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Virtual Camino Camino de Levante - Camí de Llevant

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
For general information, I saw this post today and decided to check on it. Yes, it says 28 euros, if you enter the website above, but asks for the dates of arrival/departure and immediately transfers to booking.com, which gives a price of 50 euros plus, in very small print, another 5 euros for taxes, and also offers breakfast for 5 euros. My guess is that this website is set up to draw in people to consider casas rurales with prices which do not exist. For those whose fluency in Spanish is better than mine and who are travelling in the off season, this would still be a possibility. I do not have a telephone number for Casa Peseta, and am hoping that someone can provide one, in case I should feel the confidence to negotiate.
The 28€ is per person, and as I guess they assume two people per room, that would give 56€ per room.
I have found more details here, with this phone number: 658937285.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 25: La Puebla de Almoradiel to Villacañas

This stage spans the end of the published 13th stage and the beginning of the 14th.

There are 9.4 km from La Puebla de Almoradiel to Villa de Don Fadrique. There, if you would like to spend the night, there is an albergue in the Polideportivo. You have to ring ahead, in particular if you're arriving on weekends. The alternative is Casa Rural Rincón del Infante. I won't add anything to what has already been said about this casa rural by @peregrina2000 (post #289) and @omar504 (post #297).

This is what @peregrina2000 wrote in her blog about Villa de Don Fadrique:
When we arrived in the Villa de Don Fadrique, the first stop was the office of the local police. We got our credenciales stamped, had our passports xeroxed, and were given the key to the polideportivo. I also made sure to get the information on the nearby Casa Rural in case the polideportivo turned out to be not exactly up my alley. Turns out the space is fine, clean, with hot showers, some thin mats for sleeping in big open rooms. All of this would have been fine for me, but the dealbreaker was the cold temperatures. I knew I would freeze at night, so back I went to the Plaza Mayor and the Casa Rural.

Then, from Don Fadrique to Villacañas, it's a further 10.6 km, making it a total of 20 km for this stage. It's all flat, with lots of vineyards.

In Villacañas, there is a donativo at the Asunción Parish Church. I'll highlight the comment that the Amigos have in the accommodation list:
muy malas referencias: borrachos etc...
or in English: very bad references: drunkards etc... I wonder what the "etc..." refers to :eek:
So we would probably go to one of the alternatives: Hotel Europa, Hostal Pub Prickly or Alojamiento Rural Lalola.

A noteworthy sight is the town's subterranean houses or silos. The Ethnographic Museum is located in one.

There's a cute promotional video done by the ayuntamiento of Villacañas:
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
The 28€ is per person, and as I guess they assume two people per room, that would give 56€ per room.
I have found more details here, with this phone number: 658937285.
Thank you for this. I still find it a strange way to advertise accommodation and not very helpful for a solitary walker. The problem is, there are very few places to sleep in Vallada, from what I have heard so far, only this casa rural and the Albergue Turistico "Paraje de la Ermitas." I believe that Giners Rural House is now only apartments. Does anyone know anything about Casa del Pueblo "La Iglesia?" I have not been able to keep completely up to date lately and may have missed something. And thanks for those who are so good at searching out accommodation options.
 

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)

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
There's a cute promotional video done by the ayuntamiento of Villacañas:

Interesting video, I wonder if this is part of an effort to attrack “big city folks” back to the pueblo.


or in English: very bad references: drunkards etc... I wonder what the "etc..." refers to :eek:
So we would probably go to one of the alternatives: Hotel Europa, Hostal Pub Prickly or Alojamiento Rural Lalola.

Maybe an indication to stay away from the “Hostal Pub.” Drink in the pub, sleep it off in the hostal. Hotel Europa would be my choice, if budget allows.

Leaving Don Fadrique we had our first sustained rain of the walk, and I remember arriving in Villacañas just totally dripping wet as the rain abated. The people in the bar/cafetería were exceedingly nice and understanding, just told us to come on in and they would clean up all the water we were leaving everywhere. That’s not a surprising response, but certainly not universal.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 26: Villacañas to Tembleque

This stage covers the last two thirds of stage 14. It is flat, runs along 18.5 km, and when it rains, it is very muddy, as @peregrina2000 experienced in 2013. Packed lunch and water are required, as there is no place to stop along the way.

I hear Tembleque is a nice place, and looking at recent footage of the plaza mayor, it seems that the building that was left in disrepair has been fixed. This is @peregrina2000 's description back in 2013:
We´ve now taken a tour of the town and can say that the Plaza Mayor is as beautiful as everyone says. Except for one thing. About 1/5 of it is falling down. We heard the story from a local. Two rich local guys bought up part of the Plaza Mayor in order to put a luxury hotel there. After a lot of back and forth with the town hall with no agreement reached, the owners essentially told the town to shove it and stopped maintaining their property -- for years. So in February, it collapsed and is now in emergency reconstruction. Everyone in town is hopping mad, the nicest thing I´ve heard the owners called is "sinverguenza" (which badly translates to shameless). One is in jail, much to the delight of many. It is truly a tragedy, and it looks like it will require a LOT of money to restore.

There is no albergue municipal in Tembleque, but efforts are being made to have one for 2021, if the information of the ayuntamiento's website page about this is correct:
La futura reconversión de una céntrica vivienda en albergue pondrá en valor, más si cabe, nuestro pueblo.
In English: The future conversion of a centrally located house into a hostel will make our town even more valuable.
In the meantime, in the Amigos' list of lodgings, there's the Hotel A Posada, the Casa Rural El Balcón de la Mancha (comprising of a 2 bedroom and a 4 bedroom apartments), Casa Rural Ariza and Casa Rural Aldonza. The ayuntamiento's list of accommodation also includes Casa Rural Cruz Verde. Gérard du Camino's update on 31 January 2020 indicates that the Casa Rural Aldonza no longer exists.

It looks like there are a few nice things to see in Tembleque. In addition to the Plaza Mayor, there are two windmills that you'll see when you arrive in Tembleque, the Palacio de las Torres, the municipal library which once was the Ermita de de la Vera Cruz built in 1762 and has an octagonal floor plan, and the church.

Would this be a nice place to take a rest day?
 

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)
ould this be a nice place to take a rest day?
If you wanted to take that detour to see Consuerga, this would be the place to do that from. There's a straight-shot 28 km smaller track (labeled on OSMand as the 'Camino de Consuerga a Tembleque') that would be fun to do on a bike, but Tembleque looks plenty interesting on its own merits. Edit: Wikipedia tells me that "after the reconquest of Toledo, the village belonged to the Knights Hospitaller." Hence that octagonal ermita?
 
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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 27: Tembleque to Mora

In real life Camino, we would stay an extra night in Tembleque, to have a rest day.
On this virtual Levante, we're walking on, and this next stage is 25 km from Tembleque to Mora, the 15th published stage.
This is a stage without stops in between, so take a packed lunch and plenty of water. Unless you divert via Villanueva de Bogas, which is on the Sureste. Once again, here's a description from @peregrina2000 's blog in 2013:
From Tembleque to Mora is a long, isolated walk, in fact we didn´t see another soul until we reached Villanueva de Bogas about 1/2 way to our destination. Walking conditions were perfect, through endless fields. And for about 20 of the 24 kms, we had not one but two castles in our view. One on the left, the castle of Mora, we would see up close on Saturday. The other, straight ahead, was the amazing ruins of Almonacid de Toledo.

25 km is fine for most pilgrims. Should there be any issues with completing the stage, Mora has, according to a popular search engine, three taxi services.

In Mora, there is no albergue. We have the Hostal El Toledano, Hotel Los Conejos and Casa Rural El Palomar (out of town). El Toledano was described thus by @peregrina2000 in 2013:
We found the run-down Pension Toledano in the town of Mora, where rooms were 18 euros per person. Basically clean, but not the kind of place you´d want to stay on vacation.

Mora is on @JLWV 's list of towns with castles. We're also in the "tierra de olivos". The town has a museum dedicated to olive oil. The town hall has an interesting architecture. The Castillo de Peñas Negras can be seen as you approach the town. It doesn't look like there's much to see.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Now that pilgrims are walking again, should I stop this virtual Camino in Toledo? I wasn't going to go past Zamora anyway, as that has been covered by @C clearly .
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
We did take the detour, and actually I don’t think it adds any kilometers. The map versions of it make it look much more confusing than it is. We went to Villanueva so we could get a coffee in the bar in the social center in town. It was one of the few places I’ve been in Spain where people were openly flaunting the no smoking rules, but that’s probably because no one outside of their own little bubble ever enters this place. But it was coffee!

And I second VN’s no! With the way things are going in Spain, and parts of Madrid being on total lockdown, who knows how long the walking will last anyway. And for those of us not walking, it is nice to have something Camino-related to do.

And PS. The castle in Mora is a good bit out of town.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
For general information, I saw this post today and decided to check on it. Yes, it says 28 euros, if you enter the website above, but asks for the dates of arrival/departure and immediately transfers to booking.com, which gives a price of 50 euros plus, in very small print, another 5 euros for taxes, and also offers breakfast for 5 euros. My guess is that this website is set up to draw in people to consider casas rurales with prices which do not exist. For those whose fluency in Spanish is better than mine and who are travelling in the off season, this would still be a possibility. I do not have a telephone number for Casa Peseta, and am hoping that someone can provide one, in case I should feel the confidence to negotiate.

I was looking at a few of the others on the page, and they give the telephone numbers on each casa rural's page-- it's on the right hand side, just above the map, and reads "ver telefonos." If your spoken castellano is as bad as mine, it might help just to text your message to them.
 

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)
Looking for restaurants in Mora - there are a bunch of them - I see that we walked right past one in Quintanar de la Orden that has a Michelin Bib Gourmand rating:
Granero, San Fernando 90, Quintanar de la Orden
Specialty
Huevos trufados fritos
Lomo de ciervo con pera al vino tinto
Delicia de mazapán y helado
🙁
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Looking for restaurants in Mora

One thing to remember about many restaurants in Castilla-La Mancha is that their weekend menús del día are significantly more expensive than their weekday offerings. That is not as widely true in other parts of Spain. I am going to search around to find which restaurant we ate in in Mora. I think it may be La Huerta, but one of my favorite dining camino stories happened in Mora. I’ve told it a million times, but hey, it deserves to be on this planning thread.

I was with my two French pals and it was a Saturday, I believe. The menús in all of the restaurants were in the 20s. We decided on one place and sat down to order. When the waiter asked what we wanted to drink, of course the answer was red wine. Then he asked — ¿con gaseosa? Gaseosa is a sweet carbonated beverage that is unique to Spain, I think. The Frenchmen were horrified — you can’t put sweet fizzy water into wine!!! When I told the waiter their response, he looked very concerned and said — oh, but this wine is not good enough to drink without gaseosa. That didn’t sit well with me, so I said — well I think that if you are charging us these high prices for a menú del día, it could be served with a wine that can be drunk without gaseosa. The waiter concurred and brought us a decent bottle. ;) I’m sure it was nothing spectacular, but it met my French pals’ standards.

Mora is a funny little town, I am sure it is struggling now. I don’t think it has made it as a bedroom community for Toledo, because there are lots of others closer in. Which you will walk through as you head towards the jewel city. Hope you have saved up your rest days, AJ!
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
And PS. The castle in Mora is a good bit out of town.
If it is on the way to Mora, is a detour possible? Looks like a decent climb...

One thing to remember about many restaurants in Castilla-La Mancha is that their weekend menús del día are significantly more expensive than their weekday offerings.
Interesting, as we never experienced that while walking the Norte in 2018.

Hope you have saved up your rest days, AJ!
I sure have! ☺ I still have a few available before we get to Zamora!

Day 28: Mora to Burguillos de Toledo

The distance between Mora and Toledo, which constitutes the published 16th stage of the Levante, is 39.5 km. A day's walk for fit pilgrims who start at 5:30am, even with all the stops on the last 3 km, walking along the Tajo.

For us slow walkers, we have to split this stage up into sections. There are a number of options. For example, and this is what we would possibly do in real life, we could walk 11.3 km to Almonacid de Toledo, then another 14.6 km to Burguillos de Toledo, and finally 13.6 km to Toledo. Almonacid looks like a nice place to visit.

If we wanted to walk this stage in two days, Nambroca looks like a good place, as it is half way. The only issue is that the accommodation is not in Nambroca. The Amigos list the Hotel La Nieves, which is 5 km out of the way, and the Casa Rural El Majuelillo (El Miguelillo in the Amigos' list), which is in a place called Lugar Finca el Cañal, about 1.5 km south of Nambroca. However, Google tells me that this is permanently closed (can you please check, @JLWV ? Thank you!) I did find a room in a private house (through AirBnB), but who knows if would be available. So we might have to continue to Burguillos de Toledo, which gives us a 25.9 km day. It's longer than what we would like to walk (or could walk depending on my darling's energy levels), which is why in real life we would walk this in three days. For the purpose of this virtual Camino, and so as not to drag out this Camino, we'll walk to Burguillos.

The Amigos list two lodgings in Burguillos, Casa Isidora, and Casa rural Fuenteflor. Google tells me the latter is permanently closed, @JLWV , could you please also check this one? Thank you!
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Almonacid looks like a nice place to visit.
Almonacid de Toledo is (or was in 2014) a complete dump, possibly the most aggressively charmless pueblo on the Levante (to be fair, it has very little competition for that honour).

The acogida is fine, with plenty of loos and hot water showers, and a piece of board you lay on benches in the municipal swimming pool changing room to sleep on. You could lie on the floor if you don't mind sharing with the numerous very friendly cockroaches. The nearby Kuki Bar makes (or, I hope, made, as it may have improved) the cockroaches seem charming: dirty, borderline racist (probably not borderline if your skin tone is one degree darker than mine), men only, full of smoke (encouraged by the landlord, who did not favour the use of soap on his hands, or under his nails) and with a smell of stale oil permeating everything. At least the landlord didn't waste matches, as he liked to light his next cigarette from the end of his last one. Thank goodness I didn't eat there. Oh and there was a well-tended memorial to José-Antonio and other suggestions of rebel sympathies.

Did I mention that I didn't like Almonacid de Toledo very much? Nice castle up above, mind.

DSC_0323.jpg
 
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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Almonacid de Toledo is (or was in 2014) a complete dump, possibly the most aggressively charmless pueblo on the Levante (to be fair, it has very little competition for that honour).

Did I mention that I didn't like Almonacid de Toledo very much? Nice castle up above, mind.
:eek: :eek:
Ok, that changes our real life Camino plans...

The Casa Rural in Mascaraque requires 2 nights minimum, Almonacid is to be avoided, there's not much accommodation choice in Nambroca (unless we walk the extra 5 km to Las Nieves, or El Majuelillo is not permanently closed)...

We are not Camino purists, as there is absolutely no way my darling wife would walk 39.5 km.
It looks like there is a morning bus from Mora to Almonacid via Mascaraque, but it's not daily.
We might take a taxi from Mora to Mascaraque, and then walk 20.3km to Burguillos.

Thoughts/suggestions?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I remembered that @filly found a good solution. Look at post number 49. Hotel Villa Nazules. Not cheap, but it is an option. It is billed as a Hípica Spa, which I assume are two separate services, and not a spa for horses.

I had also found a casa rural in Burguillos (see post 47 in the same thread), but that is about 15 kms beyond Almonacid.

If you are going to take a taxi, you have the right idea to get it in Mora, which is a big enough place to have some taxis. I remember the walk from Mora to Almonacid as pleasant, and the views of the castle as you approach are very nice. But yes, Almonacid is a bit of a downer.
 

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 don't know if this helps, but you can walk from Mascaraque to the Hotel Hipica via Villaminaya — it's about 10 kilometers — and then the next day find your own way back to the Camino at Nambroca from there. All together it's about 20 kilometers and actually looks much more pleasant than the official Camino, which is the blue line near the motorway. Here's a screenshot:20201005_075230.jpg
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I've just google-earthed (with gaps into and out of Villaminarya) a very agreeable route from Mora through Villaminaya to the Horsey Spa Villa Nazules -- Villaminaya looks about 10km out of Mora, so would be a good stop for coffee and, most important, a source of a singular sello!!

Nambroca would be a further 12-15km from the Villa Nazules, depending on one's route, although the shorter path would require using unmarked farm roads so a GPS might be of some use. Ditto for the shorter route to Burgillos de Toledo.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Thank you for those suggestions! 🙏

a source of a singular sello!!
Do you have such a sello, @oursonpolaire ?

the shorter path would require using unmarked farm roads so a GPS might be of some use. Ditto for the shorter route to Burgillos de Toledo.
Yes, this definitely requires GPX tracks, and some planning.

Our real life Camino plans could take us from Mora to Villa Nazules Hotel Hípica Spa, either via Villaminaya or via Almonacid (we get to have a glimpse of the castle ☺ ). That's about 15 to 16 km. Then from there to Burguillos de Toledo would be an other 12.5 km (I'm still assuming that there is no accommodation in Nambroca. And then we're left with our next day...

Day 29: Burguillos de Toledo to Toledo

This is the last third part of the published 16th stage. It's 13.6 km, with some off-road walking, some suburbia walking, and the last 3 km providing a wow factor. Here's how @peregrina2000 described this in 2013 (I love her blog!):
From there (Nambroca) to Toledo was another 19 or so, and we enjoyed about10 kms of off-road walking through fields. But as we got closer to the city, we entered suburbia and had several long slogs through row after row of subdivision houses, all identical, all walled in individually. Kind of depressing, especially since it meant asphalt walking. We were saved by one more short stretch on dirt, and then arrived in Cigarral land, where all the rich folk build their huge mansions and wall in their huge lots outside Toledo. Another few kms being careful to stay clear of all the fancy SUVs whizzing by, we turned a corner, and WOW -- there was the city of Toledo with the Tajo River running below it.
It is surely one of the amazing views of Spain to walk along one side of the Tajo and be able to see old Toledo across the river. Those 3 kms took us a long time, just because we had to stop and say wow every few steps. The pain of the asphalt seemed to disappear, it was just amazing.

There is no lack of accommodation options in Toledo, and plenty of places to get some good food. The Amigos' list of places where to sleep includes 11 addresses, and the usual online reservation websites will yield even more.

We have planned a rest day in Toledo (and in real life we may even have two rest days), and I am going to let the veterans of this Forum contribute their must-see list, their best lodging, and where they had a great meal.

Day 30: rest day in Toledo

I'll leave you with this video from the ayuntamiento of Toledo:
 

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)
The view of Toledo is justly famous...
I can't wait. :cool:
It does look amazing. A few days-worth of amazing, in fact.
(What was that huge library in the video?)

The other day looking for restaurants in Mora I learned that Toledo has its share of Michelin-noted restaurants:
Adolfo, La Orza, and Ivan Cerdeño. The latter has one star. I'm not sure how I would feel going to a restaurant like one of these on my own, but it sure would be fun with a Camino buddy!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
@AJGuillaume I don't have the sello (yet)-- this was just a flying comment based on the likelihood that few pilgrims will have the sello from the ajuntamiento, given that this is not a much-frequented route.

Mass-going pilgrims and/or those interested in the Visigothic period of Spanish history might be interested in learning that the ancient Mozarabic liturgy is celebrated daily in the Cathedral of Toledo's Capilla Muzárabe.
 

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)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I know I have mentioned this on several threads, but I think that the best kept secret of Toledo sights is the pulsera turística. It gives entrance to seven different sites:

Real Colegio de Doncellas Nobles,
Iglesia de los Jesuitas,
San Juan de los Reyes,
Antigua mezquita del Cristo de la Luz,
Santo Tomé, dónde encontrarás la obra culmen del Greco “El Entierro del Señor de Orgaz” Iglesia del Salvador
Antigua sinagoga de Santa María la Blanca.

Aside from taking you to some really spectacular places, if you plot out your trip, you get a nice walk through old Toledo. Even the barroque church, which I had originally thought to miss, amazed with its views of the city from the tower.

So if you add the cathedral and the El Greco museum to the list, that gives you ample excuse to stay for more than one rest day! Not to mention visiting the walls and their beautiful entrance arches. Toledo at night (or perhaps during the day during covid) is beautiful without the crowds. And the lighting makes for a lot of atmospherics.
 

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)
El Greco museum
The Sephardic Museum also looks both beautiful and fascinating. It's in what was once the Synagogue of Samuel ha-Levi, in the ancient Jewish quarter:
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
Saw this on FB.
 

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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Those of us in Australia have just learned that our borders are likely to stay closed until "the latter part" of 2021. :( So I'll keep the dream alive here, virtually, on the Levante...

Day 31: Toledo to Torrijos

We have enjoyed Toledo, in particular thanks to @peregrina2000 's suggestion of purchasing the tourist bracelet.

I think it's a good thing we took a rest day in Toledo (even two days in real life...), as the stage ahead is a long one. It is the published 17th stage, and it is 33.8 km. Not an issue for able bodied peregrin@s, but we slow walkers have to look at alternatives.

The first village after Toledo is called Rielves. It sits at 24.2 km from Toledo. The only accommodation that used to be available was the Casa Parroquial (the parish house). It has 4 places. Recent information from the Amigos' list of lodgings shows that it is temporarily closed. Gérard du Camino's update on 31 January 2020 confirms this. If it reopens when we walk in real life (not before late in 2021 for Australians...), this is where we'll break the stage for a night.

On this virtual Camino, we're going to assume that the casa parroquial is closed, so we will take an option that non-purists take: transport from Toledo ;) In our case, we'd probably take a taxi for a few (say 4 or 5) km out of Toledo to shorten the walk even if Rielves was open. 33.8 km is definitely not doable for us, so here is what I found out.

The first option is using public transport: Autocares Toletum have a regular service (at least 4 times a day) between Toledo and Rielves. 1.80€ per person for a 15 minute ride. We would then walk the remaining 9.6 km to Torrijos.

The second option is taking a taxi from Toledo for say 8 to 10 km. The walk out of Toledo is all on asphalt, as @peregrina2000 reported in 2013:
The walk to Torrijos had a little more elevation gain than previously, and we could see we were entering an area of rolling hills. The first 8 kms out of Toledo are all on asphalt, which is never fun. There was one spot where we could turn around and see the Alcazar far off in the distance, and there we said goodbye to Toledo.
The driver could drop us off where the asphalt ends, and we could walk approximately 24 km to Torrijos.
After that point, we can enjoy the remainder of the walk, as @peregrina2000 reported in 2013:
Once the asphalt ended, it was all wonderful walking terrain, mainly sandy gravel trails. The walk was much more varied than previous days -- we walked past huge horse farms, lovely fincas with lots of land, sheep farms, goat farms, cattle farms, and regular fields of grain, some of which looked pretty mature.
At one point we walked along the Guadarrama River, a tributary of the Tajo, and there we saw our first Cigueña City -- Storkville.

In Torrijos, there is a donativo albergue (the Amigos indicate it is actually free), with keys from the local police station. There are 4 rooms with 2 beds each. The alternative lodgings are: Bar El Abuelo, Hotel El Meson, Hotel La Salve, and Hotel Castilla.

There's ample choice for having a bite, with a list offered by the ayuntamiento's website, and grocery stores.

And it looks like there's a few things to see:
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Yes, this isn’t the most spectacular part of the Levante, IMO. And the walk into Torrijos is frustrating — you have to navigate the autovía, and whoever located the tunnel under it clearly was not thinking about us peregrin@s.

I remember a very nice park outside the ayuntamiento, which is located in a historic building. The guard just let us wander all around in the afternoon, even though the building was not open for official business. The town has all the services you could need, but it wasn’t one of my favorites on this route. The church has a baroque facade (not too over the top), and there was First Communion practice going on inside the church. We were allowed to sit quietly and watch. Walking in springtime has that advantage — you are likely to come across many practices. That means that many churches that would otherwise be closed are open. And there are many actual weekend First Communions, I bet I’ve seen more than a dozen over the years. Many people really pull out all the stops. Seeing huge family gatherings, with everyone dressed up, gives an interesting window into Spanish family life.

Toledo is where @OzAnnie started walking just a few months ago — hoping she jumps in now with her insights (she made it a bit past Ávila before the virus stopped things short).
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Toledo is where @OzAnnie started walking just a few months ago — hoping she jumps in now with her insights (she made it a bit past Ávila before the virus stopped things short).
Hi AJ & Peregrina2000
The reason I haven't added to this thread is because I've been so impressed with the research & resulting info that AJ, yourself and many others are finding and presenting here - which will result in an excellent Levante guide - that I thought I wouldn't clutter the thread with my input..
It was only this year (early March)that I was there... boo hoo... but my input is usually all about how I ‘felt’ on the day etc and this is usually all relative to the person, the season and the area & therefore not much use for the 'guide' info.
So I will only add here... due to arriving at the beginning of Covid & not having been planning to walk this route... I headed to Toledo..which I'd known to be a beautiful place to ‘think’ having visited for a day trip a few years earlier.
Train trip takes just shy of 1/2 hour from Madrid.... On the previous day trip I had walked up the hill to the city from the train station.... I still think the view from down there looking up to the city from across the water is hard to beat.. The train station is very interesting too.. Not in the same league inside as the Porto train station but still very unique to me... This time with backpack after the long haul to Spain.....I caught a taxi to the Hotel I'd booked... Hotel Sta. Isabel..
- I ended up staying 3 nights there. ...
- I also visited the cathedral (wow) later that day after I'd had a 'nanna nap'... ..
-The next day I wandered out across the river and walked back along the camino to enjoy the view that I’d missed because I hadn't started before the Toledo . its a beautiful city to see from afar surrounded by a wall.
If life is good to me....I will return to start this camino in Valencia..
- I purchased the Toledo tourist bracelet (Pulsera Turistica)- (worth it!) getting round to all the places included on the tourist bracelet covers a bit of ground. I wasn't in a hurry to start the camino so I took my time- had lunch half way.. I may have returned the following day to complete them.. . I'm glad I bought the bracelet though...as I ended up seeing some places which although not magnificent...were very interesting and worth checking out..
- on final day there I walked out / outside the wall to the end of the paved area and back into town to shorten the day to Torrijos... noticeably uphill returning !!
-there were some markers on the paved section but not a lot... I noticed them more after I exited the city wall.
-You can definitely spend a few days in Toledo... stacks of things to do but I would say it would be much more fun with company. I still kept myself busy but there were no pilgrims about and I was staying in Hotel.

The first day after the drop off at the 'turn around point' I'd walked to previous day.. Casa Taborda... The taxi dropped me off in front of "Neumaticos Gufy'... and I started walking.... beside the water... the only other person I passed was 'on a morning run' into town on that path and he took my photo...

So glad I walked the paved section to here the previous day.... as I was quite worn out when I finally arrived in Torrijos.. It was a peaceful walk... but doesn't pass anywhere to eat ... I had fruit and snacks with me and after a few hours found a nice picnic place to relax and eat.. Rielves was a very quiet place... I found a bar and had a rough coffee.... and eventually found my way using ‘my tracks’ occasionally on maps.me especially to find the ayuntamiento... where I registered and was given the key to the albergue... The Albergue wasn’t far from there & needed some TLC but I've seen worse.. Lots of space if there are a few of you.... beds are upstairs and you lock up in the morning, throw the key back through the window you've left open just enough in order to do this.
I could have opted for a hotel but I really wanted to feel like a pilgrim (lol)...after having been in a hotel for the 3 previous nights...
I’ve tried to include pics and of
Inside cathedral
Turnaround point (from section I’d walked previous day)
Pic showing the sign/ ad for Pulsera touristica3862688F-9BEB-4872-9977-9C5373DD511A.jpegE4CEA96D-5CA2-4231-B05B-3C59C630A476.jpegD7BC9585-BB26-4066-BA62-44624152FE00.jpeg6D53C152-21F4-49AB-8D27-A306A860BDFB.jpeg0614F75D-1A1D-4AD3-813B-B94EC1F264C9.jpeg1B2BA3D5-751A-4F41-9BAB-1F5EC1169851.jpegED6FEEAE-A267-442F-8184-89BEF8A132F6.jpegC226FBB1-0C38-45C3-AC69-B9605BF67476.jpegB6348A32-1651-4B08-B54B-8C7F29A26867.jpeg3A505E61-ADE1-44B5-90E3-698F20BF065F.jpeg
 
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JLWV

Jean-Luc
Camino(s) past & future
Levante (2014-2016); Levante to Toledo (2017-2018), to be continued; Fisterra & Muxia (2018);
Toledo was my last stop in my second Levante, as a severe problem in a leg obliged me to stop after 6 km towards Torrijos.
The first time I walked from Toledo to Torrijos with just a stop for lunch in Rielves, and it was a hard day because of the distancy and being a very wet day, after strong rains, so the way was very muddy.

In this stage, as an anecdote which shows how little is the word, I met two pilgrims. One was English and worked with the same job as I in a rival firm of mine, and the second was an Italian with the same job in a firm customer of both.

About Toledo, three comments:
- In Toledo there is a Convent of 'Comendadoras de Santiago' . They are now in the district of convents, but were in the past between the Alcantara Bridge and the plaza de Zocodever. It is still possible to see a door with a basrelief in the street from Zocodover to the Palacio de congresos, right side going down. For more detail see joined documents (sorry, in Spanish)
- The Alcazar, with important history, is the seat of the Museo del Ejercito (which is not in Madrid but in Toledo). It is the main military museum in Spain. In other capital cities we have 'Museo Historico Militar' which can be very interesting, but the one in Toledo is the principal.
- in various of the monuments, included in the 'pulsera turística', there are machines to print dry relief stamps, which can be nice for our credentials.
 

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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I feel like I'm in one of those nightmares where you are suddenly back at university trying to catch up on a course you have badly neglected, and realize the exam is next week.

I have been missing for several days, let's say due to injury and general weariness, but today I am racing to catch up. Sightseeing in Toledo will have to wait.
the shorter path would require using unmarked farm roads
On these roads, are there likely to be working dogs that aren't used to pilgrims?

Day 29: Burguillos de Toledo to Toledo
This is the last third part of the published 16th stage.
To summarize the 480.9 km journey from Valencia to Toledo, my spreadsheet has a Plan A and an easier Plan B, walking all the way, and ignoring any rest days.
  • Plan A: 19 walking days. Average is 25.3 km/day. 4 days are 30 km or more. Longest is 34.5 km.
  • Plan B: 25 walking days. Average is 19.2. km/day. 3 days are 25 km or more. Longest is 27.6 km.
4 weeks is about the maximum I expect to plan for future Caminos, so Toledo is a convenient place to end this one. However, in the virtual world I can immediately move on to the next one.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I feel like I'm in one of those nightmares where you are suddenly back at university trying to catch up on a course you have badly neglected, and realize the exam is next week.

I have been missing for several days, let's say due to injury and general weariness, but today I am racing to catch up. Sightseeing in Toledo will have to wait.

On these roads, are there likely to be working dogs that aren't used to pilgrims?

It's quite possible, and I don't like that idea too much.
 

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)
In this stage, as an anecdote which shows how little is the word, I met two pilgrims. One was English and worked with the same job as I in a rival firm of mine, and the second was an Italian with the same job in a firm customer of both.
:eek:
If the three of you were together in the same place it must have been an interesting encounter!

@JLWV, gracias for your many contributions here— they very helpful
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
To summarize the 480.9 km journey from Valencia to Toledo, my spreadsheet has a Plan A and an easier Plan B, walking all the way, and ignoring any rest days.
  • Plan A: 19 walking days. Average is 25.3 km/day. 4 days are 30 km or more. Longest is 34.5 km.
  • Plan B: 25 walking days. Average is 19.2. km/day. 3 days are 25 km or more. Longest is 27.6 km.
I have 26 walking days, with an average of 18.5 km/day. I have two days above 25 km, and the longest is 25.9 km, from Mora to Burguillos de Toledo.
However, there are a few stages where our real life Camino would have shorter stages, and some diversions, such as via Villa Nazules Hipica Spa from Mora. In this case, we have 29 days, an average of 16.4 km/day, and the longest day is 23.7 km.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I thought I wouldn't clutter the thread with my input..
@OzAnnie , please continue cluttering the thread! ☺ In particular with your photos! And I'd be grateful if you'll let us know where you stopped for a cafe con leche, or a good place to eat, a nice place to sleep...
Thank you!
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I quite like @OzAnnie 's suggestion to walk out of Toledo to the end of the paved area and walk back on one day, and then the next day, take a taxi to where we stopped the previous day. That way, we won't miss any bits of the Camino.

Before we move on from Torrijos, I thought it would be great to have a look at @OzAnnie 's experience walking to Torrijos. You can read her post here.

Day 32: Torrijos to Escalona

Today's walk is 24.5 km to Escalona, the 18th published stage. About 5 km after Torrijos, we'll come to the village of Val de Santo Domingo. There's a Casa Rural here, La Veguilla, but we have to keep pushing on. The next village is Maqueda. It has a castle, which can't be visited. The ayuntamiento's website has a list of places to see, including a 10th century Califate door, a 12th century Torre de la Vela, and a 15th century church. It is an obvious place to rest, as it is half way to our destination. It's a shame there is no accommodation here, I would have made this an overnight stop.

@OzAnnie gave us a recent report on the Levante from Torrijos to Maqueda. I love how she calls herself the "The Ozzie paparazzi!" ;)

5km or so after Maqueda, we will have to wade across an arroyo. Hopefully we will only wet our feet. @OzAnnie did a "Tarzan act" and crossed dry earlier this year. Read about it here.

Escalona is a walled town, and it looks like a lovely place to visit. Check out the ayuntamiento's site for more information.

There is an albergue, in the school complex. You can get the keys from the local police. @peregrina2000 wrote about her experience in 2013, and @OzAnnie shared some photos. The alternatives are Casa rural Plácida, and Bar El Lazarillo, which features in the ayuntamiento's "Dónde Comer" page, but apparently also organises accommodation.

And I'll leave you with a video of Escalona (from the ayuntamiento's website):
 

JLWV

Jean-Luc
Camino(s) past & future
Levante (2014-2016); Levante to Toledo (2017-2018), to be continued; Fisterra & Muxia (2018);
If the three of you were together in the same place it must have been an interesting encounter!
We three met in Rielves, but only stayed for night next day in Escalona.
Very interesting, with a lot a remenbering of people knowned by both, but of course no technical exchanges.
I was 2 years retired, and they were still on duty.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I have been missing for several days, let's say due to injury and general weariness, but today I am racing to catch up.
My situation, precisely. Also, I keep finding routes, situations, etc. where I realize that I misunderstood aspects of a route, or town, or accommodation and have to rethink it. I am moving very slowly, mostly because I anticipate moving slowly when walking this camino. I am trying to find available accommodation in every town along the route, to mark it on the map and make notes as to all facilities, contact information, prices etc. so that, if I have to slow down, there will always be an alternative. Fortunately, my preparations for my knee surgery are going well and yesterday a doctor assured me that I am in good shape and should be walking well soon after the surgery. But my life is so busy right now. I would never have guessed that life at home in a time of pandemic could be so heavily scheduled. At least, the time goes quickly. I am currently planning my approach to Toledo, with shorter walking days in mind, where feasible. Like @AJGuillaume, my longest day on the route so far is the 25.9 km Mora to Borguillos de Toledo.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
adding a quick word on your comment AJ

I quite like @OzAnnie 's suggestion to walk out of Toledo to the end of the paved area and walk back on one day, and then the next day, take a taxi to where we stopped the previous day. That way, we won't miss any bits of the Camino.
For Rachel's sake I'd suggest to walk 'out only' -(to Neumaticos Gufy) and order a taxi to return to city centre.. Otherwise you might be foot-sore before you start the (long for me)next day to Torrijos. In the morning you can take another taxi to the turn around point -if you decide to take that option. I only walked the paved area 'out & back' because I started in Toledo and had given myself stacks of time before heading off.
There is just too much great stuff to see in Toledo to walk out and back on pavement. One way is plenty.

Also when you are heading out of Toledo on this road section.....I took Av de Carlos 111...and after you pass the Local Policia...you'll then have on your right the ancient roman circus site of Hispania, "Circo Romano Toledo"..
 
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alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
For lovers of the picaresque, this section has several places that are mentioned in Lazarillo de Tormes. In Maqueda he worked for the miserly priest who only gave him an onion to eat every four days. Poor Lazarillo got so hungry he prayed for people to die, as he was allowed to eat the funeral baked meats. In Escalona (perhaps in the Mesón Lazarillo café in the main square, where I had a nice lunch one Sunday) he substituted a rotten turnip for the tasty chorizo his nasty blind master was planning to eat in his bocadillo. The menú has improved since then. My main memory is that the bridge across the Alberche was quite scary - narrow with no footpath and a lot of traffic in both directions, but perhaps it's improved since 2014.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Escalona is a walled town, and it looks like a lovely place to visit. Check out the ayuntamiento's site for more information.

There is an albergue, in the school complex. You can get the keys from the local police. @peregrina2000 wrote about her experience in 2013, and @OzAnnie shared some photos. The alternatives are Casa rural Plácida, and Bar El Lazarillo, which features in the ayuntamiento's "Dónde Comer" page, but apparently also organises accommodation.

And I'll leave you with a video of Escalona (from the ayuntamiento's website):
https://player.vimeo.com/video/198967471
the video you've included is great AJ. It shows the arrival into Escalona in all its glory.

Coming into Maqueda you see the castle on the hill from quite a distance out. Walking through Maqueda - before leaving the town... there was a cafe bar with some tasty tapas type food to have with a coffee...(or whatever you drink).. Next door there is a fruit shop... that also sells some grocery items if I remember rightly... The fruit was good/fresh (there was the delivery truck outside when I was there). (2 pics below )
Pic also taken of taxi service sign in Maqueda ‘just in case’ I needed it.

The walk is easy on this etapa ... mostly flat... There was the water hazard to find my way across as mentioned in your link but maybe it could dry out in summer?.. I was there in early March.

After the easy walking that day.. the arrival to Escaloña is spectacular with the prize up high... A long bridge crossing with minimal walking space... (see @alansykes comment quoted below) & then (you guessed it) the climb up the steps... a well named town 'escalona'.... an escalator there would have been nice...lol.
You've included the info on the albergue which is where I stayed in March.. I was the only one there and it is a walk further out of the town.. so you have to walk back in to eat etc.. Keys are put back through the gap left in open window. There no place to leave a donation- It is free.
On arrival in Escalona; I came across the Oficina de Turismo & got my sello there. I asked about the key to the Albergue and for directions to the local police. She directed me just up the street on the right to the Town Hall.
The lady there in office advised me to walk straight to the school (where the Albergue is a room there); as being Friday night.. the cleaners would still be there and they would open up for me. She rang to let them know I was heading there. I had no trouble finding it or the cleaners with directions given.

Although the albergue was fine and plenty of beds & heater etc.. in hindsight (being alone); I would opt for accommodation in the town centre.. for more company. I did walk back into town later and was recommended a restaurant around from the main square facing the castle ruins .(ruins are lit up at night). However, restaurant opening time was still a way off when I found it..so opted to buy food to take back to the albergue for dinner and breakfast and snacks for the following day.. There were a few tiendas open from which to buy food items.
a nice stop ..

My main memory is that the bridge across the Alberche was quite scary - narrow with no footpath and a lot of traffic in both directions, but perhaps it's improved since 2014.
no Alan -still with no footpath but glue yourself to the edge and keep your eyes out for cars. There weren’t many - Pics below Friday afternoon in March

A couple of pics here also to show the terrain ., wide open space and mostly flat.
 

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Great posts, and great pics, Annie, so glad you are here!

I have no memory of the scary bridge, and I am usually pretty good about remembering traffic nightmares. Must be that there was no traffic when I walked across.

The castle in Escalona, I learned, is privately owned. This does not sit well with most of the townspeople.

The albergue in the school is fine, as Annie says, but I was glad to have companions. I think if there are reasonable accommodations more centrally located, I would stay there. The town has a nice plaza, some cafés, and restaurants. We ate in Mirador de Escalona,since we arrived in time for a good menú del día. I don’t remember much about the meal, but I do remember enjoying the view of the castle.

The pics I have added include a failed housing development in Santo Domingo de la Caudilla — did anyone see it? (I remember thinking that Caudilla might be a reference to Franco’s wife, since he was caudillo, but it wasn’t), the caliphate door in Máqueda, the square in Escalona, and its castle.
 

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OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
The pics I have added include a failed housing development in Santo Domingo de la Caudilla — did anyone see it?
Yes Laurie - walking into town through the empty streets.,prepared with paving and paths ready for more housing too . I wondered what the strange boxes were .
Also saw more rabbits (& burrows) on this route than I’ve seen before (pic was near Maqueda )

- you managed a fabulous shot of the castle.
 

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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)
caliphate door in Máqueda,
I'm thinking, "What is this?" So Dr Google to the rescue:
Specifically about Máqueda:

As to the general question of what a 'caliph door' is, I mostly drew a blank. But I did find this:
And those of you with access to a good library might enjoy this:

Happy Thanksgiving to the Canadian peregrinas sharing this wonderful camino!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Happy Thanksgiving to the Canadian peregrinas sharing this wonderful camino!
I've finished a busy day with turkey dinner - we are lucky not to have any strict measures against small family gatherings. I am glad to be back walking with all of you now!
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Happy Thanksgiving to all the Canadian peregrin@s!

My main memory is that the bridge across the Alberche was quite scary - narrow with no footpath and a lot of traffic in both directions, but perhaps it's improved since 2014.
no Alan -still with no footpath but glue yourself to the edge and keep your eyes out for cars. There weren’t many
It looks like there's no alternative. I was trying to figure out if the Alberche was shallow enough so we could wade across... No, I don't think so :)

Day 33: Escalona to Almorox

The published 19th stage from Escalona to San Martín de Valdeiglesias is 31.1 km. Again, probably not an issue for able bodied peregrin@s. This stage displays a change in profile. As @peregrina2000 put it simply in her blog:
The FLAT is ending

She further describes this stage:
A day in the pines of the Guadarrama mountains, with wildflowers and mountain views everywhere!
In a few hours we were in Almorox, where lo and behold, there was a bar open on the side of the highway! Café con leche and a good sized portion of tortilla de española were just what the doctor ordered, because soon after leaving town, the uphill began. The first was through an area with lots of private fincas, all walled and with dogs barking. But once we crossed the highway and started a more serious ascent, we found ourselves in pine trees with lots of wildflowers and huge boulders, with occasional glimpses to the snow-covered Sierra de Gredos. It was a lot like I remember the Guadarrama from the Camino de Madrid. Our guidebook only lists starting and ending elevations, so I can report with confidence that the day´s total ascent was way more than the 400 meters we read. More like 750 or 800 I would say.

My darling takes on ascents best in the morning, when a good night's rest has recharged her strength. So we have decided we would walk to Almorox. This is actually the only intermediate place where we can overnight on this stage. It's a short 8.5 km, which will give us some time to see a bit more of Escalona before we start the day. And we might see what Almorox has to offer.

In Almorox, there's the Posada Bemi and the Hostal Royal Almorox. The latter is closer to the town centre, but only by about 400m ;)

So apologies for making you all wait, but unless we take @OzAnnie 's strategy for this stage, we won't make it to San Martín de Valdeiglesias today.

 

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)
So apologies for making you all wait, but unless we take @OzAnnie 's strategy for this stage, we won't make it to San Martín de Valdeiglesias toda
No-one's in a hurry, AJ!
It's not like any of us have a flight to catch.
🙃
 

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)
The FLAT is ending
Yippee!
I am thinking that if I were ever to walk this Camino in real life I would start in Toledo, as you did @OzAnnie.

Not that not that I have anything against flat— I love the Meseta on the Frances—so wonder if others who have walked this Camino would compare the two experiences in terms of how they feel?
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Yippee!
I am thinking that if I were ever to walk this Camino in real life I would start in Toledo, as you did @OzAnnie.

Not that not that I have anything against flat— I love the Meseta on the Frances—so wonder if others who have walked this Camino would compare the two experiences in terms of how they feel?
I’m hoping one day to start from Valencia.
I appreciate the easing into fitness that flatter terrain gives. Starting in Toledo for me was driven by Covid 19..
Even though leaving Toledo was easy enough.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Not that not that I have anything against flat— I love the Meseta on the Frances—so wonder if others who have walked this Camino would compare the two experiences in terms of how they feel?

It has been about 15 years since I walked the Francés, so my memories are all very impressionistic in terms of being able to compare. But I did love the meseta and the life-affirming rejuvenation or exhilaration I felt walking through huge expanses of waving green grain, poppy fields and bright blue sky. That is very much a part of the Levante (springtime only, of course). The flat in the Levante is meseta-like some of the time (grain fields), but other times it is vineyards, fruit groves, rice fields. The flat is a longer piece of the Levante than the meseta is of the Francés, I think, but the potential boredom that comes from repetition is compensated, IMO, by the many castles and the many small interesting towns. I’d say that the people who rave about the Camino de Madrid and its opportunity to really see a slice of rural Spain would also very much like the Levante. The Levante’s towns are probably on average larger than those you typically stop in on the Madrid, but they are not cities by any means and they offer the same chance to connect with the many wonderful people who are very happily (sometimes not, of course) living their lives there.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
It has been about 15 years since I walked the Francés, so my memories are all very impressionistic in terms of being able to compare. But I did love the meseta and the life-affirming rejuvenation or exhilaration I felt walking through huge expanses of waving green grain, poppy fields and bright blue sky. That is very much a part of the Levante (springtime only, of course). The flat in the Levante is meseta-like some of the time (grain fields), but other times it is vineyards, fruit groves, rice fields. The flat is a longer piece of the Levante than the meseta is of the Francés, I think, but the potential boredom that comes from repetition is compensated, IMO, by the many castles and the many small interesting towns. I’d say that the people who rave about the Camino de Madrid and its opportunity to really see a slice of rural Spain would also very much like the Levante. The Levante’s towns are probably on average larger than those you typically stop in on the Madrid, but they are not cities by any means and they offer the same chance to connect with the many wonderful people who are very happily (sometimes not, of course) living their lives there.
I have been reading this and reflecting on how the Levante compares to the Camino de Madrid. I walked the Madrid last autumn, in clouds of dust. I could not face walking another route where breathing was a challenge most days. I shall go on planning the Levante, but if I am not able to walk next spring (Covid) I may look for another route to walk next fall. Also, I am finding planning the Levante very challenging, in every way. I cannot keep up with this thread and also keep up with my many other daily obligations. Pandemic time is very busy for me. And things don't work. I still can't get the threads for the Levante onto maps.me. And so I find that the instructions as to where to go for the next day's walk often start in a different part of the current village than the track on my phone. Of course, the phone is a recent resource, as are the threads, and I may have to go back to finding my way out of town each day then just following the arrows, or signs. There will be a way to return to camino, but at the moment I am not sure what it will be.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 34: Almorox to San Martín de Valdeiglesias

Thank you all for waiting! ;)

Today we complete the published 19th stage of the Levante. It's not going to be an easy day for my darling: we have 22.6 km to walk, and most of it is uphill. I know she'll just take it a step at a time. Let's hope she doesn't experience the lactic acidosis that @OzAnnie did earlier this year.

As I mentioned earlier, in 2013 @peregrina2000 reported the elevation as:
Our guidebook only lists starting and ending elevations, so I can report with confidence that the day´s total ascent was way more than the 400 meters we read. More like 750 or 800 I would say.
It is a rewarding uphill, as she described:
The first ascent goes through farms and estates, then the second ascent takes you through big boulders, pines, tons of wildflowers. The third ascent was more of the same, very typical Guadarrama beauty (which I remember from the Camino de Madrid). Beautiful scenery.

In San Martín de Valdeiglesias, there is no albergue. The accommodation available includes the Hostal el Pilar, where @peregrina2000 stayed in 2013, Casa Rural Alvaro de Luna, Hotel Rural Casa de Labranza, Hacienda La Coracera, where @OzAnnie spent the night in March this year. The Amigos website also lists the Hostal El Campito, but the usual search engine tells me it is permanently closed.

Along the way, today, we crossed from Castilla-La Mancha into the Community of Madrid. San Martín is another town with a castle! The Coracera Castle was built in 1434. That's where you'll find the tourism office. The name Valdeiglesias, valley of churches, suggests that there are many churches to see.

As you would expect, the ayuntamiento has produced a video about the town:
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Such a comprehensive post of all the options! You are right that there is a lot of up and down, but it gets more and more beautiful as you proceed ahead. You could always play it safe and take a cab. If you look at the Association’s webpage for this stage, you can see that about 4 km beyond Almorox is the Granja Escuela (one of those educational farm estates that bring in school groups for a week of farm living). That would take some of the ascent away, and would also leave the most beautiful part to walk in. And would keep the total under 20.

If you hit this stage on a day with crisp clear air and deep blue skies, you will feel truly blessed.

And looking at wikiloc pages, you will see a better indicator of the actual elevation gain. Though the wikiloc pages are notoriously inaccurate when it comes to actual ascent, you can see that the Association’s profile is very schematic and doesn’t incorporate all of the real ups and downs. I’ve scanned through a few of the wikiloc pages and it looks like about 600 - 770 m total elevation gain from Almorox is a good rough estimate. My estimate of 750-800 was from San Martín, so is in the ballpark, and I probably based it on how I felt at the end of the day, nothing very accurate. In any event, it’s a good day’s work.B0D76DD5-1122-4FF7-B8A2-41DB5198163F.jpeg1EB4F0BF-0A1B-4408-AF59-A601C1506547.jpeg
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 35: San Martín de Valdeiglesias to Cebreros

This is the 20th published stage of the Levante. The Amigos' website indicates that the distance is 14.27 km. The diagram still shows a distance of 17.2 km. @JLWV explained that the track used to go past the Toros de Guisando, but as the visits are not free and the opening times are often too late for most peregrin@s, the track has been changed. He added a map in an earlier post.

I guess for us slow walkers, we might be able to get to the Toros de Guisando by the time it opens. The official website indicates a 10am opening time, but only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and the first 3 Wednesdays of each month. Entry is 2€, except on on the first Friday of the month, and the first 3 Wednesdays of the month. Would it be a shame to miss this site? In 2013, @peregrina2000 started early to catch the morning sun:
So our departure time was 5:45. We timed it that way so that we could walk the close-to-the-highway kms to the Bulls of Guisando before daybreak and be there at the bulls just as the sun was rising. It worked perfectly.

The rest of the walk that morning in 2013 was enjoyable, as @peregrina2000 describes in her blog:
The early morning walk through meadows filled with wildflowers was very beautiful. We crossed several medieval (or earlier) bridges, one of which still had its huge stone carving describing the authority of the tolls-man to collect a certain amount of money per cow. Springtime is just so pretty in this part of Spain -- lots of water babbling and flowers blooming. When you throw in the medieval bridges, you´ve about hit perfection.

In Cebreros, we have a number of places to sleep in, including the albergue La Pizarra which is in the municipal swimming pool building. The Amigos' website shows it is temporarily closed, but hopefully when this virus situation is all behind us, it will reopen. You can get the keys from the Hotel El Rondón, which is also an alternative lodging. I'm not sure if that is the hotel @peregrina2000 was looking at "longingly", before moving on with the two Frenchmen:
After a short steep ascent, we were in the town of Cebreros by 10 and had a nice long coffee in the main square. I looked longingly as we walked by the 3-star hotel that that treats pilgrims very well for 15 euros a night, which is where I otherwise would be staying.
It could also be Hostal Draco's or Hotel Castrejón, where @OzAnnie "squeezed in" in March this year. And if there's a group of peregrin@s (has to be a group to share the cost!), they could all stay at one of the apartments of Abuela Benita.

One of Cebreros' famous sons is Adolfo Suárez, the first democratically elected prime minister after Franco's dictatorship. The town has a museum devoted to him. There is a church dedicated to Santiago. There's also a European Space Agency tracking antenna, but that's way out of town 😀
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
AJ, you have a real future as as personal camino planner. ;)

The hotel in Cebreros I had been thinking of was Castrejón, though I have never stayed there. I have in my notes that they had a good piilgrim price (15€), but looking through the forum posts, I’ve found some negative opinions. (Annie was here recently, so she can give more up to date info).

@Trevhock said this in 2014: In Cebreros the hotel Castrejon, said they were full, when they clearly weren't, a much friendlier welcome at Hotel Dracos where for 30 euros I had a fantastic room with a sunny balcony with unhindered panoramic views of the mountains.

@Bachibouzouk said this in 2017: In Cebreros I went first in search of liquids then Hostal Castrejon. The latter was like the Marie Celeste, front door open, tables set in the restaurant but not a soul about. I tried the phone a couple of times but got no answer. After 20 minutes I gave up and checked in to Hotel Dracos. It was rather more expensive and beyond my daily budget but nice enough. I heard later that the albergue here is excellent, not least because it is linked to the local Hotel and Catering school and that at 7.00 Euros it is particularly good value even if a little out of town.

The albergue gets good reviews, and it is a bit out of the center, near the Hotel Rondón. The other two hotels (Castrejón and Dracos) are right in the center.

I couldn’t get on the museum site through your link, but that may be my computer, though I easily got on through this link — here. I would really love to see how the transition from Franco is treated in this museum. The museum is actually inside the romanesque Santiago church, so you get a real two-in-one.

That is sad news about the Bulls of Guisando. Or pigs or whatever they are. I remember they are from several centuries BC, and it was the place where Isabel la Católica got the title as heiress to the throne of Castilla, which of course made her marriage to Fernando of Aragón much more of a territory consolidation. If I remember right, there is curious script on one of the bulls.

When we walked past, there was nothing gating the statues off, so we could walk all around. And with opening days limited to Friday, Saturday and Sunday (along with a few Wednesdays every month) and normal visiting hours, it is much less convenient for peregrinos to visit. For me, it was very interesting, but I probably wouldn’t walk far off-camino and wait for opening to visit it. Maybe someone knows if you can nevertheless still get good views of the bulls from outside whatever enclosure there now is.

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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I'm thinking of taking a leisurely morning in San Martin de Valdeiglesias, visiting the Museo from 10 a.m. to about noon, then taking a taxi to the Toros de Guisando, to miss most of the day's road walking, and then walking 11 or 12 km to Cebreros.

I see from Google maps that there is a barrier along the walled area by the Toros, that is too high for me to see over! So, if they are not open, I might just stay a bit longer in the Museo, take the taxi straight along the N-403 to the Camino turn-off, and walk 10 km to Cebreros.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
The hotel in Cebreros I had been thinking of was Castrejón, though I have never stayed there. I have in my notes that they had a good piilgrim price (15€), but looking through the forum posts, I’ve found some negative opinions. (Annie was here recently, so she can give more up to date info).
Hi AJ
Great guide you’ve prepared. A lot of info which will help many future pilgrims.

In Cebreros I did stay in Castrejón. -
there was a large group there and the owner was rushing between looking after bookings & also into the restaurant. He didn’t appear to have much help. I opted to walk uptown and found a small ‘locals’ bar/restaurant to eat in. I was happy enough with the meal & wine at that bar

I recall the hotel price was much more than quoted above but it was a nice comfortable room.
Breakfast was included but what with the big group staying there and them ‘seemingly on the clock for their bus’ - it was like a bull fight trying to put anything on ones plate to eat. Only one lady making tepid coffee - (one per person )it was line up for everything. Difficult finding a spot to even sit. It would have been much easier to grab something in the square or buy something the previous night to take.

not my favourite stop but this could have been due to bumping into a group there.

I think I would try the other accommodation choices next time.

The walk around this area is beautiful and what you dream of as camino trails. Well marked with lots of arrows in fresh yellow paint.



Note: I originally tried to attach pics but ended up with all sorts of things (personal stuff) being loaded from my phone so deleted the first post and will try to load again but fingers crossed this time.
 

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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)
Those bulls! At first I assumed they were some modern art installation, and thought, "Nah..."
But not.

Here's part of the wikipedia artcle.
The Bulls of Guisando are examples of a type of ancient sculpture called verracos of which hundreds are known. They are associated with the territory of the pre-Roman peoples known as the Vettones. The Bulls may have been made during the 2nd century BCE. Whether they are in their original position is debatable. There are some Latin graffiti on them which may mean they were repositioned in Roman times.

The field around the Bulls was the place where the Treaty of the Bulls of Guisando was signed between Henry IV of Castile and his half-sister Isabella of Castille on September 18, 1468, which granted her the title of Princess of Asturias thus ending a civil war in Castile.

The Bulls are also a recurrent feature in Spanish literature. For instance, Miguel de Cervantes references them several times throughout his novel Don Quixote.[1] Federico García Lorca uses their symbolic value in his Llanto por la muerte de Ignacio Sánchez Mejías: [2]

...y los toros de Guisando,
casi muerte y casi piedra,
mugieron como dos siglos
hartos de pisar la tierra

...and the bulls of Guisando
partly death and partly stone
bellowed like two centuries
tired of treading the earth

I'm with you, @C clearly . They look worth a special trip.

Now, I am quite partial to old stuff, and my antennae prick when I read there are hundreds.
Like...where??
And how did I not know about these?
 

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)
OK so this is quite a fascinating rabbit hole.

There are some coming up in Avila, and many in the area from here towards the Portugues border. We miss Salamanca, but there's one there at the Roman bridge which has had a lively peripatetic existance.

Eduardo Sánchez Moreno, 2000. Vetones: Historia y Arqueología de un pueblo prerromano (Madrid: Ediciones de la Universidad Autónoma)
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
then taking a taxi to the Toros de Guisando, to miss most of the day's road walking, and then walking 11 or 12 km to Cebreros.

Just make sure you get your days well planned. The visiting hours are quite detailed.

Days open — Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, and the first three Wednesdays of every month. With the exception of Dec. 24, 25, and 31, and January 1.

Times of visit:
Summer — 10 am - 2 pm and 3 pm-9 pm.
Winter — 10 am - 2 pm and 3 pm -6 pm
(Summer is 15 April to 15 October; Winter is 16 October to 14 April).

AND just to complicate things a bit more, on Fridays, the site is only open in the afternoon.

There is also an email address given for information on “extraordinary visits” (outside of this schedule). visitastorosguisando@gmail.com

I have written to them and heard back almost immediately — visiting out of normal visiting hours is only for groups. Bulls are visible from the gates. The enclosure was put up in 2014, so I made it in there by the skin of my teeth in 2013.
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I am still struggling to find someplace to stay in Burguillos de Toledo. Escapada Rural:
https://www.escapadarural.com/casas-rurales/burguillos-de-toledo lists only two places, both mentioned above: Casa Rural Fuenteflor and Ermita de la Rosa, with this note for both: Alquiler Integro, and the minimum/maximum number of persons who may rent them. So I have decided to give up on Burguillos, hoping that I may find someplace to stay when I pass through, or alternately that I will find an open church porch to perch for my last night before entering Toledo. I am determined to go on, and have already chosen Hotel Santa Isabel in Toledo to spend two nights, for the location and the price, and it seems a decently comfortable place. I am hoping to speed on to catch up now, as being perpetually behind is depressing, and besides I am expecting two brothers to show up in Calgary for extended visits in the next couple of weeks, so my time for this thread may be limited.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
@peregrina2000 had found a casa rural which looked ok. Check out her post.
Thank you. Yes, there is a variety of housing, mostly casa rurales, in Burguillos de Toledo. As far as I could tell by looking into it, everything being advertised is either as a rental of a whole house, for more than one day, or for multiple persons, and generally both, for a high price. Impossible for one person. At the moment, I am thinking that I shall wait until the time gets closer and I am getting closer to Toledo, and see what is available then. I have, by chance, discovered through Rome2Rio that Autocares Grupo Samar offers bus service from Nambroca to Toledo, so I may walk to there when I leave Mora, then take the bus into Toledo. That would undoubtedly be the most practical thing to do, if I cannot find a room in Nambroca or Burguillos, and I can book a seat in advance. Time will tell.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thank you. Yes, there is a variety of housing, mostly casa rurales, in Burguillos de Toledo. As far as I could tell by looking into it, everything being advertised is either as a rental of a whole house, for more than one day, or for multiple persons, and generally both, for a high price. Impossible for one person. At the moment, I am thinking that I shall wait until the time gets closer and I am getting closer to Toledo, and see what is available then. I have, by chance, discovered through Rome2Rio that Autocares Grupo Samar offers bus service from Nambroca to Toledo, so I may walk to there when I leave Mora, then take the bus into Toledo. That would undoubtedly be the most practical thing to do, if I cannot find a room in Nambroca or Burguillos, and I can book a seat in advance. Time will tell.

I know that a lot of these casas rurales are listed as being available only for whole house rental, but I have found that at the last minute you sometimes get lucky. On my first Camino Olvidado, I was not sure exactly what I was going to do in Labañiego or Congosto, but was able to speak to the owners of two casas rurales there who really went out of their way to have someone greet me and leave me with the run of the house. If you have the phone numbers of these places, calling a day or two in advance may work wonders.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 36: Cebreros to San Bartolomé de Pinares

At the top of the Amigos del Camino de Santiago Comunidad Valenciana webpage for the published 21st stage, there is a line in bold lettering:
If you think you won’t be able to walk the 37.2 kilometers to Ávila, remember that in San Bartolomé de Pinares, 14.9 kilometers away you have a hostel.
This 21st stage is from Cebreros to Ávila. As you leave Cebreros, the Camino winds its way up between the Cerro de la Estrella and the Cerro del Castrejón to the pass of Arrebatacapas at 1068 m altitude. In his guide book, Gérard du Camino calls that a "chemin de chèvre", a goat's track. The Amigos focus on its true origin:
From here look at the ground you are stepping on because you will walk on a medieval path, with perfectly preserved cobblestone.
Medieval path or goat's track, we're climbing about 300 m in 2.7 km, if I look at the profile of the GPX track. As I have mentioned before, my darling has plenty of energy early in the day, so that will help her get to the top of that rise. With height comes a reward: the views. @peregrina2000 had this to say in 2013:
Mountain streams, mountain views, wildflowers, just amazing. At one point, there were snow-covered mountains in three directions! Thankfully the trail is now almost all off road
@OzAnnie took advantage of all the photo opportunities to catch her breath during the climb.

As she did earlier this year in March, we're also stopping at San Bartolomé de Pinares. She stayed at the Hostal El Patio, where @peregrina2000 also stayed in 2013. There is also an albergue, with 6 beds, located in the Health Centre, and you'll get the keys at the Ayuntamiento. Note, the showers are across the road. Other lodgings include the Casa Rural El Molino, and Casa tío Peguero. The latter seems to require a minimum of 2 nights, and both generally try to sell the whole Casa, rather than just a room, but as @peregrina2000 mentioned earlier, a phone call might work wonders.

San Bartolomé de Pinares is one of these little villages where the population is slowly dwindling. The Ayuntamiento website offers this information upfront on its website.

The Camino del Sureste follows the same track here, and I found this video that shows some of the elements of this stage, including the albergue in San Bartolomé de Pinares. These two walkers were worried about potential bulls. Any advice if we should encounter one?
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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I know that a lot of these casas rurales are listed as being available only for whole house rental, but I have found that at the last minute you sometimes get lucky. On my first Camino Olvidado, I was not sure exactly what I was going to do in Labañiego or Congosto, but was able to speak to the owners of two casas rurales there who really went out of their way to have someone greet me and leave me with the run of the house. If you have the phone numbers of these places, calling a day or two in advance may work wonders.
@peregrina2000
Thank you for your suggestion. I have found an apartment in Burguillos de Toledo which I can book for one night only ahead of time on booking.com. It is ridiculously expensive, but I can save on meals by cooking for myself and get ready for Toledo by using the washing machine. I plan on booking two nights in Hotel Santa Isabel in Toledo at a reasonable price, but I don't want a last minute delay in getting there to cause me to lose the booking and the money, so this will be less stressful to plan. I suppose I shall make the bookings about a week ahead of my arrival, I prefer to travel in Spain when it is cooler than when the average Spaniard takes holidays. so this may work out. I am not used to being so organized on my pilgrimages. In any case, for the moment I shall leave my plan for Burguillos open and keep looking until closer to the day.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
These two walkers were worried about potential bulls.

I used to worry about bulls, but after repeated reassurances I’ve gotten to the point that I am no more afraid of male cows than female cows. But I give them both a very wide berth. I think maybe it was @Pelegrin who once pointed out that not all male cows are bulls, and not all bulls are toros bravos (the charging kind). Even if the EU regulations were not as strict as they are, he says, these animals are extremely valuable/expensive, and no owner would let them run around where people will be near.

@timr posted his experience on the Camino de Madrid. Bottom line — I wouldn’t worry, but I would also understand the urge to walk as far away from them as possible.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
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Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Bottom line — I wouldn’t worry, but I would also understand the urge to walk as far away from them as possible.
Walking through the Aubrac on the Via Podiensis, we had to walk through pastures with the Aubrac cows that have beautiful eyes. It was in July, and the cows all had little calves.
There were numerous signs warning walkers and pilgrims that these cows can be nervous, in particular if you walk between them and their offspring. So we always have them a wide berth.
 

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OzAnnie

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As she did earlier this year in March, we're also stopping at San Bartolomé de Pinares. She stayed at the Hostal El Patio, where @peregrina2000 also stayed in 2013. There is also an albergue, with 6 beds, located in the Health Centre, and you'll get the keys at the Ayuntamiento. Note, the showers are across the road. Other lodgings include the Casa Rural El Molino, and Casa tío Peguero. The latter seems to require a minimum of 2 nights, and both generally try to sell the whole Casa, rather than just a room, but as @peregrina2000 mentioned earlier, a phone call might work wonders.
Hi AJ. I looked at your link above for Casa Rural El Molino. It looks lovely and the price quoted on their site for the two of you for the ‘matrimonial’ looks very reasonable. It ‘looks’ a lot nicer than El patio. ‘Just sayin’. (I didn’t recommend El Patio or their food; but they were very kind and their customers were friendly & helpful.

-That video you posted above captures the walk well. Re walking past bulls.
The video shows that same black bull as the one I passed In March. He doesn’t look like he’s moved ! I never took my eye off him but was also aware that if he decided to head closer ; I’d never out-run him 😂. - maybe he was tethered? I didn’t go near enough to check it out !!!! Ps. I’m never worried walking near cows ‘ever’ but this guy didn’t look like a cow to me. ! I was cautious just in case .
That gate in the video of the stage was (for me) the most difficult to close that I’ve ever encountered on any camino.
I just couldn’t push it closed enough to secure the top wire hook over the post. I managed to close it somehow. Possible secured it with a secondary wire.

you are really sprinting now AJ. No doubt in a hurry to reach Ávila.

thanks for doing all this background work.

Annie.
 

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peregrina2000

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It ‘looks’ a lot nicer than El patio. ‘Just sayin’. (I didn’t recommend El Patio or their food; but they were very kind and their customers were friendly & helpful.
Well, annie, if I remember correctly, this was the place where people were coughing all over you! I thought the rooms were a couple of steps above the normal pilgrim pensión, though I don’t remember much about the restaurant. The casa rural looks nice, I agree, but I’d go back to the Patio (I just wouldn’t tell them that I was the one who spilled a whole bottle of water on the bed 7 years ago).

And one silly note — @AJ, when you mentioned that you were going to go over the pass of Arrebatacapas, all I could think of was agarrapatas (ticks) (a word I have had to learn and re-learn on several caminos).
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I know that a lot of these casas rurales are listed as being available only for whole house rental, but I have found that at the last minute you sometimes get lucky. On my first Camino Olvidado, I was not sure exactly what I was going to do in Labañiego or Congosto, but was able to speak to the owners of two casas rurales there who really went out of their way to have someone greet me and leave me with the run of the house. If you have the phone numbers of these places, calling a day or two in advance may work wonders.

On a number of occasions and on different routes, I have found casas rurales to be very flexible, and on one occasion, an entire house rental for €185 became €25 for a single pilgrim. It never hurts to ask-- often a desire for €25 over €0 attracts a padron, and the traditional hospitality/curiosity of the Spanish comes into play.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
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Well, annie, if I remember correctly, this was the place where people were coughing all over you!
Exactly ! It was the owner and being the beginning of the COVID - it made me a trifle anxious as she was serving the food too. I don’t believe COVID had arrived at that village in early March. . I hope she is okay .
 

Raggy

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In his guide book, Gérard du Camino calls that a "chemin de chèvre", a goat's track. The Amigos focus on its true origin ... Medieval path or goat's track, we're climbing about 300 m in 2.7 km
No doubt many medieval paths were used for transhumance, so perhaps both descriptions are fine. When I read "goat track," rather than "cattle track," my assumption is that it's more challenging. Goats are extraordinary climbers.
 

Albertagirl

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Camino(s) past & future
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I recall one occasion when I was walking in the Rocky Mountains, in a region appropriately call the Whitegoat Wilderness Area. The valley was so choked with willows as to be impossible to walk through, so I went high, and then higher, until I came over a ridge to look down on a valley below occupied by a large, long-haired goat.
 

Albertagirl

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I am, amazingly, catching up. I made a major push to get all the new threads as far as Zamora downloaded. It was a very tedious process, but is done now, and I am finding following the route much easier. I don't as yet, know whether I shall attempt Toledo to Torrijos in one day. It really seems too far for me, with the extra distance to find my way out of Toledo, then the climb to Torrijos. I am not sure where to find information on altitude changes. Anyway, I shall stay in Rielves if the albergue is open, and spend a night in Torrijos. The walk from there to Escalona is about right, although I have not yet looked into the accomodations there. I am getting used to the Levante, and it is a great relief to be able to follow the route without problems. Thanks to all who have done this before me and are helping me along. I have also discovered that I am getting to know the route better as I repeatedly return to earlier sections to clarify things. I know already that I shall be having adventures along this route, but they are just what I need after this time of pandemic restrictions.
 
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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 37: San Bartolomé de Pinares to Ávila

you are really sprinting now AJ. No doubt in a hurry to reach Ávila.
I thought we were slow walkers 😂

Today, we're walking the second half of the published 21st stage of the Levante, 22.3 km to Ávila. @peregrina2000 encountered wet conditions in 2013:
Saturday´s walk into Ávila was shorter and less steep. It was filled with water, we were either crossing streams, walking next to streams, or trying to navigate very mushy bogs. We walked through or by many groups of cows, and I was wondering whether mother cows are likely to act like mother bears if a human goes between the mom and the baby. Just to be sure, I navigated around all of them as best I could. The views were not quite as spectacular as the day before, but it was a great walk, with only about 4 kms on the side of the road into the suburbs of Ávila.
In the Aubrac, on the Via Podiensis, you don't go between the mother and her calf. So we'd do the same here.

Earlier this year, @OzAnnie had a Camino angel called Carmen take her to the high point above El Herradón. I am assuming that corresponds to the Puerto del Boquerón, a pass sitting at 1315 m altitude. Such a Camino angel would be heaven sent for my darling Rachel.

On the way, we'll stop at Tornadizos de Ávila for a rest, un ColaCao y una manzanilla, por favor.

Like @OzAnnie, we're going to spend two nights here. There's so much to see (Hint: this is a cue for the veterans to chime in with their must-see list! ;))

Ávila has an albergue, Las Tenarias Judias. @peregrina2000 stayed there in 2013:
Ávila has a pilgrim´s albergue with 10 beds (two rooms with four, one with two). I got into the one with two and had it to myself, even though there were 3 Italian cyclists, one Polish man, and my two French friends. The etiquette seems to be to let the female be alone, which is fine with me!
There's also a Youth Hostel albergue, Albergue Juvenil Profesor Arturo Duperier. And then there's plenty of other places in the Amigos' accommodation list: Hostal Don Diego, Hostal Rey Niño, Hostal Puerta del Alcazar, and as they say: "y muchos más en booking". The one I really like is the one where @OzAnnie stayed: Palacio de Monjaraz. Check out the photos of her room!

Day 38: rest day in Ávila

Here's a promotional teaser:
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
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Avila and Toledo are the main draws of this Camino for me, and I'm especially excited to be getting to the latter, as I've only seen it from the train. I also look forward to hearing the recommendations of everyone who's been there already.

Here's a short UNESCO videro link.

Aaaand...anyone for a splurge?

(Looking at this restaurant's website is quite an inspiration. The chef is a woman, and self-made.)
 
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OzAnnie

Veteran Member
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Earlier this year, @OzAnnie had a Camino angel called Carmen take her to the high point above El Herradón. I am assuming that corresponds to the Puerto del Boquerón, a pass sitting at 1315 m altitude. Such a Camino angel would be heaven sent for my darling Rachel.
AJ I’ll respond to this section tonight. (very late)

you are spot on in your assumption. I’ve just checked my photos and can see that Carmen (little red car) dropped me at that exact point. The sign reads puerto Del Boquerón.. Carmen had commented that she was driving to Ávila and could take me -however ; I knew it was going to be a lovely walk, so declined a full trip - but looking at the profile map with El Herradón looking like a steep climb out ., I was easily tempted to accept that section.
(The trail crosses the main road at the red car 🚗) you can see a gate and on this side a yellow marker which is where I picked up the trail. I’m sure you could arrange a lift here. I had the impression that Carmen must have done this before as she knew exactly where the trail connected.
 

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peregrina2000

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Ahhh, Ávila. The walls are the main attraction for most people. The camino enters through one of the gates after a long walk alongside what I remember as being the western side of the city, but I could be wrong. Walking on top of the walls, and going out of the walls to places where you have great views of the walls are both very fun. The typical viewing spot is essentially on the camino leaving town, and it is very close to the albergue. I would make a trip out there during your rest day, even though you will pass by the next morning, so you get a couple of different perspectives with the light. We also enjoyed some stunning nighttime views.

That video didn’t highlight my favorite church, surprise surprise it’s Romanesque — San Vicente. It is outside the walls, but very accessible. The outside porch (looks gothic) is beautiful.

I’m sure there is a story behind the scaly man at the cathedral door, but I don’t know what it is.

And for those who are intrigued by the vettones (those prehistoric bull-like creatures of Guisando), the capital city of Ávila has about 50, at least according to this article, which lists a lot of places to find them. Many of these are thought to be newer versions, dating from Roman times, rather than the Iron Age figures at Guisando.

I have been in the museum, though it was more than 30 years ago, so my memory is a bit foggy. But I see they have a stock of vettones too!

All in all, a great place for some R & R. I think that the vegetarians are going to have a hard time. This is a meat-eating town, though that restaurant @VN linked to looks like a very nice place. There are lots of typical bean dishes (but all have some meat snuck in, in my experience). The beans from nearby Barco de Ávila are renowned nationwide.

I remember being there in the early 90s, and seeing on special display in the cathedral the original order of Ferdinand and Isabelle expelling the Jews. That made a big impression on my teenage kids, one of whom was dating a Jewish boy at the time.

And one last thought — Ávila is home to the Yemas de Santa Teresa, a very rich pastry made of egg yolks. Many convents around Spain sell something similar, but this is the mother lode of yemas. I don’t know if it’s true, but I remember hearing somewhere that so many convents have sweets based on egg yolks because they used the egg whites to starch their collars and habits and had to find something to do with the yolks.


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peregrina2000

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And for Romanesque aficionados such as myself, Zamora!
I must have had a brain freeze to forget to mention Zamora — Zamora is one of my favorite cities in all of Spain! (In fact, IMO, it beats Ávila by a long shot :D, but that’s just because I am a Romanesque nut like you, AJ).

And as I have been thinking about my time in Ávila, I have been trying to remember the name of a small romanesque church very close to the albergue and just outside the walls. It wasn’t spectacular, and it is does not appear on lists of romanesque in Ávila that I have seen, but I found it! It’s the Ermita de San Segundo, and I very much liked the dooway.

And I believe, though I am not sure, that one of my favorite romanesque crucifixes is on display in the Ávila cathedral. So human. I’ve attached a picture. It may be in San Vicente, but I think it’s in the Cathedral.

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OzAnnie

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I’m slowly adding to today’s stage..
Walking to Tornadizos de Ávila is pleasant rolling country - cows, horses, dirt paths, and streams.
the Puebla was super quiet, & with the head start from the lift, there is time to stop and enjoy a hot drink. the cafe was very clean and the lady running it gave me a blue wrist band with the town name on one side and Camino de Levante on the other.
 

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OzAnnie

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AJ- this section has so much / walking into Ávila and being there so another bit from me of getting there.

before Ávila there is a little bit of beside road and onto side for a wee bit.
Near or at Peñalba de Ávila I came by the bridge below (see pic )... I still don’t know what has happened around there as the bridge doesn’t cross any stream (now at least ).

Pics after that are getting closer to Ávila and show the park just outside the walls before entering as is the Iglesia de Santiago. (Interesting door but was closed )..
just inside the wall / menu Del dia at Del Rastro I think.
 

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OzAnnie

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I can’t add more on Ávila than you’ve included AJ or even the ‘tips & links’ included by other forum members.
....But since we are in Ávila ... it won’t hurt to repeat a few things I noticed.


- plenty of places to eat .. first night I only needed a snack as I’d had a menu Del dia on arrival. - so Tres Siglos (close time plaza mayor) suited just fine.
2nd night at El Rincon. (Between my accommodation and plaza mayor ) Really good food.

I thought there was much less walking required in Ávila compared to the much larger Toledo. I loved both places equally.

the cathedral was beautiful as expected and to walk the wall I found the office just outside the gate to buy the ticket.
 

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OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
More Ávila pics etc. which I couldn’t add above.

I only walked past the Albergue heading out of town. Looks nice and gets a tick from other pilgrims.

- the accommodation I stayed at was excellent value and I had taken the advice of an earlier pilgrim @Donna Sch - Palacio de monjaraz - it is not far from the plaza mayor. Pic of entrance and breakfast area which was a buffet. Lots of choice ..
-after reading @peregrina2000 ‘s description Basilica San Vicente, which is just outside the wall -I had to include a visit so more pics !!! Talk about paparazzi!! That’s it from me for Ávila , even though it’s only a fraction of the pics I took

I also found walking outside the wall on that side of town (San Vicente side ) had lots to see (more churches ., plazas etc ) and more restaurants that I didn’t check out.
 

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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)
Wow wow wow...

Stay tuned for Arévalo. ;)
Ummmmm. Seriously, it gets better than this?
Well, showing my ignorance here, but will do. No need to explain...it'll ruin the surprise. I won't even look it up.
🙏😁

Ávila has about 50
Woah.....

I am a Romanesque nut like you,
As you know, that makes three of us!

there is a story behind the scaly man at the cathedral door, but I don’t know what it is.
I tried to find this information with various search criteria but failed completely. Anyone?

I think that the vegetarians are going to have a hard time. This is a meat-eating town, though that restaurant @VN
Well, given that photo that Annie posted I think I'll do just fine. Actually, just give me good bread and setas, and I'm in heaven. I can always get my protein eating those rich egg yolk-laden treats.

I don’t know if it’s true, but I remember hearing somewhere that so many convents have sweets based on egg yolks because they used the egg whites to starch their collars and habits and had to find something to do with the yolks.
Haha I'm doing it all wrong.🙃

What everybody has contributed makes my mouth water. This looks like it could be two rest days very easily!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019)
Walking through the Aubrac on the Via Podiensis, we had to walk through pastures with the Aubrac cows that have beautiful eyes. It was in July, and the cows all had little calves.
There were numerous signs warning walkers and pilgrims that these cows can be nervous, in particular if you walk between them and their offspring. So we always have them a wide berth.
Use your hiking pole(s) as a Waddy, see the following quotation copied from Safe cattle handling - good practice guidelines. Ref: https://worksafe.govt.nz/topic-and-...rking-with-cattle/safe-cattle-handling-guide/

"USE A WADDY
Carry a length of pipe or a long stick
(a waddy). Put a piece of cloth on the end to make a flag.

A waddy makes you look bigger. It may also give you confidence when handling difficult animals.

If you stand facing the cow with your waddy outstretched, you are domineering and positive.

If you want to take pressure off – for example, when a bull is giving you a dirty look – you can take the heat out of the situation by lowering the waddy and turning side-on."


Please note that it does not say "wave your waddy about". You should hold it steady, usually so that it is higher than your head and shoulders. Part of the idea is to make you look much taller.

Also do NOT shout or stamp your feet. Be aware of your body and head position. Facing a prey animal is domineering, side on is non-threatening.

A waddy is even more effective on horses.
 
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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)
Last edited:

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 38: Ávila to Gotarrendura

This 22nd published stage is 22.4 km long. The profile shows an undulating walk. I'll refer to my usual reference, @peregrina2000 's blog, to describe this stage:
The exit from Ávila is on a dangerous road, with all the entrances and exits for the tollway. They´ve had to re-route the Camino from its earlier saunter around a reservoir because a landowner has closed off the path to walkers. He will have blood on his hands when the inevitable tragedy happens. It´s just an impossibly dangerous section -- we were lucky because it was early Sunday morning, but at most other times of day, it would be bad.
About 1/2way through the walk it was like someone had changed the film. The scenery changed from one step to the next -- from scrub oak and big boulders and paths lined with waist-high stone walls one minute to the vast plains of the meseta the next.
The last 12 kms into Gotarrendura were meseta at its best. Green fields waving in the wind, big white puffy clouds, jewel blue sky. At one point I could see 9 pueblos dotting the landscape in front of me. Then when the camino takes a dip, all you can see is huge fields of green blowing in the wind. Then the next minute you crest the hill and the pueblos appear again. Wow.
@OzAnnie found the walk good and bad. The bad bit was a case of lactic acidosis that night :(

The length of the stage would not be an issue for most peregrin@s, so on this virtual Camino, we're going to walk the distance. However, for us slow walkers, I see a couple of alternatives.

The first one is to shave off a few km, say 3 km, by taking a taxi out of Ávila to avoid the dangerous bit. The second one is to walk this stage in two days, which is what we might do in a real life Camino. Day 1 would be 12.1 km from Ávila to Cardeñosa, and on day 2, 10.3 km to Gotarrendura.

Cardeñosa sits at the half way mark on this stage, so possibly a spot to take a break. The place was settled back in the Bronze Age, and the church has a Mudejar ceiling. If we wanted to overnight here, there are casas rurales according to the Amigos' accommodation list: Casa Rural La Granja, Casa Rural Tio Tango I & Casa Rural Tio Tango II. Not in the list, but featuring on the usual online map: Casa Rural El Caño Del Santo.

We're not stopping here on this virtual Camino, so onwards to Gotarrendura. The claim to fame of this little village is that the parents of Saint Teresa of Ávila were married here, and she was also probably born here.

We're staying at the only place where we can stay, the municipal albergue Entre Adobes. That's where @peregrina2000 stayed in 2013, and where @OzAnnie stopped earlier this year. Actually, there's a second albergue, an Albergue Turístico Casa del Maestro, which is listed on that same website above.

@peregrina2000 said in 2013:
The town today is pretty moribund.
And in 2018, @JLWV mentioned that there is nowhere to eat, and there is no shop. @OzAnnie confirmed in March this year that this is still the case. So bring supplies!!
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
I liked Gotarrendura. I had hoped to be there again in about three weeks, before veering off onto the Teresiano camino to Alba de Tormes, but it is not to be, sigh.

Last time (2014) the little bar opened specially for pilgrims, and served a delicious meal with much friendly chat. But apparently now you'll have to bring your own supplies from Ávila and eat in the well-equipped kitchen of the excellent albergue. Like so many villages in Spain, Gotarrendura is slowly dying - population down from 170 when I was last there to 162 now. https://www.foro-ciudad.com/avila/gotarrendura/habitantes.html#Evolucion

There is a statue of Sta Teresa de Jesús from 1982 commemorating the 400th anniversary of her death. I wonder what they did in 2015 for the 500th of her birth.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I too was sad to learn that the bar has closed permanently. Just like Alan’s experience, we were told to knock on the family’s door, and if anyone was around, they would open up and cook — I remember one of the best plates of setas I have ever eaten, just freshly picked. I think that a middle aged son was doing most of the work, while the older papá was there too. My guess is that the middle aged son found something more profitable to do. They told us that most of their business came from families attending baptisms, funerals and weddings in the local church.

@alansykes’s comment reminds me that Gotarrendura boasts what may be the dovecoat belonging to Santa Teresa’s family.

It will be interesting to see how the albergue/casa rural survives the pandemic. When we were there, the casa rural part was being rented by city dweller who came back to her parents’ pueblo for a week — apparently that was a very popular use of the facility.

Like so many villages in Spain, Gotarrendura is slowly dying - population down from 170 when I was last there to 162 now
That website is fascinating, Alan. I am assuming it is using the official census data, and if so that number is itself inflated, at least according to my understanding. I have learned that in Spain, though I may have some of the details fuzzy, you can choose your place of official residence so long as you own a home in the town. Apparently, some (not sure how many) choose their “pueblo” as their official resdence because it will have an impact on governmental resources given to the town. The one inconvenient aspect of this choice is that you have to vote in the place where you are registered. But you or other forum members may have a clearer understanding of that phenomenon.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I have made my way to Avila, but have not yet decided where to stay. It is wonderful to have so many choices. I had thought to spend a couple of nights in the Parador in Avila, and still may. But there are so many other attractive choice, some of them are even inexpensive, so I shall think about it tomorrow.
 

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