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LIVE from the Camino @DeansFamily on the Vdlp

2020 Camino Guides

DeansFamily

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 18/916/10/17 Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17 Norte 21/4-29/5/18 Primitive 20/9-5/10/18 VdlP
I don't know the answer but I'd like to follow you, as I plan on walking the route again in the Spring.
Are you keeping a blog or could you do a "Today on the VDLP" thread here?

From my experience on the first two times I walked sections, it might be good to book beds in the larger cities and maybe call a few days ahead in the smaller villages. I believe there is a current lodging list in the resource section.
So far, amazing! A small number of walkers and occasionally a cluster of cyclists from Seville to Villafranca de los Barros. We have lost one at Zafra due to work commitments and one has a job interview so will leave tomorrow. All lovely people, even if there are limitations in language. The albergues are of excellent quality, especially the parish run Monesterio one (thank you again everyone there) and the Convent de San Francisco at Zafra (the dinner and breakfast were excellent and the convent atrium so peaceful). There has been no stress whatsoever in worrying whether we book ahead as many times we get a room all to ourselves. The weather cooled straight after the full moon last Sunday as everyone assured us it would and we have had perfect walking conditions until yesterday when the drizzly mist started. The wind is rising this afternoon and rain is due tonight but it should be clearing tomorrow. I love the scenery, so reminiscent of outback Australia especially the corridor through the red dirt before here. It felt like walking beside the rabbit proof fence. I’ll make the effort to keep you posted on our way to Santiago.
 

Oppis

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF -15, VdlP -15, Sanabres-16. CP -17, Primitivo-17, Mozarabe-18, Norte-18, Sureste-19
Nice to meet You DeansFamily today on route. Like to tell all the others on VdlP, that the albergue Rojo Plata in Torremejia is under renovacion, (cerrado), BUT if you go to Cafe Bar Rojo on the main road, you get the key to albergue. The owner is so wellcoming, and the menu at bar is exellent. If you take the bed and menu, you get breakfast included.
Btw. We are on the way to Sevilla after walking the Mozarabe from Malaga to Merida and now VdlP in reverse direction. Intressant, but easy with maps.me on iphone.
Buen Camino, DeansFamily, and others on VdlP. A&K
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
I too would like to hear more as VDLP is way up my list for future caminos.
 

DeansFamily

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 18/916/10/17 Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17 Norte 21/4-29/5/18 Primitive 20/9-5/10/18 VdlP
Nice to meet You DeansFamily today on route. Like to tell all the others on VdlP, that the albergue Rojo Plata in Torremejia is under renovacion, (cerrado), BUT if you go to Cafe Bar Rojo on the main road, you get the key to albergue. The owner is so wellcoming, and the menu at bar is exellent. If you take the bed and menu, you get breakfast included.
Btw. We are on the way to Sevilla after walking the Mozarabe from Malaga to Merida and now VdlP in reverse direction. Intressant, but easy with maps.me on iphone.
Buen Camino, DeansFamily, and others on VdlP. A&K
Wonderful to meet you all yesterday! We ended up walking on to Merida to meet up with a cycle peregrino and really enjoyed the walk (43km) especially the opportunity to observe a local hunting rabbits with his falcon and 2 spaniels, and so many huge vultures wheeling overhead on the thermals. The hospitaliers at Merida were so attentive and there were many interesting pilgrims staying the night (all the bottom bunks were taken, leaving me the only one sleeping above). If anyone gets a chance make sure you try the local specialty “casar torte” dish of a wonderful cheese that is served hot with items to dip into it. Our friend and us walked the city after breakfast and took in all the Roman had built. The aqueduct system is mind blowing when you take in the reservoir built by the Romans that you walk past on the way out of Merida. 16 km past Merida is a beautiful new albergue with only 5 of us staying here tonight. A good kitchen but no tiendas, and the cafe next door has a great menu del día. Buen Camino Oppis and I have been told the wind will favour your direction for the next few days. :)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Wonderful to meet you all yesterday! We ended up walking on to Merida to meet up with a cycle peregrino and really enjoyed the walk (43km) especially the opportunity to observe a local hunting rabbits with his falcon and 2 spaniels, and so many huge vultures wheeling overhead on the thermals. The hospitaliers at Merida were so attentive and there were many interesting pilgrims staying the night (all the bottom bunks were taken, leaving me the only one sleeping above). If anyone gets a chance make sure you try the local specialty “casar torte” dish of a wonderful cheese that is served hot with items to dip into it. Our friend and us walked the city after breakfast and took in all the Roman had built. The aqueduct system is mind blowing when you take in the reservoir built by the Romans that you walk past on the way out of Merida. 16 km past Merida is a beautiful new albergue with only 5 of us staying here tonight. A good kitchen but no tiendas, and the cafe next door has a great menu del día. Buen Camino Oppis and I have been told the wind will favour your direction for the next few days. :)
Thanks for the updates. I’m assuming you are referring to Aljucén, 16 km from Mérida.
Just wondering if you stayed in the private albergue that had been reported closed in this thread. Or if it was the apparently newly refurbished municipal albergue.
 

DeansFamily

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 18/916/10/17 Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17 Norte 21/4-29/5/18 Primitive 20/9-5/10/18 VdlP
It was the brand new municipal albugue at Aljucen built this year. The lady who runs the bar alongside is very nice and the menu del día was tasty, filling and a good price. Only 5 of us there last night and we felt very spoilt. Good kitchen / dining area and great bathrooms with 2 toilets and 2 showers each for males and females. I thought it was well set out. Sheets and blankets were spotless and smelt newly washed. A good choice to shorten the distances if you need to. Walked to Aldea del Cano today (just over 40km) and felt the history of walking the authentic Via de la Plata. A photographer spotted us about 6 km before and waited to take shots of us with a very dramatic thunderstorm looming behind us as we approached the Roman bridge. Silly us didn’t think to ask him to send us a copy until 500 m up the road. No one else here at the Municipal albugue, a basic stone walled facility that does the job. Onwards to Caceres tomorrow for a few days of rest:)
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Enjoy Cáceres, a 5 star spot for a break on the Plata. Especially enjoyed the Torre de Las Cigüeñas, owned by the only locals who, sensibly, sided with Isabel la Cátolica in her war of succession, so the only ones who didn't have their tower "slighted" and the Palacio de Toledo-Moctezuma, largely built by a grandson of Montezuma's daughter Isabel.
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
It was the brand new municipal albugue at Aljucen built this year. The lady who runs the bar alongside is very nice and the menu del día was tasty, filling and a good price. Only 5 of us there last night and we felt very spoilt. Good kitchen / dining area and great bathrooms with 2 toilets and 2 showers each for males and females. I thought it was well set out. Sheets and blankets were spotless and smelt newly washed. A good choice to shorten the distances if you need to. Walked to Aldea del Cano today (just over 40km) and felt the history of walking the authentic Via de la Plata. A photographer spotted us about 6 km before and waited to take shots of us with a very dramatic thunderstorm looming behind us as we approached the Roman bridge. Silly us didn’t think to ask him to send us a copy until 500 m up the road. No one else here at the Municipal albugue, a basic stone walled facility that does the job. Onwards to Caceres tomorrow for a few days of rest:)

If you want to treat yourselves to a nice restaurant : La Minerva.
On the Plaza Mayor but no tourist trap.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
If you want to treat yourselves to a nice restaurant : La Minerva.
On the Plaza Mayor but no tourist trap.
I will second that, having followed Sabine’s recommendation myself last year. I had a Sunday afternoon tasting menú that was a little pricey but delicious. I made the mistake of ordering too much food, however. Sitting outside on a nice afternoon in that plaza, eating a good meal, well it’s pretty close to perfect.
 

DeansFamily

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 18/916/10/17 Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17 Norte 21/4-29/5/18 Primitive 20/9-5/10/18 VdlP
The 3 of us arrived at Grimaldo today after a long, hot day yesterday walking from Caceres to Embalse de Acantera. Caceres was very busy with a running/women’s fitness festival over the weekend which booked out most of the available accomodation in town. To overcome this we hired a car and went farther a field to explore places we were not walking through. Luckily our bike buddy snared us a cancellation at the Pension Carretto for the Saturday night and we were able to enjoy some time with him before he headed back to Granada on the Sunday due to his bad back (we’ll really miss him). I can highly recommend breakfast at Pato, who serve a great tostada with Casa Torta cheese and Jamón Iberico. We had a magic moment leaving Caceres at 10 am, walking to the church the bells all started pealing as we approached to view the interior that a local gentleman had recommended to do. It was worth the effort as it was really beautiful. Make sure you carry enough water and top up at Casa Caceres as it’s a long hot dry walk with some Roman ruins along the way. The alburgue at Embalse de Acantera is excellent. For 15€ you receive modern accomodation, your washing done for you and breakfast. The menu del día was filling and tasty after a long day walking and the hospitalario was a really nice guy. With its view over the Embalse it was a nice end to the day. The walk to Grimaldo wasn’t too hard over the and the Donativo is small but very clean. The other 4 pilgrims are all women and 3 of them are finishing in Salamanca. Onwards to Santiago for us.......:)
 

DeansFamily

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 18/916/10/17 Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17 Norte 21/4-29/5/18 Primitive 20/9-5/10/18 VdlP
The new donativo alburgue at Puerto de Bejar was a welcome refuge from the rain that began to fall this morning by the time we had reached Baños de Montemayor. Only a few months old, this lovely alburgue received a new lease of life after formerly being the local primary school. The hospitalario who came to open up was the teacher and told us of his class of up to 57 student of various ages. Luckily when we stopped at the cafe in Banos de Montemayor the kind locals warned that the rain would increase and that we should plan to stop here. Thankfully we took heed. It has been an interesting few days with wonderful scenery to walk through, the iconic Caparra arch to finally walk under, top notch albugues to stay at along the way (the Majalavara in Cacaboso and La Casa de Mi Abuela in Aldeanueva del Camino) and if you don’t feel up to walking the whole distance to Aldeanueva del Camino you can book a pick up at Caparra Arch the night before to stay at the nearby Hotel Asturias. As there was a blister or two to contend with we thought it prudent to break this stage and are glad we did. The scenery has changed so much along with the temperature. Here in the mountains the temperature has plunged. The prediction is for 1 c tomorrow morning with a high of 8 c. If you plan to walk the VdlP in Autumn make sure you have gear that will get you through these extremes in weather. Anyway, I have to stop writing and enjoy eating a portion of amazingly delicious membrillo (quince paste) that the hospitalario brought in that was fresh cooked this afternoon. I love Spain sooooo much 💕
 

DeansFamily

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 18/916/10/17 Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17 Norte 21/4-29/5/18 Primitive 20/9-5/10/18 VdlP
After a wet, windy, muddy and bitterly cold walk from Salamanca today the 3 of us arrived at the pilgrim alburgue at Calzada de Valdunciel to find only 1 place left. The hospitalero rang the close by tourist alburgue which was full, and then the next one 5km away, and then the alburgues at El Cubo de Vino to find they were all full too. This I found hard to explain as I was carefully observing the muddy path we trod (trying to find the least slippery course) and I was certain there were no more than 3 other pilgrims walking before us that day. While waiting for the hospitalerio to ring around we chatted to a Korean woman we had met at Cacaboso who was walking to Santiago as well. She agreed that there was only herself and 2 Italian gentlemen that she had seen walking. The others didnt look like they had walked, they certainly werent mud splattered, damp looking and tired from the cold wind. Our Korean friend thought they were part of a tour group. The hospitalerio said that it was highly unusual, and that before today they had only been getting 1 pilgrim a day for the last couple of weeks. We have seen travellers pose as pilgrims to snare cheap lodgings and I felt this may have been happening again here (at a dedicated pilgrim alburgue with no booking available). The only way out of this rotten situation was to run to the bus stop to hopefully catch the coach to Zamora (which we missed by minutes) or back to Salamanca (where we find ourselves again) and find a place to stay to get ourselves warm, dry and fed. Now we are worried that there is this cluster of supposed walkers heading for Zamora. Does anyone have any ideas what happened today as we have been alone on the VdlP for a couple of weeks now and this seems very strange 🤔
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Oh, I am so sorry for your predicament. It is Saturday, maybe there are local feasts? I do hope you find out what is going on. And also, I hope you are warm and dry by now.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
Now we are worried that there is this cluster of supposed walkers heading for Zamora. Does anyone have any ideas what happened today as we have been alone on the VdlP for a couple of weeks now and this seems very strange 🤔
Without more information, it's difficult to know what's going on there. I have heard that there are some people who travel by bus or car (or are part of an organized tour) and present themselves as walkers to use albergues that are exclusively for credentialed pilgrims (bearing in mind that the credential requires the bearer to travel on foot, by bicycle, or horse ... or boat but that's not unlikely on the VDLP).
Earlier this year, I heard from one friend that he met the same group of guys every evening at the albergues on the Camino Mozarabe. My friend walks very fast and he is first to leave the albergue in the morning - but these guys always reached the day's destination before him without a spec of dust on their clothes. They did not hide the fact that they were taking local buses daily. They told him that they didn't think that they could manage to walk the distances - although they appeared to be younger than my friend and with no visible disabilities. I would have told them that they should not carry credentials and they should only stay at accommodations that accept non-pilgrims, but my friend is a tolerant person and he didn't complain. He was mostly just puzzled by their approach. It made no sense to him that they would skip the walking and it made no sense to him that they would cover just 30km to 40km per day if they were taking buses.
As for the pilgrims who filled the albergues in Calzada and Cubo - If they are not walking, cycling, or riding horses, the rules of the albergue in Zamora do not permit them to stay there. If you should encounter them there, you might want to ask them or the hospitalero where they started their pilgrimage and what stages they walked in the previous few days. There might be a satisfactory explanation - or there might not.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
I just heard on the grapevine that Jorge Sagarra, one of the fantastic amigos from Almeria, is currently serving as a hospitalero in Zamora. You'll be in good hands. (Jorge has rooms for pilgrims at his home in Almeria - fantastic way to start the camino). If you get a chance to talk to him about any problems or concerns about the glut of people staying at albergues, he might know what's going on - or at least help you to make reservations for the next couple of nights so that you can avoid surprises. I think Granja should be exclusively for credentialed pilgrims, and I am sure that Tabara is.
 

DeansFamily

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 18/916/10/17 Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17 Norte 21/4-29/5/18 Primitive 20/9-5/10/18 VdlP
Thanks for the heads up Raggy. We stayed at the wonderful pilgrim alburgue at Zamora last night and were well cared for by a lovely Italian and Spanish lady. It has the best kitchen we have seen in any alburgue and my daughter put it to good use cooking a meal for the 6 of us there. It was an Australian majority with us 3 from Coffs, 1 bloke from Sydney and a top sheila from Port Lincoln, and making up the 6th a nice lady from Berlin. The feedback from them is that there is a large group walking ( a day behind us now) but the extra beds are being filled by workers maintaining wind generators in the district. Tonight we are all alone at Montamarta, where we are hunkered down in bed fully clothed with sleeping bags and blanket underneath and 2 on top as the alburgue is like a refrigerator. It really is that cold inside, but hey! we had nice sunny walking weather today. Hope it holds for tomorrow, but if it doesnt we all get to try our new wind and rain proof and polar fleece lined walking pants (only 20€). Thank goodness for Decathlon which is one street across from the VdlP on the way out of town. Now, to tackle the Sanabres :)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for the heads up Raggy. We stayed at the wonderful pilgrim alburgue at Zamora last night and were well cared for by a lovely Italian and Spanish lady. It has the best kitchen we have seen in any alburgue and my daughter put it to good use cooking a meal for the 6 of us there. It was an Australian majority with us 3 from Coffs, 1 bloke from Sydney and a top sheila from Port Lincoln, and making up the 6th a nice lady from Berlin. The feedback from them is that there is a large group walking ( a day behind us now) but the extra beds are being filled by workers maintaining wind generators in the district. Tonight we are all alone at Montamarta, where we are hunkered down in bed fully clothed with sleeping bags and blanket underneath and 2 on top as the alburgue is like a refrigerator. It really is that cold inside, but hey! we had nice sunny walking weather today. Hope it holds for tomorrow, but if it doesnt we all get to try our new wind and rain proof and polar fleece lined walking pants (only 20€). Thank goodness for Decathlon which is one street across from the VdlP on the way out of town. Now, to tackle the Sanabres :)
Loving your posts. If by any chance you have free time in Lubian and if you like little scallop shells, you could look for the this absolute gem

 

DeansFamily

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 18/916/10/17 Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17 Norte 21/4-29/5/18 Primitive 20/9-5/10/18 VdlP
Thanks, and yes we’ll keep an eye out for your shell and let you know.
We survived the freezer box that is Montamarta Alburgue. The lady from the council came at 8am to collect the money and stamp the credentials, after getting through the barricade of chairs we placed behind the unlockable door to alert us of anyone entering whilst we slept. We really enjoyed today’s walk taking in the amazing views of the ruins of the 1000 year old Castrotarafe Castle on the cliffs of the embalse below. Walking through Fontanellas De Castro looking for the bar, we met the Italian hospitaliero who runs the new alburgue there and he invited us there for a cup of tea and to use the facilities. And to make it even better our Aussie friend from Port Lincoln was there too! A cuppa was extended to an invitation to stay for lunch (I think an evil plan to make us too full with his wonderful food and unable to walk any further) and then with threat of rain and the much more pleasant company and facilities here we decided to stay. The hospitalario here is the best on the VdlP so far (most have been great and only a couple have been uninterested) and the alburgue is new and thoughtfully designed so it is worth the extra effort to stay here and support it. Really looking forward to dinner tonight 🥘:)
 

DeansFamily

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 18/916/10/17 Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17 Norte 21/4-29/5/18 Primitive 20/9-5/10/18 VdlP
Earlier this year, I heard from one friend that he met the same group of guys every evening at the albergues on the Camino Mozarabe. My friend walks very fast and he is first to leave the albergue in the morning - but these guys always reached the day's destination before him without a spec of dust on their clothes. They did not hide the fact that they were taking local buses daily. They told him that they didn't think that they could manage to walk the distances - although they appeared to be younger than my friend and with no visible disabilities. I would have told them that they should not carry credentials and they should only stay at accommodations that accept non-pilgrims, but my friend is a tolerant person and he didn't complain. He was mostly just puzzled by their approach. It made no sense to him that they would skip the walking and it made no sense to him that they would cover just 30km to 40km per day if they were taking buses.
Just reading what you wrote Raggy, and I wonder if it was what our Spanish friend explained to us. He told us that having a Compostela is a highly desirable addition to a person’s resume to gain employment and that it was common for people to be “creative” in their methods of gaining one without putting in the full effort. Maybe that was what they were doing. 🤔
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
He told us that having a Compostela is a highly desirable addition to a person’s resume
I would expect to encounter such people in the last 100km before Santiago, but not on the VDLP around Zamora or the Mozarabe near Cordoba. In those distant areas, I think the people who imitate pilgrims but don't actually travel on foot or by bicycle might be regular tourists who have "discovered" a cheap way to get accommodation or folks who like the idea of a camino itinerary but don't buy into the idea that it ought to involve walking or cycling. I don't want to start an argument about what makes someone a genuine pilgrim... so I'll not speculate any further.
 

DeansFamily

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 18/916/10/17 Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17 Norte 21/4-29/5/18 Primitive 20/9-5/10/18 VdlP
At the moment we are at the pilgrim alburgue at Rionegro del Puente after eating the best pilgrim meal we have ever had on any Camino (more like a degustation) at the restaurant Me Gusta Comer (and only 10 €) after a very scenic but cold walk today. The mountain ranges to our right were covered in new snow (snow fell through much of Spain yesterday) and looked spectacular as we drew closer to them. The wind blowing from their direction was icy but there were many sections where we got some respite. There wasn’t much available for food or drinks except for a small tienda at Olleros de Tera (the only bar at the alburgue was shut) and a cup of hot tea and coffee for a donation at the alburgue at Villar de Farfán. Last night at Santa Marta de Tera, another excellent facility available to us we were the only ones there. After a cold, windy but enjoyable walk from Tabara with a long lunch stop at while waiting for a rain shower to pass ( Restaurant Mona at Villanueva de las Peras is excellent, really hot coffee and chocolate, great food, friendly staff and clean, warm and inviting) we made it just in time to avoid a big downpour. We were hanging out for a big meat dinner (after much pasta, rice and lentils and luckily the Camino provided, a well stocked carniceria in the town 1.5 km allowed us our meat fix). We are noticing the private albergues on the Sanabres are shutting down now in preparation for winter (we arrived at the blue and yellow house at Faramontanos de Tabara to find it closed down and had to go on to Tabara) a number of people warned us that we will be walking through snow as we move through the pass. Which stage should we be expecting this to happen? If anyone reading this can let us know it would be appreciated. The animal tracks we are spotting are more than any Camino. The amount of deer around this region must be huge and I spotted yesterday the largest feline paw prints that I suspect is a lynx. The Sanabres certainly feels wilder and less trodden that any Camino we have experienced. Onwards to Asturianos tomorrow hopefully far enough ahead of the group of weekend walkers the chef at Me Gusta Comer warned us about.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Del Estrecho, Ruta Fray Leopoldo,
Vía Serrana, Camino Francés
a number of people warned us that we will be walking through snow as we move through the pass. Which stage should we be expecting this to happen? If anyone reading this can let us know it would be appreciated.
Try using the app called “Windy”, a very useful tip we got from @VNwalking in a recent post on the forum. It has overlays for such information as new snow predicted to fall over various time periods or total accumulation at a selected time. I find it extremely helpful for making decisions about where to go next! The black arrow points to the pass we were debating whether to cross on the Francés two days ago.

1573888753311.jpeg

To get the snow overlays, click on the menu symbol in the lower right, then click on ‘more layers’, then choose new snow or snow depth. The bar across the bottom gives time/duration options. You can see at a glance where snow is forecast anywhere in Spain, how much, and what the current depth is. It is extremely usefu right now! Buen camino.
Elaine
 

DeansFamily

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 18/916/10/17 Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17 Norte 21/4-29/5/18 Primitive 20/9-5/10/18 VdlP
Thank you so much Elaine, will look at this.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
number of people warned us that we will be walking through snow as we move through the pass. Which stage should we be expecting this to happen?
The pass that people are most likely thinking of is between Requejo and Lubian. The highest altitude on the Sanabres is on this stage,just before Padornelo. Frankly, it’s not a great walk, since much of it is along the busy highway out of Requejo.
The Camino climbs again to a similarly high altitude between Lubian and A Gudiña- but it’s more beautiful. The high point is at A Canda. Once you get to A Gudiña , you’ve put the highest altitudes behind you but there are still some exposed spots where bad weather can present serious problems. Keep your eye on the forecasts and take advice from the locals.
 

DeansFamily

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 18/916/10/17 Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17 Norte 21/4-29/5/18 Primitive 20/9-5/10/18 VdlP
Last night we stayed at the small alburgue attached to the polideportivo at Asturias.
Though there is no kitchen to use, the rooms are warm and the beds comfortable (the lady at the bar gives you lovely warm duvets) and the shower had the hottest water so far. The bar is simple, cheap, well heated and a good place to hang out. The German lady we met in Zamora was there and it was good to catch up. If you want to carry in some supplies there are 3 supermercados and an excellent panadería on the way out of town at Mombuey. There was a bit of light rain this morning till 9.30 and it held till we reached Puebla de Sanabria. The medieval city has quite a commanding presence with the snow covered mountains behind it and it is well worth walking around the old city. Just before you turn up the street towards the Church, after the steep bit to the old city there is a very good panadería / pastelería that also has a cafe ( it is tucked away under a medieval building and easy to miss). If you appreciate a good palmier like I do they make excellent ones. There is no alburgue open after the 31st October though and the hotels are very expensive for what they offer so we walked the 9 kms to Requijo and are staying at Casa Cervino, a nice alburgue run by a very nice lady who provides towels, sheets and quilts. It’s funny how simple things like towels can make a pilgrim happy. Tomorrow’s weather is looking good for our walk to Lubián where we plan to stay the night and look for Peregrina 2000’s scallop shell. Thanks also Raggy about the info to A Guidina, it’s very appreciated. I think my daughter would rather it snowed but I really don’t want soggy trail runners 😬
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
It’s funny how simple things like towels can make a pilgrim happy.
I am following you on your Camino, and just love the above sentence. Thanks for the reminder to be thankful, even when there are 9km extra to walk in a day.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Tomorrow’s weather is looking good for our walk to Lubián where we plan to stay the night and look for Peregrina 2000’s scallop shell.
Of course I hope you know that I don’t want you to make an effort to do this, but if you are walking around the town with nothing to do, and if you like old things, it is such a sweet little detail. I think I probably said earlier that as I remember it, it was a house in a little plaza, and the house had steps leading up to the front door. I think I was sitting there just taking it in when my eyes landed on this absolutely lovely tiny old rusty scallop shell on the door latch. And don’t forget about the wolf catcher, but that is about a half km up a hill!

Wow, Puebla de Sanabria must be beautiful with snow as a backdrop. It is a little touristy, but I bet you didn’t see too many today.

And I love Lubian, so many nice memories from that pretty little village!

I am enjoying your posts so much. I didn’t stay in Asturianos, and remember passing through there hoping for coffee, but a woman from the neighborhood scoffed when I asked her and said that the owners of the two bars were very “vagos.” (Lazy). So no coffee for me there.

Hope you are right about good weather tomorrow, buen camino, Laurie
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
the owners of the two bars were very “vagos.” (Lazy). So no coffee for me there.
Ah ... coffee .... [makes self a coffee] ... Don't miss the cafe/restaurant in the first village after you enter Galicia. (Down the hill from the A Canda pass). Nice coffee in a humorously (and stylishly) decorated cafe. Check out the monkeys on the wall and work out which one describes your outlook on life the universe and everything.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Ah ... coffee .... [makes self a coffee] ... Don't miss the cafe/restaurant in the first village after you enter Galicia. (Down the hill from the A Canda pass). Nice coffee in a humorously (and stylishly) decorated cafe. Check out the monkeys on the wall and work out which one describes your outlook on life the universe and everything.
Raggy, do you mean the hotel/spa Vilavella? Sounds like you may be talking about something else, but that was the only place we found. (I know there is another place on the national highway, but that was even further off-camino). The Vilavella is a bit off camino, but the people were very nice and gave us a very generous breakfast. There are special prices for pilgrims at the spa/hotel as well, if anyone is interested in a day of massages and baths. I remember meeting someone who had stayed there and felt quite invigorated the next day.

 

mark camilli

dandydon
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2016, Finisterre/Muxia 2016, Coastal Portuguese 2018, Fatima 2019, VDP March 2020
Just a quick note of thanks for your exceptional thread. I am doing VDP from March 26th next year ( can you tell how I am counting down the days !) and your notes are making it really easy to plan.

Thanks again !
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
Raggy, do you mean the hotel/spa Vilavella? Sounds like you may be talking about something else, but that was the only place we found. (I know there is another place on the national highway, but that was even further off-camino). The Vilavella is a bit off camino, but the people were very nice and gave us a very generous breakfast. There are special prices for pilgrims at the spa/hotel as well, if anyone is interested in a day of massages and baths. I remember meeting someone who had stayed there and felt quite invigorated the next day.

No. The place I'm talking about is called "Bar ON"
Search Google for "Villavela Cafe Ourense" and it comes up in the listings - different location from the spa.
Bar ON is only 100m or so off camino. Nice place. During the week, I think it operates as a cafe only. Weekends, the husband is home and it operates as a restaurant. Surprisingly upscale for the location.
 

DeansFamily

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 18/916/10/17 Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17 Norte 21/4-29/5/18 Primitive 20/9-5/10/18 VdlP
All by ourselves again at the Xunta alburgue in Vilar de Barrio after a pretty awesome couple of days. The weather has been kind when really needed and a bit brutal in spots just to remind us to appreciate the good bits. The walk up to the first pass from Requijo was sunny and dry, but very cold. The Camino has been deviated to the road as there are building works currently on (I think it is the new high speed rail line) but this was OK as there was still plenty of snow about which had our daughter quite excited. After the steady slog to the top it was down, down to beautiful Lubián. There is a deviation sign before the overpass bridge before Aciberos. We took the old way down and through Aciberos which isn’t well marked on the tar road above, past the church and down the valley on a beautiful leaf strewn path (slightly soggy and slippery in parts but worth it) all the way to Lubián. The tiny alburgue is the first building when you arrive and inside was warm, inviting and very well set up with brand new bathroom facilities downstairs. We even had company that night, a nice Spanish gentleman we had talked to at Sanabres Castle the day before. That afternoon we looked for the scallop shell door latch and we are pretty sure we identified the right building but unfortunately the latch has gone. This could be because there had been some basic repair work to the upper and lower doors. We walked around the town checking out every old wooden door but sorry Peregrina 2000, we couldn’t find it. We did however see the amazing wolf fountain (3 wolf heads with water spurting out from their open jaws) that you pass walking up to the bars and panadería. Leaving Lubián in the morning we were escorted by a young tortoiseshell tomcat, who gleefully bounded down the road with us. This started to concern us after a distance as we didn’t want him to follow us all the way to Santiago. Ignoring him didn’t work, chastising him only made him want to follow us more. Finally my husband’s active chasing off worked after covering over 2 km. We found out later he regularly follows pilgrims out of town. Also keep a eye out for deer as we had 5 cross the path whilst this was happening. The Camino was a stream with snow melt at the lower altitudes and heading up towards the pass the snow and ice transitioned from patchy to ankle deep across the path. It was tiring but exhilarating at the same time and we loved every step we took to reach the top. Finally finding ourselves in Galicia we headed on to A Gudiña, another beautiful section that wound through old stone villages, across rugged pastureland and raging streams of snow melt that were crossed by ancient stone slabs. Beware of sheepdogs in this area, we had to wait until the shepard warned off his large pack of massive dogs so we could pass safely. The next morning the weather wasn’t safe for road walking to Laza. Misty rain and wind brought visibility down to 100 mtrs and the uphill slog went on and on. Then miraculously about 4 kms before Campobecerros the fog began to glow yellow and the clouds parted to reveal a deep valley to our left with small villages far below and vapours dancing up towards us, and on our right an expanse of steep pine forests leading up to the snow covered mountain range behind. We called it a day at Campobecerros, the alburgue is basic, has plenty of velvety soft blankets, a good pilgrim menu that is only 8€, but no kitchen facilities, the heating turned off during the night and we had only lukewarm water to shower in. Better weather yesterday made for an easy walk into Laza. There is a climb out to start off and then down to Portocamba (keep an eye out for what looks like more wolf traps on the hill to your right) and then up to one more crest and then a spectacular downhill run from then on. The Xunta alburgue is excellent (great kitchen with utensils, comfy common room and blanket offered when you pay at the civil protection office beforehand). There are 2 well provisioned shops for any supplies you need.
Today we all woke up to steady rain (4 Italians starting from Laza, our Spanish friend, a Spaniard we met in salamanca and ourselves.....wow, other people!) as we all headed out to tackle to climb up to Alburguerea. Clouds parted at the high point long enough to get the rain capes off and dry off the sweat before the next wave of wind driven rain hit. This accompanied us all the way down to the road leading to Vilar de Barrio and then again out came the sun. The Xunta alburgue here is excellent, but you will need cooking utensils as there are none here. The rain has been torrential since 2 pm and is currently hammering on the dormitory windows. We wonder what happened to the Italians? They aren’t here. The bloke from Salamanca walked on to Xunqueria and our Spanish friend was picked up by his wife and headed back to Ourense. Not far to Santiago now 😄 👍
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Well, I guess I should have found the owner and made an offer on that little scallop shell door latch! If I had only known they were going to renovate their door! It is probably sitting in a landfill somewhere. :-( Thanks a lot for looking, though.

You know, your comment about deer crossing the road reminded me that the last time I walked out of Lubián, a young deer got caught in a fence right near the road and was really going crazy. One of the French peregrinos I was with somehow managed to free this little guy and got his arms and legs bloodied in the process because the dear was frantic.

Great posts, you bring the Sanabrés alive. And make me want to go back. Sounds like you may have a muddy walk tomorrow. Good luck, buen camino, Laurie
 

DeansFamily

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 18/916/10/17 Muxia/Finisterre 18/10-22/10/17 Norte 21/4-29/5/18 Primitive 20/9-5/10/18 VdlP
Definitely a very muddy couple of days along with a mix of soft rain, hard driving rain and high winds and If rewarding us for slogging through it, most of the last 2 days stayed dry. Walking to Ourense we met a large group of hunters and their very exited dogs. We asked two of the hunters what it was they were after and they showed us videos on their phones of many wild boars moving alongside the stone fences that seperate the Camino from forested areas. There must be a huge amount of wild boars in Spain! After getting past the outlying suburbs and industrial district of Ourense we finally made it to the Xunta alburgue, a modern multistoried building that even has a lift, but not one utensil, plate or glass in its new kitchen. The steep climb out of Ourense the following morning was rewarded with a glorious view of the city below from the Chapel at the summit, and nice weather till light rain began to fall whilst enjoying a quick stop at the first cafe entering Cea (a great place to stop with excellent tortilla, huge portions, amazing prices and the mandatory mid walk sello available). From then on the weather progressively deteriorated and the last 5 kms into Castro Dozon was a fight through horrible weather. The hospitalario at the alburgue quipped that “we looked like we had much of an adventure” when we entered like a group of drowned Peregrinos. On another forum post I had seen the pilgrim meal this alburgue offfered and we weren’t disappointed. Lots of hearty, warming food to get rid of the chills was very appreciated. The alburgue also has a free use kitchen in a converted freezer room out back which is very well set up. We managed to dry everything and put in a huge walk (much of it on the road as the path was so muddy and waterlogged) to get to Outeiro luckily before dark. The Xunta alburgue would have to be one of my favorites that we have had the pleasure to stay in. Stylishly planned with huge comfy lounges, a fully equipped kitchen and large dining area, and washer and dryer to get rid of all that mud! Food can be bought at the large Dia Maxi that is always open, and which is just after you cross the Ulla River bridge on the left hand side (to get there use the stairs that are on your RHS after crossing the bridge and that lead down to the lower road where the Dia is located) but you will be carrying your groceries for another 4/5 kms. Yesterday’s final walk into Santiago started out with very light rain and lots of wind, which eased off as we approached the finish. We found it much more demanding than the entry into the city on the Frances route, but were uplifted close to the Cathedral by the sound of the bells being chimed in song at midday. The arrival at the plaza in front of the Cathedral was unlike any of our other Caminos. Where were the hoardes of tourists and the mass of other peregrinos? The wind was howling and there were only a handful of other pilgrims to share the moment. For our last sello we went to the Parador and stamped our credentials before picking up our extra gear on sent from Seville and then to our Airbnb apartment to cook the meal we had been fantasising about for the last week (my priority is always an oven when booking). Safely esconced in our apartment we felt for any pilgrim caught in the terrible wind and rain that hit mid afternoon. Today we headed back to the pilgrim office to receive our Compostelas and there was no wait, it was grab your ticket and straight to the counters. Such a contrast to the long line and conversations with others that we are used to. Then to the Cathedral to fulfill my promise to the old lady I had met in Los Santos de Maimona who had asked me to embrace St. James on her behalf. I asked him to watch over her and her family and it feels so good to honour this promise. So, this is the end of this adventure The VdlP and the Sanabres has been a pleasurable challenge, worth every step. We are glad we chose to start when we did as we enjoyed the transitions in landscape and temperature and we really felt we have achieved something special. Now it’s off to Morocco, and then a white Christmas in Quebec with Camino friends we met on the Frances (who came to Coffs Harbour for an Aussie beach Christmas last year). The Aragones will be our next Camino we plan but probably without our daughter as the HSC takes priority. Buen Camino to everyone still walking and those planning their next one 😁;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
.
DeansFamily - congratulations.
And nice work updating us - you have brought back lots of memories of the VdlP and arriving in the rain in SdC in November 9 years' ago, feeling an immense sense of exhaustion and achievement.
Best wishes, tom
 

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