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LIVE from the Camino And we are off. Daily posts from The Way .....

Undermanager

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Day 1 Birmingham to Tres Cantos

As usual, the fretting about what to do for Day 1 and how to get there was a waste of time. It was all painless and went very well. I arrived at Terminal 1, went up to the top level and hopped on a free 10 minute shuttle bus to terminal 4, and then took a Renfe train for three stops to Chamartin and switched to another Renfe train towards Colmenar Viejo, getting off at Tres Cantos, (cost €2.6) then a 20 minute walk to Hostel Tres Cantos. It is an okay hotel for one night, but the walls are paper thin and any noise in the corridor gets amplified so the earplugs will be out tonight! My neighbours are English and LOUD. Note to self: don't arrive on a Sunday next time so you can stay at the albergue. There are plenty of bars and cafes around the hotel so you don't have to walk too far. Breakfast is at 6.00am tomorrow so will be up bright and early. Still not decided whether to walk to Colmenar or take a train yet - not sure the body is ready for 35kms on day 1 but tomorrow is a new day so we will see. Perhaps I need to flip a coin ....
 
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mla1

Active Member
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I am looking forward to hearing about this route. Buen Camino!
 

Undermanager

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Day 2 Tres Cantos - Colmenar Viejo - Manzanares el Real - Mataelpino - 36kms

An excellent day but knackering as the fitness levels aren't what they should be yet. I left the hotel in Tres Cantos at 6:30 this morning, walking rather than taking the train which would've taken only nine minutes to Colmenar Viejo. The dawn chorus was in full swing and really loud in places. It took about three hours to get to CV and I passed through without a hitch. It's a pretty section. The weather was perfect but warming up quickly. CV to Manzanares is on a track that is very open so hot. I took two litres of water for this stretch and needed it all. There are some great views of Madrid disappearing into the distance. I stopped off in Manzanares at around 2pm. From the roundabout with a bus stop as you enter the town, you go over a tiny old bridge and there is a shop on your left. You can stock up there and then walk back and cross the road to the park, down to the river and soak your feet and relax. After half an hour I left and walked to Mataelpino. This part of the walk is pretty spectacular. There are tall mountains on the right hand side nearly all the way that are impressive. The weather had changed at this point. The clouds had turned black and there were really loud thunder storm claps for over an hour but fortunately no rain. The albergue in Mataelpino is brilliant and well worth making the effort to stay in. It has a big dining room, comfortable beds with IKEA furnishings, fantastic showers and there's a shop and bars close by - well worth the 8 Euros! I had a simple dinner and then had a chat to some of the others who arrived after me. I'm going to start late tomorrow as I don't have very far to go. Hopefully, the body will have recovered a little by then as well, although the forecast for tomorrow is definitely rain so could be fun.
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
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Fantastic reports Undermanager! Keep them going! Gitti
 

KinkyOne

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I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Wow, 36km for the first day, you're a trooper!
Keep posting, please, I always enjoy your posts.

Ultreia!
 

Undermanager

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Day 3 Mataelpino - Navacerrada - Cercedilla - 15kms

Woke up at about 6.30am, had a leisurely breakfast and chat with others and set off around 8.00am. Today was a short distance so there was no need for an early start. It wasn't exactly cold but you needed to wrap up, and you needed your waterproofs at the ready. There were black clouds everywhere, frequent thunderclaps and it rained non-stop for the first five kilometres. Then it cleared up a bit, but was still a bit nippy.

The walk to Navacerrada is nice enough and quite pretty in places, mostly on dirt track running not far from the road. I decided to road hike it for the first stretch because the rain made the path a bit slippy for my shoes. It is always handy to have the route to see on your smartphone or gps so if you do decide you need to take a different route, it's easy to see where to go. A frog march for 5kms in the rain is always a refreshing start to the day!

Navacerrada is a small, very pretty tourist town with plenty of shops, bars, hotels, cafes etc. It might be an excellent alternative stopping point or at least a good place for breakfast. The walk out of the town is a knackering 15 minute slog uphill, until you cross the main road, go over the top of a hill, cross the main road again, follow a small road for a kilometre and then cut onto a dirt track. It's all downhill to Cercedilla, about 6 or 7 kilometres away. The tracks and arrows are less than clear as you descend through the forest. There are lots of non-yellow arrows about, but as long as you head down into the valley towards the town, which you can usually see, you should be fine, or refer to your map.

Cercedilla is stretched out, about 2kms long. To get to my hotel, Hostel Ariel Longinos, you just follow the Camino right the way through the centre, and it's right next to the train station. I recommend this atmospheric, cheapie hotel, which comes with plenty of history and is in a great position for starting the next stage of the Camino tomorrow. There are enough shops, bars and cafes to keep you stocked up with essentials and the hotel bar is fun.

There is a happy band of seven like-minded walkers now, all planning to do more or less the same Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo route, so probably lots of good company for the foreseeable at many stages I suspect. Tomorrow will be interesting. It is a long hard day but I remember from last time, great fun too and a real highlight, although have yet to check the weather forecast for tomorrow. I'll be aiming for Albergie Camino de Lis in Real Sitio de San Ildefonso and the palace gardens for a night and then on to Zamarramala and beyond.

So far, the feet are happy. No major problems to report, no blisters or strains yet. Early days but one can hope that the regime of foot cream, orthopaedic insoles, knee length tights under the socks, walking shoes that are one and a half sizes bigger than my feet and stretches before the day starts and again at the end will work!

Happy days!
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for the great posts. So surprised to see that there are SEVEN of you! I saw two other people in Manzanares, but walked totally alone from Simancas north. Happy to hear it is getting a bit more traffic.
If I ever get lucky enough to walk the Madrid again, I will definitely try this alternative to La Granja. Those palace grounds are just beautiful (at least if the weather cooperates), I have fond memories of running around a maze with my children years ago. And for the sybarites out there, I hear there is now a parador in La Granja as well.

Are you going to walk from Valsain to Segovia? Would be interested in hearing what that is like, since it seems likely it could be just alongside a road. Many thanks, undermanager! Buen camino, Laurie
 

KinkyOne

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Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Are you going to walk from Valsain to Segovia? Would be interested in hearing what that is like, since it seems likely it could be just alongside a road. Many thanks, undermanager! Buen camino, Laurie
It is, Laurie. I walked it in 2014 and it's really non-impressive and long slog, mostly on tarmac and pavements. Not much traffic though. Only good thing is that you approach the viaduct in Segovia fully frontal and that's really a great view.

Enjoying your posts, Undermanager :)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
So, wait a minute. If you were in Tres Cantos on Sunday, and Maggie was in Tres Cantos on Sunday, you must have met up with Maggie and her little band of 5!

Such a small world when you're a forum member! Buen camino to all of you.
 

timr

Active Member
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Several and counting...
So, wait a minute. If you were in Tres Cantos on Sunday, and Maggie was in Tres Cantos on Sunday, you must have met up with Maggie and her little band of 5!

Such a small world when you're a forum member! Buen camino to all of you.
Sounds like I am missing out!!! :(I leave Madrid on Thursday of next week...
 

Undermanager

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Day 4 Cercedilla - La Pradera de Navalhorno - Real Sitio de San Ildefonso - 27kms

Yes indeed. And a happy band of Camino warriors they are, too! We all stayed in Mataelpino and Cercedilla, and tonight some are in Real Sitio and some went on to Segovia.

Today was freezing cold when I set off at 6.45am. It was perfect for walking once I'd got into my stride. Nothing was open at that time but had bought some bread, cheese, a tomato and some pineapple juice the night before for breakfast and lunch so didn't starve. You have to walk a couple of kilometres outside of Cercedilla to just past the Youth Hostel then the yellow arrows disappear; follow the green dots painted on trees until the yellow arrows reappear about an hour later. You will walk through some nice forest along Roman roads, and there will be Woodpeckers and Cuckoos doing their thing as dawn breaks. The views get better the higher you go, except today was very cloudy, with fog and mist everywhere. It's a tough climb to the top at 1780m and took about two and a half hours. Although there isn't a fountain at the top, there is one 30 minutes walk down on the other side so you only really need to have a big drink before you go and carry a litre of water on the way up.

From the top, it took about three hours to walk down to where there is a narrow tarmac road that looks like new, next to a sign pointing to Madrid in one direction and Segovia in the other. The walk to this point is really nice, through forest until you get to open pasture. It was very foggy, with about 10m of visibility at times so having a gps was reassuring to check I was going the right way. I stopped for lunch at this point, and thought I heard a car coming up the road. It got louder and louder until eventually, this huge bird of prey swooped past, and its wings were the source of the noise. I wonder if it was after one of the thousand sheep that was on the pasture, munching away on the grass!

After lunch, I started the walk to Real Sitio de San Ildefonso. You walk along the tarmac for two or three kilometres, and then look for a dirt track on the right, with a concrete pillar with the Roman numerals VII on and take that. You then arrive about 15 minutes later in the small town of La Pradera de Navalhorno. You walk along the road and as you exit the town, there is a hotel and a bar, where you can grab something to eat and a drink. The walk to Real Sitio de San Ildefonso takes about half an hour from here, along a dirt path on the right hand side of the road. I stayed at the Albergue Camino de Lis. Despite me emailing them twice confirming I would be staying there, and despite them asking me when I was arriving, they neglected to mention that they won't open up until 5.00pm so I ended up sitting around for a while, waiting for them to turn up - time to write the notes in the sun and over a coffee. As it happened, a lovely lady came at 4.30pm and she was really nice and helpful, so all was good in the end. The hostel itself was warm, comfy, had a well-stocked kitchen and a fab dining room.

After dumping the stuff off, I went off to the Palace and gardens for a couple of hours. It's open all day apparently, until 8.00pm but times change depending on the time of year so try to find out before arriving. It cost €4 to get in, which included a fun tour of lots of wacky fountains and a free wander around the palace. The fountain show thing started at 5.30pm - just follow the crowds and also listen out for a man blowing a whistle and waving a Spanish flag. You will walk around in a herd, visiting different fountains being turned on in interesting ways over the course of an hour or so. On some days, the palace entrance seemed to be free or at least included in your garden visit ticket. Today (Wednesday) was one of those days and it was certainly worth a stroll for an hour to see lots of tapestries, paintings, clocks, furniture, sculptures and Chinese art.

Behind the Palace are some quite tall mountains, and many had snow on the top today so it was another reason why Real Sitio de San Ildefonso is so impressive. The town itself is a small tourist town, not too busy today, with lots of very impressive buildings and all the usual services are on-hand. I would certainly recommend making this place a stopover for a night if you have the time. It's something a bit different and for an afternoon and evening, is a lot of fun.

Will walk to Segovia tomorrow then decide what to do. May stay, may go! Who knows! The feet. The feet! No problems with the feet! How long can this continue for?
 
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timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Day 4 Cercedilla - La Pradera de Navalhorno - Real Sitio de San Ildefonso - 27kms
Yes indeed. And a happy band of Camino warriors they are, too! We all stayed in Mataelpino and Cercedilla, and tonight some are in Real Sitio and some went on to Segovia.
Thanks @Undermanager great reports! Really looking forward to next week. That sounds a really fun excursion - I think(!) it is what I have planned. This brings you past Valsain??
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Day 4 Cercedilla - La Pradera de Navalhorno - Real Sitio de San Ildefonso - 27kms
...
After lunch, I started the walk to Real Sitio de San Ildefonso. You walk along the tarmac for two or three kilometres, and then look for a dirt track on the right, with a concrete pillar with the Roman numerals VII on and take that. You then arrive about 15 minutes later in the small town of La Pradera de Navalhorno. You walk along the road and as you exit the town, there is a hotel and a bar, where you can grab something to eat and a drink. The walk to Real Sitio de San Ildefonso takes about half an hour from here, along a dirt path on the right hand side of the road.
I think that the town is called La Granja de San Ildefonso and Real Sitio de San Ildefonso is the name of the Royal Palace and the area around it.

Obviously you took some other way to La Granja then I did in 2014. I descended on tarmac road to Valsain. I guess you went straight on over the tarmac road, the first one you come to after the descend from Puento Fuenfria, and I went to the right there. Am I right?

Thanks for your post!
 

Undermanager

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Day 5 Real Sitio de San Ildefonso - Segovia - Zamarramala - Valseca - Los Huertos - Ana - 33kms

If you are coming to the Camino in the next day or two, pack some woolies - woke up to snow on the mountains where we have just come from and a snow shower in La Granja! It's about 13 kms from the albergue to the middle of Segovia, walking on a dirt track alongside a busy road all the way. If that doesn't appeal, there were plenty of busses to Segovia. It snowed lightly for the first two hours towards of the trek. Once you get to the very start of what's left of the aqueduct, just follow it all the way into town, where it is seriously impressive.

I've stayed in Segovia before so spent an hour wandering around and having a breakfast, and then went off down the valley and up again to Zamarramala. It's now midday, really cold but with an intense blue sky so have decided to push on to Ana about 18kms away. Have stocked up on some food for tonight in the shop in Zamarramalla.

The walk after Zamarramala to Ana is simply awesome! Huge countryside, gently rolling hills and fantastic views of snow-capped mountains in front of Segovia's silhouette, a cool forest four kilometres before Ana and a walk along a disused railway track. The distance from Zamarramala to Ana is about 18kms and took around 5 hours with some breaks.

The first stop was Valseca. The bar that you see as you enter the village was shut and the first two water fountains I found didn't work. However, follow the yellow arrows for two minutes and find the town hall and there is a nice little area in front of it to have a break in and there is a water fountain there that works. Keep an eye on the yellow arrows as you need to go back from the town hall a bit to pick the Camino up again.

The next stop was Los Huertos. There is apparently a water fountain in the small pretty park on your right as you enter this small village but I never went to check. In the centre, the bar was open so stopped for drinks and a few snacks before moving on. About 1 kilometre outside of Los Huertos is a really interesting looking church, except it was locked so you can only get excited by the outside of the building and the covered porch. From the church, you walk on and then walk along an old train route for three kilometres, followed by a stroll through a pine forest set up to collect sap, and then you are out onto huge countryside again as you approach Ana.

Ana. What can I say? You get the albergue key from house number 4, the first house on the left as you enter the village. (You pop the key in the mailbox of number 4 the next day when you leave.) Then keep walking another 50 meters, cross the road, carry on walking another thirty meters and the albergue is right next to the basket ball court. It looks like an old school building. It's free, clean, has a fantastic shower, a toilet, a kitchen with a hot plate, microwave and plates, cups etc. There are about half a dozen bunk beds and another half a dozen mattresses for the floor. Outside, the sun is intense, as you sit on the metal bench, unwinding. It is what it is and makes a perfectly good stop for a night.

You need to come to Ana prepared. If you want to eat or drink, you need to carry it to Ana or you may have to starve until the next day unless you can buy something from a local - but I saw only six people while I was there. This is a really good place to unwind, be in peace and quiet for a night and just relax. However, and here is the good news, there is a bar in Ana! Crazy, but it has no sign and no name and the locals I asked earlier all denied there was a cafe / bar / shop. It is two minutes from the albergue. Find the town hall. Stand in front of It looking at it. Walk down the left side of it. The bar is the first door, a door with Number 2 above it. They were carrying food in as well, do if you get lucky and your Spanish is good enough, you maybe able to get a meal here. So now, happily getting drunk with my new friends Carson and Ralf from Germany. Everything is good tonight staying in Ana and overall, it was a great day today, really really wonderful.
 
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erith long

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camin0 Frances (2004, 2008), Camino Portugues (2010), Camino del Norte (2012) Via de la Plata planing April92014), CaminoiPortugues (2015.)
great reports!!we are planing to start about yhe 12 or 13 of may, hopefully the weather will improve!!
anybody else walking this route on those dates?
 

Undermanager

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Day 6 Ana - Pinilla Ambroz - Santa Maria la Real de Nieva - Nivea - Nava de la Asunción - Coca - 38kms

It must have been pretty close to zero degrees C when I woke this morning but totally blue sky. I had a great night's sleep in the small room with a heater, but the larger room was freezing and poor Ralf was very cold on his big double bed under all the blankets and in his sleeping bag! I set off about 8.00am, leaving the Germans to get themselves sorted at their own pace and soon warmed up. I also applied lots of sun cream and lip block as the sun was intense. As you exit Ana following the Camino, there is a fantastic little park with great views over a river. I would have had dinner there last night if I'd known!

The first stop at the small village of Pinilla Ambroz is mostly uphill and took about an hour and a half from Ana, first road then track. There are three working fountains here, and in fact, I didn't need to carry more than a litre of water all day. Next comes Santa Maria la Real de Nivea, all open countryside from Pinilla Ambroz. As you walk in, you will find yourself in the tiny centre, where there are three or four bars, a couple of banks with ATMs, a few shops and of course, the albergue. I stayed in this small building last time and it was fine, but could only sleep six or eight people, I forget which. I had a coffee, went to the shop in front of the church next to the zebra crossing and then left.

As you walk out of Santa Maria, you need to go up the stairs at the bottom of the road on the right. It has a line through the arrow, which is confusing, but just walk up the stairs and then you'll see the yellow arrows again, which take you past the old bull ring.

You walk past Nivea on the main road rather than go through it, about three kilometres away, and shortly afterwards, start walking through forest. The smells are great and by this time, things had warmed up so the trees kept the worst of the sun off you. You will walk past a quarry after a few hours but it is all well signed so no problems. You cross an open and hot last two kilometres to get to Nava de la Asunción. The Camino takes you through the middle, where their are shops to stock up, and there is an albergue, too, although I wasn't stopping here. I popped into a supermarket to buy lunch then headed out of town. Just before you exit the town, past a school on the left but before an old church, there is an exposed park with working water fountains. I had a drink here then walked another hundred yards to the willow trees on the right with benches underneath and had lunch there in the cool and shade. Then set off to Coca.

The first part of the 9kms to Coca was very hot, walking across open fields. Then for the second half, you walk though another pine forest, where I saw a deer running at full speed. The Camino is poorly signed in places for the last three or four kilometres, with few yellow arrows, some off-yellow arrows and some red ones. Your GPS or smartphone with a track is handy here. Don't be tempted to take any of the dirt tracks down into the big valley on your right - it is a long way back up again! I completely recommend the app called maps.me - it is brilliant once you have set it up and worked out how to use it. Have a play in a park near where you live before you leave for Spain. Watch a YouTube video on how to use it. If you need a track for the Camino for use in maps.me, just ask and I'll post the one I have been using.

I made a point of staying in the albergue in Coca as I have stayed there before and arrived just after 5.00pm. The lovely lady turned up after 5 minutes to let me in after a quick phone call. No one else has arrived so I have the place to myself. I guess the Germans stayed in the previous town. The albergue is like a home with all mod cons. I have showered, done all the laundry, been to the supermarket, made dinner using the microwave and have written these notes. It's about 7.00pm now and I am trying hard not to go to bed before 9.00pm! I only plan to do 31 kms tomorrow to Alcazaren, but may have a holiday and stop in Olmedo instead - I need to do some research tonight to see what is there and also check the weather. If you stop here, walk down the road. The supermarkets are on the second road on the right. Wifi can be had in bars e.g. Bar La Muralla - from the albergue, walk down the road to the first roundabout and it is on the left. They also do great food.

Another great day. I can feel the fitness levels rising. No feet problems to talk off, which is amazing given the Camino-related problems in the previous two years. I got a ladder in one of my knee high tights so will have to move on to pair number two of six tomorrow, and seem to have a bit of 'nappy rash' on the inside of the top of my legs where I guess the trousers are rubbing. May have to walk naked for a few days, until it clears up. Any suggestions to deal with this, apart from talcum powder and walking naked, and how are you supposed to wash tights without getting a ladder in them? :)
 

Roger Hogstrom

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Day 1 Birmingham to Tres Cantos

As usual, the fretting about what to do for Day 1 and how to get there was a waste of time. It was all painless and went very well. I arrived at Terminal 1, went up to the top level and hopped on a free 10 minute shuttle bus to terminal 4, and then took a Renfe train for three stops to Chamartin and switched to another Renfe train towards Colmenar Viejo, getting off at Tres Cantos, (cost €2.6) then a 20 minute walk to Hostel Tres Cantos. It is an okay hotel for one night, but the walls are paper thin and any noise in the corridor gets amplified so the earplugs will be out tonight! My neighbours are English and LOUD. Note to self: don't arrive on a Sunday next time so you can stay at the albergue. There are plenty of bars and cafes around the hotel so you don't have to walk too far. Breakfast is at 6.00am tomorrow so will be up bright and early. Still not decided whether to walk to Colmenar or take a train yet - not sure the body is ready for 35kms on day 1 but tomorrow is a new day so we will see. Perhaps I need to flip a coin ....
Good luck. I have walked Camino de Madrid three times and I love it. You have a fantastic camino in front of you. Buen Camino from Sweden
 

gollygolly

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Buen Camino and many thanks for the effort and time in making your posts. Following your camino with interest !!

All the best
 

Undermanager

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Day 7 Coca - Villeguillo - Alcazaren - 26kms

Today was a cool day and overcast mostly, with a few light rain showers - ideal for walking. When you leave Coca, you descend a valley then climb out of it again, first through forest then open countryside to Villiguillo. The rest of the day is flat or gently rolling landscape. Villiguillo is a small village with a great little bar, ideal for breakfast. It would be a fine place to stay for an evening, in the albergue, and having a fun evening in the bar.

Shortly after leaving Villiguillo, you will see Olmedo on a small hill on the left a few kilometres away. That looked like a nice place to stay as well, so something to consider. The walk to Alcazaren isn't the most exciting, mostly forest and sandy tracks with a bit of open countryside as you get within a few kilometres. On the way, I managed to find a map holder that someone previous to me had dropped, and a man was frantically driving around looking for his lost dog.

You follow the arrows into Alcazaren and eventually, you will be standing outside Bar Real, where you pick up the albergue key and register. The albergue is a few hundred metres away up the hill and to right, and is clean, has a microwave in a small kitchen, a shower, toilet and 8 beds. The village itself has a supermarket and five other bars that I found, although only one of them was open, apart from Bar Real.

Tonight is going to be a relaxing evening and then another short 25km walk to Puente Duero tomorrow.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
I completely recommend the app called maps.me - it is brilliant once you have set it up and worked out how to use it. Have a play in a park near where you live before you leave for Spain. Watch a YouTube video on how to use it. If you need a track for the Camino for use in maps.me, just ask and I'll post the one I have been using.
Thanks for these great posts @Undermanager I am setting out from Madrid on Thursday. I would be interested in trying maps.me (which I have just installed) and would be very happy if you could link to the track you used.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
...
Tonight is going to be a relaxing evening and then another short 25km walk to Puente Duero tomorrow.
Oh, boy, I do remember a relaxing evening in Bar Real in 2014 when I was watching EU football championship. Netherlands won with the help of referees...
But the next day stage to Puente Duero seemed more like 40km to me. And I don't suffer from hangovers :D

That little cottage albergue in Puente Duero really has something about it. Enjoy, Undermanager!!!
 

KinkyOne

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I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!

Undermanager

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Day 8 Alcazaren - Valdestillas - Puente Duero - 27kms

If you send me your email, I will forward you my tracks, no problem.

I wouldn't stay in Puente Duero again, not because of the albergue but because getting wifi access is difficult! Stay in the next, stunning town instead, only an extra hour or two's walk. There isn't an albergue there but there are a few cheap hotels instead.

I didn't leave Alcazaren until 10.30am today; we had to visit the supermarket, which doesn't open until 9.00am on Sundays, had to have breakfast in Bar Real and then looked unsuccessfully for Ralf's walking stick! He thinks he put it down in the Supermarket, and then it mysteriously disappeared. We backtracked everywhere but the supermarket was the last place he can remember having it. Now he is using a real stick from a tree! For breakfast, Ralf had to have scrambled eggs and Carsten needed two cups of coffee! All this took time.

Today was cool again, with wild winds all day long, thick black clouds and periods of light rain, mega storms and some dry spells. Leaving Alcazaren, you quickly find yourself walking through forest on dirt track and then on some more open semi- forested land. It was raining all the time and the wet gear was definitely needed. Because of my nappy rash, I was wearing a pair of swimming trunks, which are super comfy and waterproof over-trousers on top. As well as a coat. I wore a fleece underneath and cycle vest, to keep warm. It was needed.

After about 12kms, the land just opened up. There was no cover anywhere, and we three amigos crossed 5kms of this just as a torrential rain storm hit. It was really invigorating and lots of fun as we frog-marched across the countryside, mainly because we had the right clothes on for this eventuality. My pack was nice and dry as it was properly covered, and the waterproof map case did it's job holding the iPad, phone, passport and money. The only real problem would have been if there was thunder and lightening as we were so exposed, but that held off so we were lucky.

We got to Valdestillas at different times with the storm still raging and each of us piled into the same first bar we came to, and stayed for an hour drinking wine, coffee, drying out and warming up. Eventually, it was time to leave.

You walk out along the road, then follow a toad for a few kilometres, then take a dirt track that runs by the side of the road to the dull town of Puente Duero. We all arrived around 5.00pm.

The small albergue is full of character, situated 5 minutes walk into this small town. It has 8 beds, a couple of showers and toilet in the same room, a dining room and a nice garden where you can do laundry and relax. It is warm, the greeting is friendly and everything is clean and organised. It's by donation, and a basic €2 breakfast is available. It would be very crowed with more than three people in! You will see a few bars as you walk to the albergue, but if you cross the bridge, you come to a high street with various shops. There's no wifi in the albergue and the bar nearest the roundabout near the albergue, Restaurante Mirarrios, doesn't have it either, which is annoying because it's a really nice bar that does some great food. The bar a few doors down didn't have it either. In fact, after visiting every bar we could find, not one had wifi. You can however get a wifi connection using the municipal open signal but you need to speak Spanish and understand how to set up an account, which we weren't able to. Cross the bridge, go towards the right side of the park and try there! If wifi is important and you don't have a data connection, you need to avoid Puente Duero until it joins the modern world! Simancas is only five kilometres more away. Although there is no albergue, there are cheap hotels and Simancas is absolutely stunning, set on a hill, overlooking a massive river, bars by the river. You will wish you stayed ther rather than Puente Duero!!

This stage could have been very boring but because we had the right wet weather gear, the walk in the storm made it fabulous fun. Not sure where to aim for tomorrow. Probably Penaflor de Hornija but we'll see. The weather perks up tomorrow so that may change things.
 
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norelle

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2011 April, 2014 March) San Salvador, Primitivo, Finisterre, Muxia (June 2015) Del Norte (Sept/Oct 2016)
Hi @Undermanager,

Thank you for all the information!

I'm thoroughly enjoying your posts - and following Magwood's blog at the same time. It's lovely to read your different accounts of the same spots along the Camino de Madrid!

buen camino
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
Thanks for the excellent information. Glad you enjoyed the storm!
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Day 8 Alcazaren - Valdestillas - Puente Duero - 27kms
.......
After about 12kms, the land just opened up. There was no cover anywhere, and we three amigos crossed 5kms of this just as a torrential rain storm hit. It was really invigorating and lots of fun as we frog-marched across the countryside, mainly because we had the right clothes on for this eventuality.
....
You walk out along the road, then follow a toad for a few kilometres,
Yes I know the second is a typo, (I guess:)?) but it is a wonderful image!!!
 
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Marria

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
parts of Camino: Frances, del Norte, Finisterra, Mozarabe
Thanks a lot, Undermanager, for your great informative posts. (With four friends I'm going to walk a short section of the Madrid Camino next week.)
 

mla1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2000); Ch St. Giles (2013); Le Puy to SJPP (May/June 2015); vdlp 2016
Hi Undermanager - I'm enjoying your posts with my coffee in the morning! (And: If you are still having trouble with chafing - you might try vaseline -- it may rub off on your trousers though. If you are somewhere bigger - a sport store will have something for runners to use. Not sure what it is called in Spain.)
cheers,
Mary Louise
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
Day 9 Puente Duero - Simancas - Cigunuela - Wamba - Penaflor de Hornija - 26kms

I had coffee and toast at the albergue for a very reasonable €2 and left at 8.00am. There really is no reason to stay in this drab and uninteresting town apart from the slightly wacky albergue, especially when Simancas is only a further 6kms away. It took an hour and a half to get there along a dirt track that ran beside the road. The bridge you cross as you enter the hilltop town is great but gets better as you climb higher. Take note of the fantastic cafe at the far end of the bridge with hundreds of chairs - ideal for hot evenings. Climb up to the town and relax in the lovely Plaza Mayor, explore the medieval lanes, the castle and museum and of course, the church. There are cheap hostels here but no albergue but it is definitely worth a stay overnight.

The walk from Simancas to Cigunuela is just fantastic, along a valley with high rolling hills either side. It's quite an ancient area, with a stone monument you can visit a short distance outside of Simancas. It's about one kilometre off the Camino and well signposted. Cigunuela had little of note that I found and quickly passed through, on to Wamba.

The walk to Wamba is along a dirt track, flat, warm and a fantastic walk. The countryside is so big here. I had music blasting out as I strode along the dirt track and could have kept going for miles. Wamba appeared after about an hour and a half. This small pretty village has working water fountains as you enter the village, and a few bars. I had lunch in the only open one, which is on the left down a small side road - follow the Camino arrows and keep your eyes peeled - you can't miss it. It has a really nice seating area at the back and did a brilliant range of great sandwiches. After half an hour, I climbed out of Wamba and walked more flat dirt track in glorious weather all the way to Penaflor de Hornija.

This place is another wonderful Spanish hilltop village. The village is really pretty as you approach it in the distance, but as you get closer, you will see that you have to descend and climb up two small valleys. I got the albergue keys by asking in the bar a few buildings down from the fruit shop, near the working water fountains. The albergue is big, clean, has beds for 8 people, a shower and toilet, fully functioning kitchen and a drying area. It's really nice and a bargain for €3. The bar does do food and the fruit shop is there, but you might want to bring some supplies just in case they aren't open and also for breakfast the next day. I didn't see any other facilities in the village. As it happened, I did eat in Bar Hornija and the dinner was fantastic. If you walk around the outskirts of the village in the evening, you'll get some fantastic views and great photos. It's a stunning place to stay.

Really looking forward to tomorrow. It should be even warmer than today and more blue sky. I love the big blue skies in Spain!
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Thanks again @Undermanager but you are making me sad now:(. You have got past where I will have to turn off for Valladolid. Still hoping I may get back to finish later in the year.
 

jerbear

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de madrid, camino francis, camino inverino (2012, 2013,2014)
CdM, Francis, San salvador, primativo june 2015 CDM , francis, inverino 2016
Camino madrid, via de Plata. Santiago.
Coast of the dead malpica to muxia
Day 9 Puente Duero - Simancas - Cigunuela - Wamba - Penaflor de Hornija - 26kms

I had coffee and toast at the albergue for a very reasonable €2 and left at 8.00am. There really is no reason to stay in this drab and uninteresting town apart from the slightly wacky albergue, especially when Simancas is only a further 6kms away. It took an hour and a half to get there along a dirt track that ran beside the road. The bridge you cross as you enter the hilltop town is great but gets better as you climb higher. Take note of the fantastic cafe at the far end of the bridge with hundreds of chairs - ideal for hot evenings. Climb up to the town and relax in the lovely Plaza Mayor, explore the medieval lanes, the castle and museum and of course, the church. There are cheap hostels here but no albergue but it is definitely worth a stay overnight.

The walk from Simancas to Cigunuela is just fantastic, along a valley with high rolling hills either side. It's quite an ancient area, with a stone monument you can visit a short distance outside of Simancas. It's about one kilometre off the Camino and well signposted. Cigunuela had little of note that I found and quickly passed through, on to Wamba.

The walk to Wamba is along a dirt track, flat, warm and a fantastic walk. The countryside is so big here. I had music blasting out as I strode along the dirt track and could have kept going for miles. Wamba appeared after about an hour and a half. This small pretty village has working water fountains as you enter the village, and a few bars. I had lunch in the only open one, which is on the left down a small side road - follow the Camino arrows and keep your eyes peeled - you can't miss it. It has a really nice seating area at the back and did a brilliant range of great sandwiches. After half an hour, I climbed out of Wamba and walked more flat dirt track in glorious weather all the way to Penaflor de Hornija.

This place is another wonderful Spanish hilltop village. The village is really pretty as you approach it in the distance, but as you get closer, you will see that you have to descend and climb up two small valleys. I got the albergue keys by asking in the bar a few buildings down from the fruit shop, near the working water fountains. The albergue is big, clean, has beds for 8 people, a shower and toilet, fully functioning kitchen and a drying area. It's really nice and a bargain for €3. The bar does do food and the fruit shop is there, but you might want to bring some supplies just in case they aren't open and also for breakfast the next day. I didn't see any other facilities in the village. As it happened, I did eat in Bar Hornija and the dinner was fantastic. If you walk around the outskirts of the village in the evening, you'll get some fantastic views and great photos. It's a stunning place to stay.

Really looking forward to tomorrow. It should be even warmer than today and more blue sky. I love the big blue skies in Spain!
Ask at that bar and they will open the church. And you can see the casa demorte. A room built from bones and skulls of the people they found once they started to build the church. 400 ad.
 

jerbear

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de madrid, camino francis, camino inverino (2012, 2013,2014)
CdM, Francis, San salvador, primativo june 2015 CDM , francis, inverino 2016
Camino madrid, via de Plata. Santiago.
Coast of the dead malpica to muxia
That's in wamba . Sorry you missed it. I have walked this route 5 times. Usuall takes me 9 days out of cederella. I start this year may 31. Mad-Francis-inverno.
 
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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
That's in wamba . Sorry you missed it. I have walked this route 5 times. Usuall takes me 9 days out of cederella. I start this year may 31. Mad-Francis-inferno.
Another typo in this thread I'd say...
It is hilly and very steep in parts but "inferno"??? :D:D:D

Buen Camino, Jerry!
 

Zoula

Danielle
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept. 2014, CP Sept. 2016, maybe VdlP April 2018
Day 2 Tres Cantos - Colmenar Viejo - Manzanares el Real - Mataelpino - 36kms

An excellent day but knackering as the fitness levels aren't what they should be yet. I left the hotel in Tres Cantos at 6:30 this morning, walking rather than taking the train which would've taken only nine minutes to Colmenar Viejo. The dawn chorus was in full swing and really loud in places. It took about three hours to get to CV and I passed through without a hitch. It's a pretty section. The weather was perfect but warming up quickly. CV to Manzanares is on a track that is very open so hot. I took two litres of water for this stretch and needed it all. There are some great views of Madrid disappearing into the distance. I stopped off in Manzanares at around 2pm. From the roundabout with a bus stop as you enter the town, you go over a tiny old bridge and there is a shop on your left. You can stock up there and then walk back and cross the road to the park, down to the river and soak your feet and relax. After half an hour I left and walked to Mataelpino. This part of the walk is pretty spectacular. There are tall mountains on the right hand side nearly all the way that are impressive. The weather had changed at this point. The clouds had turned black and there were really loud thunder storm claps for over an hour but fortunately no rain. The albergue in Mataelpino is brilliant and well worth making the effort to stay in. It has a big dining room, comfortable beds with IKEA furnishings, fantastic showers and there's a shop and bars close by - well worth the 8 Euros! I had a simple dinner and then had a chat to some of the others who arrived after me. I'm going to start late tomorrow as I don't have very far to go. Hopefully, the body will have recovered a little by then as well, although the forecast for tomorrow is definitely rain so could be fun.
There was no places to stay in between?? 36 km, would be too far for me
 

jerbear

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de madrid, camino francis, camino inverino (2012, 2013,2014)
CdM, Francis, San salvador, primativo june 2015 CDM , francis, inverino 2016
Camino madrid, via de Plata. Santiago.
Coast of the dead malpica to muxia
Another typo in this thread I'd say...
It is hilly and very steep in parts but "inferno"??? :D:D:D

Buen Camino, Jerry!
Well spell check lol hola kinky.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
@Zoula
I am going that way this weekend and will report back. The albergue in Manzanares el Real is reported as closed at the moment. I have found another option and will let you know.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
@Zoula
I am going that way this weekend and will report back. The albergue in Manzanares el Real is reported as closed at the moment. I have found another option and will let you know.
There are options in Manzanares of course and at least because of its castle it would be a shame not to stay overnight there but Mataelpino albergue isn't that far away.
Anyway, report back Tim :)

And have a nice short Camino!
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
Day 10 Penaflor de Hornija - Castromonte - Valverde de Campos - Medina de Rioseco - 26km

A late start from Penaflor de Hornija, probably related to the beer drunk last night. It was another glorious day, blue sky and just the right walking temperature. Following the arrows, you walk out down a hill and past a swimming pool, then up and on to flat land. It's about 10kms to Castromonte, the highlight being a small open forested area with lots of black pigs in, about half way along.

There is a nice looking albergue as you enter the village but I have no idea what it's like. I found only one bar, on the right as you walk in but it was hard to spot - look for a few posters stuck in the window. The water fountain next to the church was working. I didn't spot any shops, although a mobile van turned up selling fish!

You leave Castromonte as quickly as you enter it, descending a little first and then rising upwards to, you guessed it, another area of extensive flat land all the way to Valverde de Campos. This is a small pretty village which had a bar but with limited hours - it was closed as I passed through. The fountain wasn't working. There were no other facilities except a shady place to sit on benches and rest before tackling the last five kilometres to Medina de Rioseco along a dirt track.

The albergue is at the very end of a dirt track, over the main road on the outskirts of town. If you crossed the bridge into town, you have gone the wrong way. It's in a big sandy coloured building; walk in and see the statues in the convent and find the information office on the left. The albergue is fine, with 10 beds, a few showers, toilets and a well-equipped kitchen. Medina de Rioseco itself is a small tourist town with a few churches and museums to visit, plus loads of shops. Bring your medicines from the UK! I just got mugged in a pharmacy, paying £30 for a few things that would normally cost about £12 in Britain. Spain is surprisingly expensive for many things. They don't have discount or cheap supermarkets here driving prices down so e.g. A packet of instant noodles that costs 30p in the U.K. Costs €1.5 in Spain. Wine is cheap though!

Only a few days left to finish the Madrid before deciding what to do next. Not sure whether to bus it to Leon or walk it, before starting the Salvador, then the Primitivo. I've got to be back in Madrid on the 27th May so also need to book a hotel for that night. Am thinking of staying in Cercedilla that night then taking a train directly to Terminal 4 or maybe Colmenar Viejo. Options, options, so many options!

PS Will try to include more spelling mistakes.
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
Re Manzanares and Mataelpino albergue.

There are places to stay including cheap hotels in Manzanares and it is a pretty place to stay for an afternoon, as it is a tourist destination with a castle. You can also catch a bus to Mataelpino if you are worn out, stay in the albergue, then either continue from there, or bus it back to Manzanares the next day and continue. There is nothing to see in Mataelpino itself, but the walk between the two is really impressive so is a shame to miss.
 

Paddington Bear

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017
I seem to have a bit of 'nappy rash' on the inside of the top of my legs where I guess the trousers are rubbing. May have to walk naked for a few days, until it clears up. Any suggestions to deal with this, apart from talcum powder and walking naked, and how are you supposed to wash tights without getting a ladder in them? :)
"Body glide" is good for chaffing. No silicone or petroleum. Other brands might be available. Maybe at a pharmacy or sporting goods store.
Love your reports! Thank you.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
...
There is a nice looking albergue as you enter the village but I have no idea what it's like. I found only one bar, on the right as you walk in but it was hard to spot - look for a few posters stuck in the window. The water fountain next to the church was working. I didn't spot any shops, although a mobile van turned up selling fish!...
There is another bar in the village (and carniceria). If you were on the Plaza by the church you just have to turn your back to the church and you would be looking at that bar directly across the square. Quite famous BTW because of the owners, an elderly couple still running the business at 90+ years old.

Consider staying overnight in brand new albergue in Grajal de Campos and possibly avoid crowds in Sahagun walking through it the next day. Would be nice to have first hand info on that albergue.
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
Day 11 Marina de Rioseco - Tamariz de Campos - Moral de la Reina - Cuenca de Campos - 28kms

Today started out chilly with a blue sky but within a few hours, was very very hot. I left Marina de Rioseco at around 8.30am with a very slight hangover. The walk up through town to the start of the canal was easy to follow and plenty of cafes were open for breakfast or to pick up some snacks for later. There's also a water fountain at the start of the canal. The next fountain is in Tamariz de Campos about 12kms away.

The first part of the walk is nice enough, about 8kms on a path alongside a canal, with plenty of shade and lots of cuckoos being loud. There are a few pretty bridges and then at the end of 8kms, a massive abandoned warehouse or mill of some sort with a few seats, a bridge and a nice place to relax. Then you head off down a quiet tarmac road for around 4 or 5kms to Tamariz de Campos. This small village has a pretty stunning tower and wall, all that is left of a grand church or castle. There was a working fountain as you enter the village, and as you leave, up the steps in front of the municipal building there is a bar. (There is a big V over the door.) it was sadly closed when I was there so don't get too excited. As you exit Tamariz de Campos, you can follow the arrows to Moral de la Reina, or you can save 5kms and just turn right, following the signposted road to Cuenca de Campos. Today was so hot so I would have done this if I had been thinking straight and actually looked at the map!

As it turned out, I walked 5kms to Marla de la Reina on tarmac, went through the village without finding a water fountain, shop, bar or anything else, then followed the arrows out to a dirt track, which took me to Cuenca de Campos. Marla de la Reina does have a few impressive ruined buildings if that is your thing. The path to Cuenca de Campos is about 8kms long, is dusty and there is no shade at all. Make sure you have a good supply of water, a hat and sunblock. Take a deep breath then dive in.

When you enter Cuenca de Campos, Follow the arrows into the village. You will pass the large albergue on your way to the pub, where you will get the albergue key. You will love the albergue; big, clean, quality, luxury, great showers, toilets, gets great sun and wind and everything has obviously been cared for. It's a place to definitely stay in, situated in a quiet village. If you get lucky, you might have the entire place to yourself. Have a wander round the village if you have the energy. There is a nice church, an abandoned convent, a restaurant and a bar. The place is pretty and the pace slow. There is no shop but you can eat at the restaurant or the bar. Bring supplies for breakfast or be prepared for a 7km hike to the next town the next day before you get your coffee and croissant.

Today was a hard day but great fun. I seem very tired and the knees are complaining a bit. Still no major feet issues to speak of. Clearly the prevention methods are working. No hard drinking with the two Germans who turned up tonight, just the highly refreshing beer with lemon.
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
Can some wise person help me understand why I cannot enter 'Madrid' as a destination on the Renfe train site. I am looking at booking the 6.00am train from Santiago de C on the 28th May, but keep getting an error for the destination, Madrid. This option gives me just about enough time to get to Finisterre.

Thanks
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
Ok. Just a thought (without checking the site)... but when you enter "madrid" don't you need to select "Madrid- all stations" or something like that, from the dropdown selection below?
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
Day 12 Cuenca de Campos - Villalon de Campos - Fontihoyouelo - Santervas de Campos - Arenillas de Valderaduey - Grajal de Campos - 39kms

I left Cuenca at around 8.30am and hiked over flat dirt track to Villalon in just over an hour. It's a fairly large town with all the facilities you could need, and an albergue. Beware the yellow arrows - they all seem to take you to the albergue! When you enter the large Plaza Mayor, head over to the far right corner. You will see a Santander bank, a Suma supermarket next to it and opposite, a fruit shop. Pick up your supplies here and to continue on the Camino, go down the small road so that the Santander bank is on your right. If the bank and supermarket is on your left on the main road, you are heading to the albergue, at 90 degrees to the Camino.

You could buy some water just in case, but 1 km out of town is a large, perfectly good water fountain. It is right out of town though. You then walk about 8kms to Fontihoyouelo. There are no shops in this village but if you walk through it, you'll find a small overgrown park with shade and benches, and more bench options a bit further on near the church. More dirt track and another 8kms will take you to Santervas de Campos. Head towards the church to find the bar, which did great food and a welcome beer and had wifi. There is also an albergue here. Apart from the church and bar, this village appeared to have no other facilities. It might be a nice quiet place to recharge the batteries.

Exiting the village, you follow a tarmac road for three kilometres before taking a dirt track all the way to the interestingly falling apart village of Arenillas de Valderaduey. The ruins of a far more prosperous past are everywhere but now, there appears to be nothing except a bar which is open part time and a great working water fountain, found as you leave the village. There are a few benches to sit on outside the bar.

You then follow a small stream for about 7 kilometres into the wonderfully impressive Grajal de Campos. as you enter the town, you may lose the yellow arrows. Find Plaza Mayor and the albergue entrance is in one corner, the big modern glass doors next to the municipal building - just head for the biggest tower you can see! The albergue is seriously impressive. It costs €6 euros and is in an old house or palace, with courtyards, a well, arches, ancient doors, old style bricks and oozes the past. There are some great showers and a dorm that looks like an old wine cellar. There is a microwave but no kitchen, and very few electrical sockets. There is a shop close by and a great bar with food and wifi in the opposite corner of the Plaza Mayor.

It has been a long day, nearly 40kms and about 9 hours, but perfect weather - cool with nearly complete cloud cover. Will decide the next move tomorrow ....
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
My train would arrive from Santiago at Madrid Charmartin at 11.10am Sunday morning. My flight departs from terminal 1 at 1.35pm. Hands up if you think that is do-able!!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Day 11 Marina de Rioseco - Tamariz de Campos - Moral de la Reina - Cuenca de Campos - 28kms
The first part of the walk is nice enough, about 8kms on a path alongside a canal, with plenty of shade and lots of cuckoos being loud. There are a few pretty bridges and then at the end of 8kms, a massive abandoned warehouse or mill of some sort with a few seats, a bridge and a nice place to relax. Then you head off down a quiet tarmac road for around 4 or 5kms to Tamariz de Campos.
Interested to read this. This is one of those eternal debates on the forum about where to go when you get to that huge abandoned building. I think you took the longer route and missed a nice off-road path. Just a heads up for people walking the Madrid, there are several ways into Cuenca de Campos. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/my-camino-de-madrid-sahagún-june-july-2016.42152/#post-435513

The confusion seems to go back many years and the turnoff to Tamariz still appears in a few guides. I think Medina de Rioseco to Villalon is 27, so if Medina to Cuenca was 28 for you, you definitely went further than I did!
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
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Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
Day 13 Grajal de Campos - Sahagun - Mansilla de las Mulas - 46kms

What a day! I left at 7.00am. It was cold with plenty of blue sky in the morning, then torrential rain in the afternoon, then it cleared, then the temperature plummeted and the wind was gale force, and more rain in the evening. Put Grajal on your 'must stay in' list. The albergue really is different. The bar diagonally opposite is also excellent. The only thing about the Grajal albergue is that there are next to no power sockets, and it can be cold. If you have your own sleeping bag, you'll be okay. There are blankets in the cupboard.

The walk to Sahagun was fine. Out of Grajal, over the bridge with red railings, second dirt track on the right. 6kms later you are in Sahagun. By the way, there is a train station in Grajal if you need to go to Madrid or elsewhere! I didn't go into Sahagun. I just went straight over the first main road for the supermarket, which was closed, then left after a coffee in a cafe.

After about 4kms along a dirt track by the road, you get to Calzada del Cozo. There are water fountains, an albergue, a shop and once you pass through, a split in the road, where you can go right along the Roman road or left, following the more traditional route. I went right, 8kms to some place whose name I forget! It was a very stony road but at this point, the weather held. I arrived at midday at the village with no name but it had a few casas, an albergue and a shop but didn't stop. I just pressed on. Silly me.

First the temperature dropped. Then the wind picked up. Then it rained. and rained. And rained even harder. Fortunately, I have good rain gear, my clothes are quick drying and the rucksack has a great protective rain cover, so bad weather is kind of fun. I just kept going and going along the open Roman road, past Religious, all the way to Mansilla, where I arrived about 6.00pm. I'd earned a single room so booked into a €25 room in La Pension de Blanca, next to an albergue that did great set dinners at 7.00pm for €11.

If every day was sunny, it would be boring. I am exhausted but very happy, and now this blog post is written, I'm off to bed. The plan tomorrow is to walk straight through Leon and out, to an albergue that seems half way to La Robla. The weather forecast is fine for the next three days so am going to try to press on along the Salvador while the sun shines. But if it doesn't, that's okay.

I decided to buy another plane ticket for the 30th May, to give me a few days extra to get to Muxia, and to fly from Santiago to Stanstead. My last ticket was only €19 from Madrid so no great loss. Happy days!
 

Undermanager

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Day 14 Mansilla de las Mulas - Puente Villarente - Leon - 19kms

As far as Camino stages go, they don't get more non-descript than this. The path follows busy roads for nearly the whole section. Much of it is through urban or semi-urban areas. The only highlight, if there is one, is Puente Villarente, but even that is pushing it. There is a nice little bar with an albergue right before the bridge so on a really hot day, that might be a good place to stay and then you could have a paddle or swim in the river, I guess. There are lots of shops the other side of the bridge if you need supplies.

I was thinking of having a rest day in Mansilla, but after breakfast, decided to have a short walk into Leon, book into the Albergue San Francisco de Asis and spend the afternoon looking around and taking it easy. It took just under four hours. Although it threatened to rain all morning, it held off. I've been to Leon before so don't need to do the full tour but it is a nice place to spend a day and recharge the batteries before setting off again. The cathedral is particularly impressive.

Will set off on the Camino de Salvador tomorrow. The forecast isn't looking too great for the next week but tomorrow should be fine.
 

timr

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Will set off on the Camino de Salvador tomorrow. The forecast isn't looking too great for the next week but tomorrow should be fine.
You are making great progress and I am getting more and more jealous. Léon a top favourite place of mine. And tomorrow the Salvador...
I hope to pick up later this year and do it. Will be hanging on your every word! I'm in Cercedilla now in the albergue juvenil and will follow your track tomorrow to reach the 'Real Sitio' place! Your track already got me out of trouble in Tres Cantos.
Buen Camino. Tim
 
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Undermanager

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Glad it is all going well, Tim. The next few days after Cercedilla are great - I hope the weather holds up for you. It's always handy having a map and gps trail to look at when you need it, especially in the morning before dawn!!
 

Zoula

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Hi, Zoula,
There are places to stay in both Colmenar el Viejo and Manzanares, so no need to walk 36.
Thanks Laurie, I just received my guide and will be reading it seriously, lol...
 

Zoula

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@Zoula
I am going that way this weekend and will report back. The albergue in Manzanares el Real is reported as closed at the moment. I have found another option and will let you know.
Thanks Tim, looking forward to reading your post!
 

Zoula

Danielle
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Re Manzanares and Mataelpino albergue.

There are places to stay including cheap hotels in Manzanares and it is a pretty place to stay for an afternoon, as it is a tourist destination with a castle. You can also catch a bus to Mataelpino if you are worn out, stay in the albergue, then either continue from there, or bus it back to Manzanares the next day and continue. There is nothing to see in Mataelpino itself, but the walk between the two is really impressive so is a shame to miss.
Thanks Undermanager for taking time to answer. I am really enjoying your posts and really considering the Madrid for my 3rd camino next Spring! Buen Camino!
 

KinkyOne

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The path to Cuenca de Campos is about 8kms long, is dusty and there is no shade at all. ...
There is no shop but you can eat at the restaurant or the bar.
In 2014 there was a shop situated in the Ayto. building to the left if you're facing the main entrance. Small, with limited opening hours but completely adequate. Maybe they closed it??? Lady owning the bar would know if it's permanently closed. As the rest of the villagers, of course, stupid me ;)
 

KinkyOne

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Beware the yellow arrows - they all seem to take you to the albergue! When you enter the large Plaza Mayor, head over to the far right corner. You will see a Santander bank, a Suma supermarket next to it and opposite, a fruit shop. Pick up your supplies here and to continue on the Camino, go down the small road so that the Santander bank is on your right. If the bank and supermarket is on your left on the main road, you are heading to the albergue, at 90 degrees to the Camino.
I stayed in that albergue in Villalon but haven't noticed any other arrows you are describing. Anyway I had the impression that albergue is on the Camino because the arrows led me from albergue in straight line. I guess either "official Camino" or "albergue Camino" are making loop at some point and reconnect. Either way you won't get lost here. Also a huge hotel/bar/restaurante some 50mts past the albergue.

...More dirt track and another 8kms will take you to Santervas de Campos. Head towards the church to find the bar, which did great food and a welcome beer and had wifi. There is also an albergue here. Apart from the church and bar, this village appeared to have no other facilities. It might be a nice quiet place to recharge the batteries....
There is another bar (more like centro social) down the street to the left from bar/albergue mentioned. They too cook and more important for me personally they sell cigarettes. But the bar opposite the church is quite nice, has a small shop and an albergue of course. Haven't heard any bad review ever.

...
You then follow a small stream for about 7 kilometres into the wonderfully impressive Grajal de Campos. as you enter the town, you may lose the yellow arrows. Find Plaza Mayor and the albergue entrance is in one corner, the big modern glass doors next to the municipal building - just head for the biggest tower you can see! The albergue is seriously impressive. It costs €6 euros and is in an old house or palace, with courtyards, a well, arches, ancient doors, old style bricks and oozes the past. There are some great showers and a dorm that looks like an old wine cellar. There is a microwave but no kitchen, and very few electrical sockets. There is a shop close by and a great bar with food and wifi in the opposite corner of the Plaza Mayor.....
Albergue dormitory is actually located in former prison ;)
Thanks for the info on this albergue, Undermanager. When I was there dormitory wasn't refurbished but the bathrooms and toilets were. Very nice.
 

KinkyOne

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Interested to read this. This is one of those eternal debates on the forum about where to go when you get to that huge abandoned building. I think you took the longer route and missed a nice off-road path. Just a heads up for people walking the Madrid, there are several ways into Cuenca de Campos. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/my-camino-de-madrid-sahagún-june-july-2016.42152/#post-435513

The confusion seems to go back many years and the turnoff to Tamariz still appears in a few guides. I think Medina de Rioseco to Villalon is 27, so if Medina to Cuenca was 28 for you, you definitely went further than I did!
I think there's no right and wrong way on this stretch. Left option goes through Moral de la Reina but already from Medina de Rioseco and is on abandoned RR. I got the impression that Amigos prefer the way along the Canal de Castilla and through Tamariz de Campos. Anyway I didn't see any other marked option after huge mill at the canal or after Tamariz to turn left and go to Moral de la Reina... That's why it was easy for me :)
 

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Day 15 Leon - Cabanillas - La Seca de Alba - Cascantes de Alba - La Robla - 32kms.

I'm not sure why the Samsung app I'm using to monitor distance travelled is giving consistently longer distances than what I've read! Today should have been about 27kms but I've racked up over 32kms according to the app.

Today was a fantastic day. The Albergue San Francisco de Asis was nothing to shout home about last night. It's a modern concrete construction tagged onto the side of a church. It's okay for €10 but devoid of any atmosphere. My dorm had16 beds, one shower / toilet attached and was on the third floor. There is a lift and in the basement, there is a small room with a microwave. There must be better places to stay than this, or go for a cheap hotel room.

The whole route all the way from Leon to La Robla is very well signed and it is hard to get lost. I left Leon at 7.00am and essentially walked along the river bank on the cathedral side out of the city. You will see the yellow arrows. After 9kms, of walking through suburbs, I arrived at a bar on the left that was opening at 9.00am so had a coffee and breakfast and got a stamp. Another kilometre after that and the tarmac road turned into a dirt track. You start climbing out and away from Leon well and truly here. The views get better and better as you get higher. After about 18kms, there is a water fountain. There is a sign for a water fountain. It is on a big U-bend but it is easy to miss because there is a path you can see that temptingly cuts of the big U part of the bend!

I arrived at Cabanillas at 12.00pm, after about 20kms. This is a very pretty little village with no facilities, except a water fountain and an albergue. If you have the time and have brought all the food you need, this would make a great stay for a night. You could even stay here, then the next day, walk on to Buiza, getting some more supplies in La Robla or La Pola de Gordon.

The walk from Cabanillas onwards is really pretty as well, mostly next to or close to a river. You walk along a dirt track, often shaded by trees, with the wide river gushing by and lots of birdsong. After about 3kms, you come to a foot bridge and a sign, pointing you into the village of La Seca de Alba. You can easily have a dip here. I just soaked my feet as there was an open, gently sloping bank down to the water. Don't disturb the fly fishermen!

It was time for lunch and a drink and the village looked big enough to have a bar in so I crossed the bridge, took the second right turning, walked 200 metres to where the bus stop was, and Bar Marisa was there! It was very busy and friendly and I had two large beers with lemon, and tapas dishes including octopus, stewed pork and chicken drumsticks, which were fabulous. I stayed about an hour (I am on holiday) then retraced my steps and carried on walking.

A further two kilometres on is Cascantes de Alba. You pass a very aggressive water fountain here and there was another pub, very busy and very tempting! I resisted and just carried on. As you leave the village, you can either follow a dirt track, which is slightly longer, or take the more direct 5km route to La Robla by the road. Both routes are signed. I went for the road route and was in La Robla an hour later at around 4.00pm.

There are massive cement works everywhere and it looks grim, but as you walk through the town and get to the albergue, things improve. The albergue is clean, spacious and really excellent with all facilities, in a nice little park with the mountains looming outside. There are five others staying here tonight. As today is Sunday, everywhere is closed, except a few bars, although I will see what I can find for tomorrow's breakfast later. Spain is a real pain for people walking Caminos a lot of the time. Shops haven't adapted to the needs of long distance walkers! The one thing I will say about La Robla is that it has lots and lots of bars and cafes.

I need to get supplies for the next few days as there are no shops on the mountain trail to Buiza and on to Poladura de la Tercia, so plan to start around 7.00am tomorrow and go shopping in La Pola de Gordon when the supermarkets open at about 10.00am. The weather forecast for tomorrow seems okay, but then rain is forecast for three or four days so it could be grim. I'd like to try and get the trickiest bit done tomorrow if possible but we will have to see.

No posts for a few days as there is no wifi in the mountains!
 

timr

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If sounds wonderful. Apropos of something you mentioned last week.....I hope the er 'under management' is all OK now? ;):oops::)
I'm basking in the sun in La Granja de San Ildefonso. No fuentes - it's at 1:00 on Sundays, but still very fine.
 
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Day 16 La Robla - La Pola de Gordon - Buiza - Poladura de la Tercia - 27kms

Another great day, that my gps measured as longer than the widely published 23 kms. It started with a much-larger-than-is-healthy German getting hot under the collar this morning; he didn't like being woken up at 6.30am as five people were getting ready to go out the dorm into the kitchen with all their stuff. He even decided to get out of bed and came up to me, grabbed my light from my head and put it on my bed before stomping off.
Unfortunately, people just laughed at him, which put him in a bigger huff! Poor chap. So five of us left at 7.00am in exceptionally high spirits. He needs to stay in a hotel if tolerance isn't a strong point! Albergues do require a bit of a thick skin, a set of industrial strength earplugs and some give and take.

It took only just under two hours to cover the 9 kms to La Pola. I had an hour long breakfast in one of the many bars that were open at that time, as the large supermarket opposite the municipal building didn't open until 10.00am. After grabbing three packs of noodles, some fruit, cheese and bread, I was finally off, stocked up for three days at a push. As it happened, I had also phoned up the hotel in Poladura and have booked an evening meal, so I won't starve! It cost €8 and included a fabulous soup, salad, a beef stew and fruit - an absolute bargain. When you arrive, you go and find out from the hotel when you can collect your meal, then collect it and take it to the albergue, eat, wash up and return everything. Don't forget to buy plenty of cider from the cider artisan in the village!

The five kilometres to Buiza took just over an hour. It's along the main road all the way, but the scenery is a taste of things to come. Big mountains start looming high. Canyons and peaks, rivers and meadows are all around. Buiza is a fairly largish collection of houses, but there are zero facilities so you need to bring food if you are planning to stay in the albergue, and it is an absolutely lovely setting so if you aren't in any rush, stay in this place and enjoy the peace and beauty.

I should say that I carried only one litre of water from La Pola to Buiza - there are many water fountains all the way. From Buiza, I also took just one litre but today wasn't particularly hot and it was just enough. If it is hot when you go, take twice that as there were no fountains and the next hour and a half will leave you seriously sweating. From Buiza, it's up, up, up for about an hour and a half. Sometimes the up is very steep. It's exhausting but eventually you hit the part of the walk where you walk fairly level around the sides of mountains for an hour, and then another hour or two descending to Poladura.

It's hard to get lost on this entire stretch. The path is well-signed. There are two small buildings the size of a small shed from Buiza which you will see when you start to descend to Poladura, where there are path junctions and where at a pinch you could go wrong - but just follow the arrows as they are crystal clear which way to go and not go! A gps or smartphone using maps.me and a trail loaded onto it is also reassuring, if not strictly necessary. The mountains, meadows, valleys, peaks, wildlife, gorges - they are now all getting spectacular, and the descent into Poladura is great, too. If the weather is good, you will take lots of great photos. As mentioned before, you can book an evening meal by phoning up the only hotel in Poladura, and if you feel like treating yourself, you can book a room there as well for just over €40, although with mountain walks, I like to make as many friends as possible so prefer staying in the perfectly nice albergue. When you are sitting around drinking the homemade cider on sale (see below), notice the ski resort on the distant mountain tops!

As you enter Poladura village, you will notice a sign advertising a 'cider artisan' - home made cider, which is excellent and only two euros a bottle. Just knock on the door and say, 'see-dra' and prepare to be amazed. The actual brewery is a sight to behold. You could learn the Spanish for 'Could you sell me half a dozen eggs, please?' as well because the village seems to have hundreds of chickens everywhere, but no signs for eggs for sale! Scrambled eggs for breakfast done in the microwave and a few boiled eggs for lunch the next day might be nice! The albergue is in a big building two minutes away from entering the village and has a big sign on it. It's great, with the top floor having 12 beds, two shower / toilet rooms and a kitchen with microwave, hob, fridge and plates, knives, forks, cups etc and there are plenty of power sockets. There are a couple of working, well-stocked vending machines downstairs selling a large range of chocolate bars, fizzy drinks and coffee, and next to these machines is also the place to leave your empty cider bottles.

This is a wonderful, beautiful, relaxing wifi-free village in a stunning setting. Follow the yellow arrows out of the village on the other side to where you entered for two minutes to the bridge and the fast running stream. Walk down the gently sloping bank to the water, have a seat on a stone and dunk your feet in the ice cold running water. Let them feel redemption. Breath in the herbs that surround the bank and all is well. Perfecto!

I took about 8 hours in perfect walking conditions to get here from La Robla, with a few breaks and including an hour hanging around waiting for the supermarket to open in La Pola; a keen walker should take between six and seven hours in good conditions. This is another place not to miss on your Camino de San Salvador! This is a walk that should be savoured not rushed!
 
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Undermanager

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Day 17 Poladura de la Tercia - Pajares - 15kms

The weather forecast for today was not good but when I woke up, it was wonderful again; cool, a blood-red sky in the East and just a few clouds. In fact, the weather for the whole morning was just about perfect for walking mountains so no complaints at all. I left at 7.15am and arrived in Pajares around 12.30pm so about 5 hours with a few stops. And this stage is probably the best on the walk from Madrid so far. The scenery is just stunning!

It takes about an hour of upwards slog to get to a big metal pole with Salvador on it. The highest point of this walk is another 15 minutes from here and has a cross on it. The views so far are just great, with huge mountains, pockets of snow, villages miles away in valleys, flowers in full bloom and birdsong. Don't get too excited about reaching the highest point though as there is a lot more ups and downs before the walk is finished. So far, the signposting in today's clear weather has been great, with arrows, posts or shells every thirty metres or so. It might be a different story in fog, rain or snow so a good gps and trail would be reassuring.

Eventually, you will find yourself descending down to a road. The arrows do go off in two directions as the road gets closer but it makes no difference - just get to the road using any path and start walking to your left. You'll pick up the arrows again. They will lead you behind a large building or warehouse on the right side of the road and to a gate with 'private' on it. Go through this and the yellow arrows become clearer as you climb a dirt track a few hundred metres on. You go through a gate, and will have more great views and near there a few metres after descending, you'll find a working water fountain.

There is a lot of very steep downhill walking from here onwards and walking poles will certainly help. If it is raining, a lot of the walking will be very muddy and slippy. As you descend to Pajares a few hours away, you will go though forest, cross alpine meadows and have stunning distant views of snow-capped high mountain peaks. It is breathtaking scenery and you will want to take lots of photos and have many breaks, just to take it all in. You descend down to a busy main road, cross it and immediately find another working water fountain. This point marks leaving the area of Leon and entering the area called Asturias. You then need to follow the well-marked trail all the way to the albergue in the picture perfect mountain village of Pajares.

The albergue is excellent, It has a kitchen and microwave, although this seems to be locked and may not be for general use. There are 14 beds, three showers, a few toilets, a vending machine (with beer in it), a large communal area, and slow wifi. There are enough electrical points to use to charge things up with. The views of mountains and valleys from the bedroom windows are just brilliant. Within an hour of arriving, a farmer had arrived and gave us some milk that he had just milked from a cow, and a van arrived selling a wide range of bread and cakes. There is a lady who cooked lunch for us, arranged via the hotel in the last place and sorted out by Pedro, the brilliant Spanish - English speaker also doing the Camino de San Salvador. Chick pea soup, salad, freshly murdered local chicken and pancakes with chocolate and cream. Fantastico! There were two water fountains I saw, plus there is a bar allegedly, although bad planning on my part - it's closed on Tuesdays.

We have been lucky with the weather so far, and the walk has been brilliant. I need to do a bit more reading for tomorrow's stage to the albegue in Pola de Lena but am looking forward to relaxing for the whole of the rest of the day. This Camino is one that really should be taken slowly, with each stage being enjoyed for its sheer brilliance.
 
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timr

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Sounds like it is living up to expectations. Sounds wonderful. I'm in Añe and have met up suddenly with 5 Belgian ladies. The bar is only open Saturday and Sunday we are told. We tried to find meinhost to see if he would open specially, but he lives in Segovia. The albergue in Navacerrada de la Asuncion is listed as 4 beds, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
 

timr

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Re Manzanares and Mataelpino albergue.

There are places to stay including cheap hotels in Manzanares and it is a pretty place to stay for an afternoon, as it is a tourist destination with a castle. You can also catch a bus to Mataelpino if you are worn out, stay in the albergue, then either continue from there, or bus it back to Manzanares the next day and continue. There is nothing to see in Mataelpino itself, but the walk between the two is really impressive so is a shame to miss.
You'll see on my thread that I stayed with Ray and Rosa of rayyrosa.com in Manzanares El Real. For one person or a couple, they are providing accommodation in their home. They walked with me as far as Mataelpino next morning and I agree if was a particularly nice stretch.
 

Undermanager

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Sounds like you are well and truly in the swing now. Hope the Spanish is holding up!
 

Magwood

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Hi Dave. Marilyn and I am in Buixa tonight and praying that the promised rain doesn't come to fruition tomorrow. Eli is a stage behind and Paul has gone home. Just heard thunder rumbling!
 

Undermanager

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Wow, you are making great time. The weather forecast promised rain today where we are but it was great weather so there is hope! But not much - the forecast is on the telly now and it looks grim. Take care over the mountains. It was all straightforward in good conditions and is well signed but might be much harder in rain and low visibility. I hope we can meet in Oviedo. I'm planning a few short stages in the next few days then at least one rest day before starting the Primitivo. Having lots of fun.
 

KinkyOne

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Hi Dave. Marilyn and I am in Buixa tonight and praying that the promised rain doesn't come to fruition tomorrow. Eli is a stage behind and Paul has gone home. Just heard thunder rumbling!
Hi, Maggie,

If the weather really gets nasty you have safer option for Pajares via Villamanin. It's on Gronze but I'll add short description:
- exit the albergue and go up the Calle de la Iglesia to the church, pass it by its right side,
- KSO and uphill in the same direction as power line runs,
- 200mts elevation and 2,2km later you'll be on the pass between two valleys,
- KSO down hill to Villasimpliz, cross the N-630 and there is a bus station (200mts elevation, 2,3km from the pass),
- turn left on N-630 and later take smaller tarmac road to the right just before the tunnel,
- after the tunnel at the FF.CC. sign you can take local tarmac road to the right that will take you straight to Villamanin or stay on N-630 until Meson Ezequiel (3,2km from bus stop) - 2€ large beer, huuuge tapas!!!, there's daily bus back to La Robla (around 1PM I think, also train) and all infrastructure,
- from Villamanin all the way is by the side of N-630, not really nice but I did took it exactly because of the rain,
Accumulated distances for next villages (from Meson Ezequiel) are:
- Villanueva de la Tercia: 3,1
- Busdongo: 7,7
- Arbas del Puerto: 11,2
- Puerto de Pajares: 12,8
- albergue Pajares (via N-630, a bit scary but possible): 17,6
- that makes Buiza - Villamanin - Pajares 25km.

I do hope the weather will be fine and you'll be safe on the mountain path.
 

peregrina2000

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Hi, Maggie,

If the weather really gets nasty you have safer option for Pajares via Villamanin. It's on Gronze but I'll add short description:
- exit the albergue and go up the Calle de la Iglesia to the church, pass it by its right side,
- KSO and uphill in the same direction as power line runs,
- 200mts elevation and 2,2km later you'll be on the pass between two valleys,
- KSO down hill to Villasimpliz, cross the N-630 and there is a bus station (200mts elevation, 2,3km from the pass),
- turn left on N-630 and later take smaller tarmac road to the right just before the tunnel,
- after the tunnel at the FF.CC. sign you can take local tarmac road to the right that will take you straight to Villamanin or stay on N-630 until Meson Ezequiel (3,2km from bus stop) - 2€ large beer, huuuge tapas!!!, there's daily bus back to La Robla (around 1PM I think, also train) and all infrastructure,
- from Villamanin all the way is by the side of N-630, not really nice but I did took it exactly because of the rain,
Accumulated distances for next villages (from Meson Ezequiel) are:
- Villanueva de la Tercia: 3,1
- Busdongo: 7,7
- Arbas del Puerto: 11,2
- Puerto de Pajares: 12,8
- albergue Pajares (via N-630, a bit scary but possible): 17,6
- that makes Buiza - Villamanin - Pajares 25km.

I do hope the weather will be fine and you'll be safe on the mountain path.
I do hate to disagree with my esteemed pal K1, but I would NEVER reommend walking alongside the N-630. On my very first Camino del Salvador, in about 2007, I think, we got lost in Buiza and wound up in Villasimpliz and the intersection with the N-630. So far so good, but the rest of the way up to Puerto de Pajares was absolutely hair raising. It was worse than the Lebaniego into Potes on the side of the road, worse than any road walking I have ever done. There was a continuous stream of big trucks. I imagine that in the rain it would be even worse.
Buen camino, Laurie
 

KinkyOne

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Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
I do hate to disagree with my esteemed pal K1, but I would NEVER reommend walking alongside the N-630. On my very first Camino del Salvador, in about 2007, I think, we got lost in Buiza and wound up in Villasimpliz and the intersection with the N-630. So far so good, but the rest of the way up to Puerto de Pajares was absolutely hair raising. It was worse than the Lebaniego into Potes on the side of the road, worse than any road walking I have ever done. There was a continuous stream of big trucks. I imagine that in the rain it would be even worse.
Buen camino, Laurie
Agree, Laurie. It wasn't nice at all but at least I saw what's in front of me and I could've jump to the side in case of some strange driving. I've spent a good part of my youth in mountains (let's say from 7 to 30 yo) every weekend at least, also as a climber, and I really do know how dangerous mountain walking in the fog, rain and suddenly lowered temps can be even if you know the way by heart.
I just want to do some more Caminos in my life (Salvador too ;)) that's why I took that option. Anyway why spoil reportedly one of the most beautiful vistas of all Caminos walking in such circumstances...

I'm sure Maggie will know what to do :)
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
"The albergue in Navacerrada de la Asuncion is listed as 4 beds, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

Timr, far as I know, there's a newer, bigger albergue in Nava de la Asuncion. The 4 bed albergue was in the bull ring, very basic, but lots of fun. We stayed in it in 2009, but when we passed through Nava in 2014, we didn't stay but were told by Marguerite there was a big wonderful albergue. Really recommend that town. Marguerite from the Bakery had the key and was very helpful and kind. Buen camino.
 

Zoula

Danielle
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept. 2014, CP Sept. 2016, maybe VdlP April 2018
You'll see on my thread that I stayed with Ray and Rosa of rayyrosa.com in Manzanares El Real. For one person or a couple, they are providing accommodation in their home. They walked with me as far as Mataelpino next morning and I agree if was a particularly nice stretch.
Tim, how do I access your "Live from the Camino".. I cannot seem to find it??
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
Many, many thanks @KinkyOne and @peregrina2000 for your input. Haven't slept much worrying about the weather. The forecast has been fairly unreliable thus far, so I have hope, but also anxiety. Was so looking forward to this next stage. Such a shame if I can't see the views. Vamos a ver!
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
There is a nice looking albergue as you enter the village but I have no idea what it's like. I found only one bar, on the right as you walk in but it was hard to spot - look for a few posters stuck in the window. The water fountain next to the church was working. I didn't spot any shops, although a mobile van turned up selling fish!
The albergue in Castromonte is wonderful, a beautifully converted school house, with about 40 beds, lovely kitchen with fridge, stove, washing machine and gorgeous tiles. Lots of blue! We've stayed in it twice, the best, and the walls are such thick stone, it keeps out storms, wind and such. The number to phone for the key is on the door.
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
You then follow a small stream for about 7 kilometres into the wonderfully impressive Grajal de Campos. as you enter the town, you may lose the yellow arrows. Find Plaza Mayor and the albergue entrance is in one corner, the big modern glass doors next to the municipal building - just head for the biggest tower you can see! The albergue is seriously impressive. It costs €6 euros and is in an old house or palace, with courtyards, a well, arches, ancient doors, old style bricks and oozes the past.
This albergue sounds wonderful. To go with all the other excellent albergues on the Madrid.

Thank you Undermanager, your input is so good, I may just have to walk the Madrid again. For now, it's lovely following along with you. Buen camino.
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
We made it to Pajares. We started off in cloud but not cold. By the time we reached Poladura it was clear and stayed that way - even had a bit of blue sky from time to time. What an amazing walk, arrived in Pajares elated but knackered.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
"The albergue in Navacerrada de la Asuncion is listed as 4 beds, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

Timr, far as I know, there's a newer, bigger albergue in Nava de la Asuncion. The 4 bed albergue was in the bull ring, very basic, but lots of fun. We stayed in it in 2009, but when we passed through Nava in 2014, we didn't stay but were told by Marguerite there was a big wonderful albergue. Really recommend that town. Marguerite from the Bakery had the key and was very helpful and kind. Buen camino.
I am here now. Still just two bunks in one room and shower and toilet, fridge and microwave and heater. Spotlessly clean. At the polideportivo. Ayuntamiento gives contact for phoning for key. A no-brainer at €5. Lovely modern Hotel Fray Sebastian opposite, very welcoming,
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
Day 18 Pajares - Pola de Lena - 27kms

The weather forecast for today was bleak and when I woke up, the sky was covered in angry black clouds and had started raining very slightly. By the time I left at 7.00am, it had stopped raining, however. I left the village and followed the Camino down down down into the valley, a steep descent that lasted half an hour. Then, you guessed it, it was up up up for ages. The only rain in the morning turned out to be a light shower after two hours of walking and the clouds kept everything cool. After midday, everything brightened up till mid afternoon.

Today was characterised by lots of ups and lots of downs as you mainly skirt around the side, or up and down hill after hill on dirt track, mostly through forest until you get to Campomanes. Everything was green and the views were really fantastic. It's pretty much well-signed everywhere, with the exception of passing through the town of Campomanes, where there seems to be arrows and yellow splotches all over the place. As it was, I just followed the gps track I had, which took me past a small road by a bar, so stopped for a drink. From Campomanes, it is nearly all an old quiet concrete road next to or within earshot of a big busy main road, although you can climb a steep cobblestone path to visit Santa Cristina de L.lena, another church that will almost certainly be closed, if you want to. Or just skip it, look on your map and follow the concrete road until it rejoins the Camino, a little further on.

There is an albergue about 1.5kms from Erias called Albergue Santuario de Benduenos. It might be good fun to stay there and split the journey to Pola de Lena but be warned - it is deep in the countryside and there are no nearby shops so you'd have to bring what you need for the evening and the next day's breakfast. There are a fair number of water fountains today so there wasn't a need to take more than a litre of water. If it was hot, you might need to take more.

The rain held off until about 10 minutes arriving at Pole de Lena albergue at 3.00pm. Then it really did come down in buckets, complete with thunder and lightening. This stage took about 8 hours and was really nice. The albergue is okay but a bit open, noisy and basic but the showers are fine. There is no kitchen. There are plenty of facilities in the town, and lots of bars selling cider with the party trick of pouring it from a height into the class. Can't quite see the point of it myself but okay to experience once.

Tomorrow, have decided to do the 30kms+ and head off straight to Oviedo and have booked a hotel there for two days. Will then head off on the Primitivo on the 13th, which gives me 17 days for the Primitivo, Finisterre and Muxio, before leaving from Santiago on the 30th.
 
Last edited:

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
We made it to Pajares. We started off in cloud but not cold. By the time we reached Poladura it was clear and stayed that way - even had a bit of blue sky from time to time. What an amazing walk, arrived in Pajares elated but knackered.
Congratulations! Whenever I looked over my shoulder at the mountains today and thought of you walking through them, all I saw were grim looking clouds!
 

Me Fein

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portomarin - SdC( May 2010), SJdPP - Muxia (Sept/Oct 2012), Lisbon - SdC (April/May 2013), Seville -Muxia (April/May2014), Irun - Oviedo ( Oct 2015),Primitivo + Verde +Ingles (June 2016),Madrid -Sahagun + Camino del Salvador(April 2017)
I stayed in the albuergue in Benduenos in my opinion is one of the best in Spain.Yes it is deep in the country but the welcome ,the scenery is well worth the detour.Everything a pilgrim needs is supplied food,drinks alcohol and non-alcohol,fruit etc and toiletries.Sandra will also cook dinner if requested( the hospitalario in Poladura de la Tercia rang ahead for me).
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
Now that's a shame. I think I would certainly have stopped off there if I'd known before hand that there were some facilities like food and beer available! you can't beat the location if you like the countryside.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Now that's a shame. I think I would certainly have stopped off there if I'd known before hand that there were some facilities like food and beer available! you can't beat the location if you like the countryside.
So sorry to hear this. When I saw that you are going straight from Pajares to Pola de Lena I thought it's because of time constraints otherwise I would recommend Sandra's place. Obviously you didn't do your homework because I remember this place was mentioned oh so many times this past autumn and always in the most positive way. Sandra can even pick you up down in the village upon phone call. There is a fixed price for bed and dinner and everything else you use/eat/drink is on donativo basis.
Enjoy the rest of Salvador!
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
So sorry to hear this. When I saw that you are going straight from Pajares to Pola de Lena I thought it's because of time constraints otherwise I would recommend Sandra's place. Obviously you didn't do your homework because I remember this place was mentioned oh so many times this past autumn and always in the most positive way. Sandra can even pick you up down in the village upon phone call. There is a fixed price for bed and dinner and everything else you use/eat/drink is on donativo basis.
Enjoy the rest of Salvador!
@KinkyOne PLEASE remind me of this when I return to finish Madrid - Salvador, I HOPE, in October - November.:D;):)I'm in Villeguillo for tonight. Suddenly got very windy today, but still warm and no rain. Tim
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
Day 19 Pola de Lena - Uxo - Mieres del Camino - Olloniego - Oviedo - 35kms

Pola de Lena isn't overly exciting, but I did find a great bar to have some cider in and the meal of the day, but can't remember its name. There were about 20 bars close together in the centre so you will just have to explore. If you are going to return to the hostel later than 10.00pm, don't forget to get an Entry Card so you can get back in the albergue!

Today was cloudy and the forecast not good, but in the end it was warm and no rain at all. I left Pola de Lena just before 7.00am and walked past two cafes in town that were open for morning coffees and breakfast but planned to have mine later. I was keen to get some kilometres in as it was a long hike today. The whole hike today took just over 9 hours, arriving in Oviedo just after 4.00pm.

The walk to Uxo was along a tarmac track by the river. You skirt past Uxo rather than walk through it. As you meet the first few buildings in Uxo, keep your eyes open on the left for a commercial bakery. Lots of people were popping in to buy their loaves from it. If you turn left just before the last very large building that looks a bit like a sports centre in Uxo and walk 50 yards, you will see an open cafe for coffee in a red brick building on the left.

The walk to Mieres del Camino was LOUD. You continue to walk on tarmac by the river, but on the left of you, you will also have a train line at times, and on the right on the other side of the river, a huge main road and another train line! As you enter the sprawling town of Mieres, there is a Dia Maxi supermarket on the left, for cheap supplies. The albergue is right on the other side of town and it took not far off half an hour to get close to it. I'm sure if you gave it some time, Mieres might be nice, but I wasn't inspired.

One of the last buildings as you exit the suburbs of Mieres is Hostel Meson La Pena. I stopped here for coffees and breakfast. It looked fine as a cheap hotel, too, but the area is a bit grim. It might be fun to experience for a night.

From here, you walk about an hour uphill along a road. After the last three days, anything less than 45 degrees is roughly flat and although this was uphill, it wasn't exactly strenuous. You pass through one village after another, with lots of cyclists whizzing past and you see many photogenic derelict buildings. The top and views were nice but the cafes and bars up there were shut for some reason. Then you hit your first dirt track going downhill, but it doesn't last long.

The countryside is very pretty from here onwards and you descend and walk along roads and tracks until you reach the long town of Olloniego, where you can find half a dozen bars, shops, ATMs, trains, busses and anything else you need. As you exit Olloniego, you encounter the first track that might make you burst into a sweat. It's quite a hard climb uphill on a dirt track but only lasts about 15 minutes. You then get to the top and follow roads down before hitting more dirt track upwards.

Eventually, you do get to the top and are rewarded with some great views. You follow the road down, then up, then down etc etc until Oviedo comes into view. Then it takes another hour or two of up and down to get into the centre! I decided yesterday to have a rest day so have booked myself into Favila Oviedo, costing 70 Euros for two nights for a room with private bath. It seems fine but will probably need to wear earplugs as a wooden floor is everywhere and that transmits noise! I will be setting off on the Primitivo on Saturday.

Tonight, I plan to finish my current novel and eat the 10 Euro meal of the day downstairs in the hotel cafe. Tomorrow, I'll do a gentle wander and self-guided tour of Oviedo, and read about and plan the stages of the Primitivo - as I know nothing at all about this Camino and its stages, although I have a few guides downloaded! Hopefully, I'll be able to do this Camino in about 10 or 11 days.

The weather is set to improve, too, in a few days, which is a bonus. Still no major problems with the feet, although the rucksack is falling apart and the first signs of the sole on one shoe not being happy has appeared.

Looking forward to a whole day off!
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Day 19 Pola de Lena - Uxo - Mieres del Camino - Olloniego - Oviedo - 35kms

Pola de Lena isn't overly exciting, but I did find a great bar to have some cider in and the meal of the day, but can't remember its name. There were about 20 bars close together in the centre so you will just have to explore. If you are going to return to the hostel later than 10.00pm, don't forget to get an Entry Card so you can get back in the albergue!

Today was cloudy and the forecast not good, but in the end it was warm and no rain at all. I left Pola de Lena just before 7.00am and walked past two cafes in town that were open for morning coffees and breakfast but planned to have mine later. I was keen to get some kilometres in as it was a long hike today. The whole hike today took just over 9 hours, arriving in Oviedo just after 4.00pm.

The walk to Uxo was along a tarmac track by the river. You skirt past Uxo rather than walk through it. As you meet the first few buildings in Uxo, keep your eyes open on the left for a commercial bakery. Lots of people were popping in to buy their loaves from it. If you turn left just before the last very large building that looks a bit like a sports centre in Uxo and walk 50 yards, you will see an open cafe for coffee in a red brick building on the left.

The walk to Mieres del Camino was LOUD. You continue to walk on tarmac by the river, but on the left of you, you will also have a train line at times, and on the right on the other side of the river, a huge main road and another train line! As you enter the sprawling town of Mieres, there is a Dia Maxi supermarket on the left, for cheap supplies. The albergue is right on the other side of town and it took not far off half an hour to get close to it. I'm sure if you gave it some time, Mieres might be nice, but I wasn't inspired.

One of the last buildings as you exit the suburbs of Mieres is Hostel Meson La Pena. I stopped here for coffees and breakfast. It looked fine as a cheap hotel, too, but the area is a bit grim. It might be fun to experience for a night.

From here, you walk about an hour uphill along a road. After the last three days, anything less than 45 degrees is roughly flat and although this was uphill, it wasn't exactly strenuous. You pass through one village after another, with lots of cyclists whizzing past and you see many photogenic derelict buildings. The top and views were nice but the cafes and bars up there were shut for some reason. Then you hit your first dirt track going downhill, but it doesn't last long.

The countryside is very pretty from here onwards and you descend and walk along roads and tracks until you reach the long town of Olloniego, where you can find half a dozen bars, shops, ATMs, trains, busses and anything else you need. As you exit Olloniego, you encounter the first track that might make you burst into a sweat. It's quite a hard climb uphill on a dirt track but only lasts about 15 minutes. You then get to the top and follow roads down before hitting more dirt track upwards.

Eventually, you do get to the top and are rewarded with some great views. You follow the road down, then up, then down etc etc until Oviedo comes into view. Then it takes another hour or two of up and down to get into the centre! I decided yesterday to have a rest day so have booked myself into Favila Oviedo, costing 70 Euros for two nights for a room with private bath. It seems fine but will probably need to wear earplugs as a wooden floor is everywhere and that transmits noise! I will be setting off on the Primitivo on Saturday.

Tonight, I plan to finish my current novel and eat the 10 Euro meal of the day downstairs in the hotel cafe. Tomorrow, I'll do a gentle wander and self-guided tour of Oviedo, and read about and plan the stages of the Primitivo - as I know nothing at all about this Camino and its stages, although I have a few guides downloaded! Hopefully, I'll be able to do this Camino in about 10 or 11 days.

The weather is set to improve, too, in a few days, which is a bonus. Still no major problems with the feet, although the rucksack is falling apart and the first signs of the sole on one shoe not being happy has appeared.

Looking forward to a whole day off!
Well done! Great achievement especially keeping up the daily reports. I started Primitivo in Oviedo at the end of May last year, and loved every day of it. There are a few days that will test your failing sole, but I'm sure your soul will see you through!

I'm in Villeguillo and we are six.....4 Belgian ladies and a Dutch lady, walking together, who started in Segovia. They remain the only peregrinos I've met.
I enjoyed a day mooching around Oviedo last year. I stayed in a hotel with limited soundproofing next to a guest who was practising his accordion!
Buen Camino
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Re Manzanares and Mataelpino albergue.

There are places to stay including cheap hotels in Manzanares and it is a pretty place to stay for an afternoon, as it is a tourist destination with a castle. You can also catch a bus to Mataelpino if you are worn out, stay in the albergue, then either continue from there, or bus it back to Manzanares the next day and continue. There is nothing to see in Mataelpino itself, but the walk between the two is really impressive so is a shame to miss.
I agree completely that the path to Mataelpino from Manzanares is quite spectacular. I had the good fortune of walking it with Ray y Rosa who were great guides to flora, fauna, geology and folklore.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Congratulations, Undermanager!
Enjoy Oviedo on my account also because last year I too took a rest day there but it was rain rain rain so hopefully you'll have better weather ;)
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
@KinkyOne PLEASE remind me of this when I return to finish Madrid - Salvador, I HOPE, in October - November.:D;):)I'm in Villeguillo for tonight. Suddenly got very windy today, but still warm and no rain. Tim
Will do so, no problem :)
Villeguillo? Ah, a special village for me and @Donovan (or was it @Undermanager ???).
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
@peregrina2000

I've just been reading your Primitivo notes and will be using that as my template for the walk starting tomorrow. Very useful. Thanks.
 

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