Thursday, 11 October 2012

Manuel to Xàtiva and update on info on Pilgrim's Passports

The two credenciales that I will need for the longer
Cami de Levante route
What a fabulous walk today's section of the Camino was - giving me a taste of things to come when we get further into the country.  We still has sections of road, but they were far less used and often turned into dirt tracks.  There was one very busy section of road on the way into Xàtiva which was not very pleasant and there were a couple of confusing moments, one of which cost me about 20 minutes going the wrong way and having to back track - but more on that shortly.  What today did show me again, is that for all those who say they want to walk the Camino using maps alone and not using a guide book, they are likely to regret it.  The place where I went wrong was because the map was somewhat confusing - the guidebook information was correct.

I also now have the answer to a question posed in an earlier blog - what does one do if you are going to need more stamps (sellos) than there are places for in the credencial?  The Pilgrim's Passport (Credencial del Peregrino) has 40 places for stamps but on the longer routes you are likely to need more - I have calculated for the Levante route, the stops I am likely to make and for the way I am going to walk it broken up into "dog walkable" chunks - I will require approximately 56 places for sellos.  One may need more of course and you might like to collect stamps from a number of places including bars or restaurants where you stop along the route.  This is perfectly acceptable and nearly everyone has a stamp.  I asked the Amigos in Valencia if it is possible to attach additional pages, but they clearly suggested that an additional passport is suggested.  So when you are preparing for your journey - order two credenciales per person.  I got my second one in the post last week and was delighted to see that there is now a version specifically for the Cami de Levante route - with a pictoral map describing the route on one side of the credencial.  

I also started today with my official starting stamp in the first passport - from the Cathedral in Valencia.  Fabulously it indicates the home of the Holy Grail - you will see on the stamp (shown at the end of the blog) that it has written on it the Chalice of the last Supper with a lovely picture of it.  Just ask at the desk as you go in and they will direct you to the gift shop where they keep the stamp.  After today's walk, I just have that first 15km out of Valencia to do and the first 77km of the Levante route will be complete!  Thus today was a very exciting day.

Also, at the risk that readers will be bored of yet another photograph of a "dog on a train" I have included Akina making her way to the start of today's route.  I wanted to include this because I for those who have been following our progress, you can see how much more confident she has grown each trip.  I was so incredibly proud of her today as she sat serenely on the trains, on the platforms, next to busy roads we crossed and on the hectic section of busy road into Xàtiva she was as cool as a cucumber.  She was also a complete star among the many dogs we met today - quite a number of them off leash, including about 6 small ones who crowded around us when I stopped to ask an elderly gentleman if he knew where the route went.  Today she turned heads wherever we passed and in Xàtiva and at the stations everyone was admiring her and asking to come and touch her.  This was much appreciated as everyone was polite and asked first - dogs consider this good manners - and consequently she was delighted with all the attention and happy to let everyone gently stroke her.  She even nuzzled right up to one lady who adored her.

Sunlight over L'Enova
The forecast earlier in the week and even until last night had warned of storms, so I was a little concerned about leaving the dogs home alone and thought I would make a decision once I looked out at the day's weather.  Also, RR's are not lovers of constant rain and so if it has been a steady downpour, Akina might not have done this stretch today.  However, we awoke to a warm and humid morning - even at 06.30, and the forecast now showed that we should expect the weather to arrive tomorrow.  As we left L'Enova station and headed toward the town that would take us along the road into Manuel where we would pick up the route, the sunlight was golden and perfect on the town.  Akina and I remembered our route well as the station is some distance out of town and for those who might wish to walk the first part in sections using the train stops to get to each location - do make a note that the new station is at L'Enova and you have to walk some distance to get to it.  It is a straight route through L'Enova into or out of Manuel and it will bring you directly onto the Camino Route.  It is well signed from the station, but if you are leaving Manuel to catch the train to your accommodation point or back to your car, you will walk along the route L'Abad toward L'Enova and the sign for the Estación will be on your right.  It's bright yellow and you can't miss it.  Walking as we did, toward Manuel, you enter the town with one of the lovely bright, colourful signs that give the name of the town and things that you can find there on your right.  I have included the one for Manuel as these town signs also indicate that the Camino passes through them - in the bottom left you will see a stylised scallop shell.

Picking up the route where we left it on a previous occasion we headed out toward Xàtiva.  The guidebook says to leave the town, take the Avenida de la Estación but it does not explain that the railway is in fact no longer in operation and there are no tracks.  You can clearly see that it is a railway, but there are other notes about pedestrian crossings and level crossings which no longer exist.  You can see where they were but it is as obvious as it might once have been.  For example, as you leave the town the shell is clearly on the wall of the building seen below and it is giving the direction, but unless you look behind you and see the large yellow arrow which indicates where the old pedestrian crossing was, you can wander on a few metres further before you have no choice but to turn around and then you see the direction.
The shell is on the side wall - out of
shot on the right of the picture.
But this is the building you will be
standing next to as you walk - now
look behind you and head up the
ramp like road - you can see the
yellow arrow on the wall. 

This road is kind of behind you as you follow the route
and as you turn around you will see the arrow on the wall
ahead - this is the old pedestrian crossing.  The route then
goes up some little steps left from the past, on the right as
you cross over and you turn right and head along the
road and past the old station "Manuel L'Enova".  The new
station is now at L'Enova and called (what else)
 "L'Enova Manuel"

Here you can see the old railway tracks - the rails since been removed.  You will walk along the row of colourful houses shown on the left.  The building photographed above is to my right and the arrow behind me.  You will come across the old station on your right as you head down this road.  The route, clearly marked, goes around it and then you will be out onto some lovely country routes through orange trees.
The route was lovely from here as Akina could go off leash for a large part of it today so she was a happy dog indeed.  Also for me, it felt much more like the Camino I am looking forward to meeting as we enter more of the country sections of the route.  The light was stunning in the early morning and along the river and through the reeds it was much cooler, because despite the early start, today has turned much more humid again and is most likely the sign of the potential thunder predicted.  Akina is very funny - I really think she is getting use to having her photo taken and seems willing to pose anywhere I ask her.  

Akina's joy of being off leash today
A lovely track for walking

Most of the route today was like this but as we got near to Xàtiva we crossed the CV-600 and before the town had to walk some distance along it.  Do beware, this is a VERY busy road and traffic hurtles along it.  There are a couple of bridges you have to cross and there is no pedestrian walkway and lorries come quite close!  I would watch the traffic and on a number of occasions, stop and get close to the side with Akina behind me so that we did not have any chance of sticking out into the road when traffic was coming both ways and lorries could give you less room.  The sad thing is that it appears that there is (or was) a route into Xàtiva that was down tracks similar to the ones we walked on for most of today.  The map shows such a route although the guide book clearly says continue on the CV- 600 to the Plaza de Toros.  At the time I was happily following the markers and the map, not thinking for a minute that we were supposed to head off along this busy main road.  The markers also look a little like they direct the walker along a track, but this took us in a 20 minute diversion and added on a couple of extra km's.  The elderly gentleman I met explained that I could not go along the original route because of the river and there is no bridge now - so I am guessing that maybe the guidebook has been updated, but the maps that are in it and provided alongside it are still the old ones.  In fact, you can see from the photos I have taken of the map that it looks like there were two options - the Camino route is shown in yellow and where it passes along a main road, the colour of the road changes to the Camino route yellow.
My very good friend Debbie outside her hair salon in
Montague South Africa.  She has been following my
route and today walked with me in spirit.  As I thought it
might rain, I told her to bring a rain coat.  Here she is
ready for the off!

I took the upper route - a track, whereas in fact it follows the lower one - along the CV-600.  You can see where it enters the town along an industrial area - and you will actually go on a small path specially built to travel under the underpass.  Stay on the right hand side of the road and you won't miss it.  It will bring you out at the bull ring.  Head left and through a lovely shady park.

As usual the route is not so clear in town - don't follow the route with the sign that looks like a walker next to a monument, this is one of the town routes, follow the lower road as you turn into the town through the back streets and it has a kind of downward incline to it.  You will then go past the police station, where I got my credencial stamped and the scallop shell is not far from here on a wall, high above you and on the left of the road on a wall facing you.  Just follow the shells from here and take note about following the Carrer Blanc (see my blog on Xàtiva to Canals).
Route as shown on the map

Follow the CV-600!!!

Unexpected sight on today's walk!!
One of the more unusual sights of the day was a yard filled with camels just before we got into Xàtiva!  Not something I had foreseen on the walk!

Akina was great when I left her tied to a handy bollard outside the police station.  The policeman on duty at the door was great, he at first thought I should get it stamped at the church but I said that anywhere is good - church, ayuntamiento, police stations etc... and then he was happy to direct me to the secretaries.  The police were so helpful and so friendly.  The secretaries in the office said the same thing, that they thought I needed the ayuntamiento (town hall/council/town admin

My credencial so far - with the stamp proudly issued
by the police station in Xàtiva!!!  And above - Akina
in the shady park on the way into Xàtiva
office) but were all smiles when they learned that their stamp was also very acceptable and everyone seemed quite excited to have their stamp in the passport.  So I'm not sure how many call in at the police station, but I'm glad I did!  The policeman at the door said he would keep an eye on Akina but she waited so patiently while people went in and out, and a lady in a wheelchair passed by her very close through the door and she was totally unphased.  I remember as a puppy how worried she was of wheelchairs and pushchairs.  A lady walking a Yorkshire Terrier passed by while I was out of sight (I saw them a few metres ahead as I exited the police station) and she had not even raised an eyebrow.  As we turned down toward the station we passed the Bar Lleo mentioned in the guidebook as somewhere you can also find accommodation on route.  I would recommend it as I have eaten there and it is a nice place and only a few metres off the route.  The next route will be Valencia to Silla - hopefully with Michael when he arrives home - a 15km day but without the dogs as it is mostly town walking.  Then, from Canals we will be on our forward route - heading on the next stage to Santiago de Compostela!  This will be my first 20km day with two dogs and starting to get into the swing of how it will feel over the next 1128km!  


  1. Hi Tamasine! Strange how things work out as they do! I was looking for your website about your dog training as Melissa needs help with 2 boxers who are a handful, and I came across this wonderful useful blog. Fantastic as I am planning to walk, only part of, the Camino next May. Maybe we can chat on email and you can recommend the guidebook? No rush!! Viv

    1. Hi there Viv,

      I'm hoping I have the right Viv - I went to your facebook page and I'm assuming we are talking Viv from the farm at Zenzeleni? If so, I have sent a reply to your e-mail address and hopefully it will help. Feel free to chat in more detail on e-mail and ask whatever you need. Hopefully we will see you here for a visit when you come to walk your Camino!

      If you are not the same Vivien (!) just reply here and let me know there is another Viv in White River farming Macadamias and Avos and we can take it from there :-)