Hi Maggie, I wait for your postings too and they always make me smile… and there’s not many people who can do that, so thank you! I’m glad you posted the photo of your clothes drying on the airer as I had been concerned about how you could wash your ‘smalls’ while on the road! So far, are there any significant differences (other than the landscape) to your previous camino
Jan, I really appreciate your support and encouragement. My ‘smalls’ are actually very large – merino wool isn’t thwt stretchy and they look scarily huge when hanging out to dry.
Differences? – on the Mozarabe from Málaga to Mérida the most noticeable difference was the lack of other pilgrims. We only saw six others, and one was going in the opposite direction! Also on this stretch we passed through very few villages and towns, most stages were entirely in the countryside. Whilst I love the countryside I do like to ‘see’ how the locals live their lives, poking my nose over garden walls and chatting to the old guys. There wasn’t really much opportunity for interaction on this route.
And so far it has been a bit similar on the Via de la Plata. Long stages but many more pilgrims. Not many english – mostly French and Spanish.
I forgot to mention in today’s post (day 24) that I met a spanish guy walking his puppy. We got chatting about all sorts of things whilst the pup was scratching and biting my leg with his needle sharp teeth (just wanting attention). He admired my walking poles, and talked about where I should eat dinner. He said most pilgrims don’t want to talk but that I was ‘muy simpatica’. That’s what I like about the camino – the moments that make it special.
I was wondering about the pigs nose clip too. Perhaps a collar/leash idea when they need to gather them up or keep them together?
Sandy, I love your comments, thanks so much for taking the time. David High has answered your question – see below
David High says:
Hello Maggie,I think I can answer the question as to why pigs have rings through their nostrils,Pigs are very destructive animals and will root soil if given a chance looking for tasty roots etc,so presumably putting a ring through their snout would make rooting extrmely painful.I have known people who have rough pasture land pen pigs on it,they apparently are better at conditioning the land than a rotivator.
Thanks David. I also believe the rings are to stop the pigs causing too much damage. There are a lot of wild boar in the area where I live and although I don’t see them very often as they tend to be night creatures, but I see the damage they do to the ground. As you say, they make good rotovators!
Mary lynch commented
You make the Camino Mozarabe sound very attractive. Many of the albergues you have come to seem to be new and very under utilized. Is that because not many pilgrims come that route or is it too long and strenuous?
I was worried you’d be a bit lonely when Super George left you but you’re fine. That is my worry about walking the Camino, that I’d be on my own but not so apparently. My other worry is that I’d lose my way and be walking in circles for hours (my sense of direction is non existent) But you have reassured me that all will be well. Hope you have some Compeed for the blisters. Do you carry some books for reading in the wee small hours when you can’t sleep?
Mary, I feel I should know you as a good friend. You have made such lovely comments. Did I see that you have a base in Nerja? If so I would love to meet up some time.
The Mozárabe is definitely ‘the road less travelled’. We saw just six pilgrims in almost three weeks. Looking at the visitor’s books I counted in one place that twenty pilgrims had made entries in 2015, again mostly French and Spanish. I guess as the camino continues to grow, experienced pilgrims will look more for new and more challenging routes. It was my route of choice because it starts near to my home. Although some of the very rustic albergues left something to be desired, we were extremely grateful for whatver was available in even the tiniest of villages. These municipalities have made a great effort to provide for pilgrims, particularly considering how few there are. I think the Mozarabe is quite hard compared to the Frances and the Portuguese, mainly due to the terrain – a great deal of elevation in the first few days – and because the tracks are so remote from towns and villages.
Of course I missed George, we had become very comfortable with eachother after nearly three weeks companionship. But that is the way of the camino – I am sure we will remain friends, and he is posting in the comments occasionally to let me know where he is. We were both very grateful for eachother’s company whilst on the Mozárabe, it would have been a very lonely experience for a solo pilgrim.
I have walked in circles once on this camino – a couple of days ago when the signing was confusing, but apparently both directions would have eventually taken me to my destinstion. It is disconcerting, and the signage on the VDPL is not as good or consistent as other Caminos I have walked. Tracking my progress on GPS is useful because I can see where I have been and if it seems to be going in the expected direction. I love my gadgets
I carry compeed but hope not to need it. It is a weapon of last resort. I have not used it yet on this camino, although I was tempted on the deep heel blisters that now seem to be a thing of the past (fingers crossed). Feet ache like mad at the end of the day but are entirely behaving themselves at the moment.
I read on my iPad. Although most of my downtime is taken up with blogging.
Ralph Whittle commented
Maggie, Have you ever tried toe socks? Socks with toe coverings like a glove. They allow free movement of the toes and are supposed be good at preventing toe blisters. I bought some and have been wearing them for local hiking. Haven’t done any long distance yet. So far, I like them.
I haven’t Ralph. I don’t normally have problems with blisters between my toes. I caused them by doing something silly, but they were the sort that balloon up and burst in no time and are now a thing of the past. I know a lot of pilgrims swear by toe socks, and if one has issues with rubbing toes then I am sure they are the way to go. I do sometimes get blisters under my fourth toe and for the first three weeks I wore gel lined tubes on these toes as a precaution – no blisters and no longer using the tubes, but I still have them in case the need arises.
Hi Maggie. Did you get “fitted” for you boots,or did you buy online? What socks are you using?And what about the insoles,did you purchase or did they come with the boots ?
I do hope you don´t mind the questions.
Of course, a glass of aguardente to “sterilise” the needle and scissors is a good idea,imbibing a few more after the surgery might help with the sleep!
I’m never sure if I’m responding to Martin or Beth. I am inclined to think Martin. Please let me know.
Ok – boots bought on line. I have needed new boots for each camino. I wouldn’t have thought that I was hard on my feet but I wear the soles down every time, whilst the uppers remain in perfect condition. IF I walk another camino, I will buy boots with a much stronger sole. I can feel every stone that I pass over and as the day progresses, it hurts more and more. I should have learned by now….but next time!’
Glenys Gallagher commented
Maggie ..quick question ..if you only take an iPad how do you upload your photos ? do you have a problem charging multiple devices ? am planning for Camino Frances in June
My camera (panasonic lumix DMC-LF1 has a wifi facility and I can connect with my iPad to upload photos. I have an external charging unit that I purchased last year. It seems slightly less efficient this year – but is just about holding up.
Hi, Maggie, just a random blister comment. Have you tried the Spanish way? I find that it works great — puncture with sterile needle with some thread on the end and make an entrance and exit to the blister with the thread. Leave thread in the blister, so it keeps draining. Has worked like a charm for me. I am so enjoying your blog, thanks for sharing your camino with us. Laurie
Hi Laurie, thanks for your comment. I did try the needle and thread method on my first camino but didn’t find it very successful. I think my problem continues to be deep seated blisters at the base of my heels. As soon as the needle leaves the skin it reseals. When I tried the thread method I found the fluid ‘clumped’ and effectly sealed the exit point. Personally, the fairly brutal method of cutting the skin open with scissors seems to have been a success.
A question. I’ve noticed that your blogs are longer and definitely more upbeat when the “accumulated elevation uphill” is less than the “accumulated elevation downhill” on any specific day. I think I’m right in spotting a consistency here. Despite your stupendous uphill walking powers, do you notice less tiredness after a day of more downs than ups, so to speak?
The flower pictures are also changing variety day to day. Is this due to climate or geography, do you think? Perhaps a mix of both.
Hello my very good friend. Nothing to do with the elevation (which I quite enjoy) – more likely the length of the stage and the time that I arrive at the destinstion.
Regarding the flowers, I try not to duplicate, so there may well be loads of beautiful blooms that I have already posted and I have tried hard to ignore on later occasions. The exception is poppies and my most beloved cistus (rock rose) which I just can’t resist.
Speaking of sleeping, is your bag keeping you warm enough? I bought the same bag for my upcoming Camino in mid-September. I love the feel and weight! (Mont Bell spiral down thermal sheet weighing 430 grams). But it is SO lightweight that now I am worried that I will be cold! Do you sleep in lots of clothes, or is the bag indeed warm?
Hi Nancy. I love my sleeping bag. So far I have used it as a blanket with the foot box zipped up to keep it in place. There have been a couple of nights when I needed to top up with an albergue blanket but so far there was always one available when needed. If this had not been the case I reckon that a few extra items of clothes either on my body or on top of the bag would have sufficed.
I reckon it will be warmer in September than April, so you should be ok.
Bless you for taking the time to answer our questions! Now go buy another bottle of Cava and enjoy the rest🍷🍷🍷
Nice to read answers to questioning readers. Informative as always. Wish you continued good weather. ❤
Thank you so much for your answers ..am really enjoying your journey and your beautiful photos !
I love the Q & A because I’ve learnt so much info! Keep on truckin’ Maggie xxx
Hello Maggie,one question for you,I would love to do a Camino,but am worried at my age(late 60’s)it might be to much for me,although I think I read you met a Pilgrim in his late 70’s,so I think I have answerred my own question.Also are there any websites where I could find a walking partner.Have really enjoyed your daily blog and photos,where do you get your energy from ?
Regards,best wishes and good luck with the rest of your Camino David High(Alhaurin el Grande)
Hi Maggie. My wife and I plan to do the same walk.how easy is it to fine the way from the church in Malaga. We understand there are no signs on the first day. We live in caleta so we can start in Malaga just as you did. Enjoy the rest of your journey
Re: pigs/snouts/rings – as a former swineherd I can confirm that the rings are to prevent excess destruction of pasture. I have fitted them, they squeal like mad then get on with it. “And there in the wood a piggywig stood with a ring in the end of his nose”.
I also have an LF1 and think it’s brilliant, the WiFi is so good for blogging on the go but I also back up all my pictures to Dropbox as I go. The little electronic viewfinder is also so useful in bright conditions too.
Well done for taking the time to answer the questions Maggie. Deep heel blisters were my nemesis. So interesting to see that you are still seeking the ‘perfect’ boot after your thousands of miles. What a star you are.
Yes,it is indeed Martin. Reading you every day and always looking forward to the next post.Much warmth to you. a”nuvva”walker.
Thinking about your need for better soles on boots/ shoes,i shall tell you the following. I have always been most particular about boots and shoes from a young age. My hiking boots now number 5 pairs,as i am on my feet all day, 6 days a week and need good footwear to deal with the varied terrain on which i walk. To make a potentialy long story short i must tell you that the Ecco Biom Terrain shoes and boots have the best multiterrain soles i have encountered. The rest of the shoe is also of top class construction using Yak leather,which is much lighter and 4 times stronger than cow hide. They are expensive but far superior to most other hiking footwear.
Another possibility is the Meindl range from Germany. The English shops stock a very limited range of this brand, so you must go to German websites (Meindl boten),or Belgian sites, and see their incredible range. Forget merrel,Saloman,Scarpa etc, etc … Hope you find this advantagous at some time.
Hi Martin, just thought I would tell you that I now have a pair of Ecco boots, thanks to your recommendation. I didn’t go with the Biom style in the end as they weren’t quite the right fit, but settled on the Xpedition which are wearing in nicely – I must have walked around 200 kms in them with no blisters as yet. Only problem is, by the time I walk my next Camino they will probably be worn out. I can see that I will need second pair.