• For 2024 Pilgrims: €50,- donation = 1 year with no ads on the forum + 90% off any 2024 Guide. More here.
    (Discount code sent to you by Private Message after your donation)
  • ⚠️ Emergency contact in Spain - Dial 112 and AlertCops app. More on this here.
  • Camino Olvidado Guide created by one of our forum members

Search 69,459 Camino Questions

LIVE from the Camino A few days on the Olvidado

alansykes

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
I did the Cistierna to Boñar stage of the Olvidado a week or so ago. Quiet woodland roads, the occasional flooded section, but pretty in the autumn colours, even on a dull day. In Boñar I had to send postcards to one of my brothers and a nephew, both with Bonar as their unusual middle names. The original next stage of the Olvidado goes direct to La Robla in one short day, but I took 6 trying out the Camino Allerano variant of the Salvador, and returning on the official Salvador. Eventually getting to La Robla on Friday. A bit of a dump, but friendly and with plenty of decent options for eating and sleeping.

On Saturday I was back on the Olvidado, a nice short day to La Magdalena in the drizzle. Last time, 7 years ago, I stayed at the Santa Lucía hostal at the entrance to town. Now there is an excellent albergue in the old school just before the bridge crossing over to Canales, highly recommended. And apparently another one in Canales itself.

Sunday was glorious, bright perfect still autumn day with the camino going gently up and down mostly through forest paths, with the occasional river for company, and also a couple of convenient stops for coffee or radler, and distant views of a dusting of snow on the highest ground. Eventually you reach Vegarienza, a mountain village with both an excellent albergue and what is sometimes claimed to be the oldest restaurant in León. Just perfect. The restaurant is an experience, with the dueña being 91, and her 68 year old son as front of house. Outstanding home cured cecina de vaca. Very friendly locals. I set off a furious row about the best time to visit the valley, with enthusiasts for the fantastic golden colours of now, and one arguing for spring and early summer, and another lamenting the deep snow drifts of his youth.

IMG_20231112_115909.jpg
 
New Original Camino Gear Designed Especially with The Modern Peregrino In Mind!
I did the Cistierna to Boñar stage of the Olvidado a week or so ago. Quiet woodland roads, the occasional flooded section, but pretty in the autumn colours, even on a dull day. In Boñar I had to send postcards to one of my brothers and a nephew, both with Bonar as their unusual middle names. The original next stage of the Olvidado goes direct to La Robla in one short day, but I took 6 trying out the Camino Allerano variant of the Salvador, and returning on the official Salvador. Eventually getting to La Robla on Friday. A bit of a dump, but friendly and with plenty of decent options for eating and sleeping.

On Saturday I was back on the Olvidado, a nice short day to La Magdalena in the drizzle. Last time, 7 years ago, I stayed at the Santa Lucía hostal at the entrance to town. Now there is an excellent albergue in the old school just before the bridge crossing over to Canales, highly recommended. And apparently another one in Canales itself.

Sunday was glorious, bright perfect still autumn day with the camino going gently up and down mostly through forest paths, with the occasional river for company, and also a couple of convenient stops for coffee or radler, and distant views of a dusting of snow on the highest ground. Eventually you reach Vegarienza, a mountain village with both an excellent albergue and what is sometimes claimed to be the oldest restaurant in León. Just perfect. The restaurant is an experience, with the dueña being 91, and her 68 year old son as front of house. Outstanding home cured cecina de vaca. Very friendly locals. I set off a furious row about the best time to visit the valley, with enthusiasts for the fantastic golden colours of now, and one arguing for spring and early summer, and another lamenting the deep snow drifts of his youth.

View attachment 160067
I plan to start my walk in late March and am still wondering as a first time pilgrim whether to walk the Olvidado or the Frances. I

I started in September and got as far as Balmaseda from Bilbao, obliged to return home due to back pain . I have joined a gym club to muscle the back I plan ton successfully make it to Santiago.

Just wondering how difficult the climb is from Nava de Ordunte/Villasena de Mena to Espinosa de los Monteros and from Cervera de Pisuerga to Guardo.

Thanks for any input Since you are an old hand at the Olvidado.
 
The albergue in Vegarienza must be one of the quietest and most peaceful places on earth. Simply wonderful. And kind Estela, the hospitalera, leaves out some milk and powdered coffee and magdalenas so pilgrims can leave in the morning with caffeine and calories. Which is very necessary, as the choice is between an absurdly short day to Fasgar, where there is an albergue but no other services at all, and quite a long one to Igüeña, where there are.

So I put my headlamp on and left at 7.45am. Sadly, Saturday's bright autumn sun was replaced by teeming rain. Some of the camino follows the road, and one of the few cars gave me a friendly wave. It might have been Rosi, the energetic hospitalera of Fasgar's albergue, where I stayed 5 years ago, but my glasses were soaked by then so I couldn't see.

Something like 600m of ascent takes you up to 1640m and the 2nd highest point of the Olvidado. Yesterday, it also took me into a thick cloud. Sad: I would have given a lot to swap Saturday's bright clear sky for Sunday's cloud and rain. Coming down the 750-odd metres of descent from the Campo de Santiago was not a pleasure. It's a narrow steep path full of loose scree, and when, as yesterday, the scree is also a running stream, it's actively dangerous. I think it took me over an hour of very tentative walking to cover 2km between the chapel near the top and where the path becomes wider and safer. Utterly beautiful in the right circumstances, which yesterday's weren't.

FB_IMG_1699890872494.jpg

Eventually you hit Colinas del Campo de Martín Moro Toledano, the village with the longest name in Spain, but no bar on a Monday. The camino continues along the Boeza river, first encountered near the top. Wide and fast and still flowing through a narrow wooded valley, but no longer soaking your feet.

3fwugfcbtt0h9.jpg

The Playa bar in Igüeña, which also runs the local albergue, gets my most heartfelt thanks. I arrived wet and fairly miserable, after a little under 9 hours of continuous walking, at nearly 5pm. To my amazement, expecting a boccadillo if I was lucky, the dueña said ¿Quieres comer? and I was soon relishing a lovely mixed salad with a glass of light fruity white Bierzo, followed by a tuna steak and chips. Meanwhile she'd turned the heating on in the albergue (I was the first person to come over the mountain route in a fortnight), put out some old newspapers to help dry my shoes, and we soon settled our accounts and I got myself washed and changed. Bliss. Followed by deep sleep lulled my one of my favourite sounds - a busy mountain river in a hurry.

IMG_20231114_074835.jpg

Just wondering how difficult the climb is from Nava de Ordunte/Villasena de Mena to Espinosa de los Monteros and from Cervera de Pisuerga to Guardo.
I'm afraid I've only walked the Olvidado from a day or so before Aguilar de Campoo, so never done the first climb you mention. Cervera de Pisuerga to Guardo is no real climb at all, just a very long day (?a little under 40km?). Guardo to Puente Almuey vía Caminayo is a long day and a climb, but I shortened it by staying at Velilla del Río Carrion. There's much more, and more accurate, info in the planning thread.
 
Self-guided 4-7 day Walking Packages, Reading Abbey to Southampton, 110 kms
The albergue in Vegarienza must be one of the quietest and most peaceful places on earth. Simply wonderful. And kind Estela, the hospitalera, leaves out some milk and powdered coffee and magdalenas so pilgrims can leave in the morning with caffeine and calories. Which is very necessary, as the choice is between an absurdly short day to Fasgar, where there is an albergue but no other services at all, and quite a long one to Igüeña, where there are.

So I put my headlamp on and left at 7.45am. Sadly, Saturday's bright autumn sun was replaced by teeming rain. Some of the camino follows the road, and one of the few cars gave me a friendly wave. It might have been Rosi, the energetic hospitalera of Fasgar's albergue, where I stayed 5 years ago, but my glasses were soaked by then so I couldn't see.

Something like 600m of ascent takes you up to 1640m and the 2nd highest point of the Olvidado. Yesterday, it also took me into a thick cloud. Sad: I would have given a lot to swap Saturday's bright clear sky for Sunday's cloud and rain. Coming down the 750-odd metres of descent from the Campo de Santiago was not a pleasure. It's a narrow steep path full of loose scree, and when, as yesterday, the scree is also a running stream, it's actively dangerous. I think it took me over an hour of very tentative walking to cover 2km between the chapel near the top and where the path becomes wider and safer. Utterly beautiful in the right circumstances, which yesterday's weren't.

View attachment 160079

Eventually you hit Colinas del Campo de Martín Moro Toledano, the village with the longest name in Spain, but no bar on a Monday. The camino continues along the Boeza river, first encountered near the top. Wide and fast and still flowing through a narrow wooded valley, but no longer soaking your feet.

View attachment 160080

The Playa bar in Igüeña, which also runs the local albergue, gets my most heartfelt thanks. I arrived wet and fairly miserable, after a little under 9 hours of continuous walking, at nearly 5pm. To my amazement, expecting a boccadillo if I was lucky, the dueña said ¿Quieres comer? and I was soon relishing a lovely mixed salad with a glass of light fruity white Bierzo, followed by a tuna steak and chips. Meanwhile she'd turned the heating on in the albergue (I was the first person to come over the mountain route in a fortnight), put out some old newspapers to help dry my shoes, and we soon settled our accounts and I got myself washed and changed. Bliss. Followed by deep sleep lulled my one of my favourite sounds - a busy mountain river in a hurry.

View attachment 160081


I'm afraid I've only walked the Olvidado from a day or so before Aguilar de Campoo, so never done the first climb you mention. Cervera de Pisuerga to Guardo is no real climb at all, just a very long day (?a little under 40km?). Guardo to Puente Almuey vía Caminayo is a long day and a climb, but I shortened it by staying at Velilla del Río Carrion. There's much more, and more accurate, info in the planning thread.
Thank you. Much appreciated.
 
Leaving Igüeña at first light, the Olvidado moves relatively gently back to over 1000m, today in mixed sun and light cloud, with views backwards to what I missed yesterday. Passing the broken cross at Cercenada and on over beautiful mixed heath. The first view of the Bierzo proper is breathtaking, with its imposing wall of mountains surrounding the rich plain. Breathtaking and a little daunting, knowing you have to climb over a part of that wall in a day or so. But relatively tame compared to what you've just crossed.

IMG_20231114_113638.jpg

Sweet smelling holm oaks, occasional patches of warm wet pine, more and more chestnuts and eventually vines as you gradually move downwards. In the distance Congosto village comes into view, with the Barcena reservoir behind. 62% of capacity at the moment, but over double what it was this time last year, and 8% up in just a week.

IMG_20231114_131302.jpg

Congosto has a very comfortable little albergue just by the cemetery, entry by key code. Something like 120 of us appear to have stayed here this year. The nearby Mesón la Tueca has an outstanding menú at 12€, including a bean and clam soup to start and a really delicious whole fried bream. A pleasant quiet day to recover from yesterday's adrenalin overload.

IMG_20231114_143405.jpg
 
This route really appeals to me, and some of the places you are staying sound magical.

For the last 10+ years I go twice a year to Boca de Huergano, which is probably 30min from Guardo but a world apart. It's become my second home. They are without doubt my favourite mountains of anywhere along with the bears and wolves and other abundant wildlife. There is a Camino that runs through Boca de Huergano called the Lebaniego or maybe Vadiniense which seems to be an extension of the Lebaniego.

I need to do some more research!

Photo below is from Boca d H this Easter.
 

Attachments

  • DSC04742-2.JPG
    DSC04742-2.JPG
    3.1 MB · Views: 65
Join the Camino Cleanup in May from Ponferrada to Sarria. Registration closes Mar 22.
Another quiet day. The albergue had an expensive Krups coffee machine which, sadly, I was not competent to use, despite several attempts. So I had some instant heated in the microwave. Still better than the caffeine-free departures of several of the previous days.

The camino roughly follows the reservoir, at one point passing an impressive arboretum of specimen trees - a magnolia grandiflora with huge fruit, Aleppo pines, a cedar of Lebanon, holm oaks, cork oaks, evergreen oaks and loads of liquid amber, still in flames. And chestnuts, of course, more and more chestnuts. Then my path went down the Sil, while the Olvidado crossed the dam. I was on a very pleasant woodland walk (marked as the "senda d'en bas"), stalking the Sil downstream (on the east side of the river).

IMG_20231115_095511.jpg

And soon I was in the lovely simple preromanesque church of Santo Tomás de las Ollas. Lela (Manuela), the usual guide, unfortunately wasn't there; her replacement was another elderly lady from the area, this one quite remarkably ignorant about the building. When I gently suggested that, despite the sign outside, part of the structure was probably pre-10th century and parts later, she quickly told me that everything was 10th century, including the (clearly c1650-1700) altarpiece. And that it was the oldest church in the world. Justified enthusiasm can be charming, but usually "surtout, pas trop de zèle" is a good motto. She also told me they were going to uncover wallpaintings under the whitewash throughout the building. I do hope that bit was true.

IMG_20231115_111314.jpg IMG_20231115_111750.jpg

IMG_20231115_111540.jpg

And on to Ponferrada, bustling on its market day.
 
And soon I was in the lovely simple preromanesque church of Santo Tomás de las Ollas.
I’ve never made it there from the Olvidado, but google maps showed me that the church is only 2.2 km from the Ponferrada albergue! Next time I’m in Ponferrada, I will make sure to head there.

Alan, is there a phone number on the door, or do you just ask around for “la señora con las llaves.”?
 
It seemed to rain much of the night, but was merely spitting when I set off. Following the Camino Francés for a couple of km, before splitting off to head for the Barcena reservoir, rejoining the Olvidado.

At the Madrileña bar in Cubillos del Sil - very pilgrim friendly - Sánchez' investiture debate was being shown live on the tv, with all of the 7 people watching taking turns to shout at the partisan pundits or the politicians - some should perhaps have had more coffee with their gotas. One of the more virulently anti-Catalan men yelled "why won't Rajoy do anything about it?" while Feijóo was speaking, suggesting that the Galician accountant may need to enhance his profile a little.

The albergue at Cabañas Raras is in the "Cabaña de la Naturaleza", a large and comfortable "cabin" in the huge polígono industrial. I've slept in many albergues in strange places - a palace or two, an Inquisition prison, above a funeral parlour, in a shepherd's hut at 2000m, three bullrings, at least a couple of barns, several nunneries, in a restaurant storeroom etc - but I think this is my first industrial estate. Luckily there's a very nice café-restaurant just round the corner - the Crocodilo Negro - as otherwise it would be a 2-3km schlep into town.

By early afternoon the sun was getting strong enough for me to have to get out my battered straw hat. More importantly, the albergue had a clothesline and it was hot and bright enough to dry everything before dusk. First time in ages.

IMG_20231116_151844.jpg

Then the sun set spectacularly into what I assume must be the range around O Cebreiro, and into its dying embers the new (-ish) moon appeared, with Jupiter already bright in the east, and Saturn soon faint to the south. Must look out later and hope for some early Leonid shooting stars - probably not, as the industrial estate is lousy with bright street lamps. Not seen many heavenly bodies these last few weeks.

IMG_20231116_175734.jpg

is there a phone number on the door, or do you just ask around
Notice on the door with a map showing her house and a number to ring in case she's out.
 
Join the Camino Cleanup in May from Ponferrada to Sarria. Registration closes Mar 22.
Is there a reason why you went into Ponferrada and then back out to Cabañas Raras rather than just heading straight there from Congosto? Just curious.

I've slept in many albergues in strange places - a palace or two, an Inquisition prison, above a funeral parlour, in a shepherd's hut at 2000m, three bullrings, at least a couple of barns, several nunneries, in a restaurant storeroom
Didn’t you forget to add sleeping in the big room behind the doctor and boticario’s office in Pozalmuro? I actually pulled the mattress out into the waiting room because it was so cold in the back.
 
Some 80 of us seem to have slept in Cabañas Raras this year, the most recent at the end of October. Gloves and woolly hat needed for the beautiful clear cold frosty autumn morning, with the camino (relatively) soon leaving the main road and following a cañada real through woods and vines. Woods and vines still mostly showing their autumn colours - including vines with that intriguing near black red, but mostly gold. Really lovely in the dazzlingly bright sun - I had to dig my prescription sunglasses out when I was sitting on a convenient bench on a height enjoying a moment of perfect apricity. Looking back at the hazy wall I'd come down in a cloud on Monday, and forwards towards the smaller one I hope to climb tomorrow.

IMG_20231117_082634.jpg

At about 10am Cacabelos appeared, where the tiny stream of people who've walked the Olvidado joins the mighty river of the Camino Francés. More vines, some apparently unharvested - perhaps the recent rain arrived too late to plump them up? Pleasant undulating country, distinctly Galician architecture in some of the villages, and tomorrow's exertions becoming more clear by the hour.

IMG_20231117_114919.jpg
IMG_20231117_114513.jpg

Around 1pm I was in Villafranca del Bierzo, with a tasty glass of godello and a tapa of sopa de ajo in front of me. I probably should have carried on a few more km, but it seemed a nice place to linger and eat. And collect my handsome "Olvidada" certificate from the tourist office. I told her I'd started the Olvidado at Cistierna, but she was clearly confused by my credencial stating my "lugar de inicio" as Porto Sagunt, so decided to write in Cervera de Pisuerga instead. And when I asked her if she had any information on the Vía Künig her reply was a succint "no". So it goes.

IMG_20231117_130647.jpg

My experience was similar to George Borrow's in the 1830s, when he wrote "I walked forth into the market-place, which was crowded with people, I looked up, and could see the peaks of tall black mountains peeping over the tops of the houses. The town lay in a deep hollow, and appeared to be surrounded by hills on almost every side."

Looks like the weather may hold for a day or two, or even more.

And that was the end of my (mostly) happy days on the Olvidado.

Is there a reason why you went into Ponferrada
I wanted to see Santo Tomás de las Ollas again. Also forgot to use the ATM in La Robla so was down to the last 30€ of my emergency stash.
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
Some 80 of us seem to have slept in Cabañas Raras this year, the most recent at the end of October. Gloves and woolly hat needed for the beautiful clear cold frosty autumn morning, with the camino (relatively) soon leaving the main road and following a cañada real through woods and vines. Woods and vines still mostly showing their autumn colours - including vines with that intriguing near black red, but mostly gold. Really lovely in the dazzlingly bright sun - I had to dig my prescription sunglasses out when I was sitting on a convenient bench on a height enjoying a moment of perfect apricity. Looking back at the hazy wall I'd come down in a cloud on Monday, and forwards towards the smaller one I hope to climb tomorrow.

View attachment 160188

At about 10am Cacabelos appeared, where the tiny stream of people who've walked the Olvidado joins the mighty river of the Camino Francés. More vines, some apparently unharvested - perhaps the recent rain arrived too late to plump them up? Pleasant undulating country, distinctly Galician architecture in some of the villages, and tomorrow's exertions becoming more clear by the hour.

View attachment 160189
View attachment 160190

Around 1pm I was in Villafranca del Bierzo, with a tasty glass of godello and a tapa of sopa de ajo in front of me. I probably should have carried on a few more km, but it seemed a nice place to linger and eat. And collect my handsome "Olvidada" certificate from the tourist office. I told her I'd started the Olvidado at Cistierna, but she was clearly confused by my credencial stating my "lugar de inicio" as Porto Sagunt, so decided to write in Cervera de Pisuerga instead. And when I asked her if she had any information on the Vía Künig her reply was a succint "no". So it goes.

View attachment 160191

My experience was similar to George Borrow's in the 1830s, when he wrote "I walked forth into the market-place, which was crowded with people, I looked up, and could see the peaks of tall black mountains peeping over the tops of the houses. The town lay in a deep hollow, and appeared to be surrounded by hills on almost every side."

Looks like the weather may hold for a day or two, or even more.

And that was the end of my (mostly) happy days on the Olvidado.


I wanted to see Santo Tomás de las Ollas again. Also forgot to use the ATM in La Robla so was down to the last 30€ of my emergency stash.
Enjoy reading your posts and increasing my vocabulary. Apricity
 
I did the Cistierna to Boñar stage of the Olvidado a week or so ago. Quiet woodland roads, the occasional flooded section, but pretty in the autumn colours, even on a dull day. In Boñar I had to send postcards to one of my brothers and a nephew, both with Bonar as their unusual middle names. The original next stage of the Olvidado goes direct to La Robla in one short day, but I took 6 trying out the Camino Allerano variant of the Salvador, and returning on the official Salvador. Eventually getting to La Robla on Friday. A bit of a dump, but friendly and with plenty of decent options for eating and sleeping.

On Saturday I was back on the Olvidado, a nice short day to La Magdalena in the drizzle. Last time, 7 years ago, I stayed at the Santa Lucía hostal at the entrance to town. Now there is an excellent albergue in the old school just before the bridge crossing over to Canales, highly recommended. And apparently another one in Canales itself.

Sunday was glorious, bright perfect still autumn day with the camino going gently up and down mostly through forest paths, with the occasional river for company, and also a couple of convenient stops for coffee or radler, and distant views of a dusting of snow on the highest ground. Eventually you reach Vegarienza, a mountain village with both an excellent albergue and what is sometimes claimed to be the oldest restaurant in León. Just perfect. The restaurant is an experience, with the dueña being 91, and her 68 year old son as front of house. Outstanding home cured cecina de vaca. Very friendly locals. I set off a furious row about the best time to visit the valley, with enthusiasts for the fantastic golden colours of now, and one arguing for spring and early summer, and another lamenting the deep snow drifts of his youth.

View attachment 160067
Thanks for staying at our Casa 🏡 de Acogida in La Magdalena. Guadalupe and Alan welcome pilgrims and try to make them feel comfortable.
 

❓How to ask a question

How to post a new question on the Camino Forum.

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

This site is run by Ivar at

in Santiago de Compostela.
This site participates in the Amazon Affiliate program, designed to provide a means for Ivar to earn fees by linking to Amazon
Official Camino Passport (Credential) | 2024 Camino Guides
Back
Top