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Four Days on the Invierno Before the Lockdown

2020 Camino Guides

Charrito

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés
Portugués
Portugués Var. Esp.
Port. Cost
Fisterra
Inglés
Invierno
Norte
Sanabrés
Primitivo
I managed to get in four days on the Invierno before Spain went into lockdown.

Tuesday March 10:
I drove from Salamanca to A Rúa (stopping off for a coffee in the lovely cafetería next to the Monasterio de Santa María de Carracedo ouside Ponferrada), and had an excellent lunch in Restaurante Pepa (11.50 euros menú del día) just down from the town hall. I was staying in O Pillabán, so after a quick change into my shorts (it was in the high twenties!) I set off for Montefurado. I was accompanied by a local girl for a few kilometres; she takes her dog out every afternoon and walks four or five kilometres along the old road (with no traffic) to Os Albaredos and back. I had time for a chat with the local farmer who leaves fruit for peregrinos, and with two old ladies sitting outside by the station, before heading up to the church for a well-needed 'shower' in the fountain there. The train was on time, and I was back in A Rúa for a rest, before going downstairs for quite a few wines with Juan, the owner and chef, and the locals, many of whom knew me from past visits.

Wednesday March 11:
On the Wednesday morning, instead of hanging around for the train, I decided to go for the bus to Montefurado. It was supposed to leave at 08.10, but didn't turn up until 08.45. Another gentleman there said it was always late, so I wasn't particularly worried. At 9 o'clock I was dropped off at the bottom of Montefurado, past the station, and then had to climb back up through the village and get back on the Camino. It was chilly at first, with low clouds, but by the time I made it past Bendilló and down to Soldón the sun was beating down again, and I needed a good break down by the river (the chiringuito, of course, was closed, but there are plenty of benches). You think you're almost in Quiroga, but when you eventually get to Os Novais you know that you have a 180 degree turn to go down to the stream and then up the other side before getting to Caspedro and on down to Quiroga.

I stayed, as ever, in the Hostal Quiper with the lovely Doña Esther, and managed a couple of wines and pinchos (and three sellos for the credencial) before heading up to my all-time favourite restaurant, Casa Aroza. An incredible greeting from Miguel and Lupe, the owners, and a marvellous meal, washed down with a couple of free chupitos. All for 10 euros.

After a much-needed siesta I headed out for a supermarket shop, but then - surprise, surprise! - ended up in Casa Aroza again, talking to the owners and the locals and getting invited to wine after wine. I was in no hurry, though!

Thursday March 12:
I had booked A Salanova in Salcedo for the Thursday, so I didn't need to get up too early. Breakfast in the Bar under the Hostal Quiper and then the usual plod over to San Clodio and up the old road for an hour or so before getting into the woods. As it had rained quite a bit over the previous weeks the streams and waterfalls were really impressive; there's nothing like walking along with nothing but the sound of birds and the flow of water to accompany you.

I sat down by the fountain in O Carballo de Lor, and picked up a handy iron bar, as I knew what to expect on the way down! Sure enough, there they were: the huge dogs in A Trampilla! They are chained up, but they're still frightening.

Pensión Pacita was open and I received another really friendly welcome from the owners, so I had time for a couple of cold bottles of Estrella Galicia before sitting down to have lunch with them (the son joined us a bit later). Pacita had made 'arroz', which was practically a paella, and then a massive chuletón de ternera appeared, all washed down with their excellent home-made wine. Just as well I turned down their offer of a dessert! For the two beers and the meal she apologetically charged me 10 euros! By the way, they remember many of you who have stayed the night there, especially VNwalking!

José Luís from A Salanova in Salcedo will pick you up free of charge in Castroncelos or A Pobra do Brollón (if you book direct!), but I had decided to walk straight there from Pensión Pacita. It's a lovely walk, and well signposted, first along the river and then up, up and up until you eventually get to the small hamlet of Beirán, where you can decide to turn right up the local road or cross over and get to Salcedo along country paths. They are both uphill, though. All in all, it's 6.5 to 7 kilometres, and not recommendable after a blowout meal and with the temperature around 25 degrees!

José Luís gave me a room in the adjoining Hotel (it's all part of the same complex), and provided a massive plate of local embutidos and cheeses for my evening meal, with his own local wine!

Friday March 13:
Breakfast in the bar downstairs and then José Luís drove me to A Pobra (this is free of charge). I could have walked it (just 5 or 6 kilometres), but he was going into A Pobra (the locals all call it Puebla, in castellano, by the way!) to deal with things in the bank there.

Anyway, the stage to Monforte was the same as ever, with that tough little climb halfway along near Rairos, but I made a detour just before the end in order to avoid that horrible waterlogged stretch after Reigada. It's easy to find: just turn right up a little road called Rúa Leiras Pulpeiro, and after a couple of hundred yards turn left along Rua Juan Montes. This brings you out just north of the railway station, close to the railway museum, and it's a short hop back down towards town.

As I was heading back by train the day after, I stopped (for the fourth time) in the Hotel Condes de Lemos, right opposite the station. It's been renovated and is good value for money. The breakfast buffet is only 2 euros 50, and is well worth it.

A few wines in town, and a lovely menú del día in the Centro do Viño. In the evening, after the Spanish government had imposed their strict measures to combat the spread of the virus, the only place left open in Monforte was the Fonda de la Estación.

Saturday March 14:
Just as well I had already bought my train ticket back to A Rúa, where I had left the car, as Monforte station was absolutely packed with peregrinos who were making their way back from Santiago, Lugo, Ourense or other intermediary places, and trying to head towards Madrid, the French border or Barcelona.

Once in A Rúa I got into the car and headed back home to Salamanca.

Perfect timing for a short Camino; let's hope that things improve and we'll all be able to get back to some sort of normal life again soon.

Keep safe and well. Buen Camino to you all!
 

Charrito

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés
Portugués
Portugués Var. Esp.
Port. Cost
Fisterra
Inglés
Invierno
Norte
Sanabrés
Primitivo
Thanks @Charrito Not that I need reminders of the Invierno just now. But added to my notes for next time if the gods smile on me for one more year
In these difficult times, we all need to reflect on what things will hopefully be like when/if we ever get back to normal. My plans for this summer were the Invierno (with a good friend, and my wife for just four or five stages), then the Torres from the Portuguese border, and at least some stages of the Olvidado.

Naturally, all these plans are now very much on the back burner.

Regards.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Ach. I think the Olvidado is beyond my hips and knees but the Torres has also been drawing my attention.

Today I walked the Sussex Meseta ;) for a few hours and followed our version of the Ribera Sacra - Bramber's Norman castle chapel, St Botolphs, that patron of the wayfarer, Coombs with its 11C murals, St Nicolas Old Shoreham and our Russian Princess.

The sadness came that nobody around here has made decent wine since the Dissolution - except me, time for a bottle of Blackberry perhaps?
 

Theatregal

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
So far...
2012 ~ 2019
Thank you for this @Charrito ! So nice to relive some wonderful memories of the places and people along this part of the Invierno - especially Pensión Pacita. Such a wonderful meal, people and evening there. After dinner, I went for a walk in the village accompanied by the little dog that lives at Pacita. He walked with me the whole way :) He could teach some manners to those crazy dogs at A Trampilla!!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Oh, @Charrito, thanks so much for bringing the Invierno back to the forum!

Loved your report. :)

It sounds like you went off camino right after Barxa de Lor and took the marked path to Salcedo, rather than the road turn-off further on. Is that right? And it sounds nice with a bit of elevation gain and a walk along the river, at least for those who don’t eat a big mean in Barxa.

Good to know about bus options from A Rúa to Montefurado, I don’t think anyone had ever mentioned anything but the train. You didn’t by any chance see Casimiro, who lives in that house on the left, just as you are turning right to go into Montefurado, did you? I think he told me he was 92 when I saw him last year.

And I’m wondering if the alternative you took to avoid the waterlogged section is actually the old camino route. Because I remember when I first walked the Invierno, it took you into town near the train station, with then that long walk into the center from the train station. (Well, I remember it as being TERRIBLY long, it was hot and I was beat — but I just looked on google maps and saw it was 1.4 km from the station to the Roman Bridge! :p)

Hoping to be back soon — some day, you will have to take that little circle walk from near Torre Vilariño, it was a real treat!
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
@Charrito, thank you! A bit of cheer is an excellent thing, and this thread offers it. Again, some day...I hope. The Invierno is so special....

You didn’t by any chance see Casimiro, who lives in that house on the left, just as you are turning right to go into Montefurado, did you? I think he told me he was 92 when I saw him last year.
I am wondering about him, too. He's been one of those elders who is on my mind right now.

Monforte station was absolutely packed with peregrinos who were making their way back from Santiago, Lugo, Ourense or other intermediary places, and trying to head towards Madrid, the French border or Barcelona.
Your timing was excellent...glad you got back to A Rua easily!
 

GailGwyn

Member
Camino(s) past & future
part Camino Frances (2013), Part Camino Norte (2014)Camino Frances (2019)Camino Portuguese (2020)
I managed to get in four days on the Invierno before Spain went into lockdown.

Tuesday March 10:
I drove from Salamanca to A Rúa (stopping off for a coffee in the lovely cafetería next to the Monasterio de Santa María de Carracedo ouside Ponferrada), and had an excellent lunch in Restaurante Pepa (11.50 euros menú del día) just down from the town hall. I was staying in O Pillabán, so after a quick change into my shorts (it was in the high twenties!) I set off for Montefurado. I was accompanied by a local girl for a few kilometres; she takes her dog out every afternoon and walks four or five kilometres along the old road (with no traffic) to Os Albaredos and back. I had time for a chat with the local farmer who leaves fruit for peregrinos, and with two old ladies sitting outside by the station, before heading up to the church for a well-needed 'shower' in the fountain there. The train was on time, and I was back in A Rúa for a rest, before going downstairs for quite a few wines with Juan, the owner and chef, and the locals, many of whom knew me from past visits.

Wednesday March 11:
On the Wednesday morning, instead of hanging around for the train, I decided to go for the bus to Montefurado. It was supposed to leave at 08.10, but didn't turn up until 08.45. Another gentleman there said it was always late, so I wasn't particularly worried. At 9 o'clock I was dropped off at the bottom of Montefurado, past the station, and then had to climb back up through the village and get back on the Camino. It was chilly at first, with low clouds, but by the time I made it past Bendilló and down to Soldón the sun was beating down again, and I needed a good break down by the river (the chiringuito, of course, was closed, but there are plenty of benches). You think you're almost in Quiroga, but when you eventually get to Os Novais you know that you have a 180 degree turn to go down to the stream and then up the other side before getting to Caspedro and on down to Quiroga.

I stayed, as ever, in the Hostal Quiper with the lovely Doña Esther, and managed a couple of wines and pinchos (and three sellos for the credencial) before heading up to my all-time favourite restaurant, Casa Aroza. An incredible greeting from Miguel and Lupe, the owners, and a marvellous meal, washed down with a couple of free chupitos. All for 10 euros.

After a much-needed siesta I headed out for a supermarket shop, but then - surprise, surprise! - ended up in Casa Aroza again, talking to the owners and the locals and getting invited to wine after wine. I was in no hurry, though!

Thursday March 12:
I had booked A Salanova in Salcedo for the Thursday, so I didn't need to get up too early. Breakfast in the Bar under the Hostal Quiper and then the usual plod over to San Clodio and up the old road for an hour or so before getting into the woods. As it had rained quite a bit over the previous weeks the streams and waterfalls were really impressive; there's nothing like walking along with nothing but the sound of birds and the flow of water to accompany you.

I sat down by the fountain in O Carballo de Lor, and picked up a handy iron bar, as I knew what to expect on the way down! Sure enough, there they were: the huge dogs in A Trampilla! They are chained up, but they're still frightening.

Pensión Pacita was open and I received another really friendly welcome from the owners, so I had time for a couple of cold bottles of Estrella Galicia before sitting down to have lunch with them (the son joined us a bit later). Pacita had made 'arroz', which was practically a paella, and then a massive chuletón de ternera appeared, all washed down with their excellent home-made wine. Just as well I turned down their offer of a dessert! For the two beers and the meal she apologetically charged me 10 euros! By the way, they remember many of you who have stayed the night there, especially VNwalking!

José Luís from A Salanova in Salcedo will pick you up free of charge in Castroncelos or A Pobra do Brollón (if you book direct!), but I had decided to walk straight there from Pensión Pacita. It's a lovely walk, and well signposted, first along the river and then up, up and up until you eventually get to the small hamlet of Beirán, where you can decide to turn right up the local road or cross over and get to Salcedo along country paths. They are both uphill, though. All in all, it's 6.5 to 7 kilometres, and not recommendable after a blowout meal and with the temperature around 25 degrees!

José Luís gave me a room in the adjoining Hotel (it's all part of the same complex), and provided a massive plate of local embutidos and cheeses for my evening meal, with his own local wine!

Friday March 13:
Breakfast in the bar downstairs and then José Luís drove me to A Pobra (this is free of charge). I could have walked it (just 5 or 6 kilometres), but he was going into A Pobra (the locals all call it Puebla, in castellano, by the way!) to deal with things in the bank there.

Anyway, the stage to Monforte was the same as ever, with that tough little climb halfway along near Rairos, but I made a detour just before the end in order to avoid that horrible waterlogged stretch after Reigada. It's easy to find: just turn right up a little road called Rúa Leiras Pulpeiro, and after a couple of hundred yards turn left along Rua Juan Montes. This brings you out just north of the railway station, close to the railway museum, and it's a short hop back down towards town.

As I was heading back by train the day after, I stopped (for the fourth time) in the Hotel Condes de Lemos, right opposite the station. It's been renovated and is good value for money. The breakfast buffet is only 2 euros 50, and is well worth it.

A few wines in town, and a lovely menú del día in the Centro do Viño. In the evening, after the Spanish government had imposed their strict measures to combat the spread of the virus, the only place left open in Monforte was the Fonda de la Estación.

Saturday March 14:
Just as well I had already bought my train ticket back to A Rúa, where I had left the car, as Monforte station was absolutely packed with peregrinos who were making their way back from Santiago, Lugo, Ourense or other intermediary places, and trying to head towards Madrid, the French border or Barcelona.

Once in A Rúa I got into the car and headed back home to Salamanca.

Perfect timing for a short Camino; let's hope that things improve and we'll all be able to get back to some sort of normal life again soon.

Keep safe and well. Buen Camino to you all!
Oh, that route sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing.
 

Charrito

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés
Portugués
Portugués Var. Esp.
Port. Cost
Fisterra
Inglés
Invierno
Norte
Sanabrés
Primitivo
Thank you for this @Charrito ! So nice to relive some wonderful memories of the places and people along this part of the Invierno - especially Pensión Pacita. Such a wonderful meal, people and evening there. After dinner, I went for a walk in the village accompanied by the little dog that lives at Pacita. He walked with me the whole way :) He could teach some manners to those crazy dogs at A Trampilla!!
They've got two dogs! One sits outside in one of two kennels (one of them made out of an old wine barrel!), and the other is in with the chickens down below. They are both absolutely gorgeous and friendly, unlike those nasty beasts in A Trampilla!
 

Charrito

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés
Portugués
Portugués Var. Esp.
Port. Cost
Fisterra
Inglés
Invierno
Norte
Sanabrés
Primitivo
Oh, @Charrito, thanks so much for bringing the Invierno back to the forum!

Loved your report. :)
Glad you like it!

It sounds like you went off camino right after Barxa de Lor and took the marked path to Salcedo, rather than the road turn-off further on. Is that right? And it sounds nice with a bit of elevation gain and a walk along the river, at least for those who don’t eat a big mean in Barxa.
Google Maps tries to send you up towards Castroncelos, but the path to Salcedo is clearly signposted just by the church:

1585762858241.png 1585762877462.png 1585762898115.png

Good to know about bus options from A Rúa to Montefurado, I don’t think anyone had ever mentioned anything but the train.
The bus leaves from right by the railway station, although - as I said - it apparently always turns up late! It's still a lot earlier than the train, though, and there are plenty of places open for breakfast (O Retorno, or A Eskina, for example).

You didn’t by any chance see Casimiro, who lives in that house on the left, just as you are turning right to go into Montefurado, did you? I think he told me he was 92 when I saw him last year.
No sign of the old boy; mind you, it was pretty early in the morning.

And I’m wondering if the alternative you took to avoid the waterlogged section is actually the old camino route. Because I remember when I first walked the Invierno, it took you into town near the train station, with then that long walk into the center from the train station. (Well, I remember it as being TERRIBLY long, it was hot and I was beat — but I just looked on google maps and saw it was 1.4 km from the station to the Roman Bridge! :p)
It's not that much further. The last time I walked from A Pobra, after the waterlogged stretch I deliberately carried straight on over the railway lines and then turned left down towards the station. The road I mentioned leaves you a little bit further out, but it's not far.

Hoping to be back soon — some day, you will have to take that little circle walk from near Torre Vilariño, it was a real treat!
That is definitely on my bucket list!
[/QUOTE]
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
Those of us who love the Invierno are only too happy to share things with you. Once you walk it, you'll want to go back!
Thank you @Charrito . We all need to remember our caminos in this viral time and you have reminded me of my 2018 Invierno. I'm so glad I went, with a little push from Reb. It's special, another favourite with supportive friendly people along the way. May those people stay safe and may we get to walk many more days. Buen camino a todos. Carole
 
Thread starter OLDER threads on this topic Forum Replies Date
jennysa Camino de Invierno 11
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