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Search 69,459 Camino Questions

Camino Castellano Lebaniego

Time of past OR future Camino
2019
Recently I noticed this Camino appearing on the front page list of routes on gronze.com. Has anyone walked it recently? If so, how was it? I have 10 days to walk at most right now and am debating between this route or the Baztan followed by a few days on the Frances. Would love to hear from anyone with experience with either route. TIA for taking the time to reply.
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
Did you ever get info on this—perhaps by DM or other threads? I’m planning on this route for August but have yet to read a first hand account. It would be my last stage of four week pilgrimage from Bayonne to Santo Toribio via Vasco to Frances then cutting north at Hontanas to join this route.
 
I may be walking this route next year so any information would be helpful. Is it very mountainous and are there albergues?
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
I may be walking this route next year so any information would be helpful. Is it very mountainous and are there albergues?
You can find information about the route and albergues on Gronze.

 
Did you ever get info on this—perhaps by DM or other threads? I’m planning on this route for August but have yet to read a first hand account. It would be my last stage of four week pilgrimage from Bayonne to Santo Toribio via Vasco to Frances then cutting north at Hontanas to join this route.
There is a FB Group dedicated to this route. I joined it recently and connected with someone who had walked starting in Palencia. His comment was that it's beautiful but there's a lack of places to stop for food and drink. Gronze.com doesn't make it seem quite so isolated so it might be a case of the businesses being there but not open when you need them.

If you want a solitary walk (which I imagine most of the rest of your route has been) this seems to qualify.

I ended up doing the Baztan in March and am considering this one end of July-August. Let me know if you find out anything about current info.

Buen Camino
 
I have been inspired by a Spanish pilgrim friend who walked this in May. He reported few albergues, several nights of rather expensive accommodations, some longish stages, a scarcity of bars/grocery stores/restaurants, and beautiful mountains the last three days. So I have some idea what to expect. I plan to walk it late October, as a prelude to the Camino Ignaciano. I’m glad to hear about the Facebook group. I’m hoping someone will post information here too.
 
A Treasure Trove Of Interesting Pilgrim Hacks! Learn & Share Your Own Too!
I have been inspired by a Spanish pilgrim friend who walked this in May. He reported few albergues, several nights of rather expensive accommodations, some longish stages, a scarcity of bars/grocery stores/restaurants, and beautiful mountains the last three days. So I have some idea what to expect. I plan to walk it late October, as a prelude to the Camino Ignaciano. I’m glad to hear about the Facebook group. I’m hoping someone will post information here too.
And now, looking at Gronze, the only accommodation at the end of the 31.3 km first stage is closed temporarily. This is at Amayuelas de Abajo. Combining the first 2 stages gives 46.8 km to Fromista, That is just too far for me, even if the route is completely flat canal walking. If still closed in October when I want to start this camino, I'll try to contact the closed accommodation (the Albergue El Patio de Amayuelas) and/or the tourist office in Palencia at the beginning of the first stage to see what alternatives there might be, if any.
I have browsed the facebook site for the Camino Lebaniego Castellano, and don't find it super helpful.
I hope someone on this forum will have walked it prior to October and will give us an update on this route....or perhaps there is a recent blog elsewhere that I haven't found yet?
(Moderators - please note that there are 2 separate threads on the camino, the other with only one entry, and perhaps they should be combined.)
 
And now, looking at Gronze, the only accommodation at the end of the 31.3 km first stage is closed temporarily. This is at Amayuelas de Abajo. Combining the first 2 stages gives 46.8 km to Fromista, That is just too far for me, even if the route is completely flat canal walking. If still closed in October when I want to start this camino, I'll try to contact the closed accommodation (the Albergue El Patio de Amayuelas) and/or the tourist office in Palencia at the beginning of the first stage to see what alternatives there might be, if any.
I have browsed the facebook site for the Camino Lebaniego Castellano, and don't find it super helpful.
I hope someone on this forum will have walked it prior to October and will give us an update on this route....or perhaps there is a recent blog elsewhere that I haven't found yet?
(Moderators - please note that there are 2 separate threads on the camino, the other with only one entry, and perhaps they should be combined.)
Hello,

I'm heading on this route soon-ish, but taking my tent. :)

An alternative from Palencia is to stop walking the Camino at La Venta (near Acueducto de Valdemudo), Then follow a the P-990 road for 5-6km to Monzon de Campos. There a a couple accommodation options (pricey).

Maybe you could get lucky and hitchhike along the road, or take a taxi back in the morning to the Camino.

Then next day return to La Venta and continue to Fromista.
 
Hello,

I'm heading on this route soon-ish, but taking my tent. :)

An alternative from Palencia is to stop walking the Camino at La Venta (near Acueducto de Valdemudo), Then follow a the P-990 road for 5-6km to Monzon de Campos. There a a couple accommodation options (pricey).

Maybe you could get lucky and hitchhike along the road, or take a taxi back in the morning to the Camino.

Then next day return to La Venta and continue to Fromista.
Yes, that would break it down to 2 stages, roughly 20 km and 30 km. Doable. Thank you for this idea. Something will work out. I look forward to hearing how your camino works out.
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
Here are my notes from my recent walk on the Camino Lebaniego Castellano (23 October-3 November) from Palencia to the monastery of Santo Toribio de Liebana, near Potes.
I was attracted to it partly because this is a jubilee year for this camino. (The jubilee year ends 16 April 2024.) It had also been recommended by a Spanish pilgrim friend who walked it in May and loved it. I mostly used Gronze as my source of information. Mapy.cz has this camino, so that was my GPS reference to settle any confusion about the path. I also had my friend’s wikilocs tracks, but mapy.cz was easier to use. It was very well waymarked, but of course, even with excellent waymarking, there are inevitably times where the path is unclear and no one is around to provide information on which way to go. I expected to see no pilgrims this time of year. But an Italian pilgrim, also expecting to meet no pilgrims, started the same day I did, so we were companions in the evenings for the entire route. We saw no other pilgrims and were told along the way that we were the first pilgrims in more than a week.
I very much enjoyed this camino: the range of scenery from walking along the Canal de Castilla for more than 3 days, then into rolling hills, then into the Pico mountains, was just breathtakingly beautiful. There were enough churches in the romanesque style to please me, some of which could be visited. It is not an inexpensive camino to walk, as there are not albergues at every stage. As with any of the lesser walked caminos, calling a day or two in advance to make sure albergues/hostals/hotels are open is essential. There are many stages with no bars, cafes, or stores along the way, and none available at the end of the day either, other than hopefully at your hotel. So carrying food is important.
Here is a brief account of my stages with information on accommodation.

Stage 1. Palencia - Amayuelas de Abajo. 31.3 km. Palencia was a very pleasant and interesting city from which to start. I had never visited this city before and wish I had spent more time there. It is easy to get there by train from Madrid. I stayed in the Hostal Alda Palencia Plaza (38 euros for a single) as I wanted something central, arriving jet-lagged from 10 time zones away. My Italian camino companion stayed at Residencia Albergue Diego Martinez (20 euros for a private room) 1.8 km from the old part of the city, and found that perfectly satisfactory. A bus stop right out front got him into the center in 10 minutes. The tourist office offers a nice sello, as well as the Credencial for this specific pilgrimage. The Catedral de San Antolin is the third largest in Spain, or so I was told, and I enjoyed my visit there. I would have visited the Museo de Palencia, with its extensive archeological exhibits if I had had more time. Happy Cafe, near the Plaza Mayor, opens early for coffee and a variety of baked goods. I stopped for a second coffee at 9 km in Grijota. The walk is flat and easy, alongside the canal. If anyone is interested in the history of canals and complicated lock systems, this is a good camino; there is plenty of historical information available on signs along the canal, usually only in Spanish but occasionally in English. The high point for me was seeing a red fox nearby, my first sighting in Spain ever. And there were storks, hundreds of storks in the early morning, flying off to fields to feed.
One thing to be aware of is that the Gronze distances are from town to town, and the towns are often several kilometers off the canal. The distance signage along the canal are shorter as they don’t include the distances off the canal to get to accommodations.
Amayuelas de Abajo, about 2 km off the canal, is a village of less than 50 people with no services other than the private Albergue El Patio de Amayuelas (32 euro, bed, dinner and breakfast). Gronze listed it as closed temporarily, and they did not respond to my email query, but did respond positively to my WhatsApp request for a bed. This was a very pleasant quiet place to stay with food mostly from their organic farm. I ate the best tomatoes I have eaten in years. Maria Jose and Meliton were welcoming and interesting hosts. Returning to the camino in the morning, there is no need to retrace yesterday’s route. There is an easy-to-follow farm path to return to the canal further along.

Stage 2. Amayuelas de Abajo - Fromista. 13.5 km An easy quick day of more canal walking into the Camino Frances town of Fromista where there were hordes of pilgrims on this bleak cold windy day. I stayed at the smallest albergue I could find, Albergue Vicus (14 euros), with 6 beds and a kind hospitalero from Galicia. The donativo albergue, Betania, was unfortunately closed that day. I revisited the Iglesia De San Martin which I love, a lovely example of 12th century architecture in the romanesque style. My cell phone cable had gone kaput, and I learned something I had never before needed to learn in all my years of camino walking: the place to buy cables, plugs, and everything else connected to smart phones, is the store at the Repsol gasolinera. A village may be too small to have a phone store, but most villages have a gas station with the gas station store that has all basic essentials of life. Lesson learned. How many caminos does one have to walk in Spain before learning this pearl!

Stage 3. Fromista - Osorno la Mayor 24.6 km It is always fun to walk the “wrong” direction on the Camino Frances, and this morning’s walk started with roughly 4 km walk against the flow of pilgrims walking to Santiago. Seeing the stream of pilgrims reminded me why I had chosen my camino. And then a left turn following the canal and back to a solitary walk. No services, no people, just a lovely walk through changing country, progressively hillier, with a few deer sightings, until arriving in Osorno la Mayor. It looked a bit like an agricultural town in Iowa. I stayed in Hotel Tierra de Campos (40 euros for a single), as there were not many choices. I had thought this town was opening a municipal albergue, but it hadn’t yet. The hotel was fine, though I have had better heat and hotter showers at tiny municipal albergues. It was hard to find food for an early dinner, but I was in Spain, so whatever. The 42 euros included a self-service breakfast buffet, which provided enough food for a picnic lunch.

Stage 4. Osorno la Mayor - Herrera de Pisuerga 31.3 km This is the last full day of canal walking. Herrera de Pisuerga has an municipal/private albergue, El Albergue de Herrera, (20 euros with heat) heat being essential for drying out clothes soaked by today’s rain and winds. The albergue has a string of dorm rooms, each with 3 bunkbeds and bath, with little ventilation. This small room was fine for the two of us on a cold wet day, trying to try out everything, but might be sweltering in the summer. The huge kitchen was well supplied for cooking. The best part was hospitalera Maria who gave us an evening personal tour of the adjoining Roman Museum, which was fascinating, and not to be missed. I found the way out of town not straightforward, but that may have just been me.

Stage 5. Herrera de Pisuerga - Perazancas de Ojeda. 30.7 km After a 9 km canal walk, we arrived at Alar del Rey, visited the place where the Canal de Castilla begins a few hundred meters from the camino, had a coffee at the first bar, and then left the canal and began hill walking between fields of cereal crops and thorough woods. Of note, the first bar does not have food; the second bar at the point where you leave the town, cross the road and begin path-walking, does have food, which could be important as there may be nothing available in the tiny villages until the evening’s destination. I did find a coffee in Ventosa de Pisuerga in a bars/social center just beyond the plaza. In Perazancas de Ojeda, the albergue listed in Gronze (Albergue Casa Perazancas) is generally not an option, as it is for groups, and reportedly rarely open anyway. Alojamineto Bar Pitusa (20 euros for a private room) is where we stayed. When we called initially, Nieves, the owner, said we could not stay in the old house next to the bar as she was not providing heat. She said her place was closed. We got help from hospitalera Maria in Herrera, who called for us to explain we needed beds and could do without heat. So with help and some negotiations, we had beds for the night in Nieves’s interesting, more than 200 year old house next to her bar. She did help us with a little heat, though with linens and blankets provided, we could have done OK without. She also cooked us dinner, which we ate in the bar watching a large group of locals play cards, and provided a self-service breakfast of coffee to heat up in the microwave in her old house, and magdalenas. We were grateful to have shelter and food. She is elderly, caring, and quite a character. Unfortunately I found her Spanish hard to follow, but she was warm and took care of me.

Stage 6. Perazancas de Ojeda - Cervera de Pisuerga. 18.2 km A day of increasingly steep rolling hills covered with fields, beautiful country, with distant mountains getting closer. Mostly we walked on lightly graveled or dirt country roads with no people, no vehicles, but as the morning progressed, the clouds lowered, and the rains and ferocious winds began. When I was soaked and cold, being hit by hail, with minimal visibility, and being bounced sideways by the winds, with my backpack no longer feeling secure as the wind lifted it, I was 3 km from Cervera. The camino crossed a paved road, a car stopped, I asked about a bus, and ended up with a short lift into Cervera. Not my usual modus of operations, but the weather was brutal. The Municipal de Cervera de Pisuerga (45 euro for a room with 2 beds, bath down the hall, large functional kitchen) is best contacted through WhatsApp, as email and phone messages were dead ends. From here on, the two of us shared rooms to keep expenses more reasonable. We spent an extra night in Cervera de Pisuerga waiting for better weather before continuing on into the mountains. It was a day well spent in this pleasant town. The tourist office was very helpful. We visited the Museo Etnografico Piedad Isla with its impressive collection of objects and photos housed in the 16th century home of early/mid 20th century woman photographer Piedad Isla. This was worth a few hours. We also visited the Iglesia de Santa Maria del Castillo and the naturalist center of the Montana Palentina Natural Park which has much information about the endangered brown bear of this park. A good break, and most importantly, the weather improved.

Stage 7. Cervera de Pisuerga - San Salvador de Cantamuda. 18 km This relatively short day included lovely walks in the woods and a stretch along the Embalse de Requejada which was spectacular, especially in the sunshine. We lingered and enjoyed the day. There was no place to stay in San Salvador as the Hostal La Taba had closed its rooms for the season, but we did have a great late lunch there. We had arranged to stay at the Refugio Tremaya 3.8 km off camino, our best option (20 euros for a bunk bed and a little heat). While we waited for a pick-up by our hospitalera , Marina, we visited the 12th century romanesque church, Colegiata de San Salvador. It was literally breath-taking to walk into this space. What a gem, with mozarabic elements. The Refugio was rustic but fine: cold without heat, though eventually with a fire in the fireplace and some minimal radiator heat, it was more bearable. There was a semi-functional kitchen. We never figured out if the stove worked, but my companion had a backpacking store to cook up eggs which we had been carrying. There are no stores, bars or services in the village of Tremaya, but it is beautifully situated, and a lovely walk in the morning back to the camino, following the steam down through the valley.

Stage 8. San Salvador de Cantamuda - Camasobres. 13.1 km Another short stage, the distance limited by availability of lodging, and the desire to fully appreciate being in the mountains with glorious paths and views. We did not want to do 31.5 km through the mountains, combining 2 stagesm though others might choose to do that. This was a beautiful stage. I spent some time on top of the mountains, watching the clouds chasing one another across the sky, while I was being buffeted in many directions by the strong winds. The only housing option in Camasobres is Hotel Posada Fuentes Carrionas (73 euros for 2 people, private room with bath, including a big breakfast). This is a beautiful hotel in a 17th century manor house, in a tiny mountain village with no other services. Dinner was excellent. The lack of albergue type accommodations on this camino made it different from most caminos I have walked, and obviously prevents some pilgrims from choosing this walk unless they enjoy wild camping. I was glad I was sharing a room with my camino companion to make this walk more economical, as single and double rooms are often equivalently priced.

Stage 9. Camasobres - Pesaguero. 18.4 km Another beautiful stage in the mountains, with a pass of 1460 meters and spectacular views of the valleys ahead into Cantabria. We stayed at Posada El Hoyal (70 euros for 2 people in a private room with bath, including a simple breakfast), which again provided an excellent dinner. These two nights were spendy, but were quality places run by kind people. I was not aware of any other services in Pesaguero.

Stage 10. Pesaguero - Potes 19 km And on down the valley, or rather, up and down the valley to Potes, the first big town since Cervera de Pisuerga. This is another day with no options for a coffee on route, despite the number of tiny villages. In Potes, we stayed in a dormitory room of the Albergue de Peregrinos de Potes (5 euros), along the river in the center of town. Keys and check-in are through the tourist office nearby. There is a kitchen with microwave and frig, and some cutlery and bowls. The albergue is modern, and below ground, with 5 bunkbeds in the room we used. There are huge windows looking out at the river just below. There were multiple other locked rooms, so the capacity is large when needed. There is a nearby bar with freshly baked breads and tortillas con patatas open by 6:30am, as well as the bar/cafe at the bus station which opens I think by 8am.

Stage 11. Potes - Monasterio de Santo Toribio de Liebana. 3 km. We walked up to the monastery in the morning where the fragment of the cross, the Lignum Crucis, has been stored since the fifth century. I left my backpack at the tourist office, a service which they encourage; my companion carried his and ended up spending the night in the Albergue Diocesano (10 euros) located just below the monastery. There was a hospitalera there, and an inordinate number of rules which needed to be followed. There is no food or services nearby.
My welcome at the monastery was very warm and personal; I was a bit overwhelmed as I was not expecting such a welcome. A volunteer met me as I approached, let me to the office where she took my information, filled out my Lebaniega (the compostela equivalent), gifted me a $5 U.S. bill stamped with multiple Lebaniego sellos which had been left by a visitor who told her to gift it to the next pilgrim (!), showed me the monastery and church, and collected me after the service to see me off. The welcome included a video interview, very unexpected, but solo Alaskan women pilgrims apparently are infrequent. Mass is at noon and the church was full of pilgrims from many parts of Spain who had arrived by bus and car. It was a moving visit. I now treasure my Lebaniega, the certificate of having arrived at the end of this pilgrim route.

I did continue walking from Potes to San Vincente de la Barquera doing the Camino Lebaniego in reverse (Note this camino has a similar name to the Camino Lebaniego Castellano), a walk which was at least as beautiful as the route to Potes. I was allowed to spend a second night in the albergue in Potes, though this was highly unusual and against their rules, so that I would have a full day to walk on. My camino friend was not allowed this option. Walking on in the afternoon would have been a challenge as the albergue in the first village had closed for the season. The other alternative from Potes was the Camino Vadiniense through the high mountains to Mansilla de las Mulas on the Camino Frances, a camino that I have heard is amazing, but not the best option for me at the time given the snow and weather.

So that’s it. I hope some of this is useful to forum folks who are considering this lovely solitary route.
 
Here are my notes from my recent walk on the Camino Lebaniego Castellano (23 October-3 November) from Palencia to the monastery of Santo Toribio de Liebana, near Potes.
I was attracted to it partly because this is a jubilee year for this camino. (The jubilee year ends 16 April 2024.) It had also been recommended by a Spanish pilgrim friend who walked it in May and loved it. I mostly used Gronze as my source of information. Mapy.cz has this camino, so that was my GPS reference to settle any confusion about the path. I also had my friend’s wikilocs tracks, but mapy.cz was easier to use. It was very well waymarked, but of course, even with excellent waymarking, there are inevitably times where the path is unclear and no one is around to provide information on which way to go. I expected to see no pilgrims this time of year. But an Italian pilgrim, also expecting to meet no pilgrims, started the same day I did, so we were companions in the evenings for the entire route. We saw no other pilgrims and were told along the way that we were the first pilgrims in more than a week.
I very much enjoyed this camino: the range of scenery from walking along the Canal de Castilla for more than 3 days, then into rolling hills, then into the Pico mountains, was just breathtakingly beautiful. There were enough churches in the romanesque style to please me, some of which could be visited. It is not an inexpensive camino to walk, as there are not albergues at every stage. As with any of the lesser walked caminos, calling a day or two in advance to make sure albergues/hostals/hotels are open is essential. There are many stages with no bars, cafes, or stores along the way, and none available at the end of the day either, other than hopefully at your hotel. So carrying food is important.
Here is a brief account of my stages with information on accommodation.

Stage 1. Palencia - Amayuelas de Abajo. 31.3 km. Palencia was a very pleasant and interesting city from which to start. I had never visited this city before and wish I had spent more time there. It is easy to get there by train from Madrid. I stayed in the Hostal Alda Palencia Plaza (38 euros for a single) as I wanted something central, arriving jet-lagged from 10 time zones away. My Italian camino companion stayed at Residencia Albergue Diego Martinez (20 euros for a private room) 1.8 km from the old part of the city, and found that perfectly satisfactory. A bus stop right out front got him into the center in 10 minutes. The tourist office offers a nice sello, as well as the Credencial for this specific pilgrimage. The Catedral de San Antolin is the third largest in Spain, or so I was told, and I enjoyed my visit there. I would have visited the Museo de Palencia, with its extensive archeological exhibits if I had had more time. Happy Cafe, near the Plaza Mayor, opens early for coffee and a variety of baked goods. I stopped for a second coffee at 9 km in Grijota. The walk is flat and easy, alongside the canal. If anyone is interested in the history of canals and complicated lock systems, this is a good camino; there is plenty of historical information available on signs along the canal, usually only in Spanish but occasionally in English. The high point for me was seeing a red fox nearby, my first sighting in Spain ever. And there were storks, hundreds of storks in the early morning, flying off to fields to feed.
One thing to be aware of is that the Gronze distances are from town to town, and the towns are often several kilometers off the canal. The distance signage along the canal are shorter as they don’t include the distances off the canal to get to accommodations.
Amayuelas de Abajo, about 2 km off the canal, is a village of less than 50 people with no services other than the private Albergue El Patio de Amayuelas (32 euro, bed, dinner and breakfast). Gronze listed it as closed temporarily, and they did not respond to my email query, but did respond positively to my WhatsApp request for a bed. This was a very pleasant quiet place to stay with food mostly from their organic farm. I ate the best tomatoes I have eaten in years. Maria Jose and Meliton were welcoming and interesting hosts. Returning to the camino in the morning, there is no need to retrace yesterday’s route. There is an easy-to-follow farm path to return to the canal further along.

Stage 2. Amayuelas de Abajo - Fromista. 13.5 km An easy quick day of more canal walking into the Camino Frances town of Fromista where there were hordes of pilgrims on this bleak cold windy day. I stayed at the smallest albergue I could find, Albergue Vicus (14 euros), with 6 beds and a kind hospitalero from Galicia. The donativo albergue, Betania, was unfortunately closed that day. I revisited the Iglesia De San Martin which I love, a lovely example of 12th century architecture in the romanesque style. My cell phone cable had gone kaput, and I learned something I had never before needed to learn in all my years of camino walking: the place to buy cables, plugs, and everything else connected to smart phones, is the store at the Repsol gasolinera. A village may be too small to have a phone store, but most villages have a gas station with the gas station store that has all basic essentials of life. Lesson learned. How many caminos does one have to walk in Spain before learning this pearl!

Stage 3. Fromista - Osorno la Mayor 24.6 km It is always fun to walk the “wrong” direction on the Camino Frances, and this morning’s walk started with roughly 4 km walk against the flow of pilgrims walking to Santiago. Seeing the stream of pilgrims reminded me why I had chosen my camino. And then a left turn following the canal and back to a solitary walk. No services, no people, just a lovely walk through changing country, progressively hillier, with a few deer sightings, until arriving in Osorno la Mayor. It looked a bit like an agricultural town in Iowa. I stayed in Hotel Tierra de Campos (40 euros for a single), as there were not many choices. I had thought this town was opening a municipal albergue, but it hadn’t yet. The hotel was fine, though I have had better heat and hotter showers at tiny municipal albergues. It was hard to find food for an early dinner, but I was in Spain, so whatever. The 42 euros included a self-service breakfast buffet, which provided enough food for a picnic lunch.

Stage 4. Osorno la Mayor - Herrera de Pisuerga 31.3 km This is the last full day of canal walking. Herrera de Pisuerga has an municipal/private albergue, El Albergue de Herrera, (20 euros with heat) heat being essential for drying out clothes soaked by today’s rain and winds. The albergue has a string of dorm rooms, each with 3 bunkbeds and bath, with little ventilation. This small room was fine for the two of us on a cold wet day, trying to try out everything, but might be sweltering in the summer. The huge kitchen was well supplied for cooking. The best part was hospitalera Maria who gave us an evening personal tour of the adjoining Roman Museum, which was fascinating, and not to be missed. I found the way out of town not straightforward, but that may have just been me.

Stage 5. Herrera de Pisuerga - Perazancas de Ojeda. 30.7 km After a 9 km canal walk, we arrived at Alar del Rey, visited the place where the Canal de Castilla begins a few hundred meters from the camino, had a coffee at the first bar, and then left the canal and began hill walking between fields of cereal crops and thorough woods. Of note, the first bar does not have food; the second bar at the point where you leave the town, cross the road and begin path-walking, does have food, which could be important as there may be nothing available in the tiny villages until the evening’s destination. I did find a coffee in Ventosa de Pisuerga in a bars/social center just beyond the plaza. In Perazancas de Ojeda, the albergue listed in Gronze (Albergue Casa Perazancas) is generally not an option, as it is for groups, and reportedly rarely open anyway. Alojamineto Bar Pitusa (20 euros for a private room) is where we stayed. When we called initially, Nieves, the owner, said we could not stay in the old house next to the bar as she was not providing heat. She said her place was closed. We got help from hospitalera Maria in Herrera, who called for us to explain we needed beds and could do without heat. So with help and some negotiations, we had beds for the night in Nieves’s interesting, more than 200 year old house next to her bar. She did help us with a little heat, though with linens and blankets provided, we could have done OK without. She also cooked us dinner, which we ate in the bar watching a large group of locals play cards, and provided a self-service breakfast of coffee to heat up in the microwave in her old house, and magdalenas. We were grateful to have shelter and food. She is elderly, caring, and quite a character. Unfortunately I found her Spanish hard to follow, but she was warm and took care of me.

Stage 6. Perazancas de Ojeda - Cervera de Pisuerga. 18.2 km A day of increasingly steep rolling hills covered with fields, beautiful country, with distant mountains getting closer. Mostly we walked on lightly graveled or dirt country roads with no people, no vehicles, but as the morning progressed, the clouds lowered, and the rains and ferocious winds began. When I was soaked and cold, being hit by hail, with minimal visibility, and being bounced sideways by the winds, with my backpack no longer feeling secure as the wind lifted it, I was 3 km from Cervera. The camino crossed a paved road, a car stopped, I asked about a bus, and ended up with a short lift into Cervera. Not my usual modus of operations, but the weather was brutal. The Municipal de Cervera de Pisuerga (45 euro for a room with 2 beds, bath down the hall, large functional kitchen) is best contacted through WhatsApp, as email and phone messages were dead ends. From here on, the two of us shared rooms to keep expenses more reasonable. We spent an extra night in Cervera de Pisuerga waiting for better weather before continuing on into the mountains. It was a day well spent in this pleasant town. The tourist office was very helpful. We visited the Museo Etnografico Piedad Isla with its impressive collection of objects and photos housed in the 16th century home of early/mid 20th century woman photographer Piedad Isla. This was worth a few hours. We also visited the Iglesia de Santa Maria del Castillo and the naturalist center of the Montana Palentina Natural Park which has much information about the endangered brown bear of this park. A good break, and most importantly, the weather improved.

Stage 7. Cervera de Pisuerga - San Salvador de Cantamuda. 18 km This relatively short day included lovely walks in the woods and a stretch along the Embalse de Requejada which was spectacular, especially in the sunshine. We lingered and enjoyed the day. There was no place to stay in San Salvador as the Hostal La Taba had closed its rooms for the season, but we did have a great late lunch there. We had arranged to stay at the Refugio Tremaya 3.8 km off camino, our best option (20 euros for a bunk bed and a little heat). While we waited for a pick-up by our hospitalera , Marina, we visited the 12th century romanesque church, Colegiata de San Salvador. It was literally breath-taking to walk into this space. What a gem, with mozarabic elements. The Refugio was rustic but fine: cold without heat, though eventually with a fire in the fireplace and some minimal radiator heat, it was more bearable. There was a semi-functional kitchen. We never figured out if the stove worked, but my companion had a backpacking store to cook up eggs which we had been carrying. There are no stores, bars or services in the village of Tremaya, but it is beautifully situated, and a lovely walk in the morning back to the camino, following the steam down through the valley.

Stage 8. San Salvador de Cantamuda - Camasobres. 13.1 km Another short stage, the distance limited by availability of lodging, and the desire to fully appreciate being in the mountains with glorious paths and views. We did not want to do 31.5 km through the mountains, combining 2 stagesm though others might choose to do that. This was a beautiful stage. I spent some time on top of the mountains, watching the clouds chasing one another across the sky, while I was being buffeted in many directions by the strong winds. The only housing option in Camasobres is Hotel Posada Fuentes Carrionas (73 euros for 2 people, private room with bath, including a big breakfast). This is a beautiful hotel in a 17th century manor house, in a tiny mountain village with no other services. Dinner was excellent. The lack of albergue type accommodations on this camino made it different from most caminos I have walked, and obviously prevents some pilgrims from choosing this walk unless they enjoy wild camping. I was glad I was sharing a room with my camino companion to make this walk more economical, as single and double rooms are often equivalently priced.

Stage 9. Camasobres - Pesaguero. 18.4 km Another beautiful stage in the mountains, with a pass of 1460 meters and spectacular views of the valleys ahead into Cantabria. We stayed at Posada El Hoyal (70 euros for 2 people in a private room with bath, including a simple breakfast), which again provided an excellent dinner. These two nights were spendy, but were quality places run by kind people. I was not aware of any other services in Pesaguero.

Stage 10. Pesaguero - Potes 19 km And on down the valley, or rather, up and down the valley to Potes, the first big town since Cervera de Pisuerga. This is another day with no options for a coffee on route, despite the number of tiny villages. In Potes, we stayed in a dormitory room of the Albergue de Peregrinos de Potes (5 euros), along the river in the center of town. Keys and check-in are through the tourist office nearby. There is a kitchen with microwave and frig, and some cutlery and bowls. The albergue is modern, and below ground, with 5 bunkbeds in the room we used. There are huge windows looking out at the river just below. There were multiple other locked rooms, so the capacity is large when needed. There is a nearby bar with freshly baked breads and tortillas con patatas open by 6:30am, as well as the bar/cafe at the bus station which opens I think by 8am.

Stage 11. Potes - Monasterio de Santo Toribio de Liebana. 3 km. We walked up to the monastery in the morning where the fragment of the cross, the Lignum Crucis, has been stored since the fifth century. I left my backpack at the tourist office, a service which they encourage; my companion carried his and ended up spending the night in the Albergue Diocesano (10 euros) located just below the monastery. There was a hospitalera there, and an inordinate number of rules which needed to be followed. There is no food or services nearby.
My welcome at the monastery was very warm and personal; I was a bit overwhelmed as I was not expecting such a welcome. A volunteer met me as I approached, let me to the office where she took my information, filled out my Lebaniega (the compostela equivalent), gifted me a $5 U.S. bill stamped with multiple Lebaniego sellos which had been left by a visitor who told her to gift it to the next pilgrim (!), showed me the monastery and church, and collected me after the service to see me off. The welcome included a video interview, very unexpected, but solo Alaskan women pilgrims apparently are infrequent. Mass is at noon and the church was full of pilgrims from many parts of Spain who had arrived by bus and car. It was a moving visit. I now treasure my Lebaniega, the certificate of having arrived at the end of this pilgrim route.

I did continue walking from Potes to San Vincente de la Barquera doing the Camino Lebaniego in reverse (Note this camino has a similar name to the Camino Lebaniego Castellano), a walk which was at least as beautiful as the route to Potes. I was allowed to spend a second night in the albergue in Potes, though this was highly unusual and against their rules, so that I would have a full day to walk on. My camino friend was not allowed this option. Walking on in the afternoon would have been a challenge as the albergue in the first village had closed for the season. The other alternative from Potes was the Camino Vadiniense through the high mountains to Mansilla de las Mulas on the Camino Frances, a camino that I have heard is amazing, but not the best option for me at the time given the snow and weather.

So that’s it. I hope some of this is useful to forum folks who are considering this lovely solitary route.
Thank you - so interesting….*adds to bucket list*
 

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