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Guide Revisions -- Questions -- Ponferrada to Las Médulas

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peregrina2000

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Staff member
The main change I noted when walking is that the guide still lists a lot of the cafés and services that are on the national highway, even though the camino has been taken off the highway in many places. Some questions

-- I never saw Bar Valduera and Mesón Alondra in Toral de Merayo. Anyone have any firsthand knowledge? Otherwise, I will just delete the references

-- I know that the owners of CTR Cornatel will be opening a private albergue in Borrenes, but I have no info on current status.

-- Albergue La Senda will open soon in Las Médulas. Does anyone have more updates?

-- Confusion on elevation from Ponferrada to Las Médulas. I believe the ascent from Ponferrada up to the Castle of Cornatel is about 350 m. But I am unsure about elevation gain from Borrenes to Las Médulas. And to complicate things, we now have two options. One is Amancio's route from Borrenes directly to Orellán (which I believe has 475 m elevation gain); the official route has less but I am not sure about numbers. The range on wikiloc tracks is extreme, and I know that elevation measures are very unreliable. So if someone has a better guess, please let me know.

I am hoping to have the revisions done in the next couple of weeks, and will post the questions I have in sections. All help is greatly appreciated.
 
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.
The main change I noted when walking is that the guide still lists a lot of the cafés and services that are on the national highway, even though the camino has been taken off the highway in many places. Some questions

-- I never saw Bar Valduera and Mesón Alondra in Toral de Merayo. Anyone have any firsthand knowledge? Otherwise, I will just delete the references

-- I know that the owners of CTR Cornatel will be opening a private albergue in Borrenes, but I have no info on current status.

-- Albergue La Senda will open soon in Las Médulas. Does anyone have more updates?

-- Confusion on elevation from Ponferrada to Las Médulas. I believe the ascent from Ponferrada up to the Castle of Cornatel is about 350 m. But I am unsure about elevation gain from Borrenes to Las Médulas. And to complicate things, we now have two options. One is Amancio's route from Borrenes directly to Orellán (which I believe has 475 m elevation gain); the official route has less but I am not sure about numbers. The range on wikiloc tracks is extreme, and I know that elevation measures are very unreliable. So if someone has a better guess, please let me know.

I am hoping to have the revisions done in the next couple of weeks, and will post the questions I have in sections. All help is greatly appreciated.
Hi Laurie,
Just had to look at my notes again
We saw 2 bars in Torel de Merayo....one just before the plaza and one in the plaza itself...we passed there around 08.30 and both closed
Never saw Bar Valduera or Meson Alondra

In Villalibre, just outside the centre we noted that the bar Estrella was closed and we could not find the bar Ruta 98
There is a fountain and seats in the small square just off the highway

All the bars after this were closed and we did not notice the opening times for any of them
As we got to Borrens at 12.30 the bar Marisol was just opening
The pharmacy was also open
Sorry, can't help with the elevation to the castle as we bypassed it...maybe next time!

We arrived to Las Medulas on a Tuesday when all restaurants seem to be closed
But the main bar will do cold tapas
I spoke to the main at the albergue and he said that it would be opening on July 1st...he invited me to look around and all the bunk beds and mattresses were new and in place
All the best for now
Annette
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi Laurie,
Just had to look at my notes again
We saw 2 bars in Torel de Merayo....one just before the plaza and one in the plaza itself...we passed there around 08.30 and both closed
Never saw Bar Valduera or Meson Alondra

In Villalibre, just outside the centre we noted that the bar Estrella was closed and we could not find the bar Ruta 98
There is a fountain and seats in the small square just off the highway

All the bars after this were closed and we did not notice the opening times for any of them
As we got to Borrens at 12.30 the bar Marisol was just opening
The pharmacy was also open
Sorry, can't help with the elevation to the castle as we bypassed it...maybe next time!

We arrived to Las Medulas on a Tuesday when all restaurants seem to be closed
But the main bar will do cold tapas
I spoke to the main at the albergue and he said that it would be opening on July 1st...he invited me to look around and all the bunk beds and mattresses were new and in place
All the best for now
Annette
I should have known that I could leave it to @Annette london to come up with all the info on bars. Since she is married to a coffee addict, I know they never passed up the chance for a coffee on the Invierno! :p
 

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)
Laurie, about the elevation gain:
The present guide says 1100m or something, I would guess now that that is the total for the whole first stage, rather than from Borrenes but it's not at all clear - so that's an ambiguity that needs to be clarified and there are 4 options. So:
From Ponfi to Borrenes via the road the elevation gain is = ?
From Ponfi to Borrenes via the castle = ?
From Borrenes to As Medulas via the marked camino = ?
From Borrenes to As Medulas via the Orellán mirador = ?
Forget the electronics here; there's too much variability. Your best bet is to get a good traditional 1:20000 map from IGN with contours and use the numbers from that.

Bar Nogal was opening up at 09.30 the other place on the plaza was shut; Annette's numbers about Mariscol's bar jive with what she told me. I walked the marked way with no deviatiins and saw nothing else open.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Laurie, about the elevation gain:
The present guide says 1100m or something, I would guess now that that is the total for the whole first stage, rather than from Borrenes - so that's an ambiguity that needs to be clarified because there are 4 options. So:
From Ponfi to Borrenes via the road the elevation gain is = ?
From Ponfi to Borrenes via the castle = ?
From Borrenes to As Medulas via the marked camino = ?
From Borrenes to As Medulas via the Orellán mirador = ?
Forget the electronics here; there's too much variability. Your best bet is to get a good traditional 1:20000 map from IGN with contours and use the numbers from that.

Bar Nogal was opening up at 09.30 the other place on the plaza was shut; Annette's numbers about Mariscol's bar jive with what she told me. I walked the marked way with no deviatiins and saw nothing else open.
Thanks, VN, well I don’t have a good contour map. But I don’t think we need all the total meters of the ups and downs, just ballpark figures for the two big ascents.

Ponferrada to Borrenes via the castle, is about 350 m, I think.
Ponferrada to Borrenes via the road would be negligible elevation, since it bypasses the only big ascent.
Borrenes to Médulas on the official route — another 300
Borrenes to Médulas on @Amancio’s route has 475 m, according to his calculations.

Look at the schematic here — http://www.caminodeinvierno.com/content/1ª-etapa-ponferrada-puente-de-domingo-flórez-35-kms

I think it’s not as important to give the absolute total, because that would include all the little ups and downs along the way. But with two ballpark figures of the gain of each ascent should be enough information for people to make a good decision, don’t you think?
 

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)
Yes, I wasn't meaning the ups and downs - just how much higher is one place relarive to another.That's enough. And the gain on the road to Borrenes might be important to some folks in making that decision of which way to go.

Here's the IGN link for downloadable maps - I've been trying to get it up, but I'm on my phone still traveling, and it's slow. (And edit...1:25000!)
(Warning: rabbit hole ahead!)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Yes, I wasn't meaning the ups and downs - just how much higher is one place relarive to another.That's enough. And the gain on the road to Borrenes might be important to some folks in making that decision of which way to go.

Here's the IGN link for downloadable maps - I've been trying to get it up, but I'm on my phone still traveling, and it's slow. (And edit...1:25000!)
(Warning: rabbit hole ahead!)
Priaranza del Bierzo is at 512 m, Borrenes at 554. Since there are no big hills on the road in between them, I think the best way to say it is that if you stay on the highway you can avoid the ascent to both Villavieja and the castle, and that there is no real elevation gain. I do have a slight problem with saying this, because I don’t ever want to encourage people to walk alongside a national highway, and that’s what they will do if they stay on the road all the way to Borrenes. People can frequently find a shorter road option, but I am not sure it’s the job of a guide to the Camino to tell them how to avoid the camino.
 

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)
best way to say it is that if you stay on the highway you can avoid the ascent to both Villavieja and the castle, and that there is no real elevation gain.
How about, "If you stay on the highway there is only a small elevation gain, but the entire way is along the national highway and you miss both Villavieja and the castle."

People can frequently find a shorter road option, but I am not sure it’s the job of a guide to the Camino to tell them how to avoid the camino.
Yes... Though that slog at Monte Faro will make me rebel next time...;) 😈

And edit: seconding what Annette said about Tuesday in As Medulas. It's a dead zone. And is the hotel even open? They said no rooms were available and the place looked deserted. Maybe it's a Tuesday thing?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Well the visitors centers are open every day. I know that both the Agoga and Socorro are open on Tuesdays. Are you talking about the hotel right at the entrance as you come into town on the original route? The one that has an “albergue” that no one recommends?

I’ve written to Agoga to ask for some more info. Thanks for the heads up. I had never heard that.
 
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.
Well the visitors centers are open every day. I know that both the Agoga and Socorro are open on Tuesdays. Are you talking about the hotel right at the entrance as you come into town on the original route? The one that has an “albergue” that no one recommends?

I’ve written to Agoga to ask for some more info. Thanks for the heads up. I had never heard that.
I think that the hotel may be closed permanently as I had phoned them prior to starting the Invierno and they said that there were no rooms available even then.
Re the Tuesday closing ....I think that this is for the restaurants only...the Socorro does not do evening meals....not sure as to whether the Agroga does evening meals or not ....Caryn stayed there for 2 nights so she might know?
 
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.
Also forgot to say that the grocery store in las Medulas has now closed .....
I sort of remember that the guy at the albergue said that he/ they would be doing evening meals but don't quote me on this
He also mentioned something about having a website and getting info on this
Maybe the tourist office might know the guy there said that he was the only one working on a Tuesday evening!!!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for all this info. Hotel Médulas is taking reservations online so I assume they are open.

I wrote to Agoga and got info consistent with what you say. Agoga and Casa Socorro are open year round. All attractions are open on Tuesday except for the gallery. Restaurants may close on Tuesday evenings in lower seasons. Agoga serves evening meals. And I also heard that the albergue will serve meals.
 

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 think that the hotel may be closed permanently as I had phoned them prior to starting the Invierno and they said that there were no rooms available even then.
That's the feeling I got from the place, but maybe not, given what you say, Laurie...
Restaurants may close on Tuesday evenings in lower seasons
There was nothing open the Tuesday I was there other than the place in the middle of town, whose name slips my mind. But if the new albergue serves meals, that'd be super.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
That's the feeling I got from the place, but maybe not, given what you say, Laurie...
There was nothing open the Tuesday I was there other than the place in the middle of town, whose name slips my mind. But if the new albergue serves meals, that'd be super.
VN, it could be that the hotel only opens in high season, I don’t know.

When you talk about the Tuesday you were there, are you talking only about dinner or also about lunchtime? Because my pal at Agoga says that places are open for lunch usually on Tuesday. And her place is open for lunch and dinner, whether you stay there or not. But it is not right in the center so maybe people missed it.

And a bit more info — I just spoke with Hotel Medulio. In off-season they “may” close on Monday and Tuesdays. Never in summer. But with the other two, Agoga and Socorro, and now the albergue, my guess is that this hotel will not be having many pilgrim clients anyway.
 
Last edited:

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 went up to Agoga, but they weren't serving yet for lunch (it was about 1); the place in town offered a menu del dia for lunch, but the kitchen was closed for dinner, but they had cold tapas...
As far as I could tell, there was nothing else open.
I was wondring about closure of the hotel, because if early July isn't the high season, what is?
 

Clarky19

Wandering & wondering
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Invierno 2019
Hi Invernistas,

it might be helpful to know that there is another option, that I don't think I've seen mentioned but could be wrong, in a couple of the smaller places on the Camino de Invierno where some folks are now opening up a room in their homes via Airbnb. This might be a nice option for when you can't get an albergue but don't want to go down the full commercial route and keep some of that pilgrim hospitality sense and allow you to get to know locals. You do need to check the map carefully though as the site interprets your geographical location very broadly!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi Invernistas,

it might be helpful to know that there is another option, that I don't think I've seen mentioned but could be wrong, in a couple of the smaller places on the Camino de Invierno where some folks are now opening up a room in their homes via Airbnb. This might be a nice option for when you can't get an albergue but don't want to go down the full commercial route and keep some of that pilgrim hospitality sense and allow you to get to know locals. You do need to check the map carefully though as the site interprets your geographical location very broadly!
That is a very good idea, but I know what you mean about the location issue. Especially in Galicia where the parroquia extends for many kms and the little hamlets may not even be used as the address. If you have any specific places that you know are right on the camino, could you list their links?
 

Clarky19

Wandering & wondering
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Invierno 2019
Yes, no problem.

In Ponferrada multiple options but see particularly Guille very close to where you'd be setting off on the Invierno:https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/29769832?location=Ponferrada, León&source_impression_id=p3_1563189709_5CIrcucAYUWCMQZg&s=wKbw3Ira

In Quiroga there is Nelly: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/35813183?location=Quiroga, Spain&source_impression_id=p3_1563188893_BmYcxiI7PGeeVx01&s=o12ETY5_

In Chantada there is Evariskel: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/28904561?location=Chantada, Lugo&source_impression_id=p3_1563188944_yjM3q2+wJou0nzJp&s=G_qMAvjB

There are of course other options nearby some of these and also in Lalon, some are quite big but might suit folks walking in pairs or in a group.
 

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