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Diomondi

Time of past OR future Camino
Sept. 2022 El Salvador, Oct. 2022 Tui Portugués
Walking an abbreviated Invierno starting from Diomondi. The restored summer residence of the Bishops from Lugo into this long awaited Albergue is a dream!
What a privilege to stay here on November 14. It is spartan. There is a kitchen with no utensils, but the microwave works well and bringing provisions for dinner and breakfast is no sacrifice to be able to overnight here.
We slept in a small bunk room on the first floor on top of existing tombs that have been covered by the granite floor. You are aware that you are on hallowed ground and space. The stillness at night permeates your soul.
The upper floor is exquisitely done as a bunk room facing north and a south facing cage like dormitory. There is a separate kitchen upstairs and additional modern bathrooms with plentiful hot water. There is also a large dining room alcove overlooking the ground floor conference room. Here are some pictures including a dawn shot from the alcove looking east. I would return there in a flash!
 

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
As I have already told @ElCascayal privately, I think that first picture is amazing. It seems like an ethereal collage, but she explained to me that it was taken at dawn from the albergue’s second floor balcony.

Did you get any more info on whether they are going to close the albergue for some period in winter?
 

WestKirsty

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CNorte/Prim 2016
CSal 2017
CF 2021/22
CVasco 2022
Did you get any more info on whether they are going to close the albergue for some period in winter?

I sent a WhatsApp to the number on Gronze today asking about Christmas break and someone replied saying they will be open during that time period 🥳

I had read on Facebook a few weeks back that others were being told that they weren't sure if they were going to stay open. Seems as though they made their decision - for that time period at least!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept. 2022 El Salvador, Oct. 2022 Tui Portugués
As I have already told @ElCascayal privately, I think that first picture is amazing. It seems like an ethereal collage, but she explained to me that it was taken at dawn from the albergue’s second floor balcony.

Did you get any more info on whether they are going to close the albergue for some period in winter?
Laurie, they are as of now scheduled to be open. I suggest calling in advance, so no one is disappointed. The hospitalera is new and young and had little information to provide.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Aragon/CF 08, Arles 10, Le Puy 12, Geneva 14, VdlP 15, Norte/Primitivo 15, VF 17, Levante 18, Moz 19
It was an especially magical place to sleep there alone on my recent Camino. I spent some time wandering about trying to capture its spirit with photos - mine did not begin to do it justice. And the radiators work for trying clothes effectively, though the individual bedside sockets were not functional during my stay. One of my all time favorite albergues!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept. 2022 El Salvador, Oct. 2022 Tui Portugués
the individual bedside sockets were not functional during my stay.
Same here. We figured out the breaker had been flipped and corrected the problem. This was in the first floor small room to the right of the dorms, with the beautiful granite column.
 

Mycroft

Veteran Member
It indeed is a lovely place to spend the night. When I was there in September, the hospitalera did NOT want us to go upstairs, so I am pleased to hear your description, El Cascayal. I did ask her why there was no sign outside explaining this building IS the albergue or why there didn't have a pan or bowl one could use in the microwave. Basically she said she didn't know why but the town in its wisdom didn't want anything there. Were there utensils in the upstairs kitchen? How many others were there when you were?
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept. 2022 El Salvador, Oct. 2022 Tui Portugués
Mycroft it turns out there are 2 hospitaleras. Rosa, the senior person who lives in Monforte and another younger woman who was there the day we visited who was sweet and disinterested. When I inquired about the baptismal font, “is it original or brought from elsewhere?” She very honestly said, “I don’t know, those things don’t really interest me.” She also told us not to go upstairs. What can I say? We went and I would go again. We didn’t do a complete check of the upstairs kitchen, but there is nothing to use for cutlery or utensils. The bathrooms were equally lovely as the downstairs ones, segregated by gender. I am hoping to call Rosa sometime this week and get more information. This is a new Albergue & the folks in Chantada told me there has been a great deal of turnover in hospitaleras. I am hopeful eventually things will be sorted out. It is a beautifully restored place, a true sanctuary and I am sure it will flourish. It has been one week since I stayed there and I am still thinking about that marvelous adventure.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
or why there didn't have a pan or bowl one could use in the microwave.
This is standard for municipal albergues, especially in Galicia. Beautiful kitchens that no one can use unless they lug pots, pans, dishes, etc etc. I have never understood the logic, because it seems to me that they should either just have a microwave with no utensils, or add equipment to go with the level of the kitchen they have just spent thousands of euros on.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept. 2022 El Salvador, Oct. 2022 Tui Portugués
This is standard for municipal albergues, especially in Galicia. Beautiful kitchens that no one can use unless they lug pots, pans, dishes, etc etc. I have never understood the logic, because it seems to me that they should either just have a microwave with no utensils, or add equipment to go with the level of the kitchen they have just spent thousands of euros on.
A huge amount of Euros was spent to restore Diomondi to rigorous historical standards which accounts for the time it took for its restoration. It was disconcerting to not even have cups, glasses utensils. There is a microwave and a fridge. It is nonsensical, I don’t know where the disconnect is. At least the showers are private & partitioned. In some Xunta Albergues ie Outeiro it is 4 communal shower heads. I admit, not for me.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
It is nonsensical, I don’t know where the disconnect is.
I think that the disconnect comes from not having pilgrims involved in the decision-making process. The Xunta de Galicia spends millions and millions of euros on caminos, and I can’t imagine they ever asked any peregrinos what they think the camino needs.

The most blatant example for me was the 250,000€ spent to build a bridge over the Lires River on the route between Finisterre and Muxia. There is no doubt that the original crossing was dangerous and difficult, submerged stones, sometimes up to the knees, and the stones were spaced much more widely than most people’s normal stride. Instead of a nice little bridge (like the one Ender built on the Salvador for a few thousand euros), they spent this huge amount to built a huge granite bridge, with a long regal imposing granite pathway down to the bridge itself.

There are plenty of other examples, like spending millions of euros on signage that is not needed, totally changing mojones that are still serviceable, and it has always seemed to me that it’s just an example of politicians spending money that gets good press but provides very little benefit to the people who actually will use whatever it is they are building.

RANT OVER. ;)
 

Mycroft

Veteran Member
This is standard for municipal albergues, especially in Galicia. Beautiful kitchens that no one can use unless they lug pots, pans, dishes, etc etc. I have never understood the logic, because it seems to me that they should either just have a microwave with no utensils, or add equipment to go with the level of the kitchen they have just spent thousands of euros on.
Exactly. Some have said it is because the town wants pilgrims to eat out in their restaurants but near Diomondi there are no restaurants. The other pilgrims when I was there took a taxi to a distant town. Someone had brought some utensils and paper napkins when I was there but that doesn't help with making a cup of tea.
 

Mycroft

Veteran Member
Mycroft it turns out there are 2 hospitaleras. Rosa, the senior person who lives in Monforte and another younger woman who was there the day we visited who was sweet and disinterested. When I inquired about the baptismal font, “is it original or brought from elsewhere?” She very honestly said, “I don’t know, those things don’t really interest me.” She also told us not to go upstairs. What can I say? We went and I would go again. We didn’t do a complete check of the upstairs kitchen, but there is nothing to use for cutlery or utensils. The bathrooms were equally lovely as the downstairs ones, segregated by gender. I am hoping to call Rosa sometime this week and get more information. This is a new Albergue & the folks in Chantada told me there has been a great deal of turnover in hospitaleras. I am hopeful eventually things will be sorted out. It is a beautifully restored place, a true sanctuary and I am sure it will flourish. It has been one week since I stayed there and I am still thinking about that marvelous adventure.
Yes it is a lovely place. And yes it was the younger hospitalera who was working when I was there--your adjective 'disinterested' is exact.
I certainly am not saying it is not worth staying there, El Cascayal--it is a charming and historic venue. And it is not the only albergue that has a kitchen and no way to use appliances. It is just odd to be that municipalities go through such trouble to create facilities that cannot fully be used.
As peregrina2000 said, the lack of planning with actual pilgrims may play a role.
I am interested to know what you learn from Rosa when you call. Do they want pilgrims to volunteer as hospitaleras and is there space for volunteers to stay?
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Sept. 2022 El Salvador, Oct. 2022 Tui Portugués
pilgrims may play a role.
I am interested to know what you learn from Rosa when you call. Do they want pilgrims to volunteer as hospitaleras and is there space for volunteers to stay?
Hi all,
I spoke to Rosa Perez, the person who answers WhatsApp messages, who lives in Monforte and is the senior Hospitalera/person in charge, this morning.

This is a work in progress that has had much turnover in the hospitalera on site, several have come & gone since it opened. This is a Xunta albergue and comes with the plus & minuses that are specific to each different one. As all of you know, there seems to be no universal standard.

The common areas here are spacious and inviting, the bathrooms were spectacular with hot water, partitions between the shower stalls and the heat was on even though it dissipated quickly within the thick stone walls. It had the most bedside plugins + USB ports and individual LED reading lights of any Albergue private, public or other lodging that I have ever seen. A luxury. On the negative side, no WiFi and scarce cellular reception. The kitchen has a microwave and a fridge and you must be creative for dinner/breakfast as there are no utensils. This is not unique to Diomondi. On the Invierno FB page some Peregrinos with a dog posted that Rosa offered and carried their food and other things from Monforte to Diomondi and they were most grateful for her kindness.
The baptismal font is original to Diomondi as is that little granite face cube that she said used to be outside, its history and significance unknown, and now resides next to the intake desk. It is weather beaten and is hauntingly beautiful. A stone carver that I had coffee with in Santiago explained to me that they feel the stone and then know where to cut, the stone shows them how to cut life into them.

Rosa & I will keep in touch and I will update here as needed.
 

jennysa

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2011,2012 2013,2014, 2015 Aragones 2012, 2017 2018 Via Francigena 2016,2017 Primitivo 2018,2019
I look forward to an update about Diomondi, particularly about being able to buy food on the way or close by. I have a friend who is joining me at Montefort de Lemos on 27 April and she will never manage the distance to Chantada on her first day. I did see in another report that there were no blankets and the pilgrim was cold at Diomondi, and in another that a restaurant fetched them, but I cant find it now. What are the alternatives to stopping at Diomondi?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, @jennysa, I know you were a bit apprehensive about walking alone from Monforte, so this is very good news! The food option nearby is Cantina Meán. See this post for details. The owner is apparently on WhatsApp +34 678 50 52 19. Google tells me the place is temporarily closed, so it may be a holiday thing.

If you bring food, the only place to get it would be in Monforte, so you would have to carry it from there.

What are the alternatives to stopping at Diomondi?

I haven’t been on the Invierno since the albergue in Diomondi opened, but I have stayed a few times in the Torre Vilariño, a very lovely casa rural. You can contact Susana for reservations via WhatsApp at 34 640 10 46 27, or email at pousadatorrevilarino@gmail.com They have a good pilgrim price. They also have a restaurant that is very popular with tour groups over the lunch hour, but they will find you a quiet spot to eat and feed you well.

Torre Vilariño is 14 from Monforte and 16 from Chantada so it’s a good midpoint. It’s about 7 km before the church/albergue in Diomondi. And by stopping there you could add a 6 km loop that takes you to some gorgeous viewpoints over the Sil River and its famous horseshoe bend. It’s a very easy walk, all on country roads. VNwalking described it and has some pictures in her live thread.
 

jennysa

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2011,2012 2013,2014, 2015 Aragones 2012, 2017 2018 Via Francigena 2016,2017 Primitivo 2018,2019
Hi, @jennysa, I know you were a bit apprehensive about walking alone from Monforte, so this is very good news! The food option nearby is Cantina Meán. See this post for details. The owner is apparently on WhatsApp +34 678 50 52 19. Google tells me the place is temporarily closed, so it may be a holiday thing.

If you bring food, the only place to get it would be in Monforte, so you would have to carry it from there.



I haven’t been on the Invierno since the albergue in Diomondi opened, but I have stayed a few times in the Torre Vilariño, a very lovely casa rural. You can contact Susana for reservations via WhatsApp at 34 640 10 46 27, or email at pousadatorrevilarino@gmail.com They have a good pilgrim price. They also have a restaurant that is very popular with tour groups over the lunch hour, but they will find you a quiet spot to eat and feed you well.

Torre Vilariño is 14 from Monforte and 16 from Chantada so it’s a good midpoint. It’s about 7 km before the church/albergue in Diomondi. And by stopping there you could add a 6 km loop that takes you to some gorgeous viewpoints over the Sil River and its famous horseshoe bend. It’s a very easy walk, all on country roads. VNwalking described it and has some pictures in her live thread.
Thank you so much Laurie - Just what I need to know.
 

fenix

Nevertheless, she persists
Time of past OR future Camino
6 Caminos since 2000
May-June 2023 will my 7th
Thanks for the beautiful pictures! I'm really looking forward to hopefully staying here on my May camino Invierno. We are slow walkers though, and tend to reserve ahead so we can walk without stress. How many beds are there? In May, do you think there might be a space issue in an albergue with no reservations?

A little concerned about the lack of blankets too, as we don't carry sleeping bags, only liners.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
Brierley says the Diomondi albergue has 33 beds in 4 rooms, so it seems very likely that it would not be full. Maybe just keep an eye on reports as the time gets closer, and have a taxi number on hand. At least it would be an easy place to identify as a meeting point for a taxi coming from (I assume) Chantada. However, I notice that it seems to be a 15 km drive to Chantada, although it is less than 8 km on foot.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept. 2022 El Salvador, Oct. 2022 Tui Portugués
From Diomondi to Chantada is about 8.5 km of a beautiful Camino. The spectacular descent known as the Codos de Belesar with the river and vineyards sloping on both sides are breathtaking. The ascent once you cross the bridge is on ancient Roman roads that are steep and May be slow going. There is a winery Via Romana with a stunning balcony lookout over the vineyards and river. They graciously give Peregrinos free wine, stamp your Credencial and have clean bathrooms with an equally spectacular view. Another stone bridge walkway after the vineyards awaits. I was happy to make this a short stage Diomondi-Chantada and thoroughly enjoyed this stretch that in prior Caminos came after 20+ km that made this a grueling end.
 

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jennysa

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2011,2012 2013,2014, 2015 Aragones 2012, 2017 2018 Via Francigena 2016,2017 Primitivo 2018,2019
What is the next best manageable option after Chantada if one decides to walk further than the 8 kms?
 

WestKirsty

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CNorte/Prim 2016
CSal 2017
CF 2021/22
CVasco 2022
Thanks for the beautiful pictures! I'm really looking forward to hopefully staying here on my May camino Invierno. We are slow walkers though, and tend to reserve ahead so we can walk without stress. How many beds are there? In May, do you think there might be a space issue in an albergue with no reservations?

A little concerned about the lack of blankets too, as we don't carry sleeping bags, only liners.
They use WhatsApp at the Diomondi Albergue so you could contact them while on route and ask any questions you may have about bed space, blankets etc. I was on the Invierno just over a week ago and they were very prompt and helpful with their replies!
 
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jennysa

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2011,2012 2013,2014, 2015 Aragones 2012, 2017 2018 Via Francigena 2016,2017 Primitivo 2018,2019
It would be the Hotel Vilaseco, about 5 -6 km, más o menos, from Chantada. It’s before Penasillás. It gets very good reviews, and it has both an albergue and private rooms.
Thank you Laurie. I thought it might be but somehow had an idea it was further on. It sounds perfect.
 

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