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Via de la Plata blog

In October 2019, my partner Nedjo and I headed to Spain for two months. The main draw for our time was walking and our route was one of Spain's many pilgrimage routes, caminos de Santiago, that lead to Santiago de Compostela . Our chosen route, the Via de la Plata, starts in Sevilla and heads north for more than 1000 kilometres. We originally planned on two weeks of walking but then decided we’d like to try to go further than we had on Portugal's Rota Vicentina, so our goal was three weeks. In the end, we were loving our time so much that we walked for close to four weeks finishing our camino in Salamanca and knowing that having done just over 500 kilometres we’re well placed to return another year to finish.

Below is a detailed day by day trip journal. When I’m travelling is my favourite time to write and I enjoy the routine of jotting down details as they happen, but these journal entries were posted once we returned to Canada. For shorter entries please see the photo essays, which were posted as we travelled.

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Getting ready, Málaga to Sevilla, Oct 20

Summary

After a few lovely days in Málaga with friends, we made our way to Sevilla where we would start our camino.

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Day 1, Sevilla to Guillena, Oct 21

Summary

We stopped by the cathedral to snap the obligatory photos of us heading out, then easily made our way through Sevilla and across the bridge to Triana. It was exciting to start seeing markers and to imagine what was ahead.

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Day 2, Guillena to Castilblanco de los Arroyos, Oct 22

Summary

It was a very early start to the day as we had to be out of the albergue by 8:00, even needing to set the alarm to be sure we’d be up.

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Day 3, Castilblanco de los Arroyos to Almaden de la Plata, Oct 23

Summary

Finally, we had a good night’s sleep. What a relief. So although it would be a long day, we didn’t get going at the crack of dawn.

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Day 4, Almadén de la Plata to Real de la Jara, Oct 24

Summary

Today’s walk was beautiful, again in oak forest but today we were right in with all the animals.

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Day 5, Real de la Jara to Monesterio, Oct 25

Summary

The air was lovely and cool as we started our day and the town quickly changed to countryside.

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Day 6, Monesterio to Fuente de Cantos, Oct 26

Summary

The morning was pleasant, walking between stone-walled dehesa but by mid-day we were much more exposed and the landscape much more barren.

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Day 7, Fuente de Cantos to Zafra, Oct 27

Summary

After our night on the town we had an excellent sleep in our extremely comfy beds. And with the time change we were actually up and going early and with a wonderful cup of tea to start the day.

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Day 8, Zafra to Villafranca de los Barros, Oct 28

Summary

The town of Los Santos de Maimona had taken great pains to ensure that pilgrims could easily find their way through with large, yellow arrows painted on the newly paved roads.

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Day 9, Villafranca de los Barros to Torremejía, Oct 29

Summary

We were right in the middle of the school drop off zone with throngs of parents (and grandparents), kids and traffic police. We loved watching that busy morning scene as we enjoyed our coffee.

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Day 10, Torremejía to Mérida, Oct 30

Summary

It felt quite astounding to be walking over a Roman bridge as we entered the city, with the walls of the alcazaba ahead.

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Day 11, Rest day in Mérida, Oct 31

Summary

We headed out late morning, heading back to the alcazaba, which occupies an enormous space right at the entrance to the city. It was quite intriguing to see the layers of Roman, Visigoth, Moorish and Christian usage all in one location.

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Day 12, Mérida to Aljucen, Nov 1

Summary

The route leaving Mérida was much nicer than coming into the city, including passing by the impressive aqueduct, and soon we were on a separated bike/walking path that took us all the way to the Embalse de Prosperino.

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Day 13, Aljucen to Alcuéscar, Nov 2

Summary

We were quickly into the natural park which made for a wonderful day of walking. We had great energy and less sore feet which added to the uplifting feeling.

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Day 14, Alcuéscar to Valdesalor, Nov 3

Summary

We came quite close to some hunters in the morning and from that point on we tried to be a little louder than usual in our conversation and we were glad that Nedjo’s pack is orange.

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Day 15, Valdesalor to Cáceres, Nov 4

Summary

Our short walk into Cáceres was lovely, with the route close to the highway but always on paths and trails, and not with any of the sketchy feeling as we entered the city.