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Dangerous exit for pilgrims on the way to Leon

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#1
http://www.la-cronica.net/

The passage of years has not shown any improvement to the entrance and exits from the city to make them safer for walkers going to Santiago. They have remained the same or have got even worse, if one looks at the planks that make 'bridges' over the gutters that have increasingly deteriorated.
For two years, the road entrance to the city of Valladolid (should say Leon. see below) has been improved, but not for the pilgrims. The works were carried out for the construction of the rotunda but did not take into account the difficulties for hikers to access the capital. It enabled a dirt road along the fence roundabout at its right bank in the direction of Leon, that the pilgrims may only thank for the opportunity they have to leave inserted into the fence crosses made with branches, wood or other materials.
The problem comes when this new road comes to an end. The signals indicate the pilgrims to continue the N-601 towards Leon, committing an offence by moving back to the vehicles. In addition, at the end of the ramp, the pilgrims find an interim step, just one meter wide and built with some planks of wood placed over a newly built wayside, but left without link to the route of Camino de Santiago, which runs across the road, namely, on the left.
Two double lanes with no pedestrian crossing or traffic lights to regulate traffic and where vehicles, cars, motorcycles and trucks important tonnage moving at high speed are the obstacle they have to confront and cross both the pilgrims who will make on foot, as those who do so by bicycle.
The association of Friends of the Camino de Santiago has lead demands for a solution to this "step" for years. In 2003 they even had a meeting with government (council and city council) which resulted in a promise to build a pedestrian walkway.
At that time it did not materialize and the case is that five years later the situation remains stagnant. The carelessness with which this issue has been dealt with contrasts with the desire of institutions to promote the Camino de Santiago in a province with the largest number of stages of the route James. After years and years of complaints this summer are repeated complaints by pilgrims from all over the world for the few signs that exist in the city to enter and leave it, with the danger this poses.
 

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Janeh

Active Member
#2
the road entrance to the city of Valladolid
Hi Sil,
where is this town? I've tried to note your comments on my map but can't find Valladolid. I thought the fence with the crosses was after Logrono, so is this another one?
It sounds a bit dangerous, I might take the bus from Mansilla like others recommend.
cheers,Jane
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#3
There was one point where we had to cross a major highway near Leon that left us incredulous. We had walked the busy road on the right behind a wire fence for some distance...but then we were forced to cross over. Eight of us took the plunge in a long line at once. We were just around a bend... we could not see the oncoming lanes of traffic and they could not see us.... it was unbelievable....

Jane, do stay in Mansilla if you can, and stay in the municipal albergue. The older man who is hospitalero there has cultivated many pots of geraniums that adorn the four walls of the courtyard. It created such a lovely atmosphere, and people loved sitting around the tables just talking to one another... Plus the younger woman hospitalero was dealing to people's foot problems with a great deal of good humour. This albergue was one of my favourite ones in Spain.
Margaret
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#4
This is the section from Mansilla where pilgrims have to walk on a track parallel to the N601 - before Puente de Villarente.
 

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KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#5
Ahhh yes... I remember the disbelief I felt as we headed along this stretch of the highway, barely separated from the speeding traffic. And I think the dangerous crossing we had to make was, from memory, just a few hundred metres prior to where this photo was taken. We were around a bend from all this oncoming traffic, and had to cross in front of it, with no visibility for either party...
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#7
The newspaper account apparently mistakenly used "Valladolid" when they meant "Leon." The place they are describing is at the very top of the hill that overlooks the valley filled with the city of Leon. The camino carries most pilgrims along a side street that avoids the ugly commercial area along the main highway (and there is a fence covered in woven-in crosses), but pilgrims are dropped without warning on the far side of a very heavily traveled roundabout with very little signposting and absolutely no safe way to cross four lanes of traffic.

As observed above, this day´s walk is one of the more hazardous ones you´ll encounter. For years it´s been a pitched battle of "who is gonna pay for this" all the way from Mansanilla to Leon. So far nobody´s been killed, but it´s a matter of time, far as I can see.

Reb.
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#8
Rebekah Scott said:
The camino carries most pilgrims along a side street that avoids the ugly commercial area along the main highway (and there is a fence covered in woven-in crosses), but pilgrims are dropped without warning on the far side of a very heavily traveled roundabout with very little signposting and absolutely no safe way to cross four lanes of traffic. Reb.
The bit that horrified us all about this stretch the most was the actual road crossing when we first got dropped down from behind the fenced off area. (This was not near the roundabout.) The first half of the road was busy, but at least we had some visibility. When we crossed over the second half of the road, we had to cross over where there was a curve in the road: we could not see oncoming traffic and they could not see us. Then we had to walk along the road itself as pictured in sil's photo above.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#9
Sil´s photo above is another bad spot, the bridge into Puente de Villarente. I almost took out a couple of pilgrims myself there, on a really windy day a few months ago.

These places might be scary, but they surely give pilgrims some memories to share! How dull it would be if it was all safe and sanitized, eh?
 

colinPeter

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SDC (2009) Somport-Jaca, Burgos-SDC, Cee-Muxia (2012) Le Puy - Aumont-Aubrac (2014) SJPP-SDC (Oct 2015)
#10
Rebekah Scott said:
These places might be scary, but they surely give pilgrims some memories to share! How dull it would be if it was all safe and sanitized, eh?
Hi!
Is there an alternative route to this?
Something which might marginally increase the odds of making it home to share the memories.
Col (The Brave)
 

Deirdre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
#11
Perhaps I'm crazy, but I didn't find the approach to Leon so bad the second time I did it. Maybe because I knew what to expect and took my time.
As far as the bridge was concerned, I don't like it one bit... but again, I waited til there was little traffic and walked rapidly to one of the the little "rest points" on the bridge and waited again til no traffic was approaching. I managed to cross it without too much trauma - again probably due to knowing what to expect. That is a place where they ayuntamiento could definitely aid pilgrims by makeing some sort of alternative crossing down below or somewhere! The ancient bridge is awesome... but meant for pilgrims and horse drawn carriages/carts not 18 wheel lorries traveling at 80 km per hour!
Buen Camino,
 

dutchpilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, 2005, 2008, 2012
#12
The entrance of Leon is my worst memory.
On seeing a marker on the left side of the highway, whilst walking on the left side brougt some doubts to me. After a short wile I decided to track back a kilometer or two.
Track back. A Pilgrim.
A collegue pilgrim confessed that he did cross (!) that busy highway.
Worst place on the Camino.

Ultreya,
Carli Di Bortolo.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#13
There is, or was, an alternative route into Leon that bypasses all the noisy traffic and dangerous highways. It is outlined in Gitlitz and Davidson and goes from just outside Mansilla de los Mulas; we´ve followed it partway in the past. It goes right to Leon and bypasses the dangerous places and the busy highway.

Its main stop is Villaverde de Sandoval, a monastery that dates to 1142. It´s still there, but now in private hands and abandoned pretty much, overrun with goats. They still use the church sometimes, though, for concerts, and it is something to see -- an airy sort of Cistercian haunted house! (This, and the Benedictine convent in Sahagun, are the only two places I´ve been where you can walk all the way ´round the multilayered retablo and see how it´s put together.)

Sandoval is built along the Rio Porma, the same stream that passes through Puente Villarente. This is where we stopped. But according to Gitlitz/Davidson: "One km. upstream from the monastery you can cross the icy Porma River via a shallow ford... once through the marshes and stands of poplar on the west bank you will come to a farm road the leads you through a string of small agricultural villages: Villaturiel, Valdesogo de Abajo, and Valdesogo de Arriba. In the center of this town leave the paved road and take the dirt road to the west up a steep hill. At the top of the ridge is a breathtaking view of the distant city of Leon... the pass was the site of a small Roman outpost, judging from the remnants of ceramics and the roof tiles scattered among the thistles and laveder. From the pass a dirt road eventually leads you down to join (the main route) before Puente Castro bridge in Leon."

This account was written many years ago. I can´t say if the Way still coincides with their directions, but this sounds like an interesting alternative for the stout of heart.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#14
You can bypass the busy highway into Leon by walking farm roads after Valdefuente to connect to Calle de Santo Thomas roughly shown by the two arrows on this map.
 

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#16
Another possible route for cyclists by Charles Hansen:

I had heard that the main road entry from Mansilla on the N601 was horrendous and ugly, passing through an extensive industrial area. I wanted to enter via Vega de Infanzones and Torneros del Bernesca to the west, which looked much quieter. My plan to get there was to take the road from Villamarco to the N601 in Santas Martas, cross it onto this road I had seen on the provincial map (although not shown by Michelin), then on to Malillos and Riego del Monte.

When I asked in Santas Martas for the road to Malillos, everyone indicated that I should take the N601 for 4 Km to Valdearcos and then turn SW. When I asked about a direct route, they kept sending me by the main road. They obviously didn´t know who they were dealing with. I was being stubborn and looked behind the town and spotted a dirt road which my Timex watch band compass indicated went where I wanted to go. It was somewhat bumpy, but not too bad. There were a couple of forks and I used the compass, but after 3 Km discovered I was in Luengos instead of Malillos. However, we took the one-lane paved road and now asked for the road to Riego del Monte. We once again got the same doubtful expressions and an indication that yes, we could possibly bicycle there directly, but why ever would we want to. We got directions out of town and the compass actually got us where I wanted to go this time.

The route in was as quiet as I had hoped, producing a day virtually without any heavy traffic. This changed a bit as we entered the Leon suburbs.

I should mention that we saw a record number of storks today, probably around 50 or so. There was a great variety of nesting sites - an abandoned factory smokestack, high voltage line poles, a tree and the traditional church bell towers.
 

colinPeter

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SDC (2009) Somport-Jaca, Burgos-SDC, Cee-Muxia (2012) Le Puy - Aumont-Aubrac (2014) SJPP-SDC (Oct 2015)
#17
falcon269 said:
You can bypass the busy highway into Leon by walking farm roads after Valdefuente to connect to Calle de Santo Thomas roughly shown by the two arrows on this map.
Has anyone crossed the LE-20, LE-30 at this point (2nd arrow)?
Are the "farm roads" shown on any Michelin Maps?
Col
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#18
good news, almost exactly a year after the big discussion broke out here:

Steel decking for a new pedestrian bridge is now stacked up along the N630 on either side of the terrible pedestrian crossing above Leon. Evidently someone in government either walked the camino or almost ran down a pilgrim, and something shall be done to make that crossing safe.

No word on who´s doing the work, or when it will be finished, but I´ll bet it´s part of the Holy Year push.

Hooray!
Reb.
 
#20
Hi,
I walked from Mansilla to Leon last month and seriously considered getting the bus but it was not so bad, certainly not so frustrating as last stretch into Burgos - how is the road out of Leon? had to leave for home from there but looked much more tedious route out..
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#21
Rebekah Scott said:
good news, almost exactly a year after the big discussion broke out here:
Steel decking for a new pedestrian bridge is now stacked up along the N630 on either side of the terrible pedestrian crossing above Leon. Evidently someone in government either walked the camino or almost ran down a pilgrim, and something shall be done to make that crossing safe.
Reb.
Great to read Rebekah, whatever/whoever has motivated it. So if I ever pass that way again, maybe I won't have to resort to the bus....!!!!
Margaret
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
#22
Please keep us posted on this one Rebekah. I can't immagine that it will be ready by the time I should reach that spot - approx first week October), but you never know. I have vowed never to cross that road again. Our plan was to take the bus into Leon on the main road just before the roundabout. By the way, Brightgirl, the way out of Leon is boring but not dangerous. Anne
 
#23
Anna, do you remember which bus you're supposed to take? I know the info for the bus from Mansilla, but I'd like to walk as far as possible so as not to "cheat" too much that day. ;)

BTW, I have the info for the bus into Burgos on my blog, if anyone is interested.

Kelly
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
#24
Kelly, the buses pass fairly regularly direction Leon. (no idea of timetable). What happened last year, was that we stayed in the albergue in Arcahueja, but in the afternoon then walked into Leon. The next morning, having already walked into Leon and having experienced the dangerous road crossing, we picked up a bus on the main road, which took us to the main bus terminal, from there we continued our walk. We didn't have to wait too long (maybe 15 mins).Several buses pass, but not all have the permission to stop, if they are city to city buses. So if figure that this year, we can walk as far as the roundabout, which is where the track finishes and then look for the bus stop - shouldn't be difficult. In any case, the walk from Mansillas up to the roundabout is a pleasant walk.Anne
 
#25
In February 2009 Falcon269 suggested that
"You can bypass the busy highway into Leon by walking farm roads after Valdefuente to connect to Calle de Santo Thomas"
He attached a PDF file to his post showing the route.

My questions are:
Has anyone else walked this bypass route and if so how feasable is it?

Also does the farm track go under the LE20 or were the tracks cut when the LE20 was constructed? Google maps are not clear enough to check this out?

Thanks to all
Kevin
 
#26
Hi Everyone,
Since I last posted my previous query I have walked the Camino Frances with my wife and arrived in Leon on 05 October 2009. I had been a bit concerned about the approaches to Leon. However, on getting to Valdelafuente we reached the roundabout that you can see on Google Maps. There was a new footbridge over the N-601 but at that stage it was not open. I dont know if the Camino will be directed over the bridge.

However, the yellow arrows directed us to the right, away from the N-601 and up the Alto del Portillo along the Carreter del Golpejar. After about 1km the yellow arrows direct you to the left onto a dirt track that heds down the hill towards Leon. This track is used as a downhill mountain bike run and is a bit steep. Its also dirt/clay and would be difficult in the wet. It crosses the N-630 to the east of Puente del castro by a road bridge and you head down the Calle de Simon Arias until you get to the Av de Madrid which heads into Leon.

The arrows look like they have been there for some time. Strange that the guidebooks dont mention this route.

I would post some images if I could work out how.

Kevin

PS there were extensive roadworks to the east of the camino between Viliarente. Looks like an autopista being constructed. So probably more changes to the camino
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#27
Oddly, I don't remember this problem at all. I am not sure why this might be as all here have indicated that it is something that should be remembered. We must have passed through at a slow moment. :wink:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#29
that´s the place, and it IS a pilgrim bridge. It now is open sometimes, and sometimes not. They are constructing a dedicated pilgrim path on the other side, and when the machines are working they don´t want a lot of foot traffic passing through.

The whole assembly is supposed to be up and open within the next couple of weeks. Yay! :D

Reb.
 

skilsaw

Veteran Member
#31
dutchpilgrim said:
Thanks to streetview we can have a look at the bridge:
Carli Di Bortolo
A very ugly, yet necessary addition to the Camino. they have really kept all pilgrims in mind by having ramps with a gentle slope at either end. Walkers as well as bicycles, wheelchairs, donkeys and horses can cross the highway.

I appreciate the expensive infrastructure that Spain builds to accomodate the mass of pilgrims. None of which will remain as long as the puente de reina (How do you spell that word?)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#32
More good news on the way into Leon:

The major scare on the way into Leon was obviated by the ugly-but-much-needed pedestrian bridge a couple years ago, as noted above.

And now there´s a fine new footbridge open at Puente Villarente that carries pilgrim traffic across the Rio Porma. The hair-raising walk along the narrow bridge alongside truck traffic is now a thing of the past... long as the creek doesn´t rise too high!

I will try to snap a picture if and when I am over there and not in a fast-moving car myself.
 
Camino(s) past & future
October 2012 SJPdP to Santiago to Finisterre & Muxia
#33
Thank God for that. It was probably the only stretch of the whole Camino where I was a bit worried about my safety. Buses and trucks, one after the other left me nervous and I don't scare easily.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#34
As Rebekah implies hopefully the new pedestrian bridge is now officially open. What a joy it will be for all pilgrims to safely cross in ease.

The new bridge was not yet open last November 19. Municamino had reported November 5 that work on the new Puente Villarente bridge was complete (see >> http://www.mundicamino.com/noticia.cfm?id=6587). Nevertheless three hefty German male pilgrims and I still had to cross on the historic but dangerous bridge. Although we could see the new bridge we could NOT use it since it was fenced off. The old bridge is too narrow for two lanes of traffic plus pedestrians. After oncoming trucks ALMOST pushed us off we shook with fear for quite a while. The whole nerve wracking ordeal actually caused grown men (and one woman) to weep.

Margaret Meredith
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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#36
This is good news. Crossing that bridge was quite an experience.
 
#37
Thanks for the update, Reb. It's always good to know there's one less dangerous stretch on the Camino. BTW, will this have any impact on making it easier or more straightforward to take a detour from Mansilla to Santa Maria de Sandoval?

Thanks, buen camino, Lauie
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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#38
Yes indeed! Thank goodness! It was only a matter of time before someone got killed there. The first time I crossed that bridge was early on a Sunday morning and not too bad, but the second time the trucks were thundering down and part of the guard rail was missing so you could simply be blown off into the flood plain underneath! We had breakfast at the bar just before it and my Belgian walking buddy was consulting her guidebook, which said a 'dangerous bridge' was coming up. Just at that point the barman decided to put on Beethoven's 5th Symphony, which just added to the trauma. We ended up running over it! :shock:

Buen Camino!
 

Bozzie

Continuing to walk my camino daily. Blessings!
Camino(s) past & future
2012/2016
#39
Just at that point the barman decided to put on Beethoven's 5th Symphony, which just added to the trauma. We ended up running over it! :shock:

Buen Camino![/quote]

Hola!
I loved that bar when I stopped there for breakfast before walking the dangerous bridge. The bar owner is a Beethoven aficionado. I laughed that his display of classical CDs was carefully placed on top of the glassed in breakfast offerings. (He made us a wonderful omelet.) I'm so glad that the new walkway is open...the old bridge was definitely a disastrous waiting to happen. We almost were hit by truck, ourselves. St James surely was keeping us safe :)
Buen Camino!
Bozzie
(Dee Anne)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis Dec 2012 - Jan 2013
#40
It's open alright. I walked it just last month. That area also had one of my "Did I really just see that?" funny moments of El Camino. At least it was funny to a Hedge Fund guy like myself!

You walk past the Corp HQ of some big bank (Caixa Espana) complete with all the security and accouterments that make this place look ever so much like Initech office where 1000's of Spanish insecure Peter Gibbons hate their jobs working for the Spanish equal to Division VP Bill Lumbergh. US Movie Office Space http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0151804/?ref_=sr_3

Right next to the building & I do mean right next to it is the State Mental Hospital.

I could not help to see the connection. :lol:
 

FooteK

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, SJPdP to SdC, mid May-late June (2013);
CF, Spring/Summer (2015)
#41
I'm doing my first Camino (CF) in May 2013. Are the routes over these new bridges/sections of trails clearly marked? Are they marked in the guidebooks (I have the latest Bierley)? Thanks in advance.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francès (SJPDP - Santiago) - Summer 2012 / Camino Aragones (Lourdes to Finisterre) - Fall 2013
#42
FooteK said:
I'm doing my first Camino (CF) in May 2013. Are the routes over these new bridges/sections of trails clearly marked? Are they marked in the guidebooks (I have the latest Bierley)? Thanks in advance.
Footek, yes, the whole way is marked very clearly and doable without a guidebook. The yellow arrows will just guide you over this bridge and into the city. Buen camino :)
 

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