Dear Rotarians and Friends
you're reading this page for the first time, I'm sorry to tell you that I lost
everything today that had been posted previously. Below is what I have
been able to recreate. New updates will be posted by date on the front
page and I hope not to lose anything else.
Day 7 - October 12: 177 km
There is no albergue here, so Franck and I are
staying at the Casa Perin (something like a B&B although no second B) here
in Villafranca de los Barrios. Here is an update covering the last two days. So
far I have covered 177km and taken just over 235 thousand steps. By the way
Franck has a blog that he is updating as he goes along. You can view his blog
Saturday morning I
was woken up by the crash of thunder and the sound of rain at 6 am. When we left
the Albergue Turistico at 8:30 it was not raining but we could hear the thunder
and see the lightning all around us. It felt ominous. After about 10 km of
walking, during which we could hear thunder almost continuously, I could see a
buildup of dark clouds to the west. I stopped to put on my poncho but it was too
late. Rain started to come down in buckets and I had only enough time to kneel
down beside my backpack and have the poncho cover me and the pack. I stayed in
this position for about 15-20 minutes while the wind howled, the rain pelted
down and then to top it off hail about the size of small marbles made an
appearance....that stuff hurts. Later on I learned that Franck who was about a
kilometer behind me experienced the same problem, however he was not too far
from some trees while I was in the open.
was pretty wet and despite the continuing rain I had no option but to carry on.
It rained for the rest of the walk to Zafra (about 16 km). The trail was a mess.
It seemed to be a conduit for water draining from the adjacent fields and in
some cases it looked like rivers coming at me. In the low spots it would pool
giving little option other than plowing right through it. Where there was
no water, the soil had turned to brown sticky clay that stuck to your feet
thereby adding to the burden. There is little difference between being wet and
getting wetter so I just kept going. I thought to myself, "There must be easier
way to raise money for PolioPlus". All I could think about was getting to the
albergue where I could get out of my wet clothes and boots and have a hot
shower. Never was an albergue more appreciated as when Franck and I arrived at
2:30. We looked like a couple of half-drowned cats.
The same weather
continued today. It rained lightly pretty much the whole way from Zafra to
Villafranca de los Barros. It wasnīt a big problem as we were prepared. It
didnīt give any opportunity to stop and take care of my feet so I just walked
through the 21 km in a single go. The good news is that the weather is expected
to improve for the next few days.
I expect to be in Merida (221 km) on
Tuesday. This is about 1 day behind my plan but should pose no problem as long
as my health remains OK.
Dutch Couple that I met the first night and with whom we spent time over the
first four days in the albergues was very interesting. Over the last
few years they have walked the Camino France twice, the Camino del Norte, the
Camino Portuguese starting in Fatima and the Inca trail in Peru. Marcel is a
self-employed tour guide! If you are doing one of the barging tours combined
with bicycling on the canals and rivers of Europe then he might be your
guide. He is a huge man which is probably why he was also carrying a tent as
well as cooking facilities. He had to be carrying 40 pounds of
Franck is an environmentalist who lives in Brussels who is
currently on a 6 month sabbatical (sp?). A week or so before he started the Via
de la Plata he spent two weeks walking in the Pyrenees Mountains. Before that he
walked the Harz Mountains in Germany. He is a walking machine.
Albergue Turistico in Fuente de Cantos we met an Australian couple. The husband
was at least 40 pounds overweight but they were bound and determined to walk to
Santiago de Compostela. They had started from Sevilla on October 2 (Franck and I
had started on October 6)and he was in pretty bad shape with his feet. They
were planning to walk the 6 km to the next town in the morning!!!! I hope they
One of the big differences between the Camino France and the Via
de la Plata so far is the distances between facilities e.g. bars,
restaurants, drinking water facilities. I recall that the longest distance that
I had to walk last year was 17 km and that was an aberration. Typically it would
be 6-10 km between towns. Here the distances are huge: 12 km day 1, 19
km day 2; 30 km day 3; 17 and 21 km day 4; 22 day 5 etc. Planning
becomes very important so that you donīt run out of water.
On the first
day after I toured the Roman ruins of Italica there was a perfectly straight
section of road that was 12 km in length. There was no relief other that a line
of trees and shrubs that bisected the road about 8 km after the start of this
stretch. This was a low point and when I got there the road was
filled with water with no obvious way to get through. I tested the pool of water
with my walking stick and it was obvious that going down the middle was a recipe
for disaster. So, gingerly I tried to cross on the left bank while fending off
shrubs and thorns. About half across I lost my balance and only my trusty
walking stick saved the day. If I had fallen it would have taken a small crane
to get me out. Another Camino triumph. The road must have been designed by
someone who later on immigrated to Saskatchewan.
4, October 9 - 109 km completed.
After 4 days I have finally been able to email. Here is an
I am currently in Monesterio where I have to stay in a hotel
since there is no albergue. Have completed 109 km over the last 4
Sevilla to Guillena (Oct 6) 20km.
Guillena to Castilblanco de los
Arroyos (Oct 7) 20 km.
Castilblanco to Almaden de la Plata (Oct 8) 30
Almaden de la Plata to Monestorio (Oct 9) 40 km.
The 3 1-2 weeks
of inactivity in Central Europe did not help my training for the walk. Have
found conditions pretty tough with a few niggling problems.
couple of days were very hot and uncomfortable (high twenties) so the short
distances of 20 km was a relief.
Since then the weather has been warm and
sunny with never ending wind mostly against us;however cool mornings have been
No blister problems to this point and I donīt expect any BUT I
am having some problems with my right knee and leg. Knee seems to be a stretched
anterior ligament. Use of the knee brace has helped and I donīt foresee any it
getting any worse as long as I am careful. The long 30 and 40 km distances the
last two days have been very tough. My right leg started to ached with about 10
km to go today and I had to drag my butt most of the last 2-3 hours. Also ran
out of water with about 3 km to go. A double dose of Ibuprofen and a couple of
beers made me feel a lot better.
If I can get through the next 2-4 days I
should be able to walk my way through the leg problems.
I met a couple
from Holland and Franck from Belgium on the first day and the 4 of us have
stayed at the same (and only) albergue over the last 3 nights. Only Franck and I
made the 40 km walk today so we probably wonīt see the Dutch folks again. Franck
is going all the way to Santiago de Compostela so we might stick together for a
while (we are sharing a hotel room here tonight). The Dutch folks are walking
for 2 weeks and will continue their Via de la Plata walk next
Please extend best wishes to all that are supporting our ĻWalk to
1, October 6 - leaving Sevilla, Spain
Hans left Budapest on Saturday October 4 for Seville, Spain it was raining
"It seems like a fitting way to leave Central Europe since the
rain followed us for three weeks through Budapest, Vienna and Prague," he wrote.
Unfortunately the continuous cold and damp weather that plagued us for
three weeks also left Hans with a cold just four days before his scheduled start
to the Walk. Colds pretty much come and go at their own pace but we treated his
symptoms anyway as best we could with salt gargles and Ibuprofen. Since he's in
excellent physical shape he's bouncing back very quickly and is off and walking
on Monday October 6th just as planned. He writes:
"It is 8:00 a.m. here
and I will definitely leave a bit later this morning. Am feeling about 98 per
cent and getting better all the time. I may not wait until 11:00 a.m. to get the
sello at the cathedral since the high here today and tomorrow will be 28C. I
don't want to walk in the main heat of the day.
Had a good day yesterday
touring the city which is beautiful but also a place where it is very easy to
get lost. Getting out of the city and into the country will be a bit of a
challenge as there are very few 'Camino' signs.
I will try my best to
stay in touch but I suspect that there might be a shortage of places to email
until I hit some of the larger towns and cities along the route."
Rotarians and friends, I will definitely update this website the minute I get
any news. ~LolitaWhen Hans left Budapest on Saturday October 4 for Seville,
Spain it was raining steadily.
"It seems like a fitting way to leave
Central Europe since the rain followed us for three weeks through Budapest,
Vienna and Prague," he wrote.
Unfortunately the continuous cold and damp
weather that plagued us for three weeks also left Hans with a cold just four
days before his scheduled start to the Walk. Colds pretty much come and go at
their own pace but we treated his symptoms anyway as best we could with salt
gargles and Ibuprofen. Since he's in excellent physical shape he's bouncing back
very quickly and is off and walking on Monday October 6th just as planned. He
"It is 8:00 a.m. here and I will definitely leave a bit later
this morning. Am feeling about 98 per cent and getting better all the time. I
may not wait until 11:00 a.m. to get the sello at the cathedral since the high
here today and tomorrow will be 28C. I don't want to walk in the main heat of
Had a good day yesterday touring the city which is beautiful
but also a place where it is very easy to get lost. Getting out of the city and
into the country will be a bit of a challenge as there are very few 'Camino'
I will try my best to stay in touch but I suspect that there
might be a shortage of places to email until I hit some of the larger towns and
cities along the route."