Via de la Plata

From Carcarés to Oliva Plasencia


The first stage after Carcarés was a short day and brought me to a pleasant little town with a long alley of palm trees in its center. I also stayed in a very nice new hotel where I could rest for the next long day of hiking. I got up at 4:30am in the morning and enjoyed the breakfast I bought the day before in a grocery store. It was dark when I walked through the alley where uncountable birds were sleeping. When I walked by, I woke them up and they lifted up into the sky with a loud rustle and lots of cheeping and twittering.




A brilliant night sky with sparkling stars was expecting me after I left town and I decided not to turn on my head lamp. At one point, a  shooting star crossed the sky and I was just in awe about the beauty and grandeur of this scene. After the sun was rising above the horizon, grasses and leaves were covered with morning dew, glittering in the sun like the stars during he night. I was in awe again!



The pilgrimage route followed the former Roman road and I saw a lot of Roman milestones just standing or laying beside the street.





Not used anymore

the ancient Roman milestone

covered by thick moss






I passed one of the largest damned up lakes of Europe, the Embalse de Alcántara.






This day I walked 37.8 km with 62.974 steps and arrived in Cañaveral after 12 hours of walking. I am a slow walker.



The only snail I met during my entire pilgrimage. It carried a peculiar house with a ring on its top – it could have been a bird poop or a ring of straw. The snail was not disturbed by my presence. I felt a connection to this slow being.


The walk the next day was nearly as long, but was leading me through a gorgeous countryside full of green meadows, cork oaks, herds of goats and sheep and required continuous opening and closing of animal gates.






Cork oak trees after its bark was harvested (the red paint protects the trunk)




One of many gates. Each gate had a different device for opening and closing it.





One time, I passed a herd of sheep guarded by two huge dogs. When I arrived, they jumped over the wall and ran towards me. I did not know if they were aggressive or friendly and was quite worried. They pushed me from behind and from the side and I was fully aware of my vulnerability. Luckily, they were friendly.



Every herd of sheep is guarded by at least one dog


I arrived in Galisteo in the evening and was planning to stay in a simple Albergue, but nobody was there. I called and the hospitaliero told me to get the key (it was in a box) and wait for him, which I did. There was only one room with beds and one bed was taken. A black sleeping bag was carelessly laying on it. I took a shower and was waiting and waiting, but nobody came. I had not a good feeling staying alone with a stranger and decided to book a place in the pilgrim hotel Parador. When I left, two pilgrims just came through the door, one of them was Paul from Canada. I had met him briefly on the day of my fall. He saw my purple eyelid and showed me with a big smile his new tooth gap. He had lost his two front teeth by biting into something hard and had to stay in the hospital for two days.



Galisteo is surrounded by a city wall, Muralla Almohade, built in the 9th century by the Arabs. The tower you see in the distance was part of the Alcázar (castle). The town itself is not so romantic anymore. When I checked into the hotel Parador, I met a young woman called Laura. We immediately connected. She gave me a very helpful tip for the next couple of days of hiking. I was very concerned, as my guide book suggested a distance of over 40km a day. “Make a detour”, she said. “Walk about 30km to a village a bit off the route and return to the path the next day, walking “only” 30 km each day. I followed her advice.




When I left the hotel the next morning for the village Oliva Plasencia, the countryside was covered by innumerable dew drops. The glittering and sparkling was magical.




Puente Medieval crossing the Rio Jerte




Looking back to Galisteo from the medieval bridge




I passed many storage buildings for drying wheat. However, most of them were in ruins.


Soon the landscape changed and for many hours I followed a path through an enchanted land. On spring green meadows in between oak tress and moss patched erratic boulders, cattle, sheep and goats were peacefully gracing. Birds were chirping in the trees and inner and outer silence was surrounding me. It could not have been better. However, this changed radically when I started to walk on a street leading to the village.













I had to walk about 7 km on a street with heavy traffic and felt so vulnerable. Cars were rushing by and with each car I thought – I could be like a fly on a window shield if the car hits me. In order to focus and not become too concerned about my safety, I constantly repeated the sentence of the day in my mind ” May I be filled with compassion for others and myself”.  When the sun had disappeared behind the horizon and it started to become dark, suddenly a car stopped in front of me. It was a couple who offered to take me to the next town. I was overjoyed and agreed. They brought me to the bed and breakfast place I had booked and even carried my backpack to the entrance door. There, I met Laura again who just came back from dinner. I was overjoyed and so grateful!



The couple giving me a ride.




Beautiful Laura with her charming smile in the bed and breakfast place of Oliva Placencia.

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