|The two credenciales that I will need for the longer |
Cami de Levante route
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|
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.
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|
|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!!|
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