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The big map o the Caminos de Santiago

LIVE from the Camino Back on the Lana

Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#1
An hour's walk, a train, a metro, a plane, a bus, a night in Alicante, another train and two more buses found me back in Campillo de Altobuey, in Cuenca province, ready to restart my Lana camino broken off in April.

María, the helpful person in charge of the polidiportivo, put out a couple of sleeping mats and a blanket and gave me the key to the visitors' changing room. Loos and showers, free.

I had been hoping to make a gentle restart to my camino, stopping in a casa rural in Paracuellos de la Vega, ~18km off, but as it's a holiday week I thought I'd better ring to check they weren't full. They weren't, they have closed for invierno (in early October?). When I got to Paracuellos at 11.20 in the morning, there was a choice between trying to find somewhere else to stay or forging on. Paracuellos is a tiny village with a spectacular pentagonal castle dominating a gorge, and not a lot else, and its only bar was closing for the day at noon. So I took a deep breath and forged on, reaching Monteagudo de las Salinas at about 5pm, somewhat knackered by 36km, probably half on tarmac. With increasingly dodgy knees, I had thought 32km was my new limit, so it was a great morale boost to find I can still do a bit more, even if I hope I don't have to.
 

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Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
#3
I had already made up my mind to back to the CF this winter, the photo had me rethinking.

Buen Camino
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (15 April 2013)
Camino Portuguese (1 May 2014)
Camino Mozárabe from Málaga (8 April 2015)
Camino del Norte & Camino Ingles (April 2016)
#6
Best wishes for strong knees and lots of info about accommodation.
Buen Camino!
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#7
Buen Camino, Alan and hope to see you when you arrive in Santiago! SY
 
Camino(s) past & future
Via Podiensis 2002, Camino Frances 2003, 2004, 2008, 2012, Via de La Plata 2005, 2006. 2013, Camino Ingles 2013, Camino de Madrid 2008, Camino Salvador 2008, Camino del Norte 2010, Camino de Levante 2012,
Camino Mozarabe 2015, Camino Salvador 2015, Camino Primitivo 2015
#8
Well done Alan!! We completed the Lana in Burgos on the 4th of October. Your accommodation list was very helpful and quite accurate!! One change was the Rincon Sandra in Monteagudo, not the Abuela. Remember, no tienda in Retortillo or Quintanarraya!! Cheers and Buen Camino!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#9
In Monteagudo de las Salinas I stayed at a casa rural at the entrance to the village. The owner has converted its attic into an "albergue", with 4-5 beds in alcoves. Very comfortable, and the bar/restaurant downstairs does perfectly decent food. As Kevin says, the Rincón de Sandra casa rural, up near the castle, is the other option in the village.

The walk from Monteagudo to Fuentes (24km) was great. Effectively no tarmac from start to finish, except in the villages themselves. No water en route. At first through deep pine forests going steadily up to beautiful open moorland with holm oaks, then down through rolling cereal fields to Fuentes, a bustling friendly village. The albergue there is attached to the ermita of the Virgen de Gracia, with a bunk bed and a tiny loo/shower, free. The key is held by the nearby Cazadores bar, which does a good menú del día (and is open at 7am for breakfast). If two people happen to coincide in the albergue I would suggest the richer one goes to one of the two pensións or the casa rural in the village, unless they are very good friends, not least as they would have to draw lots for who gets the blanket and who the pillow, as there is only one of each.
 
Camino(s) past & future
StJpdeP/SIdeC done 2011, Sevilla/SIdeC done 201313
#10
In Monteagudo de las Salinas I stayed at a casa rural at the entrance to the village. The owner has converted its attic into an "albergue", with 4-5 beds in alcoves. Very comfortable, and the bar/restaurant downstairs does perfectly decent food. As Kevin says, the Rincón de Sandra casa rural, up near the castle, is the other option in the village.

The walk from Monteagudo to Fuentes (24km) was great. Effectively no tarmac from start to finish, except in the villages themselves. No water en route. At first through deep pine forests going steadily up to beautiful open moorland with holm oaks, then down through rolling cereal fields to Fuentes, a bustling friendly village. The albergue there is attached to the ermita of the Virgen de Gracia, with a bunk bed and a tiny loo/shower, free. The key is held by the nearby Cazadores bar, which does a good menú del día (and is open at 7am for breakfast). If two people happen to coincide in the albergue I would suggest the richer one goes to one of the two pensións or the casa rural in the village, unless they are very good friends, not least as they would have to draw lots for who gets the blanket and who the pillow, as there is only one of each.

Hello Alan. Walked the Alicante to Cuenca section of the Lana, finishing in Cuenca a couple of weeks ago. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey and was disappointed to have to stop at Cuenca. I'd be really interested to hear how the section Cuenca/Burgos works out for you if you walk that far, particularly in those one or two places where the Amigos' Guia indicates that accommodation is doubtful. In the meantime do take care and Buen Camino! Martin o Leary.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#12
In Monteagudo de las Salinas I stayed at a casa rural at the entrance to the village. The owner has converted its attic into an "albergue", with 4-5 beds in alcoves. Very comfortable, and the bar/restaurant downstairs does perfectly decent food. As Kevin says, the Rincón de Sandra casa rural, up near the castle, is the other option in the village.

The walk from Monteagudo to Fuentes (24km) was great. Effectively no tarmac from start to finish, except in the villages themselves. No water en route. At first through deep pine forests going steadily up to beautiful open moorland with holm oaks, then down through rolling cereal fields to Fuentes, a bustling friendly village. The albergue there is attached to the ermita of the Virgen de Gracia, with a bunk bed and a tiny loo/shower, free. The key is held by the nearby Cazadores bar, which does a good menú del día (and is open at 7am for breakfast). If two people happen to coincide in the albergue I would suggest the richer one goes to one of the two pensións or the casa rural in the village, unless they are very good friends, not least as they would have to draw lots for who gets the blanket and who the pillow, as there is only one of each.
Keep 'em coming, Alan! Enjoying them.

But you enjoy as well. Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 15,Portuguese 16,Finisterre Muxia 16,Ingles16,, Almeria to Muxia,Finesterre 18
#13
In Monteagudo de las Salinas I stayed at a casa rural at the entrance to the village. The owner has converted its attic into an "albergue", with 4-5 beds in alcoves. Very comfortable, and the bar/restaurant downstairs does perfectly decent food. As Kevin says, the Rincón de Sandra casa rural, up near the castle, is the other option in the village.

The walk from Monteagudo to Fuentes (24km) was great. Effectively no tarmac from start to finish, except in the villages themselves. No water en route. At first through deep pine forests going steadily up to beautiful open moorland with holm oaks, then down through rolling cereal fields to Fuentes, a bustling friendly village. The albergue there is attached to the ermita of the Virgen de Gracia, with a bunk bed and a tiny loo/shower, free. The key is held by the nearby Cazadores bar, which does a good menú del día (and is open at 7am for breakfast). If two people happen to coincide in the albergue I would suggest the richer one goes to one of the two pensións or the casa rural in the village, unless they are very good friends, not least as they would have to draw lots for who gets the blanket and who the pillow, as there is only one of each.
So many thanks to you for your words and advice,,,very inspirational
 
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#14
Fuentes to Cuenca is a pleasant easy day. Left just before dawn to get as much time in the hanging city as possible. The cañada real is easy to follow in the half light. A couple of bird rich lagunas, a couple of villages with fuentes, and then the dreary suburbs of the ciudad encantada.

I was the 100th person in Cuenca's albergue this year, beating last year's record by 20 or more, and the first ever to arrive from Xàbia. The duty hospitaler@'s number is on the door, and Luis arrived almost immediately to let me in. 3 bunks and three single beds, loo and shower, microwave, donativo. The albergue is opposite the hospital of Santiago, just by the Júcar on the camino leaving northwards. Luis is hugely helpful and an enthusiastic caminant so we had a pleasant chat about caminos less travelled - he is the only other person I've met who has walked the Castellano-Aragonés
 

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
#15
Hi Alan just some questions I have if you don't mind.Are the arrows well marked for the sections you have walked since coming back, do you need a guide? Have you had any access problems because of fincas, etc? What is your opinion of walking the way in February, do you think the paths will be passable after the Winter rains?

Yours very gratefully

M
 
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#16
Hi Alan just some questions I have if you don't mind.Are the arrows well marked for the sections you have walked since coming back, do you need a guide? Have you had any access problems because of fincas, etc? What is your opinion of walking the way in February, do you think the paths will be passable after the Winter rains?

Yours very gratefully

M
Arrows excellent, bit muddy today but mostly not. One finca after Monteagudo de las Salinas has "prohibido el paso" signs but yellow arrows right next to them, and in 2 days there is apparently a block at Villaescusa de los Palositas where a new landlord is trying to close the cañada real/camino but I've been told to jump the gate as the block is illegal. Otherwise fine. February could be claggy or could be dry, no way of predicting. The guide EL CAMINO DE LA Lana CAmINO DE SANTIAGO DESDE VALENCIA Y Alicante (can't find a Web link, but easily googled) is pretty good, coupled with info from the hospitaler@s etc.
 

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
#17
Thank you. I was looking at the Alicante website a couple of days ago and they mentioned a new Albergue up the road, I'm not sure the etapa it is in but it's in La Muralla de Retortillo de Soria.
 
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#18
Hello Alan. Walked the Alicante to Cuenca section of the Lana, finishing in Cuenca a couple of weeks ago. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey and was disappointed to have to stop at Cuenca. I'd be really interested to hear how the section Cuenca/Burgos works out for you if you walk that far, particularly in those one or two places where the Amigos' Guia indicates that accommodation is doubtful. In the meantime do take care and Buen Camino! Martin o Leary.
Dias Muire duit a Mhairtin Antaine (cnocadoiri) anseo! Aon scéal? Tony and I are walking the Le Puy to SJPdP and I've done the LaLana last year - very solitary after Cuenca. Soria is tough and it's preferable to walk with a partner. One or 2 rough nights on floors but accomodation is available. The real killer for me was getting breakfast ! and on 6 or 7 mornings I had 20km walks before getting food. One rip off hostal which I will send you name of on this thread when I get a chance to look it up (later found out that a hospitalero from 6 k out the road will collect you and put you up for a fraction of the price - perhaps other readers can provide a phone no. or name ? Brilliant scenery and most of the last 150 k shares the Camino El Cid. Ádh mór
 
Camino(s) past & future
StJpdeP/SIdeC done 2011, Sevilla/SIdeC done 201313
#19
Dias Muire duit a Mhairtin Antaine (cnocadoiri) anseo! Aon scéal? Tony and I are walking the Le Puy to SJPdP and I've done the LaLana last year - very solitary after Cuenca. Soria is tough and it's preferable to walk with a partner. One or 2 rough nights on floors but accomodation is available. The real killer for me was getting breakfast ! and on 6 or 7 mornings I had 20km walks before getting food. One rip off hostal which I will send you name of on this thread when I get a chance to look it up (later found out that a hospitalero from 6 k out the road will collect you and put you up for a fraction of the price - perhaps other readers can provide a phone no. or name ? Brilliant scenery and most of the last 150 k shares the Camino El Cid. Ádh
Dias Muire duit a Mhairtin Antaine (cnocadoiri) anseo! Aon scéal? Tony and I are walking the Le Puy to SJPdP and I've done the LaLana last year - very solitary after Cuenca. Soria is tough and it's preferable to walk with a partner. One or 2 rough nights on floors but accomodation is available. The real killer for me was getting breakfast ! and on 6 or 7 mornings I had 20km walks before getting food. One rip off hostal which I will send you name of on this thread when I get a chance to look it up (later found out that a hospitalero from 6 k out the road will collect you and put you up for a fraction of the price - perhaps other readers can provide a phone no. or name ? Brilliant scenery and most of the last 150 k shares the Camino El Cid. Ádh mór

Hello Alansykes.I hope the info offered here by Antaine will be of assistance to you. Looks like the stages of the Lana to Burgos are a little more challenging than those to Cuenca. Take care and enjoy. Agus Antaine mo bhuiochas duit. Bon chemin!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#20
Cuenca to Villar de Domingo Garcia

The first 16km are on tarmac but otherwise OK. From Tondos you are back on the cañada real, and back in proper countryside. The last coffee is at Chillarón, 8km from Cuenca. At Nohelda there is a Roman villa with famous mosaic, all shut up for the holiday weekend. 2km on a fast, busy and quite narrow road, then back into countryside, past the sad remains of the deserted village of Villalbilla. Quite recently abandoned, by the looks of it. The Bar Goyo in Villar de Domingo Garcia does some food and has the keys to the albergue, in the former school. 2 bunks in a cramped room, loo and shower, free. The Bar Plaza was open at 7 for breakfast.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#21
Villar de Domingo Garcia to Villaconejos de Trabaque.

A great day, 90% off tarmac. Couple of villages en route, Albalate de las Nogueras very handsome with partially Romanesque church replacing the minaret, and excellent coffee in a truck stop at the entrance to the village. Rolling russet countryside, and the final 6km besides the Río Trabaque, with apple trees and quinces groaning with ripe fruit. The albergue in Villaconejos is a pilgrim palace, the former house of the caretaker of the ermita of the Immaculate Conception at the entrance to the village, kitchen, spacious sitting room, three bedrooms with three bunks and three single beds, loo and shower, donativo.

Hugely hospitable hospitalero Pepe very kindly invited me to dinner. He is the energetic president of the Cuenca amigos, and he and I and a couple of his fellow amigos had a very convivial feast in the nearby cave where he and his ancestors have made wine for centuries. And we did sample some of his products, ¿cómo no?

A most enjoyable and memorable evening.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#22
Generous Pepe's delicious wine and, for me, late night, fortunately did not stop me leaving the albergue by 7.20am, with Sirius blazing bright - so bright I thought it must be a planet, until I saw the familiar shape of Orion fading nearby. The bar in Villaconejos de T opens at 7.30, which is a good thing as there is nothing else for 17km.

Villaconejos de Trabaque to Salmerón

Another 4 star day, starting with undulating hills on all sides, then a section besides the gorge of the fast flowing and melodious tree-lined Guadiela, then a slightly alarming crossing over its bridge with an overflowing section. The water was barely above my ankles, but the surface was very slippery and easy to have a nasty fall. The pale green water was delicious and it would be a lovely spot for a swim, wide and neck deep and cool, but I resisted the temptation. Shortly after you near Albendea, where there is a bar but I carried on to Valdeolivas. 6 more km, mostly the only tarmac of the day, but a very quiet road. Valdeolivas' impressive 4 tiered 12th century church tower had been visible from about 10km, and it would have been pleasant to visit its church, but it was all tightly shut up. The town was a pleasure, with several bars and tiendas, and the first cash machine since Cuenca. I had a pleasant and welcome lunch in the plaza Nueva, one of those increasingly rare places where there is no choice, you just eat what's put in front of you. Very good it was too. And then on another 6km to Salmerón, shortly after Valdeolivas making my first ever footsteps in Guadalajara province. The albergue in Salmerón is another treat, housed in the 16th century former office and prison of the Inquisition. The albergue is very much in the office section rather than the cells - high first floor room with five beds, loo and shower, 5€, key from the Cazador bar. My first night in a prison.
 

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#23
Fuentes to Cuenca is a pleasant easy day. Left just before dawn to get as much time in the hanging city as possible. The cañada real is easy to follow in the half light. A couple of bird rich lagunas, a couple of villages with fuentes, and then the dreary suburbs of the ciudad encantada.

I was the 100th person in Cuenca's albergue this year, beating last year's record by 20 or more, and the first ever to arrive from Xàbia. The duty hospitaler@'s number is on the door, and Luis arrived almost immediately to let me in. 3 bunks and three single beds, loo and shower, microwave, donativo. The albergue is opposite the hospital of Santiago, just by the Júcar on the camino leaving northwards. Luis is hugely helpful and an enthusiastic caminant so we had a pleasant chat about caminos less travelled - he is the only other person I've met who has walked the Castellano-Aragonés
Hi Alan,

So glad that you got to meet Luis. He is a lovely man and a real Camino aficionado. He is always out and about walking various Caminos, sometimes with his 80+ year old father! I met him while walking with a group of fellow hospitaleros year's end 2013. It was great fun arriving in Santiago on December 31st. Years ago he sent me an information packet about the Lana but I have yet to walk it. Your posts have certainly whet my appetite. Keep the posts up!

Cheers,
LT
 
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#25
Salmerón to Viana de Mondéjar

Another wonderful day. With hindsight, it might be better to stay in Valdeolivas, despite Salmerón's splendid albergue. The rest of the village is a bit sad, with a tienda only open from 10-2, and I only saw men older than me (57) the whole time I was there. Amazingly, the bar was open at 8 so I got coffee, and the owner, a contender for this year's "Surliest Spanish Barman" award, kindly made me a bocadillo to take away, as Viana de Mondéjar has no tienda, open or closed.

There is a sharpish rise out of the village, c300m in an hour, but the reward was breath-taking views back over about 80km of Cuenca province. Then a woodland path until the camino is illegally blocked by a new landowner. Pepe in Villaconejos and Luis in Cuenca both told me to ignore the padlocked gate and "prohibido el paso" signs and walk over the fence 20 yards to the left of the gate. So, slightly nervously, I did, shortly afterwards passing a hideously vulgar new hacienda which Señor Latifundista has built for himself right next to the crumbling remains of Villaescusa de los Palositos' Romanesque church. Very sad, and irritating to have to crawl under his massive gates to get off his land. Apparently the charming man generously allows the former villagers back to the church to lay flowers on their family graves on one day a year.

Anyway, after that it's fabulous again, and soon you get you the first sight of the twin peaks of the Tetas de Viana, with a goat track leading you towards them through sweet smelling juniper and thyme and rosemary.

It felt like a lot more than the 21km it took, but wonderful. The albergue in Viana de Mondéjar is brand new, with 3 bunks, 1 blanket, no pillows and a spacious sitting room, free. The number to call is on the door. - a nice young man from the ayuntamiento drove out from Trillo with the key. The view from the bedroom is straight up to the Tetas, possibly the best view from any albergue I've stayed in. The village has a midweek population of 5, so the bar is usually closed, but José, the owner, saw me and opened up and we had a couple of cañas and a chat. Very kind.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#26
Viana de Mondéjar to Trillo.

A half day, as I thought it would be silly to get so close and not climb up the Tetas de Viana. And I'm so glad I did, as the view from the top was breathtaking. First time since leaving the sea with no morning coffee or toast, but so it goes. Relatively easy ascent for the first hour, then a chain to help you on and finally a metal ladder to get you up the cliff to the top. And then 360° views. Just amazing. The descent towards Trillo was less pleasant, but nothing too hard - a scramble here and there, but soon back into pleasant woodland trails and so to Trillo, crossing the Tajo by a pretty 16th century bridge just where the Cifuentes river joins it.

And the Cifuentes joins it with a BANG, dropping through the middle of Trillo via four or five spectacular waterfalls. The albergue in Trillo is in the plaza de toros just by the Tajo; call the number on the door and someone will come with the key. 4 single beds, loos and showers, no blankets, one pillow, free. Judging by the huge looking glass, the bedroom is also the matador's changing room. According to my wikiloc, going up the Tetas was 465m of elevation over 13km - the direct route is about 7km with very little elevation. Not going up the Tetas would make going on to Cifuentes (c12km) very easy, or other people go directly to Trillo from Salmerón. I liked Trillo very much, and would recommend staying there.

Trillo to Masegoso de Tajuña: you leave Trillo, both of whose bars are open at dawn, by the waterfall staircase. After that the Cifuentes is less melodramatic, leading you steadily upwards to Cifuentes town, via two other villages which both have coffee. I found Cifuentes a bit depressing and was glad I wasn't staying there - for example, the outstanding doorway to the ancient synagogue now has a horrible modern metal door. A few km on you see the last of the Tetas de Viana in the distance, and the less attractive modern tetas of the cooling towers of Trillo's nuclear power station.

Then more undulating country trails, ending up leaving the camino at Moranchel, and following the Tajuña flowing swiftly past an attractive wood of poplars, some moving gently from yellow to gold, some still lime green. And finally to the Las Vegas truck stop at Masegoso de Tajuña, perhaps 2km off the camino on the N204 main road, and ~22km from Trillo.

One of the pics, if I manage to attach them, is looking down towards Trillo from the Tetas, the other is of one of the cascades of the Cifuentes going through Trillo.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#27
Masegoso de Tajuña to Aragosa:

Breakfast at Las Vegas only started at 8, but as it's only barely light starting at 8.30 is no trouble. I was surprised to see a yellow arrow at the exit to Masegoso de T, and later discovered it is on the Ruta de los Calatravos between Argamisilla de Calatrava and Santo Domingo de la Calzada, another partial to tick off. 8km of beautiful rolling countryside takes you back onto the Lana at Las Inviernas. Another 8km and you have the option of lunch at the motorway crossing.

At Mirabueno, shortly after the motorway crossing, the Lana splits in two. You can either head north to Atienza, or turn right and go to Atienza vía Sigüenza, taking an extra day. As Sigüenza sounds well worth a visit, I turned right, spending the night at Aragosa. Aragosa is in the spectacular canyon of the río Dulce, with vultures circling overhead, and tasty walnuts to eat underfoot. The casa rural is very luxurious, with a generous pilgrim discount, although 2 nights running sleeping between sheets seems very self-indulgent.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#28
Aragosa to Sigüenza:

Cannot recommend the Río Dulce casa rural too highly. Antonia, the landlady, even very kindly prepared a vesuvio of coffee for me to make in the morning. Otherwise you do have to bring your own food, as the village has no bar or tienda. The water in the village is as good as any in Spain and it was no surprise to learn that a Font Vella source is nearby.

Then you follow the Dulce up its canyon, with occasional waterfalls, and at one point I counted over a dozen vultures overhead - a kettle of vultures. The Lana and the Camino del Cid are together here, and at Pelegrina they are joined by the Ruta de Don Quijote. Then out of the valley and up over scrubland to Sigüenza with its dominating castle and lovely cathedral and several Romanesque churches and winding old hillside streets, all for a population of 4500.

Well worth a rest day. Stayed with the Padres Josefinos, in the Palacio Infantes, 22€ private room en suite; they also have dorms available at 15€. Not many albergues in a palacio. DSC_0074.JPG
 
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#29
Sigüenza to Atienza

Another 4* day. Left Sigüenza at 8am with tostada and coffee. 6km gets you to the walled village of Palazuelos, going through C José-Antonío, up C Sotelo and on to the Plaza del Generalissimo, my first ever full house of illegal street names in a row. Here the guerrilla El Empecinado held off French troops commanded by General Joseph Hugo (father of Victor) in the war of independence. Rather than follow the Lana I decided to detour uphill to see the romanesque church at Carabias. It's an almost perfect small church, in the centre of a tiny village perched above the valley. You rejoin the Lana near La Olmeda de Jadraque. Then on to the almost equally ridiculously lovely village of Santamera, at the junction of three canyons, with its church perched on a cliff, and eagles circling overhead. Finally, you get the first sight of Atienza and its castle and church looking quite close. Perhaps 2 hours later, at dusk in my case, you stagger into town only to be told to slog another km uphill to the town centre to pick up the albergue key.

A lovely day, but quite a long one, and there were moments when I wished I'd ignored Carabias and the extra 6km it entailed. No bars open en route, but loads of fuentes.

According to wikiloc https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/siguenza-to-atienza-via-carabias-29924640 it was 38km with c700m of accumulated ascent. The albergue at Atienza is in the former school, 4 rooms, 2 beds, loads of blankets no pillows, loo and shower, free.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#30
Atienza to Retortillo de Soria

I think I'll give this one 5* and put it in my all time top 10 camino days. I know I've probably got 20 "top 10" days, but this was good. Atienza has some lovely buildings and I wish I'd got there earlier to explore. It's also the birthplace of Juan Bravo, but everybody in the bar was more interested in watching Real Madrid play football than discussing whether the Communeros were proto-democrats or just out for their own class. You leave town via a romanesque church and a fine 2nd century Roman fuente. Then glorious rolling countryside, through pretty woods and across open country with majestic hills in the distance. At 15km you hit the last village in Guadalajara, Miedes de Atienza, beautiful red stone houses, a little castle, church and more heavy new tractors than I've ever seen outside of an agricultural show. I popped onto the tiny bar hoping for a caña to fortify me before the climb, but stayed for lunch. Don't normally like a big meal with 2 hours or more still to walk, but I suspected (rightly) that there might be little at journey's end, so stopped. Very friendly (surprised) barman, made me up a table (the other three tables were all for regulars) and gave me an excellent meal, no nonsense about choosing, eat what you're given and like it (I did, very much).

Knowing I was crossing from New to Old Castille, I put Mozart's Castillian opera on my earphones. And then it was just fantastic, following a goat path quite steeply up a narrow valley, with lovely Guadalajara receeding behind me - 8 very happy days since I entered the province, also over a high pass. Nearing the summit, at 1380m Don Giovanni was being pulled down to hell and I was on top of the world entering Soria for the first time in 4 years and, I think, just able to make out the massif of Moncayo in the far east. A spectacular view in every direction, and then, after an hour on the top, a relatively gentle descent to the pleasant village of Retortillo de Soria, with its private albergue La Muralla, 15€, excellent kitchen and washing stuff. And a full moon to crown it all - "Soria... tan bella, bajo la luna".
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#31
Retortillo de Soria to Fresno de Caracena

Nearly 8km of tarmac to Tarancueña. Very quiet road, but still. Sign at Tarancueña says I could have followed the GR86 from Retorillo de Soria to Losana and on to Tarancueña taking c12 km but all off road.

After Tarancueña it was amongst the most spectacular 3 hours of my life.

The camino follows the cañón of Caracena downhill until you reach Caracena itself. Total solitude; astonishing, sometimes jaw-dropping beauty, surrounded by high cliffs, circling eagles, autumn trees with leaves turning every colour from black red to pure gold, millions of wild rose hips (the valley must be even more spectacular when they are in flower), wild lavender, flowering thorns, juniper, thyme and more. Just amazing. Quite hard work, as the sometimes narrow path did not seem to be used much, and there were scrambles and stoney river crossings that would not be pleasant in rainy weather, but on a perfect autumn day it was too wonderful for words.

The cañón itself probably took me nearly 2 hours for its 4km, including long pauses to gasp in wonder at the sheer beauty, but I was ready to enjoy some man made beauty when the first of Caracena's romanesque churches eventually appeared on top of a cliff. And a short but sharp climb upwards found me having lunch in Caracena's small but most welcome bar. A very welcome surprise, as Caracena has a permanent population of c8 to go with its 2 glorious churches and handsome stone main street and square.

Sadly, the camino is then again almost entirely on tarmac for the next 9km to Fresno de Caracena, where the acogida is, to put it politely, basic - no beds, no showers, no hot water: a store room above the medical centre.

"Next time" I will take the slightly longer tarmac free GR to Caracena and stay there (the landlady at the bar told me her son is now offering shelter for pilgrims: not quite sure what, but definitely including a shower) and then carry on to San Esteban de Gormaz, skipping sad dying Fresno de Caracena.
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#32
Your lyric description of this string of four and five star days makes tantalizing reading, Alan - thank you for sharing as you do. It's an inspiration to be reminded that the camino 'as it used to be' is still out there, not far off the ant trail of the Frances.
(I'd written this one off, but maybe that's not such a good idea.)
May you (and Don Giovanni) have a continued five-star camino!
Not just his father, I met his very charming daughter, who already has 7 compostelas at ~16.
!!! Oh, my. I'm torn between admiration and envy.:oops:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#33
A quiet day, although with yet another small canyon shortly before Ines - not sure how many that is since leaving the Serpis 3 days from the coast.

Colinas plateadas,
grises alcores, cárdenas roquedas
por donde traza el Duero
su curva de ballesta

The mediaeval 16 arched bridge at San Esteban de Gormaz marked the sixth different place one of my caminos has crossed the Duero (well, last year it was the Duoro for the first time). Here it was the front line of the reconquista for 2 centuries, and the cantar del mio Cid calls it "una buena ciudad", which it is, with yet more romanesque, including lovely San Miguel, from 1091, which claims to be the first church with a covered porticada. Also a fine arcaded plaza Mayor. And it was another pleasure that my menú del día included some of the delicious Ribera del Duero DO wine, some of whose vines I'd passed on the way to town. I decided to treat myself to a hotel, although it's apparently possible to stay in the polideportivo.
 

Attachments

Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#34
San Esteban de Gormaz to Quintarraya

More of the glut of romanesque. One of my favourites was the truncated chapel of the Virgen de las Lagunas, a few km from Villálvaro, standing entirely alone, the village it used to serve having vanished several centuries ago. Generally, the villages north of the Duero seem slightly less depopulated and depressed than those to the south, perhaps benefitting from the DO Ribera del Duero wine - whose vine leaves are at the peak of their autumn glory at the moment.

At some point shortly before Hinojar del Rey you leave Soria for Burgos. I love the emptiness of Soria, Spain's most sparsely populated province, and I loved having the Heraldo-Diario de Soria on the zinc - possibly the only newspaper in the world that regularly has a mushroom-related splash.

At Quintanarraya the albergue key is held at the bar/social centre, a lively friendly place that does simple meals. The albergue is in the former school, 5 beds, blankets and pillows, loo, shower, microwave, 5€.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Via Podiensis 2002, Camino Frances 2003, 2004, 2008, 2012, Via de La Plata 2005, 2006. 2013, Camino Ingles 2013, Camino de Madrid 2008, Camino Salvador 2008, Camino del Norte 2010, Camino de Levante 2012,
Camino Mozarabe 2015, Camino Salvador 2015, Camino Primitivo 2015
#35
Retortillo de Soria to Fresno de Caracena

Nearly 8km of tarmac to Tarancueña. Very quiet road, but still. Sign at Tarancueña says I could have followed the GR86 from Retorillo de Soria to Losana and on to Tarancueña taking c12 km but all off road.

After Tarancueña it was amongst the most spectacular 3 hours of my life.

The camino follows the cañón of Caracena downhill until you reach Caracena itself. Total solitude; astonishing, sometimes jaw-dropping beauty, surrounded by high cliffs, circling eagles, autumn trees with leaves turning every colour from black red to pure gold, millions of wild rose hips (the valley must be even more spectacular when they are in flower), wild lavender, flowering thorns, juniper, thyme and more. Just amazing. Quite hard work, as the sometimes narrow path did not seem to be used much, and there were scrambles and stoney river crossings that would not be pleasant in rainy weather, but on a perfect autumn day it was too wonderful for words.

The cañón itself probably took me nearly 2 hours for its 4km, including long pauses to gasp in wonder at the sheer beauty, but I was ready to enjoy some man made beauty when the first of Caracena's romanesque churches eventually appeared on top of a cliff. And a short but sharp climb upwards found me having lunch in Caracena's small but most welcome bar. A very welcome surprise, as Caracena has a permanent population of c8 to go with its 2 glorious churches and handsome stone main street and square.

Sadly, the camino is then again almost entirely on tarmac for the next 9km to Fresno de Caracena, where the acogida is, to put it politely, basic - no beds, no showers, no hot water: a store room above the medical centre.

"Next time" I will take the slightly longer tarmac free GR to Caracena and stay there (the landlady at the bar told me her son is now offering shelter for pilgrims: not quite sure what, but definitely including a shower) and then carry on to San Esteban de Gormaz, skipping sad dying Fresno de Caracena.
Hi Alan, you are quite right about the lady in the bar at Caracena. We had a lovely short rest day after the blazing heat in the cañon. Maria's son has completely renovated one of the small houses just down from the bar. We took the offer and she amazed us by refusing any payment. We had both a good dinner and she got up specially to make us an early breakfast. We were in Fresno very sad looking place, by 0830. Thanks again for a lively, erudite description. Best. Kevin
 
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#36
Quintanarraya to Santo Domingo de Silos.

The village bar only opens at noon, but the microwave made me some instant, and I got proper coffee at Huerta del Rey, 6km on.

Towards the end of the day, the Lana converges with the Castellano-Aragonés and you get your first distant view of the abbey nestling in its secret valley far below. If there's a better way to arrive, I've not tried it.

It was Sunday afternoon when I turned up, so the magical cloister was virtually deserted and I was able to enjoy it in total silence, with just an occasional flurry of snow for company. "cada vez que se miran las arquierías magnificas, estella en el alma un acorda de majestuosidad antigua"

Fray Alfredo, the genial brother hospitaler, showed me across the road to the albergue and quickly confirmed something that had been bugging me for the last few days - the capitals and twisted central column at San Pedro de Caracena were indeed done by the same sculptor as the early part of the cloister here. The albergue is luxurious. 2 bunks, microwave, fridge, washing machine and drier, loo and shower, donativo.

Vespers in the darkened church is always an experience, with the Abbot providing the only splash of colour, but I think Lauds at dawn next morning was even more memorable - totally monochrome, starting on the dark with the light gathering as the singing proceeded, only 4 of us in the congregation and a dusting of snow lying outside.
 
#37
Quintanarraya to Santo Domingo de Silos.

The village bar only opens at noon, but the microwave made me some instant, and I got proper coffee at Huerta del Rey, 6km on.

Towards the end of the day, the Lana converges with the Castellano-Aragonés and you get your first distant view of the abbey nestling in its secret valley far below. If there's a better way to arrive, I've not tried it.

It was Sunday afternoon when I turned up, so the magical cloister was virtually deserted and I was able to enjoy it in total silence, with just an occasional flurry of snow for company. "cada vez que se miran las arquierías magnificas, estella en el alma un acorda de majestuosidad antigua"

Fray Alfredo, the genial brother hospitaler, showed me across the road to the albergue and quickly confirmed something that had been bugging me for the last few days - the capitals and twisted central column at San Pedro de Caracena were indeed done by the same sculptor as the early part of the cloister here. The albergue is luxurious. 2 bunks, microwave, fridge, washing machine and drier, loo and shower, donativo.

Vespers in the darkened church is always an experience, with the Abbot providing the only splash of colour, but I think Lauds at dawn next morning was even more memorable - totally monochrome, starting on the dark with the light gathering as the singing proceeded, only 4 of us in the congregation and a dusting of snow lying outside.
And from here? Lana or San Olav? Every time I read one of your posts, I think — man, can that guy write! You really capture it all. It is always such fun to follow along on your autumn caminos, buen camino, Laurie
 
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#38
And from here? Lana or San Olav? Every time I read one of your posts, I think — man, can that guy write! You really capture it all. It is always such fun to follow along on your autumn caminos, buen camino, Laurie
Too kind, and in the minority, I'm sure. Finished up half Lana half Olav

Santo Domingo de Silos to Mecerreyes

Tempted to stop in Sto Domingo another day but it was Monday so everything shut except the chant, so sadly headed away from one of the towering masterworks of western civilisation. From 1200m up you get the first distant glimpse of the menacing flat of the meseta. Then down towards lovely Covarrubias. Miraculously, the Colegiata, with its van Eyck, closes on Tuesdays, so was open when I rashly crossed the weir over the Arlanza, as Lorca puts it, "Sobre la plata azul lunar del río, se retratan los árboles, fundiendo sus verdes oscuros en el abismo enigmático de las aguas".

Next time I will stay in Covarrubias, as the tienda in Mecerreyes has closed in the three years since I last visited (3 years to the day, according to the visitors' book). Luckily I had my emergency stash of pasta, cheese and fuet, so was able to use the albergue's kitchen, but the mayor clearly didn't believe me when I told him I had enough to eat, and returned 30 minutes after checking me in with a bottle of wine from his brother's vines, 3 eggs from his hens and some pimientos de Padrón, so what would have been a nasty meal turned into a very nice one. The albergue is the biggest on the Lana, with 20+ beds and bunks, as well as its proper kitchen, 5€.

That was the end of my Lana, as I crossed over to see the visigothic church at Quintanilla de las Viñas next day, but most people simply carry on the ~30km to Burgos. I love Quintanilla's church, with its pre-conquista stylised carvings, and its barely Christianised Sol Invictus, and its (to my eye) entirely pagan Selene-Isis-Moon.
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
Via Podiensis 2002, Camino Frances 2003, 2004, 2008, 2012, Via de La Plata 2005, 2006. 2013, Camino Ingles 2013, Camino de Madrid 2008, Camino Salvador 2008, Camino del Norte 2010, Camino de Levante 2012,
Camino Mozarabe 2015, Camino Salvador 2015, Camino Primitivo 2015
#39
Hello Alan. Echoing Laurie's remark. You really can write! It bought back so many wonderful memories. Your quote from Lorca was deeply moving as I connect so much of his life, work and end with the terrible tragedy of the Civil War and it's aftermath. I'm busy now writing some sort of English guide to the Lana, and would like to ask your permission to use some of your remarks. We sometimes stayed in different places and your knowledge of the historical/cultural background helps to put this Camino into "context" I would, if an email address is available, send you the complete guide for remarks/ approval before publishing it, free of course, on the Forum. My email is kfobrien@online.no Best. Kevin
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
#40
I've just spent a delightful evening reading your posts @alansykes. The Lana had not been on my radar, but now it is a Definite Desire - maybe it will be my Truly Solitary Camino. @Kevin F. O*brien I'll be keeping an eye open for your guide, even though the Spanish one looks perfectly serviceable.
 

Jakke

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (2016)
Via de la Plata / Sanabrés (2017)
Barcelona - Fisterra (2018)
#41
Hello Alan. Echoing Laurie's remark. You really can write! It bought back so many wonderful memories. Your quote from Lorca was deeply moving as I connect so much of his life, work and end with the terrible tragedy of the Civil War and it's aftermath. I'm busy now writing some sort of English guide to the Lana, and would like to ask your permission to use some of your remarks. We sometimes stayed in different places and your knowledge of the historical/cultural background helps to put this Camino into "context" I would, if an email address is available, send you the complete guide for remarks/ approval before publishing it, free of course, on the Forum. My email is kfobrien@online.no Best. Kevin
Hi Kevin,
When your guide is ready, I would like to read it. I am considering walking it early 2019.

Ultreia, Jakke
 

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