The beauty of the Via de la Plata has taken me by surprise. I was anticipating that the scenery would be like the meseta, which is to say lovely in its own way, but a bit monotonous. The first hundred kilometres of the Plata, however, have been quite dramatic. After the first day we have passed through mostly hilly terrain, with just a sprinkling of towns and villages. Near Seville the farmland was devoted mostly to oranges, but this yielded to olive groves, and then oak trees. I believe that these are cultivated to produce the acorns that are the exclusive food of the pigs that become the prized Iberico ham. There has been some road walking, but the Camino is mostly on seldom used off-road tracks, making for great walking.
Ruth and I have done most of our Caminos in the Summer or Fall, but Spring is my new favourite season to walk or cycle a Camino. The grass in the orchards and oak forests is intensely green, and the display of wildflowers is breathtaking. I am unfamiliar with most of them, but I do recognize the lavender and rosemary, both of which are growing wild in abundance. All of the other pilgrims seem to be experiencing the same sense of delight, grinning like idiots as they walk. Most prefer to walk alone to enjoy the natural environment, though there’s lots of socializing in the bars when we reach our destination for the day.