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A longer option for O Barco to A Rua

peregrina2000

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How about a 24 km, 600 m elevation gain alternative? @Charrito started this whole thing by pointing out that there is a very interesting, abandoned old Pazo on the other side of the river from O Barco. I started searching and found that I could combine to Wikiloc trails to make a 24 km alternative.

It was great, except maybe for the six or 7 km on the side of a very unraveled road at the end (I counted three cars).

First, you go on a very nice trail to the Pazo Arnado. Through lots of very small vineyard plots. Had a nice chat with a man who was working in one of them. Then up high to a 30 m waterfall which was really beautiful. From there up-and-down on beautiful dirt paths with gorgeous views. Is very well marked and very well maintained.From the town of Correxais, there was a beautiful long walk along a ridge, looking down on the dam, the river, and the extremely elongated town of A Rua. It was definitely not the direct route, but then that was not the point. I do think, though, that those last kilometers on the road would be a slog in the hot sun.

I crossed the river into A Rua on the pedestrian Roman bridge in Petín. I’m sure the current bridge is not Roman, but the millario right next to it is genuine, I was told. And as soon as you cross the bridge, there is the Pension Fabio a favorite of some forum members

I was very careful to take lots of pictures, so that you could judge for yourself if you are interested. The pictures are all on my Wikiloc tracks, which I’ve linked below.


 
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Train for your next Camino (or keep the Camino spirit alive) on Santa Catalina Island
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Looks beautiful, especially the waterfall! The landscape is so pretty and green.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Laurie, you never cease to amaze me - not least because of your technical skills. (This is the person who persuaded me to use WhatsApp and, eventually to buy a smartphone.) The Wikilocs thing is brilliant (old-time map & compass guy here) and looking at your photos, I'm itching to go back. Looks like you had brilliant weather. The first time I walked into A Rua it was hitting 40° and I had Covid. I went back last year and finished the journey. IMO, the Invierno is easily the best bit of the whole Camino on the Spanish side.
 
Laurie, you never cease to amaze me - not least because of your technical skills. (This is the person who persuaded me to use WhatsApp and, eventually to buy a smartphone.) The Wikilocs thing is brilliant (old-time map & compass guy here) and looking at your photos, I'm itching to go back. Looks like you had brilliant weather. The first time I walked into A Rua it was hitting 40° and I had Covid. I went back last year and finished the journey. IMO, the Invierno is easily the best bit of the whole Camino on the Spanish side.
Well, @Glenshiro, I’ve been following your Invierno lodging recommendations and have forced myself 😀 to up my game above standard pilgrim fare on a few occasions!
 
Interesting alternative. I looked it over in Wikiloc and by using the Open Street map view I see there is a parallel trail just north of yours called the Camino Arnado. It too goes to Correxais and then returns on your recommended trail.

It’s easy to get waylaid in Wikiloc with all the possibilities.

 
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The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
What about shortening the previous day to even out the stages a bit?

Instead of the Gronze stages:

Médulas - O Barco de Valdeorras (27.2km)
O Barco - A Rúa de Valdeorras (12km)

How about:

Médulas - Sobradelo (19km)
Sobradelo - A Rúa de Valdeorras (20.2km)

Gronze lists two accommodation options for Sobradelo. One (A Pontevella) is pricey (€89+) but the other (Bar Mar) has pilgrim rooms, although Wise Pilgrim notes that reports are mixed.

For those with Invierno experience, should we consider Sobradelo instead of O Barco as an overnight stop?
 
For those with Invierno experience, should we consider Sobradelo instead of O Barco as an overnight stop?
That's what I did. Las Medulas - Sobradelo - A Rua.

reports are mixed.
Politely said.
'A bit grungy' is more direct. I put it down to the place being under construction but that was 5 years ago and apparently it still is.
But I'd do those stages again.
 
For those with Invierno experience, should we consider Sobradelo instead of O Barco as an overnight stop?
I really like O Barco. The malecón, river walk, is a magnet for residents. Lots of cafés, playgrounds. In good weather, throngs of young-uns will be out at a spot on the river where there is some white water — kind of body surfing along and whooping it up. Lots of good restaurants, big choice in accommodations and all services if you need anything (I once got my Altras sewed up by the local shoemaker, who put everything aside to take care of me).

Sobradelo is fine, has enough services to keep you going. I haven’t been in the Bar Mar accommodation but have heard those same mixed reports. The Centro Social stopped serving food (across the road from Bar Mar) and it was, IMHO, a better option than what I got a Bar Mar.
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
I really like O Barco.
Good points. O Barco certainly sounds like the nicer overnight option, but if we do that plus your two-day Valle del Silencio opening, that will be three 27km days to start with, which is a bit more than we’d prefer. Though I guess the 12km next day is almost a rest day!
 
It’s easy to get waylaid in Wikiloc with all the possibilities.
I know that others think my method is crazy, but when I decide to go off-camino and take a detour, I always have three or four options for the day’s stage on my wikiloc offline list. That helps enormously since I can flip back and forth if things get complicated, because though I know that every track I’ve got downloaded will get me from starting point to ending point, at crucial points it may make more sense to take one route over the other based on trail condition,etc.
 
but if we do that plus your two-day Valle del Silencio opening, that will be three 27km days to start with,
There are wonderful ways to cut the two-day Valle del Silencio option into three. My favorite would be Ponferrada to Peñalba, Peñalba to Monastery, Monastery to Médulas. That would give you shorter days and lots of time to explore around Peñalba — to the cave, up in the hills, etc.

When you’ve got this figured out, give us your stages and we’ll jump all over them.

Are you tight on time?
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
There are wonderful ways to cut the two-day Valle del Silencio option into three. My favorite would be Ponferrada to Peñalba, Peñalba to Monastery, Monastery to Médulas. That would give you shorter days and lots of time to explore around Peñalba — to the cave, up in the hills, etc.
Ooooooo. Now you're talking. 2 seemed unattainable given this aging body.
 
When you’ve got this figured out, give us your stages and we’ll jump all over them.
Ha, might have it figured out by the time we arrive in Santiago!

Are you tight on time?
Not exactly, we have 13 walking days.

This is my rough plan though I'm in the very early stages of looking into it and haven't gone through the planning thread properly yet:

1 - Ponferrada - Montes de Valdueza 27km
2 - Médulas - 27km
3 - O Barco de Valdeorras - 27.2km (Or Sobradelo, 19km)
4 - A Rúa de Valdeorras - 12.0km (Or 20.2km if coming from Sobradelo)
5 - Quiroga - 26.5km
6 - A Pobra do Brollón - 22.9km
7 - Monforte de Lemos - 12.5km (or Piñeiro, 24km, but Monforte is a main destination)
8 - Chantada - 30.4km (or if from Piñeiro, 18.9km)
9 - Rodeiro - 25.4km (famous for bread)
10 - Lalín - 21.9km
11 - Dornelas (Casa Leiras) - 27.8km
12 - Deseiro (Reina Lupa) - 17.5km
13 - SdC - 12km

As you can see it's the two-day Valle del Silencio followed by Gronze stages until the merge with the Sanabrés. We would prefer to avoid staying in Silleda-type places (or Silleda in particular) in favor of more rural options in the last 100kms. We stopped for a drink at the Italian-run Casa Leiras in Dornelas on the Sanabrés and would have loved to stay there so I'm trying to include it this time, plus I wrote Reina Lupa in my notes but I don't remember why!

There are wonderful ways to cut the two-day Valle del Silencio option into three. My favorite would be Ponferrada to Peñalba, Peñalba to Monastery, Monastery to Médulas. That would give you shorter days and lots of time to explore around Peñalba — to the cave, up in the hills, etc.
That sounds enticing but then we'd have to make up a day elsewhere. I suppose a long final day Dornelas-Santiago would be the most obvious way to do that.
 
plus I wrote Reina Lupa in my notes but I don't remember why
Because Carmiña & Bruno are awesome humans, they run a comfortable albergue with everything you need, good food too, and a quick hike into Santiago in the morning.
Looking forward to your Invierno. I’m planning a very similar course in October using Laurie’s great finds.
I like staying at Bar Mar in Sobradelo because Manuel is such a good guy, your laundry gets done, the food is good also.
Have you considered a stay at the newish Albergue de la Xunta in Diomondi? I have different tentative stages towards the end, may skip sleeping in Monforte, though I want to explore it’s Jewish parts on this Invierno.
Edit:
  1. Ponferrada-Montes de Valdueza 27k
  2. Las Medulas 24k
  3. Sobradelo 19k
  4. A Rua 20k
  5. Quiroga 26.5k
  6. A Pobra 23k
  7. Vilariño 27k or Diomondi 35k
  8. Chantada 16.3 or 8.3
  9. Rodeiro 25k
  10. Lalin 22k
  11. Bandeira 24k + (detour to Mosteiro Carboeira & waterfall)
  12. Deseiro 24k
  13. Santiago 10k
 
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€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
7 - Monforte de Lemos - 12.5km (or Piñeiro, 24km, but Monforte is a main destination)
8 - Chantada - 30.4km (or if from Piñeiro, 18.9km)
Eeek, 30 to Chantada?
That might normally be fine, but climbing out of the Miño valley at the end of a day that long would not be fun.
Lunch in Monforte then to Piñero?
Edit: I stayed at Vilariño and loved it, and it's not that much farther. Lots to see there, between the river views and the Castro and museum - but rural and very quiet.
 
Because Carmiña & Bruno are awesome humans, they run a comfortable albergue with everything you need, good food too, and a quick hike into Santiago in the morning.
Thanks!

Have you considered a stay at the newish Albergue de la Xunta in Diomondi?
Not yet, I’ve only just started some basic planning but I’ll keep it in mind.

I have different tentative stages towards the end, may skip sleeping in Monforte
The short stage into Monforte is not ideal but if it’s a good place to explore, maybe we should make it a priority.
 
The short stage into Monforte is not ideal but if it’s a good place to explore, maybe we should make it a priority.
Monforte is a nice town, a big town, and I did a short stage there because I had reservations in the parador and wanted to explore the city more. I wound up not going on the Escolapios tour (El Greco will never be a huge motivator for me, and the rest just didn’t seem so compelling). I had bad allergies at that point, so it was nice to have a nice place to chill. But for me, and this is just me, if it were between Monforte on the one hand, and either Torre Vilariño (castro, museum, 6 km loop to the miradouros) or Diomondi (loop to miradouros on the way, albergue in episcopal palace attached to romanesque church), I would take one of the latter two. If you get to the albergue in Diomondi after its opening time (hospitalera is there from 1 pm onward), you can get inside the church even if you don’t stay there. I wound up walking from Monforte to Chantada again this year — I had been planning to stay in the albergue in Diomondi, but when I got there, I decided to continue on down to Belesar and then on to Chantada because the forecast for the next day was awful. Going down to Belesar and up on the other side in really bad weather is to be avoided at all costs. I did finally get inside the church, though, which had been a goal of mine. It was awesome. Crossing the Minho is a high point of this camino, IMHO, so I would jiggle things around to make that as ideal as possible.

p.s. Jungleboy, shouldn’t I move all these posts and make them a separate thread?
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
It was great, except maybe for the six or 7 km on the side of a very unraveled road at the end (I counted three cars).
We are thinking about your alternative for tomorrow. Instead of that final stretch on the road, what about this?

Side Note: In his new guide, John Brierley describes a route from O Barco along the other side of the river (Option B Camino Natura) that sounds quite nice. If that route was taken, the main route would be rejoined by crossing the suspension footbridge above at Penouta.

In the screenshot below, @peregrina2000’s alternate tracks are in blue, the camino is in red, and my yellow drawing is how to get from one to the other across the Penouta bridge. This way you still get the highlights of the alternate route (eg the palace and waterfall), but not the road part. Thoughts?

IMG_8671.jpeg
 
Nick, I’m hoping to walk this way in October following Laurie’s Wikiloc tracks. A little further there is a dam that looks passable and takes you across the river at Valencia do Sil to the Camino. See below.
 

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€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Looks good. You will miss the medieval arched bridge and the recently unearthed Roman milario in Petin, but I think it’s an improvement. How do the distances compare?

When I walked there were people out working their little family vineyard plots. Mostly between the pazo and the falls. All very chatty. Lots of opportunities for Wendy to speak galego. And not the kind you hear on the tv news!
 
Looks good. You will miss the medieval arched bridge and the recently unearthed Roman milario in Petin, but I think it’s an improvement. How do the distances compare?
I haven’t really tried to figure it out but either of these other two bridges must be shorter as your way loops almost past A Rua and back.
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
I haven’t really tried to figure it out but either of these other two bridges must be shorter as your way loops almost past A Rua and back.

I know you don’t use wikiloc but if you get a distance tally, plunk it in this thread. The “pasarela de Penouta” is reported as being a little “detoriado”, but it looks fine. And it’s always more fun to walk on a pedestrian bridge than a bridge with cars.

From the little village of Correxais, you would descend on the same road to either bridge, until your yellow track breaks off onto an off-road option. I remember that Correxais to Valencia do Sil and the dam was about 4 km. I had planned to do that until I found the other option on the local trails.
 
We did it and loved it! Thank you @peregrina2000 for the idea. We took @El Cascayal suggestion and crossed at the dam.

These are the distances from my health app on iPhone. It tends to underestimate by about 5% but even so it was well under 24km.

From Pensión O Lar in O Barco:

Pazo - 4.1km
Waterfall - 6.8km
Miradoiro - 7.8km
Correxais (church) - 11.3km
Dam - 14.9km
A Rúa albergue - 17.6km
 
Is very well marked
To elaborate on this, from shortly after crossing the river at O Varco to Correxais the path is well marked by not one but two different trails: the Ruta de Santa Campaña (yellow/white) and the Camino Natural Via Nova (red). The first of these, in particular, is very well marked and leads to the waterfall (called A Pincheira on the signage) and then to Correxais. From Correxais down to the river and across it to rejoin the camino there was no signage but this part is straight-forward (in way-finding, although not directionally as it’s mostly a switch-back!).

Example of the signage:

IMG_8680.jpeg
 
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