Blog

Via de la Plata. Day 3. Extremadura: land without shade

Our third day took us from Fuente de Cantos to Mérida, just over 100 kilometers. After two days with a lot of climbing, this was an easier day. We had some serious slopes, but most of the track was mildly going up and down. For Dutch cyclist it’s still rather hilly.

Most of the day we cycled between wine yards and endless fields with olive trees, often a combination of the two. Other than I am used to from France, the wineyards are enormous, as far as the eye reaches. That also means that we were riding through a shadeless country. Apart from a few villages, we had no shade for a full day. And this is only what they call spring!
Going further North we expect cooler weather.

The scenery may be slightly duller than during the past days, at the same time it gives a good impression of the vastness of the country.

Mérida is a bigger city with an old history. It’s also called the Spanish Rome because of all its Roman history. We entered Mérida over this Roman bridge, which in the Roman time provided a connection to Lisbon and Andalusia.

Mérida is also a very Spanish place. Having dinner befor 8.30pm is extremely uncivilised. They just don’t understand you. They don’t understand us anyway, because nobody speaks English at all. Not a word. As if they don’t realize that somewhere in the world people don’t speak Spanish. We met one waiter who tried to speak it. He served us an excellent menu with regional pork meat.

The next challenge is to find breakfast around 7am. Fortunately we have a fall-back plan.

Via de la Plata. Day 2. Buen Camino.

The Via de la Plata is more than just a cycling (or walking) tour from Seville to Santiago de Compostella. It’s a pilgrims route. Already in the Roman era the Via de la Plata was an important route from South to North; it was also important for trade. After the grave of Saint Jacob was discoverd in Santiago de Compostella in the year 813, it became a pilgrims route.

We are not only cycling a historic route, it’s also part of the culture in this part of Spain to welcome pilgrims and wish them ‘Buen Camino’. It’s no exception to hear people scream ‘BUEN CAMIIIIIIINO’.

The scenery was beautifull, the roads quiet, but the slopes where more up than down. We cycled many kilometers between cork oaks, we passed several pig farms (some of Spains best ham comes from this region) and we saw quite some storks. We entered into the province Extremadura, which is hot and empty, but also beautiful.

According to our guide book, today was the most difficult track of the tour, with many slopes, some long ones going up 10 percent. The wind made it less hot, but still it’s hot, really hot. So we stopped at 2pm in a village called Fuente de Cantos where we stay in the pilgrims hostel.

Eric with bicycle
Ooievaars/storks
on the road

Via de la Plata. Day 1. A difficult day

We planned to ride this tour with the four of us as a team, but sadly, Kees has to return home. One of his children needs to undergo urgent surgery in hospital. First Kees’ son told him to stay in Spain, but under these circumstances Kees wants to be at home. Hopefully everything will be all right.

So we started with the three of us (Kees also wanted us to start today) with a bit of a strange feeling.

The official pilgrims tour starts with a visit to the Geralda cathedral in the heart of the city. There was a holy mass with beautifull singing in this sacred space. It was, more than we anticipated, a very moving moment.
The concierge gave us our first formal stamp in our Peregrino pass. This proves that we are real pilgrims, getting the benefits of staying overnight in special hostels.

We asked one of the beggars to take our photo and made him make some money.

lunch in the shade 1
lunch in the shade 2

Fortunately I have the GPS track of the route in my iPhone, which helped us finding our way out of the city. All together it was a slow start if we count the kilometers.

The road was fine, not too busy and after about 25 kilometers we turned to quiet roads. But it also started to rise and rise and rise. The day that started as a mild spring day, became very hot in the afternoon (above 30 C). There was very little shade, but we found it when we needed it: to repair a flat tire and for lunch.

After 70 km’s we arrived in the very inviting village of Almadén de la Plata, where we decided to finish our tour for today. We stay in the very friendly Casa Conchia.

Via de la Plata: from Sevilla to Santiago de Compostela

From 9 to 24 May 2014 we will travel to Spain to cycle the Via de la Plata from Sevilla to Santiago de Compostela. This route is also called the Camino de Santiago. The following quote comes from a site about the Camino de Santiago:

The Via de la Plata is the longest of the pilgrim routes in Spain, starting from Seville in Andalucia, and running northwards through the provinces of Extremadura and Castilla y Leon to Salamanca and Zamora.

The Via de la Plata was used by different migratory groups to invade and in the 8th century it allowed the Moors to advance into northern Spain and fill up the power vacuum left in the peninsula by the Romans. Later, this same route was used by Spanish for the Reconquista.

The route was used for pilgrimage during Moorish control as well from the 10th to the 12th centuries. Even the bells from the Santiago cathedral that were relocated to the mosque in Cordoba by Al-Mansur were transferred back to Santiago in the 13th century. But in later centuries fewer pilgrims have used this route until its revival in the 1980s.

There is a blog post for each day and the overview map and the gpx track are on this page.

June 12, 2018
(0)
  • Author: admin
  • Created: June 12, 2018
Categories:
Route type: Distance > 100 km
Round trip: No

Copy the following HTML iframe code to your website:

  • Distance Instructions
  • Distance 1,168.00 km
  • Time 0 s
  • Speed 37.8 km/h
  • Min altitude 0 m
  • Peak 0 m
  • Climb 0 m
  • Descent 0 m

 

GPX_icon Download-link gpx route: Via de la Plata (50 downloads)

Via de la Plata map

Harwich – Scarborough – Hull

This route is part of the North Sea Cycling route. We cycled this part during spring 2010. We planned to take the ferry from Newcastle back to Holland, but we didn’t have a lot of time. So we turned around somewhere after Scarborough and took the ferry from Hull.

GPX_icon

Download link is: Harwich - Scarborough - Hull (43 downloads)

June 12, 2018
(0)
  • Author: admin
  • Created: June 12, 2018
Categories:
Route type: Distance > 100 km
Round trip: No

Copy the following HTML iframe code to your website:

  • Distance Instructions
  • Distance 502.00 km
  • Time 0 s
  • Speed 0.0 km/h
  • Min altitude 0 m
  • Peak 0 m
  • Climb 0 m
  • Descent 0 m