Via de la Plata and the way to Finisterre – Muxia 2009
Via de la Plata is 1.000 kilometres long from Seville in Andalusia to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. The route is more isolated than the French route with long distances between communities, which also mean that it’s harder to walk. After Andalusia the route enters the region of Extremadura and further up to the town Mérida. Then in the region of Castilla y Leon one comes through the towns of Salamanca and the charming Zamora. Before the border of Galicia, the route rises to 1.355 m above sea level. After the arrival to Santiago de Compostela many consider that the route continues west to the coast and ends up at the cape ”Cabo Finisterre” or even better a bit further northeast to Muxia. The route to Finisterre and Muxia is beautiful and easy to walk. Moreover there are fresh and comfortable youth hostels “Albergues” along this part.
I started on the Via de la Plata, the first week of March and walked in rain and strong winds. During the rest of March, the weather became beautiful, with temperatures between 20 and 25 degrees. Approximately 2% of all pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela walk Via de la Plata. I walked 1.120 kilometre during 33 days from Seville to Muxia.
See my images and read my short diary from 2009.
Camino Mozárabe 2009
The route from Granada to Mérida can be seen as a variant to the beginning of Via de la Plata. The Camino Mozárabe is four hundred kilometres long and follows the ancient routes. It runs in North West direction to Cordoba and follows generally “Ruta del Califato”, which runs in opposite direction. The route is described as hilly and isolated. After Córdoba the “past history” talks about wolves and bandits in the mountains ”Los Bandidos de Sierra Morena”.
There are no ”Albergues” for pilgrims along the route. However, there are open guesthouses in most large villages. The number of pilgrims at this route is few, probably not more than 50 per year. I saw no one. A bar owner said that he probably saw one a week ago! In October 2009, I walked to Mérida and further on from Salamanca to Zamora. From Zamora further up to Astorga on the French route and finally to Santiago de Compostela. The entire route became about 800 kilometres of totally 1130.
See my images from 2009 and read my short diary, the palace of Alhambra and the beautiful Mezquita in Córdoba.
Camino Portugués 2010
The route is marked from Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela mainly following the original Roman road between Portugal and Spain. The military route from Astorga then continues east to France. The Camino Portugués is not frequently visited from Lisbon. However, from Porto the route is more popular and about 7 % walks from Porto to Santiago de Compostela. The entire route has a number of variants such as the Camino de Tejo from Lisbon to the Catholic well visited pilgrim Centre in Fatima. There are also variants north of Porto. Interesting history can be found in John Brierly’s very informative book: “A Pilgrim’s Guide to Camino Portugués”.
Actually, I started to walk from Lagos. I wanted to see the beautiful coast up to Lisbon. I could never imagine that the weather could be so bad in middle of April in Portugal. The first week, was cold, rainy and windy. When it became too wet, I chose to go by bus. However, the weather became better and better after Lisbon. Between Lisbon and Porto, the route passed through several eucalyptus forests. I lost the orientation from time to time, due to bad and of course difficult marking of the route on the eucalyptus trees. My impression is that the route is easy to walk with few heights. Shortly after Alvaiázere at most 470 meters above sea level. I walked totally 725 kilometres to Santiago de Compostela.
See my images from 2010 and read my short diary.
Camino de Levante 2011
The route begins in Valencia and runs diagonally through Spain over the central plateau ”La meseta” in the region of La Mancha. From Valencia it climbs up to 1.020 m above sea level, leads through the village Higueruela and then down to the town Albacete. From there the route is rather flat to Toledo with few trees, large fields and large vineyards. After Toledo, the landscape is a bit hillier and the route rises to 1.000 m level in San Bartolome de Pinares. Shortly thereafter, up to the highest point at 1.400 m and down to the beautiful city of Ávila at 1.130 m above sea level. The Camino de Levante ends in Zamora.
After Camino de Levante it is possible to continue on Via de la Plata, via Ourense or Astorga to Santiago de Compostela. I have not found any information on how many people who walks the Camino de Levante, but there are few. When I was there it was dry and hot. I started in Albacete and walked totally 762 kilometres to Santiago de Compostela.
See my images from 2011 and read my short diary.