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Joining the CF, but not in Sahagún?

Camino(s) past & future
Past: Francés, Inglés, Fisterra/Muxia, Baztan, Primitivo, Norte, Portugués. Future: Madrid (2019)
#1
New Year, new Camino planning! I'm researching the Camino de Madrid at the moment and making tentative plans for a 2019 walk. Sincere thanks to everyone who's posted such helpful information and tips about this route - I've really enjoyed reading your comments and making copious notes.

I'll hopefully have about 15 or 16 walking days. All going well, I plan to walk the Madrid in 11 or 12 days, which should give me some extra time at the end. I've thought about taking a train to León to walk some or all of the Salvador, but the simplicity of continuing on the Francés is also quite appealing. However, I'm not sure I'd like to start that in Sahagún, hence this question .......

So far, I've found two possible alternatives to joining the CF in Sahagún:
1. After Villalón de Campos, follow the road to Villada and stay in what looks like a very nice albergue. Walk from Villada to Moratinos the next day (thanks @Sheffield James, @Rebekah Scott and others for your info on this in other threads).

2. Follow in the footsteps of RayyRosa (usually a good idea!) and detour 'left' to Melgar de Arriba after Villalón de Campos or Santervás de Campos, joining the CF at Bercianos del Real Camino (about 18kms from Melgar de Arriba).
Gronze shows a diversion from Santervás to Melgar de Arriba and I've found quite a few wikiloc tracks from Spanish pilgrims. This, and the the fact that there's a basic albergue in M de A, suggests that it could be a viable plan. However, the CSJ guide states that the albergue might now be closed.

My question is: has anyone walked option 2? Is it a good idea, or are there reasons to avoid it? Obviously it will depend on how my stages on the Madrid work out, but I'm curious to know the pros and cons at this point.

Also: is there another alternative route that joins the CF after Sahagún?

Thanks in anticipation!
Nuala
 
Last edited:

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
#2
New Year, new Camino planning! I'm researching the Camino de Madrid at the moment and making tentative plans for a 2019 walk. Sincere thanks to everyone who's posted such helpful information and tips about this route - I've really enjoyed reading your comments and making copious notes.

I'll hopefully have about 15 or 16 walking days. All going well, I plan to walk the Madrid in 11 or 12 days, which should give me some extra time at the end. I've thought about taking a train to León to walk some or all of the Salvador, but the simplicity of continuing on the Francés is also quite appealing. However, I'm not sure I'd like to start that in Sahagún, hence this question .......

So far, I've found two possible alternatives to joining the CF in Sahagún:
1. After Villalón de Campos, follow the road to Villada and stay in what looks like a very nice albergue. Walk from Villada to Moratinos the next day (thanks @Sheffield James, @Rebekah Scott and others for your info on this in other threads).

2. Follow in the footsteps of RayyRosa (usually a good idea!) and detour 'left' to Melgar de Arriba after Villalón de Campos or Santervás de Campos, joining the CF at Bercianos del Real Camino (about 18kms from Melgar de Arriba).
Gronze shows a diversion from Santervás to Melgar de Arriba and I've found quite a few wikiloc tracks from Spanish pilgrims. This, and the the fact that there's a basic albergue in M de A, suggests that it could be a viable plan. However, the CSJ guide states that the albergue might now be closed.

My question is: has anyone walked option 2? Is it a good idea, or are there reasons to avoid it? Obviously it will depend on how my stages on the Madrid work out, but I'm curious to know the pros and cons at this point.

Also: is there another alternative route that joins the CF after Sahagún?

Thanks in anticipation!
Nuala

Nuala:

I am not sure what your issue might be about going through Sahagun, a nice Pueblo with full service. A big change after most of the Madrid. That said, there is a detour from Servantis, I did not take it. Another option to Sahagun, would be to turn left when you reach the highway prior to Sahagun and follow it a short ways until it connects to the CF.

When I reached Sahagun, I was happy to be in a full service Pueblo and have a conversation with another Pilgrim. Only met two other Peregrino's my entire Madrid.

Ultreya,
Joe
 
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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#3
I didn't take either of your options and wasn't sorry for that because otherwise I would have to skip staying overnight in beautiful palace (now with albergue) in Grajal de Campos ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015
VDLP 2016
Portuguese March 2017
Sanabres September 2017
Madrid September 2018
#4
And it's a short walk from Grajal de Campos to Sahagun so you can quickly walk out of the town again and continue on the Frances.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Francés, Inglés, Fisterra/Muxia, Baztan, Primitivo, Norte, Portugués. Future: Madrid (2019)
#5
Nuala:
I am not sure what your issue might be about going through Sahagun, a nice Pueblo with full service. A big change after most of the Madrid. That said, there is a detour from Servantis, I did not take it. Another option to Sahagun, would be to turn left when you reach the highway prior to Sahagun and follow it a short ways until it connects to the CF.

When I reached Sahagun, I was happy to be in a full service Pueblo and have a conversation with another Pilgrim. Only met two other Peregrino's my entire Madrid.
Ultreya,
Joe
Thanks Joe. I've nothing against Sahagún (been there twice before), but I'd hate to arrive after a long day of walking and find that all the albergues were full! That said, I agree that it could be really nice to be in a larger town and meet lots of pilgrims.

I didn't take either of your options and wasn't sorry for that because otherwise I would have to skip staying overnight in beautiful palace (now with albergue) in Grajal de Campos ;)
And it's a short walk from Grajal de Campos to Sahagun so you can quickly walk out of the town again and continue on the Frances.
Good points, @KinkyOne and @Levi; staying in Grajal could be a much simpler solution. I think I read somewhere that the albergue isn't always open, but I also noticed that a forum member stayed there last summer. I'll check that out closer to my departure date.

I really appreciate all of you sharing your experience and views. My question was prompted by the entry on Ray y Rosa's website, which I've always found to be a good source of information and ideas. If I stay with them in Manzanares el Real I'll ask them all about it. A good incentive to improve my Spanish over the next few months!
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#6
Thanks Joe. I've nothing against Sahagún (been there twice before), but I'd hate to arrive after a long day of walking and find that all the albergues were full! That said, I agree that it could be really nice to be in a larger town and meet lots of pilgrims.




Good points, @KinkyOne and @Levi; staying in Grajal could be a much simpler solution. I think I read somewhere that the albergue isn't always open, but I also noticed that a forum member stayed there last summer. I'll check that out closer to my departure date.

I really appreciate all of you sharing your experience and views. My question was prompted by the entry on Ray y Rosa's website, which I've always found to be a good source of information and ideas. If I stay with them in Manzanares el Real I'll ask them all about it. A good incentive to improve my Spanish over the next few months!
Do you know how old entry on Rayyrosa's web page is? I was in Grajal in 2014 when only bathrooms were finished in the palace but I still managed to get the mayor and he gave me the keys. If you call a day in advance I'm sure you can pick up the keys somehow even in the afternoon hours (as I did) when Ayuntamiento is already closed.

And @Levi is right about short walk to Sahagun next day so you can either be one of the first pilgrims in line for albergues or simply walk on. CdM connects with CF past the La Peregrina church and close to Arco de San Benito which is actually on the exit from Sahagun (small park before the bridge where one of the private albergues is now) so you even don't have to walk through the whole town.

Anyway, happy planning and Buen Camino :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo
#7
Good points, @KinkyOne and @Levi; staying in Grajal could be a much simpler solution. I think I read somewhere that the albergue isn't always open, but I also noticed that a forum member stayed there last summer.
What @KinkyOne and @Levi said :). I stayed in Grajal in April last year. It was the best albergue on the whole of the Camino de Madrid :D. Some kids helped me find the man with the key. (I don’t speak Spanish – they had fun practising their school boy English.) There is a friendly bar across the plaza where I spent the evening. It was a lovely 8km walk into Sahagun next morning. I thought I had prepared myself mentally for the pilgrim crowd on the CF, but I hadn’t. I took the train to León and started walking again on the Salvador, where there were only 2 others walking parallel with me.
Jill
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#8
Really, Grajal de Campos is nothing special Camino wise but with it's albergue in a palace and a nearby fortress, two lovely bars (one a bit more modern up at the train station), small tienda, nice plaza and very welcoming folks I remember it as one of the nicest places on my Caminos. That night at the palace was like from the commercial for certain credit cards ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Francés, Inglés, Fisterra/Muxia, Baztan, Primitivo, Norte, Portugués. Future: Madrid (2019)
#9
What @KinkyOne and @Levi said :). I stayed in Grajal in April last year. It was the best albergue on the whole of the Camino de Madrid :D. Some kids helped me find the man with the key. (I don’t speak Spanish – they had fun practising their school boy English.) There is a friendly bar across the plaza where I spent the evening. It was a lovely 8km walk into Sahagun next morning. I thought I had prepared myself mentally for the pilgrim crowd on the CF, but I hadn’t. I took the train to León and started walking again on the Salvador, where there were only 2 others walking parallel with me.
Jill
Really, Grajal de Campos is nothing special Camino wise but with it's albergue in a palace and a nearby fortress, two lovely bars (one a bit more modern up at the train station), small tienda, nice plaza and very welcoming folks I remember it as one of the nicest places on my Caminos. That night at the palace was like from the commercial for certain credit cards ;)
Thanks folks, you've really helped me to make up my mind! My last night on the Madrid will be in Grajal and my first breakfast of the Francés will be Sahagún :). This also makes the walk from Villalón de Campos more manageable - about 30kms, rather than 36kms.

Jill, your comment about being prepared or unprepared for the pilgrim crowds really resonated with me. I've had mixed experiences of this and it's hard to predict how it will go. I'm keeping an open mind about what will happen when I reach Sahagún. If I've 4 walking days to spare and my legs are still strong, the idea of the Salvador will be very much in my mind. I could just walk straight to the train station and get the morning train to León or la Robla!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Past: Francés, Inglés, Fisterra/Muxia, Baztan, Primitivo, Norte, Portugués. Future: Madrid (2019)
#13
Nuala, you can walk a marked trail from Melgar over to Bercianos. It was waymarked about 10 years ago, but not much used. You will do fine if you have a good map.
Thanks Rebekah, that's really good to know. It's nice to have options, even if they seem a bit off the wall :) Wishing you and Paddy a happy 2019 x
 

AZgirl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012 , via de la Plata 2014
Madrid/frances Sept/Oct 2017
Next : Levante Sept 2019
#14
I loved staying at the palace, definitely a must if you can. It felt amazing to have a key to an actual palace! And you can wander around and check out the place. I was all alone when I stayed in the fall of 2017, not sure if they are still doing construction but so this may not apply, but i had got in the habit of waking up whenever, not setting an alarm. Anyhow bright and early about 645, I was surprised to be awoken by the days workers. They were nice but I felt startled as I wasn't expecting anyone. Maybe check what time work starts if it is still going?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo
#15
I was surprised to be awoken by the days workers. They were nice but I felt startled as I wasn't expecting anyone. Maybe check what time work starts if it is still going?
They had just recently finished the bathrooms when I stayed in Apr 2018. The ablution block is separated into 4 different sections each with its own toilet, washbasin and shower. It was brand new, looked as though it had never been used, still with builders dust sprinkled around and fresh paint everywhere.

It was fabulous wandering around the palace on my own. The only thing that bothered me a little was that I couldn’t lock the door at the far end of the dorm. It leads up some old stone steps into the palace itself, and I didn’t know if you could get into the palace elsewhere from outside. Then I decided that, in this friendly little town, the only intruders I might get in the night would be the kids pretending to be ghosts!
 

AZgirl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012 , via de la Plata 2014
Madrid/frances Sept/Oct 2017
Next : Levante Sept 2019
#16
They had just recently finished the bathrooms when I stayed in Apr 2018. The ablution block is separated into 4 different sections each with its own toilet, washbasin and shower. It was brand new, looked as though it had never been used, still with builders dust sprinkled around and fresh paint everywhere.

It was fabulous wandering around the palace on my own. The only thing that bothered me a little was that I couldn’t lock the door at the far end of the dorm. It leads up some old stone steps into the palace itself, and I didn’t know if you could get into the palace elsewhere from outside. Then I decided that, in this friendly little town, the only intruders I might get in the night would be the kids pretending to be ghosts!
That's interesting, when I stayed that was the way I entered/left. The glass doors in front of the kitchen bathroom were all blocked by scaffolding, I my memory serves. I need to go back to see all the work!
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#17
When I was there in 2014 the bathrooms at the glass door entrance (from the plaza) were already finished. So @jsalt can you tell where they built (additional?) bathrooms in regards to old stone stairs to the palace itself?

I had to enter through a large wooden doors up from the street. And I slept behind the reception desk because of the draft. All entrance doors were firmly locked but there were a lot of windows still missing at that time.

@AZgirl I need to go back too :D
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo
#18
When I was there in 2014 the bathrooms at the glass door entrance (from the plaza) were already finished. So @jsalt can you tell where they built (additional?) bathrooms in regards to old stone stairs to the palace itself?
The bathrooms are still at the glass door entrance. They were definitely brand new, so maybe renovated since you were there in 2014? Here are some photos.

332AlbergueGrajalDeCampos2.jpg

The door leading to the stone steps at the far end of the dorm:
334AlbergueGrajalDeCampos2.jpg

The bathrooms partition on the left and the glass door entrance, in the plaza, on the right:
341AlbergueGrajalDeCampos2.jpg

Inside the palace:
338GrajalDeCampos2.jpg
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#19
The bathrooms are still at the glass door entrance. They were definitely brand new, so maybe renovated since you were there in 2014? Here are some photos.

View attachment 50413

The door leading to the stone steps at the far end of the dorm:
View attachment 50414

The bathrooms partition on the left and the glass door entrance, in the plaza, on the right:
View attachment 50415

Inside the palace:
View attachment 50416
I can't imagine the brand new bathrooms would need any construction work after only 4 years with the numbers of pilgrims staying in Grajal??? But maybe they use them also for local fiestas etc.

Did you know that dormitory was once row of prison cells? At least the mayor told me that.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
#20
Thanks folks, you've really helped me to make up my mind! My last night on the Madrid will be in Grajal and my first breakfast of the Francés will be Sahagún :). This also makes the walk from Villalón de Campos more manageable - about 30kms, rather than 36kms.

Jill, your comment about being prepared or unprepared for the pilgrim crowds really resonated with me. I've had mixed experiences of this and it's hard to predict how it will go. I'm keeping an open mind about what will happen when I reach Sahagún. If I've 4 walking days to spare and my legs are still strong, the idea of the Salvador will be very much in my mind. I could just walk straight to the train station and get the morning train to León or la Robla!
NualaOC:

The Albergue and town Villalon is much nicer, imo, to Cuenca. A complete facility with washing machine, full kitchen, hot showers and a nice living room with television and books. The association that maintains this Albergue is also very helpful.

Ultreya,
Joe
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2011)
Norte (2014)
Norte (2016)
Salvador (2017)
Frances (2018)
Madrid-Salvador-Primitivo 19
#21
Nuala, I'll be walking the CM starting 8 or 9 May. Maybe we can team up, if our dates coincide. Then Salvador, Primitivo and Finisterre.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Francés, Inglés, Fisterra/Muxia, Baztan, Primitivo, Norte, Portugués. Future: Madrid (2019)
#22
NualaOC:
The Albergue and town Villalon is much nicer, imo, to Cuenca. A complete facility with washing machine, full kitchen, hot showers and a nice living room with television and books. The association that maintains this Albergue is also very helpful.
Ultreya,
Joe
Thanks Joe, that sounds great. It's on my very provisional itinerary, so good to know it has those facilities (especially the washing machine!),
 
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Francés, Inglés, Fisterra/Muxia, Baztan, Primitivo, Norte, Portugués. Future: Madrid (2019)
#23
Nuala, I'll be walking the CM starting 8 or 9 May. Maybe we can team up, if our dates coincide. Then Salvador, Primitivo and Finisterre.
Hi Emmanuel, that sounds like a dream itinerary. I walked the Primitivo a few years and absolutely loved it.

I'll probably be a few days behind you on the Madrid - I'm still fine-tuning my plans at this stage. It would be good to meet another forum member!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Francés, Inglés, Fisterra/Muxia, Baztan, Primitivo, Norte, Portugués. Future: Madrid (2019)
#24
The bathrooms are still at the glass door entrance. They were definitely brand new, so maybe renovated since you were there in 2014? Here are some photos.
Wow, that looks like a fascinating place! Thanks for sharing the photos.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#25
the palace is fascinating. The local grandee who built it was Spain´s rep. in the Vatican for most of his career, and he brought the Italianate style back and had it built into his palace. The grand stone staircase is a real gem. The palace is built right up against the parish church, and my favorite bit is the gallery upstairs that looks out over the altar -- the Big Man and his family didn´t have to leave home to attend Mass!
The town of Grajal has a long and storied history, it almost took over from Sahagun for a while after the Benedictines left. It has this Renaissance palace as well as a big, blocky castle just down the street... it´s usually closed, and there´s really not a lot to see in there. There´s also a big, spooky old Carmelite convent on the edge of town you´ll sometimes find open (someone is very slowly reforming it to a hotel), the founder of the convent was an American girl, back in the early 1800´s!
The Spanish Civil War took a terrible toll in Grajal, but that´s another tale for another day...
Suffice to say this is a wee town with a whole lot to offer the pilg with a couple of hours to kill!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo
#26
The town of Grajal has a long and storied history
1.jpg

The church next to the albergue I mean palace:
2.jpg

The door in the middle leads down to the dorm:
3.jpg

Oh, yes, there's a castle there as well:
4.jpg

Oh, but don't let's forget the bar on the other side of the plaza (very important):
5.jpg

Approaching Sahagun:
6.jpg

Jill
 

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