Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Dear friends and followers,

This is not a good day for me as I have just received the news that my beautiful daughter-in-law has been taken to hospital with a collapsed lung. Hopefully Karen is in good hands and will recover quickly. Tomorrow is her daughter Charlotte´s 4th birthday, which is a very important day for the family. Tomorrow is also Katie´s birthday .... Happy Birthday Charlotte and Katie. Get Well Karen.

Caceres to Casar de Caceres
I will not trust my guidebook again, Cole/Davies, Walking the VdlP, it is full of errors and leads me wrong again. I believe it was Lillian who posted updates and I thank her for that. Cole/Davies write that the first 6 kms out of Caceres is the most horrible stretch of the Via de la Plata, walking along the busy highway. So I jumped in a taxi, lo and behold, there is a new path out of Caceres, a lovely wide sandy path that I could only look at as I sped by. Cars are not permitted to stop along the highway so I had to be let off at the roundabout. What should have been a beautiful walk was spoiled. However, the rest of the way into Casar de Caceres was spectacular especially along the tree lined boulevard. Torta de Caceres is a wonderful warm sheep cheese dish ... ooh, lovely.

I was given the key to the Albergue by the Barman at Restaurante Majuca and had first dibs at a bed, so chose back of the room on a lower bunk. It is a well appointed albergue and totally free, they will not take a donation. WOW! The Barman at R. Majuca is a happy cheerful man who likes to tease and be funny, made for a wonderful stay in this little village. Again I did my washing, with my one on, one off, I have to keep up with clean clothes. 20 pilgrims in the albergue this night. Also 4 cyclists who were at first refused beds, then at 6:30 were given mattresses for another room. I always feel sorry for the cyclists especially if they have come a long way and are deadbeat, just like walking pilgrims, however they must wait till all walking pilgrims are given a chance to arrive.

I met a lovely lass from California who is cycling the VdlP and will then cycle back to Granada. She simply decided that this is her time so she gave up her job, booked her ticket, and here she is in Spain. She was continuing on for another 50 kms or so (Galisteo).

Dinner at R. Majuca was excellent, although I am getting tired of patatas fritas as the only vegetable ... K8 you better get over here.

Casar de Caceres to Lago Tajo
Walked on the next day to Lago Tajo and stayed at Hostal LindaMar. Linda and Martin are ex KLM flight attendents who started this nice private albergue. Good thing about private albergues is that they allow reservations so you can walk that day knowing that you have a bed for the night. This 22 kms did me in, the first 15 kms were okay, mostly along a sandy path with up and downs, beautiful views, cuckoo´s, birds of prey, fragrant wildflowers, and the big blue sky. Then comes hell. 7 kms along the road or the alternative, steep, rocky, up and downs beside the N630 (the main highway the VdlP follows). About 1 kms before the camino comes down to meet the highway I wanted of the rocky stretch so took the opportunity when I saw a small path to the road. Walking along the road is hot and horrible but at least the pavement is flat. I saw the others on top of the hill and called out to them. They dropped their packs and started running to help me ... I felt so bad causing them to panic. Oops, I yelled that I was on the road, it was a relief as they thought I had fallen. Dinner at Hostal LindaMar was a wonderful soup but followed by a not so nice brocolli-cheese dish, then yoghurt for dessert. After dinner we sat outside until it was too cold. So much for the HOT Extremadura.

I have a hole in my sock, worn away by my sandals, uh oh. My USA socks shrank in Teresa´s washing machine to kiddo size, small, so small that I could not get them on. So, I am down to two pairs, now really only one. I will get socks in Spain. My best walking socks, as Garry knows, came from Ponferrada. For non pilgrims what do I do, well I simply put tape on my foot where the hole is until I get a new pair of socks. Problem solved.

Lago Tajo to Canaveral
I could not walk so Martin drove me to Canaveral and we took the others packs in the car. It gave them a nice day of walking. It is only a short walk but with a very steep climb, 11-12 kms depending on the book. Here, on the advice of my book, the Internet, and Caroline, we all had reservations at Hostal Malaga which proved to be an experience. Caroline tells me that Lillian named Alfonso, the manager of H. Malaga, Mr Grumpy, and it is easy to see why. He scowls around the place grumping all the time. He plops your order (food or drink) in front of you, maybe without knife, fork, or napkin, then he comes back and just plops those in front of you. The Bar is dark and dirty but the dining room and rooms are clean, sparse one star stuff but clean.

The four German women and I decided to take the bus to Salamanca the next day. I knew that I needed to get to a clinic for treatment. Carolina needed treatment and the other three simply needed to rest for awhile to give their various ailments a break. The four men are walking to Salamanca and going well, they should be here on Friday night.

While waiting for the bus Mr Grumpy came out and accused me of not paying for my accommodation, food, or drinks. Excuse me Alfonso, but you are not the only person who takes the money at your establishment. He puffed off swearing that I was getting away with it ... but folks, I did pay my bill and would not hand over more money and double up, not me.

May 1, 2, and 3 happens to be a holiday weekend in Salamanca (if not the country) and there are Fiestas (celebrations) planned. All two and three star accomodation is taken and only four star accommodation is available. However, we want to see the festivities so are sharing expenses and will be here to enjoy the celebrations.

I went to the Clinica San Marcos yesterday and was treated with injections in both knees so hopefully this will help, along with the break from walking with a pack. I want to walk ... I will walk!

I am still having trouble with getting into my email, but will respond to any emails as soon as I can. My next chance at Internet could be tomorrow. Then the next city with Internet will probably be Astorga (where we meet Andree on May 20).

Thanks again for the comments, the SMS messages, the email that I can´t read, and the telephone calls. All these communicatons give me encouragement, thanks.

Thanks also for following me and please put Karen in your thoughts and prayers.



  1. Dear Luiza

    Lovely to hear more of your progress, though the bit about the knees sounds sinister -- here's hoping those injections fix the problem!

    Very sorry about Karen's illness. Best wishes for a speedy recover, Karen, and love to all the Karners. Also happy birthday to Charlotte & Katie!


  2. Hi Andree,

    Thanks for the good wishes for all. Knees will get better after a clue from Kees. All is well and I will place another Blog page after this response. Your excitement level must be rising and soon it will be the month that you leave for Spain.


  3. Thanks Luiiiiiiza & TAD for the birthday wishes
    Praying alot for all...and washing my hands even more than usual with the Swine Flu scare here....not to panic!!! Feeling so blessed with so many good wishes...cannot imagine where all the years have gone that I have been here on earth....cheers one and all and happy pain free walking my dear dear FRIEND

  4. Just now reading your blog and found my name mentioned twice so far. Come on, Mr Grumpy!! At least you did not stay in his free albergue. It is free, which is nice, but dirty! Yuk. But I slept well. Glad you enjoyed the Via. I loved it.

  5. Dear MermaidLilli,

    When Caroline told me your name for the man in Canaveral it seemed appropriate, I could not resist using it. Mr Grumpy was horrible to me with the accusation of non payment for the room.

    I did not know they had an albergue there, or maybe I was in too much knee pain to even think of alternatives, just wanted to rest.

    The Via is delightful and one day I shall go back and walk from Canaveral to Salamanca. You wrote to me before leaving for Spain that I would love the Via .... I did, thank you.