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Albergue in Villavieja

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
Has anyone on the forum spent a night at the albergue municipal in Villavieja this year? I have read three posts in the Comentarios on Gronze referring to that albergue which all state that it is impossible to reach anyone to open the albergue by calling any of the posted numbers. These comments are from July and August of this year and there are no other comments about the albergue since 2018. I am beginning to wonder if it is currently in use, as apparently locals were saying that the new mayor could not be bothered opening it for pilgrims. I would appreciate it if you could pass on any further information.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Has anyone on the forum spent a night at the albergue municipal in Villavieja this year? I have read three posts in the Comentarios on Gronze referring to that albergue which all state that it is impossible to reach anyone to open the albergue by calling any of the posted numbers. These comments are from July and August of this year and there are no other comments about the albergue since 2018. I am beginning to wonder if it is currently in use, as apparently locals were saying that the new mayor could not be bothered opening it for pilgrims. I would appreciate it if you could pass on any further information.
Yes there was definitely one female member of the forum (I think in May or even April) that slept there but I just can't remember who that was. I vaguely remember that she was maybe even the first one at all to overnight there...
 

Theatregal

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
So far...
2012 ~ 2019
The albergue in Villavieja was still definitely in use a couple of months ago - the beginning of June. I had planned to stay there but had to change my plans due to a lost day because of luggage problems. I did talk with the man in charge of the albergue (both to reserve and to cancel). It was one of these numbers - +34 682-591-483 or +34 606-898-140
Sorry, I had both of these numbers for him but one of them he didn't answer. Can't remember which was which.
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
Thanks for all replies. I am still unsure, as later (July-August) Comentarios on gronze indicate that lack of response to telephone calls is attributable to a new mayor who cannot be bothered to open the albergue to pilgrims. However, I shall call from Ponferrada the day before and won’t plan on staying there unless I get an affirmative response. Thanks again for replying.
 

Clarky19

Wandering & wondering
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Invierno 2019
Thanks for all replies. I am still unsure, as later (July-August) Comentarios on gronze indicate that lack of response to telephone calls is attributable to a new mayor who cannot be bothered to open the albergue to pilgrims. However, I shall call from Ponferrada the day before and won’t plan on staying there unless I get an affirmative response. Thanks again for replying.
Hi, I noticed there seems to be a different tel. number on the Villavieja Facebook site dated 5 July. Have you seen that one? Not sure if it's any help - 687-80-12-64: https://m.facebook.com/alberguedeVillavieja/?ref=page_internal&mt_nav=0
 

VNwalking

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Clarky19

Wandering & wondering
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Invierno 2019
Hi, I just managed to speak to someone at the Ayuntamiento in Villavieja who promised me that I could call just a couple of days before arriving there and the albergue would be open - that was for this September. Hope that helps. This is the number I used: ALBERGUE MUNICIPAL EN VILLAVIEJA: Llamar al Ayuntamiento. Tlf. 987 420 806
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Just a quick clarification, not sure it really matters, but just in case. The ayuntamiento (town hall, municipal government) is actually in Priaranza del Bierzo, not in Villavieja. Villavieja is a little hamlet that is part of Priaranza’s munncipal government. I just add this in case someone gets to Villavieja and starts walking around looking for the town hall, because you won’t find one.

But this is very good news about the albergue being open!
 

Clarky19

Wandering & wondering
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Invierno 2019
Just a quick clarification, not sure it really matters, but just in case. The ayuntamiento (town hall, municipal government) is actually in Priaranza del Bierzo, not in Villavieja. Villavieja is a little hamlet that is part of Priaranza’s munncipal government. I just add this in case someone gets to Villavieja and starts walking around looking for the town hall, because you won’t find one.

But this is very good news about the albergue being open!
Thanks, hopefully on the next call some further instruction will be forthcoming!
 

Clarky19

Wandering & wondering
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Invierno 2019
I'm not sure if this fits in this thread but the Albergue de Xagoaza can also be reached using WhatsApp if anyone finds it difficult/costly making calls. Very prompt replies.
 

Albertagirl

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Hi, I just managed to speak to someone at the Ayuntamiento in Villavieja who promised me that I could call just a couple of days before arriving there and the albergue would be open - that was for this September. Hope that helps. This is the number I used: ALBERGUE MUNICIPAL EN VILLAVIEJA: Llamar al Ayuntamiento. Tlf. 987 420 806
@Clarky19
This is a different number from both the numbers which I got from gronze, so I am even more confused. Where did you find this number?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I will hazard a guess that this confusion is connected to the municipal elections. Mayors and party affiliations may have changed as of June 15. I know this because on June 15 we walked into Puente Almuhey on the Olvidado and the owner of the great place we stayed told us that he had been replaced as mayor this morning.

The forum guide has different numbers, but those were put in before the municipal elections. Clarky has confirmation that the town hall is now the place to call.

BTW, this ayuntamiento is also in charge of the castle of Cornatel, so I wonder if more changes in operating hours will be forthcoming!
 

Albertagirl

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I will hazard a guess that this confusion is connected to the municipal elections. Mayors and party affiliations may have changed as of June 15. I know this because on June 15 we walked into Puente Almuhey on the Olvidado and the owner of the great place we stayed told us that he had been replaced as mayor this morning.

The forum guide has different numbers, but those were put in before the municipal elections. Clarky has confirmation that the town hall is now the place to call.

BTW, this ayuntamiento is also in charge of the castle of Cornatel, so I wonder if more changes in operating hours will be forthcoming!
Thanks for clarification. This is pretty much what I suspected. Things seem to change rapidly on the Invierno, except when a new albergue is supposed to open. It is a challenge to keep up.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
This is very confusing. I received two emails from the town hall. They gave me similar information but different phone numbers. So that’s the best I can do.

Everyone agrees that the municipality no longer runs the albergue. A concession/license was given to a private party by the prior municipal regime of the Partido Popular. This concession expires in December 2019, so who knows what will happen then.

Here are the two different numbers I was given.

They are both cell phones. 0034 647706979.

Monchi is the name of the person, according to one of the emails I got. 687-80-12-64.
 

Clarky19

Wandering & wondering
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Invierno 2019
Hi, just to continue with the Villavieja saga. I tried that cell number because I hope to be there next Monday but the cell doesn't work so I'd ignore that one!

I have also tried the landline number but it was very broken up and we had some difficulty trying to understand each other and agreed to try again later. That one at least does seem to get through to the lady in charge. Will confirm if I have any later success. Thanks for the updates!
 

Clarky19

Wandering & wondering
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Invierno 2019
Quick update - I used the landline that @peregrina2000 noted and spoke to Monch (a man) who was very accommodating and will open the albergue for me at the start of September. So that last number definitely works.

My one question on this is - he can't be there until between 4-5pm - those of you who have used the hostel before, can you advise me if there is somewhere you can sit in shade nearby? I'm only walking from Ponferrada so I reckon I'll be there before that to avoid the mid-afternoon temperature rise.

Many thanks.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Quick update - I used the landline that @peregrina2000 noted and spoke to Monch (a man) who was very accommodating and will open the albergue for me at the start of September. So that last number definitely works.

My one question on this is - he can't be there until between 4-5pm - those of you who have used the hostel before, can you advise me if there is somewhere you can sit in shade nearby? I'm only walking from Ponferrada so I reckon I'll be there before that to avoid the mid-afternoon temperature rise.

Many thanks.
Hi, Clarky19,
It’s great that you can give us real-time feedback. Although I have not spent much time there, Villavieja is a very shady little hamlet, so I’m sure there will be places for you to sit. Depending on what time you leave Ponferrada, though, you may have many hours to wait. The owner of the casa rural, who is renovating another larger house right next door for a second casa rural, may be there working. He is doing almost all the work himself and likes to chat.

Buen camino, let us know how it goes, Laurie
 

Clarky19

Wandering & wondering
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Invierno 2019
Sounds good, Laurie. I should be there next Monday, all being well, & can send a report from on site! When I first called the couple running it, the line was very bad & they were good enough to call me back later, which was very thoughtful. Bodes well.
 

Clarky19

Wandering & wondering
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Invierno 2019
Actually, I've just noticed the 687-80-12-64 no. has popped up on my Whatsapp list, so must be a mobile & maybe anyone having difficulty calling can try getting them that way.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Actually, I've just noticed the 687-80-12-64 no. has popped up on my Whatsapp list, so must be a mobile & maybe anyone having difficulty calling can try getting them that way.
Thanks, Clarky, I was just going to write to say that the 687 number is not a land line, it is a cell phone, and you beat me to it.

And also to note that the first cell phone number listed is also on whatsApp. I will write to both and see if I can get better info for future peregrinos

I have corrected the post above, thanks!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Sounds good, Laurie. I should be there next Monday, all being well, & can send a report from on site! When I first called the couple running it, the line was very bad & they were good enough to call me back later, which was very thoughtful. Bodes well.

Hi, Clarky, I am totally confused but hope you can sleep in the albergue.

I sent a whatsApp to both telephone numbers. The number 647 70 69 79 just wrote to me to say the albergue is closed “por obras.” (Some kind of construction work). Not really sure what is going on. Hope you have a “Plan B” in case this albergue isn’t operational! Buen camino, Laurie.
 

Clarky19

Wandering & wondering
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Invierno 2019
Confusion reigns. Well, Laurie, what can I say?! I guess I'll be there for 4pm & if nothing happens I'll have to keep going. First test of pilgrimage - to trust in provision when needed. Hadn't thought I'd hit that quite so early on mind you. I'll let you know what happens. Fiona
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Confusion reigns. Well, Laurie, what can I say?! I guess I'll be there for 4pm & if nothing happens I'll have to keep going. First test of pilgrimage - to trust in provision when needed. Hadn't thought I'd hit that quite so early on mind you. I'll let you know what happens. Fiona
Well, Fiona, just to add to the suspense, just this minute I received a WhatsApp fromo Monchi saying in response to my message to him that I had received another whatsApp that told me the albergue was closed. My translation: “I don’t know, I understood that there were problems with the hot water. I don’t know if they fixed it, I think so, but I cannot confirm it.”

CRAZY!!!
 

Clarky19

Wandering & wondering
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Invierno 2019
I went back to check what been written on Gronze & the last pilgrim tried to stay there on th 5 Aug. & was told, as you say, that it was closed due to the water issue. They then found everything closed in Borrenes also. Not sure about all of this especially as it will be quite late in the day if it all goes belly-up! More anon.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
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Wow, hope it all works out, @Clarky19!
if there is somewhere you can sit in shade nearby?
There's lots of shade in the village as well as along the path that goes up to the castle. There are monster chestnuts which would be lovely places for a nap.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Wow, hope it all works out, @Clarky19!

There's lots of shade in the village as well as along the path that goes up to the castle. There are monster chestnuts which would be lovely places for a nap.
I'm sure that old mastiff would be quite happy to have a napping friend. Seriously! I mean imagine his life in Villavieja... :)
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
That old mastiff seems to have faded gracefully into his retirement. Last time I walked through, in July, there was no sign of him.
No, really? 😞
It was 5 years ago and I remember him as an "old boss" still trying to maintain some kind of (dog) order in the village. I liked him although he barked at me but I'm sure we would go along just fine if I'd took my time to get to know him better.

As stupid or funny as it sounds but we all need just a hug sometimes... Even a dog.
 

Clarky19

Wandering & wondering
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Invierno 2019
Well, apologies that I won't be able to give on site info on Villavieja. Due to airline issues today I never even made it to Spain & have had to cancel my plan. Another year, another plan I guess. I hope the next person will have more success in getting there. Buen camino all.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
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San Olav/CF ('16)
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😑
That's a bummer, @Clarky19! I'm sorry.
When you finally get there, it will be that much sweeter - not that that makes the bitter part of this situation any more tasty.
Well...buen camino de la vida!
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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So here I am in Hospital de Orbigo, only a couple of days short of Ponferrada, and I still have no idea where I shall sleep my first night on the Invierno. I shall try telephoning the albergue later today to see if Monchi has a place for me. I don't know what I shall do if I cannot arrange that with him. Wish me well and I shall let you know.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
So here I am in Hospital de Orbigo, only a couple of days short of Ponferrada, and I still have no idea where I shall sleep my first night on the Invierno. I shall try telephoning the albergue later today to see if Monchi has a place for me. I don't know what I shall do if I cannot arrange that with him. Wish me well and I shall let you know.


I wish you well. The information on this albergue has certainly been confusing, and I’m sorry it’s fallen to you to clear up the confusion for us.

Since I’m not currently in the US, I have no way to call the ayuntamiento of the municipality of Priaranza del Bierzo (whose jurisdiction includes Villavieja as well as the castle of Cornatel). But I have written to several different email addresses in the town hall, and I am mildly optimistic I will get some response. I have communicated with them in the past in preparation of some of the forum Invierno guides.

I will certainly let you know, when are you leaving @Albertagirl?
Buen camino, Laurie
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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@peregrina2000:
I am not sure what you mean by "when are you leaving?" I am in the Siervas de Maria albergue in Astorga right now and expect to be leaving Ponferrada for Villavieja on the 21st. As soon as I can find a quiet place I shall try to phone Monchi and make a reservation to stay in the albergue at Villavieja that night. I'll let you know how it goes.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Y
@peregrina2000:
I am not sure what you mean by "when are you leaving?" I am in the Siervas de Maria albergue in Astorga right now and expect to be leaving Ponferrada for Villavieja on the 21st. As soon as I can find a quiet place I shall try to phone Monchi and make a reservation to stay in the albergue at Villavieja that night. I'll let you know how it goes.
Sorry to be unclear. I meant “leaving from Ponferrada.” So you gave me the answer I was looking for. :)

I will also report back if I hear from Priaranza.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
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Good luck, @Albertagirl
I hope it works out; Villavieja is a beautiful place.
And thank you for repoting back - there will be those of us out here thinking of you, wondering how your're going.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
@peregrina2000:
I am not sure what you mean by "when are you leaving?" I am in the Siervas de Maria albergue in Astorga right now and expect to be leaving Ponferrada for Villavieja on the 21st. As soon as I can find a quiet place I shall try to phone Monchi and make a reservation to stay in the albergue at Villavieja that night. I'll let you know how it goes.


Well, as luck would have it, I just received a note from the ayuntamiento. As I write this, @Albertagirl, you are probably on your way!

Here is what I learned:
Monchi is in charge of the albergue until the end of the year. You must call him ahead of time and reserve. Phone number is 687 80 12 64.

If you have any problems, you should call the town hall of Priaranza del Bierzo and they will help you. 987 40 08 06.

The town is going to find a new licensee for 2020, so I hope that these problems will be a thing of the past. Buen camino, Albertagirl, and I hope you have a wonderful Camino de Invierno!
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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@peregrina2000
I am having breakfast at Guiana Albergue in Ponferrada and have contacted Monchi. As I arrived here on Sunday, I was not able to do necessary errands in town, in particular, renewing my phone service. Monchi has instructed me to head out when ready and to call him again then. I hope that all will go well.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
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Buen, camino, Albertagirl! I hope you find the Invierno to be as wonderful as I did. It is my favorite camino so far, so I am happy to think of you as you are about to set off.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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Well, as luck would have it, I just received a note from the ayuntamiento. As I write this, @Albertagirl, you are probably on your way!

Here is what I learned:
Monchi is in charge of the albergue until the end of the year. You must call him ahead of time and reserve. Phone number is 687 80 12 64.

If you have any problems, you should call the town hall of Priaranza del Bierzo and they will help you. 987 40 08 06.

The town is going to find a new licensee for 2020, so I hope that these problems will be a thing of the past. Buen camino, Albertagirl, and I hope you have a wonderful Camino de Invierno!
@peregrina2000
I want to let you know how my reservation at Villavieja last night worked out. It was a strenuous day's walk. I started late after wandering around in Ponferrada, locating an office to renew my phone service, then waiting until it opened at 10:00. The walk was mostly uphill and accompanied by fairly light rain from the afternoon onward. I phoned Monchi on my way out of town and he told me that I would find a key to the albergue on a windowsill when I arrived. I had a challenge to find the albergue in Vilavieja. There were signs all over the place, from the highway upthe steep trail, but none on or in front of the albergue. I had seen a photo, so I stood in front of the albergue at about 7 pm. I was wet and cold. I couldn't find the key or any windowsill resembling where he said he put it. I tried to phone Monchi, but he repeatedly hung up on me. Some local people were storing acorns in a shed next to the albergue and I got a ride into Borrenes with one of them, where I, and three others who had expected to spend the night in the albergue at Villavieja, stayed in a hotel there. Later, Monchi phoned me to apologize. There is really no more to say.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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I am eating a light lunch in a bar in Las Medulas. I had a good look at the albergue "La Senda" and spoke to a man who told me that the albergue is currently closed for "descanso" having been open for one week this year. Then he added that the albergue is only open on weekends in the winter and outside of the busy season (when it is apparently only open for a week). Judging by the visible facilities, it appears to be fully equipped and in service. What is it with albergues on the Invierno?
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
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Hope your next days will be better. Buen camino!
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
News update.

As the guy in the ayuntamiento told me last fall, the council of Priaranza del Bierzo (the municipality that includes the hamlet of Villavieja) has filed a formal request for someone to take over the concession to run the albergue. The article details the problems they have had, but why dwell on that?! Let’s just hope that 2020 brings a better solution. Any “albergue owner dreamers” out there interest in applying for this license?

The article links to the application form and says that the licensee will have to pay 100 € a year for the license, but I am assuming that the albergue revenues will go to the licensee.

 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
My husband and I stayed there in April 2019. We were the only ones there and we had to call the mayor to come and open the place. We waited about 30 minutes because he doesn't live close by. Beautiful place. Everything is brand new. The hot water heater wasn't working so we had no heat or hot water so we boiled some water to wash up. Kitchen worked fine and we brought stuff to make dinner. It was a little chilly at night and between our sleeping bag liner and the blankets they provided we were comfortable.
It's too bad they are having issues staffing it.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
If the license allows/includes live-in hospitaler@ 100€/year would most probably be the lowest rent in the whole Europe ;)
But still it is an auction so the price might get higher. For such nice place it's a bargain nevertheless.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
In preparation for the forum Invierno zoom meeting, I was wondering about the current status of the albergue in Villavieja. Last we heard, the license was up for bid.

Well, according to this article, the license has been given to a woman who is described as having worked in “emergency services in New York.” This hospitalera declared that her albergue would be open to any walker who needed a place to stay, during the pandemic. Interesting that the article was written on March 31, well after the lockdown began, so I am not sure about the legalities of all of this.

In any event, the hospitalera says that she will provide some basic food if needed, and the article has several pictures that confirm what @alaskadiver said about it being a nice place.

And btw, I know that there are some forum members who have recommended taking the road route to bypass Villavieja and the Cornatel castle. That will take you straight into Borrenes without the first big ascent. Please take a look at these pictures before you make that rash decision. Villavieja is a story-book village, and its big barking mastiff that used to cause worry has apparently been confined so that it can no longer terrorize peregrinos.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
In preparation for the forum Invierno zoom meeting, I was wondering about the current status of the albergue in Villavieja. Last we heard, the license was up for bid.

Well, according to this article, the license has been given to a woman who is described as having worked in “emergency services in New York.” This hospitalera declared that her albergue would be open to any walker who needed a place to stay, during the pandemic. Interesting that the article was written on March 31, well after the lockdown began, so I am not sure about the legalities of all of this.

In any event, the hospitalera says that she will provide some basic food if needed, and the article has several pictures that confirm what @alaskadiver said about it being a nice place.

And btw, I know that there are some forum members who have recommended taking the road route to bypass Villavieja and the Cornatel castle. That will take you straight into Borrenes without the first big ascent. Please take a look at these pictures before you make that rash decision. Villavieja is a story-book village, and its big barking mastiff that used to cause worry has apparently been confined so that it can no longer terrorize peregrinos.
@peregrina2000
You know from my remarks above my challenges in trying to stay in this albergue. I am now actually wondering if I was in the wrong location, as I have looked at a photo of the albergue which does not resemble the building in Villavieja which I thought was the albergue. However, this could have easily been sorted out if Monchi had not kept hanging up on me. Three other pilgrims who passed me on the walk to Villavieja also were unable to stay there and had to go on to Borrenes that day. My one comment on deciding to try to stay at Villavieja would be that if, like myself, you are a fairly slow walker and have, for whatever reason, had to leave Ponferrada somewhat late in the day, you might consider whether you could make it to Borrenes by the Villavieja route. I had a booking at the Villavieja albergue, but I still had to hitch a ride into Borrenes in the rain and the approaching dark. That would not have been a good time to walk.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
@peregrina2000
You know from my remarks above my challenges in trying to stay in this albergue. I am now actually wondering if I was in the wrong location, as I have looked at a photo of the albergue which does not resemble the building in Villavieja which I thought was the albergue. However, this could have easily been sorted out if Monchi had not kept hanging up on me. Three other pilgrims who passed me on the walk to Villavieja also were unable to stay there and had to go on to Borrenes that day. My one comment on deciding to try to stay at Villavieja would be that if, like myself, you are a fairly slow walker and have, for whatever reason, had to leave Ponferrada somewhat late in the day, you might consider whether you could make it to Borrenes by the Villavieja route. I had a booking at the Villavieja albergue, but I still had to hitch a ride into Borrenes in the rain and the approaching dark. That would not have been a good time to walk.
Yes, I remember you had a horrible time with this, @Albertagirl. The albergue itself is to the left and up from the camino tracks, and it is the old school. But in any event, the good news is that Monchi is no longer in charge and it looks like things have gotten onto a much better trajectory.
 

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I really second what you say, Laurie.
That's definitely a stiff climb from the road, but the view of the castle from below and the drama of the walk through the narrow slot below it are so impressive. And the village and castle are wonderful. Not to mention the amazing chestnut trees lining the road between the two.
This stretch was a highlight of the entire camino.
 

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peregrina2000

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Staff member
There is an updated link for this Albergue https://alberguedevillavieja.com/
and going back to a possible New York connection, on the food and drink advertised New York is given as one of the origins of the styles of coffee on offer.

Very definitely looks like the albergue is in much better hands! The meal prices are quite low, and yes, there’s even New York style coffee, which may or may not be a compliment.
 

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