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LIVE from the Camino *Finally*, the Invierno

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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
This camino has been calling for 5 years, but I've never had the nerve to tackle it - it ticks all the scary boxes for me. So after having a wonderful walk with @SabineP up the Via de Bayona, and some time on the Frances capped off by the blessing of being at Peaceable with Reb and Paddy...the theme from Jaws was playing in my head. Either chicken out and just walk the Frances, or jump ahead to Ponferrada as planned to finally face the Invierno monster.
And chickening out was never an option.

So here I am at thd end of day one, and Chicken Little is getting the consistent message that maybe the sky is not falling. Laurie and others have documented the practicalities, so instead of saying more about that, here are some impressions...

Day 1. Ponferrada to Borrenes
Leaving Ponferrada was a breeze, and the waymarking is excellent on the whole. There are mojones and arrows, and only the occasional point of puzzlement, never serious.

As the way leaves town it climbs well above the rio Sil, contouring around the hill that's south of the city, through forest and into iconic Bierzo landscape of little slate-roofed towns, vineyards, and orchards of heavily laden cherry trees. At first, there are lots of red, white, and blue arrows pointed in the other direction - the beginning of the route is obviously popular with cyclists.

I stopped for coffee by the bridge in Toral de Merayo at Café Nogal, and found nothing else open the rest of the day, being too lazy to go looking much. The blooming chestnuts, wild cherries, and fattening walnuts were soul food enough. And this camino literally provides. As I was walking through Priaranza del Bierzo, a classc elderly Señora was coming in the other direction, carrying a bucket. She took one look at me, grinned from ear to ear, wished me a buen camino, reached into the bucket and tried to give me more cherries than I could carry. Just...wow. Later, after toiling up the long hill to Villavieja it happened again, but this time it was a young couple. Thus doubly blessed, I managed to make it to the castle when it was still open and had a little time to look around.

The climb after Santalla...it was a doozie, since by the time I got there the sun was out full blast. But climbing up through the holm oak, ad through the gap below the castle...pure magic. Villaviejo is like Foncébadon used to be. This was once a place, with kids and gossiping grannies, and men playing cards in the bar..but now it is mostly crumbling. A pity because it's a gorgeous little gem of a village.

Cimbing the rest of the way to the castle from there was easy and cool under the shade of a big grove of ancient chestnuts - venerable behemoths hundreds of years old.

Once at the top, there were more views, and sweeping ones across towards the west. It's such a dramatic landscape, full of history. Imagining the building of the castle was vertigo-inducing...as was standing at the edge of the ramparts, with the sheer drops all around.

Borrenes is a sleepy shady place, and Marisol has taken me and a German peregrina under her wing. Life is more than good.

Tomorrow Las Medulas! A crowd of 8 Spanish peregrinos came through at about 5, headed there today. It is a wave. Or maybe this way is catching on?
 

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kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2012)
CP (2015)
St Olavs Way(2016)
88 Temples Japan(2017)
PWC & VF (2019)
Mozarabe & VdlP (2020)
This camino has been calling for 5 years, but I've never had the nerve to tackle it - it ticks all the scary boxes for me. So after having a wonderful walk with @SabineP up the Via de Bayona, and some time on the Frances capped off by the blessing of being at Peaceable with Reb and Paddy...the theme from Jaws was playing in my head. Either chicken out and just walk the Frances, or jump ahead to Ponferrada as planned to finally face the Invierno monster.
And chickening out was never an option.

So here I am at thd end of day one, and Chicken Little is getting the consistent message that maybe the sky is not falling. Laurie and others have documented the practicalities, so instead of saying more about that, here are some impressions...

Day 1. Ponferrada to Borrenes
Leaving Ponferrada was a breeze, and the waymarking is excellent on the whole. There are mojones and arrows, and only the occasional point of puzzlement, never serious.

As the way leaves town it climbs well above the rio Sil, contouring around the hill that's south of the city, through forest and into iconic Bierzo landscape of little slate-roofed towns, vineyards, and orchards of heavily laden cherry trees. At first, there are lots of red, white, and blue arrows pointed in the other direction - the beginning of the route is obviously popular with cyclists.

I stopped for coffee by the bridge in Toral de Merayo at Café Nogal, and found nothing else open the rest of the day, being too lazy to go looking much. The blooming chestnuts, wild cherries, and fattening walnuts were soul food enough. And this camino literally provides. As I was walking through Priaranza del Bierzo, a classc elderly Señora was coming in the other direction, carrying a bucket. She took one look at me, grinned from ear to ear, wished me a buen camino, reached into the bucket and tried to give me more cherries than I could carry. Just...wow. Later, after toiling up the long hill to Villavieja it happened again, but this time it was a young couple. Thus doubly blessed, I managed to make it to the castle when it was still open and had a little time to look around.

The climb after Santalla...it was a doozie, since by the time I got there the sun was out full blast. But climbing up through the holm oak, ad through the gap below the castle...pure magic. Villaviejo is like Foncébadon used to be. This was once a place, with kids and gossiping grannies, and men playing cards in the bar..but now it is mostly crumbling. A pity because it's a gorgeous little gem of a village.

Cimbing the rest of the way to the castle from there was easy and cool under the shade of a big grove of ancient chestnuts - venerable behemoths hundreds of years old.

Once at the top, there were more views, and sweeping ones across towards the west. It's such a dramatic landscape, full of history. Imagining the building of the castle was vertigo-inducing...as was standing at the edge of the ramparts, with the sheer drops all around.

Borrenes is a sleepy shady place, and Marisol has taken me and a German peregrina under her wing. Life is more than good.

Tomorrow Las Medulas! A crowd of 8 Spanish peregrinos came through at about 5, headed there today. It is a wave. Or maybe this way is catching on?
Hi VN,
As well as a beautifully descriptive writer, you also have a photographers eye.
May I ask what are the 'scary boxes' the Invierno ticked for you?
Happy trails...looking forward to your next instalment.
👣 🌏
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
(Blushing...) Why, thank you, @kazrobbo .

So the scary boxes...
I'd seen the terrain a couple of times from the train. It's gorgeous, but I was always looking out the window like this: :eek: It's not flat by any means.
Lonely...which I wouldn't mind some places, but here what if I fall in the mide of nowhere?
I have pathetic Spanish. And you need a bit of that here...
Not much pilgrim infrastructure...and to find the way in requires speech.
And some that are more personal and existential...

But I figure why play it safe? The camino can't work it's magic that way.
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
VnWalking,

Thanks so much for sharing.

As soon as possible I want to walk VdlP to Astorga to Ponferrada then to Invierno.

Enjoyed following posts with you and SabineP.

Now, enjoying yours.

Glad Chicken Little clipped her fearful feathers and walked into unknown.

Keep posting.

Buen camino.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
This camino has been calling for 5 years, but I've never had the nerve to tackle it - it ticks all the scary boxes for me. So after having a wonderful walk with @SabineP up the Via de Bayona, and some time on the Frances capped off by the blessing of being at Peaceable with Reb and Paddy...the theme from Jaws was playing in my head. Either chicken out and just walk the Frances, or jump ahead to Ponferrada as planned to finally face the Invierno monster.
And chickening out was never an option.

So here I am at thd end of day one, and Chicken Little is getting the consistent message that maybe the sky is not falling. Laurie and others have documented the practicalities, so instead of saying more about that, here are some impressions...

Day 1. Ponferrada to Borrenes
Leaving Ponferrada was a breeze, and the waymarking is excellent on the whole. There are mojones and arrows, and only the occasional point of puzzlement, never serious.

As the way leaves town it climbs well above the rio Sil, contouring around the hill that's south of the city, through forest and into iconic Bierzo landscape of little slate-roofed towns, vineyards, and orchards of heavily laden cherry trees. At first, there are lots of red, white, and blue arrows pointed in the other direction - the beginning of the route is obviously popular with cyclists.

I stopped for coffee by the bridge in Toral de Merayo at Café Nogal, and found nothing else open the rest of the day, being too lazy to go looking much. The blooming chestnuts, wild cherries, and fattening walnuts were soul food enough. And this camino literally provides. As I was walking through Priaranza del Bierzo, a classc elderly Señora was coming in the other direction, carrying a bucket. She took one look at me, grinned from ear to ear, wished me a buen camino, reached into the bucket and tried to give me more cherries than I could carry. Just...wow. Later, after toiling up the long hill to Villavieja it happened again, but this time it was a young couple. Thus doubly blessed, I managed to make it to the castle when it was still open and had a little time to look around.

The climb after Santalla...it was a doozie, since by the time I got there the sun was out full blast. But climbing up through the holm oak, ad through the gap below the castle...pure magic. Villaviejo is like Foncébadon used to be. This was once a place, with kids and gossiping grannies, and men playing cards in the bar..but now it is mostly crumbling. A pity because it's a gorgeous little gem of a village.

Cimbing the rest of the way to the castle from there was easy and cool under the shade of a big grove of ancient chestnuts - venerable behemoths hundreds of years old.

Once at the top, there were more views, and sweeping ones across towards the west. It's such a dramatic landscape, full of history. Imagining the building of the castle was vertigo-inducing...as was standing at the edge of the ramparts, with the sheer drops all around.

Borrenes is a sleepy shady place, and Marisol has taken me and a German peregrina under her wing. Life is more than good.

Tomorrow Las Medulas! A crowd of 8 Spanish peregrinos came through at about 5, headed there today. It is a wave. Or maybe this way is catching on?
Hi VN,
Ahha, my heart just skipped a beat when I saw your thread...and the wonderful pictures....and can hardly wait to follow in your footsteps in 3 weeks time.

Regarding the route description......think I'll leave that to you!!
No way could I top that!!
Have a wonderful journey
Annette
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Hi VN! It was so great to meet you in Santiago a few weeks ago! I am going to say exactly what every one else is saying! You are an incredible, descriptive writer...just amazing! You pull us in and we don't wanna be let back out! Will so look forward to hearing about your next day!
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2012)
CP (2015)
St Olavs Way(2016)
88 Temples Japan(2017)
PWC & VF (2019)
Mozarabe & VdlP (2020)
(Blushing...) Why, thank you, @kazrobbo .

So the scary boxes...
I'd seen the terrain a couple of times from the train. It's gorgeous, but I was always looking out the window like this: :eek: It's not flat by any means.
Lonely...which I wouldn't mind some places, but here what if I fall in the mide of nowhere?
I have pathetic Spanish. And you need a bit of that here...
Not much pilgrim infrastructure...and to find the way in requires speech.
And some that are more personal and existential...

But I figure why play it safe? The camino can't work it's magic that way.
The challenges of a trail, & overcoming them, are what sends many of us out there time & time again. Sure its a safe bet to take the same path, but to know you love that trail, you had to walk it.
You can (& are...) do anything you put your mind to; the only limits are those we put on ourselves...so don't!
I'll be staying tuned. 🙂
👣 🌏
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Day 2 Borrenes to Las Medulas...and Las Medulas.
The 7 km hardly counts as a stage, but if you're walking the Invierno and blow through here on your way to someplace else...you're missing something special.

The walk here was mostly uphill, but not grindingly so, through scrubby forest that looked as though it had burned some years back. There were gorgeous drifts of lavender and roses and broom at the edges of a dense cover of small holm oak, with a few sceaggly looking chestnut trees. Most of the way there was no view, but shortly before Las Medulas the path came out to the road and there was a glimpse of what was ahead.

I did not take the alternate route and am glad for that - knowing I'd be staying there was no need to carry my pack up the hill to the mirador and then steeply down to the village. I dropped my pack at Casa Siroco (highlyrecommended), and took a pre-lunch spin around the bottom of the mine.

As it began to rain I went to find a place to eat, but this place is a total ghost town today. The hotel is empty, and the only place that's open is Bar Marife, where I got a so-so menu del dia.

Then I tackled the hill up to the mirador, followed by a walk to Lago Sumido. Both offer panoramic views but from opposite directions. So if you decide to stay here but don't have the juice to climb, the more or less flat 2km round trip gives an alternate and gorgeous late afternoon vantage point of the village and the red spires of the old mine.

Words don't adequately capture the feeling of this place. The Romans made one heck of a mess here, and nature has has almost 2000 years to cover it with beauty. So amongst the spires of redrock and the groves of old chestnut trees, there is stillness and birdsong and peace.

And after the steep walk up to the topr, there was a feeling of being above the whole world, with amazing views down to the village and back all the way to Ponferrada.

I'm having trouble loading photos so may have to post thrm later. The wifi is universally slow here. (Edit...added a few pics...it was like nothing else (except maybe the US Southwest) to be in this village with all the red spires as a backdrop!)

I have no idea where I'll end up tomorrow, but am very happy to have taken these short days at the outset so as not to have to rush through Las Medulas, and to have most if the day here. (But if you come on a Tuesday, bring snacks.)
 

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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Day 3 Las Medulas to Sobradelo
It was a cloudy morning so a moody exit from Las Medulas; as I followed the road up to Las Pedreiras it was hard not to keep looking back. All along the way there were huge piles of stones (murias) that had been deposited in the process of gold extraction. The chestnuts became less dense, and were mixed with Spanish and holm oaks.

Soon the way forward opened up, as Las Medulas disappeared behind me. What appeared as the descent began were range upon range of gloomy hills forested in pine as far as the eye could see, with scars of open-cast mines. At the roadsides were heather and broom, with many fewer of the warmth-loving wildflowers.

The road contoured down steadily, though sometimes steeply enough to make me walk with caution. The warm red rock of Las Medulas was gone, replaced by black slate, which only added to the general gloom. The further I walked towards Puente Domingo Flores I went, the more Chicken Little began to cluck. It felt like leaving Bierzo and being dropped into West Virginia: a place where loggers and miners live, where people are suspicious of strangers, especially those who dŕess stangely and come from far away.

As I was chewing on these thoughts, doing my best to not believe them, down and down the road went. Near the bottom, things lightened up, as cherries and chestnuts and meadows appeared. Eventually the town revealed itself in its lazy morning mode.

Not much was open, certainly not the longed-for source of a cafe con leche. So I went into a Dia to get some breakfast and snacks, and the warm reception of the ladies working there dispelled all the dark Chicken Little thoughts. And outside, three times before I left town people gave me directions or wished me a buen camino. It is so wonderful to walk where people are not jaded by too many pilgrims!

I took my breakfast with me and found the perfect bench to eat it outside of Querño, with a view ahead of the lake formed by a dam on the rio Sil. There were several places like this along the way, with handsome slate benches and tables...but no trash cans! So far, though, the way is pristine and trash/graffiti-free: long may that last!

Now that we are in Galicia, the waymarkers are a different style, and very handsome. There has obviously been a bit of investment in this camino, no doubt anticipating greater numbers on holy year and as the Frances gets more and more crowded. Walk it while you can, folks! Unfortunately, in a few places that means gravel has been replaced by concrete. But fortunately these spots are uncommon, and most of the way the road was gravel.

From Quereño to Sobradelo the path followed the lake or river, sometimes next to the rail line, sometines high above it. On the other side of the water was the road and a few noisy slate-processing factories, but mostly the way was pleasant and peaceful. The little town of Pumares, laden with cherry trees, was the only place of any substance before Sobradelo, but someone had made a lovely spot to rest and reflect on impermanence in the abandoned settlement of Nogueiras. And here and there amonst the pine snd holm oaks are small gardens or planting of chestnuts or vines (this is not West Virginia after all).

Coming into Sobradelo, the views ahead of river and railroad and camino were striking. Waymarking into town was better than expected. The initial homes and streets in Sobradelo were forlorn, reminding me of more of Kashmir than Spain. But it turned out this is a handome and friendly place, with 5 pilgrims in Bar Mar at lunchtime - me, a German peregrina, and three guys from Barcellona. I met another Spanish woman who was ending her camino today and taking the train from Sobradelo.

It would have been easy to reach A Barco but as I want to stay in A Rua, it'd make for a ridiculously short day tomorrow if I did that. So I have a room without a view at the very pilgrim-friendly Bar Mar - they gave me a gargantuan salad for lunch, feeling sorry for someone who does not eat meat!
 

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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I am getting excited about my own planned walk on the Invierno this fall. I'm eager to see how you get on with not having booked ahead beyond the first three days, as most pilgrims have indicated that their plans for this camino were set in stone before they started. As this is my final route, with an air ticket back to Canada to follow, I am nervous about making minimal reservations. But if it works for you I may just try it out myself. It really is great to feel free to move on when desired. Your photos are amazing.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I havn't booked at all, @Albertagirl , though Marisol phoned ahead for me to Casa Socoro. We'll see how it goes; I'm thinking to book Monday night at Torre Vilariño, though...would hate to be stuck with no option there.
What do you think @Charrito ? Is that worth doing for a Monday night, or is it unnecessary?
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Day 3 Las Medulas to Sobradelo
It was a cloudy morning so a moody exit from Las Medulas; as I followed the road up to Las Pedreiras it was hard not to keep looking back. All along the way there were huge piles of stones (murias) that had been deposited in the process of gold extraction. The chestnuts became less dense, and were mixed with Spanish and holm oaks.

Soon the way forward opened up, as Las Medulas disappeared behind me. What appeared as the descent began were range upon range of gloomy hills forested in pine as far as the eye could see, with scars of open-cast mines. At the roadsides were heather and broom, with many fewer of the warmth-loving wildflowers.

The road contoured down steadily, though sometimes steeply enough to make me walk with caution. The warm red rock of Las Medulas was gone, replaced by black slate, which only added to the general gloom. The further I walked towards Puente Domingo Flores I went, the more Chicken Little began to cluck. It felt like leaving Bierzo and being dropped into West Virginia: a place where loggers and miners live, where people are suspicious of strangers, especially those who dŕess stangely and come from far away.

As I was chewing on these thoughts, doing my best to not believe them, down and down the road went. Near the bottom, things lightened up, as cherries and chestnuts and meadows appeared. Eventually the town revealed itself in its lazy morning mode.

Not much was open, certainly not the longed-for source of a cafe con leche. So I went into a Dia to get some breakfast and snacks, and the warm reception of the ladies working there dispelled all the dark Chicken Little thoughts. And outside, three times before I left town people gave me directions or wished me a buen camino. It is so wonderful to walk where people are not jaded by too many pilgrims!

I took my breakfast with me and found the perfect bench to eat it outside of Querño, with a view ahead of the lake formed by a dam on the rio Sil. There were several places like this along the way, with handsome slate benches and tables...but no trash cans! So far, though, the way is pristine and trash/graffiti-free: long may that last!

Now that we are in Galicia, the waymarkers are a different style, and very handsome. There has obviously been a bit of investment in this camino, no doubt anticipating greater numbers on holy year and as the Frances gets more and more crowded. Walk it while you can, folks! Unfortunately, in a few places that means gravel has been replaced by concrete. But fortunately these spots are uncommon, and most of the way the road was gravel.

From Quereño to Sobradelo the path followed the lake or river, sometimes next to the rail line, sometines high above it. On the other side of the water was the road and a few noisy slate-processing factories, but mostly the way was pleasant and peaceful. The little town of Pumares, laden with cherry trees, was the only place of any substance before Sobradelo, but someone had made a lovely spot to rest and reflect on impermanence in the abandoned settlement of Nogueiras. And here and there amonst the pine snd holm oaks are small gardens or planting of chestnuts or vines (this is not West Virginia after all).

Coming into Sobradelo, the views ahead of river and railroad and camino were striking. Waymarking into town was better than expected. The initial homes and streets in Sobradelo were forlorn, reminding me of more of Kashmir than Spain. But it turned out this is a handome and friendly place, with 5 pilgrims in Bar Mar at lunchtime - me, a German peregrina, and three guys from Barcellona. I met another Spanish woman who was ending her camino today and taking the train from Sobradelo.

It would have been easy to reach A Barco but as I want to stay in A Rua, it'd make for a ridiculously short day tomorrow if I did that. So I have a room without a view at the very pilgrim-friendly Bar Mar - they gave me a gargantuan salad for lunch, feeling sorry for someone who does not eat meat!
I am so enjoying your lively and thoughtful descriptions @VNwalking. Your talented in more ways than one;)
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
I havn't booked at all, @Albertagirl , though Marisol phoned ahead for me to Casa Socoro. We'll see how it goes; I'm thinking to book Monday night at Torre Vilariño, though...would hate to be stuck with no option there.
What do you think @Charrito ? Is that worth doing for a Monday night, or is it unnecessary?
Enjoying your posts, Vira, as I have many nice memories about this Camino.

In the region of Torre Vilarino you also have at least two options for overnight stay. First is some kilometers before it at ex-pat Penelope's accommodation in Castrotane (just after the O Reguengo complex) and another one in Escairon (When you hit LU-P-4102 TV is left and Escairon to the right). If you won't be able to make reservation in Torre Vilarino we can send you telephone numbers/addresses to this accommodations.

Enjoy!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
Me too.
The main difference being that people did this, not nature over aeons...and almost 2000 years ago - by sheer ingenuity, without any engines.
Sadly I have to believe it involved much slave labor.

On a brighter note I have to say I've been enjoying your writing (and admiring how well you do write). I've admired too your pictures in the past and they are even getting better.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Sadly I have to believe it involved much slave labor.
That was my thought too, but I was told it was bad in a more subtle way. People who did the grunt work were locals who were nominaly free, but they were paid abyssmally and taxed heavily. Plus ça change and all that...no need to go there...
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Day 4. Sobradelo to A Rua.
Luck was on my side today as far as so many small things were concerned. The weather, for starters. Now it's raining, but the wet held off until I found a place to stay and had had lunch.

And I have to say that the folks at Bar Mar are amazing. Breakfast was the best since way back in Belesar, and when I went to pay the bill, I found they didn't charge for washing my clothes last night. It was gratis! A super pilgrim-friendly place.

The first part of the day was a treat, going up out of Sobradelo, with a view back to the beautiful bridge, and then on to the slightly quirky village of Entoma. They were gussying the place up, putting down pavers on the camino route, and there were pieces of camino art here and there. (Funny, how pretty comes before albergues, but that is another story.) The town had a lovely feel to it.

Once out of Sobradelo, the valley widens more and more, and vines appear. The nicest part of the day was right after Entoma, as the path goes up and behind some vineyards and along a dirt road lined with pine and oaks. Wow! They were cork oaks - mostly teenagers, but one was quite big - with scars from recent bark harvesting.

Eventually the way rejoined the road, and never left it for long after that all the way to A Rua, with the exception of the riverfront esplanades in A Barco and Vilamartin. Sometimes the way was sandwiched between the rail line and the autovia, a bit like the early stages of the Vasco. So the section after Vilamartin felt like such a relief, since the autovia was behind thick shrubbery, and only the rail line was nearby. While walking the long straight stretch there, I was wishing a train would come by and hey presto, one did - a gratifyingly long freight train going towards Ponferrada. The driver blew the horn, I waved and grinned back, and we went our separate ways.

Soon after that, the way came to the dam and hydro plant, and that was where I had a classic camino 'right place, right time' experience. A car came across the bridge, and stopped at the intersection just as I got there. It was an official Ayutamiento car, and the driver leaned across the passenger seat to ask if I wanted a sello! Well, of course! I managed to navigate the basic questions - where had I walked from today, where did I start, where was I from, where was I wslking today, and are there any problems on the Invierno? To that I just gave two big thumbs-up - Vilamartin has an albergue after all, so there was no need to ask. But I did wish that I had better Spanish so that I could have given longer and more detailed feedback. I mean, how often does a government official actually care what I think?! He and the cheerful train driver made my day.

Going up on the road and around to A Rua after that was 'interesting,' since there was no shoulder and a drop-off to the rail lines, with the cars zooming past coming out of A Rua. Mercifully, it was short.

And then, A Rua, which starts suddenly as you come aroud the corner. There is no Asun and her albergue anymore, and the town was going into siesta mode. No visitor information, no nada. I went down to the Pension Niza to find the door locked, but luck again - just as I sat on a bench nearby a dignified señor opened the door. The place is run by an elderly couple who both speak very good French, Antonio and Lorraina. 25€ gets me an enormous double bed in a room with an attached bath. And a long talk with her. They are both so friendly and kind, with old-school manners.

So after a delicious lunch at Bar Pepa, all I have to do is wait out the rain, and pray it passes quickly. The owners here said Marisqueria Peyma is the fantastic place to eat, but it's a seafood place, so I can't speak from experience. But check it out, you who are behind me!

@LTfit, and @NualaOC, may the weather gods be kind to you up there. It looks gnarly offshore from Finisterre and along the North coast, so hoping you're all not going to be walking into a biblical-scale deluge!

(Sorry...again the pics got scrambled, and my favorites always seem to big to load. Later, from my computer, I can re-size them.)
 

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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
And one wayfinding note:
There are abundant waymarks and mojones (a third design has appeared...not so nice as yesterday's).
But A Barco is not so well marked into town - use a wikiloc track if you're in doubt.

And on the other end, go all the way along the river even as the path gets smaller, going straight on between the water treatment plant and the river. Soon after that, right before the newish houses on your right, there's a mojon that's easy to miss marking your right turn to the road on a little path.
I almost flew by it. See pic.
 

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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
And one wayfinding note:
There are abundant waymarks and mojones (a third design has appeared...not so nice as yesterday's).
But A Barco is not so well marked into town - use a wikiloc track if you're in doubt.

And on the other end, go all the way along the river even as the path gets smaller, going straight on between the water treatment plant and the river. Soon after that, right before the newish houses on your right, there's a mojon that's easy to miss marking your right turn to the road on a little path.
I almost flew by it. See pic.
That's true about being very cautious about markers on less walked Caminos. They might be there but in the spring and early summer the grass is higher and can easily blocked the view. I have very good sense of direction but had some difficulties on Via de Bayona in 2016 exactly because of the overgrown markers. Be cautious, use your walking poles to remove the grass and all will be well.

Buen Camino, Vira!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
V, here is a photo editing tip that may work for you (and us; we want more of your pictures). Bring up the picture on your screen and zoom and move the picture until it looks good and then take a screenshot. The result will likely automatically be put into a special folder. This picture will then likely be around 2 megapixels in display size while the original possibly may be around 8. The file size might be about half the size of the original and might be acceptable to the forum software.

You might be able to shrink the filesize even further. Android phones typically screensave in PNG format and that uses more space than JPG. Some phones allow you to switch the format. In SETTINGS search for screenshot or screensave and see if it leads you to a setting you can toggle.

I know you are short on space on your phone so don't forget to delete the screenshots when done posting them.
 

islandwalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Del Estrecho, Ruta Fray Leopoldo,
Vía Serrano
(Sorry...again the pics got scrambled, and my favorites always seem to big to load. Later, from my computer, I can re-size them.)
I'm so enjoying all your posts - thanks for taking the time each day to write!

Another possible way to resize photos on a phone that has worked well for us when traveling is the app called Image Size. Quick and easy.
Elaine
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Day 5. A Rua to Quiroga
I'm not sure how many more 'best camino day ever' I can take, but this was a glorious, mostly solitary, and beautiful day. But there are pilgrims! There are 4 of us here at the albergue tonight and there was a crowd of 7 cheery bicigrinos that passed on their way to Monforte.

The most touching thing that happened was as I was leaving A Rua - a car coming from behind me stopped next to me and the lady driving wished me a heartfelt buen camino. I wondered if she was Asun, but it was not the place to have a conversation. Whomever she was, the greeting made my day.

This camino is a chimera, a shapeshifter, a chamellion. Views and landscapes change suddenly and unexpectedly, and back again. But the thread that holds it together is the rio Sil, twisting and turning often way down below.

Much of today the way was up and down, following old roads that have fallen into disuse, so the 'road walking' was hardly onerous. Often there was a wide patch of softer mossy gravel at the edge of the road, softening the hardness of the tarmac. And sometimes the camino left the old road in favor of the old old road. Soon before Quieroga, the camino follows the old slaty access road to the castle, which is rutted by the passage of countless cart wheels - very impressive.

And because the old roads are high up on the slope, they follow the contours of the land, going in and out of small side valleys rather than arrogantly sailing over them on a man-made viaduct. So there'd be a glimpse of view ahead, revealed and then hidden again - until suddenly it would reveal itself completely and dramatically.

The little hamlets were strung out often high above the river gorge, each surrounded by fields - and were mirrored across the river by similar places. And all of them are in decline, sad shadows of the vibrant places they once clearly were. There were ghost places too, where no houses remain at all, save a few ivy-covered walls and the mute groves of olives chestnuts, and cherries. There were many grand cork oaks too, unmolested here by the bark harvesters. To say there are 'no services' is an understatement. There is little here but nature.

Now bed, after a very nice meal at Casa Aroza.
Short day tomorrow, unless I am feeling muy fuerte!
 

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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
I see you got that panorama over the Sil curve. Beautiful isn't it?!
One of the most beautiful stages but there's more to come. Because Invierno is really a well hidden gem.

If that lady in a car wore eye-glasses and had short (boy-ish) haircut then it just might be Asun.

Tomorrow you're in for equally nice stage. Don't forget to turn left immediately after the magnificent (although small) bridge in Barxa de Lor and go for a refreshement or even a trout dinner ;)
 

Charrito

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés
Portugués
Portugués Var. Esp.
Port. Cost
Fisterra
Inglés
Invierno
Norte
Sanabrés
Primitivo
I see you got that panorama over the Sil curve. Beautiful isn't it?!
One of the most beautiful stages but there's more to come. Because Invierno is really a well hidden gem.

If that lady in a car wore eye-glasses and had short (boy-ish) haircut then it just might be Asun.

Tomorrow you're in for equally nice stage. Don't forget to turn left immediately after the magnificent (although small) bridge in Barxa de Lor and go for a refreshement or even a trout dinner ;)
I think the plan was to stay tomorrow in Pensión Pacita, so trout will definitely be on the menu. Save some for us on Sunday!
 

Charrito

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés
Portugués
Portugués Var. Esp.
Port. Cost
Fisterra
Inglés
Invierno
Norte
Sanabrés
Primitivo
Day 5. A Rua to Quiroga
I'm not sure how many more 'best camino day ever' I can take, but this was a glorious, mostly solitary, and beautiful day. But there are pilgrims! There are 4 of us here at the albergue tonight and there was a crowd of 7 cheery bicigrinos that passed on their way to Monforte.

The most touching thing that happened was as I was leaving A Rua - a car coming from behind me stopped next to me and the lady driving wished me a heartfelt buen camino. I wondered if she was Asun, but it was not the place to have a conversation. Whomever she was, the greeting made my day.

This camino is a chimera, a shapeshifter, a chamellion. Views and landscapes change suddenly and unexpectedly, and back again. But the thread that holds it together is the rio Sil, twisting and turning often way down below.

Much of today the way was up and down, following old roads that have fallen into disuse, so the 'road walking' was hardly onerous. Often there was a wide patch of softer mossy gravel at the edge of the road, softening the hardness of the tarmac. And sometimes the camino left the old road in favor of the old old road. Soon before Quieroga, the camino follows the old slaty access road to the castle, which is rutted by the passage of countless cart wheels - very impressive.

And because the old roads are high up on the slope, they follow the contours of the land, going in and out of small side valleys rather than arrogantly sailing over them on a man-made viaduct. So there'd be a glimpse of view ahead, revealed and then hidden again - until suddenly it would reveal itself completely and dramatically.

The little hamlets were strung out often high above the river gorge, each surrounded by fields - and were mirrored across the river by similar places. And all of them are in decline, sad shadows of the vibrant places they once clearly were. There were ghost places too, where no houses remain at all, save a few ivy-covered walls and the mute groves of olives chestnuts, and cherries. There were many grand cork oaks too, unmolested here by the bark harvesters. To say there are 'no services' is an understatement. There is little here but nature.

Now bed, after a very nice meal at Casa Aroza.
Short day tomorrow, unless I am feeling muy fuerte!
This is pure poetry, and you're right about the stage being glorious. Today is not so hard if you're just going from Quiroga to Barxa do Lor and the Pensión Pacita.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
If that lady in a car wore eye-glasses and had short (boy-ish) haircut then it just might be Asun.
Yes, that's a perfect description. Maybe it was her.

Barxa do Lor and the Pensión Pacita.
That's where I am now, waiting for lunch. A nice place. Later I'll go check out the church and castro, and try to find a place to soak my feet in the stream.
This is a lazy pace and I am liking it a lot.
 

Charrito

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés
Portugués
Portugués Var. Esp.
Port. Cost
Fisterra
Inglés
Invierno
Norte
Sanabrés
Primitivo
If you walk back towards the Roman Bridge you'll find somewhere to soak your feet in the river Lor!

Take it easy this afternoon; you've got a steep climb up to Castroncelos tomorrow, and a couple of muddy sections just before Monforte. See you there!

Are you up for the wine museum tomorrow in Monforte? I sent you a pm earlier.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Day 5. A Rua to Quiroga
I'm not sure how many more 'best camino day ever' I can take, but this was a glorious, mostly solitary, and beautiful day. But there are pilgrims! There are 4 of us here at the albergue tonight and there was a crowd of 7 cheery bicigrinos that passed on their way to Monforte.

The most touching thing that happened was as I was leaving A Rua - a car coming from behind me stopped next to me and the lady driving wished me a heartfelt buen camino. I wondered if she was Asun, but it was not the place to have a conversation. Whomever she was, the greeting made my day.

This camino is a chimera, a shapeshifter, a chamellion. Views and landscapes change suddenly and unexpectedly, and back again. But the thread that holds it together is the rio Sil, twisting and turning often way down below.

Much of today the way was up and down, following old roads that have fallen into disuse, so the 'road walking' was hardly onerous. Often there was a wide patch of softer mossy gravel at the edge of the road, softening the hardness of the tarmac. And sometimes the camino left the old road in favor of the old old road. Soon before Quieroga, the camino follows the old slaty access road to the castle, which is rutted by the passage of countless cart wheels - very impressive.

And because the old roads are high up on the slope, they follow the contours of the land, going in and out of small side valleys rather than arrogantly sailing over them on a man-made viaduct. So there'd be a glimpse of view ahead, revealed and then hidden again - until suddenly it would reveal itself completely and dramatically.

The little hamlets were strung out often high above the river gorge, each surrounded by fields - and were mirrored across the river by similar places. And all of them are in decline, sad shadows of the vibrant places they once clearly were. There were ghost places too, where no houses remain at all, save a few ivy-covered walls and the mute groves of olives chestnuts, and cherries. There were many grand cork oaks too, unmolested here by the bark harvesters. To say there are 'no services' is an understatement. There is little here but nature.

Now bed, after a very nice meal at Casa Aroza.
Short day tomorrow, unless I am feeling muy fuerte!
Oh, VN! Your write-ups and stunning photos have me salivating! The Inveirno must be added to my bucket list! Thank you for your newsy reports!
 

Charrito

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés
Portugués
Portugués Var. Esp.
Port. Cost
Fisterra
Inglés
Invierno
Norte
Sanabrés
Primitivo
Ok I want a picture of @VN and @Charrito. Wish I were there.

@VN your descriptions are amazing. You can put into words stuff that I have experienced but couldn’t say!!!
How much are you willing to pay?
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Ok I want a picture of @VN and @Charrito. Wish I were there.

@VN your descriptions are amazing. You can put into words stuff that I have experienced but couldn’t say!!!
Ditto from me, Laurie! My words boringly drone on and on, but VN's come to life!
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Ok everyone. Thank you for your many kind words, but I'm getting embarrassed. For the record, I think the road is talking not me. I can't do this.

Save some for us on Sunday!
Haha. You're in luck, @Charrito . I'm vegetarian. 🤣

Day 6. Quiroga to Barxa do Lar.
Today was short, and started by crossing the rio Sil twice in the morning by way of farewell. Soon the path left the Sil valley to climb across the hills between Quiroga and Monforte.

Much of the first part of the climb was twisting and turning through a green desert of pine - though I had to admit that the play of morning light on the trunks was gorgeous. Part way up, there was a break in the cover and stunning views before going back in; finally after the top the way followed the old Camino Real as it gently descended along a contour, going in and out of little valleys. After the pine, the forest of chestnut, oak, and cherry (with its abundant and varied understorey) was a joy.

Passing a hermitage, and then dropping more steeply, the way became more domestcated, emerging into a small valley with the hamlets, farms, and a sunken lane lined on both sides by rock walls.

Barxa do Lar is a sleepy and pastoral place, with its gorgeous bridge, a church, a castro, and a beautiful stream for soaking feet. Lunch has been delicious, and now that's the next mission. Tomorrow, Monforte - if luck holds, hoping to meet @Charrito ! 😊
 

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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Ok I want a picture of @VN and @Charrito. Wish I were there.
Charrito took the joke right out of my mouth.
So....?
(If you're very nice to us we might consider a PM with such...)

Wish you were here too, but where you are right now can't be beat. Buen camino, camiga!!
 

Margaret Butterworth

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013 (Pamplona to Burgos)
2014 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
2015 (Villafranca to Santiago)
2016 (Le Puy to Conques; SJPP To Pamplona)
The Wine Interpretation Centre in Monforte is really interesting and informative. The young lady who does guided tours in English is full of enthusiasm!
jVc+U5o1TUmyqKiDZlqC3A.jpg
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Day 7 Barxa do Lor to Monforte de Lemos
Today was a walk from bridge to bridge - and into a totally different microclimate.

At first there was a steady climb out of the valley of the rio Lor, from well below the viaduct to soaring way above it. Then a more gradual uphill passing cascades of fragrant broom and into more pine forest - but at least there was understorey left in this tract, so there was birdsong to accompany the metronomic crunch of shoes on gravel. The views back were lovely, until the road came near the top and turned away from the valley to head gradually down to Castroncelos. My knees are smarting a bit from yesterday's downhill to Barxa, so I was grateful to whomever plotted this old road and it's gentle contours.

Once out of the pine, it was immediately clear that this is another world - it looks like Galicia, green and pastoral, with gently rolling hills and vistas across farms and meadows.

I stopped in A Pobra, where there was only one place open on a Sunday morning - and it was packed. The lady behind the bar was harried and grumpy (or just not awake), so I didn't bother her to ask about the albergue. And there was nothing to eat, sad news after 9kms on a mostly empty stomach. But there was cafe.

Then a gentle amble across towards Monforte, with a stream burbling not far away. I took a short detour to visit the Castro de San Lourenzo (which has been partly excavated), and offered prayers and water to the old ones. People lived and died here, long before even the Romans came. Life moves on, and the human stories and tragedies that played out here here are long forgotten. Now it is another spring and flowers bloom where houses stood, now open to the wind. This place makes a nice side-trip if you have time; it's only 300m or so from the camino.

From here it was up and over another piney hill with the Monforte parador playing peek-a-boo, revealing itself for a mere heartbeat before hiding again - not to show itself again for several kms.

Once on the flats it was back into farmland again. The promised mud was the last 50 meters immediately before coming into Monforte, where a small stream has taken over the path. Fortunately, kind people have put down stones, so I managed to make the traverse without getting a baptism of mud.

And then a tedious walk to the city - I was really dragging, without much to eat other than juice and coffee. And my feet were whining. All that was easy to remedy: a room at the Puente Romana with the best view on the planet has set me back 30€, and lunch was a fabulous menu del dia from a place near the plaza.

And soon it will be time to get together with @Charrito. So what was Chicken Little afraid of again? Pffft. Gone with the wind.
 

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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Could be...sure looks like the person I met, but she had greying hair, and different glasses.
😊
 
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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Could be...sure looks like the person I met, but she had greying hair, and different glasses.
😊
In five years time we all changed a bit. My hair is getting more of that grey each year also ;)

Did you meet Peter?
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Day 8 Monforte to Fion plus ~6 Km loop
The walk up here out of the city was uneventful but not so memorable, either. But it was a little wild. Not far out of Monforte, right before A Corga, a deer jumped out onto the road and it surprised me how she didn't immediately shy away. Then in A Corga there was a flock of goats a lady was herding through town. Following the arrows, I somehow missed the way that went off-road from there, but never mind. A bit farther along, one, two, three little piggies crossed the road in front of me, and two more stopped short when they realized sonething was up, grunting nervously before making a break for it and crashing through the bushes in their haste to get away.

The road went gently upwards, and finally after the humongous pile of stones that is Pazo Regüengo, it goes a bit farther on pavement before taking a sharp left and following an old road that circled behind the Pazo, through Castrotañe and up to Piñiero. Don't bother trying to take the old turn-off by the power pole at the bottom of the hill below San Lourenzo - the marked way will get you there just fine.

The wonderful fuente at Piñiero was a great plzce to take a short break and admire the way behind - the view goes down to Monforte and beyond, ridge upon ridge disappearing into the horizon. I never tire of looking back, and trying to let it in that these feet actually walked every meter of the way through that vista, back further than it's possible to see.

People were out and about, and very friendly to this wandering stranger, curious as to where I'm from and where did I walk from. One farmer with his lovely (muddy) Border Collie said he doesn't see women walking alone so much, and wondered if I was afraid. Another lady couldn't imagine walking - and I got another 'muy fuerte' comment.

The exhibit in the wine museum in Monforte gave some necessary context, and now I better understand where these comments are coming from. Until relatively recently, girls here did not go to school here, and married at 14 or 15. Walking out the door and over the horizon would be unimaginable to the elderly ladies who are often the main inhabitants of crumbling villages.

The lane crosses the paved road and goes directly up through oak and chestnut woods to Camino Grande. Soon I ditched my pack in a gorgeous room at Torre Vilarño, and had yet another tortilla francesca with salad for lunch (all anyone can think of for vegetarians, it serms), followed by a fabulous flan. Super nice people here but at lunch they are also super busy.

After lunch I went looking for views and churches - with mixed success. What I can report, @peregrina2000, is that the Mirador Cabo do Mondo is partly overgrown (whose bright idea was it to import wattle, anyway? It's horrible stuff...). But both San Martiño de Cova and San Lourenzo de Fion are easy to reach. I did a clockwise loop, mostly on paved roads, down to San Martiño and up past San Lourenzo. Of course both were closed.

The "Wow!" was the view from after San Martiño, where the road goes through vinyards and the view opens up. The loop of the Miño was all there! I made a Wikiloc track; search under user 'VNwalking' and you'll find it.

There is also an impressive castro visible from the road, with a plaque, but I couldn't find a way in. The most obvious access was a locked gate. Maybe through the nearby Ecomuseo de Arxeriz (which was closed)? The latter looked super interesting, in an old Pazo, very nicely done.

I guess it's been a memorable day after all. It's really worth the short stage from Monforte to stop here, with additional bonus that I'll have more time tomorrow to admire Diamondi, and to pick my way down to the river and back up again.
 

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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Here's a screenshot of the loop, Laurie, for quick reference; San Martiño is O Priorato on the map, and the little sqiggle that goes into the middle of the circle is the way to Mirador Cabo do Mondo:Screenshot_20190610-194203_Wikiloc.jpg

And maybe stop in at this place, which looks like a spectacular location. https://www.adegasmoure.com/
The roofs in that pic of the loop of the Miño? That's the place you're talking about. 😊
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
This is me and Asun in 2014.
Me wearing her mother's silk bathrobe (and nothing underneath) because all my stuff was in the washer/dryer because of the bedbugs :D
Now you can call me kinky, hahahahahahaha...

View attachment 58871
I think you wear that robe quite well, Kinky...what I can see of it! Hopefully you buttoned it all the way down the front!😉
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Day 9. Fion to Chantada
Words don't do justice to this day.
Neither do images.
You'll have to see for yourselves. ;)
But I'll try.

First, the magnificent old churches. Throw a rock in any direction around here, and it's bound to hit a XII c. church. And that's only a slight exaggeration, depending on the strength of your arm.

So the first 6 images are of Diamondi, and the last 4 are the lesser-known San Salvador de Asma, on a hill above the Camino right before you enter Chantada.

Diamondi is near to top of the Roman road as it comes up from Belesar, with sweeping views to the North. Everyone mentions the vacas over one of the side doors, but I also quite liked the lupos over the main entrance. The evocative carvings and beautiful simplicity of these churches are so touching. Now this is a decaying and peaceful place, but it must have been a hive of activity when the priory was full of monks and the Bishop of Lugo came here to take up his summer residence. The crumbling buildings right behind the church are for sale. Anyone? What an albergue it would make!

San Salvador de Asma was also once a priory, and its decay is another mute witness to changing culture. It's simpler and plainer than than Diamondi, but some of the decorative heads under the eaves were of the same touching animal genre as Diamondi - how not to smile at a squirrel and a hog?

This is a nice place to take a break from the busy road as you enter Chantada, with shady benches and nice views over the town.

Continued...
 

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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
As for the rest...
The day started gently, with birdsong and the glittering of dew laden fields. It was about 7.5 kms to Diamondi, under archways of oak and chestnut and pine, through little sleepy settlements, past paddocks with their gentle golden cows.

Nice as that was, it was the warm-up for the day's main events. First Diamondi - do not get so excited at the 100km mojon at the bus stop that you miss it; it's only a few steps farther down the road.

Then the way down and up from the river. I was dreading this, based on what I'd read and been told - but was pleasantly surprised. Yes, the way down is on old roman road, but it's not loose and very uneven - the way down from the Alto de Poio is far worse. And yes, that's definitely a climb up, but it was only super steep in a few places, and I had all the time in the world. I'm so glad go have broken this stage from Monforte to Chantada in two - it would not be fun to go up that hill in the late afternoon at the tail end of a longer day.

Goinv down, the way ahead is hidden behind a curtain of trees, and anyway I was way too busy watching my feet to look around much. But as you near the bottom there are teasing glimpses of the treat to come. Finally there is the grand "Ta daa!!" as the road drops out of the trees into vineyards. There, laid out in full view, is the town of Belesar and the blue ribbon of river - and the stairsteps of countless small vineyards on the other side, basking in the moring sun. Most of the vineyards are on the western side of the river, catching the most light.

I walked across the bridge but once on the other side noticed that the bar by the little marina was open. So I quick-stepped back to find a lovey spot, and a very decent bocadillo for lunch (the guy said they open at 11). Before leaving he gave me cherries from trees nearby - this is emerging as a theme of this camino, and it happened in the village on the other side of the river too. The trees are hanging with fruit, but mostly down here the unowned trees only have fruit well out of reach.

Then to tackle the uphill, poco a poco. It was more open on the up side and there were lots of views, as the road ducked in and out of trees. The terracing is steep - in places the walls were almost head-high - so there are mini-rack railways to bring the fruit up to the road.

Sadly no-one was at the Bodega half way up, but it's worth a stop for the view. Then up a little valley, past a mill and over the stream, up and up. I missed the next turn off the road after that, so was delighted by a pretty fuente under a big chestnut tree, with a blooming Hebe at its overflow. The camino proper misses this, and I was happy to have made the mistake! Then one last (especially!) steep pull before reaching San Pedro de Lincora, and the top.

The rest of the way to Chantada was on a busy road, with most of the fast traffic coming out of Chantada towards the river. After the serenity ofthe day it was jarring, and required care.

Right at the bottom, a guy stopped his car and asked where I was from. I told him, and he buzzed off - only to meet me down at the bridge, armed with camera, notebook, and his wife who is an English teacher - he was a reporter from the local paper, looking to do a story! I told him he'd missed the Invierno expert by a day (@Charrito is out there ahead of me...) but he didn't seem to mind. When he asked what I most liked about the Invierno, I said, "Everything!" Then got more helpful and said it was the history, landscape, and people.

True enough.
The cherries are pretty special too.
I'm tucked up in the very flash Hotel Mogay, and even have a terracotta terrace, perfect for drying clothes! Off to buy food to nibble on up Monte Faro tomorrow, as well as cena.

Oh...and a sad thing. My credencial seems to have gone missing, I suspect at Torre Vilariño, as I had it last night. Fortunately @Charrito had given me an extra, as I was running out of space. But so much for stats, and I'm sad to loose all the stamps.
Que sera sera...
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
This is me and Asun in 2014.
Me wearing her mother's silk bathrobe (and nothing underneath) because all my stuff was in the washer/dryer because of the bedbugs :D
Now you can call me kinky, hahahahahahaha...

View attachment 58871
What style!
What finesse,
And style is so important on a Camino!
I love a man in a flowery dressing gown!
Just don't lend it to my husband!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013) San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
As for the rest...
The day started gently, with birdsong and the glittering of dew laden fields. It was about 7.5 kms to Diamondi, under archways of oak and chestnut anx pine, through little sleepy settlements, past paddocks with their gentle golden cows.

Nice as that was, it was the warm-up for the day's main events. First Diamondi - do not get so excited at the 100km mojon at the bus stop that you miss it; it's only a few steps farther down the road.

Then the way down and up from the river. I was dreading this, based on what I'd read and been told - but was pleasantly surprised. Yes, the way down is on old roman road, but it's not loose and very uneven - the way down from the Alto de Poio is far worse. And yes, that's definitely a climb up, but it was only super steep in a few places, and I had all the time in the world. I'm so glad go have broken this stage from Monforte to Chantada in two - it would not be fun to go up that hill in the kate afternoon at the tail end of a longer day.

Goinv down, the way ahead is hidden behind a curtain of trees, and anyway I was way too busy watching my feet to look around much. But as you near the bottom there are teasing glimpses of the treat to come. Finally there is the grand "Ta daa!!" as the road drops out of the trees into vineyards. There, laid out in full view, is the town of Belesar and the blue ribbon of river - and the stairsteps of countless small vineyards on the other side, basking in the moring sun. Most of the vineyards are on the western side of the river, catching the most light.

I walked across the bridge but once on the other side noticed that the bar by the little marina was open. So I quick-stepped back to find a lovey spot, and a very decent bocadillo for lunch (the guy said they open at 11). Before leaving he gave me cherries from trees nearby - this is emerging as a theme of this camino, and it happened in the village on the other side of the river too. The trees are hanging with fruit, but mostly down here the unowned trees only have fruit well out of reach.

Then to tackle the uphill, poco a poco. It was more open on the up side and there were lots of views, as the road ducked in and out of trees. The terracing is steep - in places the walls were almost head-high - so there are mini-rack railways to bring the fruit up to the road.

Sadly no-one was at the Bodega half way up, but it's worth a stop for the view. Then up a little valley, past a mill and over the stream, up and up. I missed the next turn off the road after that, so was delighted by a pretty fuente under a big chestnut tree, with a blooming Hebe at its overflow. The camino proper misses this, and I was happy to have made the mistake! Then one last (especially!) steep pull before reaching San Pedro de Lincora, and the top.

The rest of the way to Chantada was on a busy road, with most of the fast traffic coming out of Chantada towards the river. After the serenity ofthe day it was jarring, and required care.

Right at the bottom, a guy stopped his car and asked where I was from. I told him, and he buzzed off - only to meet me down at the bridge, armed with camera, notebook, and his wife who is an English teacher - he was a reporter from the local paper, looking to do a story! I told him he'd missed the Invierno expert by a day (@Charrito is out there ahead of me...) but he didn't seem to mind. When he asked what I most liked about the Invierno, I said, "Everything!" Then got more helpful and said it was the history, landscape, and people.

True enough.
The cherries are pretty special too.
I'm tucked up in the very flash Hotel Mogay, and even have a terracotta terrace, perfect for drying clothes! Off to buy food to nibble on up Monte Faro tomorrow, as well as cena.

Oh...and a sad thing. My credencial seems to have gone missing, I suspect at Torre Vilariño, as I had it last night. Fortunately @Charrito had given me an extra, as I was running out of space. But so much for stats, and I'm sad to loose all the stamps.
Que sera sera...
First I laughed, at your ingenious response to the guy who had darted off to be lying in wait for you... then I was sad to see you have lost your credencial. If it is meant to return, there will be a way, VNwalking, so pursue it. and if it is lost, as you say, que sera, sera. And another point: what do vegetarians eat if it is not what other people think they should eat??? I look forward to a load of learning.... 🦉
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
As for the rest...
The day started gently, with birdsong and the glittering of dew laden fields. It was about 7.5 kms to Diamondi, under archways of oak and chestnut and pine, through little sleepy settlements, past paddocks with their gentle golden cows.

Nice as that was, it was the warm-up for the day's main events. First Diamondi - do not get so excited at the 100km mojon at the bus stop that you miss it; it's only a few steps farther down the road.

Then the way down and up from the river. I was dreading this, based on what I'd read and been told - but was pleasantly surprised. Yes, the way down is on old roman road, but it's not loose and very uneven - the way down from the Alto de Poio is far worse. And yes, that's definitely a climb up, but it was only super steep in a few places, and I had all the time in the world. I'm so glad go have broken this stage from Monforte to Chantada in two - it would not be fun to go up that hill in the late afternoon at the tail end of a longer day.

Goinv down, the way ahead is hidden behind a curtain of trees, and anyway I was way too busy watching my feet to look around much. But as you near the bottom there are teasing glimpses of the treat to come. Finally there is the grand "Ta daa!!" as the road drops out of the trees into vineyards. There, laid out in full view, is the town of Belesar and the blue ribbon of river - and the stairsteps of countless small vineyards on the other side, basking in the moring sun. Most of the vineyards are on the western side of the river, catching the most light.

I walked across the bridge but once on the other side noticed that the bar by the little marina was open. So I quick-stepped back to find a lovey spot, and a very decent bocadillo for lunch (the guy said they open at 11). Before leaving he gave me cherries from trees nearby - this is emerging as a theme of this camino, and it happened in the village on the other side of the river too. The trees are hanging with fruit, but mostly down here the unowned trees only have fruit well out of reach.

Then to tackle the uphill, poco a poco. It was more open on the up side and there were lots of views, as the road ducked in and out of trees. The terracing is steep - in places the walls were almost head-high - so there are mini-rack railways to bring the fruit up to the road.

Sadly no-one was at the Bodega half way up, but it's worth a stop for the view. Then up a little valley, past a mill and over the stream, up and up. I missed the next turn off the road after that, so was delighted by a pretty fuente under a big chestnut tree, with a blooming Hebe at its overflow. The camino proper misses this, and I was happy to have made the mistake! Then one last (especially!) steep pull before reaching San Pedro de Lincora, and the top.

The rest of the way to Chantada was on a busy road, with most of the fast traffic coming out of Chantada towards the river. After the serenity ofthe day it was jarring, and required care.

Right at the bottom, a guy stopped his car and asked where I was from. I told him, and he buzzed off - only to meet me down at the bridge, armed with camera, notebook, and his wife who is an English teacher - he was a reporter from the local paper, looking to do a story! I told him he'd missed the Invierno expert by a day (@Charrito is out there ahead of me...) but he didn't seem to mind. When he asked what I most liked about the Invierno, I said, "Everything!" Then got more helpful and said it was the history, landscape, and people.

True enough.
The cherries are pretty special too.
I'm tucked up in the very flash Hotel Mogay, and even have a terracotta terrace, perfect for drying clothes! Off to buy food to nibble on up Monte Faro tomorrow, as well as cena.

Oh...and a sad thing. My credencial seems to have gone missing, I suspect at Torre Vilariño, as I had it last night. Fortunately @Charrito had given me an extra, as I was running out of space. But so much for stats, and I'm sad to loose all the stamps.
Que sera sera...
This is all just wonderful.....descriptions....photos ...methinks everyone will be making a beeline for the Invierno by the time you finish VN ....maybe you need to stop now until we've walked it in 2 weeks time!!!

Now I'm being selfish though!!
Sounds like you will be in the tabloid press soon though!
If you like, we can enquire about your credential when passing Torre. Vilinaro
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
methinks everyone will be making a beeline for the Invierno by the time you finish VN ....maybe you need to stop now until we've walked it in 2 weeks time!!!
No, no, Annette. You will be the Pied Piper! ;)
(And Caryn and Laurie and @Albertagirl and of course @Charrito....and whoever else is ealking this year.)

Seriously...it's hard not to go on about this way. Yes, it's more 'lonely,' and often there are long distances between places to get refreshment. But one can carry stuff easily enough ...

I’m staying at Torre Vilarino on Sunday and will ask if they’ve found it. I can certainly send it to you if they do!
🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏
Just sent you a PM...
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
And another point: what do vegetarians eat if it is not what other people think they should eat??? I look forward to a load of learning
I'm not sure, but not quite so monotonously as this.
;)
But I am grateful for all who try. I had a Wonderful salad tonight. With nuts and mild goat cheese. Soooo nice.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
I'm not sure, but not quite so monotonously as this.
;)
But I am grateful for all who try. I had a Wonderful salad tonight. With nuts and mild goat cheese. Soooo nice.
Too bad Asun closed her "albergue". She really knew how to make very tasty vegetarian (which I'm not) supper. But on many hot and short stages on southern Caminos I ate just enslada mixta (OK, with tuna) for supper. Yummy!
Later on in Galicia just go for Caldo Gallego.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Jul-Sept 2019: Ruta Asturianos Lebaniego / Apr 2018 Asturias / May 2016 CP: Portuguese
SO many WONDERFUL things to take in...from right here, in hayl hawt Las Vegas, NV, USA. All because of your efforts @VNwalking. Thank You! Sounds as if thus far, you are having a perfectly, perfect "Camino" de Santiago. 😍
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
just go for Caldo Gallego
Caldo Galego is made with pork. Thanks, anyway, K1. Pass. 🙏 ☺

Day 10. Chantada to Rodeiro
I said to myself as I was walking into Rodeiro that this stage was harder mentally than physically. But now that I have my feet up, the ankles and feet say someting completely different. It will be an aspirin night.

But what a walk!
The first hours were a breeze, and very pleasant - next to the highway in places, but you would hardly know it on the sandy access road separated from traffic by lots of trees. The mountain ahead was catching the moisture in the prevailing wind and spinning it off into big puffy clouds, pretty and unthreatening.

Once at Penasillas, I lucked out - the bar was open! No-one was there so I rang the bell on the counter, and an old couple came, saying they'd find the señora - who came and seved me a very grande cafe. I was followed in by two local mountain bike guys in Spandex, and we all chatted about the Invierno.

Then the hill was to be tackled; it was very steep at first, and concrete, but all in all a very pleasant walk up. Through tall red oaks, which gradually got smaller as the road climbed higher. There were occasional glimpses ahead, but not much until another "TA DAA!" moment before the first picnic area, when the ridge ahead appeared with all its windmills. Then into pines, contouring around with lovely views towards Chantada. By the side of the road, the bracken was just uncurling after its winter sleep, and there were bluebells, bilberry, new brambles, and lots of broom in full flower.

Near the top there was another picnic area with a magical fuente. And then nearby, the steps up to the hermitage. After all that, the joke was on me. Emerging out of the forest, I cold see the hermitage ahead...complete with crane, trucks, and a roof-full of hammering workers. A new roof is in progress. One advantage of all that was that the door was open, which it likely would not have been.

After looking around unheeded and unhindered by the construction guys, I went across the meadow and up to the astonishing monolith at the mirador, half expecting the theme music from 2001 to start playing out of the clouds. The view was worth it, though completely - back the way I had come, and in all directions. Wonderful.

Then the mind-numbing slog began, all along the ridge well beliow the windmills, with a monotony of pines on either side. The view back towards Chantada and northwards was amazing, but I was hungry, tired, chilly, and (truthfully) a bit bored. I wished I had been so adventurous as to take the forbidden way, the one with all the X's at the top that dropped out of the pines and into farmland. But I'm good, so I followed instructions and arrows. It felt way longer than it needed to be, and about 10 years longer than it actually was.

So it was a good day to practice patience, and to just be with each step. Finally getting into farmland near the bottom lifted my spirits, but the camino wasn't done yet. The coup de grace was the very steep and longish concrete part right before the first houses. My ankles and feet still hurt.

Past the Pazo, with the biggest mojon ever, the way reverted to its gentler self as it quietly wound past farms and fields. In the town right before Rodeiro, there's a panaderia, so I stopped to get some bread - and was not allowed to pay for the half-loaf of bread I tried to buy! I was that close to crying for gratitude. So I found a nice wall to sit on next to the path and ate it unadorned. Ambrosia.
 

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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I looked up recipes for Caldo Gallego yesterday and discovered that large quantities of meat of various sorts are cooked in the broth It is then emptied of the meat, which is served separately. This is another warning for me, as a vegetarian, not to eat soup. The only exception which I found in Galicia was pumpkin soup, an autumn dish. Personally, I do not accept the insistence of Spanish people that there is no meat in the soup, as they generally, and logically, are referring to pieces of meat.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Day 11. Rodeiro to Lalin
No-one could ever accuse me of walking too fast.
I'm stringing this out, entertaining myself by stopping, looking, smelling, listening, feeling. This camino can be walked in 9 days...but I'd hate to do that. Not only would it be a punishing pace, but there'd be little time to do any of that.

So today I totally dawdled.
If the first day out of Ponferrada was a Bierzo idyll, this last full day before meeting the Sanabres could rightly be called a Galician idyll - gentle, pastoral, and sometimes so green it looked 'enhanced.' After all the landscape dramas of the last days, this just felt quiet. It wasn't necessarily physically quiet, because this is farm country and there were mowing macines, and any number of agricultural noise-makers - not to mention cowbells, the songs of robins, gurgling brooks, wind ruffling the tops of trees. But under all that it felt still.

Over hill and dale, gently up and down. Near the middle of the stretch between A Ponte and Lalin, the road climbed an open hill, and suddenly the whole landscape of Monte Faro - that I'd walked through yesterday - appeared in its entirety. Spectacular! And then 100 meters later it was gone, as if it had been a mirage.

And because this is Galicia, there was mud. It's been dry enough to make the moss look sad, so the two memorable patches were easy to negotiate. But I would hate to meet these stretches after days of rain. It looked as if some serious work has been done to improve the situation in one place, with granite stepping stones placed off to one side.

I've so been enjoying the oak woodlands, the golden broom, and all the chestnut trees (which will be blooming soon). There's some pine and eucalyptus, too, but blessedly little so far. And we are in dairy country, where there are many more cows than people. Mostly they were their usual placid selves, but today I saw some some cows frolicking: leaping and cantering like horses.

And the tiny settlements, with just a few farmhouses, or maybe a few more. In Eirexe, the graves paving the tiny churchyard hold more dead than are living there now. Followed by A Ponte, which must have once been a much busier place, with its spectacular bridge.

And now I have my feet up in the very flash Albergue Centro in Lalin. Owned by the same folks who have the wonderful pizza place around the corner. Camino amigos, to be sure!

Tomorrow the Invierno officially ends, when it merges with the Sanabres at A Laxe. But who knows? There may be more surprises in store.
 

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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Hey, don't you complain, @KinkyOne. Whose posts do you think got me wanting to walk this camino in the first place? It's payback time.
;)

Day 12. Lalin to Silleda.
Of course there were surprises. Some people are slow learners.

I left too early for anything to be open in town, but it was not that far to the nearest bar, at the end of the Passeo Fluvial, just across from where the waymarks bring you to the road (separate post coming about wayfinding here). I had a super breakfast there.

The passeo was a total delight. A sandy path along the stream, and nature all around. Lots of people were out running or walking, and very friendly. But just as in life, all that niceness was followed by the opposite - a path between two parts of an industrial area.

Fortunately that was done soon enough, and the way ducked under the highway and into A Laxe. I had a quiet moment at the last Invierno waymarker, surprised to feel it so powerfully. Finito.

Not the walking is done - though if I were crazy, I could be in Santiago tomorrow, or even tonight. But wringing the last drops out of this camino means lingering, and not being fixed one-pointedly on the destination. So it was an even more leisurely day than yesterday.

Once out of Lalin, it's more built up, so there were places to stop for a cafe, and after A Laxe a destinctly different vibe, with adverts for albergues and bars on trees, and peregrino menus (with higher prices) in the cafes.

But the path is very nice, ducking behind built up areas, and down into valleys, mostly taking older ways, for a lot of the time leaving all the traffic to sail over viaducts farther away.

The first surprse of the day shouldn't have been a surprise at all, but it was. It turns out that the old road is another one of those very old roads. I poked around at the very beautiful Puente Taboada for a while - where there was a way down to see the underside of its 1,100 year old arch. Then, once across the rio Deza, the old paving was astonishingly intact. Once this was Pons Tabulata, the equivalent to the modern rail and auto viaducts a little ways down the valley. Now it's a relict and substrate for weeds, left behind by time and our rush to get there (wherever 'there' is) as soon as possible.

As I have the luxury to not be in any rush, my next stop was the Inglesia de Santiago de Taboada. Surprise numero uno was that it was actually open! Surprise dos was that the volunteer inside was a guy whom I'd met way back in Sobremesa, at Bar Mar. Well, not really met - but he was there, and took a pic across the room of the foreign peregrinas, which he showed me on his phone. He patiently answered all my off-the-wall questions about this remarkable little gem of a church, before some other peregrinos showed up.

They were German, two who were also coming off the Inviero. One of them said he had stayed at the spa hotel on the edge if Lalin, and said it was super nice. But surprise number tres was one of the three was a priest, and he offered a small al fresco mass outside on the grassy plaza in front of the church. Right place, right time; sometimes slow has its benefits.

After that it was just a matter of getting to Silleda, but the path went the long old way again, and the next of the day's surprises was a mire disguised as an old road. I was very grateful for my sticks, which saved me from slipping on the stone pavers and landing in the delicious combination of mud and bovine excetia...

There are lots of albergues here to choose from; a French couple I met in Rodeiro recommended El Gran Albergue, so here I am. It's not so great as all that, but good enough. On the Sanabres life is fine too; there are definitely more pilgrims but hardly anything that could remotely be called 'crowded.'
 

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gschmidl

sator arepo tenet opera rotas
Camino(s) past & future
Kumano Kodo (11/2018), Camino Sanabres (4/2019)
When we came past that church, it also happened to be open. Very beautiful.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
You are getting into familiar territory for me, beginning with the "mire disguised as an old road" which I remember very well from my VdlP/Sanabres in 2017. By the time that I arrived in Silleda, in November, all the albergues but one were shut. As I wanted something a bit upscale, I stayed in Hotel Ramos, which was very comfortable and not at all expensive (around 22 euros). But of course I met no other pilgrims there, which was not so different from my time on the VdlP. After another private room in Ponte Ulla, Santiago was a bit of a shock. Fortunately, I enjoy walking alone. I have decided that I cannot wait to arrive in Spain in September and will be heading for the mountains next month, to cleanse my spiritual palate with a walk from Banff to Lake Louise. Enjoy the rest of your walk. I shall be following soon.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
Safe walk in the mountains...no bears too close!
I hope that the bears will keep their distance. I had two uncomfortably close encounters with the same large bear on my walk last summer. But I hope that he will be elsewhere in July, since it is too early for the berry crop that drew him to the trails and campgrounds last year.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I hope that the bears will keep their distance
:eek: Me too, @Albertagirl!!!

Just a few pics from today.
And a recommendation. If you can walk longer stages (thinking of you, @peregrina2000), consider bypassing Silleda and Bandeiras and staying in Dornelas at Casa Leiras - these folks are really special. Stopped for coffee and we talked for at least a half an hour. A Laxe-Dornellas-Santiago don't seem unreasonably long stages, though I really loved the albergue in Lalin and would prefer it over A Laxe.
 

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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
When I went through there last, I walked a rather long day to Silleda and was very comfortable at Hotel Ramos. I got the receptionist there to call ahead to Casa Leiras and after calling he informed me that they were closed, so he booked Ponte Ulla for me instead. I had hoped to stay at Casa Leiras, but then, as this fall, I was there in November, so I cannot be confident of finding accommodation there.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Finito.
Finally, my feet bring me back to the plaza before the cathedral, with its summertime crowds.

This is the gentlest entry into the city - starting with walking up out of the fog from Ponte Ulla through eucalyptus so tall their tops were in the sun; past Pico Sacra and gathering suburbs, eventually down to the Ermita of Santa Lucia. Then up another ancient road, through a landscape that could be from days ago, in the middle of nowhere: the road graciously threads its way up between two hills, past apses of young chestnuts and through an oak woodland. Once at the top, reality is completely revealed. Suddenly you're under a multi-lane freeway looking straight on at the Citaudad de Cultura. Around the corner and there are the beautiful spires of the cathedral ahead, reached by walking down and up through quiet Sunday steets, until finally meeting the throngs in the old city.
And then thanksgiving.

The whole day was that, actually. Many times a lump formed in my throat as I walked, for countless things large and small - for support that makes this possibele, for the great kindness of the people along the way, and for safe deliverance to its end.

Thank you all for your messages and support, everyone - they have meant a lot. I was afraid I would struggle 'out there,' but this way was only a deepening in joy. If you also have an inner Chicken Little...well, if I can, you can.

Buen camino a todos! And heartfelt greetings from Santiago.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
Finito.
Finally, my feet bring me back to the plaza before the cathedral, with its summertime crowds.

This is the gentlest entry into the city - starting with walking up out of the fog from Ponte Ulla through eucalyptus so tall their tops were in the sun; past Pico Sacra and gathering suburbs, eventually down to the Ermita of Santa Lucia. Then up another ancient road, through a landscape that could be from days ago, in the middle of nowhere: the road graciously threads its way up between two hills, past apses of young chestnuts and through an oak woodland. Once at the top, reality is completely revealed. Suddenly you're under a multi-lane freeway looking straight on at the Citaudad de Cultura. Around the corner and there are the beautiful spires of the cathedral ahead, reached by walking down and up through quiet Sunday steets, until finally meeting the throngs in the old city.
And then thanksgiving.

The whole day was that, actually. Many times a lump formed in my throat as I walked, for countless things large and small - for support that makes this possibele, for the great kindness of the people along the way, and for safe deliverance to its end.

Thank you all for your messages and support, everyone - they have meant a lot. I was afraid I would struggle 'out there,' but this way was only a deepening in joy. If you also have an inner Chicken Little...well, if I can, you can.

Buen camino a todos! And heartfelt greetings from Santiago.
Thank you so so much VN for your wonderful posts

Each day, I am like the dog waiting for the bone to read your report as I continue to take notes from your posts

Agree that this is the nicest entry into Santiago..so gentle and calm....and suddenly there it is, the cathedral

You are very restrained re the lump in your throat!!
I'm afraid that the tears just flow...always.
What a sight.

Now, just enjoy being in Santiago and say a prayer for all those following in your footsteps...especially 2 chicken littles!!!
Best wishes and safe journey home
Annette
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Vira, you have now come full circle to when I had the pleasure of meeting you on May 14th around the dinner table in Santiago. Well done! I thoroughly enjoyed all of your daily postings. Blessings to you...wherever and whenever your next adventure takes you!👣
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Now, just enjoy being in Santiago and say a prayer for all those following in your footsteps...especially 2 chicken littles!!!
I've been to mass twice today and it' only 2:30PM.
Prayers for ease and safety all around, for present anf future peregrinas and peregrinos...and gratitude for safe arrival!
May all chicken littles be safe and protected! And realize that the sky is absolutely not falling. ;)
Enjoy Santiago now if you can handle the crowds.
There is good food, which makes up for a lot. And solitude in the midst of the crowds.
 

Theatregal

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
So far...
2012 ~ 2019
Wonderful Vira - so great you’ve arrived safely in Santiago!! I had a glorious day - Torre Vilariño to Chantada. Kept my eyes peeled for your credential, alas to no avail. I did part of the TV loop last night and had a good look around Diomondi today. I believe, somehow, it will find it’s way back to you. Enjoy lovely Santiago!
 

Theatregal

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
So far...
2012 ~ 2019
And now you are also there? Or have you left by now? Congratulations to you as well, @Theatregal ! What a walk.
I am here! Leaving tomorrow for 10 days in Ireland. I’ve had a wonderful 4 days in Santiago, resting, reflecting on the Invierno, wandering about, visiting all my favourite places. I finally had a chance to visit lovely Pilgrim House and meet Nate and Faith and also stopped in to say hello to Ivar. Yes indeed, it was quite a walk wasn’t it? We did it!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
I am here! Leaving tomorrow for 10 days in Ireland. I’ve had a wonderful 4 days in Santiago, resting, reflecting on the Invierno, wandering about, visiting all my favourite places. I finally had a chance to visit lovely Pilgrim House and meet Nate and Faith and also stopped in to say hello to Ivar. Yes indeed, it was quite a walk wasn’t it? We did it!!
Congratulations Theatregiel
I loved your posts

Say hello to my home country for me!
 

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