Via de la Plata Here I Come – Well not quite yet

by | Jan 8, 2020 | Planning | 0 comments

There is much discussion on Ivar’s Camino Forum about Camino ‘addiction’. 

See this thread.

Indeed.  “My name is Robo and I’m a Camino addict”!

I’m in planning mode for Camino number 4.  Which of course raises all these common questions.

  1. Which route will I walk?
  2. What time of year?
  3. What different gear will I need this time?

The planning is fun but shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

Question #1 occupies my mind currently though.

All 3 Caminos so far have been on the Camino Frances.   I love the Frances route.  I love the scenery, the towns along the way.  I love how it’s starting to become familiar like a good friend.

People might wonder why so many Pilgrims choose the walk the same route so often.

That’s simple.  Because every time it’s different.  I stay in different towns, meet different people, the weather is different, and different ‘experiences’ occur along the way.

What’s that great quote by Heraclitus ?

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

And that is so true for walking the Camino.

But I think it might be time for a change.

I like solitude when I’m walking.  I’m a big thinker.  I can ponder all manner of things as I walk alone for 8-10 hours a day.

But in contrast, I can find eating alone in the evenings a very lonely affair.

However I feel the need to expand my Camino experience with a new Challenge.  Hence the plan for the next Camino to be the Via de la Plata aka the VdlP or ‘Silver Way’.

A longer route, more isolated, far less infrastructure, and potentially little ‘fellow Pilgrim’ company in the evenings depending on the time of year.

This route starts in Sevilla and heads North for 1,000 kms to Santiago de Compostela.  The ‘Silver Way’ follows old Roman roads and passes through towns such as Zafra, Merida, Salamanca and Zamora.  Some tell me it’s less of a Spiritual journey.  Fewer churches and roadside crosses as the CF.  So maybe it will be much more of an inner journey?

I understand in the summer months it can be like walking across a frying pan!  So a study of climate will be required before picking dates.

And the distances between villages and ‘water points’ if any, can be much longer than the Camino Frances (CF).  On the CF the longest distance between water points is 17 kms and that is often broken up with a caravan/café just West of Carrion de los Condes.

On the VdlP there will be days where I’ll need to walk 30-35 kms + between water stops.  That’s a lot of water (and weight) to carry, particularly in hot weather.

But I’m drawn to the VdlP because of the challenge and the heightened sense of solitude and isolation.

Will I cope?  Will I get too lonely?  Only time will tell 😊

Why 2022?  It’s painful indeed to wait another 2 years.

My last Camino was in April/June 2018 and I’m getting itchy feet.

Well.  I need time to improve my health and fitness.

I’m not young anymore.  62.  Yes I know 80 year old’s walk the Camino!

But I haven’t taken good care of myself in recent years.

Age and 3 Caminos have taken their toll on feet and joints.  So arthritis in the knees and the chronic Achilles tendonitis (AT) is an issue.  Though the AT I know how to manage now.  

The knees are the problem, exacerbated by being way overweight.  It’s hard to train as my knees can’t take it.  So there is nothing for it but to lose 20kg+, before I even risk serous training.    Hopefully that will make the knee issues manageable.  Though the torn  meniscus from the last Camino might still be a challenge !  LOL  We’ll overcome that at the appropriate time 😊

I’ve allowed myself 2 years to get ready as next year 2021 is a Holy Year on the Camino (when St James Day, 25th July, falls on a Sunday). In a Holy Year Pilgrim numbers can double or triple!

So I’ll skip 2021 I think.  And just in case weight loss doesn’t fix the knees, I’ll still have time for knee replacements 😊

So for now, it’s about preparing my body.  And thinking ahead.  How will this Camino be different?  Will I record the journey again, with a daily Blog?

There are so many Camino Blogs now.   But I like to record my journey in this way.  Particularly as I walk alone.  It’s a chance to record my thoughts and emotions and serves as my ‘diary’ to reflect on post Camino.  And of course it’s a handy way to show those at home that I’m still alive and kicking 😊

As a way of making myself accountable, I’ll provide periodic updates here!  With a bit of a countdown to the start!

For those who have walked the VdlP. Please do comment below. 

What time of year is good?

What were some of the challenges you faced?

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