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Interesting Detours/Extensions?


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Frances from SJPDP (May-June 2010)
I just wanted to know if there are any detours or extensions (other than Finisterre) you would recommend. For example, interesting historical monuments that are near, but not exactly on the main path...?

Thank you, Marianna :D
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Hi, there are quite a few points where you can go a different route to the main camino - the detour through Hospital de Orbigo for example. I also took a very nice route over the tops of the mountains with great views on the day out of Villafranca Del Bierzo (turn right just after the bridge on the way out of town). Also the monastery at Samos on the way to Sarria.
You can also (I think?) walk via Lugo which is quite an interesting walled city although quite a huge detour.
You can also take a bus out of any of the major cities to all kinds of interesting places if you fancied a day off.
If you're considering an alternative to Finisterre then you can either walk to Muxia or you can take the route backwards down the Portugues route (or any of the other routes but I believe the portugues is marked) which can be quite interesting.
From Najera take the detour to San Millan de Cogolla, an ages-old monastic complex to the south. You can walk a path, which takes a day, or take a bus from downtown Najera. There are pensions aplenty in San Millan, and guided tours of both the mysterious cave monastery of Suso (way up on a hilltop, dating back to the 7th c.) and Yuso, a gothic pile in the valley. If you want to spoil yourself, book into the five-star hotel that now inhabits part of the Yuso monastery -- it compares to any Parador, and if you ask for a special price you often will get a great deal!

The following day you can take a well-marked path over beautiful hillsides and pastures, and rejoin the camino near Sto. Domingo de la Calzada. It´s a wonderful break from the crowds on the Frances, I highly recommend it.
Just out of Irache, take a detour/wrong path south through the woods to Luquin, rather than directly to Villemajor de Monjardin. There is a small basilica with jewel-like representations on the retablo, and one of the volunteers cleaning the church, a retired teacher, spent a quarter hour walking me through a few thousand saints and the history of the pueblo. There is a recreational centre with a bar on the way out and, if you are lucky, they will let you use the showers and the pool.

The whole excursions might add an hour and a bit to your walk to Los Arcos.
Thank you so much all three of you! I'll definitely make at least one detour...just have to decide which one of them... :)

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Oh, and just north of Carrion de los Condes, and just south of Calzadilla de la Cueza are Roman villas, found within the past 50 years buried beneath farm fields. The first one, Villa Olmeda, has been done over in a multimillion-Euro museum project that really makes the most of its extensive and well-preserved mosaic floors -- said to be the best in Spain. You really get a feel for what the place was like 2,000 years ago. It´s on the road to Saldaña, an easy hitchhike from Carrion.

The other one, a 2 km. desvio from Calzadilla, is smaller and more humble, but still an outstanding sidelight to all the Camino de Santiago stuff... Spain has TONS of history!
I read somewhere on this forum (I have since lost the thread) about a monastery/cloister where the monks perform gregorian chanting for mass twice daily? It's slightly off the camino if I remember correctly. Does anyone know where this is? It might have been near Leon?

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