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Advice needed re road to O'Cebreiro

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MicheleK

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning first one, Camino Frances, in September 2018.
We are on our way to Villafranca and my knee is not doing great so I won't be able to do the alternate route tomorrow. I understand that there is a dangerous section in and out of the highway from Villafranca to O'Cebreiro which I would like to avoid. But I would like to walk as much as is possible and safe.
Looking for advice as to where to grab a taxi or bus to avoid dangerous section. Thank you
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
I've walked that section twice and can't think of any part that I would call dangerous.
Along the road you are mostly behind a safety barrier.
Some of it is not that 'interesting' so if you wanted to skip a bit maybe taxi from VillaFrance to Trabadelo or La Portela.
If you are breaking the journey, the best Pilgrim meal we ever had was in Vega. (Las Rocas)
 

Bala

Veteran member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP-Burgos, (2015); Burgos-Sarria (2018); Sarria-Santiago (2018).
Frances (2020)
I also walked that section and I agree with Robo. I didn't find it particularly dangerous.

In the sections near the road you are separated by a concrete barrier. At first I was a little nervous, but I quickly got used to it. But I do walk along roads at home. If you aren't used to that, you might be uncomfortable. Some big trucks did go rumbling by, but I did not feel unsafe.

Other than the road, though, the rest of the scenery was very pretty.

If you are having knee problems -- and I was having serious knee problems -- the section from Herrerias to O Cebreiero is very steep and rocky. I found it extremely difficult. My stage that day was only Trabadelo to La Faba. It was about all my knees could handle. The next day, I walked the road to O Cebreiero, instead of the trail, and it was much kind on my knees. There was almost no traffic on that road. Just the occasional taxi or baggage van.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
The next day, I walked the road to O Cebreiero, instead of the trail, and it was much kind on my knees. There was almost no traffic on that road. Just the occasional taxi or baggage van.
Hi @Bala . I did the road 'ascent' by mistake on my first CF. Somehow I missed the turnoff. I blame the vino the night before...

But.........

The road ascent was easier though a bit longer.
 

Bala

Veteran member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP-Burgos, (2015); Burgos-Sarria (2018); Sarria-Santiago (2018).
Frances (2020)
Hi @Bala . I did the road 'ascent' by mistake on my first CF. Somehow I missed the turnoff. I blame the vino the night before...r.
That is funny, @Robo. I took the road because I also missed the turn, after stopping for my cafe con leche in the little village above LaFaba. But come to think of it, I'd had a pilgrim meal with another couple the night before and since they wanted cerveza, the whole bottle of wine was all mine..... ;)

But seriously, @MicheleK , rethinking the road out of Villafranca, do be warned that I did have some big trucks rumble by. But I never felt unsafe. I guess I'm thinking that given bad knees, if you only wanted to taxi part of the way, the climb up the mountain is definitely the part I would choose. Although the scenery from the path was beautiful. Good luck, whatever you do.
 

Paul McAmino

Blue Ridge
Camino(s) past & future
2012 SJPP-Burgos, 2014 Burgos-Leon, 2018 Leon-Santiago
I also can’t think of any particularly dangerous spots along the route through the Valcarce valley, unless the road crossings are considered dangerous. The old Brierly guide warned against “dangerous bends,” which, to be honest, I never came across last May. Plus, there’s just not that much traffic. Your knees may complain about walking on a hard surface for much of the way, but the rise is gentle until Vega de Valcarce.
Enjoy the shady walk with the river winding back and forth, and the small towns, and the beginnings of the linguistic frontier from Castellano to Gallego, evidenced by the “corrected” signage for village names.

All the best,
Paul
 

Rover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis, Fall 2016
We are on our way to Villafranca and my knee is not doing great so I won't be able to do the alternate route tomorrow. I understand that there is a dangerous section in and out of the highway from Villafranca to O'Cebreiro which I would like to avoid. But I would like to walk as much as is possible and safe.
Looking for advice as to where to grab a taxi or bus to avoid dangerous section. Thank you

Ditto to remarks by my fellow Peregrino's; I walked the "road" without any problems; just use common sense. I have also hiked up the path to O'Cebreio which I found preferable but it is challenging. Bottomline, if your knee is bad, either follow alongside the roadway or get a ride.
 

MicheleK

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning first one, Camino Frances, in September 2018.
Thank you to all for your quick responses and kind advice. My knee is even worse after my walk to Villafranca now, so regretfully it will be a ride up to O'Cebreiro hopefully the rest day will help with the decent on the other side the day after.
Thanks again!
 

tigermike

Member
Camino(s) past & future
April 15th 2018
I've done this twice this year and, like the guys above, wouldn't describe the route as dangerous.
You'll need to be alert when crossing the road but that's it.
If your knees are still giving you trouble, why not stay at the delightful Casa del Pescado in Ambastmesas (charming Russian owners, great food and truly amazing home-grown veg and salads) and then get up early and take a horse ride up to O Cebriero from the village of Las Herrerias. If you arrive later than 9 o'clock there's a risk that all the horses are booked and on their way.
The great advantage of this is that horseback riding is a bonafide means of Camino travel, the others being your own legs or a bicycle.
Taking a taxi, bus, train etc doesn't count I'm afraid.
But, as they say, its your Camino and you must decide what's best.
But don't worry about a dangerous road - just the steepness of the trail up to O Cebriero if indeed you choose to walk.
Good luck !
 

Paul McAmino

Blue Ridge
Camino(s) past & future
2012 SJPP-Burgos, 2014 Burgos-Leon, 2018 Leon-Santiago
Thank you to all for your quick responses and kind advice. My knee is even worse after my walk to Villafranca now, so regretfully it will be a ride up to O'Cebreiro hopefully the rest day will help with the decent on the other side the day after.
Thanks again!
You can go down the other side on the (sparsely traveled) road too. I did it.

Paul
 

november_moon

Veteran Member
The road used to be more dangerous before they built the A-6 highway. The new highway takes the bulk of hte traffic, so this road now only has local traffic. And, as mentioned by others, they've installed a barrer between the traffic and the pedestrians. I've walked this road twice on this section and it is totally fine.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
I did Villafranca to Ruitelan (this is right after Vega de Valcarce); and Ruitelan to O Cebreiro, by the paved road option (I missed the turn, too, and when I realized my mistake, I had walked too many kms).
No dangerous at all, really. The road is a pretty boring walk, but it has some nice sights, too.
 

tigermike

Member
Camino(s) past & future
April 15th 2018
Thank you to all for your quick responses and kind advice. My knee is even worse after my walk to Villafranca now, so regretfully it will be a ride up to O'Cebreiro hopefully the rest day will help with the decent on the other side the day after.
Thanks again!
One other thing Michele, there is NO SHAME in sending your pack forward with one of the baggage carriers, Jacotrans for example. Please don't fall into that old martyr trap of believing you absolutely must carry your 'burden' all the way.
All you need is the name of a good albergue in the next place you plan on staying.
Walking without your pack for a couple days will be sooooo much kinder on your knees.
Good luck !
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I understand that there is a dangerous section in and out of the highway from Villafranca to O'Cebreiro which I would like to avoid.
Before the construction of the safety barrier it could be dangerous, but then there also used to be a lot more road traffic than there is nowadays.

It's not dangerous.

And as far as your knee is concerned, it's basically flat all the way until the steep final hike up to O Cebreiro commences.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Thank you to all for your quick responses and kind advice. My knee is even worse after my walk to Villafranca now, so regretfully it will be a ride up to O'Cebreiro hopefully the rest day will help with the decent on the other side the day after.
Thanks again!
It might be possible to make that "a ride up to O Cebreiro" quite literally, as it might be possible to get up there on horseback.

Does anyone know if this is still the case, and if so if that possibility exists in October ?
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
@MicheleK I think the information is very old. It used to be dangerous, but that was before the motorway was constructed.

Now the traffic all goes on the motorway, so you are walking beside a minor road - with almost no traffic, and you are on the footpath with a barrier between you and the road.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
It might be possible to make that "a ride up to O Cebreiro" quite literally, as it might be possible to get up there on horseback.

Does anyone know if this is still the case, and if so if that possibility exists in October ?
Cant couch for October but we saw the sign, and then the pilgrims on horseback last June.
There is a thread with the phone number somewhere.
 

Charlotte Lamp

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances Sept/Oct 2018
I've done this twice this year and, like the guys above, wouldn't describe the route as dangerous.
You'll need to be alert when crossing the road but that's it.
If your knees are still giving you trouble, why not stay at the delightful Casa del Pescado in Ambastmesas (charming Russian owners, great food and truly amazing home-grown veg and salads) and then get up early and take a horse ride up to O Cebriero from the village of Las Herrerias. If you arrive later than 9 o'clock there's a risk that all the horses are booked and on their way.
The great advantage of this is that horseback riding is a bonafide means of Camino travel, the others being your own legs or a bicycle.
Taking a taxi, bus, train etc doesn't count I'm afraid.
But, as they say, its your Camino and you must decide what's best.
But don't worry about a dangerous road - just the steepness of the trail up to O Cebriero if indeed you choose to walk.
Good luck !
This smacks of judgmental “taking a taxi or bus doesn’t count” - in whose book??? Pilgrimage with aches, pains, and other issues can be about planning and flexibility and acceptance of what is. Putting an opionated judgment on someone only increases their burden not lesssns it.
 

Paul McAmino

Blue Ridge
Camino(s) past & future
2012 SJPP-Burgos, 2014 Burgos-Leon, 2018 Leon-Santiago
Although the OP could have been clearer, it is literally true that the only forms of travel recognized for a Compostela are foot, horse, and bicycle over the last 100 km ending at SdC. This means that other forms of travel really do not “count” toward a Compostela.
It seems from the context of the original post where the offending word was used, that this is the sense in which it was being offered, not as a judgment, but as a statement of fact.

Paul
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Camino(s) past & future
Frances/SJPP 2015, 2016, 2018
Way of St. Francis, Italy 2017
Portuguese/Finisterre 2018 (2019)
Victor was there in May. I didn’t ride but did she them. He has a limited number of horses and times he goes, so given your situation I would call him ahead. We did this in 2016 when my friend had severe shin splints and it was very helpful. The path between Villa Franca and Herrias where you catch the horses is pretty flat. There was a nice new place to stay there and you could catch the horses in the morning
 

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november_moon

Veteran Member
I actually quite enjoyed the walk up the road. Some may find it boring, but I thought it was relaxing. You walk up through a river canyon, so you have the sound the the river most of the way. There are plenty of wonderful big trees for shade and when there's a breeze, the leaves make nice music. I enjoyed that section both times I walked it. And both times, I had intended to walk the alternate route, but both times I wasn't feeling quite up to snuff and chose the easier route along the road.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances/SJPP 2015, 2016, 2018
Way of St. Francis, Italy 2017
Portuguese/Finisterre 2018 (2019)
I actually quite enjoyed the walk up the road. Some may find it boring, but I thought it was relaxing. You walk up through a river canyon, so you have the sound the the river most of the way. There are plenty of wonderful big trees for shade and when there's a breeze, the leaves make nice music. I enjoyed that section both times I walked it. And both times, I had intended to walk the alternate route, but both times I wasn't feeling quite up to snuff and chose the easier route along the road.
Agree. I focus on the river to the left and not the road on my right. I have also done the other route and it definitely has steep ascent and descent. I’ve chosen the low route two of my three Camino’s.
 

tigermike

Member
Camino(s) past & future
April 15th 2018
It seems from the context of the original post where the offending word was used, that this is the sense in which it was being offered, not as a judgment, but as a statement of fact.

Paul
Thank you Paul.
You will know from your own experience, as I do from from mine, that the question is asked upon arrival at the Compostela desk in SdC.
I walked every single step from SJPDP to SdC twice this year, and it was important to me to do just that.
Yes, of course that's a personal thing, but I was both humbled and surprised by the many, many pilgrims, especially those considerably older that I, who had every ambition to do just that.
What did surprise me was discovering that in more than one American guidebook to walking the CF, the suggestion is made to "skip" the Meseta and take a bus or train for no other reason than it is considered (by the writer/compiler) to be 'boring'.
I wasn't 'bored' for one single minute of my Caminos, so have absolutely no idea from what sort of mind such extraordinary thoughts have their origin.
Possibly the same sort that jumps onto a thread like this and accuses a fellow pilgrim of being judgmental perhaps ?
 

dalstonmarra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPD to Burgos April 2015, Burgos to Leon.(May 2016)
Leon to Santiago(April2017)
I used the riding facility in 2017 because of knee problems and knowing the walk at the start is strewn with rocks. It was well worth the cost.The wrangler will also call a taxi to deliver your rucksack to Ocebriero if you desire,but be aware the municipal alberge might not accept you if you don't arrive with your sac!! There are other options up there.
 

harkmi

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances September-November 2017
Thank you Paul.
You will know from your own experience, as I do from from mine, that the question is asked upon arrival at the Compostela desk in SdC.
I walked every single step from SJPDP to SdC twice this year, and it was important to me to do just that.
Yes, of course that's a personal thing, but I was both humbled and surprised by the many, many pilgrims, especially those considerably older that I, who had every ambition to do just that.
What did surprise me was discovering that in more than one American guidebook to walking the CF, the suggestion is made to "skip" the Meseta and take a bus or train for no other reason than it is considered (by the writer/compiler) to be 'boring'.
I wasn't 'bored' for one single minute of my Caminos, so have absolutely no idea from what sort of mind such extraordinary thoughts have their origin.
Possibly the same sort that jumps onto a thread like this and accuses a fellow pilgrim of being judgmental perhaps ?
This smacks of judgmental “taking a taxi or bus doesn’t count” - in whose book??? Pilgrimage with aches, pains, and other issues can be about planning and flexibility and acceptance of what is. Putting an opionated judgment on someone only increases their burden not lesssns it.
I completely agree. Each person completes their Camino the way that best suits them. Who is anyone to tell them that their choice of travel is not “acceptable”? Furthermore, o’cebreiro is not even within the last 100 kms so if she decides to take a taxi up the hill she is still well within her rights to apply for a Compostella. Purists need to stop judging others. Offer encouragement.

Best luck with the recovery of the sore knees. They can be quite challenging to deal with.
 
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tigermike

Member
Camino(s) past & future
April 15th 2018
Best luck with the recovery of the sore knees. They can be quite challenging to deal with.
Sore knees ?
To whom, precisely, is that comment intended ?
Funny how all the 'trolls' emerge on a Saturday night....
Had you taken the trouble to read my OP then you would have seen that I graciously conceded to the all-embracingly obvious concession that: "to each their own Camino".
My point, since you appear singularly unable to grasp it, was simply that @MicheleK, in starting this thread, was patently reaching out - and all I did was to offer some considered advice and experience.
Based not on ducking and diving mark you, but on walking every single metre, all 1,600,000 of them, in less four three months.
"Purists"....... ????
I'll pass on commenting upon that derogatory insult - maybe 87 year old Alice from County Cork in Ireland (if she's out there and watching) might like to chip in .....
 
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