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Monday, 26 March 2012

Starting the Via de la Plata in Seville


The Start of our Adventure!
In September 2011 my daughter Shayne and I started out from Seville on the Via de la Plata. Ahead of us lay 978kms of walking northwards through Spain towards Santiago de Compostela.  Every good pilgrim needs credentials before setting out so we had contacted the Amigos de la Asociación de la Via de la Plata in Seville.  As we were arriving in Seville after their closing time, they told us that the Albergue Triana Backpackers,  Calle Rodrigo de Triana, 69, 41010 Sevilla or the Hotel Simon Calle García de Vinuesa, 19 Casco Antiguo, 41001 Seville could supply our credentials over weekends and when they were closed.

Shayne and I had decided to use hostels rather than albergues and because Hotel Simon could give us a comfortable first night's sleep as well as supply our pilgrims credentials we decided to stay there for our first night's stay in Seville. We had travelled up from Marbella by bus and arrived at the Prado de San Sebastian bus station in the south of Sevilla. Two minutes walk from the Estación de Autobuses Prado de San Sebastian is the Plaza transport interchange. We climbed aboard the super smart T1 tram  and glided at walking pace towards the Giralda Cathedral. There is a T1 stop at Archivo de las Indias and the next and last T1 stop on the short journey is Plaza Nueva. Hotel Simon is halfway between the two. I suggest getting off at the Archivo de las Indias stop, just before the Giralda and walking along the left hand pavement in the direction of  travel until you intersect with Calle García de Vinuesa just after the Giralda. You could easily walk from the Prado de San Sebastian bus station to the Hotel Simon but it'll be your last chance to travel with your pack on the floor and for less than €2 it's well worth it!

If you are arriving by plane and taking the Sevilla airport bus into the centre of the city, you'll also get off at the Prado de San Sebastian bus station and follow the same route as we did on the comfortable T1 tram. We actually arrived by bus from Marbella having booked our tickets online using the Los Amarillos service.

Seville's Giralda Cathedral by night.
At the Hotel Simon we were given the first room on the left on the ground floor and for a bit of fun laid our packs out ceremoniously on the beds. It was getting on in the evening and time for carb loading. We walked up behind the Giralda cathedral through the still crowded streets and stylish Sevillanos to a pizzeria I had eaten at before. If you would like to treat yourself to good food in pleasant surroundings before setting off and you are staying at nearby Hotel Simon then Restaurante Pizzeria San Marco will be a good choice. It's not more than five minutes from the hotel, tucked away behind the Giralda in Calle Mesón del Moro, 6, 41004 Sevilla Tel:  954 21 43 90.  With lots of little side rooms and an attentive staff, we had a tasty, filling meal finished off with cold beers. Shayne suggested a glass of Pacharan. Sharing the start of such an adventure with my daughter was a very special experience and made it a memorable evening. The traffic rumbling past our window on the cobbled street outside did nothing to disturb our sleep.

Where we got our first Credentials Stamp
The next morning as we checked out we were pleased to learn that by staying at the Hotel Simon and collecting our credentials there we were being given a special "Pilgrim's Discount." Paying €2 each for our credentials at the reception desk we had to state if were travelling on foot, by bicycle or on horseback. Our receptionist suggested we went to the Giralda Cathedral to get the first  stamp in our pilgrim's passport.

We left our packs in our room and walked around the corner to wait with the other early morning worshippers at the  Avda Constitución side entrance to the cathedral. The security guard that you see on the left of the photo taken inside the cathedral told us to wait until the end of the mass and then kindly took us into an inner room through the black door that you see to the right of the cathedral explaining to the priest that we wanted our credentials stamped. The priest did so and wished us ¡Buen camino!

978km to go!
Our route out of Sevilla took us past the Hotel  Simon again and after picking up our packs from our room we stopped to pose in front of the door. It was a lovely day, already warming slightly but we were fresh, happy and we were off! If you'd like any information about travelling into Seville or need suggestions,  write to me in the comments box in the blog below. We'll be back on the Via de la Plata  in May 2012 and I'll be happy to pass on my experiences so far. The link below will take you with us on Day One as far as Guillena.

Day One Seville to Guillena

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi,
We are going on June from Fuengirola to Seville and would like to go by bus. I have looked over the pages but haven´t found anything else than route Malaga to Seville. What would you suggest? We would like to reserve the tickets via internet because we know our timetable.

best regards,
Päivi from Finland

Mike Drury said...

Hello Päivi, thank you for checking in all the way from Finland. I used the Los Amarillos bus company to travel from Marbella to Seville twice last year. Although they share the route with the Avanzabus company, you can only book online with Los Amarillos. I'll give you the address below.

You'll see that there on the timetable for April there are two services from Fuengirola to Seville, one at 08.50 arriving 13.00 and the other at 16.05 arriving 19.45. The cost is €20.32 Avanzabus actually show a third service leaving at 11.00 but as they can't offer online booking, I would take one of the two Los Amarillos options above. (Hmm Päivi, I've just checked for June and you can actually only book one month ahead.)

When you do book, after selecting your departure time, when you get to the purchase page don't bother to register as a user, just click on the DATOS PARA ACCEDER SIN REGISTRARSE box on the right and put in your name, email and passport details before going on to the payment page. I printed my booking confirmation copy and showed it to the driver but he didn't bother to check any details.

You can choose your seat but as the route originates in Malaga, don't be surprised to find someone sitting in your seat. Ask them to move and wave your paper at them. My daughter did just that! If you like mountain views, sit on the left of the bus to get the best of the section between Marbella and Ronda where you get a coffee and loo stop. If you are travelling in the afternoon sit on the right of the bus, you'll have the westerly sun coming in on the left. It's a great journey whatever time of day you do it!

Copy and paste this into your browser: www.losamarillos.es/venta/busqueda.jsp

I hope this helps you Päivi, best wishes from Marbella, Mike

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your info.
Great and sunny days to Marbella!

Päivi

Mike Drury said...

Hi Päivi, thank you for writing back, you are very welcome. Quite possibly there will be a couple more daily services when you book at the beginning of May. Carry a water bottle with you when you get here in June! Have a great trip. Mike

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike, I am traveling to Marbella in June 2014, and would like to reserve bus tickets for Marbella to Sevilla and also Marbella to Granada on different day.But after checking the Avanzabus and also Los amarillos, I cannot find Marbella as origen point, there is none other than another town named Antequera, etc. Please help me find out that there are bus service from Marbella to Sevilla and Granada, if I cannot reserve,at least I can try to buy them one earlier or very early in the morning the same day.Thank you

Mike Drury said...

Hi there, thank you for writing in. Well done on checking out Avanzabus and Los Amarillos. It is ridiculous but some very popular routes just cannot be booked online. It is to do with different bus companies which do not share the same online booking technology. Welcome to Spain. Please give us a few more years to get the show on the road.

I'll paste in a link to buses from Marbella. Both the routes you mentioned can be booked once you are at Marbella bus station. If you can get to the bus station the day before, all the better. You'll have to copy and paste the link into your browser.

www.avanzabus.com/web/archivos/base/File/Horarios/Portillo/Horario-de-autobuses-de-Marbella.pdf

Check out the timetable and please write back if I can help further.

Best wishes Mike

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mike for the timetable, that helps planning my trip immensely. I shall definitely try to get to Marbella bus station one day earlier to purchase tickets. But your sense of humor make my day(and surely many of your website fans)when you said "give us a few more years". Spanish lay-back style I guess! Regards and yours truly, Michael Yau.

Mike Drury said...

Hi Michael, thank you for writing back. I always appreciate it. Yes, I don't really want Spain to change, it would lose its charm if it became another faceless European country. But sometimes and especially to do with bus timetables, why can't we be more like the Swiss or the Germans? I hope you enjoy your stay Michael and feel free to ask any more questions. Best wishes Mike