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LIVE from the Camino Camino de Madrid - April 2019

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
After spending a day and a half in Madrid seeing friends and eating way too much, tomorrow morning we’re setting out from the Iglesia de Santiago to begin our third camino. I’ll phone-blog here for anyone interested.

I’ve never minded walking in cities on camino and @peregrina2000 has said that the exit from Madrid is quite pleasant, so I’m actually looking forward to starting out right in the heart of the city and walking through the suburbs and outskirts before eventually leaving Madrid behind.

The weather for our first few days seems like it will be OK, as Tuesday is the only day out of the first four with rain in the forecast at the moment. There is snow in the forecast for Segovia later in the week, though, so that might be interesting!

All going well, we’ll be in Tres Cantos tomorrow night. The CSJ guide write-up on the albergue in Tres Cantos says you have to leave before 6am, and also adds this line:

[Edit: removed line about not being allowed in until 10:30pm because it is incorrect.]

So maybe we’ll be better off at the Hostal Tres Cantos or elsewhere. Advice or suggestions welcome!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
When I walked the CM in 2015 we stayed in Tres Cantos. The accommodation you're talking about where you have to be out by 6AM is located in the Ayunatamento (sp?) or town hall. The way it worked was that you had to arrive at town hall during business hours to check-in. They explained all of the details anout entering and leaving and needing to be out by 6AM. It was basic but clean and adequate and best of all free. If you're arriving in TC on a weekday this is certainly a possibility. If you prefer cushier surroundings then the Hostal might be a better choice for you. As far as the entry in the CSJ guide, either something got lost in translation or the process has changed.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Thanks for this info. Because daylight savings just started last night, sunrise is not until 8am, so that’s why having to be out before 6am is far from ideal at this time of year.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
After spending a day and a half in Madrid seeing friends and eating way too much, tomorrow morning we’re setting out from the Iglesia de Santiago to begin our third camino. I’ll phone-blog here for anyone interested.

I’ve never minded walking in cities on camino and @peregrina2000 has said that the exit from Madrid is quite pleasant, so I’m actually looking forward to starting out right in the heart of the city and walking through the suburbs and outskirts before eventually leaving Madrid behind.

The weather for our first few days seems like it will be OK, as Tuesday is the only day out of the first four with rain in the forecast at the moment. There is snow in the forecast for Segovia later in the week, though, so that might be interesting!

All going well, we’ll be in Tres Cantos tomorrow night. The CSJ guide write-up on the albergue in Tres Cantos says you have to leave before 6am, and also adds this line:

There are reports that admission to this albergue is given by the local police who do not attend until 10.30pm.

So maybe we’ll be better off at the Hostal Tres Cantos or elsewhere. Advice or suggestions welcome!
There are so many nice routes to get you from the church to Plaza Castilla — my favorites would be Calle San Bernardo, Calle Fuencarral, or the Castellana, or a combination. So many choices!

I have never stayed in the Tres Cantos albergue, but am vaguely aware of people saying they were locked in overnight, or couldn’t get in till very late, or couldn’t get in on a weekend. The albergue is in the ayuntamiento, so that is where I would head first. Gronze says it opens at 3. https://www.gronze.com/comunidad-madrid/tres-cantos/acogida-municipal-tres-cantos Anyway, there are a couple of private places there, so all will not be lost if you strike out. So excited for you guys, buen camino! Laurie
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
After spending a day and a half in Madrid seeing friends and eating way too much, tomorrow morning we’re setting out from the Iglesia de Santiago to begin our third camino. I’ll phone-blog here for anyone interested.

I’ve never minded walking in cities on camino and @peregrina2000 has said that the exit from Madrid is quite pleasant, so I’m actually looking forward to starting out right in the heart of the city and walking through the suburbs and outskirts before eventually leaving Madrid behind.

The weather for our first few days seems like it will be OK, as Tuesday is the only day out of the first four with rain in the forecast at the moment. There is snow in the forecast for Segovia later in the week, though, so that might be interesting!

All going well, we’ll be in Tres Cantos tomorrow night. The CSJ guide write-up on the albergue in Tres Cantos says you have to leave before 6am, and also adds this line:

There are reports that admission to this albergue is given by the local police who do not attend until 10.30pm.

So maybe we’ll be better off at the Hostal Tres Cantos or elsewhere. Advice or suggestions welcome!

If all else fails, I recall there is a Holiday Inn near the municipal Albergue... just sayin...
 

NualaOC

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Francés, Inglés, Fisterra/Muxia, Baztan, Primitivo, Norte, Portugués. Future: Madrid (2019)
Wishing you a Buen Camino! I'll be walking the CdeM next month, so I'll check your posts when I can.

@LTfit stayed in the Tres Cantos albergue last year. She said:
'This is a heads-up for anyone wanting to sleep in the town hall: disregard the information in Gronze which says you can't get in till 22.30. This is definitely incorrect. I called from home yesterday and I was told that I could get in around 14.30. Since I only left the church at 12.00 I got in at 17.00. All the employees were gone but a nice security woman showed me around. The pilgrim room is in the basement with only 2 beds but 2 bathrooms. I see a folded up mattress so I guess three could sleep. You must be in by 21.00 as the police then take over. You must also be out by 6 a.m. but there is a churros place around the corner that is open from 5 - 14.00 so no need to leave in the dark or without a café con Leche'.

There's lots of other helpful stuff in her thread. Hopefully it will supplement/clarify the information on Gronze and in the CSJ guide (which is good, but slightly out of date in a couple places).
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
I think @LTfit nailed it. It's exactly the same as I remember it from staying there in 2014. Security woman let me in and police escorted me out in the morning. Anyway Mercadona supermercado is opened till 9PM I think (on your way from Camino to Ayuntamiento just past the underpass) so you don't really have a lot to do in a place like Tres Cantos much later. I also remember that hot water was boiling hot and it was actually quite a task to take proper shower :)
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Thanks so much for the tips everyone! It looks like the hostal and the Holiday Inn are both booked out, so the albergue it is. I’ll give them a call while we’re on the trail tomorrow morning, and I’ll try to remember not to jump head first into the shower without testing the temperature first!
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
I stayed in the Hostal - it was my first night and I hardly ever book ahead, except on first night. Tres Cantos is a really strange town. Franco-modern and rather soulless during the day. But loads of cafes and restaurants open up in the evening.........but of course if you have to be back in the albergue by 9pm you will be quite restricted in what you can enjoy....... Like everywhere else in Spain......Which I still love❤
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Yeah, not much to do/see except sitting in the bar ;)

I don't know how much rain was there lately but I would wait for the light to start towards Colmenar Viejo. There are like 7 streams to cross if I remember correctly and I wouldn't want to do that in dark as there are probably some stepping stones missing, turned over or just being slippery.
 

marjude

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
4/2011 VdlP,
4/2014 Rota Vincentina, Portugues.
4/2016 Aragones, Frances.
4/2019 Madrid, Frances
Hi Nick, I will be right behind you starting out from Madrid on Friday. I won’t catch you so have a great walk and I will be definitely reading your posts.
Buen Camino judy.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Thanks so much for the tips everyone! It looks like the hostal and the Holiday Inn are both booked out, so the albergue it is. I’ll give them a call while we’re on the trail tomorrow morning, and I’ll try to remember not to jump head first into the shower without testing the temperature first!
There are several other hotels in Tres Cantos, including one on the traffic circle on the way out of town, before you make the 'dogleg' turn to the right, to get on the Camino. Google maps should bring them up with a 'hotels near me' search...

FYI - to save time when you see this in the morning, I just queried hotels in Tres Cantos, Spain from my home in Florida, on Google Maps. At least SIX hotels came up, four, plus the Holiday Inn. Try it on your smart phone... or, just use the information I generated...

They include the: (N.B. T/C = Tres Cantos)
  • Eurostars Madrid Foro, Ronda de Europa, 1, 28760 T/C, www.eurostarshotels.com, +34 918 05 47 20 (see above)
  • Exe Tres Cantos, Plaza de la Estación, 2, 28760 T/C, www.exehotels.com, +34 918 04 48 37
  • VP Jardin de Tres Cantos, Av. de los Encuartes, 17, 28760 T/C, trescantos-hotel.com, +34 918 06 49 99
  • Hostal Tres Cantos, Avenida de Viñuelas 39 posterior, 28760 T/C, www.hostaltrescantos.es, +34 918 03 71 17
  • Godoy Hotels, Plaza de la Estación, 0, 28760 T/C, www.hotelesquo.com, +34 918 03 22 35
Hope this helps. Enjoy your Camino.
 
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jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Day 1: Madrid to Tres Cantos (~23km)

We left the Iglesia de Santiago at about 8am this morning on a cold and overcast day, with temperatures at about 8-9 degrees Celsius. I enjoyed walking through the morning rush hour bustle of Madrid and soon we picked up the arrows at Plaza Castilla and were on our way.

We had some way marking difficulties leaving the Fuencarral area. I think we missed an arrow at one point and although we got back (via a different way) to where we thought we should be according to the CSJ guide - at the two old bridges going over the rail line - there were no arrows to be seen. Direction-wise, things seemed pretty straightforward, though, so we went over the train tracks and under the motorway, continuing north on one of the dirt paths for a while before it eventually met up with the correct path.

Just after 3pm, we arrived at the ayuntamiento in Tres Cantos. The lodgings are basic with two-and-a-half beds as per the @LTfit quote above, but on the bright side, that makes it a private room! And it’s free, not even donativo.

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Overall, it was an unspectacular day but it’s great to be back on camino and we’re looking forward to what’s ahead!
 

RedBike

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
French Route SJPDP (2004, 2007). From Granada - part of (2009)
Nice to read these comments. I'm setting off 19th April and going through to Colmenar Viejo by bike. I have booked at the Gran Hostel El Chiscon. Looking forward to the Semana Santa processions!
 
Camino(s) past & future
VDLP (2014)
Le Puy - SJPP (2016)
Thanks, Nick. I’m starting on Sunday 7 so, like marjude, I’ll be reading your posts. It will be great to have the up to date information. BTW, I’ve booked Tres Cantos for Sunday night. Buen Camino! Christine
 

camino07

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18Norte
Nice to read these comments. I'm setting off 19th April and going through to Colmenar Viejo by bike. I have booked at the Gran Hostel El Chiscon. Looking forward to the Semana Santa processions!
Loved Hostel El Chison ,they were so good to me last year after my episode of global amnesia. must return and finish sometime.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Day 2: Tres Cantos to Manzanares el Real (~24km)

Today was such a great day!

The ayuntamiento last night was a fun experience and even the 6am ‘check out’ (police escort out of the building) was fine. We went to the cafeteria nearby as suggested upthread and had very good tostadas con tomate for breakfast before setting out at about 7:20am.

The entire camino today was on rural dirt paths and by mid-morning we’d seen the full range of farmyard animals, including pigs, which are often eaten but not often sighted in Spain, at least in our experience. We also saw our first pilgrim, an older Spanish man who is going back to his home in Madrid each night. I’m not sure how much longer it will make sense for him to do that, or whether we’ll see him again.

There’s only one town to pass through: Colmenar Viejo. There, we saw our first storks of this camino, which is always fun. I also got a chuckle out of the name of the Plaza de la Berenjena (Eggplant/Aubergine Square!).

The surprise of the day was seeing a recently restored medieval bridge about an hour out of Colmenar, which is not mentioned in the CSJ guide. Despite the nearby motorway, it’s a lovely spot and we ate our picnic lunch there.

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After lunch, dark grey clouds began looming on the horizon, providing some great storm light, followed by some rain, loud thunder and even tiny hailstones. But this passed after about 15 minutes and soon enough we arrived in Manzanares.

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Ray and Rosa’s place in Manzanares is so great - don’t miss it if you do this camino! We have the cabin to ourselves tonight and it’s really fabulous. They are also making us a vegan dinner which we really appreciate.

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The weather forecast for the next two days is good as we approach and cross the mountains, so everything is going really well so far!
 
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jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Accommodation on the Madrid that is currently CLOSED according to Ray y Rosa:

Cercedilla - Albergue Juvenil las Dehesas (refurbishment)
Medina de Rioseco - Convento Santa Clara (closed definitively two days ago!)
Santervás de Campos - Albergue Municipal (refurbishment)
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
How were the water crossings on the way to Colmenor? Did you get wet feet ?
They were fine, no wet feet. The water level was low so it was easy to make the crossings using the stepping stones. I don’t know where the source of the river is, but locals have told us that it was a warm winter with less snow than usual, so maybe that has contributed to lower water levels in the river.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Day 3: Manzanares el Real to Cercedillas (~20km)

A shorter day today out of necessity, because there isn’t really any overnight choice other than Cercedillas before tackling the mountain.

Today wasn’t as enjoyable as yesterday because, although it was sunny most of the day, it was cold (around 6 degrees Celsius even at midday) and there was a biting wind for most of the morning. My favourite stretch was walking among the boulders between Mataelpino and Navacerrada.

54354

With the youth hostel in Dehesas (2.5 km further along the Camino from Cercedillas) being closed, that meant we had to stay in town and have a bit more walking to do tomorrow. We considered the polideportivo at the (eastern) entrance to town, but it was closed for siesta when we walked past and staying there would have added even more walking to our day tomorrow. There is another youth hostel at the western end of town, but we’d heard it was €18 for a bed, which didn’t make sense when we could have a double room for €30 at the nearby Hostal Aribel Longinos, so that’s what we did.

The forecast tomorrow for the mountain pass is for sun, but temperatures of -6 degrees at 8am! We’re hoping for no wind (or at least less than today), and we’ve been told that there won’t be snow on the trail. So we’ll layer up and hope for the best!
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
Day 3: Manzanares el Real to Cercedillas (~20km)

A shorter day today out of necessity, because there isn’t really any overnight choice other than Cercedillas before tackling the mountain.

Today wasn’t as enjoyable as yesterday because, although it was sunny most of the day, it was cold (around 6 degrees Celsius even at midday) and there was a biting wind for most of the morning. My favourite stretch was walking among the boulders between Mataelpino and Navacerrada.
If you like boulders, just behind this photo is located La Pedriza, very popular in Madrid for mountain activities.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
The forecast tomorrow for the mountain pass is for sun, but temperatures of -6 degrees at 8am! We’re hoping for no wind (or at least less than today), and we’ve been told that there won’t be snow on the trail. So we’ll layer up and hope for the best!
I wish you nice day tomorrow!
If Cercedilla locals told you there isn't any snow you still might prepare for some on the northern side of Fuenfria. Usually there is more snow than on the Cercedilla (southern) side of Guadarrama. If the crust will be frozen you'll be OK but if wet (too warm weather) then it will be quite a menace ;)

Buen Camino!
 

Doogman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Many more in the future (hopefully)
Hi @jungleboy: I am enjoying your posts. I hope to be in Cercedilla two weeks from today, and going over Puerto de la Fuenfria the next day. I am also staying at Hostal Aribel Longinos. Were the people at the Hostal able to give you the weather forecast, or did you get that from somewhere else? Thanks and buen camino!
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Hi @jungleboy: I am enjoying your posts. I hope to be in Cercedilla two weeks from today, and going over Puerto de la Fuenfria the next day. I am also staying at Hostal Aribel Longinos. Were the people at the Hostal able to give you the weather forecast, or did you get that from somewhere else? Thanks and buen camino!
Thank you! We got the information from pilgrims/hospitaleros Ray and Rosa yesterday. Even though they’re a couple of towns further back, they’re very well informed. And someone else today told us that this winter here was ‘calentito’, so we haven’t asked at the hostal yet. Although the lady at reception was very nice, so I’m sure she’ll try to help you as best she can. There is snow forecast this weekend, so be aware that even if there’s no snow on the trail for us tomorrow, there might be for you in a couple of weeks even as we get further away from winter. ¡Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
Buen camino, and thanks for your posts. You have a gift for relaying useful information, as you can see in the appreciative posts from those who will be following you...
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Thank you all for the kind comments - I’m glad these posts are useful!

Day 4: Cercedillas to Segovia (~30km) - but only 26km according to the Health app for iPhone.

Today was so fabulous, one of my all-time favourite days on any camino.

We started shortly before sunrise when it was -3 degrees Celsius, slightly warmer than forecast and thankfully without yesterday’s wind. The ascent is not steep (600m altitude gain in 7-8km of walking) but it’s just strenuous enough to warm you up a bit! We stopped for a snack at the top and this was the coldest part of the day.

Shortly after the pass we came across a small patch of snow on the trail, and that was the only snow we saw on or near the path. But snow is forecast for at least the next three days, so we were very lucky and conditions may be significantly different for those coming soon behind us.

54379

At the top the weather was alternating between sunny patches and rolling fog, but as we started walking down, the fog lifted and it became a glorious day, albeit still with sub-zero temperatures. The trees up there are really amazing, we had the whole place to ourselves, and the ruins of the 16th century royal way station Casa Eraso - not mentioned in the CSJ guide - are beautifully situated in the woodlands just off the camino and were a great highlight.

54380

The walk down from the pass is in a beautiful forest for about 7-8km before becoming a more open plain with Segovia in sight (and another ruin, a 17th century albergue of sorts for travellers and shepherds that I also liked).

We briefly considered the alternative route via San Ildefonso. However, there are discrepancies about distances. Gronze lists it as 11.7km to Segovia from the fork in the road, while a sign at the fork gave it as just 6km, less than the 6.7km the same sign said it was to San Ildefonso. Google Maps had it as 9km / 1hr 45 mins from the fork to Segovia, so we decided to trust that and continue on. We eventually made it to Segovia at about 5pm.

I did a quick accommodation search on Booking and we’re paying €34 (edit: mid-week; more expensive on weekends) for a very nice double room with private bathroom (including a bathtub!) at Hostal Fornos, so I definitely recommend it. It’s past the aqueduct, near Plaza Mayor. Wendy likes it so much (and her feet are so sore from plantar fasciitis) that I think she’s talked me into a rest day here tomorrow before the 33km day to Santa Maria la Real de Nieva.

NOTE: there is a forced diversion just before entering Segovia. You come to a T-junction at the motorway with a camino marker and 580km sign pointing right. However, it is fenced off, and while you could go through a gap in the fence, signs say it is prohibited for pedestrians to do so. Instead, turn left, walk a few hundred metres, and turn right onto a road bridge over the motorway. The quickest way to get back to the camino is to go straight ahead after the bridge another few hundred metres until you come to a roundabout. The road exits the roundabout to the left, but keep going straight and slightly to the right on a dirt path, and it will soon join the camino (another dirt path) at the 579km marker.
 
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RedBike

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
French Route SJPDP (2004, 2007). From Granada - part of (2009)
¡Fantastico!!
 

RedBike

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
French Route SJPDP (2004, 2007). From Granada - part of (2009)
Thank you all for the kind comments - I’m glad these posts are useful!

Day 4: Cercedillas to Segovia (~30km) - but only 26km according to the Health app for iPhone.

Today was so fabulous, one of my all-time favourite days on any camino.

We started shortly before sunrise when it was -3 degrees Celsius, slightly warmer than forecast and thankfully without yesterday’s wind. The ascent is not steep (600m altitude gain in 7-8km of walking) but it’s just strenuous enough to warm you up a bit! We stopped for a snack at the top and this was the coldest part of the day.

Shortly after the pass we came across a small patch of snow on the trail, and that was the only snow we saw on or near the path. But snow is forecast for at least the next three days, so we were very lucky and conditions may be significantly different for those coming soon behind us.

View attachment 54379

At the top the weather was alternating between sunny patches and rolling fog, but as we started walking down, the fog lifted and it became a glorious day, albeit still with sub-zero temperatures. The trees up there are really amazing, we had the whole place to ourselves, and the ruins of the 16th century royal way station Casa Eraso - not mentioned in the CSJ guide - are beautifully situated in the woodlands just off the camino and were a great highlight.


The walk down from the pass is in a beautiful forest for about 7-8km before becoming a more open plain with Segovia in sight (and another ruin, a 17th century albergue of sorts for travellers and shepherds that I also liked).

We briefly considered the alternative route via San Ildefonso. However, there are discrepancies about distances. Gronze lists it as 11.7km to Segovia from the fork in the road, while a sign at the fork gave it as just 6km, less than the 6.7km the same sign said it was to San Ildefonso. Google Maps had it as 9km / 1hr 45 mins from the fork to Segovia, so we decided to trust that and continue on. We eventually made it to Segovia at about 5pm.

I did a quick accommodation search on Booking and we’re paying €34 (edit: mid-week; more expensive on weekends) for a very nice double room with private bathroom (including a bathtub!) at Hostal Fornos, so I definitely recommend it. It’s past the aqueduct, near Plaza Mayor. Wendy likes it so much (and her feet are so sore from plantar fasciitis) that I think she’s talked me into a rest day here tomorrow before the 33km day to Santa Maria la Real de Nieva.

NOTE: there is a forced diversion just before entering Segovia. You come to a T-junction at the motorway with a camino marker and 580km sign pointing right. However, it is fenced off, and while you could go through a gap in the fence, signs say it is prohibited for pedestrians to do so. Instead, turn left, walk a few hundred metres, and turn right onto a road bridge over the motorway. The quickest way to get back to the camino is to go straight ahead after the bridge another few hundred metres until you come to a roundabout. The road exits the roundabout to the left, but keep going straight and slightly to the right on a dirt path, and it will soon join the camino (another dirt path) at the 579km

Great to read your posts jungleboy, keep it up :)
 

Angelo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014)
Portugues (2015)
Madrid (2017)
Inglés (2017)
Invierno (Apr. 2019)
I
If all else fails, I recall there is a Holiday Inn near the municipal Albergue... just sayin...
I have stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Tres Cantos for my Camino de Madrid in April 2017. I never felt comfortable being locked in overnight at the Ayuntamiento.
The room included buffet breakfast.
Good for a late morning start to Manzanares El Real.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Day 5: Segovia to Santa Maria la Real de Nieva (~32km)

With a combination of snow and rain forecast all day, we were pretty lucky in the end to get no snow and not much rain (although there was a tiny bit of hail). However, it was cloudy, windy and cold, so it wasn’t the camino at its best, but we ploughed through and arrived at about 4:30pm.

Way marking was straightforward and we brought food from Segovia to eat for lunch, a good idea on this stage because there are no bars or restaurants between Los Huertos and Santa Maria.

The camino is quite different on this side of the mountains. The rocky landscape and grazing areas from the first few days are gone, replaced by flat agricultural fields and grassland. It was fairly monotonous at times but there were a couple of interesting parts: the former railway line and a small pine forest where sap was being extracted from the trees.

54478

The first few towns after Segovia had interesting looking churches but they were closed. Añe has an albergue but nothing else (no bar, shop or restaurant), so it’s worth continuing the ~11km to Santa Maria if you can, although that makes for a long day. The Romanesque cloister in Santa Maria (free) is also worth visiting to see the column capitals.

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Meanwhile, there are three other pilgrims at the albergue in Santa Maria - the first pilgrims we’ve seen in four days!
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Day 6: Santa Maria la Real de Nieva to Coca (~22km)

Today was a much shorter stage than the last two, which was nice. It didn’t rain at all and the sun came out periodically throughout the day, while it was completely flat and probably two-thirds of the stage was in pine forest. So all in all, it was a pretty good day.

54535

The camino goes past - not through - Nieva (just 2km past Santa Maria), but it’s worth making a short detour to check out the brickwork of the late 11th-century Mudéjar church and its 13th-century exterior Romanesque portico with column capitals, which you can admire even if the church is closed as it was for us.

In Nava, 10km further on, you can get a stamp and a free little pastry from the lovely Margarita at Pastelaría Rosana, as is written in the CSJ guide. After Nava, there are two route options (A and B). We took B, not marked as such but it’s the path that goes straight, while another pilgrim we spoke to took A to the right. In the end they both sound pretty similar and both go through pine forest.

The albergue in Coca is unlike any we’ve stayed in before. It’s a two-storey house with bunk beds in four bedrooms upstairs, including a tiny room with just two bunks that we grabbed. Of the three other pilgrims from yesterday’s albergue, one is here with us, another continued further, and the third has gone back to Madrid (he just did two days Segovia-Coca).

This camino has a much different feel than the Francés or the Primitivo for several reasons, and one of them is that there’s no ‘pilgrim time’ - just Spanish time. In the evenings we’re usually hungry early and also pretty tired, so we’d love to eat by about 7pm and be winding down by 9pm or so, but 8-8:30pm is often the earliest any restaurants are open. So on a day like today, when we arrived at about 3pm, it’s quite a long wait until dinner. And unfortunately it’s raining now, so it’s not a great time to visit the castle. Luckily I’ve got a good book to read!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Past - Camino Frances April-May (2017)
Future - Camino Frances (Meseta) Madrid or Ingles (June 2019)
Really enjoyed reading all your posts on the Camino de Madrid, Jungleboy. It seems like a lovely camino that I'll bookmark for the future. I was thinking about starting it in mid June but have opted for the Inglés - mainly because of the summer heat inland. Buen Camino 😊
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Really enjoyed reading all your posts on the Camino de Madrid, Jungleboy. It seems like a lovely camino that I'll bookmark for the future. I was thinking about starting it in mid June but have opted for the Inglés - mainly because of the summer heat inland. Buen Camino 😊
Oh, it can be scorching hot in Galicia too in the summer ;)
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Really enjoyed reading all your posts on the Camino de Madrid, Jungleboy. It seems like a lovely camino that I'll bookmark for the future.
Thank you, we are really enjoying it despite some interesting weather, so I recommend it.

So far there’s been a good combination of interesting landscapes, historical sites, cities (well, Segovia) and villages, while the trail is very rural and there’s almost no road walking.

There’s just enough infrastructure in terms of albergues to make it seem like a familiar camino on one hand, but it’s also different from the more popular caminos in other ways. Because there are hardly any pilgrims, we’re finding the ‘spirit of the camino’ in our interactions with various locals along the way, which has been really nice.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Day 7: Coca to Alcazarén (~25km)

After the cold of the past few days, it’s warming up again. It was eight degrees Celsius when we started at 8am this morning and, as always, another day without rain on the trail means another good day on camino.

One thing we discovered this morning was that after overnight rain like we had last night, the sandy trails that we’ve been walking on through the pine forests turn into this dryish mud that sticks to the bottom of your shoes in a thick layer. This makes your shoes really heavy and it’s no use scraping it off because it just comes back after a few steps. Luckily for me this only lasted for about 30 minutes, but Wendy actually didn’t mind it because it gave her an extra layer of support against her plantar fasciitis!

Because the stores were closed yesterday, we were out of supplies and were a bit worried that we would go hungry on the trail today because there’s an 18km stretch with no towns, but the bar in Villeguillo came to the rescue. It serves a genuinely excellent and fresh tostadas con tomate (after we had a poor one in Nava yesterday where the tomato part was just passata from a jar). And the owner just kept bringing us stuff as part of his desayuno del peregrino. We had to turn some things down because they contained dairy but we ate and drank plenty for €5 each and it carried us through to Alcazarén. Plus you can get a stamp. The bar owner and other patrons wanted us to take a photo of them, so here they are!

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About 7-8km on from Villeguillo, there is another A/B route option (although not marked as such). We took the route to the right which is said to have more pine forest walking. The soft, sandy trails of the pine forests are good for Wendy’s feet and the mud was no longer an issue - plus the pine forests are just nice to walk in.

The albergue in Alcazarén is new, clean and well set up (kitchen: microwave but no stoves). And my bed is next to the heater so the cold of last night’s creaky albergue-house in Coca is hopefully a thing of the past!
 
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RedBike

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
French Route SJPDP (2004, 2007). From Granada - part of (2009)
Thanks for your post Nick. I will be on the Camino by the 19th. I'm now selecting clothes etc and re-packing my bags with your every weather and trail update! 😄
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
...
One thing we discovered this morning was that after overnight rain like we had last night, the sandy trails that we’ve been walking on through the pine forests turn into this dryish mud that sticks to the bottom of your shoes in a thick layer. This makes your shoes really heavy and it’s no use scraping it off because it just comes back after a few steps. Luckily for me this only lasted for about 30 minutes, but Wendy actually didn’t mind it because it gave her an extra layer of support against her plantar fasciitis!
...
Actually it's quite easy to solve this mud problem. Just walk beside the sandy path maybe a couple of meters to the left or right so you can see the markers and try to step on the patches of pine needles ;)

As CdM afficionado I'm following your posts with great interest. Revoke many memories :)

Stay safe!
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Actually it's quite easy to solve this mud problem. Just walk beside the sandy path maybe a couple of meters to the left or right so you can see the markers and try to step on the patches of pine needles ;)
In hindsight this does seem like a very obvious solution! But the stretch that was muddy wasn’t the standard two-track pine forest trail. It was the part directly after Coca, with a wider path and no non-muddy parts on the side that I can remember seeing!
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
In hindsight this does seem like a very obvious solution! But the stretch that was muddy wasn’t the standard two-track pine forest trail. It was the part directly after Coca, with a wider path and no non-muddy parts on the side that I can remember seeing!
Yes, I know exactly which part you mean. I walked it twice, hahaha. But if you walk beside the "two-tracks" path you would be walking in the forest, no? So why not? ;)
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'Portuguese,Frances,Norte,Salvador/primitivo,Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, VDLP spring19
In hindsight this does seem like a very obvious solution! But the stretch that was muddy wasn’t the standard two-track pine forest trail. It was the part directly after Coca, with a wider path and no non-muddy parts on the side that I can remember seeing!
Hi Nick
I loved the Cdm last March2018.
Re the mud caking the shoes ! I also experienced my first ever ‘mud caking ‘ yesterday on my day 2 of Vdlp between Guillena and Castilblanco de Los arroyos. I guess after lucking out of it over many caminos it was my turn. There was no escape. It made hard work for an old gal. I had a fine day today though !!
Enjoying your posts.
Annie
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Day 8: Alcazarén to Puente Duero (~24km)

As we were leaving Alcazarén this morning, a construction worker yelled out to me, ‘¡Bravo! ¡Bravo! ¡Camino de Santiago!’ It was one of those little moments that makes the Camino de Madrid special, because pilgrims are still somewhat of a curiosity here and locals aren’t yet jaded by our presence.

Other than that, it was a fairly uneventful day (no mud-caking though!). Rain was forecast throughout the day and though it threatened, we somehow got lucky and avoided it apart from a few drops coming into Valdestillas. The last 9km of the trail were on or close to a main road which is rare on the CdM, so we were pretty happy to reach Puente Duero dry and done for the day.

The cabin-albergue in Puente Duero is fun and cosy, and we received a very nice welcome from the hospitalero Arturo. We’re the only ones here, as the pilgrim we’ve been staying with the past three nights chose to take transport to Valladolid instead. The forecast is for rain tomorrow but I’m very much looking forward to seeing the church in Wamba and will call ahead tonight or tomorrow morning to try to make sure we can visit.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Day 8: Alcazarén to Puente Duero (~24km)

As we were leaving Alcazarén this morning, a construction worker yelled out to me, ‘¡Bravo! ¡Bravo! ¡Camino de Santiago!’ It was one of those little moments that makes the Camino de Madrid special, because pilgrims are still somewhat of a curiosity here and locals aren’t yet jaded by our presence.

Other than that, it was a fairly uneventful day (no mud-caking though!). Rain was forecast throughout the day and though it threatened, we somehow got lucky and avoided it apart from a few drops coming into Valdestillas. The last 9km of the trail were on or close to a main road which is rare on the CdM, so we were pretty happy to reach Puente Duero dry and done for the day.

The cabin-albergue in Puente Duero is fun and cosy, and we received a very nice welcome from the hospitalero Arturo. We’re the only ones here, as the pilgrim we’ve been staying with the past three nights chose to take transport to Valladolid instead. The forecast is for rain tomorrow but I’m very much looking forward to seeing the church in Wamba and will call ahead tonight or tomorrow morning to try to make sure we can visit.
Oh, the church in Wamba. I am not a big fan of skull-lined walls, but I do wish I had been able to visit. Take pictures!!!
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Day 9: Puente Duero to Peñaflor de Hornija (~25km)

Today was the best day we’ve had since the mountain pass, but it didn’t really start out that way. It was grey and overcast when we left - standard for the past few days - and it started raining when we arrived in Simancas, which was unfortunate because it seemed like a really interesting place. We passed through quickly because of the weather and because we were trying to get to Wamba quickly to maximise our chances of being able to enter the church.

We were super lucky to arrive at the church in Wamba just as a guide had started giving a tour to a Spanish lady and her two daughters. We spent almost an hour inside the church and the ossuary with them and I loved it. I’m super interested in the early Middle Ages and have read a lot about the period, including about the Visigoths, so this church was right up my alley.

Photos are inside the spoiler below so as not to ruin the surprise for those for those coming after us. (Edit: four photos added now.)

54722

54779

54780

54723

After the church, we hit the Meseta en route to Peñaflor de Hornija. Though it rained briefly, the sun also came out more than it has for the past six days, which was really nice for a change. This is a 180-degree panorama of the trail and the Meseta:

54721

It is supposed to be mostly sunny for the next few days so I’m looking forward to that!
 
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marjude

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
4/2011 VdlP,
4/2014 Rota Vincentina, Portugues.
4/2016 Aragones, Frances.
4/2019 Madrid, Frances
Hi Nick, enjoying your commentary, thanks for all the info. judy.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I got lost last year leaving Penaflor and ended up in Torrelobaton. It is spectacular but definitely in the wrong direction from Castromonte. I think it was used in the movie El Cid. How I got lost is beyond me but just after I left town I followed some waymarkers to a split in the path. One way was a gravel trail up a hill the other thought tall grass and some large puddles, the puddles were the correct way.IMG_1883.JPG
 
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jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Day 10: Peñaflor de Hornija to Medina de Rioseco (~24km)

What a difference the weather makes on camino! We woke up to blue skies and walked in sunshine throughout the day, which made the walk so much easier and more pleasant.

We stopped for a while at the pig farm before Castromonte. We believe these are the famous black Iberian pigs who eat acorns and are prized for their ham. Though we did see oak trees, it seems the pigs mostly eat mouldy, stale bread which was piled up near their pen. In any case, we enjoyed watching them for a while despite sadly knowing what their fate will be.

54777

In Castromonte, we saw the bibliobús, a mobile public-funded library that comes to the villages on a set schedule so that people can have access to books. We went inside and were impressed to see that the back of the bus really is decked out like a library! We talked to the librarian-driver for a bit; he said that the service isn’t that popular and that it’s mostly old ladies who use it, because the men don’t read and there aren’t any children in these towns. He described the depopulation of rural Spain that we all see on camino as a disaster.

54778

Medina del Rioseco is the largest place we’ve been to since Segovia (even so, it only has about 5,000 inhabitants). The convent-albergue is indeed open again, and is now donativo. There’s also a large supermarket in town so we were able to get a lot of supplies, which was good because it’s really slim pickings between Simancas and here.
 
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jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Make sure to see the museum in town devoted to annual festival. The "floats" for the festival are incredible works of art and the medieval costumerie is on display.
Junglegirl went to see it while I was preparing dinner. It turns out that finely chopping veggies with a Swiss army knife takes a while!
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Today we saw a few of these mud-brick cylindrical structures outside the villages. I presume they’re for storing grain or other crops. Does anyone have any insight?

54789
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Sybille and Reb have an encyclopedia knowledge about them. They dot the landscape of the Meseta, there are two concentric circles. The inner silo was used for grain storage and outer housed birds to spread seeds. Something like that.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Day 11: Medina de Rioseco to Villalón de Campos (Who knows? I’ll say ~28km)

Another great day in the sunshine, especially the morning section. I loved walking along the canal! It was very picturesque and photogenic, and overall it’s one of my favourite stretches on this camino.

54856

The other thing I really loved (perhaps too much!) was the ruined 16th-century tower at Tamariz. I love most kinds of ruins anyway, but this was especially evocative. This might be hyperbole, but to me it was the Madrid equivalent of San Anton on the Francés. Or maybe a poor man’s version. In any case, it was a highlight for me.

54855

Meanwhile, the towns are getting larger and much more interesting. For a few days there, it seemed like every village we passed through was dying. But Medina and Villalón in particular, as well as a couple of others that we’ve walked through in the last two days, are much more lively and worthwhile to visit.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I tried to walk the Canal last year but alas it is not ready to service pilgrims the entire length from Medina to Fromista and join the CF from there.
 
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jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Day 12: Villalón de Campos to Grajal (~30km)

Our last full day on this camino was also the warmest, and I walked in a t-shirt for the first time. There was nothing particularly special about the trail today, but the long day offered an opportunity to reflect on the camino, which is always nice.

Note that with the current closure of the albergue in Santervás, there is no accommodation on the camino between Villalón and Grajal, so you are forced into doing this section in one day unless you want to try to arrange transport for part of it. Villalón would be the best place to do this because all the other villages are tiny.

The highlight of the day was Grajal. The albergue-palace is a great experience and there’s also a pretty impressive castle in town. At the bar, we sat in the sun and shared a bottle of wine with Jeff, the pilgrim we’ve been on the same stages with for the past week. We also had cider that came with a terrific wooden contraption for pouring that was a kind of mechanical version of what you see in the cider bars in Oviedo, so we had a lot of fun with that.
 

lindigo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April/May 2018
Thank you Nick for the heads up on Santervas de Campos albergue, we are a few days behind you and we were planning to stay there but as oldies will have to arrange transport now. Thanks again.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
The Benedictine Albergue in Sahagun is a fun stay. The grocery shop down an alley across the street will provide you more than enough to help prepare the evening meal.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
Madrid (April '19)
Day 13: Grajal to Sahagún (~6km)

This morning’s walk was just a little victory lap to finish off the Madrid, a great little camino that I really enjoyed and one that I thought had a lot of variety for a short camino (in all aspects: the landscape, the trail, the historic sites and the towns).

Way marking out of Grajal can be a bit confusing - you’re not supposed to follow either of the trails that run alongside the river, because they lead to the highway. Instead, continue past the river (away from Grajal) and take the next right (arrows on the ground).

Coming into Sahagún, the Iglesia da la Peregrina, where you can get a certificate, is literally the first building you come to, on the left before the final descent into town. It’s €3 for the certificate and entrance to the church, which is now an interpretation centre of sorts. There is some wonderful Mudéjar decoration in the chapel to the right of the apse, but in my view it has been completely over restored to the point of ruining it. There’s a ‘before’ photo on display and it looks so much more authentic and atmospheric; the restoration has removed/covered all the historic brickwork and replaced it with squeaky clean whitewashed walls.

After going into town, we saw a Palm Sunday procession before heading to the train station. We’re spending tonight in Valladolid and tomorrow night in Salamanca - neither of which we have been to before - and then heading home to Lisbon in Tuesday. And then Australia on Saturday for me, so no rest for the wicked!

Thanks to all for following the thread and for your nice comments!
 
Camino(s) past & future
VDLP (2014)
Le Puy - SJPP (2016)
Thank you Nick for the heads up on Santervas de Campos albergue, we are a few days behind you and we were planning to stay there but as oldies will have to arrange transport now. Thanks again.
Ray and Rosa texted today (Sunday) to say that the albergue at Santervas is open again. Might be best to double check by calling ahead.
 

RedBike

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
French Route SJPDP (2004, 2007). From Granada - part of (2009)
Day 13: Grajal to Sahagún (~6km)

This morning’s walk was just a little victory lap to finish off the Madrid, a great little camino that I really enjoyed and one that I thought had a lot of variety for a short camino (in all aspects: the landscape, the trail, the historic sites and the towns).

Way marking out of Grajal can be a bit confusing - you’re not supposed to follow either of the trails that run alongside the river, because they lead to the highway. Instead, continue past the river (away from Grajal) and take the next right (arrows on the ground).

Coming into Sahagún, the Iglesia da la Peregrina, where you can get a certificate, is literally the first building you come to, on the left before the final descent into town. It’s €3 for the certificate and entrance to the church, which is now an interpretation centre of sorts. There is some wonderful Mudéjar decoration in the chapel to the right of the apse, but in my view it has been completely over restored to the point of ruining it. There’s a ‘before’ photo on display and it looks so much more authentic and atmospheric; the restoration has removed/covered all the historic brickwork and replaced it with squeaky clean whitewashed walls.

After going into town, we saw a Palm Sunday procession before heading to the train station. We’re spending tonight in Valladolid and tomorrow night in Salamanca - neither of which we have been to before - and then heading home to Lisbon in Tuesday. And then Australia on Saturday for me, so no rest for the wicked!

Thanks to all for following the thread and for your nice comments!
Thanks so much for you posts. I wondered where you were heading after Sahagun. I'm also planning to loop back via Vallodolid, Salamanca and Avila. We visited these cities 2 years ago and I want to go back. :)
 

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