Flechas

Within 15 minutes of starting out on my first day on the Via de la Plata, I became lost. On the second day leaving Guillena I became lost. And so it went for the next two weeks as I became lost virtually every day. I complained about my problem to other, more experienced, pilgrims and their only advice was, "Follow the flechas [the yellow arrows], not pilgrims." In practice I adopted another approach - Follow Germans, they have a better guide book for the VdlP and know where the are going. In the dark early morning hours leaving a town I would seek out a group of German pilgrims, lag behind and follow them. Every 100 meters they would stop under a street lamp, read their guide book and walk on. Once we reached the farm roads on the outskirts of town, the flechas were more prominent and I could find my way.

By the fifth week I realized I had not been lost in several weeks. I had begun to trust the Camino and use intuition as a guide. There were even times when I thought the Spirits were helping me nudging me to wake up when I was in danger of missing a turn. I was never seriously lost after that.

Pictures of various markers on the Camino.

flechas

From bottom to top - 1). A hito found in the province of Extremadura. The Arco de Capara is on top with a yellow arrow through the arch pointing the way. 2). A typical stone marker with a flecha. 3). A flecha painted on a stand pipe.