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Live - Camino Francés Camino Frances in Winter

2020 Camino Guides

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Theandrea, I'm sure you've heard about the three "phases" of "a Camino" -- we're delving here into the "phases" beyond those three, and indeed to some extent those "before" them, those when you're walking alone before even reaching a "gathering place" like SJPP or Burgos or Le Puy or wherever, and those when you're alone after leaving the Pilgrim Community, your "Camino Family", behind to start your long walk home ...

My most difficult experience on the Camino, and it surprised and terrified me, was in 2005 after I left the Arles Way alone to make my Way towards Lourdes -- after a very lonely walk across Provence, I had met some fellow Pilgrims after Arles and onwards ; but leaving that Way and that Company after Castres and Revel then finding myself back in the same loneliness was extremely hard to deal with, as was the sudden massive crowd some weeks later at SJPP, and so on.

Most Pilgrims who simply follow one of the Spanish Ways never experience anything at all similar, including actually many starting further away than SJPP, because that experience is always a gathering together, and so psychologically far less troubling than the "falling apart" of a Reverse or Winter Camino, away from the Community.

And so the "stages" beyond that anguish, where the focus of the Pilgrim returns towards the difficulties and beauties of the long walk home of Return from Compostela remain unknown, and "scary", to most.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Hi syates
Looks like it's lonely? I am bit scared of loneliness and a bit nervous to start in a week from astorga. Looks like you will be just ahead of me on the 2 of January. All my past Caminos were in spring and plenty of people. Now I will face the emptiness of people, my biggest fear . Hope I will survive. Luckily I will meet my Camino family over New Years this year from other walks before I head to astorga. We might meet if you take some breaks
Andrea
Actually not so much, I only was 'alone' aka the only pilgrim in only one albergue. Also there is a difference between loneliness and solitude ;-) You will be fine! Buen Camino, SY
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Itero de la Vega > Fromista

Hospitalera greetings from Fromista (that one will be explained below ;-)

Weather: The usual fog and temperature ;-( – do I need to say more? It really got a bit depressing after 2 weeks – magical fog is ok – for a time ...

Way: Only place in between is Boadilla where bar-albergue might or might not be open and even if it is open, food offers are limited. Also, if you plan to stay here (if it is open) you have to book the whole package of bed-dinner-breakfast for 23 Euros … reasonable as there is no shop open as far as I could see ...

Albergue Fromista: Warning! I am a bit biased towards Albergue Betania as I know its hospitaleros since many, many years ;-) The main albergue is in a flat/apartment on the ground floor: 5 beds, a dormitory with 2 single and one bunk bed (2x2) and a couch chair that converts to a single bed (situated in the kitchen/living room), spacious and well equipped kitchen that also serves as the common area, shower and toilet, washing machine, small balcony. There is always enough food in the kitchen to cook up a decent meal and to have breakfast before setting out. There is also an additional (3 single beds) dormitory on the first floor with its own shower and toilet but kitchen and common area are on the ground floor. One key per floor is given to the pilgrims, so you have to speak to each other to make sure you can re-enter the albergue when going out. Cost: Donation (see next paragraph)

When Lourdes and Jose moved to Fromista they quickly realised that all the albergues here would closed in winter (not enough pilgrims = not enough ROI for albergue owners) and that also many (but not all) of the restaurants would be closed equally. So they bought a second flat/apartment with the only goal to make it into an winter albergue! This year they bought another flat as the number of winter pilgrims increases continuously and they all need a place to stay …

Do I really need to say more? Ok, they are also the people that maintain the winter-pilgrim-life-saving website http://www.aprinca.com/alberguesinvierno/ and Lourdes was the one that started the whole Hospitaleros Voluntarios movement …

So, if you stay at their albergue and can afford it, please be generous with your donation as every single cent goes back to other pilgrims in form of shelter, food and (online) help. And if you can't afford to leave a donation because you are short on funds – this albergue was made especially for YOU!

Eating/Shopping:

There are several shops/supermercados open in Fromista, in the entrance of the main albergue is a map that shows them all. Also a few meters after the albergue is the health center with 24h emergency service and in the center of the town is a pharmacy.

If you want to splash out on gorgeous food, Los Palmeros is in the same street as the albergue, no menu, only a la carte, but situated in the same building where once was the medieval pilgrims hospital. Very nice also, but closed for winter at the time of writing, is “Asador Villa de Fromista”. The only 'menu place' open as far as I know is “Van Dos” where the street where the albergue is crosses the Camino. Pretty decent menu for 12 Euro in a 'take me home to the good old times' setting.

Being a Hospitalera again: Already whilst me being on the Camino, Lourdes asked me if I would fancy replacing them for a few days as hospitalera as they would like to take a much needed short vacation – obviously I was more then happy to do so! So, since 26th December I am officially the substitute hospitalera at Albergue Betania and I am loving every second of it (Yes, including cleaning the bathrooms!) Next posts will be therefore about 'hospitalera tales' ;-)

Further Plans: On 31st December I will take the train to Santiago (via Palencia) to meet up with some friends there and to spend New Years Eve in Santiago. The last time I did this was during my first ever pilgrimage in 1999 when I had the privilege of experiencing the change of the millennium in Santiago – so I am a bit teary-eyed about that ;-) Anybody else in Santiago for New Years Eve? Let's meet up and celebrate!

'Somewhen' in the first week of January I will take public transport back to Fromista to continue my pilgrimage and usual pilgrim/Camino updates will resume.

Buen Camino de la Vida, SY

PS Tomorrow I am expecting 9 pilgrims for 7 beds – It will be fun ;-)
 

Rosser

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2014 and '15
Camino Portuguese from Porto ''15
Via De la Plata '16
Camino Primitivo '16
Le Puy Camino '17?
Wishing you a Happy New Year and and looking forward to your great posts resuming in January.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Sounds like a great way to spend the week between Christmas and New Years. Lucky you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Hola Sybille - you are obviously enjoying the double break - from walking and winter. The opportunity to volunteer was also an opportunity to repay the gifts. NYE in SDC should be a great time - Ivar might even buy you a coffee or vino tinto??!! Again a great informative read. Cheers.:):D
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
@SYates - would it be possible to publish a photograph of this albergue? Brierley does mention it but does not show a location (in my 2015 edition). Thanks
 

Mirabelle Lee

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
French way (Sep-Oct. 2013)
French way(09. Feb-24. Mar. 2017)
Hi. SY!
Your post is wonderful!!!
It will be helpful when I walk the French way on Feb 2017!!!

Please update the winter camino and Buen Camino!!!!
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
Itero de la Vega > Fromista

Hospitalera greetings from Fromista (that one will be explained below ;-)

Weather: The usual fog and temperature ;-( – do I need to say more? It really got a bit depressing after 2 weeks – magical fog is ok – for a time ...

Way: Only place in between is Boadilla where bar-albergue might or might not be open and even if it is open, food offers are limited. Also, if you plan to stay here (if it is open) you have to book the whole package of bed-dinner-breakfast for 23 Euros … reasonable as there is no shop open as far as I could see ...

Albergue Fromista: Warning! I am a bit biased towards Albergue Betania as I know its hospitaleros since many, many years ;-) The main albergue is in a flat/apartment on the ground floor: 5 beds, a dormitory with 2 single and one bunk bed (2x2) and a couch chair that converts to a single bed (situated in the kitchen/living room), spacious and well equipped kitchen that also serves as the common area, shower and toilet, washing machine, small balcony. There is always enough food in the kitchen to cook up a decent meal and to have breakfast before setting out. There is also an additional (3 single beds) dormitory on the first floor with its own shower and toilet but kitchen and common area are on the ground floor. One key per floor is given to the pilgrims, so you have to speak to each other to make sure you can re-enter the albergue when going out. Cost: Donation (see next paragraph)

When Lourdes and Jose moved to Fromista they quickly realised that all the albergues here would closed in winter (not enough pilgrims = not enough ROI for albergue owners) and that also many (but not all) of the restaurants would be closed equally. So they bought a second flat/apartment with the only goal to make it into an winter albergue! This year they bought another flat as the number of winter pilgrims increases continuously and they all need a place to stay …

Do I really need to say more? Ok, they are also the people that maintain the winter-pilgrim-life-saving website http://www.aprinca.com/alberguesinvierno/ and Lourdes was the one that started the whole Hospitaleros Voluntarios movement …

So, if you stay at their albergue and can afford it, please be generous with your donation as every single cent goes back to other pilgrims in form of shelter, food and (online) help. And if you can't afford to leave a donation because you are short on funds – this albergue was made especially for YOU!

Eating/Shopping:

There are several shops/supermercados open in Fromista, in the entrance of the main albergue is a map that shows them all. Also a few meters after the albergue is the health center with 24h emergency service and in the center of the town is a pharmacy.

If you want to splash out on gorgeous food, Los Palmeros is in the same street as the albergue, no menu, only a la carte, but situated in the same building where once was the medieval pilgrims hospital. Very nice also, but closed for winter at the time of writing, is “Asador Villa de Fromista”. The only 'menu place' open as far as I know is “Van Dos” where the street where the albergue is crosses the Camino. Pretty decent menu for 12 Euro in a 'take me home to the good old times' setting.

Being a Hospitalera again: Already whilst me being on the Camino, Lourdes asked me if I would fancy replacing them for a few days as hospitalera as they would like to take a much needed short vacation – obviously I was more then happy to do so! So, since 26th December I am officially the substitute hospitalera at Albergue Betania and I am loving every second of it (Yes, including cleaning the bathrooms!) Next posts will be therefore about 'hospitalera tales' ;-)

Further Plans: On 31st December I will take the train to Santiago (via Palencia) to meet up with some friends there and to spend New Years Eve in Santiago. The last time I did this was during my first ever pilgrimage in 1999 when I had the privilege of experiencing the change of the millennium in Santiago – so I am a bit teary-eyed about that ;-) Anybody else in Santiago for New Years Eve? Let's meet up and celebrate!

'Somewhen' in the first week of January I will take public transport back to Fromista to continue my pilgrimage and usual pilgrim/Camino updates will resume.

Buen Camino de la Vida, SY

PS Tomorrow I am expecting 9 pilgrims for 7 beds – It will be fun ;-)
Oh, I didn't know you were out running in Winter time! I seldom visit the CFrancés section! It must be interesting during this time of year! I guess you have answered to other people above, but... My questions are: What temperatures? Rain? Snow somewhere? Muddy roads??? Wouldn't some albergues be closed because it's "off season"? How do you plan to pass the "higher sections" like O Cebreiro - it must be snow up there by now? I wouldn't know so please enlighten me...

Ciao/BP
 

RENSHAW

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks every year on CF reaching Burgos or Leon. Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
Gee Sybil , I really did enjoy your Xmas winter thread ........ So many pilgrims at Roncesvalles? I guess you are the one everyone will blame in a few years time for hordes of pilgrims causing mayhem during Decembers to come? I have to try this myself - open up San Anton for December as well.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Sybille, you are my new hero!
I've always dreamed of a winter Camino, but my warm Mediterranean blood cries out, "No! Don't DO it!" :p
Seems like you've chosen the perfect year and weather!
I hope you had a very HAPPY NEW YEAR and I look forward to future posts.
Great thread!
 

Csutak

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Since 2006 almost every year, usually walking more than two routes
Dear SYates,

I hope everything is alright with you. Where did you spend Christmas and New Year's Eve?
Wish you a Happy New Year! Let all your dreams come true! :):):)
 

MargLav

Member
Camino(s) past & future
September - October 2016 Camino Frances
Hi everybody ;-)

After the fun we had with the ditch pig clean up around Moratinos I am now in SJPdP ready for a very leisurely pilgrimage down the Camino Frances. 'Comme d'habitude' I plan to maintain a thread with practical information for those that walk the next weeks after me ...

Saint Jean Pied de Port

Pilgrims office is open as usual and so is the municipal albergue - the rest of towns (other than a handful of restaurants) seems to have closed down and gone into hibernation. The municipal, just a bit up and in the same street as the pilgrims office has one dormitory open with around ~16 (bunk) beds, a well equipped kitchen and a washing machine on demand/for a smile. Cost: 10 Euro with breakfast (will report on that one tomorrow).

Plan for tomorrow is just to walk to Valcarlos - slow start.
Buen Camino, SY
Thanks so much for sharing! Will give me something very special to look forward each day....especially to experience the CF vicariously in Winter. Stay safe and Buen Camino!!
 

Waka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Some but not all, and other routes too.
Thank you so much for your continued blog, following from the armchair has made me realise that I don't have to wait for the good weather to make the journey. Next years I will be starting in the middle of March, not quite a winter pilgrimage, but i'm sure it will have additional challenges from my last one.

Buen Camino
 

FrederickK77

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2014 Leon to Santiago
February 2017 SJPP to Santiago
Hi. Frederick
Great!!!
I will arrive at SJPDP on 09. Feb. 2017. And start to walk on 10. Feb.
When &where will you start to walk?
I arrive in SJPP on 1 February and start walking On 2 February. Hopefully we will meet somewhere on the Way or in Santiago. Enjoy your preparation
 

wildrover

thewildrover
Camino(s) past & future
2015 april c/f. vdlp feb 2016. Norte / primitivo Sep 2016. C/f 12/16. Vdlp 12/17. 12/18. Lana 02/19.
And here the next updates:

Logroño > Navarette


Another leisurely stage as the albergues in Sotes and Ventosa are closed for the season and I didn't feel like walking the nearly 30km to Najéra ;-)

Weather: Again heavy fog and 'humid' air, temperature in Logroño 8C, less as I left the city.

Way: Eat your second breakfast in Logroño, the cafe at the lake in the Parque La Grajera was closed as I passed by, but thankfully they left the toilets open ;-) There is nothing open between Logroño and Najéra as far as I know, but I didn't make the detour to Sotes nor Ventosa, so not sure if there would be a bar open.

Navarette

The albergue El Cantaro is the only one open in town (but there are also hotels etc.) The main albergue is closed, but pilgrims have a lovely apartment at their disposition: Only single beds (no bunks!), blankets, pillows, two small balconies, wifi, kitchen (no stove, but microwave) and a bathroom with bath tub and bidet. All sparkling clean and pilgrims get their own keys. Washer/dryer might be available at the main albergue for an additional fee. Cost: 10 Euro.

Eating/Shopping: Restaurant El Molino serves a tasty pilgrims menu and there are plenty of shops in town.


Navarette > Azofra

Weather: Again fog ;-( but lifting a bit during the afternoon ;-) but soon falling down again ;-(

Way: Again, nothing at all between Navarette and Najera and from there to Azofra. As I was already in Najera at 14:00 and the albergue opened at 15:00 I decided to walk on to Azofra …

Azofra

Albergue – The big albergue is closed, but the tiny old one beside the church is open. Another flashback in time as the place hasn't changed much since 1999 when I first stayed there. One dorm open with pretty close bunk beds, blankets, pillows, heating, more or less equipped kitchen with a washing machine (included in price, washing powder behind cupboard). No closing time and you can leave latish in the morning, until ~09:30. Cost: 7 Euro.

Eating/Shopping – As the two bar/restaurants only serve a rather uninspiring menu, self-catering is recommendable. There are at least two shops in town.


Azofra > Grañón

Weather: Worst day so far, not only heavy fog, but also two rain showers and coldish between 3-5C.

Way: Cirueña - The bar at the golf course is open and very welcoming to pilgrims. I took the way that bypasses Ciriñuéla so I don't know if anything is open there. Santo Domingo de la Calzada The albergue Casa del Santo is open but I only had lunch in Santo Domingo and walked on to Grañón.

Eating Santo Domingo de la Calzada – The restaurant La Strada near the church of San Frances in the big street serves very nice food, both a la carte and menu. The only thing that rubbed me a bit the wrong way was that I was charged 1,50 for bread and as I had only eaten one slice, I found that a bit expensive ;-( Charging for bread with your meal is, in my experience, a newish thing in Spain, especially if it is a dish that is traditionally eaten with bread …

Grañón

Albergue – The Casa de las Sonrisas is closed for a few days, but should re-open later in the month. The parish albergue San Juan Bautista in/by the church is open and will stay open all winter. No beds, only mattresses on the floor, reasonable heating with a wooden stove (unfortunately the fireplace doesn't work anymore), no blankets nor pillows anymore, communal meals and pilgrims prayer. Cost: Donativo (Please be generous if you can!)

Shopping – There are two shops, a pharmacy and a traditional bakery (worth a look inside!) in this small village. Wifi in Bar Teo.

Ok, that is it for the moment, need to find the wifi in Bar Teo to post this ;-) Not sure if I stay here a second night in Grañón or if I walk later on the 4km to Redecilla to make the next stages to Burgos easier as the albergues in Villafranca Montes de Oca and San Juan de Ortega are closed ...
Thanks so much for the continued updates. When I say invaluable, I mean invaluable. Could not get nowt yesterday in Viana, all accommodation closed. Remembered your update about police having albergue key. his phone was off !! The kindest of kind Spanish gentleman, tracked him down and he raced to the albergue about 7pm. Nearly had to sleep in the church yard. Been held up due to sickness and the kindness I've received has almost, I repeat almost, reduced me to tears! Faith in human kindness restored. Thanks again! Wild.
 

Theandrea

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2015, March 2016, January 2017
Hi ho I am in astorga today. There is a group of 9 pilgrims. All mostly Spanish and Italian. It's 3 degrees a little sun today and everything was shut due to new year celebration. Alburge Maria is open and warm and has hot showers! It was hard tonight to find a menu perigrino. Off to rabanal tomorrow,
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Hola Sybille - hope you had a great NYE in Santiago. When do you expect to resume the pilgrimage from Fromista?? Cheers:)
 

wildrover

thewildrover
Camino(s) past & future
2015 april c/f. vdlp feb 2016. Norte / primitivo Sep 2016. C/f 12/16. Vdlp 12/17. 12/18. Lana 02/19.
Itero de la Vega > Fromista

Hospitalera greetings from Fromista (that one will be explained below ;-)

Weather: The usual fog and temperature ;-( – do I need to say more? It really got a bit depressing after 2 weeks – magical fog is ok – for a time ...

Way: Only place in between is Boadilla where bar-albergue might or might not be open and even if it is open, food offers are limited. Also, if you plan to stay here (if it is open) you have to book the whole package of bed-dinner-breakfast for 23 Euros … reasonable as there is no shop open as far as I could see ...

Albergue Fromista: Warning! I am a bit biased towards Albergue Betania as I know its hospitaleros since many, many years ;-) The main albergue is in a flat/apartment on the ground floor: 5 beds, a dormitory with 2 single and one bunk bed (2x2) and a couch chair that converts to a single bed (situated in the kitchen/living room), spacious and well equipped kitchen that also serves as the common area, shower and toilet, washing machine, small balcony. There is always enough food in the kitchen to cook up a decent meal and to have breakfast before setting out. There is also an additional (3 single beds) dormitory on the first floor with its own shower and toilet but kitchen and common area are on the ground floor. One key per floor is given to the pilgrims, so you have to speak to each other to make sure you can re-enter the albergue when going out. Cost: Donation (see next paragraph)

When Lourdes and Jose moved to Fromista they quickly realised that all the albergues here would closed in winter (not enough pilgrims = not enough ROI for albergue owners) and that also many (but not all) of the restaurants would be closed equally. So they bought a second flat/apartment with the only goal to make it into an winter albergue! This year they bought another flat as the number of winter pilgrims increases continuously and they all need a place to stay …

Do I really need to say more? Ok, they are also the people that maintain the winter-pilgrim-life-saving website http://www.aprinca.com/alberguesinvierno/ and Lourdes was the one that started the whole Hospitaleros Voluntarios movement …

So, if you stay at their albergue and can afford it, please be generous with your donation as every single cent goes back to other pilgrims in form of shelter, food and (online) help. And if you can't afford to leave a donation because you are short on funds – this albergue was made especially for YOU!

Eating/Shopping:

There are several shops/supermercados open in Fromista, in the entrance of the main albergue is a map that shows them all. Also a few meters after the albergue is the health center with 24h emergency service and in the center of the town is a pharmacy.

If you want to splash out on gorgeous food, Los Palmeros is in the same street as the albergue, no menu, only a la carte, but situated in the same building where once was the medieval pilgrims hospital. Very nice also, but closed for winter at the time of writing, is “Asador Villa de Fromista”. The only 'menu place' open as far as I know is “Van Dos” where the street where the albergue is crosses the Camino. Pretty decent menu for 12 Euro in a 'take me home to the good old times' setting.

Being a Hospitalera again: Already whilst me being on the Camino, Lourdes asked me if I would fancy replacing them for a few days as hospitalera as they would like to take a much needed short vacation – obviously I was more then happy to do so! So, since 26th December I am officially the substitute hospitalera at Albergue Betania and I am loving every second of it (Yes, including cleaning the bathrooms!) Next posts will be therefore about 'hospitalera tales' ;-)

Further Plans: On 31st December I will take the train to Santiago (via Palencia) to meet up with some friends there and to spend New Years Eve in Santiago. The last time I did this was during my first ever pilgrimage in 1999 when I had the privilege of experiencing the change of the millennium in Santiago – so I am a bit teary-eyed about that ;-) Anybody else in Santiago for New Years Eve? Let's meet up and celebrate!

'Somewhen' in the first week of January I will take public transport back to Fromista to continue my pilgrimage and usual pilgrim/Camino updates will resume.

Buen Camino de la Vida, SY

PS Tomorrow I am expecting 9 pilgrims for 7 beds – It will be fun ;-)
Very accurate description. Special place, special lady proprietor! To only ask for donations, warms the cockles of your heart!
 

Penny Kingma

M.S. Can't Stop Me !
Camino(s) past & future
May 29th to July 4th 2016
SJPDP to Santiago
And many, many more I pray
And pilgrims greetings from Itero de la Vega ;-)

Rabé de las Calzadas > Hontanas

Important! There is no shop/bar open until Hontanas (Hornillos seems to be in semi-deserted hibernation!), so make sure you have some snacks with you and/or ask Clementina to make you a sandwich for the next day ;-)

Unfortunately I couldn't pass on all your greetings to her as I left early-ish.

Pilgrim Numbers: I was alone in Rabé, but on the way to Hontanas I met 3! other pilgrims that walked in the opposite direction.

Weather: Coolish (~/around 5C) and cloudy-foggy seems to be the stable weather situation at the moment.

Hontanas

Albergue/Shop/Bar – The only place open is albergue Santa Brigida which caters beautifully for pilgrims! Hernan and Sandra have walked the Camino themselves and that is noticeable in so many aspects of the albergue. Albergue has heating, blankets, well equipped kitchen (despite having also a bar!), guitar, washer/dryer for additional fee and a communal meal (really tasty and really huge, huge portions!). Very nice atmosphere and one of the few places that let you 'arrive' first before having to do all the paperwork … Highly recommended! Cost: I am a bit hazy on that point, but a bunk bed is 8 and the dinner 9 Euro – or vice versa. Washer/dryer together 7 Euro, but pilgrims are encouraged to share them ;-)

Pilgrim Numbers: We were 6 pilgrims (and 2 pilgrim dogs in the patio) at Santa Brigida.


Hontanas > Itero de la Vega

Way: Castrojeriz – The bar (tasty empanada de Morcilla!) in the middle of the village (on the second square) is open, also some of the shops (including the one that sells pilgrims gear) on the square below the municipal albergue are open.

Weather: For around 10min the sun broke through and lit up castle and church … then the clouds descended and the fog rose again … Usual temperature.

Pilgrim Numbers: As far as I can see I am the only pilgrim in the village. Three of those that were in Hontanas pushed on to Boadilla/Fromista (getting up at 06:00 …) and 2 stayed most likely in Castrojeriz to sort out some practical problems.

Itero de la Vega

Albergue/Shopping/Eating

I am staying at albergue Hogar del Peregrino which is really a Home of the Pilgrim! 3 double bed rooms (no bunks!) and one tiny room with one bed-couch, all with pillows, linen and blankets. Two bathrooms (one with bath tub!), wifi, spacious, well equipped kitchen cum common room, washing machine on request. You get your own key to your room and the house (leave in the door of your room in the morning and pull house door close). There is even a big flat screen TV in the common room/kitchen – but strangely I didn't feel any temptation to try it out ;-) There is also a computer around on the first floor, but not sure how well it would work … Cost: 12 Euro and well worth it.

The same owners run also the supermarket that is in the next house and one bar nearby is open (but with limited food offer).

Extra Tip: Call ahead - if you do so the kind owners will fire on the Gloria (underfloor heating with wood) and you will arrive to a warmed up house! I missed to do that, but the gas powered space heater in the kitchen cum common room plus the heating in my bedroom also do the trick ;-)


So, I think that is it for today, tomorrow to Fromista …

Buen Camino, SY
I feel like I'm reading your next book. Great tips Buen Camino
 

Beebe

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Many routes since 1995 to the present.
P.S. Roncesvalles

In the end we were 28 pilgrims (extraordinary for this time of the year!) in Roncesvalles, added nationality was: Italy – a peregrina that started at the door of her home in Parma (North of Italy and home of excellent ham). They had to open the second dorm, where beds are not side by side, but touching each other only in the food/head area, so I switch quietly dorms as my other bed was very close to a male pilgrim I had never seen before in my life ;-) Important! Also this part of the albergue doesn't have any blankets at all! But they do sell sleeping bags at the office ...

Dinner: I nearly died of the shock! Not only was there more than enough soup, bread and pasta for everybody as a first course – there wasn't any trout for the second course!!! A very first one in all the years I have slept as a pilgrim in Roncesvalles. The choices for second course were merluza (hake) and San Jacobo (a kind of thin Cordon Bleu) with plenty of side dish / fries. What happened to trout, meatballs and tiny portions? Lol, as the lady in the pilgrims reception had told me the proprietor/tenant in both places (Posada/Sabina) has changed recently and things are looking up ;-) There is, at the moment, only one seating, so the order of the pilgrims day is mass, menu and then guided visit.

After the dinner one of the priests, there are only four now in Roncesvalles, came to the albergue to invite everybody interested to a guided tour of the church and surrounding buildings. Well worth the effort as you get to see and explained the cloister, one of the salas with a magnificent medieval tomb, the attic of the church and the church itself. We were nearly all Spanish speakers on that visit, apart of three Koreans. One spoke English very well, but the other two mainly – Korean. So we played a game of Chinese whispers. The priest explained everything in Spanish, I translated that into English for one Korean who in turn translated what I said into Korean for the other two. I am still wondering what they heard/understood at the end of this translation chain … After that one hour of nearly continuous translating, I treated myself to a large glass of vino tinto and then off to bed. As I wrote earlier, the albergue door doesn't close in winter, but the pilgrims were very considerate and nobody came back late or loudly. And, another Camino miracle, there wasn't a single snorer in the room!


Roncesvalles > Zubiri

Whilst there wasn't a snorer around, there was one eager pilgrim that put his alarm clock at 6 o'clock sharpish – sigh – doesn't get light until after 8 and nothing to be had food-wise until then either. At quarter past seven I was all packed up and got antsy legs, so I set off in the dark and was soon overtaken by two speedy pilgrims that used their torches to race towards Pamplona. I walked in the dark, slowly and carefully and enjoyed that it slowly became light.

Weather – Surprisingly there was no hoarse frost in the morning and the day was later even sunny and quite warm ~18C in the sun BUT that is very unusual for this time of the year, snow and frost is more usual!

Waymarking – As the waymarking is excellent on the CF, I will only comment on it when there really is something to say. So no news is good news, also when it comes to scallop shells and yellow arrows ;-)

Burguete – There were, when I passed by, two cafes/bars open, one at the very beginning of the village and one just before the church.

Espinal – The bar in the centre of the village was open.

Bizkarreta – The bar in the middle of the village was open as was the shop at the end of it.

Linzoain – Nothing open as far as I could see.

Alto de Erro – The mobile bar here has closed down for the season.


Zubiri

Albergue – The only albergue open in town was Rio Arga Ibaia, just over the bridge and it is the very first building on the left. Spacious dorms, excellent showers, private rooms available, blankets, wifi, excellent kitchen, washer/dryer for an additional fee, terrace, fire place, breakfast (pretty good one!) included in the price of 15 Euro. No closing time, they show you where the key is hidden.

Eating – I had a look at the only open restaurant at the end of the town (by the fuel station) and wasn't too impressed, fellow pilgrims that had eaten there said it was ok-ish … The small but well assorted supermarket is just 3 min walk from the albergue, so I self-catered. In the same building as the supermarket is also a small bar that serves good pintxos.


Zubiri > Trinidad de Arre

Important! Nothing between the two places is open, take enough food and water!

Way: Decaying leaves, some steep descends and the moisture/fog from the river create some slippery bits, especially where the way has been partly washed away (roughly between Larrasoaña and Irotz).

Weather: A bit foggy, but lifting later, colder then the day before, ~8C.

Illarratz – No signs of life in The Abbey.

Larrasoaña – As I passed absolutely everything was closed and the whole town seemed to have fallen into hibernation. Same in other following villages.

I took the variant via Zabaldika, whilst there are no services in the villages, the sisters of the small community there are very hospitable even when their albergue is closed and are happy to show you the church and let you use the toilet in their house.

Trinidad de Arre

Albergue – Pilgrims sleep in winter in a small flat on the first floor, presumably the former flat of the sacristan as it has a direct connection to the church choir. Limited heating, but blankets, somewhat equipped kitchen, showers, 3 small dorms with 2-4 beds – 8 Euro. All other offers you see advertised in the entrance (wifi, washer/dryer etc.) refer to the main albergue which is closed for the winter. A good place to stay if you want to experience how pilgrims where housed some ~15 years ago ;-) Make sure you know when the albergue closes for the night as signage in the house differs between 21:30 and 22:00. Also a brother 'counts his sheep' earlier in the hope to be able to close earlier, so if you plan to go out again, tell him when he comes around!

Eating/Shopping – Again, I self-catered, but there are plenty of bars on and near the Camino to Pamplona and the Marist brothers that run the albergue have a very helpful map that shows you where all things are …

Trinidad de Arre > Uterga (via Eunate)

Weather: Mainly foggy and coolish, ~8C

Way: It has to be said – the way marking to and out of Pamplona is excellent! As I know it already I speeded through, but if you don't visit at least the cathedral with its beautiful cloister!

Cizur Menor – Bars open, but albergues closed.

Zariquiegui – Everything closed.

Alto de Perdon – Quite an interesting view in heavy fog ;-) and the descend is its usual slippery, rocky avalanche of lose stones – be careful in wet weather!

Uterga

I stayed al albergue Casa Baztan – very recommendable! The hospitalero receives you with a glass of water and a plate of olives. Good showers, blankets, wifi, washer (for a fee) but no dryer instead a heated clothes rack and a fire place. You can use the kitchen, but they also offer tasty pilgrim meals. Breakfast (and a good one!) included in the price of 10 Euro. If you, like me, prefer nice, quiet places – stay there! Also no closing time – as nothing really to do in the village ;-)

The owners plan to keep the albergue open all winter, even if that means staying open for very few pilgrims, so if you pass the village, say at least hello to the kind hospitalero and buy a coffee or so ;-)


Uterga > Puente la Reina

Weather: Less foggy and warming up with some sunshine, ~12C.

Way: The detour to Eunate (closed in winter!) is well marked and starts in the village of Muruzabal.

Muruzabal: Bar was open.

Obanos: Bars open.

Puente la Reina

The only open albergue is the one of the Padres Reparadores at the beginning of town. Excellent heating, blankets, wifi, good showers, washer/dryer for a fee, well equipped kitchen, no real closing time – the last pilgrim to bed pulls the door close ;-) Cost: 5 Euro.

Important! The albergue is very close to a busy road and thefts have happened in the past, so keep a very close eye on your belongings! But you do that anyway, don't you? ;-)

Eating/Shopping – Restaurant Tito, directly on the Camino on the right side does not only do an excellent menu, it also caters to vegetarian and/or gluten-free living pilgrims. A bit further, on the same side of the street is La Tienda del Camino (or similar name) that is open 7 days a week and also offers a lot of vegetarian/gluten-free food options.


Puente la Reina > Estella

Mañeru – An open bar on the right, just before you start the climb up, and a shop in the centre.

Cirauqui – All was closed as I passed by.

Way – The descent onto the 'Roman' bridge gets every year worse, as does the climb at its end ;-( There is now an alternative path down to the bridge marked which makes things a bit easier …

Lorca – All closed as I passed.

Villatuerta - All closed as I passed.


Estella

Albergue – I stayed at the municipal one at the beginning of town and was even allowed to stay a second night (one of the many advantages of making the pilgrimage in winter ;-) Blankets, good showers, washers/dryers for a fee, wifi, excellent kitchen, all for 6 Euro.

Pilgrim Numbers: They are now dropping down to 5-8 pilgrims a day as the week with two public holidays (6.12. Constitution and 8.12. Immaculate Conception of Mary) is over.

Eating – There is a Taller Gastronomico at the other side of the steep, old bridge which is rumoured to be excellent ;-) Unfortunately I was at the weekend in Estella when their menu prices (like everywhere!) go up and up! Nearby is Bar Alday whose pilgrims menu isn't inspiring, but does nice, local dishes 'by the plate' for very reasonable prices. Also the Restaurant Katxetas does tasty and reasonably priced menus.


Estella > Los Arcos

Important! Nothing between Villamayor de Monjardin and Los Arcos (12km)!

Weather: A really warm day, again, this is highly unusual for December!

Ayegui – The wine (and water!) fountain of Irache is also working in winter.

Azqueta – No open bar, the albergue La Perla Negra opens on request.

Villamayor de Monjardin – The bar in the village, going up the stairs to the plaza, was open.


Los Arcos

Albergue – La Fuente/Casa de Austria is directly on the Camino and provides all the usual amenities like shower, well equipped kitchen, wifi, heating, fire place, washer/dryer (additional cost), blankets plus some nice outside sitting areas. Also an albergue dog called Mambo – give him an ear scratchie from me! Albergue, most likely, closed in January for renovation.

Eating/Shopping – I was there on a Sunday and no shops open at all plus only one open bar to find … The menu at 'Buen Camino' opposite the church was exceedingly – regular ;-)


Los Arcos > Viana

Weather: Another glorious, sunny day.

Sansol: All closed, only a tiny bar-shop seemed to be open, but that with limited offers.

Torres del Rio: The bar in the hostal at the entrance of the village was open and the albergue La Pata de la Oca looked pretty open to me. Also the little shop after that albergue was open.

Viana: The municipal albergue Andres Muñoz is open and will stay open the whole winter. The key is guarded by the local police (telephone number at door) and they will also show up shortly before opening time at 15:30. Good kitchen, shower, wifi and blankets. There are some washers/dryers but they looked a bit 'out of sell by date'.

Eating/shopping: Again, I self-catered but there are plenty of places open!


Viana > Logroño

Weather: Heavy fog and quite coolish and very humid.

A short stage, but the parocchial albergue of the Santiago el Real Church is always a must-stop for me and that is from where I type this updates. Albergue: Very simple, just bunk beds with blankets, showers and some clothes racks. Communal dinner, pilgrims prayer and breakfast – all on a donation base (which doesn't mean free ;-) Again, one of those albergues that gives you a good idea how the Camino was ~15 years ago!


Extra Note: Whilst many shops and bars that cater predominantly to pilgrims are closed during the winter you will find many vending machines alongside the Camino Frances, often in converted garages that give at least some shelter ;-
This is great--thanks!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi SYates,
Just checking in to say that I hope all is going well on your Camino, let us know when you have a chance. You helped out a lot of people these past few months. I thought of you yesterday when I was talking to a student of mine who is just back and had received your updates regularly from the FRances. He was way behind you but he, his mom, and sisters were extremely grateful.
 

Gillean

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven
For some reason just found this thread today. Very much enjoyed reading it so far. Great tips and information - many thanks!
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Apologies and pilgrims greetings from Prague ;-)

After my short stint as a hospitalera in Fromista I did indeed take the train to Santiago and celebrated New Years Eve there. My original plan was to go back to Fromista and continue on foot but as I was in Santiago it became clear to me that the Camino had already answered my questions, so I booked my flight back to Prague.

So, double apology for posting this so late and for no more Camino updates from me --- for the moment.

Buen Camino to all out there, SY
 

wildrover

thewildrover
Camino(s) past & future
2015 april c/f. vdlp feb 2016. Norte / primitivo Sep 2016. C/f 12/16. Vdlp 12/17. 12/18. Lana 02/19.
Apologies and pilgrims greetings from Prague ;-)

After my short stint as a hospitalera in Fromista I did indeed take the train to Santiago and celebrated New Years Eve there. My original plan was to go back to Fromista and continue on foot but as I was in Santiago it became clear to me that the Camino had already answered my questions, so I booked my flight back to Prague.

So, double apology for posting this so late and for no more Camino updates from me --- for the moment.

Buen Camino to all out there, SY
Good to know your safe and well. Wild
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Apologies and pilgrims greetings from Prague ;-)

After my short stint as a hospitalera in Fromista I did indeed take the train to Santiago and celebrated New Years Eve there. My original plan was to go back to Fromista and continue on foot but as I was in Santiago it became clear to me that the Camino had already answered my questions, so I booked my flight back to Prague. So, double apology for posting this so late and for no more Camino updates from me --- for the moment. Buen Camino to all out there, SY
Hola SY - glad to hear from you, we (your camino family) were starting to worry about you. Totally understand the decision, you have (as you say) answered the questions about walking the Camino during winter. Cheers for now. M
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Apologies and pilgrims greetings from Prague ;-)

After my short stint as a hospitalera in Fromista I did indeed take the train to Santiago and celebrated New Years Eve there. My original plan was to go back to Fromista and continue on foot but as I was in Santiago it became clear to me that the Camino had already answered my questions, so I booked my flight back to Prague.

So, double apology for posting this so late and for no more Camino updates from me --- for the moment.

Buen Camino to all out there, SY
Exactly the situation when in 2015 I started barefoot in Mediterranean sea in Valencia and when I stepped (barefoot again) in Atlantic in Muxia I knew that's it. Although my plan was to walk from Muxia to Fisterra. Instead I just hitchhiked to Cee and with a second ride to Fisterra. You just have to be open to feel what your inner self is telling you. That I'm sure!
Great to hear from you again, Sybil!!! :)
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
SY,
Glad to learn that you are safe at home. Enjoy your daily/familiar comforts and memories. Thanks again for your helpful recent winter updates. Take care.
 

poogeyejr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte, May 2011
Norte, Sept 2013
Frances, 1wk, Jan 2017
So glad you had a successful Camino. I have just spent a few days on the Norte. 17degrees in San Sebastián yesterday. I am heading over to start the Frances tomorrow. Your reports inspired me.

Thank you for taking the time.
 

Rosser

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2014 and '15
Camino Portuguese from Porto ''15
Via De la Plata '16
Camino Primitivo '16
Le Puy Camino '17?
Apologies and pilgrims greetings from Prague ;-)

After my short stint as a hospitalera in Fromista I did indeed take the train to Santiago and celebrated New Years Eve there. My original plan was to go back to Fromista and continue on foot but as I was in Santiago it became clear to me that the Camino had already answered my questions, so I booked my flight back to Prague.

So, double apology for posting this so late and for no more Camino updates from me --- for the moment.

Buen Camino to all out there, SY
Well done on your walk and I'm glad to hear that the winter Camino answered your questions
 

lthrnck55

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept/Oct 2014

Camino Frances via Lourdes Sept/Oct/Nov 2020 ( Hopefully )
Okay ... I gotta ask - Did Rebekka Scott give you grief for traveling from Moratinos to SJPDP just to walk back across Spain to Santiago de Compostela? ;)
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/

henrymorgan

New Member
Hi everybody ;-)

After the fun we had with the ditch pig clean up around Moratinos I am now in SJPdP ready for a very leisurely pilgrimage down the Camino Frances. 'Comme d'habitude' I plan to maintain a thread with practical information for those that walk the next weeks after me ...

Saint Jean Pied de Port

Pilgrims office is open as usual and so is the municipal albergue - the rest of towns (other than a handful of restaurants) seems to have closed down and gone into hibernation. The municipal, just a bit up and in the same street as the pilgrims office has one dormitory open with around ~16 (bunk) beds, a well equipped kitchen and a washing machine on demand/for a smile. Cost: 10 Euro with breakfast (will report on that one tomorrow).

Plan for tomorrow is just to walk to Valcarlos - slow start.
Buen Camino, SY
Hi,
A question concerning the time of leaving the albergue [08:00 hrs] in the morning during the winter months of December and January when the sunrise is around 09:30 hrs. Does this make navigation a bit of a problem?
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
Hi,
A question concerning the time of leaving the albergue [08:00 hrs] in the morning during the winter months of December and January when the sunrise is around 09:30 hrs. Does this make navigation a bit of a problem?
Hi, the albergues tend to be a bit more lax in winter about kicking you out early. (I think they also like to sleep in :rolleyes:.) Before I turn in for the night I tend to source which place is open for breakfast in the morning in case I AM kicked out at 8am. (Note that this doesn’t always work. The night shift tell you they open at 8am, but the morning shift are sometimes still in bed at 8am :mad:.)
Jill
 

poogeyejr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte, May 2011
Norte, Sept 2013
Frances, 1wk, Jan 2017
Sunrise Jan 28 was around 8:25am - 8:30 so with dawn before that we didn't have any problems.

K
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Hi,
A question concerning the time of leaving the albergue [08:00 hrs] in the morning during the winter months of December and January when the sunrise is around 09:30 hrs. Does this make navigation a bit of a problem?
I just chat with the hospitaleros the evening before regarding 'rules versus reality' ;-) Apart of one place, the municipal in Larrasoaña, they let us stay until there was light. Also to consider, many bars/cafés will have limited opening times in winter - better buy something the eve before to munch for breakfast ;-) Buen Camino, SY
 

JulieandPeter

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Spring 2015
Frances Fall 2017
Le Puy to SJPDP Fall 2018
Frances Fall2019
Frances Summer 2020
So happy to discover this thread - thank you!
 

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