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Congosto to Ponferrada via Santo Tomás de Ollas


Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF (2000); St. Giles (2013); Le Puy-SJPP (2015); VDLP (2016); Mozárabe, Almeria to Granada (2018)
There has been a lot of discussion on this forum about how to get to the 10thC Iglesia de Santo Tomás de Ollas, on the way into Ponferrada. I stumbled on a pretty direct route this morning. You follow the Camino until a kilometre or two before the dam, turning off at a little complex of hydrology offices. From there you can join a marked trail called the Senda de Bas. If you are using Mapy, this route is marked in red on their maps. After the hydrology complex, you will be following a small road, and very soon you will see a marked path crossing the road. Take this to the left. It is an excellent path through a beautiful forest. It’s a really well used and clearly maintained single track in shade with great views over the river. If you were not keen on visiting the church, you could just follow the Senda de Bas all the way into the city. But I’ve put some screenshots below where I have tried to show where I got off the path on to a very direct route that went straight to the church. This happened by accident. I had been going to go much further south, but at some point I looked at my phone and realized I could just turn left!

This first map shows the general area where you leave the Camino. The second is the part through the offices. The third is where I left the marked trail and joined a track. And the fourth shows how it makes its way to the church.

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We’re now waiting to learn if you were able to get inside
Ha! Sorry - yes!!!! I walked into the square; there was a woman sitting on a bench. I walked up to her, and she said do you want to see inside the church? And I said yes. And she said wait here and went into her house and got the key and then came back and took me into the church and gave me a tour, of which I understood maybe 30%. But I got the general idea! And you don’t the text to see that it is beautiful.

And then from the church to my hostal by the castle, it was 25 minutes.

I left Congosto after 8 o’clock, maybe 8:15? I walked to the church, had the tour, went for a reasonably long coffee, went for groceries. And I was still at the hostal before 12:30. Very nice morning that left lots of time for doing things in the city.
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Hmm, this might be an option for me. As of now had been planning to walk to Villafranca from Congosto then walk backwards to Ponferrada but that would only be to get the Olvidado certificate in Villafranca which I can't say really matters although I will be doing the whole route from Bilbao.

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