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LIVE from the Camino Camino de Invierno October 2019

2020 Camino Guides

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Day 0
London to Ponferrada

I haven't really got the time free for this pilgrimage but let that not stop me! It's ten years since I first walked from Lourdes to Santiago. I think this is my 12th or 13th time on the Camino path. Strangely it is almost 2 years since I've been in Spain, as last year I walked from Canterbury to Brindisi. And this year from Brindisi to Thessaloniki, through Albania and North Macedonia. I'm still hoping to continue to Jerusalem but won't have time until the latter half of next year. So this trip on the Invierno is to maintain 'match fitness' and because I've always wanted to do it.

I had booked my first possible departure day (Tuesday 22nd) without remembering that I have an appointment in North Wales on Friday1st. I'm flying straight from SdC to that meeting. So I have possibly 9 walking days. But that would not give me a full day in SdC and my plane on the Friday is 0640. So I plan just 8 walking days and two nights in SdC. Which means Camino de Invierno not ideal. BUT not impossible if I 'squeeze'. I've booked a hotel in Ponferrada and that is the full extent of my serious planning, which is about the same as usual. I plan as I go!

Planet or not, there is no realistic alternative to flying, and so I booked Stansted to SdC. Very cheap - I guess part of the problem for the planet is that flights are too cheap. But that is for another day. I currently live in SW London and Stansted not ultra convenient. I got local bus at 23:30 to Kingston. I haves Turkish lesson on Monday night in central London and didn’t want to miss two, so couldn’t move until after this. From Kingston I took the airport express to Heathrow then the coach to Stansted arriving about 02:30. Stansted was looking like a transit camp with many people stretched out on the floor in sleeping bags. Ominous announcements were saying this is not allowed and implying that sleeping only allowed in chairs, in an upright position, and announcing that people who infringed would be woken up!

From 0400 you can check in which was generous as my flight not until 0800. Then you can progress to the palace of conspicuous consumption which is what most terminals have become.

Flight was straightforward, and coach to Estacion de Autobuses in Santiago. Time for a snack then a long but comfortable coach trip to Ponferrada via A Coruña and Lugo. If you check map you will see that this is a counterintuitive route. It's always nice on the coach to pass backwards alongside that part of the Camino that heads from Tricastela to O Cebreiro.

So after 18 hours of travel, five buses and a plane, I reached Ponferrada. And that's why I has booked a hotel for the first night. Hostal Miguel is next to the covered market and opposite an unusually-named but pilgrim-associated lingerie shop (lencería) called 'Lourdes'! I think this was the extent of the 'city view' the website promised!

Ponferrada has a storybook Templar castle and a basilica. I’ve been here many times. It is a sleepy place.

There is Mass at 8pm in the Basilica and after some light refreshments that is where I went. And here I was rather surprised. The town is not exactly throbbing with pilgrims, but I saw dozens around the place. So I was surprised to find only ONE pilgrim at the Mass. I went for a blessing at the end of Mass to a very elderly and quite tiny priest. Everyone else, about 25, was a local. I'm not complaining - I feel what others do is their own business - but this seemed to me a noticeable change from ten years ago. And it made me feel a bit sad.

I had a nice supper and slept well, believing up to then that sunrise would be at 0738! I have a long day tomorrow as I have decided to go to Puente de Domingos Flores, rather than finishing at Las Médulas, to try and gain a little time and distance.
 
Last edited:

CdnDreamer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (12, 15 & 18) San Salvador (18), Portuguese (19)
Wow 18 hours to get from England to the Camino! I don't think I have taken that long from Toronto. Buen Camino!
 

donalomahony

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
"Camino Frances" 2013, "Burgos to Leon," February 2014 - "Frances" June '14
@timr thanks for sharing. Looking forward to the updates...
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
CP(2015)
St Olavs Way Norway(2016)
88 Temples Japan(2017)
PWC & VF(2019)
Israel (2020)
Day 0
London to Ponferrada

I haven't really got the time free for this pilgrimage but let that not stop me! It's ten years since I first walked from Lourdes to Santiago. I think this is my 12th or 13th time on the Camino path. Strangely it is almost 2 years since I've been in Spain, as last year I walked from Canterbury to Brindisi. And this year from Brindisi to Thessaloniki, through Albania and North Macedonia. I'm still hoping to continue to Jerusalem but won't have time until the latter half of next year. So this trip on the Invierno is to maintain 'match fitness' and because I've always wanted to do it.

I had booked my first possible departure day (Tuesday 22nd) without remembering that I have an appointment in North Wales on Friday1st. I'm flying straight from SdC to that meeting. So I have possibly 9 walking days. But that would not give me a full day in SdC and my plane on the Friday is 0640. So I plan just 8 walking days and two nights in SdC. Which means Camino de Invierno not ideal. BUT not impossible if I 'squeeze'. I've booked a hotel in Ponferrada and that is the full extent of my serious planning, which is about the same as usual. I plan as I go!

Planet or not, there is no realistic alternative to flying, and so I booked Stansted to SdC. Very cheap - I guess part of the problem for the planet is that flights are too cheap. But that is for another day. I currently live in SW London and Stansted not ultra convenient. I got local bus at 23:30 to Kingston. I haves Turkish lesson on Monday night in central London and didn’t want to miss two, so couldn’t move until after this. From Kingston I took the airport express to Heathrow then the coach to Stansted arriving about 02:30. Stansted was looking like a transit camp with many people stretched out on the floor in sleeping bags. Ominous announcements were saying this is not allowed and implying that sleeping only allowed in chairs, in an upright position, and announcing that people who infringed would be woken up!

From 0400 you can check in which was generous as my flight not until 0800. Then you can progress to the palace of conspicuous consumption which is what most terminals have become.

Flight was straightforward, and coach to Estacion de Autobuses in Santiago. Time for a snack then a long but comfortable coach trip to Ponferrada via A Coruña and Lugo. If you check map you will see that this is a counterintuitive route. It's always nice on the coach to pass backwards alongside that part of the Camino that heads from Tricastela to O Cebreiro.

So after 18 hours of travel, four buses and a plane, I reached Ponferrada. And that's why I has booked a hotel for the first night. Hostal Miguel is next to the covered market and opposite an unusually-named but pilgrim-associated lingerie shop (lencería) called 'Lourdes'! I think this was the extent of the 'city view' the website promised!

Ponferrada has a storybook Templar castle and a basilica. I’ve been here many times. It is a sleepy place.

There is Mass at 8pm in the Basilica and after some light refreshments that is where I went. And here I was rather surprised. The town is not exactly throbbing with pilgrims, but I saw dozens around the place. So I was surprised to find only ONE pilgrim at the Mass. I went for a blessing at the end of Mass to a very elderly and quite tiny priest. Everyone else, about 25, was a local. I'm not complaining - I feel what others do is their own business - but this seemed to me a noticeable change from ten years ago. And it made me feel a bit sad.

I had a nice supper and slept well, believing up to then that sunrise would be at 0738! I have a long day tomorrow as I have decided to go to Puente de Domingos Flores, rather than finishing at Las Médulas, to try and gain a little time and distance.
Wonderful you're 'out there' again & bringing us along for the journey @timr 🤗
For an antipodean like myself, the darting backwards, forwards & all over the place is astounding! The tyranny of distance does not allow us non-Europeans that same flexibility or spontaneity...or at least not without great co$t! 😄
Enjoy...as we will following you.
👣 🌏
 

Levi

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015
VDLP 2016
Portuguese March 2017
Sanabres September 2017
Madrid September 2018
Buen Camino @timr . (From your friends who shared dinner with you last year by Lake Bolsena.)
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Take care, Tim. I hope you'll like it as I did!
If you need anything in particular you know where to find me.

I'll be following your progress :)
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
This thread is a wonderful surprise, and I look forward to zipping along the Invierno by reading your posts. Do keep your eye out for @Albertagirl, who's a few days ahead of you.

I haven't really got the time free for this pilgrimage but let that not stop me!
Good for you, and good for all of us
You and @alansykes are out there at the same time so the reading will be doubly good on our end.

Buen camino, Tim! May you have a wonderful walk.
This is my favorite camino so far...
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
This thread is a wonderful surprise, and I look forward to zipping along the Invierno by reading your posts. Do keep your eye out for @Albertagirl, who's a few days ahead of you.


Good for you, and good for all of us
You and @alansykes are out there at the same time so the reading will be doubly good on our end.

Buen camino, Tim! May you have a wonderful walk.
This is my favorite camino so far...
I thought that @timr would be spending his first night on camino in Puente de Domingo Flórez (from a previous post) so he is sure to pass me somewhere today. I am currently in a bar in O Barco de Valdeorras, hiding from the rain. Shortly, I shall go to Hostal la Gran Tortuga, where I plan to spend the night. I have too much time, since the early cancellation of my service as a hospitalera ( chinches) gave me an extra week. So I am learning to do a slow camino. I think that I would like it, if only the rain would stop. All the best to @timr, who has probably passed me by now.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Day 1 Ponferrada to Puente de Domingo Flórez 34

Walnuts, chestnuts, a new GPS experience and rain…lots of rain.

It was still very dark when I woke at 7am and as a regular correspondent pointed out my expectation of sunrise at 0738 was over optimistic and based on BST. At least the hour will go back at weekend and give an earlier start next week.I was ready to move at 0800 but it was still dark. A street market was setting up, outside the large covered market, concentrating on chestnuts. . I am not a great one for waking in the dark. It is far too easy to get lost I think.

I had to find the start of the Invierno and in the dark could not find any notice. But I was reassured to see all the other pilgrims going in a different direction. I turned right at the roundabout at 0815. By 0830 there was useful light and I was already on a leafy muddy path so this was important. There are plenty of waymarkers when you can see them. I was using GPS track also.

The path is hilly. I had an early coffee in Toral de Merayo and after that did something new for me. I'm using a dedicated GPS apart from my phone, practising for Turkey. And I had plotted a sort of cross country short cut close to Villavieja and Castillo de Cornatel. I've seen all the castles I need and also it was not a day for miradores - viewing points - as it was raining most of the day and slightly misty. The reason for trying a dedicated GPS for the first time was twofold – iphone battery doesn’t last for a day and iphone touchscreen has a LOT of trouble with heavy rain as I found out this year in Albania. I was high in mountains in a thunderstorm in torrential rain, just a BIT lost. It was hard to remain upright on steep muddy trails AND I was being slightly harassed by a very drunk young man, very disturbed and soaking wet who was asking me for “Dollars!” He was harmless though.

So I successfully went over rough path between big loops in the road and on to Borrenes and then Las Médulas which is much touted as a tourist site. It was an important gold mine during the time of the Roman empire. Meh! There are big rather unusual red formations on the hill tops. Meh! Again. Sorry it did not excite me. And it is a UNESCO world heritage site. To me it looked like an industrial dump. Please don’t be offended. I expect on a sunny day would be quite different.
But I had an encouraging menu del día in Las Médulas and continued on to my destination. To stay in the polideportivo or sports hall. This is a very common and very he generous arrangement on various Camino routes, organized by the ayuntamiento or city hall. Some are more comfortable than others. I collected the key from a bar. I have unlimited cold water and a toilet and a choice of mattresses. But it helps keep the cost down. There are quite a lot of small birds flying around also. I'm in a huge sports hall. No heating.

I met just three men briefly along the way all rather older than me - a Spaniard, a Sicilian and a Basque. One of them had an umbrella. I don't think it's a great look to be honest 😉. None is in the sports hall - they probably have good pensions - and can stay in good pensions.

Often along the way I was walking on chestnuts and walnuts fallen during harvest.
 
Last edited:

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
I thought that @timr would be spending his first night on camino in Puente de Domingo Flórez (from a previous post) so he is sure to pass me somewhere today. I am currently in a bar in O Barco de Valdeorras, hiding from the rain. Shortly, I shall go to Hostal la Gran Tortuga, where I plan to spend the night. I have too much time, since the early cancellation of my service as a hospitalera ( chinches) gave me an extra week. So I am learning to do a slow camino. I think that I would like it, if only the rain would stop. All the best to @timr, who has probably passed me by now.
Oh no! Just reading this now on Friday night. And having usual connectivity problems. Yes I was in Puente de Domingos Floréz on Wednesday night and walked on to A Rúa yesterday (Thursday). I'm short of time so need to press on. Yes I must have passed you in O Barca where I pushed on having taken a break in Sobradelo. I was wetter than wet yesterday and a little disheartened. I stayed in soulless but cheap Pension Fabio. Tonight I'm in Hostal Quiper in Quiroga - €17, cheaper than a ROOM in the (non-Camino) albergue up the road.
Finally a bit of sunshine today. Where are you now?
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Fantastic to hear of your spontaneous camino @timr
I love reading your comprehensive posts. Very informative.
As I’m currently on the Mozárabe it will be interesting to compare weather in the North. I hope you don’t get rain. Cheers, Grace
Mmmm continuous rain Wednesday and Thursday but today.....Sunshine😎
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
Oh no! Just reading this now on Friday night. And having usual connectivity problems. Yes I was in Puente de Domingos Floréz on Wednesday night and walked on to A Rúa yesterday (Thursday). I'm short of time so need to press on. Yes I must have passed you in O Barca where I pushed on having taken a break in Sobradelo. I was wetter than wet yesterday and a little disheartened. I stayed in soulless but cheap Pension Fabio. Tonight I'm in Hostal Quiper in Quiroga - €17, cheaper than a ROOM in the (non-Camino) albergue up the road.
Finally a bit of sunshine today. Where are you now?
@timr
I am currently in the albergue at Villamartin, having enjoyed the last two sunny days, with an overnight at the albergue in Xagoaza and more recent arrival here in Villamartin. I have been warned that the second dormitory is occupied by an enthusiastic group of student archaeologists. I may have the pilgrim dorm to myself tonight, then on to A Rua tomorrow. With the lovely weather, I have cheered up considerably and am enjoying the vivid autumn foliage. I spent yesterday wandering about on the hillside near Xagoaza, getting lost three times and gradually getting a feeling for the setting. I took masses of photos, out of sheer exuberance. I feel right at home in vivid autumn weather and am getting used to the pleasures of walking slow camino. Enjoy your walk, and may we both avoid the blessings of more rain.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
@timr
I am currently in the albergue at Villamartin, having enjoyed the last two sunny days, with an overnight at the albergue in Xagoaza and more recent arrival here in Villamartin. I have been warned that the second dormitory is occupied by an enthusiastic group of student archaeologists. I may have the pilgrim dorm to myself tonight, then on to A Rua tomorrow. With the lovely weather, I have cheered up considerably and am enjoying the vivid autumn foliage. I spent yesterday wandering about on the hillside near Xagoaza, getting lost three times and gradually getting a feeling for the setting. I took masses of photos, out of sheer exuberance. I feel right at home in vivid autumn weather and am getting used to the pleasures of walking slow camino. Enjoy your walk, and may we both avoid the blessings of more rain.
@Albertagirl That sounds wonderful. I'm regrettin giving myself so short a time but it was beyond my control. The towns and cities are passing me by - I'm too tired in the evening but I'm thoroughly enjoying the walking. A bit of getting lost today - but that's OK too😁!
I hope for both of us we get a few more fine days.
I'm in Monforte heading for Chantada tomorrow.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I'm in Monforte heading for Chantada tomorrow.
A highlight of a day, though a monster of a walk.
Please enjoy Diamondi for me, Tim. And the glorious Miño.
 

laineylainey

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
started in 2012, hooked ever since.
Day 0
London to Ponferrada

I haven't really got the time free for this pilgrimage but let that not stop me! It's ten years since I first walked from Lourdes to Santiago. I think this is my 12th or 13th time on the Camino path. Strangely it is almost 2 years since I've been in Spain, as last year I walked from Canterbury to Brindisi. And this year from Brindisi to Thessaloniki, through Albania and North Macedonia. I'm still hoping to continue to Jerusalem but won't have time until the latter half of next year. So this trip on the Invierno is to maintain 'match fitness' and because I've always wanted to do it.

I had booked my first possible departure day (Tuesday 22nd) without remembering that I have an appointment in North Wales on Friday1st. I'm flying straight from SdC to that meeting. So I have possibly 9 walking days. But that would not give me a full day in SdC and my plane on the Friday is 0640. So I plan just 8 walking days and two nights in SdC. Which means Camino de Invierno not ideal. BUT not impossible if I 'squeeze'. I've booked a hotel in Ponferrada and that is the full extent of my serious planning, which is about the same as usual. I plan as I go!

Planet or not, there is no realistic alternative to flying, and so I booked Stansted to SdC. Very cheap - I guess part of the problem for the planet is that flights are too cheap. But that is for another day. I currently live in SW London and Stansted not ultra convenient. I got local bus at 23:30 to Kingston. I haves Turkish lesson on Monday night in central London and didn’t want to miss two, so couldn’t move until after this. From Kingston I took the airport express to Heathrow then the coach to Stansted arriving about 02:30. Stansted was looking like a transit camp with many people stretched out on the floor in sleeping bags. Ominous announcements were saying this is not allowed and implying that sleeping only allowed in chairs, in an upright position, and announcing that people who infringed would be woken up!

From 0400 you can check in which was generous as my flight not until 0800. Then you can progress to the palace of conspicuous consumption which is what most terminals have become.

Flight was straightforward, and coach to Estacion de Autobuses in Santiago. Time for a snack then a long but comfortable coach trip to Ponferrada via A Coruña and Lugo. If you check map you will see that this is a counterintuitive route. It's always nice on the coach to pass backwards alongside that part of the Camino that heads from Tricastela to O Cebreiro.

So after 18 hours of travel, five buses and a plane, I reached Ponferrada. And that's why I has booked a hotel for the first night. Hostal Miguel is next to the covered market and opposite an unusually-named but pilgrim-associated lingerie shop (lencería) called 'Lourdes'! I think this was the extent of the 'city view' the website promised!

Ponferrada has a storybook Templar castle and a basilica. I’ve been here many times. It is a sleepy place.

There is Mass at 8pm in the Basilica and after some light refreshments that is where I went. And here I was rather surprised. The town is not exactly throbbing with pilgrims, but I saw dozens around the place. So I was surprised to find only ONE pilgrim at the Mass. I went for a blessing at the end of Mass to a very elderly and quite tiny priest. Everyone else, about 25, was a local. I'm not complaining - I feel what others do is their own business - but this seemed to me a noticeable change from ten years ago. And it made me feel a bit sad.

I had a nice supper and slept well, believing up to then that sunrise would be at 0738! I have a long day tomorrow as I have decided to go to Puente de Domingos Flores, rather than finishing at Las Médulas, to try and gain a little time and distance.
Love your "story" so full of narrative and description, for me so like an Irish conversation.
Buen Camino
 

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