After reading Tony Kevin’s book about his pilgrimage along the Via de la Plata almost 10 years ago, I’ve wanted to do the same thing myself. It’s only this year that I’ve had the 6 weeks free that I needed to complete the 1,000km walk. Already, less than a week after completing my walk, it seems like a dream. Another pilgrim I spoke to in Santiago who finished the Via Francés about the same time said exactly the same thing to me.
For anyone thinking about this walk, I’ve collected a few of my photos below to give you a little insight into the route. For me, photography is an important part of a long walk. You get the perfect opportunity to take photos and in just under 6 weeks I took over 4,000.
It can be a bit lonely. I found myself walking alone and often not seeing any other pilgrims all day for maybe 80% of the time, however most nights there were others in the Albergue. Mysteriously some times I would walk alone for a few days and be the only person in the albergue then arrive one evening to find 15 others who had appeared out of nowhere! For some reason, this walk holds a fascination for some. I met one Irish pilgrim doing it for the 8th time and an 84 year old from Aosta in Italy doing the Camino Sanbrés for the 9th time.
For me, a fascinating aspect of the Via de la Plata is the change in landscape, architecture and climate as you traverse Spain from south to north.
The landscape changed significantly .
The villages I passed through could have been in different countries.
There are lots of animals.
Some days there were innumerable farmer’s gates to pass through.
These signs mimic the ancient Roman milestones seen along the way.
And changes in the food ? Hmmm
However my strongest memory will always be the people I met and chatted with along the way. Although I know this is not practical or possible for many, I’m very glad I spent 6 months working hard to resurrect my very rusty Spanish with the help of my teacher Alejandra. I had so many interesting conversations with the very friendly people I met along the way.
Also, as it turned out the 3 people I spent the most time walking with were all Spanish and this wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t been able to chat with them in Spanish.
I posted every day during my pilgrimage and you can find many more photos in those posts. ¡Ultreia!