A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

A Special Albergue in Villafranca del Bierzo. Tipperary to Santiago

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2), Chemin du Puy, Portuguese, Via de la Plata
#1
Albergue Leo in Villafranca del Bierzo. TIPPERARY TO SANTIAGO Day 95:

Walked in the dark from beautiful town of Molinaseca on the Meruelo River passing the restored Templar Castle in Ponferrada just before dawn. Late in the afternoon I walk into the lovely village of Villafranca del Bierzo I walk directly to Albergue Leo. I remembered staying there in 2016 with Swedish friends; Per and Lotta Brask, and enjoying it. It is beautifully restored several hundred year old building with wood beams across the ceiling and stone walls and art work that enhances ones comfort.
447C388E-2F78-416C-8CCB-BEBB3EB277BA.jpeg
A pretty, thin young woman, Maria, greeted me, and made me feel most welcome with her warm friendly smile as she explained they had no lower bunks but if I gave her a few minutes she would find a solution. She introduced me to her mother, red haired Irish looking Mercedes who sat me down and offered a cold drink. Mercedes came back a few minutes later and took me up to the attic where there was a single bed, with both a bed and cover sheet. Luxury on the Camino. Maria offered to wash my clothes in the machine but I had so little I washed them by hand in the sink.

For an hour or so I chatted with these two lovely hospitaleros and then Maria mentioned she had an email reply to an Irishman she was struggling a bit with and could I help. More than happy to repay their kindness I looked over her shoulder and suggested a few things. She was still struggling putting her thoughts into English so I suggested that she should just tell me how she feels and I would write a draft. That worked. Maria then continued on helping pilgrims with various tasks while I talked with Mercedes about her life in Villafranca. She suggested I should go for an early dinner and then attend a free concert at San Nicolas Church(17th Century).. Pedro Halffter, of Villafranca, a world renowned composer was giving a free piano concert. I walked into the packed church at 7:58 looking like the grubby pilgrim that I am and walked directly to the first pew spotting an opening on the very end and sat just as the concert. Beautiful music in a majestic venue.

Back at the Albergue, Maria and Mercedes invited me to stay the following day for a family and friend afternoon dinner. The Camino has taught me to accept any and all gifts so I readily accept though it will put me behind schedule. In the morning, I awake at 7:45, almost 3 hours later than normal. The other pilgrims are gone but Mercedes is there and makes me a breakfast of toast but surprisingly brings out a box of Barry’s Irish Tea so I enjoy 2 small pots with milk and honey while listening to Mercedes. She can talk with the best as it seems as if I am back in Ireland at a B&B. Maria returns around noon and tells me she got a reply from her Irish friend and asks for help once more.

Mercedes’ dinner is a delicious homemade 3 inch thick meat and veggie empanada and a salad with juicy red ripe tomatoes, lettuce, and onion from their garden. How nice for this pilgrim to experience a family meal. Maria and Mercedes sit by me and kindly translate and keep my plate and wine glass full.

Well it is getting late so we say goodbye. Mercedes will not accept my money for breakfast and drinks and Maria walks me down to the corner where I turn for the bridge. She gives me a big hug. I walk on crossing the bridge and taking the road to the right which will turn into the path going over the mountain to Trabadelo. It turns into a beautiful ridge walk and alone and very happy I whistle knowing I have another “second home” to return to some day.
 
Last edited:

Advertisment

Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#3
Thank you. Will try staying there in a couple of weeks from now.
 

FLEUR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
#4
We loved staying there, in 2015 I think. Lovely family who own other hotels around. This is their family home but they took the decision to turn it in to an albergue after one of their daughters died. Their other daughters returned home and help run the place. They did our washing and dried our clothes. The 5 bed room we had boasted a wonderful en-suite shower room.
 

twh

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from SJPdP May/June, 2018
#5
This albergue is listed on page or stage 26 of the "A Selection of Favorite Albergues on the Camino Frances" pdf available in the right hand column of this page if you scroll up/down to find it.

I stayed there in June this year. Both Maria and Mercedes are lovely, generous people. They truly enjoy interacting with their guests. The place is interesting architecturally, very comfortable and homey feeling, and reasonably priced. The room I stayed in had two bunk beds and a single. The "private" bathroom attached to the room was new and spacious, 3 to 4 star hotel quality. There is a little bar with cold beer and coffee on the lower level and the breakfast of toast and coffee with excellent jam was supplemented with a large bowl of freshly picked cherries (I assume the cherries are only in season).

Close by is a tiny but very good restaurant called "Bar La P' tit Pause". The owner/chef has a lot of pride in the food he puts on your table be it a gourmet hamburger for lunch or the best Lasagna you ever had for dinner. If you are in the mood for something different than the pilgrim meal, you will be in heaven here and it won't cost you a whole lot more and believe me the price is worth it. We stumbled on this place for lunch and it was so good we had to come back for dinner.
 
Last edited:

Advertisment

FLEUR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
#6
This albergue is listed on page or stage 26 of the "A Selection of Favorite Albegues on the Camino Frances" pdf available in the right hand column of this page if you scroll up/down to find it.

I stayed there in June this year. Both Maria and Mercedes are lovely, generous people. They truly enjoy interacting with their guests. The place is interesting architecturally, very comfortable and homey feeling, and reasonably priced. The room I stayed in had two bunk beds and a single. The "private" bathroom attached to the room was new and spacious, 3 to 4 star hotel quality. There is a little bar with cold beer and coffee on the lower level and the breakfast of toast and coffee with excellent jam was supplemented with a large bowl of freshly picked cherries (I assume the cherries are only in season).

Close by is a tiny but very good restaurant called "Bar La P' tit Pause". The owner/chef has a lot of pride in the food he puts on your table be it a gourmet hamburger for lunch or the best Lasagna you ever had for dinner. If you are in the mood for something different than the pilgrim meal, you will be in heaven here and it won't cost you a whole lot more and believe me the price is worth it. We stumbled on this place for lunch and it was so good we had to come back for dinner.
Twh I think we stayed in the same room. It was excellent.
 
Camino(s) past & future
September 2016
#7
In 2016, I had my pack sent on to Albergue Leo. On arrival, I was exhausted. I was struggling with a chest infection and had over estimated the KLM’s for the day. Don’t know what I must have looked like but Maria took control immediately insisting she take me to a hotel owned by family because a top bunk was out of the question. No worries, same price as albergue €10. Off we went in her car. She was amazing. Tucked me into bed telling me to rest before going down to the bar for food and drink with the locals - no pilgrims. Left her phone no with instructions to ring if I needed anything. After a good night’s rest I decided to carry my pack to avoid pushing myself to get to my pack at the end of the day. Maria was my saviour and her kindness is one of the treasures of my Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
#8
Albergue Leo in Villafranca del Bierzo. TIPPERARY TO SANTIAGO Day 95:

Walked in the dark from beautiful town of Molinaseca on the Meruelo River passing the restored Templar Castle in Ponferrada just before dawn. Late in the afternoon I walk into the lovely village of Villafranca del Bierzo I walk directly to Albergue Leo. I remembered staying there in 2016 with Swedish friends; Per and Lotta Brask, and enjoying it. It is beautifully restored several hundred year old building with wood beams across the ceiling and stone walls and art work that enhances ones comfort.
View attachment 46237
A pretty, thin young woman, Maria, greeted me, and made me feel most welcome with her warm friendly smile as she explained they had no lower bunks but if I gave her a few minutes she would find a solution. She introduced me to her mother, red haired Irish looking Mercedes who sat me down and offered a cold drink. Mercedes came back a few minutes later and took me up to the attic where there was a single bed, with both a bed and cover sheet. Luxury on the Camino. Maria offered to wash my clothes in the machine but I had so little I washed them by hand in the sink.

For an hour or so I chatted with these two lovely hospitaleros and then Maria mentioned she had an email reply to an Irishman she was struggling a bit with and could I help. More than happy to repay their kindness I looked over her shoulder and suggested a few things. She was still struggling putting her thoughts into English so I suggested that she should just tell me how she feels and I would write a draft. That worked. Maria then continued on helping pilgrims with various tasks while I talked with Mercedes about her life in Villafranca. She suggested I should go for an early dinner and then attend a free concert at San Nicolas Church(17th Century).. Pedro Halffter, of Villafranca, a world renowned composer was giving a free piano concert. I walked into the packed church at 7:58 looking like the grubby pilgrim that I am and walked directly to the first pew spotting an opening on the very end and sat just as the concert. Beautiful music in a majestic venue.

Back at the Albergue, Maria and Mercedes invited me to stay the following day for a family and friend afternoon dinner. The Camino has taught me to accept any and all gifts so I readily accept though it will put me behind schedule. In the morning, I awake at 7:45, almost 3 hours later than normal. The other pilgrims are gone but Mercedes is there and makes me a breakfast of toast but surprisingly brings out a box of Barry’s Irish Tea so I enjoy 2 small pots with milk and honey while listening to Mercedes. She can talk with the best as it seems as if I am back in Ireland at a B&B. Maria returns around noon and tells me she got a reply from her Irish friend and asks for help once more.

Mercedes’ dinner is a delicious homemade 3 inch thick meat and veggie empanada and a salad with juicy red ripe tomatoes, lettuce, and onion from their garden. How nice for this pilgrim to experience a family meal. Maria and Mercedes sit by me and kindly translate and keep my plate and wine glass full.

Well it is getting late so we say goodbye. Mercedes will not accept my money for breakfast and drinks and Maria walks me down to the corner where I turn for the bridge. She gives me a big hug. I walk on crossing the bridge and taking the road to the right which will turn into the path going over the mountain to Trabadelo. It turns into a beautiful ridge walk and alone and very happy I whistle knowing I have another “second home” to return to some day.
I am always a little sad to leave great hostels on the Camino knowing O may never walk that particular way again.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2), Chemin du Puy, Portuguese, Via de la Plata
#11
In 2016, I had my pack sent on to Albergue Leo. On arrival, I was exhausted. I was struggling with a chest infection and had over estimated the KLM’s for the day. Don’t know what I must have looked like but Maria took control immediately insisting she take me to a hotel owned by family because a top bunk was out of the question. No worries, same price as albergue €10. Off we went in her car. She was amazing. Tucked me into bed telling me to rest before going down to the bar for food and drink with the locals - no pilgrims. Left her phone no with instructions to ring if I needed anything. After a good night’s rest I decided to carry my pack to avoid pushing myself to get to my pack at the end of the day. Maria was my saviour and her kindness is one of the treasures of my Camino.
Beautiful. I can only imagine there are so many stories about the kindness of these two angels, Maria and Mercedes.
 



Advertisement

Most read today

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 8 1.1%
  • February

    Votes: 4 0.6%
  • March

    Votes: 32 4.6%
  • April

    Votes: 106 15.2%
  • May

    Votes: 172 24.7%
  • June

    Votes: 51 7.3%
  • July

    Votes: 14 2.0%
  • August

    Votes: 10 1.4%
  • September

    Votes: 200 28.7%
  • October

    Votes: 85 12.2%
  • November

    Votes: 10 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.7%
Top