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LIVE from the Camino A short walk from Madrid

2020 Camino Guides

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
NOTE this thread continues later as https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/a-short-walk-continued.51788/
May 4 2017
Day 1 Madrid to Tres Cantos 28km
Hola. I started in the Iglesia of Santiago y Juan Bautista in Madrid yesterday and am now in Tres Cantos. I've put 'short' in the title as I am only going as far as Valladolid on this occasion. My plan had been to go to Sahagun and Leon and then Salvador to Oviedo, and then recalibrate with my remaining time.
But my 90 year old mother is having cataract surgery, so I will go 'home' for a bit of postoperative shopping and cooking. It was fun the last time about three years ago. :)
I started in Dublin at 0345 for 0615 flight to Madrid. Then took Metro to Ópera and definitely time for breakfast. A five minute walk to Santiago church, arriving 1130. Worth having a street map or you'll find you are using up battery v quickly on phone with Google maps!
Nice church and welcoming sacristan who provided credencial and expressed amazement that I intended to reach Tres Cantos in the afternoon. I'm not certain how much was due to the distance and how much to the physical specimen in front of him!
I stayed for Mass at 12, increasing the congregation from 4 to 5. And received a solitary solemn pilgrim blessing which seemed the right way to start.
I set off and wanted to check out the nearby (1.8k) church of Comendadoras de Santiago mentioned in CSJ guide. Closed! Access only with hard hats so I presume being renovated. No useful informative notice to be seen. No matter it was in right direction. I already said you need a map. I was fleeced for €7 buying one in a bookshop.
Make your way to majestic Paseo de Castellana and just keep going. Up past Santiago Bernabeu stadium and on to Plaza de Castilla with leaning towers and most importantly the reassuring appearance of flechas amarillas. If you need water, now is the time to buy it.
Thereafter follow arrows to get rather quickly out of city and a way which is at times a dusty gravel track, a track alongside motorway or highway or railway, and cycle track. Do not rely on Google maps. The track you are on is not recognized as a road. You would need wikiloc or maps.me or similar. But it is very well waymarked and you don't really need a map.
It was very very hot, and late afternoon not my best walking time. And I don't believe I got lost, but my watch said 28km to Tres Cantos hostel. More than I anticipated. I'll check my track later but I certainly never had to be backtrack.
A long long long day from 0345!
Shower.
Sleep.
Headed out at 9 (the advantage of hotel and not albergue!) for nice supper in smart modern city, teeming with pavement restaurants. I had 'secreto Ibérico' - I'm not telling you.;)
All is well!
A good start. Mass and blessing. I love cities but live deep in the country so walking through centre was a treat for me. If you don't, you might want to get Metro out part of the way. Interestingly passed a lot of stations I had passed through on Metro from airport that morning.
I have been learning Spanish since Christmas but my mainstay of conversational practice has been talking to myself while driving or running. Very pleased that people seemed to know what I was saying and didn't want to revert to English immediately.
I have met no other pilgrim.
Right now heading for Manzanares El Real.
 
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kardisa

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - Leon to Santiago (2015)
Camino Madrid/Salvador/Primitivo (2017)
Looking forward to reading your updates, as I will be setting off from Madrid (and onto the Salvador) in 24 days. :)
 

poogeyejr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte, May 2011
Norte, Sept 2013
Started the Frances, 2017
Have a good sleep and Buen Camino!
 

walkmag

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
leon to Santiago (2006),
SJDP to Santiago (2009)
Porto to Santiago (2010)
Minturno to Rome (2012)
Siena to Rome (2012),
Fidenza to Siena (2013)
Lausanne to Fidenza (2014)
Bilbao to Ribadeo Sept (2015)
CMD Maybe (Sept 2016)
Day 1 Madrid to Tres Cantos 28km
Hola. I started in the Iglesia of Santiago y Juan Bautista in Madrid yesterday and am now in Tres Cantos. I've put 'short' in the title as I am only going as far as Valladolid on this occasion. My plan had been to go to Sahagun and Leon and then Salvador to Oviedo, and then recalibrate with my remaining time.
But my 90 year old mother is having cataract surgery, so I will go 'home' for a bit of postoperative shopping and cooking. It was fun the last time about three years ago. :)
I started in Dublin at 0345 for 0615 flight to Madrid. Then took Metro to Ópera and definitely time for breakfast. A five minute walk to Santiago church, arriving 1130. Worth having a street map or you'll find you are using up battery v quickly on phone with Google maps!
Nice church and welcoming sacristan who provided credencial and expressed amazement that I intended to reach Tres Cantos in the afternoon. I'm not certain how much was due to the distance and how much to the physical specimen in front of him!
I stayed for Mass at 12, increasing the congregation from 4 to 5. And received a solitary solemn pilgrim blessing which seemed the right way to start.
I set off and wanted to check out the nearby (1.8k) church of Comendadoras de Santiago mentioned in CSJ guide. Closed! Access only with hard hats so I presume being renovated. No useful informative notice to be seen. No matter it was in right direction. I already said you need a map. I was fleeced for €7 buying one in a bookshop.
Make your way to majestic Paseo de Castellana and just keep going. Up past Santiago Bernabeu stadium and on to Plaza de Castilla with leaning towers and most importantly the reassuring appearance of flechas amarillas. If you need water, now is the time to buy it.
Thereafter follow arrows to get rather quickly out of city and a way which is at times a dusty gravel track, a track alongside motorway or highway or railway, and cycle track. Do not rely on Google maps. The track you are on is not recognized as a road. You would need wikiloc or maps.me or similar. But it is very well waymarked and you don't really need a map.
It was very very hot, and late afternoon not my best walking time. And I don't believe I got lost, but my watch said 28km to Tres Cantos hostel. More than I anticipated. I'll check my track later but I certainly never had to be backtrack.
A long long long day from 0345!
Shower.
Sleep.
Headed out at 9 (the advantage of hotel and not albergue!) for nice supper in smart modern city, teeming with pavement restaurants. I had 'secreto
Ibérico - I'm not telling you.;)
All is well!
A good start. Mass and blessing. I love cities but live deep in the country so walking through centre was a treat for me. If you don't, you might want to get Metro out part of the way. Interestingly passed a lot of stations I had passed through on Metro from airport that morning.
I have been learning Spanish since Christmas but my mainstay of conversational practice has been talking to myself while driving or running. Very pleased that people seemed to know what I was saying and didn't want to revert to English immediately.
I have met no other pilgrim.
Right now heading for Manzanares El Real.
 

walkmag

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
leon to Santiago (2006),
SJDP to Santiago (2009)
Porto to Santiago (2010)
Minturno to Rome (2012)
Siena to Rome (2012),
Fidenza to Siena (2013)
Lausanne to Fidenza (2014)
Bilbao to Ribadeo Sept (2015)
CMD Maybe (Sept 2016)
Very enjoyable reading about day 1 .
Cheers
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
May 5 2017
Day Two
Tres Cantos to Manzanares El Real 33km
(a) Tres Cantos to Colmenar Viejo 16.7
Woke gently to the sound of other residents in Hotel having breakfast (but it was after 6 am) and slightly ominous sound of rain. Strange arrangement of room which had a window but no natural light. It looked into a laundry area. Breakfast, and by then still raining so decided to rest more and write.
My problem getting out arose from previous evening. I had walked all afternoon without real break in big heat and by the time I got close to Tres Cantos was flagging a bit, walking next to highway. I passed first footbridge and when I reached second, Google maps showed I could cross and walk up through the town. As I needed a bottle of water, that's what I did. But it meant I didn't know how to get out.
It's a large city dating from 1971. Well laid out with cycle paths and LOTS of trees. At the same time a bit soulless, and not many people to be seen.
I called into monumental ayuntamiento for a sello. And failed to ask directions. I followed my nose a bit, and Google map, and got to the railway lines and autovia which need to be crossed. Several abortive attempts. I called into police station where friendly policeman came out and looked and shook his head and said, rather like the mythical Kerryman [other counties are available] when asked for directions 'well if I were you I wouldn't start from here!' He said I could cross on the road bridge. Which I did, using hard shoulder. I was still lost though in that I couldn't find path. I was in an Industrial area.
That's when I learned how to use wikiloc which took about 90 secs. I had GPS track from @Undermanager. All solved. I walked back alongside main road and saw the HUGE Eurostar Hotel, an unmissable landmark at the point of the third footbridge which should have brought me in the night before. 5km on the clock for a 1km journey. I think that was my warm up for the day.
Uneventful walk then to Colmenar Viejo. Well waymarked. Fine big church - inevitably closed. Sello from ayuntamiento and salad in the plaza.
The way out is back up the left side of ayuntamiento uphill.
Total pilgrims met - 0.
Amount of Spanish spoken - quite a bit to policeman, and road sweeper.
First lesson - the same for every Camino - it is always astonishing that you can be physically exhausted and a night's sleep makes it go away! Obviously different if injured. But our bodies are designed for this. :)
Second Lesson. Google maps can be very misleading for a walker. But I don't want to dismiss it completely. When I got lost on Baztan Route last October they were splendid at navigating tracks through fields, and saved me backtracking 5 or 6 km. Payback time I guess.
Third Lesson - learn how to use wikiloc or maps.me before leaving home!
The noise of birdsong on the path almost deafening, in a good way. Millions of poppies. A meandering river crossed half a dozen times at ford / stepping stone yet. Smell of something nice - wild garlic?
 
Last edited:

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
May 5 2017
Day Two
Tres Cantos to Manzanares El Real 33km
(b) Colmenar Viejo to Manzanares El Real 16.3
Beautiful afternoon. Left about 2.30 after lunch. What could go wrong? Well waymarked path. Very largely downhill, very stony. A good workout for ankles. Difficult with varifocals which I eventually removed though that means I can't see watch! Rained then in that way where you think it won't be too much but eventually it is. Then hay fever came on. In the rain? Yes! Required 'stuff'' is in side pocket of bag, which is now under rain cape. Eyes streaming. Eventually retrieved and all well.
Where am I staying in Manzanares with no albergue? I'm staying with Ray and Rosa. I came across rayyrosa.com by chance. Huge informative website, chronicling their 27 Caminos. Some with their daughter, now grown up. One on Ingles with 3 generations together. Etc etc. Great photos. Detailed walking instructions. And this
http://www.rayyrosa.com/casa-de-acogida-la-encomienda


Look at the bottom of the page. That note about the closed albergue in Manzanares is from Ray y Rosa themselves. I had texted from Ireland and arranged to stay with them. Just a little unsure whether this was a good idea! It was.
One last diversion, after crossing the Embalse I followed the arrows religiously and they bypassed the town centre where we were due to meet, and got me back out on the road to Cercedilla. Another interesting bit of Spanish practice confirmed this. But a call to Rosa brought salvation in the form of a car. Another few kms extra.
A beautiful couple. 'Mi casa, tu casa' 100%. No, 110%. They could not be kinder nor more interesting, nor more interested. A beautiful house with a stunning view over lake. We chatted non stop. They put up with my Spanish patiently. Beer and snacks then supper. All clothes washed and dried by Rosa. All cooking done by Ray. We share an interest in photography and discussed Adobe products and 'HDR' in Spanish. They checked the albergue in Cercedilla for me on phone. We compared experiences and talked about future of Camino in general.
We are going to walk 5km tomorrow together, then they will turn around and go home.
The perfect example of two people giving back to Camino.
Donativo. Obviously in holiday times they are often walking, but when they are there, they are there.
One of those extraordinary and unpredictable and unforgettable Camino experiences. The contact details are on that link. They continue to offer their house, in the absence of an albergue. I'm not sure how many could stay. I'll ask at breakfast.
Total pilgrims met - 0 (apart from Ray y Rosa). A bici passed me who MIGHT have been a pilgrim?
I am absolutely enjoying the solitary walking.
 
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Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Sanabres (2018) Frances reverse(2018)
May 5 2017
Day Two
Where am I staying in Manzanares with no albergue?
You bring back happy memories of similar hospitality extended to my son and I in Manzanares. We made enquiries about the albergue from a guy in the town bar, and he took us to his home for the night. A great start to a Camino.
 

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Sanabres (2018) Frances reverse(2018)
And if I'd been on that bici I assure you I would have said hello and buen Camino. Enjoy.
 

irishgurrrl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept/Oct 2012
Camino Finisterre Oct 2012
Le Puy Route (Le Puy-en-Velay to St Jean Pied de Port) April/May 2014
[Kilimanjaro Sept 2014]
Le Puy Route (Le Puy-en-Velay to St-Chely d'Aubrac) May 2015
[Stevenson Route, France - April 2016]
The Way of St Francis (Sansepolcro to Assisi) May 2016
[The West Highland Way, Scotland - Sept 2016]
[The Kerry Way, Ireland - March 2017]
Next up:
Camino Primitivo (Oviedo-Lugo) end April-mid May 2017
[Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal -- October 2017]
May 4 2017
Day 1 Madrid to Tres Cantos 28km
Hola. I started in the Iglesia of Santiago y Juan Bautista in Madrid yesterday and am now in Tres Cantos. I've put 'short' in the title as I am only going as far as Valladolid on this occasion. My plan had been to go to Sahagun and Leon and then Salvador to Oviedo, and then recalibrate with my remaining time.
But my 90 year old mother is having cataract surgery, so I will go 'home' for a bit of postoperative shopping and cooking. It was fun the last time about three years ago. :)
I started in Dublin at 0345 for 0615 flight to Madrid. Then took Metro to Ópera and definitely time for breakfast. A five minute walk to Santiago church, arriving 1130. Worth having a street map or you'll find you are using up battery v quickly on phone with Google maps!
Nice church and welcoming sacristan who provided credencial and expressed amazement that I intended to reach Tres Cantos in the afternoon. I'm not certain how much was due to the distance and how much to the physical specimen in front of him!
I stayed for Mass at 12, increasing the congregation from 4 to 5. And received a solitary solemn pilgrim blessing which seemed the right way to start.
I set off and wanted to check out the nearby (1.8k) church of Comendadoras de Santiago mentioned in CSJ guide. Closed! Access only with hard hats so I presume being renovated. No useful informative notice to be seen. No matter it was in right direction. I already said you need a map. I was fleeced for €7 buying one in a bookshop.
Make your way to majestic Paseo de Castellana and just keep going. Up past Santiago Bernabeu stadium and on to Plaza de Castilla with leaning towers and most importantly the reassuring appearance of flechas amarillas. If you need water, now is the time to buy it.
Thereafter follow arrows to get rather quickly out of city and a way which is at times a dusty gravel track, a track alongside motorway or highway or railway, and cycle track. Do not rely on Google maps. The track you are on is not recognized as a road. You would need wikiloc or maps.me or similar. But it is very well waymarked and you don't really need a map.
It was very very hot, and late afternoon not my best walking time. And I don't believe I got lost, but my watch said 28km to Tres Cantos hostel. More than I anticipated. I'll check my track later but I certainly never had to be backtrack.
A long long long day from 0345!
Shower.
Sleep.
Headed out at 9 (the advantage of hotel and not albergue!) for nice supper in smart modern city, teeming with pavement restaurants. I had 'secreto
Ibérico - I'm not telling you.;)
All is well!
A good start. Mass and blessing. I love cities but live deep in the country so walking through centre was a treat for me. If you don't, you might want to get Metro out part of the way. Interestingly passed a lot of stations I had passed through on Metro from airport that morning.
I have been learning Spanish since Christmas but my mainstay of conversational practice has been talking to myself while driving or running. Very pleased that people seemed to know what I was saying and didn't want to revert to English immediately.
I have met no other pilgrim.
Right now heading for Manzanares El Real.
I didn't realise you are also on Camino! Buen Camino to you. The CM has just come on my radar so maaaaybe one for the next couple of years.

PS... If you have an iPhone, MotionX GPS is brilliant as you don't need wifi/internet just satellite. Great for navigating cities and countryside. I originally got it for the Way of St Francis in Italy as its notoriously badly marked in places. I don't find it heavy on battery so it might be worth considering if you're looking for a more battery friendly alternative to Google maps.

Safe and happy hiking and Buen Camino! :)
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
I didn't realise you are also on Camino! Buen Camino to you. The CM has just come on my radar so maaaaybe one for the next couple of years.

PS... If you have an iPhone, MotionX GPS is brilliant as you don't need wifi/internet just satellite. Great for navigating cities and countryside. I originally got it for the Way of St Francis in Italy as its notoriously badly marked in places. I don't find it heavy on battery so it might be worth considering if you're looking for a more battery friendly alternative to Google maps.

Safe and happy hiking and Buen Camino! :)
That's interesting as I'm finding battery life an issue a bit on oldish iPhone 6s. I've only just discovered low power mode which helps a bit.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
May 6
Day Three
Manzanares El Real to Cercedilla 21km
A nice easy day after wonderful sleep at Ray and Rosa's. No bed race here so we had breakfast admiring the view over reservoir (which provides water to Madrid) in brilliant sunshine at 8am.
At 9 all three of us got in car and we drove back to the point I had reached (after the village) the night before. And I have to admit, in the interests of full disclosure, about a further 600 metres!
Then the three of us walked to Mataelpino, about 5km, where the next albergue is. Ray and Rosa turned back home then.

A new experience completely - walking a stretch of Camino with two people in their 'own backyard' who know every ridge and peak, every tree and flower and bird, and all the folklore. And people who love it all passionately. We didn't talk all the time we listened to the sounds too. I learned names of flowers retama is broom, jara is rock rose, romero is rosemary. Is it easier to talk Spanish walking than sitting? It seemed so! Fantastic unusual rock formations in mountains and still a good bit of snow to be seen high.
We were sad and happy at our parting.

I didn't see the albergue in Mataelpino but a nice little village.Many many recreational mountain bikers along the trail much of which in national park. Ratio of males to females on mountain bikes during day - 68:1 (personal observation). Plenty of women trail runners though.

It's about another 8 to Navacerrada which sort of pops up out of nowhere. Wide trail most of the way. I saw one of the most tranquil people I've ever seen. An old old man wrapped up in overcoat and big hat while the sun was blazing and temp in 20s sitting on step of his tumbledown house (with beautiful clay tiles) keeping watch over his free range hens. I desperately wanted to take a photo, but it didn't seem right. I waved. He nodded. We both continued.

Navacerrada plaza bustling with lots of bars etc. Coffee and tostada y tomate went down well and as it got hotter a beer wwith warm 'pork scratchings' big and chunky. They are called torreznos I think. I'm about 95% non meat eating at home, but "When in Rome......" These would have converted a vegan!

Walk back from the square the way you came in to find road onward. A very short sharp shock steeply uphill for 1km appropriately enough on Calle de Calvario and then a gentle downhill to Cercedilla. It's about 5 or 6 km. Very busy town with loads of bars and big supermarket on main road. I was continuing to Youth Hostel another 2 or 3 km. You keep following arrows, cross railway line and seem to be out of the town then you come to railway station and town starts all over again!
No one I asked knew anything about the whereabouts of the hostel but it is on the main road as you climb out. A bit further than I was expecting, on the left. It's called Villa Castora. Confusingly there is another one about 1.5 km further again on right.
It's huge, modern, clean and bright. No kitchen but a dining room. I got a twin room en suite for €20. I'm not sure if I would have had to share if it were full. Sheets provided. Dining room with canteen style cena at 8:30pm. Breakfast not until 9am ( the land of mañana!) so I had packed picnic breakfast which was unexciting. Coffee from vending machine. Accommodation super. Food unexciting. No alcohol. You could go up the hill or back down for a bar or restaurant. I didn't bother. You can book but I didn't. Rosa rang from Manzanares El Real the previous night and we were told it wasn't necessary. It has perhaps 100 beds but only about 25 there.
Main advantage is it cuts nearly 3km off next morning's stiff hike to Puerto de Fuenfria and for this it is worth it. Otherwise Navacerrada looked a nice place to stay, though albergue is in polideportivo, almost the first building on left as you enter town, so would add on a further 1k in morning.
Total pilgrims met since Madrid - 0
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Loving these posts! They are bringing back a lot of memories.

Just to say that the link you posted to Ray y Rosa doesn't seem to work.

I agree completely about the albergue in Cercedilla. There has been a fair amount of confusion on the forum about the two albergues outside of town (in addition, I think the polideportivo in town opens to pilgrims). So I've pasted in an older post about the albergues.

The youth hostel Villa Castora is on the left as you ascend from town. The second one is Las Dehesas, on the right. Both are run by the Comunidad de Madrid (the Greater Madrid government). And both are on a road with the name of "Dehesas" so that may add to the confusion. Both are open to pilgrims.

Here's the website for the one on the left, the Villa Castora
http://www.madrid.org/cs/Satellite?..._FA/JUVE_alojamiento&rootpageid=1152517028736

And the one on the right, a bit further up, Las Dehesas
http://www.madrid.org/cs/Satellite?cid=1142322453978&language=es&menuIzquierdo=true&pageid=1142322433572&pagename=PortalJoven/JUVE_Alojamiento_FA/JUVE_alojamiento&rootpageid=1152517028736.

I do think reservations are wise, though. These youth hostels sometimes fill up with school groups. My memory was that Villa Castora saved some private rooms off to the left for pilgrims. Did you get one of those, Tim?
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Loving these posts! They are bringing back a lot of memories.

Just to say that the link you posted to Ray y Rosa doesn't seem to work.
Thanks, yes!
I've checked the link and I think it somehow defaults backwards... I'll see what I can do on original post when I get to a computer.
If you get to Etapa 2 of their Madrid pages and then go to alojiamentos from that page it says at bottom of page:


Albergues:
  • Albergue Parroquial Virgen de Peña Sacra. CERRADO EN LA ACTUALIDAD
  • Casa de Acogida La Encomienda. Es nuestra casa de acogida; al encontrarse cerrado el albergue Parroquial de Manzanares el Real en la actualidad, y no haber posibilidad de encontrar alojamiento para peregrinos en este final de etapa a un precio razonable. Te ofrecemos nuestro hogar como casa de acogida. Dispondrás una habitación con cama doble para ti, ó para ti y tu acompañante; ducha, cena y desayuno, lavado de ropa etc; además podrás compartir con nosotros una tarde en esta preciosa localidad de la sierra de Guadarrama. Si nos necesitas llámanos al (+34) 645 908 079.
 
H

HighlandsHiker

Guest
May 6
Day Three
Manzanares El Real to Cercedilla 21km
A nice easy day after wonderful sleep at Ray and Rosa's. No bed race here so we had breakfast admiring the view over reservoir (which provides water to Madrid) in brilliant sunshine at 8am.
At 9 all three of us got in car and we drove back to the point I had reached (after the village) the night before. And I have to admit, in the interests of full disclosure, about a further 600 metres!
Then the three of us walked to Mataelpino, about 5km, where the next albergue is. Ray and Rosa turned back home then.

A new experience completely - walking a stretch of Camino with two people in their 'own backyard' who know every ridge and peak, every tree and flower and bird, and all the folklore. And people who love it all passionately. We didn't talk all the time we listened to the sounds too. I learned names of flowers retama is broom, jara is rock rose, romero is rosemary. Is it easier to talk Spanish walking than sitting? It seemed so! Fantastic unusual rock formations in mountains and still a good bit of snow to be seen high.
We were sad and happy at our parting.

I didn't see the albergue in Mataelpino but a nice little village.Many many recreational mountain bikers along the trail much of which in national park. Ratio of males to females on mountain bikes during day - 68:1 (personal observation). Plenty of women trail runners though.

It's about another 8 to Navacerrada which sort of pops up out of nowhere. Wide trail most of the way. I saw one of the most tranquil people I've ever seen. An old old man wrapped up in overcoat and big hat while the sun was blazing and temp in 20s sitting on step of his tumbledown house (with beautiful clay tiles) keeping watch over his free range hens. I desperately wanted to take a photo, but it didn't seem right. I waved. He nodded. We both continued.

Navacerrada plaza bustling with lots of bars etc. Coffee and tostada y tomate went down well and as it got hotter a beer wwith warm 'pork scratchings' big and chunky. They are called torreznos I think. I'm about 95% non meat eating at home, but "When in Rome......" These would have converted a vegan!

Walk back from the square the way you came in to find road onward. A very short sharp shock steeply uphill for 1km appropriately enough on Calle de Calvario and then a gentle downhill to Cercedilla. It's about 5 or 6 km. Very busy town with loads of bars and big supermarket on main road. I was continuing to Youth Hostel another 2 or 3 km. You keep following arrows, cross railway line and seem to be out of the town then you come to railway station and town starts all over again!
No one I asked knew anything about the whereabouts of the hostel but it is on the main road as you climb out. A bit further than I was expecting, on the left. It's called Villa Castora. Confusingly there is another one about 1.5 km further again on right.
It's huge, modern, clean and bright. No kitchen but a dining room. I got a twin room en suite for €20. I'm not sure if I would have had to share if it were full. Sheets provided. Dining room with canteen style cena at 8:30pm. Breakfast not until 9am ( the land of mañana!) so I had packed picnic breakfast which was unexciting. Coffee from vending machine. Accommodation super. Food unexciting. No alcohol. You could go up the hill or back down for a bar or restaurant. I didn't bother. You can book but I didn't. Rosa rang from Manzanares El Real the previous night and we were told it wasn't necessary. It has perhaps 100 beds but only about 25 there.
Main advantage is it cuts nearly 3km off next morning's stiff hike to Puerto de Fuenfria and for this it is worth it. Otherwise Navacerrada looked a nice place to stay, though albergue is in polideportivo, almost the first building on left as you enter town, so would add on a further 1k in morning.
Total pilgrims met since Madrid - 0
Tim, did I miss your "bovine story"? Glad you're having good experiences - will hope to hear how you like Segovia. My sister spent a summer there when young.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Loving these posts! They are bringing back a lot of memories.


I do think reservations are wise, though. These youth hostels sometimes fill up with school groups. My memory was that Villa Castora saved some private rooms off to the left for pilgrims. Did you get one of those, Tim?
That's helpful clarification on the YHs. I was surprised it was relatively empty at a weekend and was relieved they had bed, though Rosa had rung night before to check. I'm not sure if I got 'special pilgrim treatment'! It was one bed in a twin ensuite. €20, on the same floor as everyone else.
The second one would shorten the climb even more next morning and make an excursion to the hotel at the top of the road, Casa Cirilo, more feasible.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Tim, did I miss your "bovine story"? Glad you're having good experiences - will hope to hear how you like Segovia. My sister spent a summer there when young.
It's coming.....still settling my nerves. Right now in Segovia in "Tapas Street" (Infanta Isabel) Having (1)Cerveza and pulpo and (2) Cerveza and anchovies. Segovia really beautiful and interesting and small enough to walk around the centro.
 
H

HighlandsHiker

Guest
It's coming.....still settling my nerves. Right now in Segovia in "Tapas Street" (Infanta Isabel) Having (1)Cerveza and pulpo and (2) Cerveza and anchovies. Segovia really beautiful and interesting and small enough to walk around the centro.
Well, maybe "liking" wasn't the best response....hopefully that bad patch will look a little better after Cervezas, pulpo and anchovies....
 

Nika.S

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Madrid
Thanks, yes!
I've checked the link and I think it somehow defaults backwards... I'll see what I can do on original post when I get to a computer.
If you get to Etapa 2 of their Madrid pages and then go to alojiamentos from that page it says at bottom of page:


Albergues:
  • Albergue Parroquial Virgen de Peña Sacra. CERRADO EN LA ACTUALIDAD
  • Casa de Acogida La Encomienda. Es nuestra casa de acogida; al encontrarse cerrado el albergue Parroquial de Manzanares el Real en la actualidad, y no haber posibilidad de encontrar alojamiento para peregrinos en este final de etapa a un precio razonable. Te ofrecemos nuestro hogar como casa de acogida. Dispondrás una habitación con cama doble para ti, ó para ti y tu acompañante; ducha, cena y desayuno, lavado de ropa etc; además podrás compartir con nosotros una tarde en esta preciosa localidad de la sierra de Guadarrama. Si nos necesitas llámanos al (+34) 645 908 079.
I'm walking this way in July and just wanted to send you a huge, HUGE thanks for taking the time to write your posts! They are so useful!
Much appreciate!
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Thanks Nika. It's a wonderful route. I'm sure you are following @Undermanager and @Magwood here too. My only regret is that they are too far ahead for me to meet them on the way!
And that I have to finish next weekend.
But until then I'll
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
May 7
Day 4
Cercedilla to La Granja de San Ildefonso 25.2 km
On this etapa there was a bovine incident to which I refer elsewhere.
Breakfast not until 9am at the albergue juvenil so I had arranged for a 'picnic' breakfast, which was a little unexciting. The only place to get coffee is from a vending machine. Keep a few coins handy €0.40 but you could probably get change from the desk which is (wo)manned seemingly at all hours. It has to be, because they keep your credencial until you return your key card.
Absence of coffee was not a deal breaker for this very comfy place, but it could be for some. You cannot use kitchen.
Turn left out the gate and keep going up. And up. And up. You pass a closed restaurant on left. Then a second albergue juvenil on the right. Then a restaurant San Cirilo (?) (closed) then the road ends, you enter a national park and then walk on or parallel too original Roman road.
On Sunday morning many dozens of cyclists, walkers, fell runners, climbers. It looked like a national convention of Lycra wearers. And me.
The road is going up to a pass, El Puerto de Fuenfria. The Roman road linked Segovia and Madrid. It got steeper and rougher (though obviously there must have been an easier (but longer) cycle track nearby. The path marked as Camino is impassable for cycles in many stretches. It suddenly got steeper and I reckoned I had over 2km still to climb, by my GPS. Then very suddenly I was in a clearing with signs and shade etc. I had forgotten to subtract the extra 2.5km from Cercedilla to the youth hostel from my estimate. A VERY happy mistake. I stayed half an hour, chatting to a young girl from Bilbao, who was climbing.
After that it is gentle down hill all the way. I was planning to take variant from main route to Segovia via Valsaín and on to La Granja. I want quite sure where the turn was going to be. The path is through pine forests, very shady. Lots of interpretative signs along the way. After about a km there is confusing double arrow and the road splits, but they seem parallel. The one on the right drops quickly. The one in the left marked C.R. is the one I took. I'm guessing there's no difference. You come to an important ancient Fuente after a while with lots of information. We are in an area of royal palaces and hunting lodges of old.
10km from Fuenfria I took a break. This is where the bovine incident referred to elsewhere occurred. From here downward the land opens out and there are a lot of free (not wild) cattle around, with much tinkling of bells.
I reached a big sign in a field from which you could easily make out Segovia about 10km away to the left and Valsaín much nearer to the right. And in retrospect I know you could see a spire of something from the Real Sitio at La Granja. The Camino was clearly marked, but I veered right and followed my nose really into Valsaín.
After the bovine incident I needed a break and decided on lunch there. It was about 2 and I only had another hour of walking.
El Argentino looked inviting. Beautifully laid terrace about 120 seats and only 4 eating. But they were 'full'. Because.......it was Spanish Mother's Day and the families were on their way! I did get fed there, as explained in the Bovine Incident. I cannot recommend that restaurant highly enough if you find it open.
From there pass over the bridge and turn left and follow path on side of 'main' road to La Granja. An hour or so - I am a brisk walker.
I had booked at Camino de Lis. They came and opened up when I phoned on arrival. Beautiful restored albergue a stone's throw from the palace. 34 beds. Great facilities. Very welcoming.
One pilgrim!
Total pilgrims met since start - 0
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Breakfast not until 9am at the albergue juvenil so I had arranged for a 'picnic' breakfast, which was a little unexciting. The only place to get coffee is from a vending machine. Keep a few coins handy €0.40 but you could probably get change at from the desk which is (wo)manned seemingly at all hours. It has to be, because they keep your credencial to you return your key card.
Absence of coffee not a deal breaker for this very comfy place, but it could be for some. You cannot use kitchen.
Tim, you might consider membership in the Electric Coil Club. There is a special going on right now, we will waive all membership fees. :p https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/the-electric-coil-changed-my-life-on-the-camino.19167/

I always feel like the odd guy out at a Spanish gym or on a hike. They LOVE their lycra! Buen camino, Laurie
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
May 8
Day 5
La Granja de San Ildefonso to Segovia 12km
I would really recommend a visit to La Granja. A very pretty town and lots to see. And loads of bars, cafes and restaurants at all prices. And Camino de Lis a great place to stay. It is the spiritual home of' 'judiones', which I would call 'butter beans' I think. Bigger apparently betteBit

Next morning for breakfast....well you have a great kitchen to start with. If you want to go out - it was a very sleepy town at 0830! But, turn right from albergue to little square. As you enter it, (less than 100m) the building on your left is the Mercado. It has a very quaint bar within - worth a visit. But opposite in the plaza you will see a frutería and next to it Bar Castilla which looks closed.....but it is open, serving food.I had the great pleasure of directing a Spanish couple suffering from caffeine deprivation.

The road to Segovia is along 601 main road. Not too busy and a wide senda for walking. Shade from chesnuts for first few kms but then not. You pass a lake and soon come straight into Segovia. You won't see the aqueduct until you are almost upon it.

Great city with loads to see and do. You may want to eat suckling pig. There's a great street for tapas off Plaza mayor.

I stayed in Hostel Duermevela 2 mins from aqueduct, in the 'new town', ie before the aqueduct. Upmarket hippie vibe, which I mean completely as a compliment. Very comfortable and clean. Beautiful hand-drawn sello, and hospitalera will recommend an alternative way out for the morning without going back through centre, which was extremely pleasant, counterclockwise around city, along river. Impossible to get lost.

A great rest day.

Total pilgrims met over five days - 0
 
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timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
May 9
Day 6
Segovia to Añe 23km
'The Day I Felt Like Henry Morton Stanley'
(Most people think he was American, but he was born in North Wales, not too far from my home town of Liverpool, even if it's another country. His story is very interesting and a bit controversial. There was a hospital in St Asaph until 2012 which bore his name, having formerly been the work house in which he was raised as an orphan.)

On the alternative route out of Segovia I passed church of San Lorenzo at 9:58am. Just 500m from Hostel. Breakfast was late.......as I said a hippie vibe!

A bell was ringing so I looked in and Mass was about to start. Amazingly 30 people in church. Very unusual on a weekday.There was a special prayer at end of Mass and I worked out it must be a 'novena', a common form of popular piety - a period of nine days leading up to a locally important saint's day. But I couldn't catch who.

Eventually I got under way, passing impressive looking 'museum of money'.

Then out past (closed) Templar church. Then, in the twinkling of an eye, you are in the meseta. Instant. Do turn back to admire city of Segovia as it begins to fade into distance.

8k to Valseca. I called into nice church and met lovely old padre, just finished Mass. Novena Mass for San Isidro. That explained my earlier experience.

We chatted for 20 mins and he told me he had seen five people that morning who 'might have been' pilgrims. I expressed enthusiastic amazement, but felt sure he was mistaken.

I had nice lunch in bar and before I left, the priest turned up, and wished me Buen Camino.

A few km further, I stopped for coffee in Los Huertos - the last outpost of 'civilization' according to guidebook.

Gentle walk thereafter to Añe. You pass the last think I would have expected in the middle of nowhere - a railway platform!! No railway. Here you turn right to cross back over the former railway, and immediately a VERY steep climb down into woods. Gentle after that.

That's when my Dr Livingston moment occurred. Under a tree 200m ahead I picked out 1,2,3,4,5 people. I thought I was hallucinating. But no. A group of five Belgian and Dutch ladies, who had started that morning in Segovia. So unexpected. I felt I owed an apology to the priest for doubting him!

We all reached Añe after 5km, retrieved the key from house number 4, and found the albergue. Simple but clean, with good shower and toilet, kitchen and two rooms. With colchones, a dozen or more could stay.

A little reconoitre found the bar, attached to the ayuntamiento. Sadly only open Saturday and Sunday! No Fiesta! No shop either.

We pooled our resources for simple supper. Bread, jamón, olives, noodles, tomatoes, anchovies, barros energeticos, chocolate - we had all been deceived into believing there was a bar!

The girls had one room, and in fact all the pillows and blankets o_O, and I had the other, with four bunks.

Total pilgrims met - 5
 
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timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
May 10
Day 7
Añe to Nava de la Asunción 26.5 km

Chilly in the morning. Just a bit chilly in the night too. (I mentioned that the girls had all the blankets!)
But not cold enough to get out of bed to switch on electric radiator. Which I had.

No bar, see above, so no desayuno. I left before 8am and brisk 11km to Santa Maria la Real de Nieva and nice breakfast in bar. Nieva comes quickly then with nice church (closed). I had a brief discussion with two elderly ladies about the sad state of closed churches. Then on to Nava de la Asunción through pine forests. Very sandy road which at times quite difficult to walk on as so soft. There is a clearly marked diversion around a sand quarry towards the end of the walk which was a bit of a slog.

This is a 'working' pine forest. The trees are being tapped for resin. Nice smell in the air.

I didn't meet the famous Margarita who gives sello and cake as you enter Nava de la Asunción. I was looking for a panadería but in fact she's in pastelería which I realised only too late.

I called into ayuntamiento who gave me sello and directions for contacting Raúl who would let me into albergue. There was a poster at a noticeboard just before the town with details too. A bewildering number of contact people and phone numbers. The albergue is new(ish) at the polideportivo. There was an earlier one in the bullring it seems. Raúl came promptly when called and let me on and gave me key. You are 'locked in' a football pitch! Spotlessly clean. Four bunks. Microwave. Fridge. Shower and toilet. Hospitalera Clara called later to offer help and collect €5. Excellent. Raúl recommended hotel opposite to eat, Fray Sebastian. I'm sure the guys in the bar would help you contact Raúl or Clara if you were having trouble. Such a good and generous provision by the ayuntamiento.

The hotel was about 50m away. It looked quite imposing - new and smart. It's very friendly though, with the charm of a village bar. I had a couple of cañas and raciones of pulpo and mejillones for 'lunch' keeping a vague eye on Rafael Nadal at the Madrid Open. There was an extremely upmarket restaurant open at lunch time.


But even better, there was a menu del día in the bar at 9pm. Good choice of dishes. €12 including extra drinks. Accompanied by Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid. I only watch a football match about twice a year, but this was quite emocionante. As a congenital supporter of the underdog I was disappointed by the result. But no one else seemed to be.

Of the five Belgian ladies, (strictly 4 Belgians and 1 Dutch) no sign. They were never going to fit in the albergue, with or without me. There was rumour of a modern albergue juvenil in the town. We had anticipated meeting up....

After 7 days:
Total distance 168km
Daily average 24km
Total pilgrims met - 5
Total pilgrims temporarily mislaid - 5
 
H

HighlandsHiker

Guest
You are a gentleman and a scholar, Tim! Hope those pilgrims turn up, but that you get your own blanket next time.
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
It all sounds exceedingly excellent fun. The language thing is so frustrating. Being hopeless at languages all my life, it's still good fun having a go. The problem comes when the pesky Spanish deviate from the script .....
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
May 11
Day 8
Nava de la Asunción to Villeguillo 18km

On this etapa there was an ovine (or possibly hircine) incident to which I refer elsewhere.

It rained quite noisily during the night but had stopped by 7am. I managed to clean the tiny albergue. Then lock it, then lock the gate to the football pitch, then hide the key in the secret place where Raúl had instructed. I found a bar for breakfast. I had walked past it 50m before deciding to walk back to it. Useful rule: go into the first bar that you find open before 8:30am in a quiet town. It may well be the only one. I didn't see another one....

I was feeling sad that I had 'lost' the 'five Belgian ladies", but guessed they were in Albergue Juvenil which maybe I should have made more of an effort to find. I assumed I would find them later.

A straightforward walk into Coca. On a wide sandy path through open fields, and then more pine woods. The rain during the night made the sand easier to walk on. I left a greeting carved in the sand for the 'five Belgian ladies' sure that they would see it if/when they passed later. This was paying forward for an earlier experience, here. (The two people in question there I never found again....:()

Just as I walked into Coca, an excited shout came from my right.
No, not the 'five Belgian ladies'.
Not even one of them.
Nor indeed the Dutch lady, who is not Belgian, but who is one of the 'five Belgian ladies'.

This was Charo. Charo is the hospitalera in Coca. "¿Sello? ¿Sello?" she was asking. I said yes please. And a good opportunity for a little bit of real life Spanish dialogue practice. She told me she had just finished cleaning the albergue. "There were five Belgian ladies here last night", she told me. This did surprise me. It meant that the ladies had done 34 km the previous day. It meant that they had not seen my message in the sand that morning. It surely meant that I would never see them again. I accompanied Charo to her house where she supplied sello. She told me that I should visit the church in the town, and that it was certainly open. I told her that I was a priest and she told me that she was a catechist in the village (like a Sunday school teacher) and that she was preparing children for confirmation and first communion. A very cheering conversation.

I went into the town and found the large and very impressive church, indeed open. And of course I was by now an expert at recognising the statue of San Isidro, and his accompanying oxen at the plough. Resigned to the fact that I had now not only mislaid, but definitively lost, the only five other pilgrims I had met since Madrid, I spent a good while in the church examining its many artefacts. Very high up behind the main altar is a statue of Santiago, only easily identifiable through my telephoto lens. The strategically placed cockle shells looked more like a bikini! There was the usual collection of the garish and the more diverting, and something I have never seen before, after a lot of time spent mooching around churches in many countries - a statue of St Anne (Jesus' grandmother) with Mary (Jesus' mother) cradled on her arm, and with Jesus in turn cradled in her arm. So like a family snapshot - grandmother, mother and child.

As I was sure the five Belgian ladies would be far beyond where I was going for the night, I was in no hurry so proceeded then to the bar, which is down the left hand side of the Ayuntamiento opposite the church, for more breakfast. In the bar is a bronze bust of the Emperor Theodosius the Great - an important person in Ecclesiastical History - who was born in Coca/Cauca. [Coca is not the only place he was born.....:p.] I then went to see a bit of the remaining city wall, which gave a good view. At one point I saw the huge castle in the distance, but later it seemed to have disappearedo_O. I did see the remaining tower of San Nicolas church. A couple of supermarkets and a bank etc. A useful place to stock up and get cash if needed.

I moved on then to Villeguillo. It is a pleasant walk through meseta fields, and then pines, with the river Eresma on the right fairly close. There is a big church (especially so for such a small place) which inevitably was resolutely closed and was not due to open that day. So I went to the nice little bar, assuming perhaps I would get the key to the albergue there. I laughed at the comment in the CSJ book: 'The albergue is on the opposite edge of the village from the church" (@JohnnieWalker). The population of the village is 191. Bar, church and albergue (as I later discovered) are all within a span of about 200m. No shop or any other amenity.

I spoke to the friendly bartender, and continued practising Spanish. There is a pilgrim lunch menu for €8. And much else on the menu, with tripe being the local specialty. It is not the kind of bar which you would look at and imagine you were going to get anything. We chatted for a while and I asked him about the albergue and the key. The key would be obtained up the road he said - "but the 'five Belgian ladies' are there already." This seemed to me quite unlikely - it was only 7km from where Charo told me they had spent the night. But I didn't get into a discussion about that.

I ordered a bocadillo and a cerveza, planning to have a warm meal later. I suddenly heard an excited cry over my left shoulder.........the 'five Belgian ladies' had come, from the albergue, for lunch! We shared our mutual excitement and they ordered five meals and the task of preparing six meals at once stretched the bartender to capacity. They explained to me that on arriving in Nava de la Asuncioón the previous night they had been told that the albergue was full (of me). Well not full, but with only three places remaining. Ironic that they were sort of casualties of a 'bed race' although in fact it made no difference that I got there before them - five people could not have spent the night in the room with four beds in any comfortable way. So they had decided to continue to Coca, having failed to find the albergue juvenil. We cannot confirm whether or not it is still operative - although it is meant to be fairly new. How they travelled to Coca the previous night is not for me to tell.

After an animated lunch, the 'five Belgian ladies' accompanied me to the mayor's house, to get a sello and pay, and brought me back to the albergue.

It was here that an unfortunate 'ovine (or possibly hircine) incident' occurred which I will record separately. Apart from this, we had a great stay. Sadly at the weekend there was to be a fiesta for San Isidoro and after evening Mass a community event in the bar. I'm sure it would have been terrific fun.

Total pilgrims met - 5
Total pilgrims mislaid - 5
Total mislaid pilgrims relocated - 5
 
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SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
Now I'm really curious to know from which region the Belgian ladies are?
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
May 12
Day 9
Villeguillo to Alcazarén 17.4km

Robinson Crusoe meets Man Friday

We woke to a beautiful morning in Alcazarén, the full moon still high long after dawn. Swallows or house martin's very busy building half a dozen nests under the eaves of the albergue. With a final thought for the deceased sheep and the bereaved shepherd we headed off.

The good part is that there is just a gentle 17 km to Alcazarén. The bad news is that there is no bar, nor any habitation, between the two towns.

Gentle walk on combination of tracks through wheat fields and tracks through sand pine forests. Slightly more of the latter. It rained much of the way in and on and off kind of way. We compared Dutch and Irish words for rain. The are more words for rain in Ireland! It's like Eskimos and snow. More about this below.

After about 5km you come to a junction with main road. The arrows tell you to turn down the main road to the right for about 1 or even 1.5km the turn eat into forest again. The road seemed brand new not too busy and with space for walking. Still we were glad to get off it. We took a break on old road bridge over River Eresma (our companion since Segovia) and read in CSJ guide that we could have gone straight across at Junction, for less sand walking. But no matter, and in fact the rain had compacted the sand nicely.

Soon Alcazarén is visible to the right and an easy walk into the town. A pretty little town. Like very many small towns you pass through on this Camino, it looks a little bit "Marie Celeste" - you can tell that people have been here recently, but you hardly ever see any of them! However, the first place you come upon is the Tourist Office with an exceptional welcome and the key to the albergue, which is about half a km away. There is a bar almost next door, which was very nice and actually quite lively with two card schools practising. There is evidently a tournament coming up.

So we we had a little late breakfast and went to the albergue just ahead of a significant shower of rain. Well more than a "shower" and more than "a soft day" and more than "spits and spots". More than pelting. More like cats and dogs. The washing that we put out to dry got soaked very quickly. As we did retrieving it.

A nice enough albergue. Modern and clean. Possibly purpose built, on the side of a garage. With a little enclosed terrace. 8 beds. Sliiiiiiightly cramped ;) but hey! And the door of the bathroom didn't lock ;) but hey! Nice kitchen with microwave and I think hot plates too. No single cup, or spoon, or plate, or pot, or pan - it was like being back in Xunta albergue in Galicia :p. We settled in, looking forward to supper later. The rain came down and we nestled snugly and smugly in our respective sleeping bags.

Suddenly there was a big bang from the outer door. Was it the storm? No. It was a man. Man Friday. A stranger. Something not seen in 9 days, not counting the 'five Belgian ladies'. Another pilgrim.

A tall, fit looking Milanese man. Not a youngster. I am Felice he said. But he was not felice. He was decidedly triste. ¡Mucha agua! he kept saying. ¡Mucha agua! He was cold and wet. And rather triste. ¡Mucha agua! He told us he had done "every Camino" and this was his last. We didn't probe. He suggested that a true Camino starts at one's own front door. We didn't argue. He told us he tended to walk 40 km a day, except when it was wet because of ¡Mucha agua! We sympathised.

When the rain abated we left Felice drying and warming and went to the supermarket and into the bar next to it. Nice for a drink, but less exciting looking for food. (Confirmed later when Felice reported back that he had pasta there - but it was not Italian).

We went back to the other bar, next to the Tourist Office. We would all give it a 110% recommendation. Although the lone bartender, who was busy still with card schools, told us we were too early to eat, he took our order before 7pm and served up six different full cooked dishes which were extraordinarily good. Despite having no help in the kitchen. You would have been quite happy to be offered them in a restaurant.

There was hake and there was chicken and there was beef and there were amazing large gambas on the plancha. Another very enjoyable night. And we were felice. We felt rather sorry for Felice.

Total pilgrims met - 6
Total pilgrims mislaid - 5
Total mislaid pilgrims relocated - 5
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
Near Halle I think. And the Dutch lady from Limburg which I guess is near by. Certainly all were Flemish. I hope that is the correct thing to say and that I am not making an intercultural faux pas. :oops:
correct ;)
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
May 13
Day 10
Alcazarén to Puente Duero 25.7km
A further potential bovine incident avoided.....

Felice headed off before 7:30am, rejuvenated by a good night's sleep, less triste and a lot more felice.

Myself and the 'five Belgian ladies' took a more leisurely approach on what was going to be our last day walking together. For different reasons we were all going to be finishing up in Valladolid on this occasion. We had breakfast in the albergue and started out on what looked like it would be a gentle trip. We were not anxious about beds so we were not hurrying.

The road is easy, the sandy tracks through loose pine we have become so used to in the past week or so.

The first place you come to is Barzuela, after 5km. It is neither a town nor a village. It is some kind of large private estate. Like a large estancia. It looks really interesting, and you can see in, but very definitely locked gates. And no real sign of life other than four-legged. It looked like the ideal set to shoot a Mexican telenovella!!

After that more easy walking and about 11km from Alcazareén you reach a rather nicely laid out picnic area with benches and tables, next to a river. There are even stoves for having a barbecue. There did not appear to be a fuente strangely. We had brunch-ish I suppose.

Then on to Villestilla, 15 km from Alcazarén. Here a 'bovine incident' was averted. We arrived about 20 mins after a running of the bulls!!! It was the town fiesta. There was a funfair in the town, and a bullring, which looked like a temporary one - is such a thing possible or likely??? And the houses in the main street were barricaded with temporary huge iron fencing and every sidestreet blocked off. And in fact if we had arrived 20 mins earlier we would not have been able to get through as there were gates sealing off the town to keep the bulls in. All in all, our party was not too disappointed to have missed the bull running.

But we benefited greatly from the general excitement and cheeriness in the town which was FULL of people in jovial mood. We were whisked up by a cheery group of people all Mums and Dads and kids and grandparents, all dressed in matching purple tracksuits. They were excited to meet pilgrims and brought us to the house where they were hosting refreshments. We were like guests of honour, with drinks and snacks and general high spirits. Both English and Spanish were mutually practised.

We had to drag ourselves away for the final walk to Puente Duero. Probably the most disappointing walk of since Madrid, as it was nearly all along the side of the main road. It was a very quite main road and that wasn't a problem. But it was not scenic. But we were buoyed up by our refreshments.

The town is called Puente Duero because.........it has a bridge over the Duero! The town is mostly on the far side of the bridge, but for the albergue you need to turn left at roundabout just before crossing the bridge. It is well signposted, which didn't stop some people getting lost.....

A tremendously warm welcome from Arturo, evidently something of a Camino legend, and the President of the Valladolid Camino association. He is full of information and interest. He was actually the live-in hospitalero for that particular night, though he is not live-in himself every night. He insisted on our trying three different kinds of wine. There is a huge library of Camino literature. 8 beds. Breakfast served in the morning. I'm not sure whether pilgrims can use the kitchen themselves. (I never do.) But plenty of bars in town. Donativo.

To our surprise, we met felice Felice in the albergue. We thought he would have travelled much further, but he had stopped off on his way to spend the night with friends in Valladolid. So Ave Atque Vale to him.

I'm heading out for tapas. In Liverpool. Right now. I'll round this off tomorrow.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
May 14
Day 11
Puente Duero to Valladolid 13.5km

We had a very enjoyable meal in a bar last night and got in and got served before a very large and joyful 'first communion' party rolled in from the church next door.

When we got back, at a respectable hour - the albergue closes at 10 - Arturo was still up and was following the Eurovision Song Contest on the radio. We didn't get involved but let history note that on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, and the day of the canonisation of new Saints, Jacinta and Francisco, and the evening of the day of the Pope's visit to Fatima ....... Portugal apparently won!

Myself and the 'five Belgian ladies' said goodbye after breakfast and photos, as I wanted to arrive in the cathedral for Mass and the ladies were catching a bus to Madrid, later in the day.

The path (which is a diversion from the Camino) to Valladolid is straightforward. From the albergue, cross the old stone bridge into the town and continue up through the town to a roundabout after about 1km. There is an earlier misleading road sign to Valladolid which appears to lead into a field!

Two roads come off the roundabout both in the direction of Vallaldolid (at about 11 o'clock and 1 o'clock if that convention makes sense to you). The right hand one (1 o'clock) is the main road. DON'T take this one. Veer to the left, 11 o'clock and you are heading parallel to the main road. You will soon come to a large sandy flat area. Proceed straight across it to cross a main road and you then enter a wide senda in a loose pine forest. This is a very wide 'road' but without traffic. You can hear the traffic on the main road over to your right at the beginning of your walk, though the paths later diverge. This path has modern concrete milestone waymarkers. About half way to Valladolid you join what must have been the old main road to Valladolid - an unmaintained tar road, with houses on the left, but no traffic.

The path continues over the motorway and into Valladolid, and the path is later marked with bronze shells in the pavement, but essentially there is no turn and the road passes up through the town, with the river on the left, and brings you to the Cathedral.

Mass in the Cathedral is 10:45 combined with Morning Prayer of the Church by the Canons. I have visited Valladolid before and like the Romanesque Cathedral for its relative simplicity. There is a lot of gold behind the main altar, but otherwise it is relatively stark.

The principal Sunday Mass was a bit disappointing. About 30 people in attendance. They had a service book, but not enough for everybody. Respectful request: don't do this. If you have a book, make enough for everyone. I asked a man to share his, but he said no, there were not enough. Hmmmmmm.

With some difficulty I extracted a sello, having been told that I could come back at 10am on Monday for one. I said this was not possible and with a bit of harrumphing, but ultimately good will, the lady who was selling tickets for the museum managed to find the stamp. She was the third person I had asked. OK I know that Valladolid is not strictly on the Camino. I have never tried getting a sello from McDonald's but I think somehow it might be easier!!! :)

After 11 days:
Total distance 243km
Daily average 22km
Total pilgrims met - 6
Total pilgrims temporarily mislaid - 5
Total temporarily mislaid pilgrims relocated - 5
Number of close encounters with bulls - 1
Number of sheep/goats who died at very close quarters -1

And that was the end of my 'short walk from Madrid' on this occasion. I hope to return later in the year and pick up from Valladolid and continue to Sahagun - Leon - and then the Salvador.
 
H

HighlandsHiker

Guest
Such an interesting and well-written travelogue, Tim. Hope your Mom's cataract surgery went well and that you can get back to do your next walk soon.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
But we benefited greatly from the general excitement and cheeriness in the town which was FULL of people in jovial mood. We were whisked up by a cheery group of people all Mums and Dads and kids and grandparents, all dressed in matching purple tracksuits. They were excited to meet pilgrims and brought us to the house where they were hosting refreshments. We were like guests of honour, with drinks and snacks and general high spirits. Both English and Spanish were mutually practised.

We had to drag ourselves away for the final walk to Puente Duero. Probably the most disappointing walk of since Madrid, as it was nearly all along the side of the main road. It was a very quite main road and that wasn't a problem. But it was not scenic. But we were buoyed up by our refreshments.
I had similar experience with hospitalero/shop owner in Zamarramala when invited to his house. I thought that would be only a courtois drink or two but there was an ongoing birthday party with half of the village included :D

Couldn't agree more about that stretch before Puente Duero. One of the most awful legs on all of my Caminos...
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
Sounds like a lot of fun, time. Well done for completing it.

The Puente Duero place is an interesting one. Arturo is a nice chap, but he spent much of his time when four of us were there following individuals around e.g. straightening the toaster so it was parallel to the wall after being used, and checking that each rule, which had helpfully been written in six different languages against each item, had been followed in full. Legend or not, I felt a tadge uncomfortable in the claustrophobic place.

Personally, I can't think of any reason why anyone would stay in the albergue or in the characterless, charmless town when there is such an amazingly fabulous town just five kilometres away on the Camino, except that you need to book one of the cheap hotels there.
 
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timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Haha @Undermanager yes you describe him well!! And he had a rule about the non-validity of credencials which were being reused on empty pages after having been to Santiago and stamped there. This didn't apply to me, but two people had to get a new credencial (from him) because of this. But then he did insist that we compare and contrast vino tinto from three different bottles which came with his compliments.
Our reason for staying was essentially that we were all planning to walk into Valladolid the next day.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
I guess I was lucky then to have a nice lady as my hospitalera in 2014. Arturo wasn't around :D And she didn't only cooked me a dinner, she cooked me a dinner much later than pilgrims usually eat. And we emptied two bottles (I admit I was the main offender) of tinto, had a really nice chat and...

No, no, no kinky stuff after that :D
 

Marigold Mama

Member
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2018 Madrid, Salvador& Primitivo and onward
Like
May 10
Day 7
Añe to Nava de la Asunción 26.5 km

Chilly in the morning. Just a bit chilly in the night too. (I mentioned that the girls had all the blankets!)
But not cold enough to get out of bed to switch on electric radiator. Which I had.

No bar, see above, so no desayuno. I left before 8am and brisk 11km to Santa Maria la Real de Nieva and nice breakfast in bar. Nieva comes quickly then with nice church (closed). I had a brief discussion with two elderly ladies about the sad state of closed churches. Then on to Nava de la Asunción through pine forests. Very sandy road which at times quite difficult to walk on as so soft. There is a clearly marked diversion around a sand quarry towards the end of the walk which was a bit of a slog.

This is a 'working' pine forest. The trees are being tapped for resin. Nice smell in the air.

I didn't meet the famous Margarita who gives sello and cake as you enter Nava de la Asunción. I was looking for a panadería but in fact she's in pastelería which I realised only too late.

I called into ayuntamiento who gave me sello and directions for contacting Raúl who would let me into albergue. There was a poster at a noticeboard just before the town with details too. A bewildering number of contact people and phone numbers. The albergue is new(ish) at the polideportivo. There was an earlier one in the bullring it seems. Raúl came promptly when called and let me on and gave me key. You are 'locked in' a football pitch! Spotlessly clean. Four bunks. Microwave. Fridge. Shower and toilet. Hospitalera Clara called later to offer help and collect €5. Excellent. Raúl recommended hotel opposite to eat, Fray Sebastian. I'm sure the guys in the bar would help you contact Raúl or Clara if you were having trouble. Such a good and generous provision by the ayuntamiento.

The hotel was about 50m away. It looked quite imposing - new and smart. It's very friendly though, with the charm of a village bar. I had a couple of cañas and raciones of pulpo and mejillones for 'lunch' keeping a vague eye on Rafael Nadal at the Madrid Open. There was an extremely upmarket restaurant open at lunch time.


But even better, there was a menu del día in the bar at 9pm. Good choice of dishes. €12 including extra drinks. Accompanied by Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid. I only watch a football match about twice a year, but this was quite emocionante. As a congenital supporter of the underdog I was disappointed by the result. But no one else seemed to be.

Of the five Belgian ladies, (strictly 4 Belgians and 1 Dutch) no sign. They were never going to fit in the albergue, with or without me. There was rumour of a modern albergue juvenil in the town. We had anticipated meeting up....

After 7 days:
Total distance 168km
Daily average 24km
Total pilgrims met - 5
Total pilgrims temporarily mislaid - 5
Hello Timr. I am thoroughly enjoying your daily writings. In fact I am taking bits and pieces from yours and adding them to several forum member's hints and gotta sees to make my very own little guide. Surely do appreciate all the good folks insights and knowledge as I prep for my first Camino de Madrid followed by several other Caminos. So will be looking at a lot of info until I get it all together.
Thanks all.
MM
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
A thanks from here too @timr ! Have enjoyed your report and hope to use this information and that of other forum members in June or July (keeping my fingers crossed).
Cheers
LT
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
A thanks from here too @timr ! Have enjoyed your report and hope to use this information and that of other forum members in June or July (keeping my fingers crossed).
Cheers
LT
I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did. It's exactly a year ago. Right now (May 14 2018) I'm *almost* at the Great St Bernard Pass halfway from Canterbury to Rome. Slightly frustratingly I'm just 12km from pass and 500m of ascent remaining. But I'm held up by snow. I'm taking a day to decide how to proceed. Buen Camino
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Haha I didn't even realize this @timr (one year ago!) but no matter, still relevant.

Wow, you're walking the Francigina! Lucky to have the time/resources and possibility to do that walk. I hear it is quite a lonely path.

I am actually trying to sneak the Madrid in before doing the Huayhuash Circuit in Peru with my son, although I suppose it will not help me with the 4.500m peaks.

Enjoy the day off and hope that you are able to cross.

Ultreia
LT
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Haha I didn't even realize this @timr (one year ago!) but no matter, still relevant.

Wow, you're walking the Francigina! Lucky to have the time/resources and possibility to do that walk. I hear it is quite a lonely path.

I am actually trying to sneak the Madrid in before doing the Huayhuash Circuit in Peru with my son, although I suppose it will not help me with the 4.500m peaks.

Enjoy the day off and hope that you are able to cross.

Ultreia
LT
Yes it's quiet. I'm just past 1000km. I met a couple from NZ twice, briefly. And 13 French people walking the Francigena a week at a time. I walked with them for 3 or 4 days. That's it for fellow pilgrims. And yet if you look on FB you will see people having big problems on the Italian section with shortage of accommodation. I will find out shortly. I'm time rich but resource poor! But I seized the possibility! I'm blogging on walkingtim.com. I love that idea of sneaking in a Camino before something else. It's an expression I often use. I'm hoping the weather improves overnight. I'm a little bit early for the GSB pass. T
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Ah, so you're walkingtim! I've read a few of you posts on the CSJ Facebook page and actually also the first entries on your blog when you entered France. And to think that you've already walked 1000 km! Chapeau!

Company on such a route is food for the soul I can imagine. It's those times that you realize, even if you like walking alone, the importance of communication and sharing.

Get safely to the other side!
LT
 

Texas Bill

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Madrid, May (2018)
Thanks Tim for the short Madrid travelogue. I'm starting CdM Wednesday May 23, and your information is greatly appreciated. Good travelling wherever you go.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Best of luck Bill. If you enjoy it half as much as I did you are in for a great time! Buen Camino.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Ah, so you're walkingtim! I've read a few of you posts on the CSJ Facebook page and actually also the first entries on your blog when you entered France. And to think that you've already walked 1000 km! Chapeau!

Company on such a route is food for the soul I can imagine. It's those times that you realize, even if you like walking alone, the importance of communication and sharing.

Get safely to the other side!
LT
Well I nearly walked into Italy but had to turn back about 5km from border because of fresh snow. But all is well. I'm in Ivrea now, well past Aosta. T
 

RedBike

Member
Camino(s) past & future
French Route SJPDP (2004, 2007). From Granada - part of (2009)
May 4 2017
Day 1 Madrid to Tres Cantos 28km
Hola. I started in the Iglesia of Santiago y Juan Bautista in Madrid yesterday and am now in Tres Cantos. I've put 'short' in the title as I am only going as far as Valladolid on this occasion. My plan had been to go to Sahagun and Leon and then Salvador to Oviedo, and then recalibrate with my remaining time.
But my 90 year old mother is having cataract surgery, so I will go 'home' for a bit of postoperative shopping and cooking. It was fun the last time about three years ago. :)
I started in Dublin at 0345 for 0615 flight to Madrid. Then took Metro to Ópera and definitely time for breakfast. A five minute walk to Santiago church, arriving 1130. Worth having a street map or you'll find you are using up battery v quickly on phone with Google maps!
Nice church and welcoming sacristan who provided credencial and expressed amazement that I intended to reach Tres Cantos in the afternoon. I'm not certain how much was due to the distance and how much to the physical specimen in front of him!
I stayed for Mass at 12, increasing the congregation from 4 to 5. And received a solitary solemn pilgrim blessing which seemed the right way to start.
I set off and wanted to check out the nearby (1.8k) church of Comendadoras de Santiago mentioned in CSJ guide. Closed! Access only with hard hats so I presume being renovated. No useful informative notice to be seen. No matter it was in right direction. I already said you need a map. I was fleeced for €7 buying one in a bookshop.
Make your way to majestic Paseo de Castellana and just keep going. Up past Santiago Bernabeu stadium and on to Plaza de Castilla with leaning towers and most importantly the reassuring appearance of flechas amarillas. If you need water, now is the time to buy it.
Thereafter follow arrows to get rather quickly out of city and a way which is at times a dusty gravel track, a track alongside motorway or highway or railway, and cycle track. Do not rely on Google maps. The track you are on is not recognized as a road. You would need wikiloc or maps.me or similar. But it is very well waymarked and you don't really need a map.
It was very very hot, and late afternoon not my best walking time. And I don't believe I got lost, but my watch said 28km to Tres Cantos hostel. More than I anticipated. I'll check my track later but I certainly never had to be backtrack.
A long long long day from 0345!
Shower.
Sleep.
Headed out at 9 (the advantage of hotel and not albergue!) for nice supper in smart modern city, teeming with pavement restaurants. I had 'secreto Ibérico' - I'm not telling you.;)
All is well!
A good start. Mass and blessing. I love cities but live deep in the country so walking through centre was a treat for me. If you don't, you might want to get Metro out part of the way. Interestingly passed a lot of stations I had passed through on Metro from airport that morning.
I have been learning Spanish since Christmas but my mainstay of conversational practice has been talking to myself while driving or running. Very pleased that people seemed to know what I was saying and didn't want to revert to English immediately.
I have met no other pilgrim.
Right now heading for Manzanares El Real.
 

RedBike

Member
Camino(s) past & future
French Route SJPDP (2004, 2007). From Granada - part of (2009)
Thanks for posting your experiences Tim. Its nice to know there will be some others out there! The more posts I read the more confident and excited I get! I'll be starting on April 19th. Buen Camino :)
 

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