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2019 Camino Guides

Camino de Invierno Summer 2018: observations!

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
09 CFrancés, CFisterra 10 VPodiensis 11 CNorte 12 VPlata 13 VPlata, CSanabrés 14 CLevante, CSanabrés 15 CSureste, CInvierno, CMuxia 16 CMadrid, CSalvador, CPrimitivo (17 RLana, CInterior)
#1
Hi everyone,

I promised to write this for so long now… Here it comes!

Summary: I walked the Invierno this year (summer 2018) between July 19 and July 27. That makes 9 stages which is perfect for me! But as Laurie’s Invierno guide suggests, there are several ways to change this if you want to make more or fewer stages. I stayed in the same towns as in 2015, when I walked the Invierno for the first time. I was eager to see how much had changed on this route since three years…!

I am posting this mainly to point out things that could go into the next version of the Camino de Invierno guide! Just tag along and feel free to comment!

July 18: Arrival to Ponferrada by bus

I had previously finished my Camino Mozárabe (from Almería) in Mérida. I decided to take the bus between Mérida and Ponferrada to start the Camino de Invierno for a second time. The bus departed from Mérida about 01:30 a.m. (gasp!). Needless to say, I was the only traveler waiting for the bus at the dark, spooky backyard of the Mérida bus station in the middle of the night.

July 19: Beginning from Ponferrada: I had been to Ponferrada many times before and I am always keen on checking out new albergues or other places to stay. So, this time I opted for the private albergue Guiana. It is very easy to find. Whether you come walking from the bus station in Ponferrada or from the Camino Francés, you will certainly stumble upon it. It is placed at about an equal distance between the medieval castle and the municipal albergue on the Camino Francés. Very clean and modern, looking as if it was built yesterday. A breakfast as if it was a buffé in a hotel (although centered on the sweet stuff: bread, jam, fruit, berries, cereals… and almost nothing salty. The staff pointed this out to me as some pilgrims prefer salty things for breakfast). Breakfast +5 euros, washing machine +5 euros. I don’t remember the price for the actual stay, but since it is a private albergue I guess it was some 10-15 euros. What more can I say? Very friendly staff as well. I am definitely coming back! :OD

About Priaranza del Bierzo: leaving the village, there is a path leading upwards among the woods/bushes. I missed this path, although I had already been here once before! I took a picture of the spot, as I was bewildered by the facts that there was no waymark there and that I didn’t make that mistake last time around!? Only when I was examining the photo later that day, I saw the corner of the mojón, hidden behind the bushes. So a warning here in summer: if the mojón is overgrown, you will most likely continue on the larger road, missing the dirt path that goes upwards among the hills.

About Villavieja: There are many wooden signs about an albergue before entering Villavieja so apparently they have one up and running now. I didn’t see it from where I walked through the village so I don’t know where it is located. Neither was there any sign of the infamous mastiff that scares pilgrims en masse.

I might add right away: this is the Camino of the Doggies. There are dogs everywhere, especially on the first stage (until Las Médulas), often unchained. I was going to count them this time, but I gave up when I got to about 15 already in the morning. But none of them was aggressive. They seemed very well educated! Some of them approached me to greet me or to sniff at my legs; calmly, without any snarls or other aggressive behavior. There were no problems at all. (Although on subsequent stages I would meet some of the more aggressive specimens. But it is all just for showing off: they never even touched me.)

About Puente de Domingo Florez: My end for the day. I stayed in Hostal La Torre, as I did in 2015. The easiest way to get there is to turn right, just as you come down from the hills. Follow the road, emerge on the N-536 and after a few minutes the Hostal La Torre appears on your left. I write this because, in 2015, I lost a lot of time running around in town looking for the hostal… Perhaps this could go into the updated guide as well.

I payed 18 euros, which is reported as being an exception in the guide. Nice surprise! Important: the phone number in the guide 987 460 589 to Hostal La Torre did not work (for me) but the other number listed in the guide did. When leaving the next day, the guide also says there may be no marking at the Día supermarket but there is a mojón!

Well that’s all for the first day. As you can see I focus on things that could be of interest for the guide, and not so much on experiences, weather, fortunes-misfortunes and so on… I hope you can make something out of it. Of course it is an extremely beautiful Camino!! I will get back to you with my notes of the second day (it will be much shorter than this post).

Byyyyye!

/Bad Pilgrim
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
#3
Hi everyone,

I promised to write this for so long now… Here it comes!

Summary: I walked the Invierno this year (summer 2018) between July 19 and July 27. That makes 9 stages which is perfect for me! But as Laurie’s Invierno guide suggests, there are several ways to change this if you want to make more or fewer stages. I stayed in the same towns as in 2015, when I walked the Invierno for the first time. I was eager to see how much had changed on this route since three years…!

I am posting this mainly to point out things that could go into the next version of the Camino de Invierno guide! Just tag along and feel free to comment!

July 18 – Arrival to Ponferrada by bus

I had previously finished my Camino Mozárabe (from Almería) in Mérida. I decided to take the bus between Mérida and Ponferrada to start the Camino de Invierno for a second time. The bus departed from Mérida about 01:30 a.m. (gasp!). Needless to say, I was the only traveler waiting for the bus at the dark, spooky backyard of the Mérida bus station in the middle of the night.

Ponferrada: I had been to Ponferrada many times before and I am always keen on checking out new albergues or other places to stay. So, this time I opted for the private albergue Guiana. It is very easy to find. Whether you come walking from the bus station in Ponferrada or from the Camino Francés, you will certainly stumble upon it. It is placed at about an equal distance between the medieval castle and the municipal albergue on the Camino Francés. Very clean and modern, looking as if it was built yesterday. A breakfast as if it was a buffé in a hotel (although centered on the sweet stuff: bread, jam, fruit, berries, cereals… and almost nothing salty. The staff pointed this out to me as some pilgrims prefer salty things for breakfast). Breakfast +5 euros, washing machine +5 euros. I don’t remember the price for the actual stay, but since it is a private albergue I guess it was some 10-15 euros. What more can I say? Very friendly staff as well. I am definitely coming back! :OD

About Priaranza del Bierzo: leaving the village, there is a path leading upwards among the woods/bushes. I missed this path, although I had already been here once before! I took a picture of the spot, as I was bewildered by the facts that there was no waymark there and that I didn’t make that mistake last time around!? Only when I was examining the photo later that day, I saw the corner of the mojón, hidden behind the bushes. So a warning here in summer: if the mojón is overgrown, you will most likely continue on the larger road, missing the dirt path that goes upwards among the hills.

About Villavieja: There are many wooden signs about an albergue before entering Villavieja so apparently they have one up and running now. I didn’t see it from where I walked through the village so I don’t know where it is located. Neither was there any sign of the infamous mastiff that scares pilgrims en masse.

I might add right away: this is the Camino of the Doggies. There are dogs everywhere, especially on the first stage (until Las Médulas), often unchained. I was going to count them this time, but I gave up when I got to about 15 already in the morning. But none of them was aggressive. They seemed very well educated! Some of them approached me to greet me or to sniff at my legs; calmly, without any snarls or other aggressive behavior. There were no problems at all. (Although on subsequent stages I would meet some of the more aggressive specimens. But it is all just for showing off: they never even touched me.)

About Puente de Domingo Florez: My end for the day. I stayed in Hostal La Torre, as I did in 2015. The easiest way to get there is to turn right, just as you come down from the hills. Follow the road, emerge on the N-536 and after a few minutes the Hostal La Torre appears on your left. I write this because, in 2015, I lost a lot of time running around in town looking for the hostal… Perhaps this could go into the updated guide as well.

I payed 18 euros, which is reported as being an exception in the guide. Nice surprise! Important: the phone number in the guide 987 460 589 to Hostal La Torre did not work (for me) but the other number listed in the guide did. When leaving the next day, the guide also says there may be no marking at the Día supermarket but there is a mojón!

Well that’s all for the first day. As you can see I focus on things that could be of interest for the guide, and not so much on experiences, weather, fortunes-misfortunes and so on… I hope you can make something out of it. Of course it is an extremely beautiful Camino!! I will get back to you with my notes of the second day (it will be much shorter than this post).

Byyyyye!

/Bad Pilgrim
Thank you so much for sharing. I enjoyed reading it since I'm planning to walk the Invierno some day in the future. I understand your reasons for not including experience etc. But allow me to suggest a picture or two of the days walking route. It would give the reader an idea of the path, the surroundings and the "walkability" of it....hope you understand my lingo.....Buon Camino 👍
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis SJPP
April 2016, August 2017, May 2018
Camino PortuGUESE
May 2019
#4
Hi everyone,

I promised to write this for so long now… Here it comes!

Summary: I walked the Invierno this year (summer 2018) between July 19 and July 27. That makes 9 stages which is perfect for me! But as Laurie’s Invierno guide suggests, there are several ways to change this if you want to make more or fewer stages. I stayed in the same towns as in 2015, when I walked the Invierno for the first time. I was eager to see how much had changed on this route since three years…!

I am posting this mainly to point out things that could go into the next version of the Camino de Invierno guide! Just tag along and feel free to comment!

July 18 – Arrival to Ponferrada by bus

I had previously finished my Camino Mozárabe (from Almería) in Mérida. I decided to take the bus between Mérida and Ponferrada to start the Camino de Invierno for a second time. The bus departed from Mérida about 01:30 a.m. (gasp!). Needless to say, I was the only traveler waiting for the bus at the dark, spooky backyard of the Mérida bus station in the middle of the night.

Ponferrada: I had been to Ponferrada many times before and I am always keen on checking out new albergues or other places to stay. So, this time I opted for the private albergue Guiana. It is very easy to find. Whether you come walking from the bus station in Ponferrada or from the Camino Francés, you will certainly stumble upon it. It is placed at about an equal distance between the medieval castle and the municipal albergue on the Camino Francés. Very clean and modern, looking as if it was built yesterday. A breakfast as if it was a buffé in a hotel (although centered on the sweet stuff: bread, jam, fruit, berries, cereals… and almost nothing salty. The staff pointed this out to me as some pilgrims prefer salty things for breakfast). Breakfast +5 euros, washing machine +5 euros. I don’t remember the price for the actual stay, but since it is a private albergue I guess it was some 10-15 euros. What more can I say? Very friendly staff as well. I am definitely coming back! :OD

About Priaranza del Bierzo: leaving the village, there is a path leading upwards among the woods/bushes. I missed this path, although I had already been here once before! I took a picture of the spot, as I was bewildered by the facts that there was no waymark there and that I didn’t make that mistake last time around!? Only when I was examining the photo later that day, I saw the corner of the mojón, hidden behind the bushes. So a warning here in summer: if the mojón is overgrown, you will most likely continue on the larger road, missing the dirt path that goes upwards among the hills.

About Villavieja: There are many wooden signs about an albergue before entering Villavieja so apparently they have one up and running now. I didn’t see it from where I walked through the village so I don’t know where it is located. Neither was there any sign of the infamous mastiff that scares pilgrims en masse.

I might add right away: this is the Camino of the Doggies. There are dogs everywhere, especially on the first stage (until Las Médulas), often unchained. I was going to count them this time, but I gave up when I got to about 15 already in the morning. But none of them was aggressive. They seemed very well educated! Some of them approached me to greet me or to sniff at my legs; calmly, without any snarls or other aggressive behavior. There were no problems at all. (Although on subsequent stages I would meet some of the more aggressive specimens. But it is all just for showing off: they never even touched me.)

About Puente de Domingo Florez: My end for the day. I stayed in Hostal La Torre, as I did in 2015. The easiest way to get there is to turn right, just as you come down from the hills. Follow the road, emerge on the N-536 and after a few minutes the Hostal La Torre appears on your left. I write this because, in 2015, I lost a lot of time running around in town looking for the hostal… Perhaps this could go into the updated guide as well.

I payed 18 euros, which is reported as being an exception in the guide. Nice surprise! Important: the phone number in the guide 987 460 589 to Hostal La Torre did not work (for me) but the other number listed in the guide did. When leaving the next day, the guide also says there may be no marking at the Día supermarket but there is a mojón!

Well that’s all for the first day. As you can see I focus on things that could be of interest for the guide, and not so much on experiences, weather, fortunes-misfortunes and so on… I hope you can make something out of it. Of course it is an extremely beautiful Camino!! I will get back to you with my notes of the second day (it will be much shorter than this post).

Byyyyye!

/Bad Pilgrim
Must just comment on how good Guiana is.....only about 8 (?)to a room with ensuite....and the huge bike room down the bottom room near laundry with fixing benches for repairs...no wonder it got awards....loved it in 2017.......love your nickname too.... Love
 
Camino(s) past & future
Have completed through Agosta
#5
Hi everyone,

I promised to write this for so long now… Here it comes!

Summary: I walked the Invierno this year (summer 2018) between July 19 and July 27. That makes 9 stages which is perfect for me! But as Laurie’s Invierno guide suggests, there are several ways to change this if you want to make more or fewer stages. I stayed in the same towns as in 2015, when I walked the Invierno for the first time. I was eager to see how much had changed on this route since three years…!

I am posting this mainly to point out things that could go into the next version of the Camino de Invierno guide! Just tag along and feel free to comment!

July 18 – Arrival to Ponferrada by bus

I had previously finished my Camino Mozárabe (from Almería) in Mérida. I decided to take the bus between Mérida and Ponferrada to start the Camino de Invierno for a second time. The bus departed from Mérida about 01:30 a.m. (gasp!). Needless to say, I was the only traveler waiting for the bus at the dark, spooky backyard of the Mérida bus station in the middle of the night.

Ponferrada: I had been to Ponferrada many times before and I am always keen on checking out new albergues or other places to stay. So, this time I opted for the private albergue Guiana. It is very easy to find. Whether you come walking from the bus station in Ponferrada or from the Camino Francés, you will certainly stumble upon it. It is placed at about an equal distance between the medieval castle and the municipal albergue on the Camino Francés. Very clean and modern, looking as if it was built yesterday. A breakfast as if it was a buffé in a hotel (although centered on the sweet stuff: bread, jam, fruit, berries, cereals… and almost nothing salty. The staff pointed this out to me as some pilgrims prefer salty things for breakfast). Breakfast +5 euros, washing machine +5 euros. I don’t remember the price for the actual stay, but since it is a private albergue I guess it was some 10-15 euros. What more can I say? Very friendly staff as well. I am definitely coming back! :OD

About Priaranza del Bierzo: leaving the village, there is a path leading upwards among the woods/bushes. I missed this path, although I had already been here once before! I took a picture of the spot, as I was bewildered by the facts that there was no waymark there and that I didn’t make that mistake last time around!? Only when I was examining the photo later that day, I saw the corner of the mojón, hidden behind the bushes. So a warning here in summer: if the mojón is overgrown, you will most likely continue on the larger road, missing the dirt path that goes upwards among the hills.

About Villavieja: There are many wooden signs about an albergue before entering Villavieja so apparently they have one up and running now. I didn’t see it from where I walked through the village so I don’t know where it is located. Neither was there any sign of the infamous mastiff that scares pilgrims en masse.

I might add right away: this is the Camino of the Doggies. There are dogs everywhere, especially on the first stage (until Las Médulas), often unchained. I was going to count them this time, but I gave up when I got to about 15 already in the morning. But none of them was aggressive. They seemed very well educated! Some of them approached me to greet me or to sniff at my legs; calmly, without any snarls or other aggressive behavior. There were no problems at all. (Although on subsequent stages I would meet some of the more aggressive specimens. But it is all just for showing off: they never even touched me.)

About Puente de Domingo Florez: My end for the day. I stayed in Hostal La Torre, as I did in 2015. The easiest way to get there is to turn right, just as you come down from the hills. Follow the road, emerge on the N-536 and after a few minutes the Hostal La Torre appears on your left. I write this because, in 2015, I lost a lot of time running around in town looking for the hostal… Perhaps this could go into the updated guide as well.

I payed 18 euros, which is reported as being an exception in the guide. Nice surprise! Important: the phone number in the guide 987 460 589 to Hostal La Torre did not work (for me) but the other number listed in the guide did. When leaving the next day, the guide also says there may be no marking at the Día supermarket but there is a mojón!

Well that’s all for the first day. As you can see I focus on things that could be of interest for the guide, and not so much on experiences, weather, fortunes-misfortunes and so on… I hope you can make something out of it. Of course it is an extremely beautiful Camino!! I will get back to you with my notes of the second day (it will be much shorter than this post).

Byyyyye!

/Bad Pilgrim
Is it possible to post a link to Laurie's guide? May do this one afet Ovidado in summer. Thanks
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
09 CFrancés, CFisterra 10 VPodiensis 11 CNorte 12 VPlata 13 VPlata, CSanabrés 14 CLevante, CSanabrés 15 CSureste, CInvierno, CMuxia 16 CMadrid, CSalvador, CPrimitivo (17 RLana, CInterior)
#7
July 20: Puente de Domingo Florez – A Rúa

I forgot to mention that I met quite a few other pilgrims on my first stage: a young man and a woman and a handful of cyclists that were clearly pilgrims. So I saw more pilgrims during that first stage, than I did during the whole Camino three years ago (when I didn’t meet anyone!!). I talked for a while with the young couple, but I wouldn’t see them again. This second day, however, I was completely alone again, all the way from Puente de Domingo Flórez to A Rúa.

About leaving Puente de Domingo Flórez: No problems, at least coming from the Hostal La Torre! Watch out for the mojón at the Día Supermarket a few hundred meters from the hostal, and you will be on your way. If the guide lists any difficulties here, I didn’t encounter any of them.

About O Barco de Valdeorras: In 2015 I wasn’t sure about how to leave this town. Now there are arrows taking you down to the riverside walk; across the small wooden bridge and then aaall the way to Arcos. I even spotted where I made the wrong turn last time. I think the discussion about the O Barco bypass in the guide could be ended by now. For pilgrims following the river and eventually passing the small, wooden bridge there is no way of getting lost anymore. Although I never stayed for the night here, so I don’t know about the marking further back in town, to and from the albergue/hostales.

About A Rúa de Valdeorras: My end for the day. In A Rúa I stayed in Pensión Fabio just like I did three years ago: 25 euros, hotel-style. Luxury! It is located at the end of the main street, so it means some ten minutes to walk back to the central parts of A Rúa if you want to explore the town. The easiest way to get there is of course to stay on the road once you enter A Rúa. I write this because after entering town there are waymarks that want you to turn right to get to the albergue Casa da Solaina, which is also an option. And there are several other pensions in A Rúa.

I failed to stay at Casa da Solaina three years ago and only spoke to the hospitalera by phone. Her mother had turned ill so they were both at the hospital, and she redirected me to Pensión Fabio. Nowadays I always rely on hostals when it is possible, so no albergue for me this time either… According to three guys from Madrid who would stay at the albergue the same day, I did the right choice… But more about that in my next post.

Hang on!

/Bad Pilgrim
 
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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
09 CFrancés, CFisterra 10 VPodiensis 11 CNorte 12 VPlata 13 VPlata, CSanabrés 14 CLevante, CSanabrés 15 CSureste, CInvierno, CMuxia 16 CMadrid, CSalvador, CPrimitivo (17 RLana, CInterior)
#8
Thank you so much for sharing. I enjoyed reading it since I'm planning to walk the Invierno some day in the future. I understand your reasons for not including experience etc. But allow me to suggest a picture or two of the days walking route. It would give the reader an idea of the path, the surroundings and the "walkability" of it....hope you understand my lingo.....Buon Camino 👍
Hi Torben,

I have tried to attach pictures but have never managed to upload! The file is always "too large" and I don't know what to do :O(

/BP
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
#9
No problem but thank you for trying 😊
By the way someone just mentioned to me, that the Gronze homepage has pictures for each stage of the Camino including the Invierno. I didn't know that, so I looked there instead.
It appears to be a very beautiful camino. And it must be stunning in the autumn with all the colours.....
I wish you a buon Camino and thanks again for the effort and sharing 👍
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
2019- Invierno
#10
July 20: Puente de Domingo Florez – A Rúa

I forgot to mention that I met quite a few other pilgrims on my first stage: a young man and a woman and a handful of cyclists that were clearly pilgrims. So I saw more pilgrims during that first stage, than I did during the whole Camino three years ago (when I didn’t meet anyone!!). I talked for a while with the young couple, but I wouldn’t see them again. This second day, however, I was completely alone again, all the way from Puente de Domingo Flórez to A Rúa.

About leaving Puente de Domingo Flórez: No problems, at least coming from the Hostal La Torre! Watch out for the mojón at the Día Supermarket a few hundred meters from the hostal, and you will be on your way. If the guide lists any difficulties here, I didn’t encounter any of them.

About O Barco de Valdeorras: In 2015 I wasn’t sure about how to leave this town. Now there are arrows taking you down to the riverside walk; across the small wooden bridge and then aaall the way to Arcos. I even spotted where I made the wrong turn last time. I think the discussion about the O Barco bypass in the guide could be ended by now. For pilgrims following the river and eventually passing the small, wooden bridge there is no way of getting lost anymore. Although I never stayed for the night here, so I don’t know about the marking further back in town, to and from the albergue/hostales.

About A Rúa de Valdeorras: My end for the day. In A Rúa I stayed in Pensión Fabio just like I did three years ago: 25 euros, hotel-style. Luxury! It is located at the end of the main street, so it means some ten minutes to walk back to the central parts of A Rúa if you want to explore the town. The easiest way to get there is of course to stay on the road once you enter A Rúa. I write this because after entering town there are waymarks that want you to turn right to get to the albergue Casa Solana, which is also an option. And there are several other pensions in A Rúa.

I failed to stay at Casa Solana three years ago and only spoke to the hospitalera by phone. Her mother had turned ill so they were both at the hospital, and she redirected me to Pensión Fabio. Nowadays I always rely on hostals when it is possible, so no albergue for me this time either… According to three guys from Madrid who would stay at the albergue the same day, I did the right choice… But more about that in my next post.

Hang on!

/Bad Pilgrim
Do you have an email for Pension Fabio? I've been trying to setup my accommodations for our April trip and I can't find anything but a phone number. I would like to avoid Casa Solana if possible.
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
2019- Invierno
#12
Here’s what I have found on the web: https://pensionfabio.es/
I sent an email. We need a room for Easter Monday. I’m only making reservations from the start date the Wednesday prior through Monday. I’m guessing after this it shouldn’t be necessary since Easter holidays will be over.
Although I’m still waiting for some to respond from As Medulas and I guess I’ll the albergue in Villavieja to see if they take reservations. I’ve also sent a request to the pension that you mentioned in your guide that is in Villavieja. Those 2 places are my problem right now.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
#13
Do you have an email for Pension Fabio? I've been trying to setup my accommodations for our April trip and I can't find anything but a phone number. I would like to avoid Casa Solana if possible.[/QUOTE

Pension Fabio never answered my mail. Hostal Niza was OK, familybusiness I think, the daughter spoke a bit English when I called to book.
 
#14
I sent an email. We need a room for Easter Monday. I’m only making reservations from the start date the Wednesday prior through Monday. I’m guessing after this it shouldn’t be necessary since Easter holidays will be over.
Although I’m still waiting for some to respond from As Medulas and I guess I’ll the albergue in Villavieja to see if they take reservations. I’ve also sent a request to the pension that you mentioned in your guide that is in Villavieja. Those 2 places are my problem right now.
I have just called and spoken with the owner of the Pensión. He says he will take reservations by phone, but one week in advance. And then added “como mucho, como mucho, quince días.”

I am happy to call on behalf of any forum members who want to reserve. Phone is (international code is from US)
011 34 636 897 217
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
2019- Invierno
#15
I have just called and spoken with the owner of the Pensión. He says he will take reservations by phone, but one week in advance. And then added “como mucho, como mucho, quince días.”

I am happy to call on behalf of any forum members who want to reserve. Phone is (international code is from US)
011 34 636 897 217
Thanks, the one less call to make . I appreciate it. I’m fluent in Spanish so I call when the time comes. It’s just a problem now because I’m at work all day and my cell phone doesn’t cover international calls. So I have to wait to call from home. And...I’m 4 hours behind Eastern time on top of that :)

Waiting a week out makes me nervous. I may end up having to skip the entire Ponferrada to As Medulas stages and just start walking from there.
 
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#16
Thanks, the one less call to make . I appreciate it. I’m fluent in Spanish so I call when the time comes. It’s just a problem now because I’m at work all day and my cell phone doesn’t cover international calls. So I have to wait to call from home. And...I’m 4 hours behind Eastern time on top of that :)

Waiting a week out makes me nervous. I may end up having to skip the entire Ponferrada to As Medulas stages and just start walking from there.
I think that if you explain the special circumstances, i.e., Camino plus Semana Santa and Pascua, he will take your reservation. At least, that has typically been my experience in the past.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
09 CFrancés, CFisterra 10 VPodiensis 11 CNorte 12 VPlata 13 VPlata, CSanabrés 14 CLevante, CSanabrés 15 CSureste, CInvierno, CMuxia 16 CMadrid, CSalvador, CPrimitivo (17 RLana, CInterior)
#17
July 21: A Rúa – Quiroga
This is my favorite stage on the Camino de Invierno!! I could write all day about how much I like this stage, but it would be of no interest for the Guide, ha ha. Anyway, I don’t have much details to add, because it’s all there in the Guide already. Just a few observations:

About Montefurado: Three years ago I walked the 26 kms between A Rúa and Quiroga without any possibility to have even the tiniest cup of coffee. So I headed out from A Rúa again, prepared to repeat the experience. This time, as I walked through the semi-abandoned village of Montefurado, the door next to the fountain was open… the Centro Social! I couldn’t resist: I put on my most humble pilgrim-smile and asked them for a cup of coffee. I am not entirely sure about how to approach these places: it was obviously not a bar, but hey, they had some hot water and Nescafé… So you never know: even on this desolate stage, salvation may appear when you least expect it.

Quiroga: My goal for the day. I refused to stay at the municipal albergue, where the Spanish Association of Vocally Disturbed Teenagers regularly checks in for Summer camp. I ran past the building as fast as I could. I had already booked Hostal Quiper, a room for 20 euros according to the Guide; I paid 17 euros! The phone number in the Guide didn’t work for me; I looked it up on the Internet and phoned 982428451 instead. The owner/hospitalera is very friendly. I ran into her one more time in the evening in the adjacent bar. She introduced me to, uhm, everyone that was there or who walked by because she seemed to know everyone living in Quiroga.

I caught up with three Spanish guys from Madrid just before Montefurado. We would see each other every day for about one week, as they were walking the same stages as me. They would tell me that they had stayed in the albergue municipal in Quiroga – luckily without meeting any of the vocally challenged teenagers – and they were very happy with this place. They told me they had not liked Casa da Solaina in A Rúa the night before. To make a long story short – because a long story it was – they did not share the hospitalera’s interest in homeopathy. One topic of their conversation was cancer (go figure). Oh, it is of no interest for the revision of the Guide but I thought it was interesting to hear an opinion about an albergue. Although it is not my own experience, but the experience of others. If this is inappropriate or anything, I will delete the information! Feel free to comment.

/BP
 
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#18
Hi everyone,

About Priaranza del Bierzo: leaving the village, there is a path leading upwards among the woods/bushes. I missed this path, although I had already been here once before! I took a picture of the spot, as I was bewildered by the facts that there was no waymark there and that I didn’t make that mistake last time around!? Only when I was examining the photo later that day, I saw the corner of the mojón, hidden behind the bushes. So a warning here in summer: if the mojón is overgrown, you will most likely continue on the larger road, missing the dirt path that goes upwards among the hills.

/Bad Pilgrim
Hi, BP,
Thanks for the updates. I have a question about leaving Priaranza. I am not sure that we took any off-road path either, because the guide talks about seeing the Mirador de Santallo (scenic overlook down on the Bierzo valley and some cliffs). Do you know where this path re-joins the road? How far out of Priaranza is the turn-off.

And I think I have solved the conflicting info about prices in Hostal Torre. 18 is for shared bath single room, 20 is for private bath single room. And I will certainly change the phone numbers you have corrected. That’s very very helpful!
 
Camino(s) past & future
09 CFrancés, CFisterra 10 VPodiensis 11 CNorte 12 VPlata 13 VPlata, CSanabrés 14 CLevante, CSanabrés 15 CSureste, CInvierno, CMuxia 16 CMadrid, CSalvador, CPrimitivo (17 RLana, CInterior)
#21
Oh, drats, now you have thrown me off again. I guess I will just have to say that prices for single rooms with and without bath vary from 18-20 or thereabouts. Thanks, Mike!
A humble pilgrim-smile... It makes all the difference :0D
 
Camino(s) past & future
09 CFrancés, CFisterra 10 VPodiensis 11 CNorte 12 VPlata 13 VPlata, CSanabrés 14 CLevante, CSanabrés 15 CSureste, CInvierno, CMuxia 16 CMadrid, CSalvador, CPrimitivo (17 RLana, CInterior)
#22
Hi, BP,
Thanks for the updates. I have a question about leaving Priaranza. I am not sure that we took any off-road path either, because the guide talks about seeing the Mirador de Santallo (scenic overlook down on the Bierzo valley and some cliffs). Do you know where this path re-joins the road? How far out of Priaranza is the turn-off.

And I think I have solved the conflicting info about prices in Hostal Torre. 18 is for shared bath single room, 20 is for private bath single room. And I will certainly change the phone numbers you have corrected. That’s very very helpful!
Sorry, my fault : it is more of a road than a path. The guide is correct! The only problem is that you will miss the turn, if the mojón is overgrown! There is no new alternative here.
 
Camino(s) past & future
09 CFrancés, CFisterra 10 VPodiensis 11 CNorte 12 VPlata 13 VPlata, CSanabrés 14 CLevante, CSanabrés 15 CSureste, CInvierno, CMuxia 16 CMadrid, CSalvador, CPrimitivo (17 RLana, CInterior)
#23
July 22: Quiroga – Monforte de Lemos

Leaving Quiroga… and all the way to Monforte de Lemos: Nothing to declare. The Guide is accurate. I learned already in 2015 that it is unnecessary to walk the extra distance through the adjacent town of San Clodio in the morning, so I saved a few meters.

About Monforte de Lemos: Regarding the dirt path between Reigada and Monforte de Lemos… The Guide says this is a tricky part since there is always water and mud here. That is correct, but at least back in 2015 I managed to push through. This time I tried to thread, jump and walk on the tip of my toes for the first 50 or 100 meters. I’m quite stubborn and usually not give up when it comes to push through unfriendly terrain on a Camino, but eventually the whole path was filled with mud. First I refused to change direction, trying to walk next to the path, on the other side of a barbed wire. (It took me a while to find an opening in the barbed wire.) Then there was a wall of thick grass and bushes separating two fields that I had to cross… It seemed impossible to me, there was no way of getting round this. I gave up and backtracked to the road again. I used Google maps on my phone and turned to the right (that is: at the start of the dirt path, I turned right instead) and followed what seemed to be the shortest alternative way into Monforte. I guess I added some kms to the stage, but it was the only option.

The first hundred meters were actually very pleasant, as I was walking next to an irrigation canal with crystal clear water. I just wanted to dive right into it to cool down…! Soon after I entered some sort of suburb to Monforte de Lemos, a real slog, and finally I turned left to get into town.

As I crossed the railway tracks and was moving closer to the central parts of Monforte, old yellow arrows appeared on the ground! There were even blue-and-yellow ceramic ones on the sidewalk. Apparently, some alternative Camino has existed here before because I could spot several of them. I suppose this is an older version of the Camino from 2008 that is mentioned in the Guide. Anyway, from the point where I left the dirt path, there is no official re-routing. The Guide talks about efforts to re-route the Camino, but until this summer of 2018 this has not yet happened.

One of the guys from Madrid was already waiting for me outside the Pensión Miño (20 euros, recommended). He had arrived by taxi. He told me that his two friends would arrive soon: they had pushed through the mud! Perhaps it wasn’t impossible after all. He said they had mud up to their calves... Well, I walk in light runners (!) so wading through there should not have been pleasant. Nor waiting for my shoes to be clean or to dry… Overall impression: all the paths on this Camino were muddier than in 2015. There had definitely been raining more than three years ago.

It was Sunday and every store and supermarket was closed. There was a gas station just around the corner of the Pensión Miño where I could buy stuff for the next stage, but the rest of the town was dead. (There are bars and restaurants to have dinner, of course.) Take note, future Sunday Pilgrims.

Coming up next: Chantada!
 
#24
Your experience also explains why I didn’t remember the mud from my first Invierno but got into it on my second — the route change must have added the mud and taken away the railway tracks! I definitely remember that the first time I walked, the camino went past the railway station and then on a long sidewak walk through town. That means that those pensiones near the railroad station were at one time right on the camino. It is about 1.5 km from the station to central Monforte, but it sure seemed a lot longer when I was slogging in in the blazing sun.

Any other info on the road aternative that avoids the mud would be great, because it seems to be a permanent feature.

I did a google maps search from Rairos (the last little hamlet mentioned in the guide before Monforte) to Monforte, and I can see that the train tracks do impose a barrier. There is no crossing once they widen till the crossing in centra Monforte that the camino now uses.

I have no memory of where in that stretch before the tracks the mud might be.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
09 CFrancés, CFisterra 10 VPodiensis 11 CNorte 12 VPlata 13 VPlata, CSanabrés 14 CLevante, CSanabrés 15 CSureste, CInvierno, CMuxia 16 CMadrid, CSalvador, CPrimitivo (17 RLana, CInterior)
#25
Your experience also explains why I didn’t remember the mud from my first Invierno but got into it on my second — the route change must have added the mud and taken away the railway tracks! I definitely remember that the first time I walked, the camino went past the railway station and then on a long sidewak walk through town. That means that those pensiones near the railroad station were at one time right on the camino. It is about 1.5 km from the station to central Monforte, but it sure seemed a lot longer when I was slogging in in the blazing sun.

Any other info on the road aternative that avoids the mud would be great, because it seems to be a permanent feature.

I did a google maps search from Rairos (the last little hamlet mentioned in the guide before Monforte) to Monforte, and I can see that the train tracks do impose a barrier. There is no crossing once they widen till the crossing in centra Monforte that the camino now uses.

I have no memory of where in that stretch before the tracks the mud might be.
I looked it up on Google maps. I backtracked in my mind, from the pension Miño, and I believe I can make out on the map the way from where I came. Although I am not sure about the exact spot of the entrance to the mud path.

I would advice any future traveller to turn right at that spot, and continue on the asphalt next to an irrigation canal until you reach a roundabout, and then continue left... That is when the first houses of Monforte begin. There is one more sharp turn to the left in order to walk straight into Monforte. Ugh, that is too vague to be in the guide. It is like... If you use Google maps it all about following the shortest road to reach Monforte (except for the mud path which of course is shorter). I don't think I should ever write a Camino guide... :0(
 

owms2323

Credential question
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances (2014) Camino Frances (2016) Camino Finisterre/Muxia (2017)
#26
Hi everyone,

I promised to write this for so long now… Here it comes!

Summary: I walked the Invierno this year (summer 2018) between July 19 and July 27. That makes 9 stages which is perfect for me! But as Laurie’s Invierno guide suggests, there are several ways to change this if you want to make more or fewer stages. I stayed in the same towns as in 2015, when I walked the Invierno for the first time. I was eager to see how much had changed on this route since three years…!

I am posting this mainly to point out things that could go into the next version of the Camino de Invierno guide! Just tag along and feel free to comment!

July 18: Arrival to Ponferrada by bus

I had previously finished my Camino Mozárabe (from Almería) in Mérida. I decided to take the bus between Mérida and Ponferrada to start the Camino de Invierno for a second time. The bus departed from Mérida about 01:30 a.m. (gasp!). Needless to say, I was the only traveler waiting for the bus at the dark, spooky backyard of the Mérida bus station in the middle of the night.

July 19: Beginning from Ponferrada: I had been to Ponferrada many times before and I am always keen on checking out new albergues or other places to stay. So, this time I opted for the private albergue Guiana. It is very easy to find. Whether you come walking from the bus station in Ponferrada or from the Camino Francés, you will certainly stumble upon it. It is placed at about an equal distance between the medieval castle and the municipal albergue on the Camino Francés. Very clean and modern, looking as if it was built yesterday. A breakfast as if it was a buffé in a hotel (although centered on the sweet stuff: bread, jam, fruit, berries, cereals… and almost nothing salty. The staff pointed this out to me as some pilgrims prefer salty things for breakfast). Breakfast +5 euros, washing machine +5 euros. I don’t remember the price for the actual stay, but since it is a private albergue I guess it was some 10-15 euros. What more can I say? Very friendly staff as well. I am definitely coming back! :OD

About Priaranza del Bierzo: leaving the village, there is a path leading upwards among the woods/bushes. I missed this path, although I had already been here once before! I took a picture of the spot, as I was bewildered by the facts that there was no waymark there and that I didn’t make that mistake last time around!? Only when I was examining the photo later that day, I saw the corner of the mojón, hidden behind the bushes. So a warning here in summer: if the mojón is overgrown, you will most likely continue on the larger road, missing the dirt path that goes upwards among the hills.

About Villavieja: There are many wooden signs about an albergue before entering Villavieja so apparently they have one up and running now. I didn’t see it from where I walked through the village so I don’t know where it is located. Neither was there any sign of the infamous mastiff that scares pilgrims en masse.

I might add right away: this is the Camino of the Doggies. There are dogs everywhere, especially on the first stage (until Las Médulas), often unchained. I was going to count them this time, but I gave up when I got to about 15 already in the morning. But none of them was aggressive. They seemed very well educated! Some of them approached me to greet me or to sniff at my legs; calmly, without any snarls or other aggressive behavior. There were no problems at all. (Although on subsequent stages I would meet some of the more aggressive specimens. But it is all just for showing off: they never even touched me.)

About Puente de Domingo Florez: My end for the day. I stayed in Hostal La Torre, as I did in 2015. The easiest way to get there is to turn right, just as you come down from the hills. Follow the road, emerge on the N-536 and after a few minutes the Hostal La Torre appears on your left. I write this because, in 2015, I lost a lot of time running around in town looking for the hostal… Perhaps this could go into the updated guide as well.

I payed 18 euros, which is reported as being an exception in the guide. Nice surprise! Important: the phone number in the guide 987 460 589 to Hostal La Torre did not work (for me) but the other number listed in the guide did. When leaving the next day, the guide also says there may be no marking at the Día supermarket but there is a mojón!

Well that’s all for the first day. As you can see I focus on things that could be of interest for the guide, and not so much on experiences, weather, fortunes-misfortunes and so on… I hope you can make something out of it. Of course it is an extremely beautiful Camino!! I will get back to you with my notes of the second day (it will be much shorter than this post).

Byyyyye!

/Bad Pilgrim
What is a mojon?
 
Camino(s) past & future
09 CFrancés, CFisterra 10 VPodiensis 11 CNorte 12 VPlata 13 VPlata, CSanabrés 14 CLevante, CSanabrés 15 CSureste, CInvierno, CMuxia 16 CMadrid, CSalvador, CPrimitivo (17 RLana, CInterior)
#28
July 23: Monforte de Lemos - Chantada

On leaving Monforte the Lemos: The guide mentions a few things to look out for in order not to miss where/how to leave the town. I would like to add the statue of a medieval pilgrim, pointing with a cross on a stick, towards Estrada A Vide (next village). It is in the second roundabout, close to the first one with the hórreo. It is this roundabout that catapults you out of Monforte de Lemos and finally puts you on the right track towards the first hamlet of the day.

Frequent questions about the Invierno concern the amount of asphalt on this Camino. This must be the stage with the most asphalt. Apart for some stretches in the woods, and going up and down from the Miño river in Belesar, it is entirely on asphalt. Yeah yeah, not each end every step, but I would easily say that there is at least 80 % asphalt here. It is one of my least favorite stretches on the Invierno. There is a seemingly endless slog of small villages on that asphalted chunk of the Camino that precedes the descent to Belesar... And this morning there was so much fog I couldn’t see more than 50 meters in front of me. In the silence and with the shapes of the landscape disappearing around me, I became almost dizzy.

About Chantada: I stayed once again at the pension Yoel (12 euros for the cheapest option: shared bathroom). As the guide says, Yoel is a bit outdated. The furniture and overall impression is that no-one has brushed up this place since the 1980’s. But I don’t complain. It is basically clean, and I had the whole place to myself. It is run by two ladies who live in one of the apartments. Take note: there is a key to your room but not to the main entrance. You have to buzz and hope for the ladies to be at home so they can push the button and let you in. I usually walk to and from my room several times a day: I must have driven them crazy with my coming and going. The three Spaniards stayed at the Hotel Mogay and had nothing but praise for it. I have seen mixed reviews about that place but according to them, they were in heaven.

When entering Chantada, there is a bar called No río, a bit hidden from view but right next to the Camino, and next to the beautiful river. I have to give them a thumb’s up here: it was sooo cozy/modern/ friendly/beautiful, not that it was fancy or anything. Can I advertise for them by writing this?! I had a wonderful coffee there when arriving in Chantada, and I just had to walk back for another one in the afternoon! Their slogan is “The best terrace in Chantada” and I am inclined to believe them. Don’t miss it.

Add to guide: there is a laundromat in the same building as the Pensión Yoel (and thus close to the Mogay and to other places to stay). 3 euros with credit card, 3,50 euros cash. It was all automatized but even a high-tech dinosaur like me could figure out how to use it. It was a welcome surprise.

Next stop: Rodeiro!
 
#29
I would advice any future traveller to turn right at that spot, and continue on the asphalt next to an irrigation canal until you reach a roundabout, and then continue left...
Can you give me any indication of where “that spot” might be? I can also just say something like the following:

A few km outside of Monforte, you will come to a stretch that is very muddy, no matter what season it is. To avoid it if it seems impassable, you will have to backtrack. At the first road, turn left (which would be a right if you were walking towards Monforte), you will get on the road into town and come into Monforte on the old camino, which enters town near the RR station.

´This may be totally wrong, so I could also just say you should use google maps like BP did!
 
#30
BP,

Thanks for the tip on No Rio. Again according to googlemaps, it looks like it is before Mesón Lucus, which is also right on the river. Lucus used to be the most popular and heavily visited place in Chantada, but the transition to new owners seems to have lost some of the charm. If you or anyone else has been there lately, updates would be welcome. And new places to recommend as well. I suppose the No Rio doesn’t do meals, is that right?
 
Camino(s) past & future
09 CFrancés, CFisterra 10 VPodiensis 11 CNorte 12 VPlata 13 VPlata, CSanabrés 14 CLevante, CSanabrés 15 CSureste, CInvierno, CMuxia 16 CMadrid, CSalvador, CPrimitivo (17 RLana, CInterior)
#31
BP,

Thanks for the tip on No Rio. Again according to googlemaps, it looks like it is before Mesón Lucus, which is also right on the river. Lucus used to be the most popular and heavily visited place in Chantada, but the transition to new owners seems to have lost some of the charm. If you or anyone else has been there lately, updates would be welcome. And new places to recommend as well. I suppose the No Rio doesn’t do meals, is that right?
I don't know about Mesón Lucus, it doesn't ring a bell with me. And I don't know about meals at the No Río, I was only out after the coffee! :O) I will ask them next time ;OD
 
Camino(s) past & future
09 CFrancés, CFisterra 10 VPodiensis 11 CNorte 12 VPlata 13 VPlata, CSanabrés 14 CLevante, CSanabrés 15 CSureste, CInvierno, CMuxia 16 CMadrid, CSalvador, CPrimitivo (17 RLana, CInterior)
#32
Can you give me any indication of where “that spot” might be? I can also just say something like the following:

A few km outside of Monforte, you will come to a stretch that is very muddy, no matter what season it is. To avoid it if it seems impassable, you will have to backtrack. At the first road, turn left (which would be a right if you were walking towards Monforte), you will get on the road into town and come into Monforte on the old camino, which enters town near the RR station.

´This may be totally wrong, so I could also just say you should use google maps like BP did!
I checked with those satellite-google-maps-with-terrain-thingies and I zoomed in on "the spot": the mojón is there! I know exactly where I went know. Just give me some time and I can describe it in detail, but it is pretty much as you described it above. In short: you come from Reigada, pass under the motorway (you can see the tunnel on the "normal" google map) and a few hundred meters further on you turn right (to avoid the mud) at the crossroad where it says "Canal Margen izquierda" on the map!

/BP
 
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Camino(s) past & future
09 CFrancés, CFisterra 10 VPodiensis 11 CNorte 12 VPlata 13 VPlata, CSanabrés 14 CLevante, CSanabrés 15 CSureste, CInvierno, CMuxia 16 CMadrid, CSalvador, CPrimitivo (17 RLana, CInterior)
#33
July 24: Chantada - Rodeiro

A call upon all pilgrims not to miss the Monte do Faro. As I had already been there, I was thinking about skipping it and explore one of the alternative ways of getting around it. Finally, I went there anyway. I couldn’t resist. The fog was even thicker than three years ago and that was what attracted me: I love walking up to the shrine in the mist. My runners and socks got soaked after just half a minute in the ice-cold, wet grass during the ascent along the wooden crosses. And I enjoyed every second of it.

The guys from Madrid were just leaving the granite shelter as I got there. After that, I had the whole area to myself. Everything was wrapped in fog and rain. Only occasionally could I make out the contours of the chapel and other objects in the surrounding. I know it must be ten times more interesting to actually experience the views from up there on a clear day, but who can resist the mist and the silence? I felt I could have stayed there forever. Oh, and I had no problems leaving the place, because I already knew how to exit and how get back on the Camino. But for an Invierno newbie caught in the fog, I think it is very good that the Guide is detailed about directions here.

There is a bar a few kms before arriving in Rodeiro: O Recanto in the little hamlet of A Feira. You have to follow an arrow to the left instead of walking straight through the hamlet. I was hesitant and didn’t understand why there was an alternative. But I saw the backpack of one of the guys from Madrid disappearing behind the corner, so I turned as well. That is how I stumbled upon the bar, which I hadn’t seen last time I was here. This was the first coffee stop since leaving Chantada and the ice-cold mist of the Monte do Faro. A warm café con leche was most welcome! Then there were less than 2 kms to Rodeiro. It felt as if I was there in a minute.

Take note: Fellow pilgrim Laurie recently wrote in another thread: “Years ago, the Camino went through the little hamlets of A Feira and Leboro, but I think it has been re-routed.” I don’t think so: I remember following the waymarks through the hamlets in 2015, and now also in 2018. I have seen no other arrows in the vicinity!

About Rodeiro: I wanted to stay at the Hostal O Guerra (best food on the Camino de Invierno!). But it was closed, so all pilgrims checked in at the Hostal Carpinteiro a few hundred meters further away. 20 euros for a single room. I remember being somewhat disappointed with the room and that 20 euros was a bit much for this kind of lodging. For example, I had the impression that my bathroom was falling apart around me. As for the food, I didn’t have dinner there, so I don’t know if it can compete with the O Guerra. But the O Guerra is located centrally in town, and I got a bit frustrated about having to walk back and forth between the center and the O Carpinteiro as soon as I had some errands to run… Sorry, I still prefer the Hostal O Guerra!

The Carpinteiro being the only game in town made me able to count the number of pilgrims on the Camino at that moment. I think there were nine pilgrims staying at the hostal. In 2015, I was alone for the entire Camino! There is certainly an increase of pilgrims on this route. I also observed how many of them sent their backpacks by taxi. I noticed this already in Monforte de Lemos, where there were five or six of us staying at the Pensión Miño. In the morning, there were at least four backpacks waiting in the reception, tagged with addresses and the taxi company that would transfer them. Also here, in Rodeiro, there was a pile of them waiting to be picked up as I sneaked out in the morning. Only one couple seemed to be elderly people, the rest of us 30-40-year-olds. So how come people can’t carry their own backpacks? This is not about me cab-shaming other pilgrims. But I would lie if I said I didn’t give it a thought. After all, I am the Bad Pilgrim, not the Good Pilgrim.

Next day was a long one, to Silleda. Don’t go anywhere!
 
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MikeJS

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis (2011), Norte (2012), VdlP (Apr 2016). Sureste/Invierno (Apr/May 2017).
#34
July 22: Quiroga – Monforte de Lemos

Leaving Quiroga… and all the way to Monforte de Lemos: Nothing to declare. The Guide is accurate. I learned already in 2015 that it is unnecessary to walk the extra distance through the adjacent town of San Clodio in the morning, so I saved a few meters.

About Monforte de Lemos: Regarding the dirt path between Reigada and Monforte de Lemos… The Guide says this is a tricky part since there is always water and mud here. That is correct, but at least back in 2015 I managed to push through. This time I tried to thread, jump and walk on the tip of my toes for the first 50 or 100 meters. I’m quite stubborn and usually not give up when it comes to push through unfriendly terrain on a Camino, but eventually the whole path was filled with mud. First I refused to change direction, trying to walk next to the path, on the other side of a barbed wire. (It took me a while to find an opening in the barbed wire.) Then there was a wall of thick grass and bushes separating two fields that I had to cross… It seemed impossible to me, there was no way of getting round this. I gave up and backtracked to the road again. I used Google maps on my phone and turned to the right (that is: at the start of the dirt path, I turned right instead) and followed what seemed to be the shortest alternative way into Monforte. I guess I added some kms to the stage, but it was the only option.

The first hundred meters were actually very pleasant, as I was walking next to an irrigation canal with crystal clear water. I just wanted to dive right into it to cool down…! Soon after I entered some sort of suburb to Monforte de Lemos, a real slog, and finally I turned left to get into town.

As I crossed the railway tracks and was moving closer to the central parts of Monforte, old yellow arrows appeared on the ground! There were even blue-and-yellow ceramic ones on the sidewalk. Apparently, some alternative Camino has existed here before because I could spot several of them. I suppose this is an older version of the Camino from 2008 that is mentioned in the Guide. Anyway, from the point where I left the dirt path, there is no official re-routing. The Guide talks about efforts to re-route the Camino, but until this summer of 2018 this has not yet happened.

One of the guys from Madrid was already waiting for me outside the Pensión Miño (20 euros, recommended). He had arrived by taxi. He told me that his two friends would arrive soon: they had pushed through the mud! Perhaps it wasn’t impossible after all. He said they had mud up to their calves... Well, I walk in light runners (!) so wading through there should not have been pleasant. Nor waiting for my shoes to be clean or to dry… Overall impression: all the paths on this Camino were muddier than in 2015. There had definitely been raining more than three years ago.

It was Sunday and every store and supermarket was closed. There was a gas station just around the corner of the Pensión Miño where I could buy stuff for the next stage, but the rest of the town was dead. (There are bars and restaurants to have dinner, of course.) Take note, future Sunday Pilgrims.

Coming up next: Chantada!
HI BP - when I walked the Invierno in May last year for this stretch I simply wrote - Quiroga to Monforte de Lemos 35kms was a lovely walk with a few hills but nothing too strenuous, reminded me of the gentle slops up Vesuvius when I used to do the annual race. Lots of woodland and a great walk along a stream from O Pobra. Then a good green lane walk into town. Stopped at A Pobra for a coffee, luckily one cafe was open at 1100 on a Sunday. No food, not even tostadas! Still no other peregrinos seen and there were a group of 5 dogs just before Barxa rowdy but no problem.

I wonder what has changed so much as it was fairly wet the few weeks before I got there? I was using the Wise Pilgrim app for directions.
 
Camino(s) past & future
09 CFrancés, CFisterra 10 VPodiensis 11 CNorte 12 VPlata 13 VPlata, CSanabrés 14 CLevante, CSanabrés 15 CSureste, CInvierno, CMuxia 16 CMadrid, CSalvador, CPrimitivo (17 RLana, CInterior)
#35
HI BP - when I walked the Invierno in May last year for this stretch I simply wrote - Quiroga to Monforte de Lemos 35kms was a lovely walk with a few hills but nothing too strenuous, reminded me of the gentle slops up Vesuvius when I used to do the annual race. Lots of woodland and a great walk along a stream from O Pobra. Then a good green lane walk into town. Stopped at A Pobra for a coffee, luckily one cafe was open at 1100 on a Sunday. No food, not even tostadas! Still no other peregrinos seen and there were a group of 5 dogs just before Barxa rowdy but no problem.

I wonder what has changed so much as it was fairly wet the few weeks before I got there? I was using the Wise Pilgrim app for directions.
I know,

I think the waterlogged part has it ebbs and flows depending on the season and previous weather, and perhaps some unknown factor as well. I could walk through there back in 2015 and, take note, two out of three Spanish pilgrims could as well this sunny day of 2018. Perhaps I shouldn't have given up so easily…!

Wise-Pilgrim App sounds interesting. Can hi-tech dinosaurs learn how to use it as well?? :Oo

/BP
 
Camino(s) past & future
09 CFrancés, CFisterra 10 VPodiensis 11 CNorte 12 VPlata 13 VPlata, CSanabrés 14 CLevante, CSanabrés 15 CSureste, CInvierno, CMuxia 16 CMadrid, CSalvador, CPrimitivo (17 RLana, CInterior)
#37
Your experience also explains why I didn’t remember the mud from my first Invierno but got into it on my second — the route change must have added the mud and taken away the railway tracks! I definitely remember that the first time I walked, the camino went past the railway station and then on a long sidewak walk through town. That means that those pensiones near the railroad station were at one time right on the camino. It is about 1.5 km from the station to central Monforte, but it sure seemed a lot longer when I was slogging in in the blazing sun.

Any other info on the road aternative that avoids the mud would be great, because it seems to be a permanent feature.

I did a google maps search from Rairos (the last little hamlet mentioned in the guide before Monforte) to Monforte, and I can see that the train tracks do impose a barrier. There is no crossing once they widen till the crossing in centra Monforte that the camino now uses.

I have no memory of where in that stretch before the tracks the mud might be.
Laurie,

I just send you a PM about this - or so I think. I hope I pushed the right button. I don't usually use that function on the Forum. High-tech dinosaur... :O(

/BP
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#38
Thank you so much for sharing. I enjoyed reading it since I'm planning to walk the Invierno some day in the future. I understand your reasons for not including experience etc. But allow me to suggest a picture or two of the days walking route. It would give the reader an idea of the path, the surroundings and the "walkability" of it....hope you understand my lingo.....Buon Camino 👍
Hi, Torben,

Here's the link to my day by day journal on Invierno with GPS tracks (better use it with a pinch of salt because sometimes I improvised a bit and didn't follow route 100%) and a lot of photos from 2014. As I know from other posters that walked this route after me it didn't change much in 4 years so it will give you a general impression of the nature, villages etc.

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/my-camino-de-invierno-july-2014.25355/

Happy planning :)
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#39
Hi, BP,
Thanks for the updates. I have a question about leaving Priaranza. I am not sure that we took any off-road path either, because the guide talks about seeing the Mirador de Santallo (scenic overlook down on the Bierzo valley and some cliffs). Do you know where this path re-joins the road? How far out of Priaranza is the turn-off. ...
Maybe I can be of some help here.
There is a short off-road stretch after Priaranza. But let's start with approaching the village. After coming from Villalibre de la Jurisdicion and left turn onto N-536 very soon you can either stay on the highway or take the first right turn into Calle el Corro and through the village. Continue straight (to the right after more than 1km is very welcoming bar) and at the end of the village the Camino continues on Calle Real Urbia. After another 1km of off-road walking (this is the off-road BP mentioned) you are on N-536 again and soon there's Mirador Santalla del Bierzo.

More here: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/my-camino-de-invierno-july-2014.25355/
 
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