We’re back! The first podcast in almost two months recounts some stories and learnings from the Via de la Plata — the 1031km ‘pilgrimage’ walk we have just completed.
What is the Via de la Plata?
The 1,000km Via de la Plata forms part of the network of pilgrimage tracks known as the Camino de Santiago (or Way of St James).
The actual route is far older than the legendary discovery of the apostle’s remains in the city of Santiago de Compostela; it was a Roman highway, linking Astorga in the north with Sevilla in the south.
As you walk, you mainly follow the actual Roman route; passing by mines, abandoned cities and still-occupied cities as you step on paving stones over 1,000 years old and cross bridges built a few centuries after Christ or in the middle ages.
The modern Via de la Plata — as is walked by pilgrims to Santiago — takes a westerly turn a few hundred kilometers north of Zamora on the Camino Sanabrés rather than heading up to Astorga and joining the Camino Francés.
Stand-out moments on the Camino
A 39-day walk filled with foreign landscapes, language problems (and joys), residents, snow, sun, and other travellers is certainly going to include some ups and downs.
A few include:
Couchsurfing with Alfonso and Ana in Triana, Seville. It was our first visit to Sevilla, but we’ll certainly be back for the wonderful hospitality and amazing city life.
Walking into Merida epitomised the Roman history aspect. Crossing the Roman bridge, going past the Mozarabic fortifications, continuing through to the massive aqueduct, then walking another hour to the lake that feeds the city… still!
Easter day was full of serendipity, the first day we really felt part of the community on the road that is the Camino. There was nice hiking through forest and alongside a dam (the nicest hiking to date), Easter mass and processions, great food in a tiny town, surprising coffee and apples in a crumbling village, then a great walk down to our destination, more great tapas, and a nice, warm albergue.
Listen to the podcast for more stories spread throughout it.
Celebrating ten years of marriage
So, why would you want to walk 1,000km? For many, it’s about the pilgrimage; others, the physical and mental challenge; for us, it was the answer to a pretty unique problem.
On the 20th of April, we celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. Many people would celebrate with a dinner out, a party, or an overseas holiday. For us, “overseas” is more common than “at home”, and eating out seems to be more about writing reviews or convenience than it is about pure enjoyment. We were looking for something memorable, and something momentous.
I think we found it.
Resources for the Camino de Santiago
It can be hard to prepare for a walk like this, but we share some of the things we learned as we took on the Via de la Plata. Those learnings certainly apply to all of the Camino de Santiago routes — including the more popular Camino Francés. Start listening around 25:00 to forward to this.
To get inspired and start to learn more:
- The Way (movie).
- The Pilgrimage (Plus)
- Confraternity of St James (We can’t recommend their Via de la Plata guide, unfortunately. The Camino Francés guide is great.
- Amigos of the Camino, Sevilla (Have a great flip-book of stages).
- Our Camino page.
And, we made it!
We’re excited to be back podcasting, and back with you all again, but we’re also excited to have finished one of our biggest challenges yet: 1,030km from Sevilla to Santiago de Compostela — and ten years of marriage as well!