Friday, 16 December 2016

Winter time - time to plan the next Camino!

I have been looking for another camino to do. Really enjoyed the VdlP and liked walking by myself so looking for a less travelled path. Currently, the Camino Sureste looks favourite which starts in Alicante. Have most the details I need, but the only wrinkle in the plan is the lack of AdP. There are some, but otherwise its mostly hostels and hotels which is fine as long as the stages are not too long and there is a room at the end!

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Last day in SdC having spent nearly 3 days here. It's still a wonderful city with excellent tapas bars and restaurants. The perigrinos just add an extra patina to the whole place for me. It's a strange mix of feelings both in arriving and in leaving. Camino friends that you will probably not see or hear from again but friends no less. Spent a good few hours wandering around the city and besides the obvious things it's amazing how clean and litter free it. In fact it puts Brighton to shame. There must be dozens of street cleaners here and they even pick up all the cigarette ends! The VdlP is definitely my favourite Camino ( so far!) both for it's amazing mixture of scenery and the friendliness of the people. Galicia is definitely my favourite region and it seems a great pity that it is being depopulated so much as witnessed by the huge number of empty and derelict properties and the age of the people left in the villages. Buon Camino.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

PU to SdC about 21km. I'm here!  Santiago de Compostela at 1045 21 May 2016. Excellent day walking from PU. Surprisingly good walk into the city with a very quick transition from the country to seeing the cathedral. From the other routes it's not so clear. Great walk today with just a single cafe until I got to SdC. Got to the cathedral with all the emotion you would expect. Pleased to be finished. Sad to be finished. Enjoying the celebration of all the other peligrinos. Said a short goodbye to my walking companions as we will meet again tonight and went to my hotel. Too early for the room so got my hair and beard cut then went looking for the market. last time I was here we found the market but were too late. So I really wanted to get there on time. Got there ok and the restaurants will cook the food you buy at the market  for 4 euros. Much confusion as I tried to buy the fish until I realised that the restaurant would only cook meat or shellfish in the summer!  Those conversations really challenged my Spanish! all sorted with a large plate of langostines and a lovely bottle of white wine. But took a conversation in English to understand the details - which was probably the most spoken English I've used in five weeks! Now feeling very mellow and getting sorted out for the evening. On my way back from the market I saw my Italian friend who was looking very concerned. So we went for a coffee and it turned out he could not find accommodation for later in the week when he returned from finisterre. No problem. Booking. Com showed places so I walked With him to an AdP with a place for two nights for 36 euros which he wanted. Much fun with English to Italian and then Spanish to sort it out.

Friday, 20 May 2016

AL to Ponte Ulla about 28 km.  lovely walk this morning. Started at 0630 as usual and it was a misty but dry day.  First 9 km to Silleda were through dappled shade along a Roman road that led to a very old bridge that was now in the middle of nowhere next to a beautiful river. Mist lifted quickly so the rest of the walk was in sunshine. All through pleasant countryside with very little road walking. Got to PU at 1215 and once checked into the room had a little pilgrims picnic. Good single room with ensuite and all for 10 euros. Of the Santiago de Compostela tomorrow for the final 21 kms

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Oseira to A Laxe  29 km. Misty and drizzle for the first 11 km with a steep rocky climb for the first 2 km. path to Castro Dozon was flooded in places and overgrown.  It will need a machete in the next few weeks. Walk after CD was fine and with only a little way on the road. Got to AL at 1245 and waiting for the AdP to open hopefully at 1300. Managed to stop the bread van on the way so have some lovely fresh bread for lunch.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Orense to Oseira about 30 km.  first hour was one steep hill and next 4 hrs was a slightly less steep hill! Luckily the last hour had some downs in it! That said it was a good track for most of the way. Just the last 10 km or so after Cea when it got a little damp on the track. I the Monesterio now which houses the AdP. The place is cold and dark but I'm not walking any further today.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Xunqueira de Ambia to Orense only 22 km. First part of the walk was fine but then we got to the suburbs which are never pleasant to walk through. In fact 22 km today felt like 35 km!  At least it was another dry day. Unfortunately we arrived at 1100 and the AdP does not open until 1300 Frustrating as they know pilgrims will arrive early as it is a short stage for most and it would be nice to get in and change so could have a stroll around the city

Monday, 16 May 2016

Laza to Xunqueira about 34 km.

Laza to Xunqueira about 34 km.  clear and sunny again today. 6 degs at the start but now about 24. Lovely walk today with plenty of variety and probably the hardest climb on this Camino. Long hard walk up the tracks but well worth the effort.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

AG to Laza 34 km. lovely walk today. Magnificent meal last night and the bar was open this morning at 0630 so we could have a coffee and croissant.  Within the hour the sun was shining and we were upon top of the mountain. Walked through spectacular scenery today right to the minute we entered Laza  as we came down the spine of the mountain through gorse and heather. Found the AdP easily and got settled in. Then of to done lunch and somewhere to eat tonight. 23 degs today so it nice to be outside.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Lubian to A Gudina about 25km but with plenty of hills. Last nights AdP was not the best.  14 beds in one small room with a cacophony of snorers and a pvc bed covering did not make for a pleasant night. Still got out at 0630 to follow the path and not the road. Great track and probably as a route it is on the top three for this Camino. Wonderful scenery and a nice hard climb. A little damp in places but nothing serious. Got to A Guidina and talk to someone already in the AdP which they said smelt bad. It's still a temp pry place as the main AdP is still closed after debugging. Decided to avoid and the next three places were full! Luckily, we walked a bit more down the road and got a twin room with ensuite for 15 euros each. Happy now.  We entered the region of Galacia today and there was a definite improvement in the way.

Friday, 13 May 2016

PdS to Lubian about 30km

PdS to Lubian about 30km and a clump to 1400m. Took the road after PdS as we were warned of some flooding on the Camino. But once the road headed up hill we got back onto the Camino which turned out to be a good track. However, lots of disruption on the way owing to the high speed rail bring constructed across Spain - I guess billions of eu money. So kept to the path as indicated by the diversions and all went well. A little chilly at the top but nothing significant -  I'm still in my shorts! Got to Lubian pretty quickly given the hills ( Camino fitness really showing now) and got to the municipal AdP which turns out to be very simple. Clean but grim. One shower and one wc in one room for 14 people and no communal area - 4 of the beds are on the kitchen. Went for lunch to let the rush for facilities die down and will probably have a simple meal from the shop tonight. With wine at about 2 euros a bottle ( don't like the 90 cent stuff!) of course.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

RdP to Puebla de Sanabria about 40 km. we had torrential rain last night but lucky it stopped by 0630 when we left. Tried the Camino first but it was flooded so went along the road to Mombuey. Took the Camino from there which was a great choice as it was a good track with surprisingly good villages along it.  However, at  Asturianos we had to go back to the road as the way is flooded. Tomorrow we start to climb the mountains and head for Lubian. Best of all we stayed dry today. The forecast is better for tomorrow which is good as this morning it was only 9 degs and we go high up tomorrow.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

SCdT to Rionegro del Puente 28 km

SCdT to Rionegro del Puente about 28 km. Simple and lovely walk today along Good tracks and across one of the major dams here which is in full flood owing to the rain. We have been lucky so far as we have had no rain while walking except for a few minutes of light drizzle. Hopefully a good meal tonight that includes quails dipped in chocolate.

Monday, 9 May 2016

8 and 9 May Zamora to Riego del Camino. And to Tabara

Zamora to Riego del Camino 8 May 31 km then RdC to Tabara 9 May 32km. No wifi last night so 2 in 1 update. Yesterday from Zamora was a damp day but a good route up to Montamarta but after that first 17 km ushi a German lady who walked with me had to stop owing to a sore leg and shoulder. So she stayed there for the day and waited for some of the Camino crowd we have all been with the last few days as some planned to stop there. Unusually, I met up with the same group for the last few nights so much fun had with multiple languages. I carried on to RdC and met three others from the group as I left. Ultimately, we got to RdC ok but the track was very confusingly marked so we had to turn back a restart a couple of times. Even the AdP was hard to find. But got sorted in the end. AdP was clean and a little rustic but fine. The woman with the key also owned the bar and told us we could eat there at 7. Considering we had a magnificent meal in Zamora the previous night with excellent wine for 8 euros the 9 she charged for a much simpler meal was rather excessive. Good nights sleep then off to Tabara which turned out to be an excellent track including a large river and a hike around and up a mountain complete with wild peonies.  Got here at about 1430. On the way today we passed the point where the Camino splits and my way was left onto the Camino Sananbres.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Cubo de Vino to Zamora 29 km

Cubo de Vino to Zamora about 29km. Turned out to be a good walk. Stayed dry and found a food alternative route avoiding the floods. Last 10km was on a good track with ultimately a great route into the old city over the obligatory old bridge. Generally flat lands but pleasant except when you just see a long track ahead!

Friday, 6 May 2016

Salamanca to El Cubo de Vino about 34 km

Salamanca to El Cubo de Tierra del Vino about 34km. Arrived at 1400 having walked half in rain and the other half on a very boring flatish stretch alongside a major road. Not pretty and just a slog. Evidently, the Camino is flooded just after here so we need to walk on the road to Zamora tomorrow. Still, what be must be.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

SPdR to Salamanca 22 km A sort of rest day. Simple walk into the city and a nice way in as we I did not have to walk through the suburbs. Virtually right to the old bridge without touch a road. Got a good room on the main square and managed to find a hiking shop so got my bits. Meeting up at 1930 with a lovely group of 'United Nations' at a restaurant in the square so no long walks for me. Had a stroll around the old city which looks very pleasant complete with obligatory church.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

FdS to San Pedro de Rozados 26 km

FdS to San Pedro de Rozados only 26km! Got here at 1215. It's only 22 km to Salamanca where I'm stopping tomorrow so no point in going any further today. First 12 km or so was along an old drovers track that was a Roman road complete with milestones. These drover tracks cross cross all over Spain for hundreds of kms. Despite it still being warm (26+) the trees are still not in full leaf. Great views  of the mountains as I left this morning as a definite change of landscape as it gets a bit more arable in style.  Had the communal meal last night which was interesting and adequate but I wouldn't bother to repeat it! So slow day today and as the weather is supposed to be changing  I'll probably won't see Sean for a few days.  If it must rain then tomorrow is a good day for it.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

AdC to Fuenterroble de Salvatierra 39 km

AdC to Fuenterroble de Salvatierra about 39 km.  In a religious hostel that hold 70 and there is communal meal tonight. Run by the local parish priest who is a bit of a legend on the Camino. It's 'donativo' which means you should give what you can afford and as the place does a lot of good works for the region  i chose to give more than my usual. Mostly a god walk today.  First 9 km was on road and not too nice but great after that until towards the end I slipped off a stepping stone.  One wet foot so changed my sock. 10 km later the track turned into a muddy pond with walls either side so had to change socks again! Walked with the snow capped mountain on my right hand side for most of the day and the landscape is scattered with very large rocks. One of them fell of the hillside a few years ago and crushes a house. Luckily, no one was hurt. Plan a couple of shorter hikes tomorrow and the next day  to Salamanca as I need to get some stuff in the city. Think I have booked a nice room in the central square for 22 euros on

Monday, 2 May 2016

Carcaboso to Aldeanueva del Camino about 38 kn

Carcaboso to Aldeanueva del Camino via Caparra about 38 km.  Set off at 7 as usual heading for Caparra with the intention of a snack at Caparra and then stopping about 7 km befor AdC. Caparra is the remains of an old roman town and the visitor centre has food and drink. Unfortunately, it was closed! Even the local Spanish guy that was with me for the last 10 Km was surprised. Site is nothing special if you see those in Italy. In fact the 'famous' Caparra arch is insignificant compared to the Roman arch on the outskirts of Napoli which cars drive through every day. So carried on walking.  Today's walk was probably one of the best so far for track and scenery. Lots of meadows and the snow capped mountains getting closer. Got to the point where I was going to turn off towards a hostel but was feeling good so carried on to AdC. Got here at 1415 and it's probably the pretties village so far. AdP is excellent so all I need now is some beer and a large steak! I met a Brit couple last night and she has a damaged knee so can't walk far at the moment and therefore got her by taxi. Her husband is walking but evidently has got a bit lost and does not expect to arrive until after 1900 - that's a long day. Up the hills tomorrow so I hope it stays dry.  Had a bit of a blow out on my shorts so now I need socks as well as short! They've only done about 2500 km !

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Canaveral to Carcaboso via Galisteo about 35 Kms

Canaveral to Carcaboso via Galisteo about 35 Kms. Mostly a very nice walk with lots of variety. There is one place were the route splits as there has been a (now resolved) right of way dispute. So the original way is now open again. However, it seems there is still some bad blood as the disputed land has signs that warn of dangerous animals and when I walked up the fenced in track I came across a very large bull! I stopped and considered my actions then decided to walk on slowly and play opera. Seem to work as he ignored me! Galisteo is a lovely looking walled town but unfortunately being 1200 on a bank holiday sun it was closed.  A little disappointing on the inside just lots of small houses. The last 11 km to Carcaboso was fairly dull as it was all on Tarmac. Still got to the lovely AdP all fine at 1400. Now ready to eat as previous nights place had no shop and nothing open on the way so 35 km done on water and cereal bars. Could see snow on distant hills but still clear blue skies and about 25 degs! Camino legs now seem to be in place so into much notice the hills. Right foot is perfect and left is almost there.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

CdC to Canaveral 32 km

CdC to Canaveral 32km. A lovely walk today with lots of variety and a huge lake which evidently back in 2010 almost dried up and old roman bridges and other structure were revealed. As expected the hostel here is fully booked so lots of disappointed and tired people. A little frustrating really as this route is not supposed to be busy! Route was well marked but there is a bit of a diversion owing to the massive road building programme and when they build bridges they build them big. The cranes you see in the photo are the size of very tall buildings. The AdP I'm in is very pleasant and the Cowboys have just turned up.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Aldea del Cano to Cascar de Caceres 32 km

Aldea del Cano to Cascar de Caceres via Caceres about 32 km. Good day with a good walk. Needed to get to CdC as all the accommodation at the next stop (25km) is closed! So have to go on to Canaveral which is just 11km further. Knee that there would be pressure on the beds at CdC because of this but managed to get one ok.  That said there are a lot of disappointed walkers coming in now looking tired. Also because of this I booked my bed at the next place as it will likely be full there as well and I don't want to rush. So all fine now and should be a relaxing walk tomorrow even though there are lots of ups and downs. Owing to the rush here I bagged my bed then came out for lunch.  Just had one plate of food but they still insist of giving a bottle of wine with it. All for 6 euros! Washing and preps for tomorrow should be fun later.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Aljucen to Aldea del Cano 35km

Aljucen to Aldea del Cano today. 35kms and 7 hours. As I didn't get here until 1400 wasn't sure if there would be a bed spare as they only have 13! Luckily there was. A lovely walking day with a wide variety of terrain and not too much sun. Also another couple of really old bridges. As its been wet during the previous weeks there are lots of puddles and most of them have tadpoles in them. Not very practical as evidenced by the dead ones in the dried up puddles!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Torremejia to Aljucen about 30kms

The municipal AdP in Torremejia was excellent as was the suckling pig. Headed off for Merida at 0715 and walked along the ( dry) track which was well marked. Arrived at 1015 and enjoyed the 2000 year old roman bridge into the city but was surprised that the pilgrim route did not go over the other Roman bridge next to the aqueduct. Route to the embalse de prosperina was clear and stopped for a while when my Estonia walking companion for the day went for a swim!  It was warm. Lovely and clearly marked route to Aljucen and now in the excellent AdP Rio Aljucen.  Please note that there is now a brand new AdP in El carrascalejo complete with phone number for the key.  It's about 13.5km from Merida. Plan to go to the Roman baths tonight. Off to Aldea del Cano in the morning which is about 35km. The 30 today went well so should be a good stroll. One of the joys of the Camino is the surprises. Today it was a man with a cart and two mules coming into the AdP! Only problem was the cart was too high to get. Didn't believe me at first when I said to reduce the tyre pressure but now it's in.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

26 Apr Villafranca to Torremejia 25km

26 Apr walked from Villafranca to Torremejia 25 km. left at 0700 and got to AdP at 1230. A very dull walk as although it was a beautiful day it was virtually flat and straight on an old roman road for the whole walk. Also it was most just vines so the monoculture did not promote bird life. Add to this that as I'm virtually walking north and mostly in the morning then the sun is always on my left. Had to hang a spare t shirt on my right arm to stop it burning.  Still arrived here all safe with a couple of minor blisters. Had lunch, which was also breakfast, and on a promise of Spanish suckling pig tonight.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Monesterio to Calzadilla and the Villafranca de los Barros 24/25 Apr

Sun 24 Apr. Left Monesterio at just after 0700 and walked in near perfect conditions. Clear sky with an almost full moon to start and a good track. Hundreds of birds including lots of cuckoos- in fact so many cuckoos the they sound like there had a stutter. Got to Fuente de Cantos at 1100 after 22kms and being early on a Sunday it was closed! I planned to walk on another 6km to Calzadilla but it was a bit of a gamble as it wasn't clear if a Hostal there was open or had rooms.  Wanted to try though as I need to combine  a few stages as there is one very long one coming up with no options and if I'm not careful I'll end up with a stage too short. Getting to Calzadilla means 28km today then 36 tomorrow to Vilafranca de los Barros missing out Zafra. Luckily all was ok and I'm settled for the day. Place is a bit basic but ok. No wifi though which is a bit of a pain. Walked today with a friend I had not seen for a while. Great walking companion. Always keeps my pace although sometimes he can be a little in front or a little behind. Doesn't get any aches and pains or need suntan lotion as he is almost black. He doesn't have much to say for himself either. Hope he is with me tomorrow. Can you guess who it is?

Mon 25 Apr Calzadilla to Villafranca de los Barros 36km. Good walk today with lots of sun and spring flowers. Must be about 24 deg now. I planned to avoid Zafra so I plotted my own you're with the help of Google maps - great that you can save maps off line now. Left just after 0700 and stop walking at 1430. Good tracks all the way. This is Serrano country ( yum yum) so the smell of pigs is all pervading. Had to cross a few railway tracks today but they are pretty simple here- I wonder how the accident rate compares?

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Almadena to Monesterio 38km

Left Almaden at 0715 in light drizzle and got to El Real de la Jara at 1015 after 16km through pleasant countryside. New this would be far to early so carries on to Monesterio. Got there at 1415 and all well after a total of 38km today. Tomorrow will just be a short stroll to Fuente de Cantos of 22km as the next stop after that is another 25km which is to far. A pleasant stroll today although a little damp. Strange to suddenly come across a castle and the stepping stones were not a stable as yesterday so I got wet feet. Walked by myself and only saw four others just before Monesterio and did even get a coffee until the last 6km. I know it's OK to talk to myself - at least that's what I tell myself! Now resting in a neat little AdP.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Castilblanco to Almadena 29km

Earlier start than intended this morning as lots of people started getting up at 0600! Unfortunately, non had prepared the night before so lots of noise, chatting and torches. They need a lesson on my and Ian's AdP morning routine! So I got up and walked out quickly. First bar was open but already had a few pilgrims in and with one lady serving, inc sandwiches it was not going to be quick. So I went on and luckily there was another bar open so I could get a caffeine fix.  Thereafter a straightforward 29km and I arrive at Almaden de la Plata at 1230 after leaving at 0700. First 16km was next to the road but not busy and a it was before sunrise lots of birds to listen too. After that walked through a national park with lots of cork oaks, pines and loads of lavender! Rivers have been a bit high so I was glad of the stepping stones. Last few Kms was a little tough as there was a very step climb at the end. Still all safe in the AdP now and feet holding up. Good as it may be 38kms tomorrow!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Guillena to Castilblanco de los Arroyos 20km??

Guillena to Castilblanco de los Arroyos. Supposed to be 20km but I was here by 1130 and left at 0800 so I don't think so! Still next stage is 29kms so I'll wait until tomorrow. All dry to day but a bit muddy under foot for the first third. However, pleasant scenery with lots of wild flowers. A few photos inc typical Camino directions plus a large dog(?) print - a bit early in the walk for Wolves as they are further north! Feet and body all fine now just waiting for the person to open the AdP. Should be a 1300. It's seems that many people take ataxi for the first 16km of tomorrow's stage as its road until that point where the track enters a national park! I just can't see me doing that.......

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Seville to Guillena 23 km

Completed the first stage to Guillema at 1300 today and now Im in the municipal Albergue del Perigrino (AdP)     All fine no one else here yet. A bit early to stop in an ideal world but 23km is enough for the first day and the next stop is 20km away. So another easy day tomorrow as I get my feet and body in the groove! A fairly uneventful day with torrential rain for the first hour but then warm and a little sunny until I got here. Glad I scouted the way out of the city yesterday as it would have been hard to find in the gloom.  Pretty grim for the first third as you get out of the city but ok after that. A few photos to be going on with that should show in the link I posted previously One with the standard yellow Camino signs for my previous Camino partners Mike Smith and Ian Ian Pinder. The third one shows how much of the river bank had been washed away recently.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Seville- the start

Arrived without any dramas and found the hotel!  All good.  Went to the cathedral but it was closed so just took a photo for the start. Only 1000km to go! Warm but damp and at least I know the way to start I the morning.  Luckily, there was a bar opposite the hotel so I could get some food without going too far. Excellent place with 2 main courses for 10 euros and a fine wine to accompany. Reminds me what good seafood and chicken is really like. Asked for an Orujos afterwards but a bit too far south I think. If you need to know aw Mike Smith!

Tried about five times to get the photo to attach without luck. It's all on Facebook which I must confess is much easier!

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Facebook in use

I’m going to start using Facebook for the next camino updates as some of my friends seem to find it difficult to comment on the blog! However, there is a link in the Facebook page to the blog and I will still update this as well if I can but it is unlikely that I will be able to do many photos as it is such a phaff!

To find me on Facebook search Mike Sexton Rottingdean and its this picture:

Hope to see you there - Mike

Monday, 28 March 2016

Photo Link

Getting ready for the hike and trying to sort out how to post photos! As always, google seems to have changed its systems so am now using Google photo app. Link for the google app folder is here:

I will also try to post some photos directly on the blog!

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Camino Via de la Plata

So the decision is made - I’m going to start another Camino on 20 Apr 16 and I have chosen the Via de la Plata. This route appeals to me as it is supposed to be less busy that many others although it seems the infrastructure has improved from when I first looked a couple of years ago.

I fly to Seville from Gatwick on 19 Apr and will stay in Hotel Zaida on the first night. Plan to pick up a credencial in Seville that evening as I should arrive around 1700. I intend to start the camino the next day.

I am walking by myself this time (although I’m sure I will meet and walk with others on the way) so it will seem a little different. I am both excited and nervous about doing by myself - nervous as there is no one else to share the decisions with but excited by the prospect of making my own choices!