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Detailed Stage Planning — Camino de Levante - Camí de Llevant

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Day 38: Ávila to Gotarrendura

This 22nd published stage is 22.4 km long. The profile shows an undulating walk
I agree with @VNwalking & @Albertagirl Ávila is wonderful.........take your time there before you rush off.

I had been warned that it could be very dangerous on the exit stage from Ávila; clearing the town traffic and the highway underpasses etc...but being cautious and with very little traffic... I found no difficulty.. You next pass through Narillos de San Leonardo & some interesting rocky areas... a third of the way to Cardeñosa you walk on the medieval road section.. The town of Cardeñosa has a couple of bars to stop at and enjoy a break or 2nd breakfast.
After Cardeñosa.... As you move towards Peñalba de Ávila you are walking on gravel road away from the highway.. . shortly before Peñalba de Ávila, you pass right beside the Ermita de Santisimo Cristo de Santa Teresa.

The attached link with a detailed guide by ‘pilgrimageTravelerdotcom’ has this route named as Camino Teresiano / or St. Teresa’s Way . It shows the same stops as the Levante that I can see.. I saw a number of signs marked with the Teresiano. They mention that you can purchase the unique passport from the visitors reception centre in Ávila.. this is possibly the same place as you pay for the walk around the wall.
https://www.pilgrimagetraveler.com/day-one-camino-teresiano.html
Click day one within this link to get the great ‘blow by blow ‘ pics of the full day and profile etc.
I think the above includes information and pics by forum member @Elle Bieling


Coming about 1/2 hr..before Gotarrendura - you see standing out from afar; the two ruined columns...El torreón de Garoza. (Ruinas de Garoza)

The previous night, the clerk at the hotel in Ávila directed me to a small supermercado, just around the corner. I carried more food this day than usual which was fortunate as it transpired -it had to feed 2 of us for dinner and breakfast.

And in 2018, @JLWV mentioned that there is nowhere to eat, and there is no shop.
Laurie had given me a number to call to contact the Ayunamiento at Gotarrendura. She had even made a call to check herself. The hospitalera’s name is YOLI -she lives on outskirts of town...and drives in to the Town Hall and registers pilgrims there. The number
was 689 764 807 and advised that if I arrived after 3pm to call 615 658 068.
I saw only two other locals in total floating about that day..

The albergue....you can see two doors... the more basic section would be fine..’IF’ there was somewhere to eat in the town... As quoted above... in 2018 everything was all closed...as was my experience earlier in March 2020.. The building has a small rocky courtyard and within that, is a small well with a statue of Sta Teresa.
There is a room with 4 places (2 dbl bunks) / heater works and there were blankets in March 2020. Has bathroom with shower and toilet. There is a washing machine in a separate room which was open and I was told it could be used.
Fortunately cleaner turned up and gave me some washing powder.. There is a kitchen in the Albergue but unless you have a coil (like Laurie.)...you will need to boil the water in the frypan.. No other pots.
If you stay in the more upmarket section of the building.(the 2nd door)...( it could be the casa rurale)... but the internal door was locked off.... there is a microwave in there.. I believe the person staying there left the door unlocked when Laurie was staying in the Albergue..
the Albergue is donation but when you leave the key there is a box which I left a good donation. It’s villages like this that really need help (not most of us).

I have read on a couple of posts relating to Gotarrendura (between 2018 and 2020) that some pilgrims did get lucky and find a shop open.. I'd still recommend bringing food with you..
 

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OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Pics from the Ermita on approach to Peñalba de Ávila through to Gotarrendura.

note : the last 2 pics were where the guy lived (pass it on the way in to town ) who helped me find the Hospitalera . He seems to eek out a living from odds and ends.
 

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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I agree with @VNwalking & @Albertagirl Ávila is wonderful.........take your time there before you rush off.

I had been warned that it could be very dangerous on the exit stage from Ávila; clearing the town traffic and the highway underpasses etc...but being cautious and with very little traffic... I found no difficulty.. You next pass through Narillos de San Leonardo & some interesting rocky areas... a third of the way to Cardeñosa you walk on the medieval road section.. The town of Cardeñosa has a couple of bars to stop at and enjoy a break or 2nd breakfast.
After Cardeñosa.... As you move towards Peñalba de Ávila you are walking on gravel road away from the highway.. . shortly before Peñalba de Ávila, you pass right beside the Ermita de Santisimo Cristo de Santa Teresa.

The attached link with a detailed guide by ‘pilgrimageTravelerdotcom’ has this route named as Camino Teresiano / or St. Teresa’s Way . It shows the same stops as the Levante that I can see.. I saw a number of signs marked with the Teresiano. They mention that you can purchase the unique passport from the visitors reception centre in Ávila.. this is possibly the same place as you pay for the walk around the wall.
https://www.pilgrimagetraveler.com/day-one-camino-teresiano.html
Click day one within this link to get the great ‘blow by blow ‘ pics of the full day and profile etc.
I think the above includes information and pics by forum member @Elle Bieling


Coming about 1/2 hr..before Gotarrendura - you see standing out from afar; the two ruined columns...El torreón de Garoza. (Ruinas de Garoza)

The previous night, the clerk at the hotel in Ávila directed me to a small supermercado, just around the corner. I carried more food this day than usual which was fortunate as it transpired -it had to feed 2 of us for dinner and breakfast.


Laurie had given me a number to call to contact the Ayunamiento at Gotarrendura. She had even made a call to check herself. The hospitalera name YOLI who lives on outskirts of town...she drives in to the Town Hall and registers pilgrims there. The number
was 689 764 807 and advised that if I arrived after 3pm to call 615 658 068.
I saw only two other locals in total floating about that day..

The albergue....you can see two doors... the more basic section would be fine..’IF’ there was somewhere to eat in the town... As quoted above... in 2018 everything was all closed...as was my experience earlier in March 2020.. The building has a small rocky courtyard and in it is a small well with a statue of Sta Teresa.
There is a room with 4 places (2 dbl bunks) / heater works and there were blankets in March 2020. Has bathroom with shower and toilet. There is a washing machine in a separate room which was open and I was told it could be used.
Fortunately cleaner turned up and gave me some washing powder.. There is a kitchen in the Albergue but unless you have a coil (like Laurie.)...you will need to boil the water in the frypan.. No other pots.
If you say in the more upmarket section of the building.(the 2nd door)...( it could be the casa rurale)... but the internal door was locked off.... there is a microwave in there.. I believe the person staying there left the door unlocked when Laurie was staying in the Albergue..
the Albergue is donation but when you leave the key there is a box which I left a good donation. It’s villages like this that really need help (not most of us).

I have read on a couple of posts relating to Gotarrendura (between 2018 and 2020) that some pilgrims did get lucky and find a shop open.. I'd still recommend bringing food with you..
Thanks for all this useful information, I had been seriously thinking about leaving behind my electric coil, cup and spoon, to save weight, as most albergues seem to have a microwave these days, and my metal cup would not even work in a microwave (it could on a stovetop). But I can see the wisdom in allowing for the least provided locations, and of course there are always the Xunta albergues in Galicia to look forward to when on camino.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Thanks for all this useful information, I had been seriously thinking about leaving behind my electric coil, cup and spoon, to save weight, as most albergues seem to have a microwave these days, and my metal cup would not even work in a microwave (it could on a stovetop). But I can see the wisdom in allowing for the least provided locations, and of course there are always the Xunta albergues in Galicia to look forward to when on camino.
I’m with you regarding weight. I try to cut right back also. Less for my poor old bones to carry.
I think I would still take the chance and travel without it.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
The length of the stage would not be an issue for most peregrin@s, so on this virtual Camino, we're going to walk the distance. However, for us slow walkers, I see a couple of alternatives.
I can see another option, if staying at a place with no food doesn't appeal.
Do stop in Cardeñosa for the night, giving a lazy morning in Avila, and 6km to walk, then:

Next, stop after about 14 km in Hernansancho
(Stay at El Mirador de la Moraña and eat at El Porche). After that Villanueva de Gomez has plenty of places to eat, but it's not clear if there is any place to stay. But a bit farther along (7.5km from Hernansancho) is El Bohodon (where you can stay at Casa Doña Anita). Tiñosillos is the next place, and it has bars but nowhere to stay, as far as I can see. Or.. from Hernansancho it is roughly 25kms to Arévalo.
That gives a couple of other options.
 

JLWV

Jean-Luc
Camino(s) past & future
Levante (2014-2016); Levante to Toledo (2017-2018), to be continued; Fisterra & Muxia (2018);
After some days out of the forum, and a rapid reading of your posts, here are some comments.

- First stage, 'El Romani', : the AACS-Valencia is still in frequent contacts with the ayuntamiento for the new albergue, but the progress is very slow (political matter??). We hope it will be ok when the pandemia finishes and we can walk again.

- Moixent/Mogente. I received few days ago a written confirmation of activity of Corral de Pablanch. The owner, Marco Antinio Garcia, prefers booking directly by phone call at number 744 602 052. E-mail is ''elcorraldepablanch@hotmail.es''. They have 4 rooms, one double with own bathroom, and three double with 2 common bathrooms. One of those 3 rooms is with large bed, all other with 2 beds. The prices listed on the net are for general market, pilgrim have a discount.

- Chinchilla. Our staff was with the ayuntamiento last tuesday. The albergue will me inaugurated soon. It is for 4 pilgrims, and situated in the lower part of the ayuntamiento. We also gave them shells to mark the way in the city. In this moment the way does not enter the city, but will be slightly modified to access the albergue.
Here is a picture (from Street View) of the ayuntamiento.
Ayuntamiento.jpg

- The ''toros de Guisando'', aka 'verracos'. Yes there are many of them. In the first village after Avila there is a small one next to the church, which is only 100 m offway, right side in Calle de la Iglesia. This is in Narrillos de San Leonardo.
Narrillos.jpg

- About accommodations 'permanently closed' according to Google, near to Nambroca, I have seen this comment on Google, but didn't call as I think that in this moment the situation is so special!. In my opinion this kind of information is to be checked and confirmed after the pandemia, some months before we initiate the way.

- About your comments relative to 'Alquiler integro' of Casa Rurales, I think I put a comment on it time ago. Obviously the owners look for a complete occupation, for rentability, BUT when they have no occupation, the input from a single pilgrim is better than nothing. So if you call few days ago, or inclusive the same day, probably they will rent you a room.

- I have been in Toledo in June 2019 and in january 2020 (non pilgrimage) and the inhabitants strongly recommend not to visit Toledo the day of the festivity of Corpus Christy (the thursday which is exactly 60 days after Easter). The scenery is fantastic, but the crowd in the center is such that you cannot move. (of course, this year the festivity was suspended). The scenery can be seen during the previous days.

Buen Camino (virtual)
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Ah, I love a good argument!
unless you have a coil (like Laurie.)...you will need to boil the water in the frypan..
What is wrong with boiling water in a frying pan? Sounds like fun, and the coffee would taste at least as good as the coffee that can be made with an electric coil.
I had been seriously thinking about leaving behind my electric coil, cup and spoon, to save weight
I made that decision twice about the cup (I didn't learn the first time) and I now carry a single plastic spork. I gave my electric coil to @peregrina2000 on the Mozarabe, and she is eternally grateful, as am I. 🤣
Annie, you are about to be ejected from the Electric Coil Club. Are you sure you don’t want to reconsider?
Sorry, you can't eject me. I already quit! Instead, I joined the adventurous risk-takers who MIGHT, just MIGHT be caught on the rare occasion with NO COFFEE!

I just didn't enjoy the electric-coil-coffee/tea enough to make it worthwhile for the rare occasion I used it.

I would, however, reconsider taking one if I were walking in winter (when a hot drink is important for more than the morning caffeine), and for walking on remote routes, especially with the Covid closures.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Sorry, you can't eject me. I already quit!
Sorry, you can’t quit. Your generous donation to the founder of the club got you a lifetime honorary membership.

But in seriousness, I have to say that I was EXTREMELY glad to have the coil on the Levante, which was its maiden voyage year. And on every camino I have walked since then, I have never regretted it, with the exception of the Norte, where there are bars and cafés galore.

I have made some very good friends in remote albergues when there was no coffee for miles around and I was able to whip out my coil and instant coffee. It’s not about the taste, it’s about the caffeine!
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
Sorry, you can’t quit. Your generous donation to the founder of the club got you a lifetime honorary membership.

But in seriousness, I have to say that I was EXTREMELY glad to have the coil on the Levante, which was its maiden voyage year. And on every camino I have walked since then, I have never regretted it, with the exception of the Norte, where there are bars and cafés galore.

I have made some very good friends in remote albergues when there was no coffee for miles around and I was able to whip out my coil and instant coffee. It’s not about the taste, it’s about the caffeine!
I agree with you about the usefulness of the coil, cup, and spoon for coffee, but also as utensils in a Xunta albergue. I once loaned cup and spoon to a young man who had no utensils and wanted to share a communal meal with others in a Xunta albergue. I went to the one local bar, which served unimaginably bad food. But I could afford to pay for it, and maybe his budget was too tight. And on another occasion, I was fed chestnuts in the cup by a man who had picked his dinner along the Way and had a pot to cook them in and plenty to share, but I needed the cup so he could serve me. I think sharing is the best part of a camino. You got to inherit a useful tool, when yours died, and so we are able to pass things on. Maybe it is part of what the camino is teaching us about how we should live? It is just so much fun.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Annie, you are about to be ejected from the Electric Coil Club. Are you sure you don’t want to reconsider? 😁
Ha ha. I was never in the club either. Admittedly, I envied others on occasion when I saw them sipping a nice hot cuppa!


I just didn't enjoy the electric-coil-coffee/tea enough to make it worthwhile for the rare occasion I used it.


I agree with you about the usefulness of the coil, cup, and spoon for coffee,

I guess it comes back to ‘horses for courses’ .
This old mare (or plodder )would expire if I carried everything i thought useful., whereas you Laurie, I see as more fleet of foot .. and probably pack very sensibly in order to offset the additional weight of the coil.

Buen Camino
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Annie, you are about to be ejected from the Electric Coil Club. Are you sure you don’t want to reconsider?
Am I missing out? :p
In this case laziness is stronger than FOMO — not being like Laurie in the fleet department, I am inclined to save the weight. Of course that has meant more than one very sad morning without cafe.
As my next (virtual) camino is the Via de las Asturias, which seems totally in the sticks, it might be worth reconsidering.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I plan on spending three nights in Avila With the variety of accommodation, I still have a hard time choosing. Oddly, I find myself rejecting the Parador because the breakfast is too expensive. I like to have my breakfast before going out, and I can't see paying 16 euros for breakfast, when the cost indicates to me that there would be meat dishes, which I would not eat, as a vegetarian. There is the same problem at Palacio de Monjaraz: 7.5 euros for breakfast each day and about half of it probably not edible for me? I may either book at the nearby Hostal el Rincon, the cheapest of the two and it has a restaurant to buy breakfast, or stay at the Palacio and go to the Hostal el Rincon for breakfast. After struggling along all this way with few choices for inexpensive accommodation,, I find that my saving reflex resurrects itself, when the opportunity arises. However, I am resolved to stay at the Parador in Zamora, which I have seen in person and much admired (from the outside). I believe that, from there on, there will not be the same challenge of finding inexpensive accommodation. At least, it was not a problem when I walked the VdlP. I look forward to wandering around Avila for a couple of days, just seeing the sights.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I can see another option, if staying at a place with no food doesn't appeal.
Do stop in Cardeñosa for the night, giving a lazy morning in Avila, and 6km to walk, then:

Next, stop after about 14 km in Hernansancho
(Stay at El Mirador de la Moraña and eat at El Porche). After that Villanueva de Gomez has plenty of places to eat, but it's not clear if there is any place to stay. But a bit farther along (7.5km from Hernansancho) is El Bohodon (where you can stay at Casa Doña Anita). Tiñosillos is the next place, and it has bars but nowhere to stay, as far as I can see. Or.. from Hernansancho it is roughly 25kms to Arévalo.
That gives a couple of other options.
I had the same thoughts, @VNwalking , in particular as I was preparing this next stage. In a real life Camino, we will probably stop in Hernansancho where there is a choice of accommodation, and a place to eat. So that gives us a 12.1 km day from Ávila to Cardeñosa, followed by a 14.1 km day to Hernansancho.

However, for the purpose of this virtual Camino, as we walked to Gotarrendura in one day, we wouldn't extend the walk to Hernansancho. So...

Day 40: Gotarrendura to El Bohodón

The 23rd published stage from Gotarrendura takes the pilgrim to Arévalo. It's a 27.4 km walk, and @peregrina2000 's description makes us want to walk all the way:
The walk was great -- first half through ag fields, from one little town to the next (each one shut up tight). Then after our coffee stop, the second half of the day was an endless pine forest. Just a pleasure palace for the feet -- you have to choose a walking surface -- either on pine needles, on short green grassy lanes, or on the sandy gravel trails that criss cross the forest. Any one of them is a real treat, so it was a real be-nice-to-your-feet day.
Indeed, it would be a shame to miss out on a beautiful stage by taking shortcuts. However, for us slow walkers, we have to consider alternatives. We could possibly walk the whole lot, but then we would need a rest day in Arévalo, as it would take us much more than the 6 hours it took @peregrina2000 (fleet of foot ;)) and her two French companions in 2013, and we would miss out on seeing the town about which everyone raves.

So indeed, a rest day in Arévalo would be something we would consider in a real life Camino, even if we did break this stage into two walking days. Although the more I think of it, after a night in Hernansancho, as the walk is mostly downhill from there, I could see us walking 23.6 km to Arévalo.

Looking at the villages between Gotarrendura and Arévalo, the ideal stop would be Tiñosillos, as it is roughly half way along the stage. But alas, there's no place to rest our weary heads (and feet :) ) in that village. From Tiñosillos, there is no place to stop before Arévalo, so we have to look at stopping before then.

El Bohodón is 10.6 km after Gotarrendura, and we'll find there Casa Doña Anita. The ayuntamiento's website also lists another casa rural, El Prejón, although it does not appear in the Amigos' accommodation list. We'll get a feed at the Bar ayuntamiento de El Bohodón.

On a sad note, it is after Gotarrendura that earlier this year @OzAnnie took a bus back to Madrid to head back home to safety. @OzAnnie, you will return to the Levante!
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
On a sad note, it is after Gotarrendura that earlier this year @OzAnnie took a bus back to Madrid to head back home to safety. @OzAnnie, you will return to the Levante!
My swan song ! But ‘there’s more! ‘ maybe only just a little & I’ll fill in shortly - but we did continue walking as far as Tiñosillos before getting the bus . ( I am in Tiñosillos in my avatar)..
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Oddly, I find myself rejecting the Parador because the breakfast is too expensive. I like to have my breakfast before going out, and I can't see paying 16 euros for breakfast

@Albertagirl, I have found that the paradores official website, parador.es, frequently offers very good rates including breakfast for people over 55. Putting in a random day next May, the old folks rate with breakfast is the same as the regular room rate.

Another suggestion about staying in paradores, if you sign up for their “amigos” program, you accumulate points and they also give you a free drink in their bar. The bars in these historic paradores are usually in really nice places, so it’s a good place to write in your journal, plan the next day, etc. I have always found the paradores staff to be very helpful and kind to raggy looking pilgrims. I remember walking into Monforte on the Invierno and climbing to the top of the hill to see the parador. The receptionist saw that my record had a couple hundred expired points, and he called the central office to get authorization to un-expire them and give me a free night with breakfast!

I walked into the Zamora parador and got some ridiculously low last minute rate, so low that it made me decide to spend two nights there so I could really soak it all in.

You could also decide to spend your first night in the albergue, and then move over in the morning to touring mode and two nights in a hotel. The albergue has an iron-clad prohibition against more than one night but also provide help in finding budget accommodations if you wanted to fall back into budget mode!
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
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@Albertagirl, I have found that the paradores official website, parador.es, frequently offers very good rates including breakfast for people over 55. Putting in a random day next May, the old folks rate with breakfast is the same as the regular room rate.

Another suggestion about staying in paradores, if you sign up for their “amigos” program, you accumulate points and they also give you a free drink in their bar. The bars in these historic paradores are usually in really nice places, so it’s a good place to write in your journal, plan the next day, etc. I have always found the paradores staff to be very helpful and kind to raggy looking pilgrims. I remember walking into Monforte on the Invierno and climbing to the top of the hill to see the parador. The receptionist saw that my record had a couple hundred expired points, and he called the central office to get authorization to un-expire them and give me a free night with breakfast!

I walked into the Zamora parador and got some ridiculously low last minute rate, so low that it made me decide to spend two nights there so I could really soak it all in.

You could also decide to spend your first night in the albergue, and then move over in the morning to touring mode and two nights in a hotel. The albergue has an iron-clad prohibition against more than one night but also provide help in finding budget accommodations if you wanted to fall back into budget mode!
Thanks, I have spent some time looking at accommodation in Avila, and I currently think that I may stay at Palacio de Monjaraz. @OzAnnie 's description of it is most tempting, as are the photos. And there seem to be lots of places to get breakfast in central Avila. I tried once again to find out the Parador price for a room with the senior's discount, and it first declared a ridiculous charge, much more than Booking.com, then when I tried again, their website told me that I must request my discount by email, with a lot of information filled in, and they would get back to me. I am not giving up on paradors, but I shall book on Booking.com, if I can afford to. Their charge for three nights at the Parador in Avila is 75 euros a night and no compulsory breakfast (with a 10% discount off the 16 euros if I book on the Parador website as a senior).
 

OzAnnie

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Thanks, I have spent some time looking at accommodation in Avila, and I currently think that I may stay at Palacio de Monjaraz. @OzAnnie 's description of it is most tempting, as are the photos. And there seem to be lots of places to get breakfast in central Avila. I tried once again to find out the Parador price for a room with the senior's discount, and it first declared a ridiculous charge, much more than Booking.com, then when I tried again, their website told me that I must request my discount by email, with a lot of information filled in, and they would get back to me. I am not giving up on paradors, but I shall book on Booking.com, if I can afford to. Their charge for three nights at the Parador in Avila is 75 euros a night and no compulsory breakfast (with a 10% discount off the 16 euros if I book on the Parador website as a senior).
@Albertagirl
I'm not sure if I have mentioned how much I paid for Palacio de Monjaraz in Ávila. It was E31 one night on booking dot com...then 2nd night was E27.90 organized later.. Both these prices included breakfast which included much more than I ever look for. Considering the room - I think it was an amazing price.
I did stay at some really basic places on this camino so it balances out cost wise, I think. I have never stayed in a Parador but the price you mentioned above for the one in Ávila didn't seem over the top (for a Parador...).
Walking the VDLP previous year the only available accommodation in Baños de Montemayor was Hotel Alegría,which cost E64 and it was nothing to rave about. As I’ve read on posts by others .. the price thing is weird sometimes.

I also checked my notes (I don't write a blog) and see that the lovely 3pm menu del dia at El Rincon cost E10 & included 3 courses and pan y vino...

Pic of the breakfast range
 

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OzAnnie

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Day 40: Gotarrendura to El Bohodón

The 23rd published stage from Gotarrendura takes the pilgrim to Arévalo. It's a 27.4 km walk, and @peregrina2000 's description makes us want to walk all the way:
AJ ...I know you've calculated that you'll probably stop at El Bohodón. .... I’m thinking that it’s a possibility (after walking all the way from Valencia)...that you and Rachel may may be ‘so’ fit, that you’ll also be ‘fleet of foot’ and flying along. ...... the terrain from Gotarrendura is very easy walking.. (I’m speaking of walking in cooler seasons ..not summer ).
but we did continue walking as far as Tiñosillos before getting the bus . ( I am in Tiñosillos in my avatar)..
I had to continue walking from Gotarrendura because I had left my glasses in the albergue.... ringing YOLI to ask to get back in... she advised us to keep walking and she'd 'find us' on the way 'with the glasses'.. Which she did..

I did notice the bus goes by Gotarrendura...........
There is a garage just before the roundabout on entering Hernansancho.. We had a 'machine' coffee there and bought some snacks. The girl working there seemed quite anxious (even then. March 13th...) that we travelling pilgrims could be infectious.. It was the first that I had detected on this walk.
Walked into Hernansancho and asked the Guardia Civil there about bus to Arévalo... plus they stamped the credenciales. They advised to walk to Tiñosillos & take a bus to Arevalo / ...thence to Madrid.

This sections seems well serviced by bus ... (looking at my pics I can see bus stops in a few of them)..

Since there was a wait for the bus in Tiñosillos .. we found a bar..

If things had been different I might have had some input on Arévalo ..but that will be when I return to walk .. my main concern then, was to go to find the bus office & buy the bus tickets for myself and fellow pilgrim...to return to Madrid...and his ongoing to Valencia..

Aaah... Valencia... I really want to see it.. Earlier tonight on TV.. ...Rick Stein was in Spain 'In Valencia’ first- then after in 'La Mancha.'.. of course I was rivited to the tv.. for 1/2 hr..

. pic is of Tiñosillos- the bus stop on the right.
 

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Albertagirl

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@Albertagirl
I'm not sure if I have mentioned how much I paid for Palacio de Monjaraz in Ávila. It was E31 one night on booking dot com...then 2nd night was E27.90 organized later.. Both these prices included breakfast which included much more than I ever look for. Considering the room - I think it was an amazing price.
I did stay at some really basic places on this camino so it balances out cost wise, I think. I have never stayed in a Parador but the price you mentioned above for the one in Ávila didn't seem over the top (for a Parador...).
Walking the VDLP previous year the only available accommodation in Baños de Montemayor was Hotel Alegría,which cost E64 and it was nothing to rave about. As I’ve read on posts by others .. the price thing is weird sometimes.

I also checked my notes (I don't write a blog) and see that the lovely 3pm menu del dia at El Rincon cost E10 & included 3 courses and pan y vino...

Pic of the breakfast range
That sounds great, OzAnnie. I am now thinking that I will book a first night at Palacio de Monjaraz through Booking.com, to make sure of having the first night covered in Avila, then ask at reception what the charge would be for two more nights, with or without breakfast. The 75 euro a night charge at the Parador was on Booking.com, which I thought was reasonable. When I tried to look into booking on parador.es, they first quoted a price for three nights with a senior's discount and a 10% discount for the 16 euro breakfast which was much higher than the total cost on Booking.com, around 340 euros for three nights with breakfast. It was so confusing that I ended up trying a second time. when they just gave me a kind of questionnaire with all their possible discounts listed, which I was supposed to send by email to the parador and they would give me a quote by reply email. At that point, 225 euros through Booking.com was beginning to look good. That is the second time that I had found better prices for a parador through Booking.com, and the hassle with the parador just didn't seem worth it. Maybe I shall stay my first night in the pilgrim albergue in Zamora and walk over to the Parador to check on the best available rate for the two following nights. Thanks again.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
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I know you've calculated that you'll probably stop at El Bohodón. .... I’m thinking that it’s a possibility (after walking all the way from Valencia)...that you and Rachel may may be ‘so’ fit, that you’ll also be ‘fleet of foot’ and flying along. ...... the terrain from Gotarrendura is very easy walking.. (I’m speaking of walking in cooler seasons ..not summer ).
You may be right, @OzAnnie , and as we would be walking in April, it could well be the case. Having walked 2178 km with my beautiful wife in 2018, I have learned that it all comes down to energy levels. On the Norte, we could use Correos for her backpack on the longer stages (all under 25 km), but Correos doesn't offer the Paq Mochila service on the Levante.

If things had been different I might have had some input on Arévalo ..but that will be when I return to walk ..
You will return, @OzAnnie , you will! Keep the dream alive! :)
 

AJGuillaume

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Day 41: El Bohodón to Arévalo

Let's finish the 23rd published stage and get to Arévalo. I have already given you a taste of this stage, as I used @peregrina2000 's description in her blog:
a real be-nice-to-your-feet day

It's 16.8 km to Arévalo, and just after El Bohodón, we'll go through the village of Tiñosillos. The church here also has Mudejar design.

I'll write about the accommodation in Arévalo first. There's a municipal albergue, Casa Avelina. It's fairly new, I believe, and the tourism office has the keys, or at least more information. @peregrina2000 stayed at the Hostal del Campo. Other lodgings include the Hostal Las Fuentes (in the industrial area), Hotel Residencia Fray Juan Gil, Posada Real Los Cinco Linaje. For those wanting a monastic experience, the Albergue-Hospederia del Monasterio Cisterciense de Santa María la Real is out of town.

Here's a plan of the town, and we will have a choice of eateries, as I can see:
Arevalo Plano 2020 imprenta-01.jpg

I have indicated that in a real life Camino, we would possibly stay two nights here. That was prompted by @peregrina2000 's description:
I don´t think I had ever heard anything about this town (even though Isabel la Católica lived here), and we were wowed by all its beautiful places. First of all, the old plaza. Arcaded half-timber houses, with a couple of mudejar churches thrown in for good measure. Not a car in sight, not a bar or a sign to take away from your endless ahhhhs. Then the other 4 mudejar churches (Sahagún, I thought you were the mudejar capital of the world, but Arévalo is giving you a run for your money).
At one mudejar church per 1,000 people, this town has a lot of good architecture going on. And don't forget the 15th century castle at the top of town.
"Endless ahhhs"! Now, that is a fabulous description!

 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
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I am rushing forward, since I shall be short of time for planning caminos for a while. I am walking from the Gotarrendura albergue the 27.4 km from Gotarrendura to Arevalo, where I shall stay either in the Municipal Albergue or in Hotel Fray Juan Gil, depending on how I feel about it later. Then on the next day to San Vicente del Palacio. There is no accommodation there aside from a municipal albergue in the polideportivo, which must be booked in advance through telephoniing the Town Hall on Monday morning or Wednesday afternoon. I think that I shall instead try Hotel Valcarce, which is 500 m. away on the far side of the Autovia A-6. It is closed temporarily, but I expect it may re-open. From there, a short day of only about 12 km will take me to Medina del Campo, with a good variety of accommodation and much to see. I shall pause for now and enjoy exploring Medina del Campo when I have the time. From there- only three more official stages to Zamora, although for me it will be at least four or five days. But I have other things to do and places to be for the present. Buen camino to all.
 

peregrina2000

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Staff member
I actually don’t think that video about Aréavlo captures the real beauty of the town. It didn’t focus enough on the larger space, just the specific buildings, IMO. Too much driving in cars, and WHO would roller blade on cobbled streets???? Rant over, it does show the many historic buildings. ;)

Arévalo has three main plazas, all close to each other. The first, the busy hub of the real place, the Plaza del Arrabal, with shops, cars, the church with remains of the patron saint, and lots of activity. The second, very nearby, is the Plaza del Real, which is where the ayuntamiento and some other official buildings are located. The third is a totally preserved historic arcaded space anchored with two churches and a museum, Plaza de la Villa. It was a bit jarring to be in the middle of a busy town but in a space with no human activity, no cars, buses, no cafés and almost no people. The plaza itself is devoid of all references to the modern world, except for those of us who walk into the space. And the mudéjar churches are really quite beautiful. I understand that we can’t pickle the past in a jar, but this is one of the few places I have been to where the modern world had been totally held at bay. You can suspend reality for a while, an easy place to sit and think. I can’t remember another place like it.

And the castle is impressive, though I don’t believe we went inside.

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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
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I actually don’t think that video about Aréavlo captures the real beauty of the town.
In a sense, it's a good thing: when we actually walk through Arévalo, it won't be déjà vu, it will still be "endless ahhhs" :)
 

AJGuillaume

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Day 42: Arévalo to Ataquines San Vicente del Palacio

The 24th published stage of the Levante takes the pilgrim from Arévalo to Medina del Campo, a distance of 34 km. I take comfort in that in 2013 @peregrina2000 was initially going to walk this distance in two days, although her French companions weren't:
another one of those days that squeezes two of my days into one of their days.
We're definitely walking this stage in two days, even though overall the profile is flat, with even some descent.

After about 8.7 km, we'll come to the village of Palacios de Goda. There's an acogida municipal in the polideportivo. And a bar. We're not stopping here.

At about the half way point of this stage is the little town of Ataquines, 15.9 km from Arévalo. There may be an acogida municipal in the polideportivo, but the Amigos website doesn't mention it. There is the Hostal Los Arcos, which is on the Autovía del Noroeste. It has a restaurant, which could mean we don't need to go into town.

From here, at our pace, we're about a week away from Romanesque heaven, Zamora. :)

EDIT: @C clearly made a great suggestion, which would give us more time in Medina del Campo. We're walking to San Vicente del Palacio, where we have a choice of staying in the albergue municipal in the polideportivo, or staying at the Hotel-restaurante Valcarce, which is on the other side of the Autovía. The Valcarce gives a discount to pilgrims.
So we would walk 22.1 km to San Vicente del Palacio today.
 
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C clearly

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I might push on to San Vicente de Palacio, 22 km from Arevalo, since the Hotel-Restaurant Valcarce San Vicente gives special pilgrim prices. Then I'll have just a 11.3 km walk into Medina del Campo and have a half day to explore there, instead of taking a full rest day.
 

VNwalking

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that video about Aréavlo captures the real beauty of the town
Compared to Avila? From this it doesn't look close. But it does look super interesting nonetheless. And the landscape setting is gorgeous.
The plaza itself is devoid of all references to the modern world, except for those of us who walk into the space. And the mudéjar churches are really quite beautiful.
Sounds amazing.
I have to admit that I need to get up to speed about mudéjar architecture, though. I know next to nothing about it.

I might push on to San Vicente de Palacio, 22 km from Arevalo, since the Hotel-Restaurant Valcarce San Vicente gives special pilgrim prices. Then I'll have just a 11.3 km walk into Medina del Campo and have a half day to explore there, instead of taking a full rest day.
Good idea! That said, 34km is well within my distance range if I don't dawdle, and this is a long gentle declivity which makes it relatively easy on the body. So I'd walk this stage in one go and have a rest day in MdC. I've seen the town from the train and like the look of the place.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
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I might push on to San Vicente de Palacio, 22 km from Arevalo, since the Hotel-Restaurant Valcarce San Vicente gives special pilgrim prices. Then I'll have just a 11.3 km walk into Medina del Campo and have a half day to explore there, instead of taking a full rest day.
Good idea! That said, 34km is well within my distance range if I don't dawdle, and this is a long gentle declivity which makes it relatively easy on the body.
It is a great idea, and the advantage is that it gives you more time in Medina del Campo. In a real life Camino, we would probably spend two nights in Medina del Campo anyway, just because @peregrina2000 had it in her list of "stunning small cities and towns".
And the 34 km would not be achievable for us, so it's either Ataquines or San Vicente del Palacio.
For this virtual Camino, I am going to go with your proposal, @C clearly !
And I have edited my Day 42.
 
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peregrina2000

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peregrina2000 said:
that video about Aréavlo captures the real beauty of the town

Compared to Avila? From this it doesn't look close. But it does look super interesting nonetheless. And the landscape setting is gorgeous.

You left out the first part of my sentence, which was “I don’t think....”. ;)

The two are apples and oranges. Ávila is a monumental city, no doubt, and it is very close to Madrid and well connected, so that brings hoards of tourists, lots of commotion, hotels, etc. Lots to see and do. Arévalo is much more low key but that plaza mayor I described in an earlier post is unique. Not even the plaza mayor in Tembleque is as deserted and frozen in time. It was just a terrific change of pace and if you like mudéjar architecture, this rivals sahagún, IMO.
 

peregrina2000

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we would probably spend two nights in Medina del Campo anyway, just because @peregrina2000 had it in her list of "stunning small cities and towns".

And as we all know, @peregrina2000 is prone to a little hyperbole now and then. :p It is one of those Levante gems, largely untouristed, but I think a long afternoon would be plenty in terms of must-see spots, especially since Spain’s afternoon visiting hours extend very late. The town has a very nice Plaza Mayor, a pretty castle, and an interesting museum in the palace of Isabel la Católica. It’s where she dictated her will and also where she died. I remember thinking I had seen the original will on display there, but a little googling now reveals that it is a copy — the original is in the archives in Simancas, for all you Camino de Madrid fans.

But maybe stunning is overkill for Medina del Campo (though it wouldn’t be for Arévalo, IMO)


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VNwalking

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If you like mudéjar architecture, this rivals sahagún, IMO.
That's my lacuna, because I tend to get stuck on earlier stuff. Time to get educated.

The 'frozen in time' plaza, low-key and sans tourist hoardes sounds very appealing.

Meanwhile, MdC...
Lots of restaurants when we're done checking out the town. But maybe I'm getting ahead of us.
20201030_080030.jpg
 

VNwalking

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As you're already there, @VNwalking , can you pick out a good place to eat and we'll join you when we arrive from San Vicente del Palacio ;)
Vicarious eating along the Levant from here in Myanmar is turning into a bad habit. But I don't gain any weight...a huge bonus.
I'm on it. @peregrina2000 may have some recommendations too?

The two that seem at the top of folk's lists are Taberna Mohino and Mónaco Restauración.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
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You're in Myanmar? 😲 If my experience of eating in South East Asia is right, then there's no way you're going to gain any weight :)
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
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And as we all know, @peregrina2000 is prone to a little hyperbole now and then. :p
☺️
I have already marked the following cities/towns as two night stops for when we will walk our real Levante:
Valencia, Xátiva, Almansa, San Clemente, Toledo (probably 3 nights), Ávila, Arévalo (although I haven't entered it as a rest day in this virtual Camino), and obviously Zamora.
So are the following worth an extra night: Chinchilla, El Toboso, Tembleque, Medina del Campo, and Toro, assuming we have plenty of time?
 

AJGuillaume

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Day 43: San Vicente del Palacio to Medina del Campo

It's a short 11.9 km to end this 24th published stage of the Levante. Nothing spectacular, judging by @peregrina2000 's report in 2013:
[...] pretty monotonous, flat terrain [...]
The last 12 kms went alongside the super-highway, usually just out of view, so you can imagine it wasn´t exactly a scenic saunter.
So I won't tarry here, and we'll focus on "another pretty town". We're so glad we followed @C clearly 's suggestion and walked the extra km to San Vicente: we're going to have more time to explore Medina del Campo.

Let's first find a place with a bed, where we can leave our backpacks. There's a youth hostel, a donativo albergue in the Convent of the Barefoot Carmelites, where @peregrina2000 stayed in 2013, the Hostal La Plaza, Hotel Reina Isabel, Hostal Doña Alicia, Hotel Palacio de las Salinas (for a bit of luxury!), Hotel Villa de Ferias, Hotel La Mota.

@VNwalking has already checked out the good eateries, and she might even have booked a table, so we're covered for that!

The Castillo de la Mota is a medieval fortress, and is worth a visit. The town also has other sights, such as the Royal Testamentary Palace, where Isabella of Castille wrote her last will. There are a number of churches, including the Collegiate Church of San Antolín, a church dedicated to Santiago, amongst others. I'll let the veterans of the Levante tell us more about their favourites.

We'll have plenty to see!
 

alansykes

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Except the Francés
Arriving at Medina del Campo was a relief after the tedious noisy flat few km beside the motorway. The main square is impressive, and the Palacio Testamentaria, in its corner, is worth a look. It has a reproduction of the delightfully bad 19th century painting of Isabella's deathbed by Eduardo Rosales, from the Prado. My 12x-great-grannie Juana (la loca) is standing by her mother's side, looking as if she has the toothache, when is fact she was in Flanders at the time, and Ferdinand is looking as if he'll die of boredom before his wife, while Cisneros appears as if he's wondering if he forgot to turn off the heating before leaving home.

Also worth a visit is the Reales Carnicerías, founded by Isabella's grandson Philip II in 1562, and which claims to be the oldest continually functioning market in the world, a handsome Renaissance building, and a good place to try a glass of fruity tasty verdejo from nearby Rueda. (my picture was taken on a Sunday, which is why there's nobody about, normally it's bustling).

DSC_0369.jpg

Medina del Campo is where the Sureste heads north towards Rueda and Tordesillas, and the Levante goes west to Toro and Zamora. I think I preferred the Levante route, especially as the Sureste is very flat after you cross the Duoro at Tordesillas.

Memories of the tragic past continue to be unearthed:


 

peregrina2000

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Staff member
My 12x-great-grannie Juana (la loca)
Wow, that’s some serious genealogy, @alansykes. Royalty in our midst!!!

I did not know anything about the market, which looks like it would be very interesting and probably tasty as well.

So, @AJGuillaume, depending on how much time you have, and echoing Alan’s memory of the tedium coming into town, you might actually have a very fun and relaxing rest day here.

The best located of the private places seems to be Hotel La Plaza, which gets a huge range of reviews (some bad ones seem to come from the fact that the traveler got a window-less room, so a simple request should fix that). The albergue is very nice, great location, and though it is technically a donativo, I remember that they specifically requested a set amount (12? 15? — can’t remember). Totally reasonable for the private room and central location.



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Doogman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
?
Thanks very much to everyone that have been participating on this thread, and especially to @AJGuillaume for all of his work. I have been quietly following along, as this is one of the potential caminos for me in the future. (There are many "potentials"). I am well behind on the details, but there is a fountain of knowledge here about the CdL. It's great work, and another example of how much I learn from this Forum.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
So, @AJGuillaume, depending on how much time you have, and echoing Alan’s memory of the tedium coming into town, you might actually have a very fun and relaxing rest day here.
In our real life Camino, when we will finally be able to leave the shores of Australia, and when it will be safe enough to walk in Spain, we might just do that. And my darling Rachel loves a rest day :)

Day 44: Medina del Campo – Siete Iglesias de Trabancos Nava del Rey

We have a 25.5 km day ahead of us today, the 25th published stage, from Medina del Campo to Siete Iglesias de Trabancos.

The profile is flat, it is well marked, and if it anything like what @peregrina2000 experienced in 2013, quite enjoyable:
The route today was an off-route wonder. It´s true that lots of the way wasn´t well blazed -- sometimes we had to walk through waist-high wildflowers, but how can you complain about that?
No highways, no cars, no trains. After about 15 km of easy walking, we were in Nava del Rey, a perfect stopping point for coffee and toast. [...]
From Nava del Rey to Siete Iglesias was a short 10 kms. The terrain had changed, it was now rolling hills, so we were going up and down, which made things more interesting.

We're really close to Zamora now, so in this virtual Camino, we're walking the 25.5 km in one go. If I need a plan B to adjust to my darling's walking pace, Nava del Rey would be a place where we could stop. That would be a 15.1 km day, and we could stay at the municipal albergue (keys and information at the tourism office), at the Hotel Rural Doña Elvira Nava, at the Casa Rural El Caño, at the Casa Rural la Quedada de Nava, or at the Casa Rural Dos Hermanas.

It looks like the Bar Zamora where @peregrina2000 and the French pilgrims stopped has closed. The street view shows a "Se Vende" sign on the door.
So on this virtual Camino, as we're only stopping for "un ColaCao y una manzanilla, por favor", we'll look for another bar.

Siete Iglesias de Trabancos used to have seven churches. There's only one, now, dedicated to San Pelayo. Or two if you count the Ermita del Humilladero, which is on your left when you come into the town.

I don't think there is much more to say about the place, so let's look for where we're going to sleep. There's an albergue municipal, where @peregrina2000 stayed in 2013:
We went straight to the Ayuntamiento (town hall), where someone in charge gave us a key for the albergue. The albergue is, mind you, INSIDE the town hall. We are on the second floor, in a room with two bunk beds, a sparkling clean bathroom-shower, and a few portable heaters. It´s pretty amazing to me that we have the keys to the town hall!
Before I mention the alternative, I do note that @peregrina2000 had this to write about where she was going to sleep:
the only place to stay has been described to me as the Spanish equivalent of the Bates Motel
Not sure what she was referring to, as her approval for Siete Iglesias was high:
This town gets an A+ for hospitality and kindness.
The alternative is the Hotel Los Toreros de Trabancos, which is out of town.

EDIT:
For us slow walkers, this stage is just a tad too long, but the next one to Toro would have been even longer. We would not have walked all the way from Siete Iglesias to Toro, and would have stopped in Castronuño on a very short stage. So to even out the stages, we're stopping in Nava del Rey.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
In Sieteiglesias, there are actually two places to stay very close to the village. One is El Volante, located on the old national highway. The other, Hotel los Toreros del Trabancos, is located at an exit from the new superhighway. It’s about a km from town. I’ve attached a google map.

It was @Rebekah who described the Volante as the Bates Motel, and Johnnie Walker recounted the story in his blog (unfortunately, all pictures have disappeared, probably due to software upgrades).

We walked out to the hotel where there was a good menú del día and a very crowded room of travelers eating lunch.

In town, there isn’t much going on. There was a little shop open in the afternoon, and we enjoyed a long chat with the owner. She told us that the town is on its last legs, and that most of the working people who lived there drive into Salamanca or Valladolid (the town is equidistant to those places, about 50 kms). But she did not seem very hopeful. Maybe people who have been there later than 2013 have updates.

And yes, the people were very kind. The alcaldesa who checked us into the albergue told us that she would tell the cleaning staff to leave the library on the first floor unlocked for us to use internet and computers in the afternoon (these were in the days before iphones). I was pretty gobsmacked that not only did she trust us with the keys to the ayuntamiento, but she also gave us free rein of the library!

As I was hunting for the name of the Bates Motel doppelganger, I came across a relatively recent list of Levante accommodations. Not sure if it adds anything, but FWIW.

Lots of pictures here — walking through wildflowers, several shots of Navas del Rey (which as a town of several thousand, has a fair amount of activity, so I’m sure there will be some bar open!), the inside of the albergue, the very formal pilgrim registry, and the view out of the albergue window as one of those knock down flashing lightening thunderstorms rolled through. One last thought — the albergue is spotless, and it occurred to me that that’s because the ayuntamiento cleaning staff have just added it to their routine. They were very nice too!

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alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
I enjoyed my pause in Navas del Rey. It was a ferociously cold November day, enduring freezing fog almost all of the the way from Medina del Campo to Zamora, and the water in the bottle in my rucksack froze, so the caldo in Nava del Rey was really very welcome, and I did not begrudge the extra 10 cents for a slug of sherry to liven it up. The church in the town was impressive, with huge stone columns the size of the ones in Durham Cathedral.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I have been looking ahead, and we have a long stage, long for slow walkers, ahead of us. Looking at the past day, which would have been fairly long for our pace, I thought I would make a modification.

From Medina del Campo, instead of walking to Siete Iglesias, we would stop at Nava del Rey. That makes it a 15.1 km day. The next day we would walk to Castronuño, which would give us a 19 km day.

It helps us avoid a long stage, and gives us more evenly spaced stages.
I have modified Day 44.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I have been looking ahead, and we have a long stage, long for slow walkers, ahead of us. Looking at the past day, which would have been fairly long for our pace, I thought I would make a modification.

From Medina del Campo, instead of walking to Siete Iglesias, we would stop at Nava del Rey. That makes it a 15.1 km day. The next day we would walk to Castronuño, which would give us a 19 km day.

It helps us avoid a long stage, and gives us more evenly spaced stages.
I have modified Day 44.
Great idea — you will get your first glimpse of the Duero/Douro in Castronuño. I have not stayed in the town but I know the American Pilgrims gave a grant to help with setting up the albergue there. I can’t imagine it gets much use, but looks nice.

And I am sure that Nava del Rey is a more lively place for an afternoon than Sieteiglesias anyway!
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 45: Nava del Rey to Castronuño

Today we have a stage that overlaps two published stages, the 25th from Medina del Campo to Siete Iglesias de Trabancos, and the 26th from Siete Iglesias de Trabancos to Toro.

Instead of stopping at Siete Iglesias, we have walked to Nava del Rey, and today we're walking to Castronuño. You see, we could have, possibly, maybe, walked the 25.5 km to Siete Iglesias, but there's no way we're going to be able to walk the 29.6 km to Toro in one day.

Originally, my intention was to walk to Castronuño from Siete Iglesias, and that would have been a 8.6 km day. There's nothing in Villafranca del Duero, so we couldn't stop there. So rebalancing the stages, I think it was a better idea to stop in Nava del Rey, which is a 15.1 km day, and then from there walk to Castronuño, which is a 19 km walk.

Siete Iglesias has already been covered earlier, so we'll skip straight to Castronuño. This year, had a virus not disrupted everybody's plans, we would have walked through Porto, where the Douro, or Duero in Spain flows out to the sea. In Castronuño, we'll be able to see it.

Castronuño has a municipal albergue, which is on the 2nd floor of a building next to the polideportivo. As @peregrina2000 mentioned previously, the American Pilgrims of the Camino, through the Asociación de Amigos del Camino de Santiago de la Comunidad Valenciana, donated US$6000 in 2013 for this albergue. There are photos in the link shared by @peregrina2000 . I don't want to be the one having to climb to the top bunk in the bunkbed with three levels ;) :oops:

There are also three casa rurales, Casa Rural Casamona, Alojamiento Rural Flor del Duero, and Alojamiento Rural El Baúl.

Right on the Duero, we're going to have a taste of Zamorano Romanesque. The Ermita del Santo Cristo, now the parish church of Santa María del Castillo, was built at the end of the 12th century. I reckon we're going to enjoy Castronuño:
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I don’t remember a whole lot about Castronuño, and I surely didn’t know there was a Romanesque church there!!! We were walking with Toro on our minds, but I do remember that the town is perched above the river, and it was there we had our first view.

The websites of those three casas rurales say they only rent the entire house (as I’ve urged before, though, it’s always worth a call). But the albergue is likely to be empty and a good alternative. The natural reserve is adjacent to town, and it looks like a nice place for an afternoon walk. One of the pictures shows a stand of cottonwoods, which triggered my memory of getting lost after Toro in the cottonwood forest, but that is jumping ahead, so I’ll refrain.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 46: Castronuño to Toro

Zamora is not far now, so let's finish this 26th published stage of the Levante! It's 21 km to Toro. We're not straying very far from the Rio Duero, and we'll come to it at Villafranca del Duero, from where we will follow the river all the way to Toro. It's all flat along the river floodplain. Until we get to the sharp rise on arrival in Toro...

Toro is in the list of @peregrina2000 's list of very interesting, sometimes stunning cities and towns. Being this close to Zamora, would we be tempted by an extra day? In our case, as the stage is 21 km, we wouldn't get much time to explore, so in a real life Camino, we would most possibly have a rest day here if it is worth it (that's the cue for the Veterans of the Levante to tell us more about Toro ;) )

In Toro, there is a choice of accommodation. Let's start with the municipal albergue, which, if I am not mistaken, is in the Palacio de los Condes de Requena. Or it is was being planned in 2018. In addition there are many private lodgings, such as the Hostal-Restaurante Julian, Hostal La Estación, Hotel María de Molina, Hostal Castilla, Pensión Zamora (where @peregrina2000 stayed in 2013), Hotel Juan II, Palacio Rejadorada.

I'll leave the final word to @peregrina2000 :
Toro is a beautiful town, I´m sitting out in the Plaza Mayor with a computer belonging to the Pensión Zamora, enjoying the late afternoon.
I´ve enjoyed more mudejar churches, and the piece de resistance, the XII Century Colegiata (church) Santa María.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Right on the Duero, we're going to have a taste of Zamorano Romanesque..
I´ve enjoyed more mudejar churches, and the piece de resistance, the XII Century Colegiata (church) Santa María.
Ahhh, some Romanesque at last. I've been waiting for this.

that's the cue for the Veterans of the Levante to tell us more about Toro
Now that we're near the Rio Duero, are there any old bridges of note?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Toro is a touristy town (but that’s all relative, since it is small and not overrun). The main street is closed to cars, and there are many wine producers/tasters lining that street. The Toro wine is an appellation controllee, all red, I think, and to my unsophisticated taste buds it is very strong and intense. This is a good place to enjoy some extra hours, but with the pull of Zamora, that might be hard to schedule. The colegiata is unusual and gorgeous (kind of a jumble, though, from the outside). Subsequent additions have put the beautiful polychromatic 13th Century door behind the main entrance, and it is well worth the small entrance fee.

Other nice churches — San Salvador de los Caballeros (mudéjar) and San Lorenzo (romanesque/mudéjar)

But it’s also a very nice place to just sit at a café table and watch the world go up and down the main street. The tourism is very Spanish, very low key, lots of seniors coming on tours with their municipal social centers.

As far as where to stay, Pensión Zamora is absolutely fine, and the family is very helpful. There also seems to be a hotel or two in some historic builings, so a splurge might be nice.

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Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Since I haven’t walked this Camino, my contributions to this thread have been, necessarily, very few. I can, however, give a thumbs up to Toro wine, which I sampled in the city of Zamora. Tastes of berries and medium- to full-bodied if I remember rightly. Mine is also an untrained palate, so that’s not an expert assessment but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Are we nearly in Zamora? How’s the weather? Can I sing my Zamora song?

The sun’ll come out (in) Zamora
Bet’cha bottom dollar in Zamora
There’ll be sun
Jus’ thinkin’ about Zamora
Drives away the cobwebs and the sorrow
‘Til there’s none
When I’m walking the way
If it’s grey and dreary
I just stick out my chin
And grin and say ...
Zamora, Zamora
I love ya Zamora
You’re only a day away

Forgive me. It’s a dreadful pun, but I walk alone and even with my efforts at projecting my very best, stagey voice, I rarely disturb more than a couple of shepherds.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 47: Toro to Villalazán

This is the last stage, the published 27th stage of the Levante! But... we're not there yet... It's 36.3 km from Toro to Zamora, and even if the pull of the Romanesque churches in Zamora is strong, we slow walkers can't do it in one day ;)

So, we're walking 18.6 km today to Villalazán. It's mostly flat along the Duero, if I look at a map. But don't expect walking on the banks of the the river, apparently, there are rows of cottonwoods between the Camino and the river.
One of the pictures shows a stand of cottonwoods, which triggered my memory of getting lost after Toro in the cottonwood forest, but that is jumping ahead, so I’ll refrain.
Refrain no more, @peregrina2000 , and tell us more. ☺️

There's an albergue in Villalazán. Donativo, it has either 4, or 10 beds. There's a restaurant bar, the Restaurant Avenida, so we won't go hungry.

Now just in case, we also have a plan B: if the albergue is full, or closed, then we can get a taxi from the next town, Villaralbo, and sleep at the Hotel Casa Aurelia. Then, the next morning, come back to Villalazán by taxi, and continue our walk to Zamora.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
we slow walkers can't do it in one day,
36 is a bit, for anyone, slow or not. So it's good to have an alternative. I guess alternatively one could walk the 29kms to Villaralbo, and then have a short 7 into Zamora. That would allow a rest day of sorts before heading onward on the VdlP, if that's the intention. I did this kind of day on the Invierno last year, which allowed most of the day to wander packless in Las Medulas — without taking a 'real' rest day there. It was perfect.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Well it was one of those fun forum group efforts to help me figure out how we got so badly lost. (Days before my GPS). It was after a quarry and looking back at the pictures, it’s pretty clear we were gabbing, not paying attention, and we missed the un-obvious turn off a wide path.

But we had one of those camino angel experiences. As we were thinking we were really lost, along chugged a little tractor. He pointed us in the right direction and we wound up on another route, but it took us straight into Zamora.

Here’s a clear summary of the cottonwood forest solution.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 48: Villalazán to Zamora

Zamora, Romanesque heaven, where we join the Via de la Plata. Today ends the 27th published stage of the Levante, as well as this virtual Camino. We'll walk 17.7 km today. The Rio Duero meanders around, so we're not going to be walking close to it. There's one town half way where we'll be able to take a rest, Villaralbo. Nothing else to note, and the thought of being in Zamora tonight is enough to keep us focussed on the goal :)

Zamora has a municipal albergue, which, as we have joined the Via de la Plata, is larger than anything we have seen on the Levante, with 32 beds.
It's excellent - a beautiful old building, volunteer hospitaleras who were absolute angels (but they change every two weeks), a large kitchen and dining area, OK showers, washing machine, and a small yard for drying clothes. Breakfast (tea or coffee, boiled egg, toast, jam etc.) provided. It does not accept reservations and pilgrims may only stay one night.

The city offers many more places to rest, in particular if you're going to spend more than one night here (strongly recommended!). Private lodgings include Hostal Chiqui, where @OzAnnie and @Raggy stayed, Hostal Sol, Hostal Don Rodrigo, Hotel Trefacio, Hostal Bajo la Muralla, Hotel Via de la Plata, and many, many more suggested by the Amigos, with a list uploaded by @JLWV to this forum.

If you need a reason to spend an extra night in Zamora, have a read of what the veterans have to say about the city, such as @Raggy 's suggestions and photos, @peregrina2000 's recommendations for Romanesque aficionados.

Looking back at the 48 days it took us to virtually walk the Camino de Levante, including rest days, we can say that it is possible for slow walkers to enjoy this Camino. Apart from one stage, which is from Toledo to Torrijos, we haven't got a day above 26 km. We split the Toledo to Torrijos stage by walking a portion, taking a taxi back to Toledo, and then the next day a taxi to where we had stopped. I have attached a PDF file with the stages.

From Zamora, we'll continue towards Santiago. You can follow @C clearly 's virtual footsteps earlier this year, and ours as we followed hers onwards to Montamarta :)

I was asked to compare our virtual walk on the VdlP with the Levante. My first impression is "I have to walk them both!". What jumps to mind about the Levante is all the castles, whereas I have a feeling the VdlP has more of a Roman history attached. The VdlP seemed to be more undulating, and had a little bit more variety in the topography, whereas the Levante had more wide open spaces.

I certainly enjoyed this virtual Camino, and I hope you have too. I would like to thank all the veterans who helped me and contributed: @peregrina2000 whose 2013 blog I used a lot, @KinkyOne who walked in 2015, @alansykes with his historical insights, @JLWV our local expert, @C clearly , @VNwalking , @OzAnnie who walked this year, @Albertagirl , @oursonpolaire , @murraydv , @Doughnut NZ for his knowledge about how to deal with cattle. A big thank you to the Asociación Amigos del Camino de Santiago Comunidad Valenciana for a very helpful website!

¡Buen Camino!
 

Attachments

  • Camino Levante.pdf
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
@AJ, thanks so much for a great diversion. I know this took a lot of work and organization, you are a champion! The rest of us just threw in our observations and memories, but you did the hard work.

This is a fabulous tool for anyone who wants to plan a Levante, and I am going to move it, make it a sticky, and re-title it so that it will be more readily available to those who search through the sub-forums.

My impressions of the differences between the Vdlp and the Levante are similar to yours. One other thing I would add is that the Vdlp stands out for its truly monumental cities (Sevilla, Mérida, Cáceres, Salamanca, and Zamora). The Levante also has its fair share of monumental cities (Valencia, Toledo, Ávila, and Zamora) but also has a big number of small cities/big towns with lots of interesting historical sites — churches, plazas, monasteries, castles, etc. So, for me, the day to day walking on the Levante may have been less varied (flat, wide open) than the Vdlp, but the day to day afteroons on the Levante tended to have more to do and see.

Albergues are fewer than on the Vdlp, but there is a surprising number on the Levante. In fact, the number seems to be growing every year, even though the number of pilgrims doesn’t seem to be. Lots of cheap pensiones to keep the total budget down, though. There are definitely more pilgrims on the Vdlp, so that might also be a factor for some.

Anyway, thanks again to @AJ, and sorry to come to the end of this great virtual camino!!!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Thank you, AJ - this has been a lot of work for you, and you've been a very gracious group leader!

I initially created a spreadsheet with all the distances between towns and landmarks on the Levante. Then I updated and corrected it as we walked virtually. The result is a Plan A (31 days, Valencia to Zamora) and a Plan B (42 days). I find it easy to use this spreadsheet to make adjustments on a day-to-day basis in case I am feeling particularly lazy or energetic.

I'm attaching a PDF file with all of the basic data. The Notes column is blank, since my own notes might not be understandable or useful for others; you can add your own notes based on all the information in this thread. If anyone would like the Excel spreadsheet, send me your email address by private Conversation, and I'll be happy to provide it
.
 

Attachments

  • Levante stages and plan 2020.pdf
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OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Wow @AJGuillaume especially; for all the information sourced here by many ‘Levante’ pilgrims but including very helpful research by pilgrims also planning to walk this route in future.


Not sure about anyone else but I get a warm and fuzzy feeling being part of this forum that shares so much. Many of us aren’t the greatest at schedules either so thanks for the guides and offers of file sharing.

AJ - perfect timing for you with restrictions in Melbourne easing .. well done ., you & Rachel will be able to get out now and travel (at least within Australia) .
Enjoy your well earned rest.
annie
 
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Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Thanks for taking me along on this virtual camino. It’s been fun.
From Zamora, we'll continue towards Santiago. You can follow @C clearly 's virtual footsteps earlier this year, and ours as we followed hers onwards to Montamarta :)
For the pilgrims who prefer the quiet Caminos, I would add that there is a very low-traffic route from Zamora via Portugal - Camino Zamorano Portugues. It has a surprising number of places to stay - including albergues and fire stations and day centers for the elderly.
The first stage is a huge long stage, which we hope will be addressed with another Albergue at some point but who knows what will happen to those plans with this ferkakte epidemic.
I don’t think we’d be able to find enough people to do a virtual run through or the Camino Zamorano Portugues on this forum. But there are threads where people have described it and links to tracks.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
For the pilgrims who prefer the quiet Caminos, I would add that there is a very low-traffic route from Zamora via Portugal - Camino Zamorano Portugues.
That would be a Camino I would consider after the Levante.
The first stage is a huge long stage
Gronze shows a first stage from Zamora to Almendra, but as there doesn't seem to be any accommodation available there, one has to walk to Ricobayo. For slow walkers such as my wife and me, it would be a challenge...
I don’t think we’d be able to find enough people to do a virtual run through or the Camino Zamorano Portugues on this forum.
I have work to do on another virtual Camino, starting soon, but who knows, @Raggy , if we are still prevented from leaving our shores in Australia, and you would be happy to help me, I would walk this virtually. :)
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Gronze shows a first stage from Zamora to Almendra, but as there doesn't seem to be any accommodation available there, one has to walk to Ricobayo. For slow walkers such as my wife and me, it would be a challenge...

You’re obviously loving this still AJ. ! I thought you’d be collapsing in a heap now.

intrigue —. What’s the next virtual camino for you ??
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
You’re obviously loving this still AJ. ! I thought you’d be collapsing in a heap now.

intrigue —. What’s the next virtual camino for you ??
@OzAnnie , I know we're coming out of lockdown in Melbourne, but it will be a while before we can travel, and I'm happy to keep the dream alive.

I'm taking a short break before starting the Ruta de la Lana. That's definitely one I'll be doing in real life.

Hang on, that's what I've said about a number of other Caminos 😄
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
I'm taking a short break before starting the Ruta de la Lana. That's definitely one I'll be doing in real life.
Thanks AJ. True we won’t be jetting off the Spain soon .
The posts I’ve read on the forum re: Ruta de la Lana make it one that I truly want to walk too (in real life ).
Looking forward to it. 😁
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
That would be a Camino I would consider after the Levante.

Gronze shows a first stage from Zamora to Almendra, but as there doesn't seem to be any accommodation available there, one has to walk to Ricobayo. For slow walkers such as my wife and me, it would be a challenge...

I have work to do on another virtual Camino, starting soon, but who knows, @Raggy , if we are still prevented from leaving our shores in Australia, and you would be happy to help me, I would walk this virtually. :)
Yes.
Some volunteers have been working on the former priest’s house in Almendra, to convert it to an albergue. One of the people leading this initiative is Jose Almeida - the hospitalero in Tábara.
Last I heard, they discovered tree roots had caused structural damage and the work was set back. It’s a mammoth task for a team of volunteers but I expect they’ll get there eventually.
My plan would be to do the first day in one long stretch or to take a tarp and sleep outside near almendra, affording me more time to see the Visigothic church on the way to ricobayo.
Unfortunately there are few people on this forum who have actually walked this way. I mean very few. And one person who has served as a hospitalero. I just doubt that we would get enough first hand input to make it a viable virtual Camino.
It’s on my wish list. One day ...
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
Dear friends,
I am taking a moment to say a more formal "goodbye." My last post on this thread was written on Oct. 26, the day that I had knee replacement surgery. I had then arrived, virtually, in Medina del Campo and was looking back to a previous sojourn in Zamora, when I walked the VdlP. I still see the Levante before me now, although I am uncertain when. With gradual recovery from surgery and the recent hopeful appearance of a couple of possible COVID-19 vaccines, I may be on the Levante as soon as next year. Wish me well, as I wish all of you well as you walk on towards your next caminos.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I understand that you are leaving the virtual Levante for now, but why not follow the Lana as an observer, at least?
@C clearly: I have obviously not expressed myself well here. I understood that the Virtual Camino de Levante thread was terminated at some point when I was recovering from my surgery. There is still much for me to learn by rereading sections of this thread. However, I am currently interested in reading Romanesque Architecture and Its Sculptural Decoration in Christian Spain, 1000-1120, by Janice Mann, followed by possible exploration of some sites of early Christian Architecture in Spain. I was considering beginning in the Zamora region, after completing the larger part of the Camino de Levante in Zamora. I have previously walked the VdlP and will likely go on, if time permits, to conclude in Santiago.. Of course, reading Romanesque Architecture may lead me in different directions. But I have not been considering walking the Lana and I had thought that the Virtual Levante thread was finished. For the moment, I am going on with Janice Mann's book, although it may lead me in multiple directions afterwards. I expect to follow the Levante from Valencia to Zamora to Santiago, with possible interesting diversions. And may you enjoy your caminos, virtual now and on foot as soon as may be.
 

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