Via de la Plata


My feet urgently needed a day of rest and the timing was perfect – Zafra is a town with the narrow, bent streets, radiant white houses with black wrought iron fences on the balconies, Plazas with restaurants and cafes and the birds living in the palm trees chirping all day. I immediately was falling in love with this town!


Plaza Grande (used for bull fights in the 16th century) with the hotel Palmiras at the far end to the left


My hotel room was so charming that I did not mind hours of resting. But I needed new shoes. The receptionist recommended a shoe store very close to the hotel and I bought two pairs of shoes.The owner of the store and his wife were very helpful, provided a box where I could ship my barefoot shoes and other things back to Austria. The owner, Frank, even went with me to the post office and carried the box – a very warm and gentle human being. I was very grateful for his help!




Shoe store with husband and wife preparing my box for shipping


In the afternoon, I went for a short walk through the city, trying my new shoes. They felt so much better to walk in.



i could see this gothic entrance to a hospital from my hotel room




One of many narrow streets




View from the Alcazar (castle) built in the 16th century, now a luxury hotel




Inner court of the luxury hotel Parador




Defensive corridor of the former castle. I was able to walk all around, but had troubles with the stairs – it was hurtful and I had to hold on to the wall.




Every evening, I enjoyed cerveza chica ( a small beer) with the meal. Most of the time, I had troubles with the menu. I did not speak Spanish and it was impossible to use the google translator for food. For example, Revuelta de la casa was translated as “scrambled house” or 1/4 cabrito as “1/4 of a child”. This was not a country for vegetarian meals. Often, I ordered a hamburger.

Limping and still with a swollen foot, I left Zafra after a wonderful day of rest. The shoes provided a better cushion to the ground and the two walking sticks helped to ease off my weight a bit.

I hiked through a hilly countryside with olive trees. grapevines and meadows. The warm, red soil of some stretches of the path reminded me of Sedona in Arizona.




Torre de San Francisco, the remains of a monastery. It seemed that this beautiful tower on the outskirts of Zafra was not valued much.




Rows of vineyards with an old, covered well




The uniqueness of each old olive tree always fascinated me





Elegant beauty –

Not young anymore

the olive tree beside me



The remnants of an olive press




Endless red soil with grapevines




Sometimes, I found grapes still on the vine




After the rain




Approaching the town Villafranca




Two little boys using the church gate for climbing exercises in the town Villafranca de los Barros




A community project of knitting circular pads hanging near the hotel I stayed overnight




It was dark when I left Villafranca for the next town, Torremejia. I had to walk 30km with no houses in between, including a 16 km long former Roman road.  Endless vineyards and rows of olive trees stretched to the horizon. Most of the time, no other plants were allowed to grow in between the designated plants and I was reminded of the industrial exploitation of land in agriculture.  I used this toneless, unchanging landscape for my meditation practice and focused on breathing, on feeling the ground under my feet, listening to my steps and composing haikus.



Two workers harvesting olives with a tool shaking the branches. The olives are collected in the black fabric on the ground. The smaller plants are grape vines.




This is the former Roman road leading straight to the North (for 16 km).


There was almost no traffic and I walked in the middle of the gravel road for hours. At one point, I wanted to make a photo of my shadow on the street. I prepared my camera, leaned my walking sticks left and right on my hips and was ready to click, when I heard a car behind me. I stepped to the side without seeing the tiny slope, slipped and landed with my full body on the ground. The left side of my head hit the gravel and started immediately to bleed. The driver of the car stopped, said something in Spanish I did not understand and offered me a ride to the next town. I did not need it. The injury was only on the surface.


Walking the long road

with the shadow before me

breathing in and out


























Previous article
Next article
Born and raised in a village along the Danube in Austria, Traude Wild soon ventured out into the world. After a two-year program for tourism in Klesheim/Salzburg, she spent nearly a year in South Africa and Namibia. By returning back to Austria, she acquired a Master of Economics at the University of Vienna. After moving to the United States with her four children, she studied Art History at Arizona State University and stayed in the United States for fourteen years. Here, she was teaching Art History in several Universities like Webster University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. Now, she lives partially in Arizona and Vienna and works together with her husband for the University of South-Carolina, Moore School of business as Adjunct Professor organising and leading Study tours in Central Europe. She also teaches at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. Since 1999, she is practicing Zen meditation in the lineage of Katagiri Roshi. She loves to hike and to write and is a student of Natalie Goldberg. During her often many weeks long hikes she brings her awareness into the Here and Now, describing her experiences in an authentic way. She loves to walk pilgrimages. The longest hike so far was the 1,400 km long 88 Temple pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan in 2016.

Related Stories



Camino Primitivo, Day 20

 LIRES – MUXIA   Until the evening, heavy mist covered the coastline to Muxia. I was...

Camino Primitivo, Day 19

FISTERRE –LIRES   It was hard to leave the albergue this morning. I was very tempted...

Camino Primitivo, Day 18

 SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA – FISTERRE   In Celtic times and even before, Cape Finisterre was considered...

Camino Primitivo, Day 16 /17

 MONTE DO GOZO – SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA   The history of Santiago de Compostela is closely...

Camino Primitivo, Day 15

 RAS – MONTE DEL GOZO   Although my knee wanted a rest, I did not want...

Camino Primitivo, Day 14

 MELIDE – RAS   Already in early morning, masses of pilgrims where pushing forward toward Santiago....

Popular Categories



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Discover more from Simply.Just.Walking

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading