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.
After a few lovely days in Málaga with friends, we made our way to Sevilla where we would start our camino.
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.
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.
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.
Today’s walk was beautiful, again in oak forest but today we were right in with all the animals.
The air was lovely and cool as we started our day and the town quickly changed to countryside.
The morning was pleasant, walking between stone-walled dehesa but by mid-day we were much more exposed and the landscape much more barren.
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.
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.
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.
It felt quite astounding to be walking over a Roman bridge as we entered the city, with the walls of the alcazaba ahead.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.