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Cuenca albergue sees 45% drop in peregrinos

peregrina2000

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I am starting down the Lana rabbit hole, hoping to start in May. I had been planning to walk from Alicante (Villajoyosa, actually) to Santiago for my 2020 camino, my 70th birthday present to myself. That never happened, of course. Then 2021 and 2022 resulted in fall caminos for different reasons, and I was convinced by reading forum members’ reports that I would enjoy a spring Lana so much more. So here I am, though I will only be able to walk to Burgos.

There is a LOT of good information here on the Lana, thanks to AJ and VN and the planning threads, so getting myself re-acquainted is not too hard.

But I was sad to see this recent article. It describes a 45% drop in pilgrims in the Cuenca albergue. I realize there are a lot of small albergues on the Lana, so I’m not hoping for hoards, but a 45% drop?!
 
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We walked the Lana in May/June this year from Alicante to Burgos. During the entire route we only met 2 other Lana pilgrims. The Cuenca albergue was the biggest we stayed at. Many of the others only had a few beds so it was lucky that there weren’t any other pilgrims. We had to call a couple of days ahead to let them know we were coming ( and organise key pick up) and also to check if there would be an open bar or shop. Definitely a solitary Camino - but we loved it.
 
We walked the Lana in May/June this year from Alicante to Burgos. During the entire route we only met 2 other Lana pilgrims. The Cuenca albergue was the biggest we stayed at. Many of the others only had a few beds so it was lucky that there weren’t any other pilgrims. We had to call a couple of days ahead to let them know we were coming ( and organise key pick up) and also to check if there would be an open bar or shop. Definitely a solitary Camino - but we loved it.
And we were 2 of the 76. When we arrived at the albergue in Cuenca (which is top notch), Luis, the wonderful hospitalero was standing on the steps waiting for us. One of his cousins had seen us go past and rang to warn him we were coming. The Lana is a bit like that.
 
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I have been hearing a few reports about these Caminos outside the normal tracks, and some Albergues a bit further away from Santiago, seeing a drop in numbers compared to 2019.

Not the Português nor the Sarria to Santiago stretch !!
 
We walked the Lana in May/June this year from Alicante to Burgos. During the entire route we only met 2 other Lana pilgrims. The Cuenca albergue was the biggest we stayed at. Many of the others only had a few beds so it was lucky that there weren’t any other pilgrims. We had to call a couple of days ahead to let them know we were coming ( and organise key pick up) and also to check if there would be an open bar or shop. Definitely a solitary Camino - but we loved it.
Luis is top notch and very helpful when planning a Lana walk. Besides doing so much for the Camino and the Cuenca albergue (he works next door in the library), he is also an avid peregrino himself.

I'm somewhere on the list for 2019 (Luis colors in a flag for your country of origin) but stopped in Cuenca. Luis was kind enough to let me stay two nights so I could visit the city. The albergue has no heating though so make sure you have a sleeping bag if going during colder months. I started in shorts and T-shirt in March from Alicante but less than a week in the temperature changed drastically. A good poncho was no luxury.

From what I've read, the last few years have been difficult for the Lana so I'm not so surprised by the drop.
 
In April 2019, I walked for 12 days from Alicante to Cuenca without meeting a single other pilgrim, but I loved it. Definitely one of the more challenging caminos..
 
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I agre, la Lana is a very solitary Camino. Walked Alicante - Cuenca early May this year. I was lucky to meet two men my first night at Orito an had company to Almansa and Alatoz. The following days I walked by myself, saw no more peregrinos.
Next year I will try a less solitary route after some years walking many days alone on other Caminos. Camiono Portuguese da costa It will be. Maybe it will be too busy for my liking as I like the solitary caminos, I will find out and probably will be back to finish La Lana the following year. La Lana is a lovely route.
 
In April 2019, I walked for 12 days from Alicante to Cuenca without meeting a single other pilgrim, but I loved it. Definitely one of the more challenging caminos..

When you say challenging, what do you mean? Challenging in what way? Because it is so solitary or because it is physically challenging? I like walking alone, I can handle steep ups and downs - extremely slowly! - but I cannot handle cheer drops in the mountains.
 
By challenging, I meant it was necessary to make a plan every day. Usually I had to phone ahead to arrange a key or to get instructions for access as most albergues weren't manned (or womaned?) It was sometimes necessary to carry some food and water too and almost nobody spoke any english. While all of this took me a little out of my comfort zone, it wasn't really a big deal as I've walked other quiet routes and I embraced and enjoyed the challenge, and the local peopleI I met were wonderful. I don't recall that it was particularly physically demanding, though there were one or two long days.
 
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I only walked the first 300km or so, and others on here who know the Lana inside out can give you all the advice you need.
And there's Kevin O'Brien's very useful online guide too, its about 4 years old now, but still quite valid I'm told..
Happy planning!
 
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Have taken note. Thank you again!
I’ve walked a fair number of caminos, and the Lana is still my favorite- the solitude, the kindness and generosity of the people along the route, the challenge of the occasional very long day, the beauty of the countryside, the large number of albergues despite the small number of pilgrims, the daily challenges of lodging and food. Luis of the Cuenca albergue was wonderful, and provided me with a space heater and the best bed in late November 2021 so I was toasty warm, though one can’t count on heat there or at any number of other albergues on this route.
 
When you say challenging, what do you mean? Challenging in what way? Because it is so solitary or because it is physically challenging? I like walking alone, I can handle steep ups and downs - extremely slowly! - but I cannot handle cheer drops in the mountains.
Not at all physically challenging, except maybe the heat and the distance, but the logistics were difficult at times: we had to keep calling ahead, not to reserve but simply to let people know we were coming and to find out where to get the key. We also had to plan ahead to make sure we had food and drink for the day and sometimes night. You have to plan and think ahead a lot. It is also, as others have said, very solitary for anyone walking alone. That being said, local people along the way would go out of their way to help us so that was very rewarding. Although mainly quite flat, with a few steep river gorges, I found it very beautiful.
 

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