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Albergue supply outstrips pilgrim demand on Invierno!

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peregrina2000

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Staff member
When I first walked the Invierno, there were a couple of youth albergues, but only one camino albergue, in Xagoaza, very inconveniently located a few kms outside Barco de Valdeorras.

Well that situation has changed dramatically, there are now lots of (mostly private) albergues on the Invierno.

But according to this recent article in the Voz de Galicia, not even Semana Santa in Spain resulted in filled Invierno albergues!


I’ve given up with my predictions about the Invierno “taking off,” but still say it’s an absolutely great camino if you are looking to get away from the crowds of the Francés.
 
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peregrina2000

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I wonder what the current status is of the planned albergue at Diomondi?
Good question, but I can’t find anything recent.

The opening of the albergue is going to present a real dilemma for Invierno pilgrims who don’t want to walk the long day from Monforte to Chantada. From Monforte to where? Stop in the beautiful casa rural Torre Vilariño so you can do the 6 k loop with the amazing Miño views, or continue on to Diomondi and sleep in what used to be the bishop’s palace adjacent to a Romanesque church? What a choice!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
That was interesting. As discussed in the article, thinking of the Invierno as 9 stages really doesn't work very well. I have spent a lot of hours working on an itinerary for myself that includes short stages and that allows some flexibility. At the moment I have a plan that goes to 18 days, that includes 3 days of under 10 km because I couldn't even things out.

For example, as far as I can tell, between Quiroga and Monforte are 37 km with no accommodation unless you walk an additional few km to get to Salcedo. And what if Salcedo fills up?
 
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Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
Mmmm -- I have to say I am very, very selfishly glad that the Invierno is quiet! I was worried that the advent of the Brierly Guide would bring lots and lots of traffic. Its interesting, though, that there are not more pilgrims. Like @C clearly I have worked out shorter stages and have planned 13.5 stages (we will start from Molinaseca on the our first Invierno stage), between 15 and 26 km. Its a little tricky -- Torre Vilarino may be a pinch point as we will likely be there on a weekend, and we are going off route a bit to Salceda to break up one of the longer stages. Nine stages would result in some very long days!

I think a lot of people think that the Invierno requires long stages -- I've seen that concern crop up in some recent posts. Maybe that is the rub.

L
 
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C clearly

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Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
I think a lot of people think that the Invierno requires long stages
As long as it is being promoted as a 9-stage route, this impression is inevitable! At the moment, it can be broken up, but only by using private, more expensive) accommodation that should be reserved because it is often the only game in town.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I’m sure you guys have seen the 25 km or less planning thread, but I’ll just stick it in here for others.

You are right that the albergues that have opened up have almost all been in the obvious endpoints for the “official” stages — like Chantada, Monforte, Rodeiro, Lalín.

So maybe all that is needed is for Pobra de Brollón and Diomondi to open up their long-awaited albergues and then we will have no unavoidable long stages wtihout albergues, is that right?
 
The opening of the albergue is going to present a real dilemma for Invierno pilgrims who don’t want to walk the long day from Monforte to Chantada. From Monforte to where? Stop in the beautiful casa rural Torre Vilariño so you can do the 6 k loop with the amazing Miño views, or continue on to Diomondi and sleep in what used to be the bishop’s palace adjacent to a Romanesque church? What a choice!
I think I'd do both! Stop in Torre Vilariño and visit Ecomuseo Arxeriz, the ethnological museum and castro almost next door, then relax in the lovely gardens of Vilariño before a nice dinner. The next morning do the Miño loop and then continue on to stay at Diomondi.
 
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Sept. 2022 El Salvador, Oct. 2022 Tui Portugués
I’m sure you guys have seen the 25 km or less planning thread, but I’ll just stick it in here for others.

You are right that the albergues that have opened up have almost all been in the obvious endpoints for the “official” stages — like Chantada, Monforte, Rodeiro, Lalín.

So maybe all that is needed is for Pobra de Brollón and Diomondi to open up their long-awaited albergues and then we will have no unavoidable long stages wtihout albergues, is that right?
Yes, lodging is desperately needed in A Pobra. Moving at glacial speed. The closure of Casa Pacita in Barxa de Lor is so sad on so many levels, and hope they are able to re-open. The new private Albergue in Chantada A Pousa de Asma is very nice.
 
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I think I'd do both! Stop in Torre Vilariño and visit Ecomuseo Arxeriz, the ethnological museum and castro almost next door, then relax in the lovely gardens of Vilariño before a nice dinner. The next morning do the Miño loop and then continue on to stay at Diomondi.
This is exactly what we were planning until I figured out that Diomondi was not likely to be open. We are going to go from Torre Vilarino to Vilaseco (about 15 km)
 

Carlita416

New Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPP to Finesterre spring 2018
Porto to Muxia fall 2019
Hola! How many days, with the shorter stages? I'm skimming the threads but not seeing that sorry!
I'd love to walk the Invierno
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hola! How many days, with the shorter stages? I'm skimming the threads but not seeing that sorry!
I'd love to walk the Invierno
The forum guide, which you can find here


gives options from 9 to 16 days, and there are of course more possibilities.

What do you mean by shorter stages? The 25 km thread that I posted a link to in post number 7 of this thread also has some ideas based on accommodations that were not up and running when the forum guide was last updated (which was in 2019).

I also refer forum members to Wise Pilgrim’s Invierno App which is based on the forum guide and more up to date. Available for free at the app store.
 
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
Hola! How many days, with the shorter stages? I'm skimming the threads but not seeing that sorry!
I'd love to walk the Invierno
Hi @Carlita416 and @svanada -- I listed my planned stages here. There are a couple of pinch points but there are also lots of suggestions about how to make them work out in this forum. Check out the forum guide that @peregrina2000 references above -- she has very good advice about how to make shorter routes work. Also there is a whole thread from last year about how to make shorter stages work here. Its a long thread, but it is loaded with many ideas about how to shorten states and recommendations of places to stay.

We are doing 14 stages starting at Molinaseca on the Frances. That includes a half day (11 km) to visit the gold mines at Las Medulas. We will have one day that is 26.5 km. After that the longest day is about 23.5 km. Our shortest day other than to Las Medulas will be 14.2 km.
 
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Stellamaris

Member
Past OR future Camino
CF1999,Le Puy 2012, 2014, CF March 2022
Funny (?) morning’I am in A Rua leaving soon for Quiroga….the Invierno is just so beautifull .I just found out that I have lost my reserve of € (250€) that I was keeping in an another place. I am somebody very carefull’and organised so it is very surprising.
I also got the information that the 2 places in Saldeco are closed due to Covid which means a 37 k’to Monforte tomorrow….
I have a question where is Torre Vilariño it seems interesting
It’s a sunny day and life is good.
 
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Next up 2022?
I think I'd do both! Stop in Torre Vilariño and visit Ecomuseo Arxeriz, the ethnological museum and castro almost next door, then relax in the lovely gardens of Vilariño before a nice dinner. The next morning do the Miño loop and then continue on to stay at Diomondi.
That was my first thought. It would be 2 short days but what the heck.

I walked in 13 days* and it was a mix of short and longer stages. I didn't plan, just followed my nose, only booking ahead at Torre Vilarino. It could be easily pruned to 10-12. But 9 would feel really rushed.
(*Ponfi-Borrenes-Las Medulas-Sobradelo-A Rua-Quiroga-Barxa-Monforte-TorreV-Chantada-Rodeiro-Lalin-Silleda-Ponte Ulla-Santiago.)

Salcedo is not so far out of the way, and apparently the owners will give you a lift from the camino and back again. Hopefully the Señora in Barxa recovers, whether the place opens again or not. She is a dear.
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
That was interesting. As discussed in the article, thinking of the Invierno as 9 stages really doesn't work very well. I have spent a lot of hours working on an itinerary for myself that includes short stages and that allows some flexibility. At the moment I have a plan that goes to 18 days, that includes 3 days of under 10 km because I couldn't even things out.

For example, as far as I can tell, between Quiroga and Monforte are 37 km with no accommodation unless you walk an additional few km to get to Salcedo. And what if Salcedo fills up?
When I walked the Invierno in 2018, there was a possibility to take a bus from Pobra de Brollon to Monforte at 4pm. My plan was to take the bus, stay the night in Monforte and go back next morning without my backpack to do the rest. Because of very thick fog, I dropped the stage and took the train to Monforte in the morning.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
I also got the information that the 2 places in Saldeco are closed due to Covid which means a 37 k’to Monforte tomorrow….
That is one of the stages where I am looking into a back-up plan, in case there are no beds in Salcedo.

However, the famously difficult Renfe website leaves me without huge confidence. Can someone please confirm if I have figured the following out correctly?
  • There is a train from San Clodio-Quiroga at 07:33, going to Monforte. The handy Renfe schematic shows a stop in Pobra de Brollón, but I cannot confirm it on the Renfe reservations website. I am guessing that the train will stop in Pobra, even if you cannot reserve tickets that involve Pobra. I would then walk the 13 km to Monforte. I realize that I might miss the best part of this stage, but there might not be a happy alternative.
Another way to slightly ease the 37 km walk would be to take a taxi 5k from Quiroga to Nocedo, the point where the Camino heads into the hills, and walk 32 km from there.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I also got the information that the 2 places in Saldeco are closed due to Covid which means a 37 k’to Monforte tomorrow….
The places in Salcedo are really the only way to break up the Quiroga to Monforte stage.

I‘ve had a WhatsApp with the owners, who assure me there is nothing covid-related going on. The owner’s wife is in the hospital in Lugo waiting for an operation. They hope/plan to re-open by the 15th of May. Any existing reservations will be honored.
 
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That's a connundrum to be sure.
It's a long way with some really significant hills.
The train connection to Pobra would cut out 2 of the worst of them, if it works (hoping you get confirmation of your idea).
Another way to slightly ease the 37 km walk would be to take a taxi 5k from Quiroga to Nocedo, the point where the hills, and walk 32 km from there
Or better yet, to Barxa do Lor. That would save you the first (and worst) big hill up then down.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
That is one of the stages where I am looking into a back-up plan, in case there are no beds in Salcedo.
I can’t help you with the Renfe schedules, but you should be happy to hear that I asked José Luís (owner of the hotel) about pilgrim crunches, and he assured me that with 18 rooms (rooms, not beds), lack of availability is very rarely a problem. I’m assuming there are occasional fiestas that might interfere, but that’s true all over every camino.

Easy to communicate with them via WhasApp 34 619 81 38 34

And he says the trail from Barxa de Lor is a good option — so if any of you take this option, let us know!
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
That is one of the stages where I am looking into a back-up plan, in case there are no beds in Salcedo.

However, the famously difficult Renfe website leaves me without huge confidence. Can someone please confirm if I have figured the following out correctly?
  • There is a train from San Clodio-Quiroga at 07:33, going to Monforte. The handy Renfe schematic shows a stop in Pobra de Brollón, but I cannot confirm it on the Renfe reservations website. I am guessing that the train will stop in Pobra, even if you cannot reserve tickets that involve Pobra. I would then walk the 13 km to Monforte. I realize that I might miss the best part of this stage, but there might not be a happy alternative.
Another way to slightly ease the 37 km walk would be to take a taxi 5k from Quiroga to Nocedo, the point where the Camino heads into the hills, and walk 32 km from there.
I took that train 07.33 but I do not remember a stop in Pobra, but that was in 2018. Might perhaps depend on the type of train, long distance or local.
 
Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
There is a train from San Clodio-Quiroga at 07:33, going to Monforte. The handy Renfe schematic shows a stop in Pobra de Brollón, but I cannot confirm it on the Renfe reservations website
I took that train 07.33 but I do not remember a stop in Pobra, but that was in 2018. Might perhaps depend on the type of train, long distance or local.
The only trains I have taken through these stations in either direction were the long distance ones, going via the Rio Sil, not going past Pobra at all. I also don't remember stopping at any station at all between Ponferrada and Monforte, but we could have done.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
For me the problem IS the lack of decent infrastructure…especially with Omicron2.

After the terrific thread that @peregrina2000 did helping us to plan under 25km, I enthusiastically began organizing a Camino for myself and my 81+ year old sister this year. We can no longer go 25km every day, specifically, with the elevation changes. While I always take a list of all public transportation options with me, for emergencies, and have used them, without hesitation when necessarry, I do not like to plan on taking public transport to make my camino doable.

I could not, come-up with a plan, given several stages, already mentioned in others posts, having gaps in accommodations, nevermind with private rooms, that would allow us to walk the Invierno this year- unless we took taxis. And no way, given Omicron2’s transmissibility, was it even feasible to consider any accommodation without decent private facilities.

In addition, the unpredictability of the current situation in Ukraine, looming in my thoughts, suggested to me that I wanted to be in a more supportive situation if things went quickly south.

@C clearly could you post your itinerary? Grateful!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I think I'd do both! Stop in Torre Vilariño and visit Ecomuseo Arxeriz, the ethnological museum and castro almost next door, then relax in the lovely gardens of Vilariño before a nice dinner. The next morning do the Miño loop and then continue on to stay at Diomondi.
This is exactly what we were planning until I figured out that Diomondi was not likely to be open. We are going to go from Torre Vilarino to Vilaseco (about 15 km)

You can do BOTH! At least if you wait till next week!

 

hagans

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Done Frances , invierno May 2022
I stayed at o forno and the owner kindly arranged transport from A pobra and dropped me off again there the next morning. I would recommend
 
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peregrina2000

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Staff member
I stayed at o forno and the owner kindly arranged transport from A pobra and dropped me off again there the next morning. I would recommend
This is currently the best (And maybe the only) option to split the stage between Quiroga and Monforte de Lemos. I know that there are people who don’t like to take transport while they’re walking, so I just wanted to add that it is very easy to walk to Salcedo. Either take the path that is marked after the bridge in Barxa de Lor or stay in the Camino till the road turn off to Salcedo near Castroncelos. It’s just a few kms. Walking from Quiroga to Salcedo would be about 24. The next day from Salcedo to Monforte would be about 17.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
I am planning to complete this fall's camino on the Invierno, on my way to Santiago. I appreciate the option of walking to Salcedo if Pension Pacita is closed. I wonder if anyone knows whether Torre Vilarino will be closed in November this year. I recall that, the last time that I walked the Invierno, Torre Vilarino was closed in the month of November and I just managed to stay there on their last night before the closure. I am wondering if this is their usual practice every year, as I shall be walking later this year and going past Torre Vilarino later in November. If that is the case, I shall appreciate the presence of the albergue at Diomondi, as I understand that it will be open all year, but I should like to know what my options will be. A meal at Torre Vilarino on the way to Diomondi would be much appreciated, if it is open.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
This is a challenge for me, and for many other pilgrims. I don't believe that my Spanish is good enough to ask. This year is the first time that I shall be polishing up my somewhat rusty French on the Podiensis and I am looking forward to it. But I never reached that level of fluency in Spanish and am highly unlikely to do so now. It is only thanks to @peregrina2000 , who made my previous booking at Torre Vilarino in 2019, that I know about their former usual November closure. Also, being there the last night that they were open, there was a fair amount of bustle in the morning, as things were being closed down and all the guests were leaving.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
I never reached that level of fluency in Spanish and am highly unlikely to do so now.
It is interesting what holds us back. It isn't just fluency. My Spanish is quite functional but I often find myself reluctant to engage people. You could try emailing them - Google translate will translate well enough for that.
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
It is interesting what holds us back. It isn't just fluency. My Spanish is quite functional but I often find myself reluctant to engage people. You could try emailing them - Google translate will translate well enough for that.
For that, I would have to be confident in the use of Google translate. At home, my laptop offers me this function when a text appears in Spanish. I choose English and behold! It appears. My phone does not work like that. And I am always extremely careful about what I am willing to activate on laptop or phone. Most of my online functions and searches are "work arounds." I don't know what I'm doing, so I just try the next thing, trying not to commit myself unknowingly to anything. Yesterday, I tried to look for Salcedo on maps.me. An initial search brought me six locations with that name. And for some reason my mind supplied me with a location for Salcedo which was exactly opposite to where it is. Eventually, I found the correct Salcedo, and Hotel El Forno, and two ways to get to it: all from information on a post by @peregrina2000 . I am still hoping that Pension Pacita will reopen, but if not, I shall have a possible alternative place to stay. I make what bookings I can on Booking.com. The massive amount of time that I spend planning is a necessity for me. I had few problems, and a few adventures, on my previous walk on the Invierno, and expect the same this time.

Note: I just opened gronze on Google and the option for English or Spanish appeared. I have no problem reading and understanding gronze, but the option for opening it on Google suggests that I can use Google more on my phone, when I need help with a language. I may try going to challenging websites on Google for a chance to communicate better. There is always something new to learn.
 
Last edited:
Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
I make what bookings I can on Booking.com.
@Albertagirl I am sure I have less Spanish than you and do fine booking directly. Language doesn't have to be perfect, or even close. Once you try once the ice will be broken and it's easier the second time. Email and text, or using the establisment's website are very useful.

(And I don't ever use Booking. They rip owners off, and are not an accurate indicator of actual availability.)
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
In the past, I have used Booking.com to reserve a room, and a bed, for my first night in Spain, and my last. I have already booked my first two nights in Le Puy, for a very reasonable price. I shall probably book before I leave Canada for my last night, at Hostal Viky in Barajas, where they will drive me to the airport in the morning in good time for my flight. Otherwise, I shall pay attention to information about how easy it is to get bookings in particular areas. I prefer not to book too far ahead, as this may lead to pushing myself too hard to arrive. And I shall avoid albergues this year, unless I hear, as recent news has suggested, that the albergues on the Invierno are short of guests. My first priority this year will be my safety from COVID infection, so my choice will be private accommodation, when available. I may try phoning hostals and albergues on the Invierno. Generally, I prefer just to knock at the door and inquire about a bed for the night. Maybe someday I shall change my practices. At present, I am doing what I can to be safe and well-housed.
 

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