• PLEASE NOTE: Please think twice before you travel to Spain now. More here.

Search over 55.000 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Just back from the Camino del Salvador

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I have just finished walking from Leon to Santiago, via the Camino del Salvador (Leon to Oviedo) and then on the Camino Primitivo from Oviedo into Santiago. Javier Martin and his sister Nieves came up to Leon from Madrid to walk for two days, and it was great. I couldn’t have done it without them. I took notes on the Salvador because there is so little information. And I will also chime in with a few suggestions on the Primitivo forum. All in all, it was a terrific Camino. I think that it’s probably a bit tougher than the Frances, mainly because the etapas tend to be longer. The scenery is unbelievable, some of the prettiest I’ve seen.

By far the best information is on the site of the Leon-Asturias Friends of the Camino, http://www.caminosantiagoastur.com. You should print out their maps.

First of all, from Leon all of the way to Rodiezmo there is terrific marking, you really don’t need any additional sources. I’ve just written up the stages as we did them, but there are of course other options, and you could spread it out into five days, too. So, here are my notes:

DAY 1 – Leon to Pola de Gordon, 36 km.

The first day pretty well tracks the Bernesga River. You turn right when you get to the Parador San Marcos, keeping the parador on your left, and walk on the Avda. de los Peregrinos, through a roundabout with a small airplane on a pole in the middle, straight till you see the first mojon/marker. The markers are wooden and have a stick figure of a walker with a walking stick. The route takes you through a few small towns, some rural areas, not much elevation gain. In the town of La Robla there are several places to eat lunch, we had a good meal in Meson la Bogadera close to the Camino in the Calle Plaza de la Constitucion 9. We carried on ahead to Pola de Gordon where we stayed in a pension, El Arenal, for 15E each. There is also a two star hotel on the highway leaving town. There are a few bars and mesones in town, nothing out of the ordinary, but the meson next to the pension serves breakfast very early, starting at 7 I believe.


DAY 2 -- Pola de Gordon to Pajares, 28 km.

This is a georgeous day of walking.

But to make sense of my notes, you should look at the Leon-Asturian Camino group’s map for the Pola de Gordon to Santa Maria de Arbas stage,
http://www.caminosantiagoastur.com/?Las ... e_la_Etapa

The Camino goes first through Buiza, lots of good marking, all on secondary road from Pola de Gordon, but not busy. (There is also a municipal albergue in Buiza). In Buiza, we also saw a well marked split for Villasimpliz or Rodiezmo. Now if you look at your Friends´map, you´ll see that from Buiza the alternatives they provide are Villasimpliz or Poladura de la Tercia, Rodiezmo is not on either of the paths they mark. If you take the option to Villasimpliz, you will be on the N630 for many kilometers up to the Puerto Pajares. We chose the other option, which took us to Rodiezmo, not to Poladura. (It was a BEAUTIFUL walk through the mountains by the way).

Once we got to Rodiezmo we got a little messed up. Those nice wooden markers stopped (hopefully they will be continued soon). We kept going straight out of Rodiezmo, when probably we should have taken a left to somehow get to Poladura de la Tercia. But we found arrows, and after flailing around in a field for a while, we saw a wide dirt track that obviously went to a town, so we took it. It took us to Villanueva de la Tercia (also on the Friends´map), and from there up to the pass we were on the N630. So we then had 5 km on the highway (not terribly busy, but it was a Sunday) up to Santa Maria de Arbas del Puerto.

This means that there’s a stretch from Rodiezmo through Poladura de la Tercia up to Santa Maria de Arbas that we didn’t find. But no matter how you get from Rodiezmo to Sta. Maria de Arbas, in that town, which is about 1 km from the Pass of Pajares, you have to arrive in Arbas. So I don´t know where the trail from Poladura de la Tercia (the Friends’ map says it´s PoBladura, but there´s no B) meets up in Sta. Maria de Arbas.

In Sta. Maria de Arbas del Puerto there is a church and a meson that was closed. The church there is in emergency work to keep it from falling down. Mass on Sunday is at 1 and we were there about 15 minutes before so we were able to go inside. It is quite beautiful inside, if you like romanesque, that is, but I imagine it is usually closed.

From Sta. Maria, you stay on the highway for another km or so, and you hit Puerto de Pajares. That´s the highest point of the highway, beautiful views, and there´s a bar with decent sandwiches, etc. We ate lunch there.

Leaving the Puerto de Pajares, you are on the highway for another half km or so, then there´s a turn off to the left.We took the turnoff, because the alternative was to stay on the N630. It´s a steep downhill walk for a couple of km, but it’s off road and pretty. After a pretty steep descent you will arrive at another branching of the camino. Going straight will take you down to San Miguel del Rio at the bottom of the valley on the river (very pretty but no place to stay). Going to the right will take you to the town of Pajares (not the Puerto de Pajares) where there is an albergue.

The albergue is in the house where the teachers used to live. It´s a very nice albergue, the hospitalera is very nice, and they have coffee and some bread for you for breakfast. The showers are very hot, there’s even heat. I was all alone here because Javier and his sister had to go back to Madrid, but the albergue is right in the town and you can lock the door so I never felt at all nervous. There´s a meson on top of the town (on the highway) with food.


DAY 3 – Pajares to Pola de Lena (28 – 30 -32???)

If you are in the albergue of Pajares/Payares, you have a choice to make. The albergue is on the east side of the valley, where the highway N-630 and the train are. You can stay on that side, going up to get off the highway to Flor de Acebo, Romia de Arriba, Navedo and La Muela. Or you can go down to the river at the bottom of the valley, to San Miguel del Rio, cross over and stay on the other side of the valley with no N-630 and no train. Both of these routes come together at Puente de los Fierros. I went back down to the river, crossed over and stayed on the west side of the valley till Puente de los Fierros. Here are the instructions if you want to go that way:

Turn left going out of the albergue and the road goes up to the highway. After about a minute on the highway, you will see the "Leaving Pajares" sign (Pajares with a red line diagonally through it) -- the path to San Miguel del Rio is right there on the other side of the road (the side you´re on). Take the path, it takes you down a couple km, a little steep at times, through beautiful countryside. At San Miguel follow the arrow to the sign for Santa Martina. At one point, when you are close to Santa Martina, you will see that the scallop shell points you straight ahead, not to Santa Martina, but if you go that way, you will wind up going back up to the N-630 highway (which you just left at Pajares) to take the camino on the N-630 side of the valley. I highly recommend that you stay on this side of the valley (with no trains and no highway), it´s lovely.

When you get up to Santa Marina, circle around the church at the end of the village and you will come to a stone path on the right side. It goes up pretty steeply. This is a very nice walk to Llanos de Someron and from there you get on the very rural road (maybe 4 cars passed me in 4 km) which takes you down to Puente de los Fierros. This is where the two sides of the valley meet up.

In Puente de los Fierros, you have a choice, which is essentially the same choice as at Pajares/Payares. You can either go on the “right side” of the valley (meaning along the N-630) or you can stay on the “left side” and enjoy a beautiful rural walk. The split comes before you reach the actual bridge in Puente de los Fierros, you will see on the left hand side two yellow arrows, one pointing up and indicating “Fresnedo” -- that’s the one to take for the off road route. The other direction says La Frecha, I believe and it will take you along the highway. This is very clear on the caminosantiagoastur.com website.

I would say that it´s hard to think of any day of more beautiful walking on a Camino, maybe with the exception of a few days on the coast of the Camino del Norte. From Pte. de los Fierros you basically walk on the side of the hillside up to Fresnedo, a little hamlet with a few residents. There, you get on a beautiful track, the path is through hardwood forests with incredible views. Along the way there´s a pretty little tiny chapel of San Miguel (closed of course) but it´s a nice rest spot. It took me about one hour to get from Fresnedo to Herias (there´s supposedly another town along the way, Heros, but I never saw it, it may have been a couple of closed up and falling down houses I passed through).

The path has been recently cleared, it´s a wide track, and the marking is excellent. You have to remember you´re in Asturias and that the use of the scallop shell as a directional signal is reversed from the rest of the Camino. In Asturias, only in Asturias, you go the way that the smaller side of the scallop is pointing, not the way all the radiating lines are pointing (this will be crucial at a couple of points, particularly one after Herias).

In Herias I had a nice long rest at the lavadero (the clothes washing place) and conversations with two of the 6 year round inhabitants of the town. From there it´s only about 15 minutes to Campomanes, so when I got to Campomanes I didn´t feel like stopping again. I bought some food in a grocery store hoping to find a place a ways up the road to stop again. But in Campomanes, you´ll find stores, cafe-bars, places to stay,etc. From Campomanes there´s only one way to Pola de Lena, on the old N-630, but there is very little traffic, so it´s fine. When you get into Vega del Rey ( few km outside of Campomanes) keep an eye out for a pedestrian bridge over the highway. It´s off to the right after a warehouse/workshop place with a bright blue roof called Talleres Prada (but they have buildings on both sides of the road). If you want a very short (5-10 min.) little hike up to a great picnic place and a beautiful pre-romanesque church, built in the middle 800s (unfortunately closed when I was there), take this overpass. The church is vey nice, and I was sorry it was Monday, and thus closed. But the outside is very pretty (underline very), and it was a great picnic spot. The building has a lot of very stout buttress-like columns, I read that most are not for support, but mainly decoration. In fact, the church has 365 corners if you go all around the building (I took this on faith and didn’t count them!).

Hours of Santa Cristina de Lena church: 11-1 and 4:30-6:00; closed Monday (have to call Maria at 985-490-525 or 609-942-153).

From there it took me about an hour to walk into Pola, the albergue is up by the train station, it´s on the second floor of a building with lots of social services and association offices. It´s very nice, if you arrive during business hours, there will be someone sitting at a desk right inside the door. She will give you the key to the inside and outside door, the shower has tons of hot water, and there is internet on the main floor at a youth center, and they are very nice to pilgrims. If you arrive on a weekend, when this building is closed, you have to go to the police for the key. But it´s really a very nice place, so I´d highly recommend it.

DAY 4 – Pola de Lena to Oviedo (33 km)

This is a long 33 km, a LOT of pavement. There are essentially no tricks or difficulties on this segment, it´s all pretty well marked.

I left Pola de Lena in the dark, and since the next 6 km were right on a narrow highway with small or no shoulder, my headlamp was essential. Actually it was a good idea to leave in the dark, because I don´t think the scenery was too spectacular. No bars open in Pola before 8 am, I was told.

So, it was 6 km on highway to Ujo (no turns, just straight ahead). There is a much remodeled romanesque church right off the camino, and turns out the confiteria right on the square there had one of the best croissants I´ve ever had (or was it just rabid hunger after 6 km without food?).

In Ujo, you get on a path that goes right along the river. It´s used by many townspeople, and is pleasant, but paved. There are many spots, though, where a dirt path has been worn on the grass on the side and I always hopped over when I could.

In Mieres, they take you across the pedestrian bridge (I think ít´s the third bridge in Mieres (?). Then the arrows sort of disappear, but as you come down off the bridge, just head straight on the street named Manuel Llaneza. When it dead ends, into a T, head left onto Teodorio Cuesta. You will now keep going straight for a while, past a church, past a plaza with a statute of a guy pouring sidra from up over his shoulder. You will pass a cement plant or some such thing on your left. At one point I saw a scallop shell on the left side of the road affixed to a bar that would seem to be pointing you to the left. Ignore it. Almost at the end of town, there´s a big sign to the albergue in Mieres. I was told it used to be a school and has been recently converted. It´s about 50 meters off the camino, I would estimate.

When the road turns to Altu del Padrun, you now have a 4 km hike up on the secondary road. It´s not a strenuous walk, just a gradual ascent. Once up there, there´s a clearly marked scallop shell to take you off on a dirt track and you now start alternating between tracks and roads.

In Olloniego, you can either go over the car bridge over the highway or follow the scallop shell and go towards the train station and take the tunnel under the tracks. Either way, you will then turn left and go down the main street of the town, out of town, passed the medieval bridge in a field that has lost its river, there is no water running under it.

As soon as you cross the Nalon river, you will see the shell pointing you to a track that goes up. About a km up, and then you come out on the road and you´re next to a place called Centro Reto. I just plopped down on the grass in the shade and ate my lunch right there.

After the Centro Reto, there are more tracks going up, more ascent, nothing too bad. In a few minutes you will see Oviedo -- but do not be misled into thinking that it´s all downhill from here, like I did!

Here the shells take you off and on secondary roads and off and on wide or narrow tracks. The paths are brambly in places, sometimes quite narrow, but they have a fairly nice grade of descent, and then just for good measure they throw in a couple of short ascents as well. There are no problems with finding your way. Soon you will be in the city and the centro historico is not far from where you come in.

Once in Oviedo, you have a ton of choices, I decided to stay in a pension, Hostal Arcos and took an extra day to visit the pre-romanesque churches on Mt. Naranco. There are about 20 computers in the municipal library and free internet.

If I were to do it again, instead of taking a second night in Oviedo, I would have left the city around 9 or 9:30 in the morning, walked up the 4 km to visit the churches, and then continued on the Camino to Escalampero, a town about 8 or 9 km outside Oviedo which has an albergue and a couple of restaurants. That gets you started on the Camino Primitivo, and I’ll post some notes there also.

All in all, I thought this was an outstanding walk!
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
I walked the Camino de San Salvador from La Robla to Oviedo from March 19 to 21, 2009.
I promised to update the trail notes, and so here goes:

Before I write anything else, I´d like to WARN pilgrims that this is a POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS trail. Parts are high-altitude, very remote, poorly marked, with bad footing, unpredictible weather, no places to stop, and no mobile telephone signal. Do NOT attempt this trail in winter or in questionable weather, no matter what the glowing tourist PR materials tell you. DO NOT try it if you are not in good physical health and condition, or if you are not an experienced hiker, or if you do not have passable Spanish language skills.

That said, this is also the most breathtakingly beautiful Camino I have walked to date.

Laurie´s notes tell the tale right up to Buiza; our paths diverged thereafter, and re-converged in Pajares... her notes still hold sway from there, too. Mine will focus on the route from Buiza to Pajares, where I decided took the Road Less Traveled and ended up in waist-deep snow :roll:


I think it´s most useful to simply append my notes to those already extant here, contributions of Laurie, Mario, Kevin and Kari. This trail seems to be ever-changing, even more so lately as the new Renfe AVE high-speed trainline is being blasted and bulldozed through much of the same country, on its trajectory from Valladolid to Oviedo. Be prepared for detours.

There´s plenty of good news, however!

There´s a brand-new glossy 90-page guide to El Camino de San Salvador available for free at Turismos in Leon... lucky for me it was released a week before I set out, and I got one at the Tourist Office in La Robla. It was prepared by Cuatro Valles, a regional hiking and nature consortium, and it gives historical and cultural details and maps of the places along the trail in Leon province... including the “mystery trail” over the mountain to Poladura and onward to Pajares --- much discussed before I started out. The guide was not available online last I checked, but it is worth scanning the Cuatro Valles website at http://www.cuatrovalles.es to see if things have changed.

Pilgrim albergues are now open at Buiza and Poladura de Tercia. Both are set up in unused schoolhouses. Both have kitchen facilities, but no food is available in either town. You shall have to stock up in Pola de Gordon! Buiza´s facility is clean and new as of August 2008, with beds for 12. (I was Guest No. 22!) There´s a bar in the town, but it opens only at the owner´s whim, and no food is available.

Useful phone numbers are posted on the window. You can find the key-holder by simply walking straight up the main street and listening... turn right into the little garden where a radio is blaring from dusk til dawn, and knock at the door really hard.

Many people walk from Buiza all the way to Pajares in a single day, which I think is brutal – especially if you take the over-the-mountain trail. Seeing as I planned to do some bushwacking on poorly-marked trails, I gave myself two days to make that trip. Thank God for that!

I left Buiza at dawn, following the handsome new “tabard” waymarks set up by the Cuatro Caminos organization. The new guidebook promises a tabard every few hundred meters – they supposedly completed waymarking the trail from Buiza all the way to Poladura late in the Fall of 2008. It was sunny and warm, and I climbed into the cordillera sloshing through rushing creeks of snow-melt. Above the tree line I spotted several large deer, some of whom came quite near and made strange barking noises. I had no trouble til I reached the top of the pass at La Forcada de San Anton, 1,463 meters up, where a monastery once served pilgrims.

The path down the other (northward) side of the mountain – for a good kilometer at least – was covered in more than a meter of drifted snow. Of course. This HAS been the stormiest, snowiest winter in the past ten years! And the snow made a challenging Camino into a real test of physical endurance and navigation skills, as many of the tabards, yellow arrows, and landmarks probably usually available were buried. The icy crust atop the drifts was variously slippery or unable to support my weight, but it was crisscrossed with the tracks of many wild mountain creatures.

These conditions continued on the northward-facing trail sections throughout the two days of high-altitude hiking. I was lost twice, but thankfully I had a compass and topo map with me, and the sun was shining all the time, and birds singing, and wildflowers blossoming.

Finding the “lost” trail to Poladura was a breeze, as it´s on the leeward side of the mountain and I knew to look for the second little springhouse on the left side of the trail. It still is a bit tricky to spot at first, but the path angles diagonally up the cliff-face to the left, leaving the road to Rodiezmo below while parallelling it for about a half-kilometer. Once the village of Rodiezmo is in sight, navigating is much easier – just follow the Tercia valley westward, and the now-often-visible tabards. After about 4 km., when you see San Martin off to your right, head for it, and just follow the road for the last half-kilometer to Poladura. If you follow the waymarked route all the way to Poladura you will find yourself in a obstacle course of electric fence, thorny thickets, and a deep ravine, all at once.. .someone didn´t tell the farmers this was a camino!

Poladura´s pilgrim albergue is, well... open, with beds for ten. It is very basic, with no heat.

The Posada del Embrujo, the Casa Rural in Poladura, however, is a delightful place to stay. A warm private room with bath, a split of local tinto, a hearty dinner and breakfast was 60 Euro all together, and worth every cent. (My boots and pantlegs were wet through and filthy.) http://www.toprural.com/ficha/es.cfm/id ... s/4433.htm

...to be continued...
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002-2019 Via Podiensis, Camino Frances, Via de la plata, Camino del Norte, Camino Primitivo, etc.
Well done Rebecca! Very impressive. It must have been very hard floundering round in deep snow with a pack. The departure from Buiza that day and not La Robla is noted. As you quite rightly point out the terrain requires a full day from Buiza to Pobladura de Tercia. Now for the exciting bit! Pobladura to the Arbas. Hope to see your notes soon.
Again well done and best to Patrick.

Abrazos,

Kevin and Kari
 

Javier Martin

Veteran Member
Rebekah,

Milio and Yeya are preparing to walk the whole Camino del Salvador soon. Milio was asking me some information about albergues and others.

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Here´s notes from the second half of the Mountain Path bit.

San Salvador March 09: Poladura de La Tercia to Pajares (1,225 to 1,575 meters above sea level, ending at 1,379 meters)

After a good rest at Poladura de La Tercia, load up the water bottles and bring a lunch, too, so you can take your time. Leave early and follow the arrows down to the river and cross the road. Head north and a little west, following the arrows faintly marked on rocks, onto a path that makes a steady, steep climb through pastures. (this was full of grazing horses when I passed. There are MANY unconfined dogs, sheep, horses and cows along this camino; None was threatening, but people with livestock issues should be warned). After a couple of km. you intersect with the Energas natural-gas pipeline many pilgrims use for orientation – some pilgrims in the past were told to simply follow the pipeline. This advice may still hold true during summer months when footing and visibility are good.

The path winds steadily upward, gaining amazing views in every direction... here you are in the very heart of the cordillera, scaling some of the highest mountains of the Sierra del Pozo. The first pass you come to, atop another steep pasture full of mares and foals, is known locally as the “Peak of Coitus,” a spot that supposedly exercises magical powers on impotent men – a geological feature I believe is unique amongst the caminos!

For me the pass had a chilling effect, as it opened out onto the lip of a vast bowl of snowfields. The last waymark going in pointed simply upward, with no indication of right or left. The pipeline plummeted straight down a snowy cliff face, then disappeared into drifts. I could see no sign of the upright “tablones...” the valley floor was a good kilometer downhill, and my compass told me the camino should pick up to the northeast. I blundered about in the snow for a while, and then found a yellow arrow pointing right... away from the pipeline, ´round the lip of the valley-bowl... the old yellow-arrow-marked way of ages past. (I assume the new tablones take hikers to the left from El Coito, across the valley floor, and up a hidden pathway to the opposite side of the valley, to rejoin the gas pipeline. Unfortunately, I did not see another Cuatro Valles tablon for the next two or three kilometers, and had to rely on compass, map, and Santiago to find the way.)

Long story short, hiking this hidden valley is one of the most breathtaking Camino experiences I´ve had. It wasn´t just the 360-degree mountain vista, it was thrills, chills, excitement, joy, and frustration. I saw another hiker, the first of this entire walk, stride across the valley floor and up along the ridge behind me as I toiled up the cliff-face – he evidently knew the trail better than I did, (or he´d had better luck with those waymarks!) and passed within a few hundred meters above me without any greeting or wave. I did not see him again. He left no tracks. I thought I´d imagined him until I spotted him in one of my photos.

Anyway, the beautiful valley abuts another beautiful valley, requiring another descent and ascent, but a long-anticipated re-discovery of the pipeline – and finally, after a precipitous drop down another snowfield, you can see the village of Busdongo way, way down at the end of the valley, the Renfe line, and the N630 highway. And nearer by, at long last, a tablon. It, of course, points upward! Up there is supposedly the highest point on the Camino Salvador, 1,575 meters. It is crowned with a mobile-phone transmitting tower, as well as more heart-stopping views over miles of mountaintops.

It´s downhill all the way from here, and I am sure the waymarks are easily followed in good weather. I, however, lost the tablones in the snow and got lost again. I won´t bore you with my further struggles. I can attest that the high-tension electrical lines over these mountains provide good navigational aids as well as a way to sneak upwind onto frolicking grey foxes!


Unfortunately, when powerlines can loop across highways, the person walking below must find a way down without leaving her carcass bleaching on the roadside. (This particular case involved steel fencing cables and a Tarzan-like swing out over the roadside ditch. Not bad with a 6-kilo mochila!) I still do not know where the waymarked path meets the highway, as I lost the tablones on the ridge somewhere, and I saw them no more.

My busking put me onto the N630 just south of Arbas del Puerto. I wished very much the bar there was still open – the beautiful chapel was, but no one was there. The racket of passing trucks was jarring after the perfect silence of the mountains. I asked a woman about the old path to Pajares; she told me simply, “Snow, barbed wire, and maybe a bull.” Enough said.

It was a long, rackety roadside hike to the Puerto, where I had an okay menu del dia at the Fonda.

I followed Laurie Reynolds´ recommendations for an alternate path to Pajares, taking a sharp left off the highway (no flashing lights, but a runaway truck ramp) and following the Asturian backward-pointing scallop-shell symbols onto a quiet back road full of switchbacks and wildflowers.

It was a lovely road, but by this time I was exhausted and losing daylight. I should have stayed on the noisy highway into Pajares, as the detour added a good three or four kilometers to the end of a long day.

The albergue in Pajares is warm, friendly, and clean, but pilgrims should be warned there is NO breakfast served there anymore, and it´s a long, long way to the next coffee bar the following morning! Make sure you buy something for breakfast when you have dinner in Pajares. (this is where I met up with Javier and Nieves, with whom I walked the following day.)

I might also recommend following Laurie´s directions for the Valley route the following day to Pola de Lena. We took the high-level path via the Hermita de la Virgen de las Nieves. It was splendidly beautiful and green, studded with precious villages, wildflowers, ancient water mills, and folks still wearing wooden shoes. But the waymarking was awful, and we spent a fruitless hour trying to regain the trail after going astray between Pajares and Puente de los Fierros; the highway walk into Campomanes just about did me in!

from here I pass the baton back to Laurie...
 

Javier Martin

Veteran Member
Rebekah Scott said:
...but pilgrims should be warned there is NO breakfast served there anymore, and it´s a long, long way to the next coffee bar the following morning!...

It's true, we only met something like a bar very near Pola de Lena ... many hours and kilometres after Pajares.

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
One last note:

I returned this week to Poladura de Tercia and stayed again at the Posada de Embruja, and hiked up to the first mountain pass.

It´s green and bright. The snow is almost all gone, the mud is dried, and aside from the 17-percent grade, it´s almost EASY! So, pilgrims -- all the scary things you read above about the high-altitude portion taking two days? I could be wrong about how tough it is. In good weather, when you´re in good condition and there are long hours of daylight, you will likely make it to Pajares from Buiza without too much trouble.

... IF you find a waymark at the top of El Coito. Which I was unable to do, even without snow cover!

(Just make a right and follow the ridge ´round to the knife-like rocks to the northeast. And keep well away from the sheep herds. The dogs are huge and very protective.)

I´d like to hike this again sometime this summer or Fall. But only in company. Volunteers?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for this, Falcon. I am trying to figure out how to work the Camino de Salvador into next year's camino.

On a Spanish camino forum, which I was led to by this recent post on the Salvador, camino-del-salvador/topic11164.html, I have been getting good additional information about the route. When I walked it in 2008, I wound up (incorrectly) in Rodiezmo and then went through Villasimpliz and several awful kms on the highway. That seems to be a fairly common mis-step.

But it looks like a peregrino angel has made a lot (FIFTY, actually) of metal yellow arrows to mark the path better. There are pictures of these arrows, called "Ender's arrows" after the man who made them, here:

http://fsvr1.ibdinternet.com/read.php?6 ... msg-312448
http://fsvr1.ibdinternet.com/read.php?6 ... msg-319019

So, it looks like it will now be easy to get to the town of Pajares/Payares via Poladura (easy as in, well marked, not easy terrain by any means).

My only remaining doubt is over the condition of the camino on the next day's walk, from Payares to Pola de Lena, particularly between Puente de Fieros, through Herias, and Campomanes. If you bother to compare Reb's notes with mine, you'll see she took the "right hand" route out of Pajares, while I took the "left hand" route. I was able to find the markings easily for this part, which went through absolutely beautiful terrain, but I spoke with several people in Santiago this past June who said that the way from Puente de Fieros was once again overgrown and impossible to find. Does anyone have updated information? I will also see what I can find out on the Spanish forum.
 

oylero

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ávila-Astorga-Leon/El Salvador/Primitivo (2010); Camino Francés/de San Olav/Fisterre (2014)
I walked el Camino del Salvador in september 2010. Amazing! It's great with the new yellow arrows! It wasn't to many on the mountain pass...

I hope some will find my photos from my camino connected to a gps-track on a google map useful: Pilegrim-InSpe
Don't forget to check the elevation data on "statistics". It's great to be a bit familiar to the camino this way at least if someone is planning to walk alone, like I did.

Generally I will listen to falcon269, but I don't know if the words "a good map" is right, when it is not a regular Salvadorcamino-map (It still may be interresting!)
On this map, from La Pola de Gordon to Valdeoreyo, the route may be wonderful (not easy to say from a google-map), but it is not the common camino. On my walk I used both a spanish printed guide (caminosantiago2010.es) and the english guide, and I found the maps at http://www.caminosantiagoastur.com very useful. The track I present follow this route.

To avoid the problem with "showing up" at Rodiazmo, have a look at these photos. Point of interests (and a lot of photos) for peregrinos not to experienced. When I did my camino I had "written" this (visual) to my mind.

A wonderful camino. And don't forget that the cathedral in Oviedo was very important in the old days, and still is. It is not without a reason the camino from Oviedo to Santiago is called Primitivo!

Best wishes
Oyvind
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Anyone who enjoys the Salvador is gonna LOVE the Ruta Vadiniense -- a route I call the Camino de los Picos. It crosses mountains like the Salvador, (the same chain, just another province over to the east, in Cantabria) and goes north-to-south, and has a very different vibe. Much higher and craggier mountains and much more physically demanding (or maybe the two years between my Salvador hike and last week are wearing on me?), but also just a complete knockout for natural beauty and high-altitude fastness. It is 136 km., takes about a week, and connects Potes (up near Santander, on the Camino del Norte) to Mansilla de las Mulas on the Frances.

I started a thread on the Vadiniense here on the forum, but it doesn´t work yet... a guide is in the works as well. Something to consider when you are planning your next challenge!
 

oylero

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ávila-Astorga-Leon/El Salvador/Primitivo (2010); Camino Francés/de San Olav/Fisterre (2014)
Ruta Vadiniense sounds very interesting and this link is a good presentation of La ruta Vadiniense with lots of information (spanish), maps etc. A guide in english will be great, Rebekah.
Anyone longing for a solitude zig-zag to Santiago dC may go south from "Norte" (Vadiniense) and north again from León to Oviedo (Salvador) :shock:

Oyvind
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Indeed, Oyvind. That´s the very map and info site I used for my camino. It needs just a bit of updating, but it´s chock-full of good info -- the Amigos group that sponsors the site also runs the albergue in Cistierna.

IMHO You DO need a real 1:40 trail map for the first couple of days, though, if only for security´s sake.

Reb.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
My Camino this year included a repeat of the Camino del Salvador. The first time I walked, in 2008, we wound up on the highway for the last 6-8 kms up to Santa Maria del Arbas, and it was grueling. This time I found my way correctly, thanks to Ender and his fabulous marking, and was able to enjoy the mountains all the way from Buiza to Santa Maria de Arbas.

It would be impossible to exaggerate the improvement along the way over the last four years, due primarily to Ender and his dedication to the Camino del Salvador. He now has a website, which I highly recommend, http://caminodelsalvador.net/, because it has a guide in English with pictures accompanying the descriptions. The Salvador is now extremely well marked, so there is no need for a blow-by-blow description of the route and its twists and turns. Reb's CSJ guide is still very useful, but there are a few new albergues since its publication.

New albergues:
Cabanillas, 16 km from Leon, 4 beds. A good place for a first night for those who might want to spend the morning in Leon and then start out.

La Robla: new albergue in a little park at the far end of town, right on the camino. Phone numbers are on the door.

I had planned to spend 5 days on the Salvador, but the first day out I was in La Robla by 12:30 and decided to move on to Pola de Gordon, 36 km total and no albergue, but it just seemed like the thing to do. That meant that day 2 was Pajares, day 3 in Pola de Lena, day 4 in Oviedo. They were long days, but the only one that I struggled with was the day into Oviedo. There's a lot of asphalt on that stage, and a few more ups and downs than you expect. I will post some general comments here about terrain and infrastructure, and am happy to answer questions. I also took a lot of pictures and will try to get them on the internet soon.

Though the numbers are increasing (hospitalera in Pajares told me they had doubled every year for the last 5 years) they are still very small, and I met no other peregrinos.

One of the real highlights of this part was the surprise visit by Ender himself. I had posted on the forum that I had made it to Pajares, and since he knows the route so well, he figured out where I'd likely be the next morning. When his car came charging up the hill with lights flashing I was a bit unnerved till out he jumped with the salutation -- Hola, soy Ender. I was so glad to be able to meet him and thank him in person for the tremendous gifts he's given to the Salvador. I hope to walk it many more times before my knees give out, and it is an absolutely wonderful way to transition to the Primitivo and its Oviedo starting point!

I'll add some more specific comments in later posts.

Buen camino, Laurie
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Day One. Leon to Pola de Gordon. 36 or so

From Leon to the town of Carbajal, paved road with clearly defined earth shoulder -- comfortable alternative.

Carbajal to Cabanillas -- rocky path, scrub oaks, lots of ups and downs and arounds (I encountered a few ATVs and motorbikes, but everyone was very polite)

Cabinallas to Cascantes -- on river edge, very nice.

Cascantes is a long one street town, a few kms before LaRobla. Asphalt all the way from there into La Robla except for a few off-road snippets near the huge industrial site.

La Robla's albergue looks very nice.

La Robla to Pola de Gordon -- minor roads, some dirt paths, all weaving around the N630 and avoiding train construction.

Ermita del Buen Suceso -- 7 km from La Robla. Very popular restaurant/cafe

Pola de Gordon -- Pension Arenal is run by the people in Meson de Antonio so go there if no answer. New hotel, Hotel Valle de Gordon, but it looked empty. The other hotel on the main road, Hostal el Fontanan, also seems to be on its last legs. There is a sign on the door saying that the reception is open several hours a day and phones to call at other times. I did see a sign that the bar 15 de Mayo, at the other end of town from the Fontanan on the same street, had a pension as well. But the Arenal is clean and cheap, 18 euros this time.

Buen camino, Laurie
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Day Two. Pola de Gordon to Pajares. 29 km

If I had spend the first night in La Robla, my second day could have been the 23 kms from La Robla to Poladura. This would also have had the advantage of breaking up the glorious mountain walking into two days. Maybe next time.

Pola de Gordon to Buiza is easy 5kms on country road.

In Buiza, Camino is to the left and is well marked at the church, with a path to Villasimpliz to the right. The albergue in Buiza was undergoing some kind of renovations when I passed by so I didn't see anything but the outside. Typical albergue in the old school building from the looks of it.

As you begin your way down after climbing up to the Forcadas de San Anton from Buiza, keep an eye out for two little huts. They are connected with water supplies. At the SECOND one, you must leave the obvious road/path you are on (this continues down to Rodiezmo). There are numerous and obvious markings all around this little hut telling you to take a left. It's now hard to miss, but it's where we lost our way in 2008. This is where Ender's arrows pick up in earnest.

Now, you go through pleasant hill/mountain scenery to Poladura de la Tercia, where there is an albergue and a casa rural. Ender tells me he has gotten the mayor's permission to build a little bridge over a fairly mucky part right at the entrance to town.

From Poladura, there's another ascent, and this is spectacular. You will see a combination of Ender's arrows (metal yellow arrows on posts about 3 feet high) and his most recent addition of yellow metal conch shells. He has changed from arrows to conch shells to avoid the possibility that someone would turn the arrows around. Apparently this has happened, but he is certain that the responsible parties (apparently hunters) now understand that the consequences of this could be deadly in bad weather. As if to show their stuff, one of his new conch shells has a bullet hole through it! But there has been no more route-tampering. This is an amazing stretch, just beautiful, through the Sierra del Cuchillo, and it takes you to right above the church of Santa Maria de ARbas. The key for the church is in the meson across the street and it can be visited any time the meson is open.

From Santa Maria, stay on the road for a short 1/2 k, to the Pajares pass. There is a bar/cafe there (closed Mondays) and across the street there are great views from the deck of the now closed Parador. Keep on the road for a short while, you will see a turnoff to the left, across from a sign warning of a 15% grade descent. Take the turnoff, staying on the road is dangerous.

Ender has made another improvement to this part of the Camino. It used to take you way out of the way if you were headed to the albergue at Pajares. Ender has stuck a huge wooden sign into concrete at the place where you should now turn off for the albergue. He explained to me that it is the path that the villagers used to use to carry their dead from the village of Pajares up to the church of Santa Maria. It saves a few kms, and takes you right to the little town and the great albergue. The hospitalera's phone number is on the door.

Four years ago the bar/meson up on the highway above the town was run by a cranky man who didn't like pilgrims. Some said he overcharged by a fair margin if you were a peregrino. The place has been taken over by a young couple, open 7 days a week, kitchen always open. The young woman who was there when I came through made me up a nice take-away meal for reheating in the albergue. Good home cooking.

End of day 2!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Day Three. Pajares to Pola de Lena, 23 km

Leaving Pajares is easy, there's a trail down to San Miguel right off the highway, just across from the "leaving Pajares" roadway sign (Pajares with a red diagonal line through it). From San Miguel to Llanos de Someron, there are some road kms and some lovely kms of dense green tunnels, some fairly precarious on the hillside.

From Llanos de Someron to Puente Fierros is on a very minor road, and then in Puente Fierros, the off road beauty begins in earnest. From their all the way to Campomanes it's just stunning.

Campomanes has a couple of bar/restaurantes and some commerce but no albergue. There is reputed to be a pension or two, but I didn't see them.

I met Ender in Campomanes for a long cafe con leche. We coincided with one of the miners' actions to close off highways, railways, major roads, in Campomanes. As a result the cafe was loaded with media. Ender told me he had helped to re-route the camino between Campomanes and POla de Lena so that it was no longer alongside the national highway. Muchas gracias!

There is a new alternative to walking alongside the national highway from campomanes and Pola de Lena. I have edited this post because I have realized that though I was on a beautiful green path between Campomanes and Santa Cristina, I added at least 3-4 kms to the route. I will describe both, just so you'll know what I did wrong and can avoid it.

To get to Ender's path, turn right at the second bar you come to in Campomanes. There is an arrow and it takes you off towards the train station. As soon as you cross the bridge (first picture on this post in Spanish http://fsvr1.ibdinternet.com/read.php?6 ... msg-323264 ), the arrows take you left and on a path that is alongside the new autovia/superhighway. It takes you straight to the beautiful pre-romanesque church of Santa Cristina. Simple.

I missed that arrow and got to the train station. The people I asked didn't send me back to Ender's path, they sent me to another path that goes sharply uphill. It goes up on a little street past some houses and the street then ends and turns into a hikig trail. It's well marked, it does get you to Santa Cristina, but it makes a long loop and goes through other little hamlets. So, if you leave Campomanes and don't find yourself on the path alongside the superhighway, you should backtrack. Unless of course you want to add some pretty kilometers to your day, but if you've started at Pajares you're likely to want to get where you're going.

The first time I walked the Salvador I had to content myself with sitting outside in the sun and enjoying the beautiful architecture. This time, the outside was in scaffolding, but the inside was open for visits. Although the sign on the church door lists specific open/close times, the woman who lives a few houses below and has the keys told me that she will come at any reasonable time if she is available.

From Santa Cristina to Pola de Lena is 5 or 6 kms, and the albergue in Pola de Lena is up by the train station. Pola de Lena has lots of commerce and there is internet in the offices on the ground floor of the building where the albergue is located. It is a big comfortable albergue, I was sorry to once again be alone in it.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Day Four. Pola de Lena to Oviedo, 33 kms.

I don't know why I have now twice found this day so draining. Maybe it's the fact that even after you clearly see Oviedo in the not so distant distance, there are still a couple more ups and downs. Maybe it's all the asphalt. Maybe it was the heat, I don't know. But it's a long day, one that could be broken up by staying in Mieres, 14 kms after Pola de Lena. I contemplated doing just that, but when I arrived in Mieres at about 10 am, I realized that it would be a long day without much to do if I stopped walking. So on I went.

The thing about the next 19 kms into Oviedo is that there are 3 ascents/descents, none very strenuous but still. Thankfully, the first is the longest, and the last is the shortest.

First ascent from Mieres up to Padrun. There is a sidreria/cafe there. Olloniego is a few kms beyond, after the descent, and there are many bars/cafes/shops.

The second and third ascents are through little hamlets, fair amount of road walking. At the top of the third and final hill for the day, there's a nice little rest area next to an old washing stand. I sat there and rejoiced that I had no more uphill today. From there is was a short few kms in city outskirts to my pension, Los Arcos. Central, next to town hall square (where tourist office is) and very close to market, supermarket, and library.

The albergue in Oviedo has moved since my last visit. It's moved a few blocks away, into a single family house, and is a huge improvement over the old one. I didn't stay there but had a little tour from the hospitalero. It still opens fairly late, and even though I've been to Oviedo a lot, I just can't justify sitting around and waiting for the albergue to open while there is such a pretty city waiting to be enjoyed!

So, for anyone who is tempted by the Salvador -- give in to the temptation! It's a really lovely walk, and as you can see from Reb's online guide, it's easy to break up into more than 4 days.

Buen camino, Laurie
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I just got a PM from a forum member who is currently on the Salvador. She was at the Pajares albergue a day or two ago and there were 5 other peregrinos there.

Get going, forum members, you've got to see the Salvador before it suffers from the crush of huge numbers!

Buen camino, Laurie
 

unadara

Active Member
Get going on Camino del Salvador

Laurie et al
This is so timely, Many Thanks
My plan as of today is to start Madrid route with last years amigo Jose (who lives in Madrid) 14th Sept, walk to Sahagun, meet Judy/Denver, Camino amigo from last year, go to Leon, walk the Salvador (never heard of it until this morning) go to Oviedo, walk Primitivo, join Judy again in Melide or Santiago, oh what a thrilling prospect. Love to see the photos Laurie. Thanks for all the notes.
Reb, will you be in Moratinos about the 26th Sept ? I would love to stay with you and spend night there with American amigos.
Una
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Una, oh you will love this walk. Rebekah has an online guide with the CSJ http://www.csj.org.uk/guides-online.htm and Ender, the angel of the Salvador, has written a guide and translated it into English. It has less of the nuts and bolts, but it has pictures that are very helpful. http://caminodelsalvador.net/?cat=13

The first time I walked this way, I missed the most spectacular stretch because of missing the turn-off at the now famous "second water hut" on the way down after the ascent from Buiza. The second water hut now has so many arrows on it that I would have had to be walking with my eyes closed to miss the turn. And you'll see many references in most discussions of the Salvador to Ender's arrows and Ender's conch shells -- Ender has spent countless hours making the signage so that even someone like me can't get lost.

I'll get my pictures up and provide the link. Buen camino, Una, lucky lucky you. Laurie
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Una, remind me closer to when you arrive, and I will be sure to be here. You can make a "desvio" from the Madrid route and walk right to here from Villalon/Villada.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Rebekah -- two questions

What is the name of that incredible restaurant in Villada?

And, could you tell us where the detour from Villalon to Villada starts? Am I right that its directly from Villalon? Take the CL-611 for 19 kms? Then, from Villada, stay on the side of the road into Terradillos, then onto the Frances and into Moratinos?

Well, ok, maybe that's not two questions. Sorry. Buen camino, Laurie
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, canuck, yes that's it!

Sorry, I'm not exactly sure how I started asking questions about the Camino de Madrid on a Camino del Salvador thread. I'll pay more attention next time. Thanks, Laurie
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I've got my pictures up on the web. Looks like I never posted my earlier Salvador pictures, so here are two years' worth. The first in late Sept, the second in early June. On the first attempt, we missed the turnoff to Poladura and thus were unable to enjoy the most spectacular part, which I was lucky to find on my return visit.

https://picasaweb.google.com/laurie.rey ... rimitivo1# (if you look closely, you'll see Rebekah in a cheese store in Leon)

https://picasaweb.google.com/laurie.rey ... yontzEhwE#

Buen camino, Laurie
 

lovingkindness

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
Lovely shots of the San Salvador, Laurie. So that's what the interior of the Iglesia Santa Christina de Lena looked like. Such exquisite carvings. I knew I was missing something special when I circled the outside of the church. Such a pity it was locked.
-Lovingkindness
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, lk,

The first time I walked the Salvador, the church at Santa Cristina de Lena was closed, but I had a picnic on the lawn and marveled at the beauty of the architecture. The second time, the exterior was in scaffolding (getting, I was told, much needed repair), but the inside was open for visits. As you probably could tell, much of that carving pre-dates the pre-romanesque and was incorporated into the church by its builders. Maybe you'll just have to go back.

A tip for anyone who walks the Salvador and arrives at Santa Cristina de Lena when it's not open. There is a phone number on the door, call it, and if the woman is at home and available, she'll come open up at any time. This is true for Mondays, as well, she said, though she might be away.

I know there were a few forum members who planned to walk the Salvador this summer, let us know how things went for you if you're out there! Buen camino, Laurie
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks angulero.

The article linked in angulero's post explains that the renovation of the exterior of Santa Cristina de Lena is now complete, and there's a nice video. Tthree people are interviewed, and the third, a blond woman, looks to me like the woman in charge of opening the church for visitors.

When I walked by in June, the entire exterior was hidden behind scaffolding, but the interior was open for visits. I am sorry to have missed another opportunity to sit outside on the grass near that church, it is a really incredible pre-romanesque building. Great place to contemplate the mysteries of the universe, even for someone as un-mystical as me.

lovingkindness, maybe it's time for a return visit? Buen camino, Laurie
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I guess that I may be in a very small number of peregrinos who is bowled over by the romanesque and Asturian pre-romanesque, but just in case anyone else reading this is in that select group, :) , angulero has just posted a link to another video that describes how the exterior restoration led to the discovery of three new windows, two probably original, one from centuries later. Pretty amazing.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Hola Laurie and Rebekah!

Do you have any recent information on albergues in La Robla, Poladura, Pajares, Pola de Lena and Mieres? Are they still open? And what are the prices for sleeping in them?

Much appreciated!
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
La Robla, Poladura, Pajares, Pola de Lena and Mieres?
THe La Robla albergue is open and doing a decent business, with good reports.
Poladura albergue is open when the key-holder is around, you do well to phone up the Casa Embruja casa rural next door in advance to make sure you can get in and use the albergue. While you´re at it, if you don´t want to cook for yourself you can book a lovely dinner at the casa rural for about 12 Euro. The Poladura albergue is a bit rough around the edges, and cooking facilities are pretty limited, last I was there. (a year ago now.) It´s COLD up there at night!
Pajares is still open and still has the most breathtaking views of any albergue I ever saw! Always clean, too, with a friendly caretaker lady.
Pola de Lena is great long as you don´t stop on a Sunday, when there is no hot water in the albergue! You also gotta watch out for big groups, who also use this facility.
Mieres I cannot say. Last I was there it was closed and rather neglected and forlorn-looking, I could not find anyone with info or keys or anything, and I wasn´t about to stay there on my own.

None of them costs more than 10 Euro per night.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Thank you, Rebekah! Exactly because of the views (Pajares), the nature and solitude on this trail I want to do a bit shorter stages between mentioned villages. So I guess I'll have enough time to search for hospitalera :) I also don't mind the lack of hot water. The same with coldness and kitchen. As long there's a mattress and some "picnic food" (choriso, queso, bread) I'm OK.

If I'll have the chance to do this combo of Caminos (5 in 1: Irun - Sto.Domingo de la Calzada - Leon - Oviedo - Melide - SdC - Muxia - Fisterra) this year I would stop in Moratinos and say thanks again to you :wink:
 

Mountainman

El Croco loco
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Camino Frances
(StJ-Santiago) 2007, 2009
(StJ-Fisterra) 2011, 2012
Future:
Camino del Salvador 8/2014
Camino Primitivo 8/2014?
Camino del Norte 9/2014,
and hopefully many more yet unplanned
By far the best information is on the site of the Leon-Asturias Friends of the Camino, http://www.caminosantiagoastur.com. You should print out their maps.

Hola Peregrina2000,

first of all thank you for the info! I have acouple of questions regarding your remark I quoted above, just to clarify it for me:
- how would you say this information is better then the CSJ Salvador Guide: New Second Edition! that is posted by Rebekah? As the latter is in English, it is quite a bit more acessable to me...
- when you say maps, do you mean the croquis y perfil that are part of every stage?

Thanks again,
Martin
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hola Peregrina2000,

first of all thank you for the info! I have acouple of questions regarding your remark I quoted above, just to clarify it for me:
- how would you say this information is better then the CSJ Salvador Guide: New Second Edition! that is posted by Rebekah? As the latter is in English, it is quite a bit more acessable to me...
- when you say maps, do you mean the croquis y perfil that are part of every stage?

Thanks again,
Martin


Hi Martin, if you look at the date, you'll see that I walked my first Salvador in 2008, well before Reb wrote the first edition of the guide. So that first post is quite a bit outdated.

I think that anyone with interest in the Salvador should use Reb's guide (and send updates!!!) and Ender's guide, which I believe is now on Facebook. There are recent posts by Beatrice, I believe, with the link to his English version. Ender's guide may be a little too massive to carry in its entirety (more than 50 pages), but it has great pictures of the tricky spots and gives very detailed information.

Buen camino, Laurie
 

Mountainman

El Croco loco
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Camino Frances
(StJ-Santiago) 2007, 2009
(StJ-Fisterra) 2011, 2012
Future:
Camino del Salvador 8/2014
Camino Primitivo 8/2014?
Camino del Norte 9/2014,
and hopefully many more yet unplanned
Hi Martin, if you look at the date, you'll see that I walked my first Salvador in 2008, well before Reb wrote the first edition of the guide. So that first post is quite a bit outdated.

I think that anyone with interest in the Salvador should use Reb's guide (and send updates!!!) and Ender's guide, which I believe is now on Facebook. There are recent posts by Beatrice, I believe, with the link to his English version. Ender's guide may be a little too massive to carry in its entirety (more than 50 pages), but it has great pictures of the tricky spots and gives very detailed information.

Buen camino, Laurie
You are right, I did not look at the date at all, sorry! I found Enders guide on his FB page, but in the form of a slideshow. Do you (or anyone else) know if there is a way to download it? Or is there another format there that I missed? I would like to take it with me on my phone, if possible. Like I already have Reb's guide. And for sure, I will write down any remarks and send them back!

Thanks for your quick reply,
Martin
 

obinjatoo@yahoo.com

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Dieppe, FR Bici CF.
2014 Ruta Vasco/CF/Primativo
I walked the Camino de San Salvador from La Robla to Oviedo from March 19 to 21, 2009.
I promised to update the trail notes, and so here goes:

Before I write anything else, I´d like to WARN pilgrims that this is a POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS trail. Parts are high-altitude, very remote, poorly marked, with bad footing, unpredictible weather, no places to stop, and no mobile telephone signal. Do NOT attempt this trail in winter or in questionable weather, no matter what the glowing tourist PR materials tell you. DO NOT try it if you are not in good physical health and condition, or if you are not an experienced hiker, or if you do not have passable Spanish language skills.

That said, this is also the most breathtakingly beautiful Camino I have walked to date.

Laurie´s notes tell the tale right up to Buiza; our paths diverged thereafter, and re-converged in Pajares... her notes still hold sway from there, too. Mine will focus on the route from Buiza to Pajares, where I decided took the Road Less Traveled and ended up in waist-deep snow :roll:


I think it´s most useful to simply append my notes to those already extant here, contributions of Laurie, Mario, Kevin and Kari. This trail seems to be ever-changing, even more so lately as the new Renfe AVE high-speed trainline is being blasted and bulldozed through much of the same country, on its trajectory from Valladolid to Oviedo. Be prepared for detours.

There´s plenty of good news, however!

There´s a brand-new glossy 90-page guide to El Camino de San Salvador available for free at Turismos in Leon... lucky for me it was released a week before I set out, and I got one at the Tourist Office in La Robla. It was prepared by Cuatro Valles, a regional hiking and nature consortium, and it gives historical and cultural details and maps of the places along the trail in Leon province... including the “mystery trail” over the mountain to Poladura and onward to Pajares --- much discussed before I started out. The guide was not available online last I checked, but it is worth scanning the Cuatro Valles website at http://www.cuatrovalles.es to see if things have changed.

Pilgrim albergues are now open at Buiza and Poladura de Tercia. Both are set up in unused schoolhouses. Both have kitchen facilities, but no food is available in either town. You shall have to stock up in Pola de Gordon! Buiza´s facility is clean and new as of August 2008, with beds for 12. (I was Guest No. 22!) There´s a bar in the town, but it opens only at the owner´s whim, and no food is available.

Useful phone numbers are posted on the window. You can find the key-holder by simply walking straight up the main street and listening... turn right into the little garden where a radio is blaring from dusk til dawn, and knock at the door really hard.

Many people walk from Buiza all the way to Pajares in a single day, which I think is brutal – especially if you take the over-the-mountain trail. Seeing as I planned to do some bushwacking on poorly-marked trails, I gave myself two days to make that trip. Thank God for that!

I left Buiza at dawn, following the handsome new “tabard” waymarks set up by the Cuatro Caminos organization. The new guidebook promises a tabard every few hundred meters – they supposedly completed waymarking the trail from Buiza all the way to Poladura late in the Fall of 2008. It was sunny and warm, and I climbed into the cordillera sloshing through rushing creeks of snow-melt. Above the tree line I spotted several large deer, some of whom came quite near and made strange barking noises. I had no trouble til I reached the top of the pass at La Forcada de San Anton, 1,463 meters up, where a monastery once served pilgrims.

The path down the other (northward) side of the mountain – for a good kilometer at least – was covered in more than a meter of drifted snow. Of course. This HAS been the stormiest, snowiest winter in the past ten years! And the snow made a challenging Camino into a real test of physical endurance and navigation skills, as many of the tabards, yellow arrows, and landmarks probably usually available were buried. The icy crust atop the drifts was variously slippery or unable to support my weight, but it was crisscrossed with the tracks of many wild mountain creatures.

These conditions continued on the northward-facing trail sections throughout the two days of high-altitude hiking. I was lost twice, but thankfully I had a compass and topo map with me, and the sun was shining all the time, and birds singing, and wildflowers blossoming.

Finding the “lost” trail to Poladura was a breeze, as it´s on the leeward side of the mountain and I knew to look for the second little springhouse on the left side of the trail. It still is a bit tricky to spot at first, but the path angles diagonally up the cliff-face to the left, leaving the road to Rodiezmo below while parallelling it for about a half-kilometer. Once the village of Rodiezmo is in sight, navigating is much easier – just follow the Tercia valley westward, and the now-often-visible tabards. After about 4 km., when you see San Martin off to your right, head for it, and just follow the road for the last half-kilometer to Poladura. If you follow the waymarked route all the way to Poladura you will find yourself in a obstacle course of electric fence, thorny thickets, and a deep ravine, all at once.. .someone didn´t tell the farmers this was a camino!

Poladura´s pilgrim albergue is, well... open, with beds for ten. It is very basic, with no heat.

The Posada del Embrujo, the Casa Rural in Poladura, however, is a delightful place to stay. A warm private room with bath, a split of local tinto, a hearty dinner and breakfast was 60 Euro all together, and worth every cent. (My boots and pantlegs were wet through and filthy.) http://www.toprural.com/ficha/es.cfm/id ... s/4433.htm

...to be continued...
How late in the year would you consider doing this route? My itin thus far looks something like this: Irun -> Granon via the Tunel Route; Granon -> Leon CF
One last note:

I returned this week to Poladura de Tercia and stayed again at the Posada de Embruja, and hiked up to the first mountain pass.

It´s green and bright. The snow is almost all gone, the mud is dried, and aside from the 17-percent grade, it´s almost EASY! So, pilgrims -- all the scary things you read above about the high-altitude portion taking two days? I could be wrong about how tough it is. In good weather, when you´re in good condition and there are long hours of daylight, you will likely make it to Pajares from Buiza without too much trouble.

... IF you find a waymark at the top of El Coito. Which I was unable to do, even without snow cover!

(Just make a right and follow the ridge ´round to the knife-like rocks to the northeast. And keep well away from the sheep herds. The dogs are huge and very protective.)

I´d like to hike this again sometime this summer or Fall. But only in company. Volunteers?
I'll do it... After reading through this post I would consider it. I was going to ask how late in the year you would consider doing this yourself. My itinerary to date looks like this: Irun -> Granon via the Tunnel Route I have a 2 week stint as a volunteer at the albergue in Granon Sept 1 -15; Granon -> Leon via CF Oviedo -> Santiago and up until now I didn't know I could walk a route TO Oviedo. Anyway let me know what you think. I have some experience in back country travel and then some.... I'm under no illusions of what can happen in the mountains ANYWHERE ANYTIME...
OK.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
I would not chance this route after November 15. Some fall/winters are much more mild than others; some winters come very early up in the Picos. I walked the Salvador in late September one time and ran into a sudden thunderstorm with sideways-blowing SNOW.
 

obinjatoo@yahoo.com

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Dieppe, FR Bici CF.
2014 Ruta Vasco/CF/Primativo
All in all, I thought this was an outstanding walk![/QUOTE]

I looked over the web site as I'm thinking about this route. I could not however find a link to the maps you mention. Any more info as to where on the web site?
Thanks
 

Mountainman

El Croco loco
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Camino Frances
(StJ-Santiago) 2007, 2009
(StJ-Fisterra) 2011, 2012
Future:
Camino del Salvador 8/2014
Camino Primitivo 8/2014?
Camino del Norte 9/2014,
and hopefully many more yet unplanned

obinjatoo@yahoo.com

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Dieppe, FR Bici CF.
2014 Ruta Vasco/CF/Primativo
I would not chance this route after November 15. Some fall/winters are much more mild than others; some winters come very early up in the Picos. I walked the Salvador in late September one time and ran into a sudden thunderstorm with sideways-blowing SNOW.
I'm just now seeing your response. At any rate, if Nov 15 is about the cutoff (depending of course on current conditions at the time), this allows about 44 days from Granon to to La Robla. I think that's possible. It depends on the terrain. I just did a hike with a friend today. It was only 9 miles but there was route finding and it required more up, down , scrambling and just slow going than we expected. The trail was wet from recent heavy rains and sections were slick or had deep puddles. It took a few hours longer than we thought it might. In any case give it a think. I'll be in Spain shortly...
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
That's a very useful map. Except I don't tend to travel with any kind of device. Is there another map in hard copy somewhere? Or at least something similar?

That is actually not an accurate map. I haven't looked at all of it, but just looking at the first bit, I saw that it has the entrance into La Robla all wrong, and after Buiza it goes to Villasimpliz, which is definitely NOT the Camino del Salvador. So you shouldn't be sorry that you can't use that one.

A map is not necessary on this walk, if you've got the guides, but I know some people like maps just because they do. If that's you, I would buy a road map for orientation, you will be able to connect the dots and see where you are going when you get to the mountains.

Or those croquis and perfils maps that an earlier post referred you to, those are schematic but probably more accurate. Buen camino, Laurie
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
If any of you is in the neighborhood, 10 August is the Romeria up to the Cruz del Salvador! The party leaves Poladura de Tercia at 10 am., there's a talk once everyone gets up to the top, and the crowd then descends for a tour of a cheese factory, dancing, and quemada.

I am thinking of going, but the last time I did a mid-summer Picos hike with a Spanish group (the Vadiniense Amigos) keeping up with those mountaineers just about finished me off!
Let me know if you want a ride from Sahagun/Leon and points north.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Reb, posts like this just make me cringe wishing I could go too! Poladura to the cross is a lot less strenuous than what you did last year in the Picos, and now you're much tougher after your walk to Penalba and El Acebo. Tell us about the cheese factory visit, I LOVE Asturian cheese, especially La Peral. Abrazos.
 

obinjatoo@yahoo.com

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Dieppe, FR Bici CF.
2014 Ruta Vasco/CF/Primativo
That is actually not an accurate map. I haven't looked at all of it, but just looking at the first bit, I saw that it has the entrance into La Robla all wrong, and after Buiza it goes to Villasimpliz, which is definitely NOT the Camino del Salvador. So you shouldn't be sorry that you can't use that one.

A map is not necessary on this walk, if you've got the guides, but I know some people like maps just because they do. If that's you, I would buy a road map for orientation, you will be able to connect the dots and see where you are going when you get to the mountains.

Or those croquis and perfils maps that an earlier post referred you to, those are schematic but probably more accurate. Buen camino, Laurie
Laurie, you are referring to the guides on the Camino Santiago Asturias web site? It's starting to make sense now. Can those guides be found in print anywhere in Leon or close to Leon? I don't own a printer.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Laurie, you are referring to the guides on the Camino Santiago Asturias web site? It's starting to make sense now. Can those guides be found in print anywhere in Leon or close to Leon? I don't own a printer.

I'm glad it's making sense for you, because I'm getting confused! The map I described as inaccurate is this one: http://www.elcaminosantiago.com/Camino-Santiago-Map-Camino-del-Salvador-Google.htm

But your most recent post refers to "guides." I don't think the caminosantiagoastur site is really a guide, but each one of the stages does have a "croquis and perfil" tab, which gives a schematic map and information on elevation. The route they show has a lot of the same inaccuracies as the map I described as inaccurate, so I wouldn't use this site for much either.

So, sorry for repeating myself, but the best option, especially for English speakers, is Reb's guide (which you can definitely print out) and Ender's pictoral guide.
 
M

mikevasey

Guest
Will add a little bit to this thread. We stopped a few Km short of Pola de Lena it was a Sunday and I was wet and cold. But met a couple who had stayed there and they said there was hot water.
Had Paella in Poladura, a van turned up which was selling fish when we arrived so took advantage also helped us meet the keyholder who was waiting for fish as well. Several other Vans turned up during the day selling bakery goods and fruit, it was a Friday. At the place before Poladura (buzia)which has an Albergue and Angel(of blaring music fame) is the hospitalero the guide says there is a place which opens at the owners whim to sell food and drinks, we asked and was told it was a socio club they meet on Fridays and Saturdays and only got together to drink and play cards. Vans turn up during the week selling goods here as well, I asked, it something I have experienced on other Camino's, places with no facilities will usually have vans selling goods coming around at some point in the week at varying times.
The Pajares albergue is the best, purely for the warmth that spreads from Marissa. As mentioned elsewhere there is a vending machine selling various items, cans of lager being one, it can empty very quickly, and empty again and again after being refilled.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

obinjatoo@yahoo.com

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Dieppe, FR Bici CF.
2014 Ruta Vasco/CF/Primativo
Thanks for that info. I have experienced the vans selling various goods. Mostly bread but there were others as I recall. Hard to miss too because some of them drive through town blaring their horns. It's one of the things I like about that part of the world. Always a surprise.
 

obinjatoo@yahoo.com

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Dieppe, FR Bici CF.
2014 Ruta Vasco/CF/Primativo
I'm glad it's making sense for you, because I'm getting confused! The map I described as inaccurate is this one: http://www.elcaminosantiago.com/Camino-Santiago-Map-Camino-del-Salvador-Google.htm

But your most recent post refers to "guides." I don't think the caminosantiagoastur site is really a guide, but each one of the stages does have a "croquis and perfil" tab, which gives a schematic map and information on elevation. The route they show has a lot of the same inaccuracies as the map I described as inaccurate, so I wouldn't use this site for much either.

So, sorry for repeating myself, but the best option, especially for English speakers, is Reb's guide (which you can definitely print out) and Ender's pictoral guide.
Sorry if I'm confusing YOU! Ha ha ha... I tend to be very concrete. Having said that, I will go back and read more of Reb's post and print the important bits. I still like a good map now and then. I am spoiled having been trained on and working with the USGS 7.5 minute maps of North America. I'll figure it out. Like I said, if I find myself swimming in cold water off a coastline from Leon I've obviously gone too far north...Or west... Really......... I've never not ended up somewhere.
 

Silvester

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Salvador (2014)
Camino Primitivo (2014)
Camino Muxia (2014)
Camino Fisterra (2014)
Thanks for that info. I have experienced the vans selling various goods. Mostly bread but there were others as I recall. Hard to miss too because some of them drive through town blaring their horns. It's one of the things I like about that part of the world. Always a surprise.
we are on the Salvador at present and enjoying wonderful hospitality at LA posada in Poladura de LA Tercia. We thought others might like some up to date Albergue info for Cabanillas, la Robla and Buiza.
Our mobiles didn't work in Cabanillas so we advise ringing from leon. The contact is El Presidente Alberto Garcia Fernandez 615046203 who lives at Calle Real 1 (a white house with many flowers at the end of the village past the playground. Alternatively ring Ayto de Cuadros 987578083. Lovely Albergue with sheets and towels. Byo food and use the microwave.
La Robla contact is 671213051 and the hospitalera (whpse mame i never learned as a couple of galleho peregrinos did all the talking) is at Bar LA huega, calle mayor, 69 in front of the Albergue in the municipal park. She cooked us all a 3 course meal too.
Buiza another comfortable Albergue. Angel lives up a path on the right after the first house past the fuente on the Camino route. He doesn't have a gate (green or othetwise)and you can find his house by listening for the radio.
Really enjoying our Camino.
Mary
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
The map here posted by Falcon in 2011 is nowhere near the path I walked in 2013. Is this due to the work of Ender?

Ultreya,
Joe

I asked Ender about this map and he says it's just some nice bike route that has nothing to do with the Camino del Salvador. But the arrows and shells won't take you on this route at all. I have tried to contact whoever owns the site but have been unable to make contact. Hope others don't get confused! Buen camino, Laurie
 

Advertisement

Booking.com

Similar threads

Camino Conversations

Camino Conversations

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

Most downloaded Resources

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 16 1.2%
  • February

    Votes: 10 0.8%
  • March

    Votes: 56 4.2%
  • April

    Votes: 200 15.1%
  • May

    Votes: 329 24.9%
  • June

    Votes: 96 7.3%
  • July

    Votes: 24 1.8%
  • August

    Votes: 27 2.0%
  • September

    Votes: 381 28.8%
  • October

    Votes: 158 12.0%
  • November

    Votes: 17 1.3%
  • December

    Votes: 7 0.5%

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store
Top