Camino in May? I might even do the Plata again or a new Camino?

    If you’d like a little more detail on my treks you can go to a blog that I set up at, “tedtrekking.wordpress.com.”

    Buen Camino!
    Ted
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018
  18. Dominick

    Dominick New Member

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  19. Dominick

    Dominick New Member

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    Hi Ted,
    Thanks for the response and some great information and thoughts.
    Today, I happen to come across a guide book for the VDLP on the Confraternity of St. James web site, and it was from 2011. I also noticed the VDLP apps that you mentioned, but there where several VDLP apps. Which one specifically did you use? Were you able to use carriers like Verizon in Spain or do you have to use a Spanish carrier? I think I am ok with there not being a lot of people on the route. How long did it take you? I am planning to start walking in the 3rd week of September and hope to finish in about 6 weeks (+/-). How did you get to Seville (from where)? Generally, can you talk about ATMs, money exchange, credit cards, etc?
    Thanks again Amigo,
    Dominick
     
  20. Ted

    Ted Ted Trekking

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    Hi Dominick,

    I think the app is the Wise Pilgrim Guide. Again, it was absolutely a great tool to have! I was able to use it on most of the Plata but there were a few places where the cell service wasn’t good and it didn’t work, so having the guide helps. I don’t know what company the Simms card was from but I can give that to you later. The great and wonderful thing about the Camino is the people you meet and stay friends with the rest of your life, like my German friend that bought the Simms card for me.

    I am from the USA too and have ATT Wireless and found their plans, and that of Verizon, very expensive and from what I heard not very good there. The Simms card that my German friend gave me was great because I had tons of data, I believe 20 gigs, and I think it was less than $50. Also included are calls home (US) for only about $.04 a minute. Funny, but calls within Spain were three times the cost, but well worth having too for possibly making reservations, getting info, etc.

    I flew into Barcelona because I wanted to spend more time in Spain if I had extra time in the end. I ended up taking the AVE, which is a great high speed train to Sevilla. A flight was a bit cheaper through a economy airline but for the experience and less of a hassle of security, etc., the train was fun. If I remember, it was about a four hour trip from Barcelona and you end up at the train station near the cathedral and starting point for the Plata. I ended up taking a regular train back to Barcelona from Santiago and that was a different trip. Slow and bumpy but fun if you want to experience something different.

    It took me about thirty-three days of actually walking. I had just trekked the Camino Francis three months before so I was a little more conditioned for the Plata. You can obviously go slower and take more time because everyone’s Camino is different, but there are stretches where you will have no other choice but to go longer distances because there are, like I mentioned, fewer places to find lodging and places to eat.

    As far as money, there are plenty of teller machines and banks where you can draw money from a debit or credit card, however there are always charges. I used my credit cards as much as possible because that way you get the best exchange rate.

    Keep asking everyone questions, because there are a lot of us out here that are willing to help, and it will make your Camino that much more pleasurable!

    Ted
     
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  21. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    I normally use AT&T for cell servjce. I checked arround and cganged over to TMobil for use in Europe. When I got back I returned to AT&T. Tmobil had the best Europe rates that I could find and then cell service it was immediately available when I got off the plane. For this to work you need to have your phone "unlocked".
     
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  22. Dominick

    Dominick New Member

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    Hi Ted,
    Thanks again for all the advice and suggestions.
    Coincidently, I first heard about the "El Camino" from a German guy - while we were hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2015. He told me - he started walking from Germany, and showed me his Compostella. I was so interested in doing such a walk - that it has been in my thoughts ever since. I have noticed that some/many Peregrinos actually walk more than one Camino, I could see myself doing that. I have heard the "Wise Pilgrim" app mentioned by a couple of other people - in a positive way. Your Plane & Train idea sounds like a great idea, especially if it leaves one close to the start. I heard a lot of great things about Seville and hope I am able to stay a couple of days. Did you already have a reservation date of return to the US or did you make those arrangements later? What are your thoughts about camping on El Camino (is it allowed)? Generally, my plan (right now) is to start in Seville, walk to Zamora, than hook into El Camino Frances in Astorga. What are your thoughts?
    BTW, I live close to Nashville, TN; are you anywhere close? Thanks again mi amigo, Dominick
     
  23. Dominick

    Dominick New Member

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    Hi Ted,
    Hope all is going well with you.
    I have received my VDLP Guidebook (2018).
    Questions: Can you tell me about your experiences with Alberques (and other lodging) along the VDLP - during Sept/Oct? Also, did you find the VDLP easy to navigate (well marked) or did you need the App, Guidebook, maps to find your way?
    Have a great week mi amigo,
    Dominick
     
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