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Detailed planning thread for the Camino Olvidado

Year of past OR future Camino
2021
So I'm a bit late to this thread, but noticed that this question absolutely has an answer... at least for me. In the San Francisco barrio, a very colorful place for a stroll, is a restaurant called Peso Neto. It is small, but has never failed to impress me. Borderline hipster, but don't let that scare you away because the staff is gold.
@wisepilgrim Don't worry I can cope with being a hipster 🤣
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I noticed Laguna de San Martin a bit before Sanctuary of Our Lady of La Velilla, and looked it up, thinking there might be birds...but it is more of a swimming hole!

And while I was looking, I found a very positive reference to Hostal El Cruce in Cistierna as very good value.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
So glad you are back and able to poke around on your OSM maps to fill us in with details of all the unknown treasures just a hop skip and a jump away!

I found a very positive reference to Hostal El Cruce in Cistierna
It may be a very nice place, but the Hostal Moderno is unbeatable. It is no longer anything remotely related to Moderno (in contrast to El Cruce, with more of an Ikea-like look, and I don’t mean that in a snarky way — in fact, the bedspreads are just as dated as in the Moderno). Double room with breakfast in Cruce is 65, in Moderno (without breakfast) 40.

Wherever you sleep, though, do not miss the Moderno’s Menú del Día. It is extremely good home cooking, and is a step above the normal in terms of interesting variety. The people in Cistierna refer to it as the restaurant ”de toda la vida.” Meaning that it is something akin to a cherished institution.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Day 12. Cistierna to Boñar (28 km)

Ender’s guide shows two different routes from Cistierna, both of which meet up in La Ercina. We could not find the way for the longer route, but @alansykes reported — “The new version of the Olvidado goes uphill to San Pedro de Foncallada, 1-2 km longer than the flatter version, but very pretty. And then the necessary 2-3 romanesque or later churches to keep you going.”

Even on the “old route,” the first part of the walk is quite nice. When you go over the Río Esla right after leaving town the Vadiniense/Olvidado split is well marked. This is a mostly flat day as you transition from the mountains behind Cistierna over to the mountains behind Boñar.

4C25C07A-ACBE-428C-91B1-C59A3B0DFD25.jpeg 4CA5E5DE-51E1-4E3F-886F-C5FA02C827A6.jpeg EA5A76AD-EF1D-4FC3-835C-33FE7AE169CE.jpeg
There is a dusty sunny downhill scrub brush part into Acisa that has both times been like a pin popping my balloon. Not sure why, but it gets me down. The first time I was alone, feeling lonely. The second time, I slid, fell, and ripped my pants! Luckily, my compañero Alun actually managed to catch me and prevent a worse result. As luck would have it, right on the outskirts of town after the descent, there is a welcoming shaded sitting area, where I have sat and regrouped both times. The first time, as I was sitting there in 2014, I got a phone call from @LTfit and it raised my spirits tremendously. And that was just the beginning, because in Boñar I had two sets of visitors! First came Rebekah with a picnic, and then Ender and wife show up for a drink. Talk about magic mood enhancers!

0665B077-3830-441A-9A65-15E2FEB72125.jpeg 8EEC7243-CA3B-4BE0-9018-E6ED268C5204.jpeg A2CB78F3-E743-4C01-9673-BF8223B7D110.jpeg
There are a couple of pensiones in Boñar, but I have stayed only in the Nisi. The pensión rooms are on the top floor. On the floor below, the owner of the pensión offers rooms and care to old folks without resources or family. As I understand it, she uses the money from the pensión and restaurant below to support those who live there. She is no spring chicken herself, and is constantly on the go to take residents to doctor’s appointments, etc. All services available in Boñar.

Stopping before Boñar — Here are two options, and maybe AJ or Charlotte19675 have come up with more!

Option One. La Ercina
About 11 km beyond Cistierna is La Ercina, with an albergue. Tel 987 712 051/648 032 831.

La Ercina an ethnographic museum. It looks like a collection of old work implements, some from mining (along with a tribute to the “Ercina 14” who must be miners who died in the mines.

Since it is a rather short day, I did some hunting around to find ways to fill in the time, and it looks like there is a very nice route to visit some old castros (hill forts). Wikiloc shows several short routes — an 8 km circle. And this one with some nice photos of the views from the top.


Option Two. Santa Colomba.
If 11 km is too short, I think the slightly off-route Hotel Rural Monasterio de Ara-Mada looks very nice. It in the village of Santa Colomba de las Arrimadas,

The owners are actively involved in promoting the Camino Olvidado. Their website shows a map and describes a 15 minute walk from La Devesa to their hotel. This would be about a 22 km day.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
@peregrina2000 , i have been watching a video on youtube that shows the people walking this stage go straight from Cisitierna to La Ercina, so my question would be if I took the main road straight to La Ericna at just over 7km according to google map what am I missing by not following the guide book? is there anything worth seeing or could I save my length of walk by heading direct to La Ercina and then onto your overnight suggestion at Hotel Rural Monasterio de Ara-Mada?


I am looking forward to hearing from @AJGuillaume and seeing what he recommends.

If I am not supposed to add the youtube link then please edit my post.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
@peregrina2000 , i have been watching a video on youtube that shows the people walking this stage go straight from Cisitierna to La Ercina, so my question would be if I took the main road straight to La Ericna at just over 7km according to google map what am I missing by not following the guide book? is there anything worth seeing or could I save my length of walk by heading direct to La Ercina and then onto your overnight suggestion at Hotel Rural Monasterio de Ara-Mada?


I am looking forward to hearing from @AJGuillaume and seeing what he recommends.

If I am not supposed to add the youtube link then please edit my post.
What I remember is that the off-road part out of Cistierna coincides with a number of off-road mountain bike trails. River nearby some of the time. If you took the video route on the road, it looks like you would not cross over the old bridge I pictured above as you leave Cistierna. It is a very nice bridge, and it has a historical plaque describing its importance, but hey, it’s a bridge.

The video shows them going through Yungueros, so the “short cut” must just be 4.5 km Cistierna to Yungueros on the road vs. 8.2 on the Camino.

The road the video goes on surely meets the definition of “untraveled” so it looks like a good way to shorten the distance to your range. And I will add the unsolicited opinion that the hotel website describes how the owners went back to their “pueblo” and restored the building as a labor of love as much as for the economic opportunity. It would be nice to support that dream.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Year of past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I am looking forward to hearing from @AJGuillaume and seeing what he recommends.
Ooh, the pressure is on! 😄

Ender’s guide shows two different routes from Cistierna, both of which meet up in La Ercina.
The fact that both routes meet in La Ercina means that it all comes down to how far slow walkers are prepared to walk on that day. 12A gives us an 11.1 km day, and 12B yields a 13.8 km day.

We could not find the way for the longer route, but @alansykes reported — “The new version of the Olvidado goes uphill to San Pedro de Foncallada, 1-2 km longer than the flatter version, but very pretty. And then the necessary 2-3 romanesque or later churches to keep you going.”
Personally, the longer option appeals to us, as we know the Romanesque churches will definitely make us forget the length of the stage. ☺️

Option One. La Ercina
About 11 km beyond Cistierna is La Ercina, with an albergue. Tel 987 712 051/648 032 831.
Or about 14 km beyond Cistierna if we take the longer route. Either way, this is a nice near mid-stage stopping point, as the distance to Boñar from La Ercina is the same in both cases, and is 16.6 km. That would give us two well balanced days.

Option Two. Santa Colomba.
If 11 km is too short, I think the slightly off-route Hotel Rural Monasterio de Ara-Mada looks very nice. It in the village of Santa Colomba de las Arrimadas,

The owners are actively involved in promoting the Camino Olvidado. Their website shows a map and describes a 15 minute walk from La Devesa to their hotel. This would be about a 22 km day.
11 km isn't too short for slow walkers ;)😄
I hadn't looked at going off Camino, and the suggestion to walk to Santa Colomba de las Arrimadas is a good one. The only downside is that it could make for an unbalanced breaking up of this stage. If we walked the longer path to La Ercina, we would have a 25 km walk (which could be more than what my darling would want to walk), leaving only about 7 km to Boñar. However, should the slow walkers really want to walk short stages (and that can happen), then Cistierna to Boñar could be done in three days: Cistierna to La Ercina (11.1 or 13.8 km), then to Santa Colomba de las Arrimadas (about 12 km), and finally to Boñar (about 7 km).

I might add that from Guardo, should it be necessary, we can take advantage of the FEVE line León to Guardo. It roughly follows the Camino from Guardo to Robles de Valcueva.
map_leon_guardo.png
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
11 km isn't too short for slow walkers ;)😄
I hadn't looked at going off Camino, and the suggestion to walk to Santa Colomba de las Arrimadas is a good one. The only downside is that it could make for an unbalanced breaking up of this stage. If we walked the longer path to La Ercina, we would have a 25 km walk (which could be more than what my darling would want to walk), leaving only about 7 km to Boñar.
I just wanted to throw out an option that might also work well for those who walk shorter stages —but it gets us into the stage after Boñar. Some might want to think about not stopping in Boñar. Walking from Ara-Mada to Boñar is about 8 km, and then going to Rañedo de Curueño would be another 8. Casa Rural El Canto del Gallo rents individual rooms and looks nice. (It would also make the Boñar to Vegacervera stage a more manageable 19, more on that later). That might make good sense for you, @charlotte19675, since you seem to be leaning towards the Ara-Mada.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Year of past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
but it gets us into the stage after Boñar
I would add "into the stages", as after Boñar, it looks like there are two options spanning a few days. And which makes my spreadsheet look complicated 😄

Walking from Ara-Mada to Boñar is about 8 km, and then going to Rañedo de Curueño would be another 8.
This gives indeed us a nice 16 km day's walk.

I just wanted to throw out an option that might also work well for those who walk shorter stages
I agree, it is an option with great merit. Although in our case, we would break the journey from Cistierna to Ara-Mada by staying in La Ercina: 22 km, or 25 km if we want to see the Romanesque churches, is just beyond my darling's limits.
 
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MikeJS

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)
So glad you are back and able to poke around on your OSM maps to fill us in with details of all the unknown treasures just a hop skip and a jump away!


It may be a very nice place, but the Hostal Moderno is unbeatable. It is no longer anything remotely related to Moderno (in contrast to El Cruce, with more of an Ikea-like look, and I don’t mean that in a snarky way — in fact, the bedspreads are just as dated as in the Moderno). Double room with breakfast in Cruce is 65, in Moderno (without breakfast) 40.

Wherever you sleep, though, do not miss the Moderno’s Menú del Día. It is extremely good home cooking, and is a step above the normal in terms of interesting variety. The people in Cistierna refer to it as the restaurant ”de toda la vida.” Meaning that it is something akin to a cherished institution.
I wrote in 2019 - Last night in the Moderno was excellent. A lovely meal and because I said I was leaving early and didn’t want breakfast she insisted in giving me some fruit and orange juice to take with me.
 

MikeJS

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)
For me in 2019
Cistierna to Bonar was 31km My notes say - The walk was simple although there was a shortage of camino markers in some places and some had simply fallen over. The walk was mostly on rural tracks and it was a lovely day. However, compared to the previous 2 magnificent days it seemed a little lacklustre. Don’t misunderstand me, it was a wonderful walk, just not memorable. Now staying in Hostal Nisi which is a fine place. Really big and as always I ended up with a room on the top (3rd) floor!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
However, compared to the previous 2 magnificent days it seemed a little lacklustre. Don’t misunderstand me, it was a wonderful walk, just not memorable.
Oh we are so spoiled when we walk the Olvidado. So many 5 star days that we start to feel like anything else is a disappointment!

Now staying in Hostal Nisi which is a fine place. Really big and as always I ended up with a room on the top (3rd) floor!
The second floor is for local elderly people with no place to live, and I believe the first floor is her own home. So it isn’t a particular pilgrim punishment, though I know what you mean about having to schlepp up those stairs when you think you have arrived!
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
We could not find the way for the longer route, but @alansykes reported — “The new version of the Olvidado goes uphill to San Pedro de Foncallada


I liked the route up to San Pedro de Foncollada very much, first following the fast flowing silvery Esla, then up through lovely woods to the pretty village at the top, where I was told off by a motherly old lady for walking on my own - "es muy peligroso" - before she gave me a couple of delicious sharp ripe apples from her tree.
There are a couple of pensiones in Boñar, but I have stayed only in the Nisi

I've stayed at both the Nisi and the town's other pensión, the Inés (impressive that they only use four different letters between them). I thought both were excellent, especially at c18-20€ en suite. The Inés had a full length bath and possibly a slightly better menú, but both were very friendly and recommendable.

Ender wrote that the new (as of June 2019) mayor is committed to opening an albergue in the town.
 
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OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
@peregrina2000 , i have been watching a video on youtube that shows the people walking this stage go straight from Cisitierna to La Ercina, so my question would be if I took the main road straight to La Ericna at just over 7km according to google map what am I missing by not following the guide book? is there anything worth seeing or could I save my length of walk by heading direct to La Ercina and then onto your overnight suggestion at Hotel Rural Monasterio de Ara-Mada?


I am looking forward to hearing from @AJGuillaume and seeing what he recommends.

If I am not supposed to add the youtube link then please edit my post.
The YouTube video was so beautiful. Thankyou for sharing it. Captions stayed onscreen long enough for me to comprehend 😂 too. Such a pretty stage.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
You know, Annie, this guy has one for every stage of the Olvidado. I haven't looked at them, but if you are itching to see what it looks like.....

Gee ! Thanks for the info. I’ll have blitz of YouTube 😂. & binge/catch up. I’m enjoying the info on these threads very much. (Both for the quick and the slow walkers. / I note : with ‘slow walkers’ I can identify that often it’s not so much that they are actually ‘slow’ but have come over with the time (retired etc) to ‘go easier’ than some others with limited time off work. (Whilst I do understand AJ’s darling wife finds it physically difficult if they are too long ). Thanks to you all for giving the variety of options.

......but it’s soooooo cool to watch a bit ‘on the way’

But i’m still following you all. ♥️
 

BombayBill

Still Learning
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I've followed this thread for a while and have noticed that they are difficulties when trying describe a location on the less travelled paths. I posted a thread just now over in the Misc thread with the GPS tag with a new method of using a location description that is easily understood by everyone. Search for "what3words" on the forum. It has been mentioned before.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
going to Rañedo de Curueño would be another 8. Casa Rural El Canto del Gallo rents individual rooms and looks nice.
I had already gotten there, because this is where my virtual walk ended yesterday.

Two things came up when I went looking for information. First, this lovely site, which will appeal to any of us who like birds:

And then an article in the Leon paper describing a 110Ha+ fire near there about a month ago; sadly, it was intentionally set:

I've followed this thread for a while and have noticed that they are difficulties when trying describe a location on the less travelled paths. I posted a thread just now over in the Misc thread with the GPS tag with a new method of using a location description that is easily understood by everyone. Search for "what3words" on the forum. It has been mentioned before.
Maybe those folks over at the very active Camino Olvidado thread might find this useful to document what exactly Enders means when he describes a location.
Good idea. Now to get Ender to use it.
:cool:
Well we can, even if he does not. If there's any ambiguity about location, this resolves it. So (of course) do latitude/longitude, but this is less intimidating for anyone who may not be good friends with maps.
 
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dick bird

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Day 12. Cistierna to Boñar (28 km)

Ender’s guide shows two different routes from Cistierna, both of which meet up in La Ercina. We could not find the way for the longer route, but @alansykes reported — “The new version of the Olvidado goes uphill to San Pedro de Foncallada, 1-2 km longer than the flatter version, but very pretty. And then the necessary 2-3 romanesque or later churches to keep you going.”

Even on the “old route,” the first part of the walk is quite nice. When you go over the Río Esla right after leaving town the Vadiniense/Olvidado split is well marked. This is a mostly flat day as you transition from the mountains behind Cistierna over to the mountains behind Boñar.

View attachment 98832 View attachment 98829 View attachment 98828
There is a dusty sunny downhill scrub brush part into Acisa that has both times been like a pin popping my balloon. Not sure why, but it gets me down. The first time I was alone, feeling lonely. The second time, I slid, fell, and ripped my pants! Luckily, my compañero Alun actually managed to catch me and prevent a worse result. As luck would have it, right on the outskirts of town after the descent, there is a welcoming shaded sitting area, where I have sat and regrouped both times. The first time, as I was sitting there in 2014, I got a phone call from @LTfit and it raised my spirits tremendously. And that was just the beginning, because in Boñar I had two sets of visitors! First came Rebekah with a picnic, and then Ender and wife show up for a drink. Talk about magic mood enhancers!

View attachment 98827 View attachment 98830 View attachment 98833
There are a couple of pensiones in Boñar, but I have stayed only in the Nisi. The pensión rooms are on the top floor. On the floor below, the owner of the pensión offers rooms and care to old folks without resources or family. As I understand it, she uses the money from the pensión and restaurant below to support those who live there. She is no spring chicken herself, and is constantly on the go to take residents to doctor’s appointments, etc. All services available in Boñar.

Stopping before Boñar — Here are two options, and maybe AJ or Charlotte19675 have come up with more!

Option One. La Ercina
About 11 km beyond Cistierna is La Ercina, with an albergue. Tel 987 712 051/648 032 831.

La Ercina an ethnographic museum. It looks like a collection of old work implements, some from mining (along with a tribute to the “Ercina 14” who must be miners who died in the mines.

Since it is a rather short day, I did some hunting around to find ways to fill in the time, and it looks like there is a very nice route to visit some old castros (hill forts). Wikiloc shows several short routes — an 8 km circle. And this one with some nice photos of the views from the top.


Option Two. Santa Colomba.
If 11 km is too short, I think the slightly off-route Hotel Rural Monasterio de Ara-Mada looks very nice. It in the village of Santa Colomba de las Arrimadas,

The owners are actively involved in promoting the Camino Olvidado. Their website shows a map and describes a 15 minute walk from La Devesa to their hotel. This would be about a 22 km day.
We stayed in the Hotel Inés, good value at 30 euros a double room and they do a good menú.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Day 13. Boñar to Vegacervera (27 km)

In Boñar the camino splits and offers two options. One is typically walked in three stages and goes through mountains (Boñar-Vegacervera-Buiza- La Magdalena) and one is typically two stages and avoids the mountains (Boñar - La Robla - La Magdalena). I will start with the mountain route and then go back and review the alternative.

This is a totally gorgeous 5 star day, at least if you ignore the last 8 km or so, which is on the side of the road from Correcillas. Actually, even that last part is very pretty, no traffic at all, it’s just that it’s on pavement. In fact, the only car that we saw on that whole stretch was Ender’s, when he came out to check on us.

The walk is off road at the beginning, really pretty, up to the small town of La Mata de la Bérbula, where there is a café. From La Mata to Correcillas, it is only 6 km, but it is one of those jaw-dropping but steep ascents — as you huff and puff up, you suddenly arrive at the top and the view just spreads out in front of you. It is really spectacular, the valley you ascended is there behind you, and real mountain peaks in front of you. We soaked it in for a long long time.

A46230AF-166A-40C3-B70E-00D8172941C0.jpeg 49D149CF-C53A-4EB0-968D-4833CA85721F.jpeg E5A49E87-88F5-4BB7-BE72-A4298591E41D.jpeg 69261D5F-BE48-41AF-B5F6-3B2BB1CF17A6.jpeg C259AE71-1D97-44DA-ACF3-19ECBCA6F08C.jpeg

Not too far away from the high point, there is also a little chapel, the Ermita de San Froilán. I have been unable to find instructions on how to get there from the Camino Olvidado. All I see are routes going there from the town of Valdorria below. I hope @alansykes will be able to help us out here. On one of his walks, I know he did not go up to the ermita, but did photograph it from below. But he has also posted a picture from the ermita, so I am pretty certain he has actually walked up there on a return visit to the stage from Boñar.

Lots of shade and beautiful views on the descent, too!

511DB799-BE05-440C-8937-C695F13AA108.jpeg CC3F9C7E-52FD-46C1-BC5C-2636D605C514.jpeg

In Vegacervera, we stayed at the Albergue El Chaltén, whose owner is a real Camino supporter. The albergue is actually a group of cabins with bunks for about 12-16. There was a youth group there when we arrived, occupying about five of the cabins, and they put us in our own, away from all the excitement. It’s a very nice set-up. When the albergue is full, the owner will take pilgrims into his own home — he explained that he had promised Ender to take care of pilgrims and he will.

3B836C26-D37F-4CFD-823C-577B88D92356.jpeg F7499A8D-2325-4329-9023-3D225F32426A.jpeg

There are other places in town, all in Ender’s guide. The Hotel Chousa Verde is supposed to give a good pilgrim rate, but @MikeJS was unable to get anything but a high priced room.

Ender took us to what is undoubtedly the best place to eat in this little town, kind of out of the way. The name is Mesón La Cocinona, and it is affiliated with a family-run embutidos factory. That may not be a ringing endorsement for vegetarians or vegans, however.

BFF873FB-BBBA-444A-9E03-B71BB428ADF7.jpeg

For those who like yoghurt, I cannot recommend the Coladilla yoghurt enough. It is made in a hamlet of that name (you pass through on the camino about 2 km after Vegacervera). The young owners took over the family operation and decided to go “artisanal.” They make a goat milk yoghurt that is just unbelievable. Though there are no grocery stores in Vegacervera, a couple of the embutidos factories have little stores selling their sausages and dried meats, along with a few grocery items. We found some for sale, along with some fruit, chocolate and “frutos secos” in one of them.

Now, for those who don’t want to undertake this stage in its entirety, but would like a glimpse of what is truly mountain glory, you could consider taking a taxi from Boñar to La Mata de la Bérbula (16.5 km from Boñar). You will miss one of the ascents, but the views are not nearly as spectacular as the one after La Mata. It’s a huffing and puffing ascent — about 300 m in a kilometer or two, but if slow but steady works for you, consider this option. It would give you a day of about 12 kms, and after the big ascent, it is downhill (not too drastic an incline) and then pretty flat into Vegacervera.

There are also two towns with accommodations on this stage,
Ranedo de Curueño, about 8 km from Boñar, has a rural hotel,El Canto de Gallo.

Valdepiélago, which is about another km on, has several Casas Rurales. One of them is for two people and shows a price of 75€.

If you had stopped short of Boñar on the previous stage, in the Hotel Monasterio Ara-Mada, you would have a total of about 15 or 16 to one of those two places. That would mean a 20 km day to Vegacervera. But take a look at the elevation map in Ender’s English guide because there is a lot and it all starts after Valdepiélago.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Vegacervera is a happening place, with the unbeatable combination of geology and cuisine:

And there are birds in the Vegacervera ravine - wallcreepers, dippers, and 10 species of raptor:
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Vegacervera is a happening place, with the unbeatable combination of geology and cuisine:
I think Alan was there during the annual goat festival, but my memory is foggy and I hope he will fill us in. The town itself is kind of weird — lots of purpose-built small vacation row houses with no charm. The hotel on the river is one of the few buildings that looks like it belongs in a mountain village. The albergue, on the other side of the river, is in a nicer setting, IMO.

Ender told us we had to choose between going to the cave and eating lunch after we arrived in Vegacervera. The guys opted for lunch, so I went along, being a good team player. ;)After lunch, he took us out on a little drive through the ravine, which starts just a km or two beyond the albergue on the road. (That’s the last picture I posted). It’s beautiful if you can get out there. I may have a fuzzy memory here, but for those who stay in the albergue, continuing on the road past the albergue gets you right into the ravine within a km or so, so it could be an afternoon stroll.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Year of past OR future Camino
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Valdepiélago, which is about another km on, has several Casas Rurales. One of them is for two people and shows a price of 75€.
That's where we had thought we might stop on our first day on this stage. It's 9 km from Boñar, and 16 km from Hotel Monasterio Ara-Mada. Both options are good distances for us slow walkers.

But take a look at the elevation map in Ender’s English guide because there is a lot and it all starts after Valdepiélago.
It’s a huffing and puffing ascent — about 300 m in a kilometer or two, but if slow but steady works for you
Huffing and puffing it would be, and from Valdepiélago, it is 18.3 km. I know it will be a long day for one lovely darling slow walker... She'll do the first ascent without too many problems, it's early in the day. Not sure about the second ascent...

In Vegacervera, we stayed at the Albergue El Chaltén, whose owner is a real Camino supporter. [...] When the albergue is full, the owner will take pilgrims into his own home — he explained that he had promised Ender to take care of pilgrims and he will.
Hopefully, if the huffing and puffing ascent was a bit too much, we could ask the owner to rescue my darling when she can't walk anymore?

Now, for those who don’t want to undertake this stage in its entirety, but would like a glimpse of what is truly mountain glory, you could consider taking a taxi from Boñar to La Mata de la Bérbula
One can also take the FEVE line between Boñar and Valdepiélago. But then, if we're going to spend a night in Valdepiélago, why not walk?
 
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peregrina2000

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Hopefully, if the huffing and puffing ascent was a bit too much, we could ask the owner to rescue my darling when she can't walk anymore?
The only place to do that, I think, would be Correcillas. The screen shot shows both the road and the walk from Valdepiélago to Correcillas. Dotted blue is the road. Walking path is the thin turquoise line. After la Mata de Bérbula, you leave the road, which makes that second ascent inaccessible to cars. The descent to Correcillas is also nowhere near a road.

You of course know your limits better than I, but if there were a way to start the day in Mata de Bérbula, you would have eliminated one of the ascents (leaving only the steeper but more spectacular one) and would have about a 12 km day. But in cases like these, I think the elevation gain is usually just as or more important than the actual distance.


00090CBE-7990-43F2-8B1F-04689F4BB21B.jpeg
 

AJGuillaume

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The only place to do that, I think, would be Correcillas.
It would be after Correcillas. It's only 7.5 km from Valdepiélago to Correcillas, which she would manage, including the two ascents. So I think she would run out of energy after Correcillas.
 
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Correcillas
Is one of those villages with a reputation for beauty
...and people use it as a base for walking. So I wonder about waymarking. It sounds like a plae to watch your ps and qs.

What is surprising is that there does not seem to be any accommodation.

Because I walked as far as this today in realtime, I definitely want to check out the
Ermita de San Froilán
Here is a wikiloc track from Correciĺas:
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trai...ita-san-froilan-valdorria-correcillas-9799328 (Correcillas-Valdorria-Ermita san Froilan-Valdorria-correcillas)
 
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alansykes

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Not too far away from the high point, there is also a little chapel, the Ermita de San Froilán. I have been unable to find instructions on how to get there from the Camino Olvidado.
The second time I went that way I was determined to see the chapel, going vía the village of Valdorria, which Ender recommended as having a nice bar, where I stopped for a welcome pause. The ermita is then very easy to find, up a vertiginous narrow track cut from the rocks, with regular sheer drops on one side.

The chapel is in a fabulous position looking down over the valley and up to the surrounding summits. Froilán, a Galician by birth, built his hermitage here in the 850s. Originally helped by his mule, but the latter was unfortunately chomped by a wolf while Froilán was too busy praying. He then tamed the wolf and it stayed by his side for the rest of his life, helping out where he could (presumably the lack of opposable thumbs made his usefulness moot). Anyway, it's a lovely spot but quite a strenuous detour on the way to Vegacervera, so on my visit I just did a loop up and down from the feve station at Valdepiélago, staying the nights at Boñar.

 

peregrina2000

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The second time I went that way I was determined to see the chapel, going vía the village of Valdorria,
AHHHHHHHH!!! I had spent a long time trying to find a way to connect the Olvidado to a spur trail up to the ermita, and not even my fancy primo Wikiloc map feature could help me out! So you went via Valdorria!

Did you descend to Valdorria from the spectacular vantage point at the intersection where my picture shows a sign saying Valdorria 2.8 km? And then back up to the ermita? And then where? This would be a pretty hefty day from Boñar winding up in Vegacervera with the “little detour” to the ermita.

Oh, Alan, I also have to ask whether you are leaving wikiloc and going to the new site you just linked to? And here I am just figuring out how to record and add pictures to my wikiloc tracks!

Buen camino, Laurie
 
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alansykes

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Did you descend to Valdorria from the spectacular vantage point at the intersection where my picture shows a sign saying Valdorria 2.8 km? And then back up to the ermita? And then where?
Yup, a very easy stroll to the village and then up to the Ermita, very well marked. Going back down to the feve station at Valdepiélago was less easy, going through quite dense woods on a path clearly not used very much, and then down by the spectacular Cola de Caballo de Nocedo waterfall.

I've not given up wikiloc, it's just that I find it often uses a lot of battery and I get nervous about running out of power in the high mountains and not being able to check the map, or ring for help. I've recently bought a "power pack" for recharging, heavy but reassuring.

The pic is looking across at Valdorria from the main Olvidado route, just before my mini pilgrimage to visit the patron saint of León's hermitage.

DSC_0214.jpg
 

AJGuillaume

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Not sure if this is useful in relation to getting to the Ermita de San Froilán, but I found this wikiloc track that goes from the ermita to Valdepiélago, so I guess it could be walked in reverse.


This one does a round trip to the ermita from Valdepiélago, so this could also help with working out a trail to get to the ermita.

 

MikeJS

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My notes for the Bonar to Vegacervera stage say - Straight forward way out of Bonar along the river then you turn right and walk uphill for the next 15km! The way was extremely well marked and I could follow the yellow arrows all the way. Amazingly, when I got to La Mata de la Berbula at just after 0930 there was a bar and it was open, on a Sunday!! Stopped for a coffee and some cake and headed out again. Really glad I stopped there because the next 4 kms are up some extremely tough slopes. Not that that matters as the view was stupendous. There are a number of points when you think you are at the top, but you not! In fact once you find yourself in some high pastures with the ubiquitous cows, goats and horses then you are past the top.
After Correcillas it’s a long gradual way into Vegacervera that is primarily on tarmac. However, it’s a very quiet road and it winds through oaks along side the river. This was another fantastic day that truly deserves the label - awesome (in the English usage). The track is challenging in places but the views are well worth the effort. To find the remains of a roman road up that high was a real treat - see photo ( I liked it so much I painted it as part of my ‘Camino’ selection of around 15 watercolours!). I’m staying in a place called El Chalten, which is a group of chalets with bunk beds. Only me in one chalet but a few of the others are occupied by a Spanish group doing some outdoor adventure activities.

The next day I headed for Buiza and left the Camino Olvidado to join the Camino San Salvador and off to Oviedo to walk the Camino Primitivo to SdC.
 

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peregrina2000

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Yup, a very easy stroll to the village and then up to the Ermita, very well marked. Going back down to the feve station at Valdepiélago was less easy, going through quite dense woods on a path clearly not used very much, and then down by the spectacular Cola de Caballo de Nocedo waterfall.

Thanks, Alan! For those who want to continue on the Olvidado but also go to the Ermita, is there a sensible way to do that?

Boñar to the high point is about 17 km.
2.8 km down to Valdorria
Valdorria to Ermita and return to Valdorria about 13 km.
There is a casa rural in Valdorria but it’s whole house rental only.

We could, I suppose do what you did and wind up back in Valdepiélago, spend the night in Renedo de Curueño, and then repeat the ascent the next day and go on to Vegacervera. 😀 Not sure what the total distance would be, and you did say the path was not really open, so it would be a bushwhacking experience.

If anyone else has a better idea, let us know, because getting to this ermita would be glorious!
 
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watching the you tube video for this camino, they seem to head straight up to Valdorria and not go via La Mata de la Berbula, but looking at your route notes the path after La Mata de la Berbula looks really nice. So if you could spend a couple of nights in the area you could do the road straight from Valdepiélago to Valdorria and visit the Ermita then the next day go back on the path to La Mata de la Berbula and onto Vegacervera.
 
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More about the Ermita:
Could one not go up as Alan did via Valdorria, then down (via the wikiloc track I posted in post 228 above) to Correciĺas? It is about 5K from Ermita to Correcilas, then another 10.8 to Vegacevera. OSMand tells me it's 6K from Valdepielago to Valdorria. Altogether roughly 22K.
 

peregrina2000

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Could one not go up as Alan did via Valdorria, then down (via the wikiloc track I posted in post 228 above) to Correciĺas?
BINGO!

If you sleep in Ranedo de Curueño, you would have about 10 to the high point, then 2.8 to the town of Valdorria, then about 1.5 out and back to the ermita. (What I hadn’t realized is that the ermita is so close to Valdorria — the tracks I was looking at continued on to the waterfalls, which are further away). Valdorria to Correcillas on the wikiloc track you posted, VN, is about 5 (???). Then add 11 to Vegacervera.

If you sleep in Boñar, you would add about 8, so you would have either a 29 km (from Ranedo de Curueño) day or a 38 km day (from Boñar).

Just to alert you all, though, that my math is frequently wrong when I start mixing and matching with guide books and wikiloc, so I would appreciate some confirmation or correction!

Just to say that I have deleted my Vegacervera to Buiza post so we can iron this out first. I will add it back in later, fingers crossed that I have not unintentionally deleted it permanently!
 

peregrina2000

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watching the you tube video for this camino, they seem to head straight up to Valdorria and not go via La Mata de la Berbula, but looking at your route notes the path after La Mata de la Berbula looks really nice. So if you could spend a couple of nights in the area you could do the road straight from Valdepiélago to Valdorria and visit the Ermita then the next day go back on the path to La Mata de la Berbula and onto Vegacervera.
I think spending an extra day is a great idea because this is really a beautiful area. But now I’m having trouble sorting this into two days. Where would you sleep on the first night after visiting the ermita?
 
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peregrina2000

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Yes, that's whatcI came up with, too.

I count about 32 taking into account the 1.5 out and back to the ermita?
Ok, we’re getting close to rounding errors. 😁

Ranedo de Curueño to high point (10)
High point to Valdorria (2.8)
Valdorria to Ermita and back (1.5)
Valdorria to Correcillas (5)
Correcillas to Vegacervera (11)

30.3 from Ranedo de Curueño?
 

peregrina2000

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My mistake, sorry. I doubled that 1.5, thinking it was 1.5.out and 1.5 back. So, yes, right - provided it's 1.5 return, not 3.
I did that based on what I estimate from the wikiloc you posted, can you take a look and see if it looks right? I know that a 1.5 km error in terms of distance isn’t the end of the world, but here it is combined with some really serious elevation gain.
 
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I did that based on what I estimate from the wikiloc you posted, can you take a look and see if it looks right?
Yes, that seems about right. I double checked with thr OSMand map, which says it's about 500m one way. But I'm not sure exactly where to measure it from. So I think 1.5 is a decent conservative guess: far better to overestimate than underestimate!
 
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I think spending an extra day is a great idea because this is really a beautiful area. But now I’m having trouble sorting this into two days. Where would you sleep on the first night after visiting the ermita?
or as an alternative by missing the path from La Meta I could take the train to Valdepiélago walk to Valdorria visit the Ermita and then head on to Vegacervera. I will miss the path from La Meta but I am sure the Ermita and walk onto Vegacervera will make up for it. Do we know if there are taxi services in Valdepielago? If there are we could use a taxi service to take us to Valdorria and then back to Valdepielago to sleep before heading on the next day to Vegacervera?
Lots of options here so am looking forward to more responses and ideas from other people who have walked here before.
 
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peregrina2000

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I will miss the path from La Meta but I am sure the Ermita and walk onto Vegacervera will make up for it.
My (perhaps confused) understanding is that the guys who walked from Boñar to Valdorria in order to see the water falls (they did not go to the ermita as far as I can see from that youtube) did rejoin the camino at the high point that you get to from La Mata de la Bérbula. They were on a road from Nocedo to Valdorria and then on a path up to the high point. Which is where they rejoin the Camino. I THINK.


My calculations of that route would be

Boñar to Valdepiélago — 10
Valdepiélago to Valdorria and then up to the Ermita and down — about 8.5
(based on this wikiloc — https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trai...epielago-valdorria-valdepielago-leon-47411158 )
Valdorria to high point to Correcillas to Vegacervera — about 16.

So it looks like two one day options. One detours off camino in Valdepiélago (this post) for a 34 km day from Boñar. The other (see post 238) involves simply detouring from the high point down to Valdorria and up to the ermita and then back to the high point.

I THINK the two are roughly the same in terms of distance, but going to the high point twice is obviously going to have more elevation gain than following the youtube route.

Does this make sense to others? Not sure when I will be back on the Olvidado, but i do want to try to figure out a way to get to the Ermita!
 
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or we can cut maybe 10km from this stage by taking the train from Bonar if they operate at a convienent time and then do the detour to the Ermita and rejoin the offical route somewhere around the high point and head to Vegacervera. it would mean a 24km day for us slower walkers but hopefully after a couple of weeks of walking we might be able to build up to a 24km day.
 
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peregrina2000

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@peregrina2000 thanks for checking that. I hope I am not causing too much trouble by trying to find ways to shorten stages for those of us who are not able to walk a full stage at present. 😁
My husband always tells me I would have been great at three different occupations — one as Napoleon’s taskmaster, two as a prairie pioneer wife in the 1800s, and three as the activities director on a cruise ship.

Working up stages of different lengths that help people see the options for endless enjoyment and beauty on the camino probably uses a combination of those skills. 🤣
 
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My husband always tells me I would have been great at three different occupations — one as Napoleon’s taskmaster, two as a prairie pioneer wife in the 1800s, and three as the activities director on a cruise ship.

Working up stages of different lengths that help people see the options for endless enjoyment and beauty on the camino probably uses a combination of those skills. 🤣
think my husband would say the same about me. 🤣
 

AJGuillaume

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Ranedo de Curueño to high point (10)
High point to Valdorria (2.8)
Valdorria to Ermita and back (1.5)
Valdorria to Correcillas (5)
Correcillas to Vegacervera (11)

30.3 from Ranedo de Curueño?
With no way to break this up into two days, as there seems to be no accommodation in Valdorria (except for the casa rural in alojamiento entero mode) or Corecillas, this is too long for some slow walkers.

We could, I suppose do what you did and wind up back in Valdepiélago
As we would spend a night in Valdepiélago, we would do the loop to the Ermita, and come back to Valdepiélago. As we would have 2 nights in Valdepiélago, we would be able to walk to the Ermita without our backpacks, which, given that:
it is combined with some really serious elevation gain
would make the 13.4 km walk much more pleasant for my darling.

So we would just follow this map:
31526274Master.jpg
which is covered by this track:
 

dick bird

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Day 13. Boñar to Vegacervera (27 km)

In Boñar the camino splits and offers two options. One is typically walked in three stages and goes through mountains (Boñar-Vegacervera-Buiza- La Magdalena) and one is typically two stages and avoids the mountains (Boñar - La Robla - La Magdalena). I will start with the mountain route and then go back and review the alternative.

This is a totally gorgeous 5 star day, at least if you ignore the last 8 km or so, which is on the side of the road from Correcillas. Actually, even that last part is very pretty, no traffic at all, it’s just that it’s on pavement. In fact, the only car that we saw on that whole stretch was Ender’s, when he came out to check on us.

The walk is off road at the beginning, really pretty, up to the small town of La Mata de la Bérbula, where there is a café. From La Mata to Correcillas, it is only 6 km, but it is one of those jaw-dropping but steep ascents — as you huff and puff up, you suddenly arrive at the top and the view just spreads out in front of you. It is really spectacular, the valley you ascended is there behind you, and real mountain peaks in front of you. We soaked it in for a long long time.

View attachment 99056 View attachment 99057 View attachment 99058 View attachment 99059 View attachment 99062

Not too far away from the high point, there is also a little chapel, the Ermita de San Froilán. I have been unable to find instructions on how to get there from the Camino Olvidado. All I see are routes going there from the town of Valdorria below. I hope @alansykes will be able to help us out here. On one of his walks, I know he did not go up to the ermita, but did photograph it from below. But he has also posted a picture from the ermita, so I am pretty certain he has actually walked up there on a return visit to the stage from Boñar.

Lots of shade and beautiful views on the descent, too!

View attachment 99060 View attachment 99061

In Vegacervera, we stayed at the Albergue El Chaltén, whose owner is a real Camino supporter. The albergue is actually a group of cabins with bunks for about 12-16. There was a youth group there when we arrived, occupying about five of the cabins, and they put us in our own, away from all the excitement. It’s a very nice set-up. When the albergue is full, the owner will take pilgrims into his own home — he explained that he had promised Ender to take care of pilgrims and he will.

View attachment 99064 View attachment 99065

There are other places in town, all in Ender’s guide. The Hotel Chousa Verde is supposed to give a good pilgrim rate, but @MikeJS was unable to get anything but a high priced room.

Ender took us to what is undoubtedly the best place to eat in this little town, kind of out of the way. The name is Mesón La Cocinona, and it is affiliated with a family-run embutidos factory. That may not be a ringing endorsement for vegetarians or vegans, however.

View attachment 99063

For those who like yoghurt, I cannot recommend the Coladilla yoghurt enough. It is made in a hamlet of that name (you pass through on the camino about 2 km after Vegacervera). The young owners took over the family operation and decided to go “artisanal.” They make a goat milk yoghurt that is just unbelievable. Though there are no grocery stores in Vegacervera, a couple of the embutidos factories have little stores selling their sausages and dried meats, along with a few grocery items. We found some for sale, along with some fruit, chocolate and “frutos secos” in one of them.

Now, for those who don’t want to undertake this stage in its entirety, but would like a glimpse of what is truly mountain glory, you could consider taking a taxi from Boñar to La Mata de la Bérbula (16.5 km from Boñar). You will miss one of the ascents, but the views are not nearly as spectacular as the one after La Mata. It’s a huffing and puffing ascent — about 300 m in a kilometer or two, but if slow but steady works for you, consider this option. It would give you a day of about 12 kms, and after the big ascent, it is downhill (not too drastic an incline) and then pretty flat into Vegacervera.

There are also two towns with accommodations on this stage,
Ranedo de Curueño, about 8 km from Boñar, has a rural hotel,El Canto de Gallo.

Valdepiélago, which is about another km on, has several Casas Rurales. One of them is for two people and shows a price of 75€.

If you had stopped short of Boñar on the previous stage, in the Hotel Monasterio Ara-Mada, you would have a total of about 15 or 16 to one of those two places. That would mean a 20 km day to Vegacervera. But take a look at the elevation map in Ender’s English guide because there is a lot and it all starts after Valdepiélago.
Ha! Pedant alert: 'pavement'. I notice, by the way, that MikeJS refers to 'tarmac'. so we all know where he's from. The following story has no relevance whatever to the camino, so feel free to ignore the digression, but many years ago we lived and worked in Ankara, Turkey. We were driving down to the coast one day when we passed a totally random set of traffic lights, in the middle of nowhere. The next thing we know, the road gets suddenly very, very wide and the road markings are very, very big. In fact, we had the distinct impression we were driving along the middle of an airport runway. After a kilometre or two, the road was back to normal, we passed another set of traffic lights, then a small town. When we got back home we asked our friends about this, mentioning the name of the town.. "Oh yes" they said, "that's the emergency runway, They close it off if a plane has to land". Mystery solved, but it raises an interesting language question, was the pavement tarmac? Or was the tarmac pavement? Cheers.
 
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peregrina2000

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As we would have 2 nights in Valdepiélago, we would be able to walk to the Ermita without our backpacks...
AJ,

I think that route will take you to the waterfalls also, so that’s a bonus!

Are you thinking that you would walk from Valdepiélago to Vegacervera? That’s 26 and I think it’s got a lot more elevation than the circular route to the ermita. One suggestion I had was to get a ride up to Mata de Bérbula. If you look at the elevation profile, that avoids the first ascent. But it’s the second one that takes you to the spectacular views. And from there, you’ve got a very manageable and pleasant descent to Correcillas and then flat from there.
 
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AJGuillaume

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I thnk that route will take you to the waterfalls also, so that’s a bonus!
I like a bonus! ☺️

Are you thinking that you would walk from Valdepiélago to Vegacervera?
Yes, but not via the Ermita, as we would take a separate day for that walk. I think it's 18 km from Valdepiélago to Vegacervera, without the side trip to the Ermita, according to Enders' guidebook.

So we would walk Boñar to Valdepiélago, then next day walk to the Ermita and back to Valdepiélago, and finally walk from Valdepiélago to Vegacervera.

One suggestion I had was to get a ride up to Mata de Bérbula. If you look at the elevation profile, that avoids the first ascent. But it’s the second one that takes you to the spectacular views.
That is one option, and would also reduce the distance to just over 17 km. The other option is to get a ride into Vegacervera, some time after Correcillas, for example from Villalfeide.

The question is: would it be easier to get a ride from Valdepiélago to La Mata de la Bérbula, or to get a ride from Villalfeide to Vegacervera?
 

peregrina2000

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The question is: would it be easier to get a ride from Valdepiélago to La Mata de la Bérbula, or to get a ride from Villalfeide to Vegacervera?
I am certainly no authority on this, but I would think that the owners of the place where you sleep are likely to be happy to help. There are no taxis that I know of at either end, but this is one of those places where flagging down a car is very likely to give you good results. Only problem with that strategy is that I am virtually certain that Ender’s car coming out to check up on us was the only car we saw between Correcillas and Villafeide.

The owner of El Chaltén (the cabin albergue) is an extremely nice guy but I think he is likely to be tied up in albergue happenings with his youth groups. We only met him hurriedly at night when he came over as Ender was dropping us off. Maybe if you stay at the Chousa, the owner would agree to pick you up.
 

peregrina2000

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Day 14. Vegacervera to Buiza (16) or Pola de Gordón (24)

This is another great day, with one very difficult (some would say dangerous) descent, but it can easily be avoided. Another day where the GPS came in very handy.

I know that Ender has moved more of this stage off-road than even what we had in 2019, so I think the best thing is always to use the tracks on the CaminoOlvidado.com website.

It is very pleasant countryside as you leave town. You pass through Coladilla with its creamery. The route from Coladilla to Villar was along an untraveled road for us, but this is where Ender has moved it off-road and it is apparently very nice.

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In the town of Villar, about 7 km from Vegacervera, there is a hairy descent. It’s not a path, just a bunch of sharp jagged rocks that you have to pick your way over. I think it took us about 30-40 minutes to descend what is probably about 100 m, though I am a bad judge of distance.

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What I would recommend is that you go out from Villar to the start of the descent — it’s very close to the road — and then judge for yourself. If it looks hairy, go back to Villar and take the 5 km road walk into La Vid de Gordón.

There was some forum chatter about this a while back, and you should take a look at the video at the point I indicated in a post on it.

@alansykes did this descent in the pouring rain. I absolutely cannot imagine that. Here’s what he said: “Very lovely but the most difficult of my 500+ camino days thanks to the driving rain and almost sheer descent.”

If you can take the descent, you will be rewarded by a stroll through the gorge at the bottom, a truly beautiful beech forest, and a chance to see some abandoned mines.

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The first town you come to after the descent is Ciñera. There are bars, and a mine elevator sitting in the plaza with the plaque saying — it wasn’t an accident, it was a murder. This refers to a mine explosion, caused by a methane leak (I think that’s the approximate translation of grisú) in which 6 miners were killed in 2013.

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La Vid is just a short hop and a jump beyond Ciñera. It is another mining town and has a lot of what looks like “company housing,” now decorated with street art and looking a lot jazzier. You will rejoin the camino here if you took the road alternative from Villar.

E94CE258-4B71-4D24-B8AC-FDA81BC471C4.jpeg

Between La Vid and Buiza, the markings are few and the path can be unclear. Nothing dangerous, and you are unlikely to get too far off track because you know the general direction, This was another one of those spots where my GPS just couldn’t give me enough detail at the micro level, so we found ourselves wandering around a bit. But we never felt lost.

Once in Buiza, you can stay at the albergue there (but you should have food with you), or continue on the 7.5 km to Pola de Gordón. It’s all road, but very little traffic.

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Pola de Gordón is a town with some services, groceries, a couple of pensiones and bars/mesones. Two hotels have closed, one recently, and the other many years ago. Both Pola de Gordón and Buiza are on the Camino del Salvador, which goes from León to Oviedo. If you plan to switch over to the Salvador, as @MikeJS did, you should stay in Buiza. Pola de Gordón is to the south, taking you back towards León. So if you sleep in Pola de Gordón, you will just have to return the 7 kms to Buiza the next day. I have found a nice looking CR in Buiza, but they don’t seem to do one night stays or rent by the room.

I have spent three nights in Pola de Gordón, and have slept twice in the rooms above the Mesón de Miguel, and more recently in the Pensión 15 de Mayo. Neither of these is special, but they are both perfectly adequate — cheap, less than stellar beds, decent bathrooms, clean sheets, all in all perfect pilgrim places. Mesón de Miguel is a decent place for an adequate meal.

One taxi in Pola de Gordón, just in case anyone needs it. Álvarez Suárez, tel. 987 586 058
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Forgot to add the map showing the road option. For some reason my google maps has the entire Camino Olvidado on it in a thin turquoise line. Not sure how that happened, but it is helpful for posts like this.

This shows the road that will take you to La Vid, where you would join up with those who took the jagged rock challenge.

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Kanga

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Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Every now and then I look at this thread and a photograph or two, and then resolutely close it. If I get too infirm, old, decrepit, to walk it, then I shall come back to this thread, but in the meantime I keep open the hope that I will be able to walk it and I don't want to know what is around every corner!
 

MikeJS

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)
For the Vegacervera to Buiza I wrote in Sept 2019 - It was a fine start again this morning with a steady hike up to Coladilla, which is famous for it sheep’s yogurt. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to buy any yet. (subsequent to this I found some and it was lovely). The camino has been diverted off of the road from here ( I assume this is the change that Laurie mentions in her earlier post about this stage) and now it’s a lovely stroll through high pastures. The last stretch of this section into Valle de Vegacervera follows a very old path between dry stone walls. Unfortunately, many of the rocks have fallen off of the top of the walls onto the path that makes walking quite difficult. However, you can simply use the fields to the left for most of the way. The way continues along a very quiet road and then heads off road. This section is another spectacular route and has a part that is very steep heading down to a narrow way through a gorge. Quite vertiginous and it could be dangerous in the wet. (as I entered the bottom of the gorge I came across some very surprised tourists as they came to the gorge along a well built flat track - which is the way the track takes heading to Buiza. Thereafter, it’s another quiet stroll to Buiza. At Buiza I had expected some sort of marker to show the junction of the Camino Olvidado and the San Salvador but I saw nothing.
 

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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
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Yes, that’s right. What do you think?
I have been looking at heaps of photos, I have poured over maps
Screenshot_20210504-205158.png
and satellite photos, as well as looked for videos (including the one you shared, @peregrina2000 ).

I would go a little further and say that there is nothing on that descent that even qualifies as a path, it is just jagged rocks. You just have to pick your way little by little.
Go to about 3:37of this video, where the notation “fuerte bajada” flashes across the screen (steep descent). You can see how you have to pick over the rock.
Satellite imagery shows a "path", even though it might not be recognisable on the ground. Where the video shows the "fuerte bajada", you can see a path in the foreground. That path is documented in OpenStreetMap.
Screenshot_20210504-211406.png
Also, looking at the OSMand maps, it looks like the drop in altitude, until you reach the boardwalk, is only about 40m. With all that 'technical' information, I reckon we could do it, taking it slowly, very slowly. We're slow walkers 😄

What I would recommend is that you go out from Villar to the start of the descent — it’s very close to the road — and then judge for yourself. If it looks hairy, go back to Villar and take the 5 km road walk into La Vid de Gordón.
We would certainly follow that recommendation. In addition, there is a condition sine qua non, which is that we won't even try if it is raining. It reminds me of our walk on the Norte, when we were going to try and go over the Monte Candina from Oriñon, just after Islares. When we heard the storm coming in the evening, we decided not to tempt fate, with wet rocks and the risk of slipping down to the Bay of Biscay below.

If you can take the descent, you will be rewarded by a stroll through the gorge at the bottom, a truly beautiful beech forest, and a chance to see some abandoned mines.
Having seen photos and videos, that reward makes the descent really worth it, provided the conditions are right.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Year of past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
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Day 14. Vegacervera to Buiza (16) or Pola de Gordón (24)
Once in Buiza, you can stay at the albergue there (but you should have food with you), or continue on the 7.5 km to Pola de Gordón.
The slow walkers that we are, welcome a short stage, ☺️ in particular if we have taken the option of going down to the gorge and on to Ciñera. So we'll stop in Buiza.

In addition to the albergue, there is also the Finca La Castañona, although it looks like the owners request a minimum of two nights. We'll have to remember to buy food before we leave Ciñera.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Pola de Gordón to La Magdalena (23 km)
(or, if you sleep in Buiza, it’s 31 to La Magdalena)

This is another marvelous walking day. When you get up high, there are 360-degree views, and it is spectacular, uninhabited, wild.

94E524DC-913C-4F24-8E92-3BADFB8C4E22.jpeg E4BDB98D-711B-4320-85E8-9C84E4643418.jpeg B24B9D2E-CD4D-4F7E-A37D-600E2C482146.jpeg

Since all that comes to mind to describe this stage are superlatives and gushy adjectives, I will quote @alansykes’ much more exquisite prose:

A 5 star day, 6 if that was possible. The highest point of the Olvidado, literally and (so far) metaphorically.

I'm so very glad I did this on a mostly clear bright autumn day, rather than waste it in yesterday's cloud. Nearly 900m of cumulative ascent can be quite a lot, but it was spread over 7-8km and had the advantage that the camino weaved its way upwards, giving different vistas to each side and later down at every turn, so it was certainly not dull. And if by this point on the Olvidado you can't do a bit of uphill, you never will be able to.

Not far from the highest point you find yourself being frowned down on by the slightly stern snow-capped ridges of the Pico de Santiago. At 1671m, the pass is significantly higher than O'Cebreiro or Lepoeder or anywhere on the Plata, and there was a couple of inches of snow, undisturbed except by me since it fell. The descent is just as pretty for the next hour, when you enter the desfiladero de los Calderones, a dramatic narrow twisting gorge, with waterfalls and high cliffs. At one point the noisy river disappears underground and you are left in total silence for a km or so until, near the cave of the Virgen del Manadero, it remerges from underground just as suddenly.

Quite spectacular, both climbing up to the high passes in the morning, and going through the narrow canyon in the afternoon, and all in total solitude.


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In La Magdalena, the Hostal El Crucero is a standard roadside stopping place. In town, there is also pilgrim “acogida.” In this case that means no shower, which was the decision-maker for me. I sometimes feel kind of uppity when I seem to be turning up my nose at the generosity of the local association, but a hot shower is one creature comfort I have trouble going without after a hard day’s walk. There is a little grocery store in town, and some cafés.

Piedrasecha would be about a 20 km stage. It is a very cutesy town with lots of renovated old stone houses. There are two places there, both of which seem to have opportunities for individual room rentals. Los Calderones de Piedrasecha or El Castillo de Piedrasecha

I would definitely make arrangements ahead of time, because when we walked through on an early summer weekday, nothing was open and no one was around. But I think in high season pilgrims will be competing with tourists, because Los Calderones are a popular tourist destination. There is a very nice looking restaurante/mesón in the village, El Menadero, but it was closed. We did use one of their outdoor tables for a good rest and snack. Based on its website, it also has a casa rural, so that might be another option in town.

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There is a hotel in Otero de las Dueñas, Hotel Santa Lucía, but that is only 2.5 kms before La Magdalena.

and p.s., if you want to see some pictures of Los Calderones, try this or this. Though you will see lots of jagged rock, there is no hairy descent or unnerving moments. Just really spectacular!
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
Pola de Gordón to La Magdalena (23 km)

As close to a perfect day as I've ever enjoyed, probably my favourite of 500+ camino days, or a dead heat with Atienza-Retortillo de Soria on the Lana.

There is a very nice looking restaurante/mesón in the village, El Menadero, but it was closed.

It was closed when I went past but the landlady saw me emerging from the gorge and opened up to give me a most welcome caña and a chat.
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DSC_0233-2.jpg DSC_0256.jpg
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Oh, boy. This looks 10-star! I hope the weather is just as cooperative when I finally get here.

So has anyone tried this, as opposed to taking the direct way from Piedrasecha and La Magdalena)?

Screenshot_20210507-101335_OsmAnd.jpg

And on my OSMand map a few hundred meters fro. Piedrasecha, there's something labelled as a point of interest "Muñeco" with the note, "Son muñecos hechos de piedra en la cumbre."

Any idea what it is?
Rock formations that look like people??
 
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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Year of past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Pola de Gordón to La Magdalena (23 km)
(or, if you sleep in Buiza, it’s 31 to La Magdalena)
Just adding some notes from the perspective of the slow walkers that we are. We would have stopped in Buiza, so we would break this stage into two days:
Buiza to Piedrasecha, 20.5 km
Piedrasecha to La Magdalena 7.1 km.
We could also break it into three days with an overnight in Pola de Gordón, but that would be really taking it slow ;)

Piedrasecha would be about a 20 km stage. It is a very cutesy town with lots of renovated old stone houses. There are two places there, both of which seem to have opportunities for individual room rentals. Los Calderones de Piedrasecha or El Castillo de Piedrasecha
Sounds like a nice place to stop for the night.

This is another marvelous walking day. When you get up high, there are 360-degree views, and it is spectacular, uninhabited, wild.
As close to a perfect day as I've ever enjoyed
Oh, boy. This looks 10-star!
That would definitely make us think about taking the mountain route!
 

MikeJS

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)
That stage from Pola de Gordón to La Magdalena looks wonderful. I plan to walk the later part of the Olvidado that I missed when I turned North onto the San Salvador in 2019. I hope to walk on Camino Madrid from Madrid, up to Sahagun then through to Leon and up to the Olvidado before heading west again. Not sure which way at the end of the Olvidado as I have walked the other routes previously.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
My husband always tells me I would have been great at three different occupations — one as Napoleon’s taskmaster, two as a prairie pioneer wife in the 1800s, and three as the activities director on a cruise ship.

Working up stages of different lengths that help people see the options for endless enjoyment and beauty on the camino probably uses a combination of those skills. 🤣
The three occupations have a number of skill sets in common.....
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
You’ve managed to Stump the Chump! 😁
Oh, wow. I didn't think it possible.
Does that come with special brownie points? 🤩
How did you come across that option, VN?
OSMand gave it to me. I cross-checked on Googlemaps with satellite view, and there does look to be a whole network of little paths in that area, but I am wondering if they are blocked by private property. But it would stay off-road, a blessing to both the feet and the spirit.
 
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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Year of past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
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OSMand gave it to me.
OSMand is based on OpenStreetMap, which is the work of volunteers populating maps around the world. My son has been contributing for a few years, and has recently given me a tutorial. The maps are the work of local volunteers, or sometimes volunteers who know an area well. So these maps will include paths and trails that often will not appear in Google maps.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
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The 1st one to get to piedrasecha, please ask a local , "WTH?"
View attachment 99627
The link in your image points to the author. His pseudo in OSM is cronoser, and he goes by the name of @oscarzor on twitter (I don't have a twitter account to check that).
I have sent him a message to find out if he has photos of these mysterious muñecos.

And guess who entered all the other symbols in OSMand around Piedrasecha? Yep, he did ☺️
 
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peregrina2000

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Day 13bis. Boñar to La Robla (33 km).

If you go back to this post, you’ll see that a split is mentioned. We’ve discussed the three day mountain alternative from Boñar, so now it’s time to take a look at the flat alternative. Both meet up in La Magdalena. I will be interested to hear which one people think they will choose.

I walked this stage on my first Olvidado. My notes are minimal, but I remember going through several small towns. And a fair amount of road walking.

Comparing my tracks from 2008 of this stage (plus the little bit of the first 3 kms out of Boñar) to Ender’s tracks, I would say that there has been a little, but not much, more taken off the road. So it’s a pretty heavy on-road day.

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But the last kms into La Robla were quite nice, and off-road, at least till the big factory came into view! In my blog I noted that the scenery changed from the scene on the left below to the scene on the right within a matter of seconds.


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La Robla has a good restaurant, Mesón La Bogadera, stores and cafés. The pilgrim’s albergue is excellent, and there is a pensión in town. Pensión Mundo. I have stayed in the albergue twice, once when walking the Salvador and once on the Olvidado. When I was walking the Salvador, it was my first day out of León. I had unexpectedly run into Kinky in León, and we planned to meet in La Robla. Soon after I got to the albergue, a taxi dropped a bunch of packs off at the albergue. Shockingly, the hospitalero let them reserve beds. So Kinky had to go to the pensión. Not good pilgrim practice! But he said the pensión was fine.

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For shorter distances, there are several ways to spit the stage.

Abut 9.5 km from Boñar — In La Vecilla, Hostal Las Hoces).

About 14 km from Boñar — The albergue in Aviados, Albergue Fuente de Oso. They have confirmed via WhatsApp that they take in pilgrims for a night, but reserve in advance. Tel. +34 666 60 58 35

About 20 from Boñar — The online Camino Olvidado website lists a hotel in Robles de la Valcueva, the Hotel Rural el Arriero. No website that I can find, though it does come up on google maps.

About 25 from Boñar, in Candanedo, Hostal el Valle. Actually, a stop here would position you for an approximately 24 km day the next day to La Magdalena.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
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About 14 km from Boñar — The albergue in Aviados, Albergue Fuente de Oso. They have confirmed via WhatsApp that they take in pilgrims for a night, but reserve in advance. Tel. +34 666 60 58 35
That would split this stage into two nearly even days, with about 19 km to walk from there to La Robla

About 20 from Boñar — The online Camino Olvidado website lists a hotel in Robles de la Valcueva, the Hotel Rural el Arriero. No website that I can find, though it does come up on google maps.
This is also a good option, with about 13 km to La Robla.

So it’s a pretty heavy on-road day.
I will be interested to hear which one people think they will choose.
Methinks it would be the mountain option...
 

AJGuillaume

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His pseudo in OSM is cronoser, and he goes by the name of @oscarzor on twitter (I don't have a twitter account to check that).
I have sent him a message to find out if he has photos of these mysterious muñecos.
There aren't any photos, but cronoser has sent me a message:
Hello; I was one weekend on Piedrasecha and walking around the hamlet, I’d found several rural esculpture that the people of there called muñecos, muñeco is spanish is a toy with human form. Best regards Óscar
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
There aren't any photos, but cronoser has sent me a message
The internet can be a miraculous place.
Now we know.
Gracias, AJ!

I will be interested to hear which one people think they will choose
We'll see!
My natural druthers would be mountains. But if walking alone I would be quite cautious were the weather looking the least bit dodgy.
So it's great to be able to go into detail here about both options.

Soon after I got to the albergue, a taxi dropped a bunch of packs off at the albergue. Shockingly, the hospitalero let them reserve beds
That sucks. Did you get the sense that this was a regular policy, or was it just a spineless hospitalero who couldn't say no?
 

dick bird

Active Member
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Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
The internet can be a miraculous place.
Now we know.
Gracias, AJ!


We'll see!
My natural druthers would be mountains. But if walking alone I would be quite cautious were the weather looking the least bit dodgy.
So it's great to be able to go into detail here about both options.


That sucks. Did you get the sense that this was a regular policy, or was it just a spineless hospitalero who couldn't say no?
What kind of albergue was it? Was it a pilgrim albergue or just a normal walker's albergue/youth hostel? If the latter, they can and do take reservations. If private, they can and do take reservations. The rule that pilgrim albergues do not take reservations is probably more of a convention. I assume the Xunta de Galicia makes it a rule in their albergues, but I don't know for sure. Although the various associations, fraternities and local authorities come together and try to get consensus on this kind of thing, I don't think there is any over-riding authority that can tell albergues what they can and cannot do, and you'd be surprised how many hospitaleros make their own rules. But it does suck though.
 
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Wow. Look at what my computer opened this morning! Not near where we are, and about 10K North of the Camino de las Asturias. But it's not far from Potes on the Lebaniego/Vadiniense.

I see from the topo map that I just accessed that on the Olvidado we skirt the very south of these mountains. The CdlA goes diagonally through them NNE from Cervera de Pisuerga to Oviedo. Hmmmm. Maybe that one IS worth planning out.
Screenshot_20210511-143356_Gallery.jpg
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I assume the Xunta de Galicia makes it a rule in their albergues, but I don't know for sure.
It was a rule or a practice, that Xunta albergues would not accept reservations. In the last year, the Xunta launched an online reservation system, so the culture has changed. It probably makes sense during a pandemic when capacity needs to be closely managed, but I think that this was planned before the current crisis. I guess there are upsides and downsides to it. It gives reassurance to slow walkers ... but it dilutes the "spontaneity" of the camino; the idea that I might walk to a specified spot today but if the mood takes me, I'll carry on.
 

dick bird

Active Member
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Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
It was a rule or a practice, that Xunta albergues would not accept reservations. In the last year, the Xunta launched an online reservation system, so the culture has changed. It probably makes sense during a pandemic when capacity needs to be closely managed, but I think that this was planned before the current crisis. I guess there are upsides and downsides to it. It gives reassurance to slow walkers ... but it dilutes the "spontaneity" of the camino; the idea that I might walk to a specified spot today but if the mood takes me, I'll carry on.
It depends how far ahead they take reservations. If it's for the next day, I can see that working. The only problem is that it would work very much in the favour of people who speak Spanish as the majority of hospitaleros are local and might not speak English (or any other language than Spanish). If municipal albergues are taking reservations for weeks in the future, that could create real problems if people change their minds or don't turn up.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
What kind of albergue was it?
La Robla’s albergue is municipally owned. This one. It is mainly for those walking the Salvador, but this branch of the Olvidado crosses it as well.

I don’t think it’s a common problem, but it was annoying and I felt bad for Kinky. I can’t remember the exact sequence, but I thnk he arrived after some of the group but before others. He could have made a stink but chose not to. The hospitalero was nowhere to be found at this point.

And as others have said, who knows what the future will be like with reserving in municipals. La Robla is in León, not Galicia, and their equivalent government to Galicia’s Xunta is not as actively involved in regulating the municipal albergues — at least that’s my impression.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
The only problem is that it would work very much in the favour of people who speak Spanish as the majority of hospitaleros are local and might not speak English (or any other language than Spanish).
Not sure if booking by phone will be possible since the albergues are often unattended through most of the day. The booking website is available in English, Spanish, and Galego. While this disadvantages speakers of other languages, I hope that most people will be able to work out how to deal with it.

It looks like the site might accept reservations more than a day in advance - the calendar goes out a year. But since the ones that I've looked at are all closed right now, I am not sure about that. I agree with you that allowing reservations weeks in advance is fraught with problems.

The possibility of reserving a bed in all Public albergues in Galicia was announced in this thread, along with a link to the booking website and a comment from you ...
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Day 14 bis — La Robla to La Magdalena (16 km)

I went from La Robla to Pandorado when I walked the first time, but a stop in La Magdalena makes for a perfect shorter day. Either 16 from La Robla, or 24 from Candanedo. I‘ve discussed lodging in Magdalena on the mountain alternative thread, so unless anyone has found something new, I think we have that covered.

I have tried to compare my tracks from when I walked in 2014, with Ender’s, but I can’t figure out how to do an overlay of two tracks. For me, there was a lot on the road, but I bet Ender has taken some of it off. My notes reminded me that I was able to get off on soft shoulders a lot of the way.

The first thing you see leaving La Robla is a big mine. You will pass through several little villages, clearly struggling as the mining industry has totally collapsed. The first time I was in La Robla, there were huge banners flying from the Ayuntamiento — Save Coal Mining!!! Even then I think the writing was clearly on the wall, but they were still fighting. Ender was a mining engineer, and I think part of what energizes him is the thought that these caminos might bring back some semblance of prosperity if enough people walk them.

When I walked this part in 2014, I noted repeatedly that the villages had three types of houses — those that were abandoned and in ruins; those that were totally renovated and beautiful but locked up tight; and those that were habitable, sometimes just barely, but with real people living there. There is something sad about a town where the summer visitors live much better than the people who are there all year.

975074DB-3FCA-4C0C-881E-D8E589C416E9.jpeg 273CD6B6-683D-40DA-85D6-83D11485AD7F.jpeg 1D433851-7F75-40AC-ACE8-1100178706DE.jpeg 974F22E5-522D-4B67-94F4-FF3372FF2183.jpeg

This is not a particularly remarkable stage, but I do remember a long chat with a woman who stopped on the highway to see if I was ok and to find out what I was doing. Her husband was a retired coal miner and they were sadly watching the whole area collapse. Her children live in León capital and they have been begging them to move there, but she says — NUNCA! I wonder if she is still there 7 years later.

La Magdalena is where my walking buddy left in 2019. There was a late afternoon bus to León, so I let him take a shower in my hotel room, then we had an average lunch in the hotel restaurant, and off he went. I had already walked the Olvidado alone, and I knew I would see Rosi in Fasgar, but it is always a jolt to transition back to solitary walking after having the comfortable companionship of a good pal.

Some more mountains coming up, so having a few flat days is not a bad thing!
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Year of past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 14 bis — La Robla to La Magdalena (16 km)
A stage made for slow walkers! 😄

a stop in La Magdalena makes for a perfect shorter day.
And we like perfect days!

I have tried to compare my tracks from when I walked in 2014, with Ender’s, but I can’t figure out how to do an overlay of two tracks. For me, there was a lot on the road, but I bet Ender has taken some of it off. My notes reminded me that I was able to get off on soft shoulders a lot of the way.
I downloaded the two GPX tracks on my laptop, and then used a program to load both and compare. There seems to be less road walking (pavement walking or tarmac walking ;)😜) in Ender's tracks. The blue line is your tracks, the purple is Ender's. You may need to zoom in to see location names.
La Robla-La Magdalena.png
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Have you heard anything about the Albergue Juvenil Arbejal? It is on the south side of town, down by the river.

It’s pretty far out of town, and a couple of kms off-route, no? I see its google maps location as being 2 km north of town, not south. I did some googling and was told it is “cerrado temporalmente” so I assume it will re-open.
 

dick bird

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
I shall regretfully have to leave off contributing to this thread as we took the option of diverting onto the Salvador - you can't do two caminos at once and the Salvador was superb.

One added piece of info, on the section where the Salvador and Olvidado coincide, I think the section leading up to Buiza from Pola de Gordón, is along a road and it is very narrow and twisty with a lot of blind corners. Take care.

And buen camino to everyone.
 
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