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LIVE from the Camino Lana April 2022

dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Brief notes, I’ll post full details when we get home. So far, so good.
Way marks, sometimes good, sometimes not. We relied on Wikilocs (ludo peregrinus) to get out of nearly every town and village and 100% between Villarta and Iniesta. There is no way through those vineyards without map, compass and more than one friendly tractor driver. Since then OK. Albergues are all open but you need to call up a day or two before to let them know you are coming. Some are opulent, some are basic, Caudete, Alatoz, Cuenca and Villaconejos standout. Some require sleeping mat. If you want to shorten stages, be prepared to stay in hotels etc. We have escaped the worst of the heat wave but are still out the door by six. The scenery is beautiful but the greatest joy has been the kindness and enormous generosity of everyone we have met, especially Joaquin, Pedro Antonio, Luis and Pepe. This route would be hell in rain unless your idea of fun is walking with a kilo of mud attached to either foot. Spanish would be really useful. Other pilgrims are few so you need to be content with you own company. Love to hear comments but don’t PM me as Outlook has decided I really am a robot and don’t deserve emails. Love to all, buen camino.
 
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dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Brief notes, I’ll post full details when we get home. So far, so good.
Way marks, sometimes good, sometimes not. We relied on Wikilocs (ludo peregrinus) to get out of nearly every town and village and 100% between Villarta and Iniesta. There is no way through those vineyards without map, compass and more than one friendly tractor driver. Since then OK. Albergues are all open but you need to call up a day or two before to let them know you are coming. Some are opulent, some are basic, Caudete, Alatoz, Cuenca and Villaconejos standout. Some require sleeping mat. If you want to shorten stages, be prepared to stay in hotels etc. We have escaped the worst of the heat wave but are still out the door by six. The scenery is beautiful but the greatest joy has been the kindness and enormous generosity of everyone we have met, especially Joaquin, Pedro Antonio, Luis and Pepe. This route would be hell in rain unless your idea of fun is walking with a kilo of mud attached to either foot. Spanish would be really useful. Other pilgrims are few so you need to be content with you own company. Love to hear comments but don’t PM me as Outlook has decided I really am a robot and don’t deserve emails. Love to all, buen camino.
Drat. That should of course be 2022

705B583B-6EB8-454D-B281-822507425F9C.jpeg 9120127C-2DE2-427F-8722-A01974B30D35.jpeg 913DC7C0-CB08-450E-AE7A-A5AF81D1E750.jpeg FD47372C-D7A4-4C1D-ADEE-8931B976576E.jpeg A6E3CAF8-7729-4ABB-8C07-2E57EFB57278.jpeg
 
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peregrina2000

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I edited the title. :p

@dick bird , I am so happy for you. Oh how much I had hoped to be there this spring. I am cautiously hoping that I can get there in September. I decided that since I have been unable to walk the Lana in spring 2020, spring 2021, or spring 2022, I should just seize the opportunity when it comes. I know the landscape will be radically different, but I think I need to carpe diem!
 

dick bird

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Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
I edited the title. :p

@dick bird , I am so happy for you. Oh how much I had hoped to be there this spring. I am cautiously hoping that I can get there in September. I decided that since I have been unable to walk the Lana in spring 2020, spring 2021, or spring 2022, I should just seize the opportunity when it comes. I know the landscape will be radically different, but I think I need to carpe diem!
Absolutely. We are Carpiendo this diem with all our might - that’s one big lesson we’ve learnt over the last three years. The landscape will be different but I suspect just as beautiful in a different way. One thing won’t have changed - the warmth and generosity of the people. Buen Camino.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Thanks for your post @dick bird , I sooooo agree with you about the iffy signage. I walked Alicante-Cuenca by myself (saw only 1 other pilgrim one day) and got lost in those vineyards and a couple other times leaving towns. Never ask locals on this route cause you'll be sent to the highway (happened once). I didn't use tracks, obviously, but can recommend especially if you're walking alone.
 

BruceNZ

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese 2012
Camino Mozarabe 2018 Granada-Merida
Camino de la Lana (2020)
I edited the title. :p

@dick bird , I am so happy for you. Oh how much I had hoped to be there this spring. I am cautiously hoping that I can get there in September. I decided that since I have been unable to walk the Lana in spring 2020, spring 2021, or spring 2022, I should just seize the opportunity when it comes. I know the landscape will be radically different, but I think I need to carpe diem!
We too were ready to go this time 2 years ago ... and now planning Madrid/Francis/el Salvador in a year so will watch yours and this blog with interest !!
 
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Bad Pilgrim

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Can’t wait to hear more.

On her recent thread, @Sitkapilgrim reports there is now nothing available between Retortillo and San Estevan de Gormaz. Hoping you can find something, or that María in Caracena has reopened. Let us know, and buen camino!

There is the Casa Rural Los Arrenes in Tarancueña: it looks like it is still up and running (there is a calendar with the available dates at the bottom of the page):

Casa Rural Los Arrenes de Tarancueña

It is pricey, but 8 kms after Retortillos. From Tarancueña there are still 36-37 kms to San Esteban but at least it is easy walking. I am not fond of stages close to 40 kms but I think this stage is manageable!
 
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dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Can’t wait to hear more.

On her recent thread, @Sitkapilgrim reports there is now nothing available between Retortillo and San Estevan de Gormaz. Hoping you can find something, or that María in Caracena has reopened. Let us know, and buen camino!
Our research has sadly confirmed what Sitka reports. Nothing between Retortillo and San Esteban. 45 km days or sleeping rough are not an option for us, so we are regretfully looking at taxi for all or part of this stage.I’l let you know if we find a better alternative.
 

dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
There is the Casa Rural Los Arrenes in Tarancueña: it looks like it is still up and running (there is a calendar with the available dates at the bottom of the page):

Casa Rural Los Arrenes de Tarancueña

It is pricey, but 8 kms after Retortillos. From Tarancueña there are still 36-37 kms to San Esteban but at least it is easy walking. I am not fond of stages close to 40 kms but I think this stage is manageable!
Thanks, we’ll check it out.
 

dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Just heard yesterday from a Dutch woman walking that the list that is given out by the Amigos is not up-to-date. Quite a few accommodations are closed. She is past Cuenca and still walking so did not want to elaborate on specifics, sorry. Message I guess is to contact the accomodation before setting out and not assume the list is correct.
I think contacting people beforehand is essential even for albergues. The amigos guide was done some while ago, but apart from after Retortilo, accommodation has not been a problem. The only closed albergue is Caracena.
 
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peregrina2000

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Staff member
I think contacting people beforehand is essential even for albergues. The amigos guide was done some while ago, but apart from after Retortilo, accommodation has not been a problem. The only closed albergue is Caracena.
I have been in WhatsApp contact with a taxi service in San Esteban de Gormaz. He told me that just yesterday he picked up two pilgrims in Caracena and brought them to San Esteban. But he said lodging was tight and they wound up having to go to a hotel. I‘m not looking at a guide now, so I don’t know what the lodging options are or if there’s an albergue.

He charges about 35€ for a pickup in Caracena to take you to San Esteban. If you went back the next morning to continue walking it would be another 35. This is for normal daytime hours, night would be more expensive.

Taxi Ricardo Mate, San Esteban de Gormaz, 34 626 99 85 89.

Good to know there are options, even if pricey.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
I have been in WhatsApp contact with a taxi service in San Esteban de Gormaz. He told me that just yesterday he picked up two pilgrims in Caracena and brought them to San Esteban. But he said lodging was tight and they wound up having to go to a hotel. I‘m not looking at a guide now, so I don’t know what the lodging options are or if there’s an albergue.

He charges about 35€ for a pickup in Caracena to take you to San Esteban. If you went back the next morning to continue walking it would be another 35. This is for normal daytime hours, night would be more expensive.

Taxi Ricardo Mate, San Esteban de Gormaz, 34 626 99 85 89.

Good to know there are options, even if pricey.
That's a hefty fee. On top of that is your accommodation and food.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I agree it’s pricey, but this is not an abusive price for the service offered. I think standard long distance taxi rates in Spain are at about 1.4 or 1.5 € per kilometer (way up now from what was, for years it seemed, the old rule of thumb of 1 € per km ), and this would be a 28 km ride.

The other option is what BP referred to — the Casa Rural in Taracuena with a 36 km day to San Esteban. Looks like the CR charges 68 € for lodging and breakfast for a double. So that’s not a cheap option either, but probably works out to less than the taxi option.
 

dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
I have been in WhatsApp contact with a taxi service in San Esteban de Gormaz. He told me that just yesterday he picked up two pilgrims in Caracena and brought them to San Esteban. But he said lodging was tight and they wound up having to go to a hotel. I‘m not looking at a guide now, so I don’t know what the lodging options are or if there’s an albergue.

He charges about 35€ for a pickup in Caracena to take you to San Esteban. If you went back the next morning to continue walking it would be another 35. This is for normal daytime hours, night would be more expensive.

Taxi Ricardo Mate, San Esteban de Gormaz, 34 626 99 85 89.

Good to know there are options, even if pricey.
That is brilliant, thank you so much. I think 35 euros is pretty reasonable considering the distance involved, and we have already booked Rincon de Elena for the night in San Esteban de Gorman 53 eu for a double room (single is 35). Siguenza is a lovely town at the end of a lovely walk. Thanks again. D68D955E-9331-4AC3-9E4E-A1218B72F4FD.jpeg
 
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dick bird

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Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
The notorious Vilaexcusa gate. One of two attempts by landowners to block the Camino. We were advised by Pepe and Pol of Valconejos more of them later) that at the entrance to the estate (after taking a left fork 7km from Salmeron maybe signposted to church) there is a padlocked gate. To the right of the gate is a tree. At head height on the back of the tree is the key hanging from a nail. Remember to lock after you pass through. At the ruined village, pass between the barn and the church, a right turn up the hill. At the top are the impressive looking gates you see in the picture. They are locked. But closer inspection reveals a wide gap at the bottom. You have to get down and dirty but it is an easy crawl under, and you are back on the Camino with a sense of satisfaction and the knowledge you have knocked a km or two off the day’s walk. 8A52296C-8390-4680-8F2B-0067B04970BE.jpeg
 
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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Yes
The notorious Vilaexcusa gate. One of two attempts by landowners to block the Camino. We were advised by Pepe and Pol of Valconejos (more of them later) that at the entrance to the estate (after taking a left fork 7km from Valconejos, maybe signposted to church) there is a padlocked gate. To the right of the gate is a tree. At head height on the back of the tree is the key hanging from a nail. Remember to lock after you pass through. At the ruined village, pass between the barn and the church, a right turn up the hill. At the top are the impressive looking gates you see in the picture. They are locked. But closer inspection reveals a wide gap at the bottom. You have to get down and dirty but it is an easy crawl under, and you are back on the Camino with a sense of satisfaction and the knowledge you have knocked a km or two off the day’s walk. View attachment 126510

I am confused. Do you mean Salmerón and not *Villaconejos?

I did not know about the key on the tree so I will check it out next time. But according to the map the alternative through Villaescusa is only 0,5 kms shorter than the regular route.
 

dick bird

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Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
I am confused. Do you mean Salmerón and not *Villaconejos?

I did not know about the key on the tree so I will check it out next time. But according to the map the alternative through Villaescusa is only 0,5 kms shorter than the regular route.
You’re right. It is the stage after Salmeron. My apologies.
 

dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
I am confused. Do you mean Salmerón and not *Villaconejos?

I did not know about the key on the tree so I will check it out next time. But according to the map the alternative through Villaescusa is only 0,5 kms shorter than the regular route.
Now edited. I think you are right, not much difference, but it’s the principle that counts. Plus to show solidarity with the locals. Not to mention a possibly childish delight in defying the rich and powerful, even in a small way.
 

dick bird

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Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Quick update on Retortillo de Soria to San Esteban: option 1 - there is bus on Tuesdays from Retortillo to Fresno de Caracena 7.30 am arriving 8.30 so you can walk to San Esteban from there (missing out R to Caracena) or walk back to R, stay another night and the kind people at Las Murallas will drop you off at Fresno so you can walk to San Esteban. Option 2 is to walk to Caracena and pre arrange Ricardo Mate ( 626 99 85 89) to taxi into San Esteban if you don’t mind skipping a stage. We are going for 2. Hope this is clear and helpful.
 
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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Yes
Quick update on Retortillo de Soria to San Esteban: option 1 - there is bus on Tuesdays from Retortillo to Fresno de Caracena 7.30 am arriving 8.30 so you can walk to San Esteban from there (missing out R to Caracena) or walk back to R, stay another night and the kind people at Las Murallas will drop you off at Fresno so you can walk to San Esteban. Option 2 is to walk to Caracena and pre arrange Ricardo Mate ( 626 99 85 89) to taxi into San Esteban if you don’t mind skipping a stage. We are going for 2. Hope this is clear and helpful.

Any new adventures? After San Esteban de Gormaz? Would love to here what happens on the Lana...!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Option 2 is to walk to Caracena and pre arrange Ricardo Mate ( 626 99 85 89) to taxi into San Esteban if you don’t mind skipping a stage. We are going for 2. Hope this is clear and helpful.
Or those real nut cases out there could take a taxi the next morning back to Caracena and walk to San Esteban that day, thus giving you two nights in San Esteban.

I think that based on what I have seen, Retortillo to Caracena is really pretty spectacular, but I don’t know much about Caracena to San Esteban. Maggie’s pictures of that stage suggest that if you’re going to miss out on either Retortillo to Caracena or Caracena to San Esteban, do what @dick bird suggests.

And when you get to Caracena, if the bar is open, maybe you can do some sleuthing about the acogida! (if you haven’t already gone through).
 

dick bird

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Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Update - there is definitely NO accommodation at all between Retortillo de Soria and San Esteban de Gorman, and the albergue in San Esteban is closed. But that gorge is stunning. We are finally in Burgos, from Mecerreyes to Hontaria de la Cantera is impossible without phone navigation. It’s been an amazing walk but I can’t pretend it’s been easy. When we get back home in August I’ll post more info with details and pics. Meantime, Buen Camino everyone. That’s me, by the way, getting the best haircut of my life from Pepe el Torero (check out the walls) in Siguenza ADAD4480-B2B1-454F-9347-9CFD00D54BAE.jpeg 9A9C76E8-D95D-41E8-B57A-513FEAC532DF.jpeg DA2BFB39-7317-4E33-A2D0-528EEBC55D79.jpeg E671E866-5C6A-4AC0-AC42-43F287EE0F41.jpeg
 

Donovan

Active Member
.......from Mecerreyes to Hontaria de la Cantera is impossible without phone navigation. It’s been an amazing walk but I can’t pretend it’s been easy.
Dick, many thanks for the post - great information. My planned walk on this route in 2020 was COVID-cancelled just a week before I was due to leave Melbourne. Hopefully later this year. Did you have the walking track from Alicante downloaded onto your phone? If so, what made the navigation so difficult?
 

dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Dick, many thanks for the post - great information. My planned walk on this route in 2020 was COVID-cancelled just a week before I was due to leave Melbourne. Hopefully later this year. Did you have the walking track from Alicante downloaded onto your phone? If so, what made the navigation so difficult?
I downloaded the whole walk from ludo peregrinus on Wikiloc (except he bypassed Siguenza so we used Magwood’s trail to Atienza) There were sections where there were no arrows at all (others had plenty) and on the last day no path at all in one place. I think the problem is that some local associations are very active, others not, so although it may go against the grain to use technology, I don’t see an alternative.
 
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