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LIVE from the Camino Live from Camino de Madrid

2020 Camino Guides
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18Norte
Last day tomorrow, I’m so glad. This has been the hardest of my Caminos. Mainly the heat, no shade and blisters. Thought I was done with blisters, none in the last few walks. I’m alone tonight in Santervas, Beautiful big stone Albergue, looks recently renovated but with its old charm still here. Friendly bar next door run by English speaking couple who say they will cook when I’m ready. Endless, flat , gravelly paths stretching to the horizon. I see that two of the other forum members were here last night. Now have to decide where to walk next as I have almost 3 weeks. Not the Invierno, I need a bit of company.
 

Stripey Socks

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances '13, Via de la Plata '14, Portuguese '16, Via Francigena - Italy '18, Madrid Combo'20
It sounds like it has been a bit of a mental battle for you. I am interested in your comments as I am walking the Madrid in May next year. I am expecting it to be quiet too. Take care, Mel
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
What about Ingles and extension to Muxia/Fisterra afterwards?

Enjoy the last day of Madrid. I really love this Camino.Will you stay in Grajal de Campos albergue? Recommended!!!

Buen Camino!
 

lindam

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Via de La Plata, Portuguese, Camino Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan and Aragones, Norte
Happy to hear that you are now close to the finish line! Yes, the heat has been quite unexpected for this time of year. We have now completed the Madrid route and had our first day on the Invierno today. Keep enjoying yourself! It was nice to meet you along the way.
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Last day tomorrow, I’m so glad. This has been the hardest of my Caminos. Mainly the heat, no shade and blisters. Thought I was done with blisters, none in the last few walks. I’m alone tonight in Santervas, Beautiful big stone Albergue, looks recently renovated but with its old charm still here. Friendly bar next door run by English speaking couple who say they will cook when I’m ready. Endless, flat , gravelly paths stretching to the horizon. I see that two of the other forum members were here last night. Now have to decide where to walk next as I have almost 3 weeks. Not the Invierno, I need a bit of company.
Sounds like a real challenge. Walked this route last year with a friend and I was so glad there were 2 of us. The feeling walking into Sahagun was amazing! There was life, colour and fantastic healthy food, salads of raw veges, fresh and abundant. Such a contrast. I still really loved the Madrid route, but was lucky with weather and beautiful spring flowers.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18Norte
What about Ingles and extension to Muxia/Fisterra afterwards?

Enjoy the last day of Madrid. I really love this Camino.Will you stay in Grajal de Campos albergue? Recommended!!!

Buen Camino!
Walked straight to Sahagun and caught the train to Astorga. Feeling better on the Frances and not too busy. Thanks everyone for your support .
 

Larry OHeron

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via De La Plata
Last day tomorrow, I’m so glad. This has been the hardest of my Caminos. Mainly the heat, no shade and blisters. Thought I was done with blisters, none in the last few walks. I’m alone tonight in Santervas, Beautiful big stone Albergue, looks recently renovated but with its old charm still here. Friendly bar next door run by English speaking couple who say they will cook when I’m ready. Endless, flat , gravelly paths stretching to the horizon. I see that two of the other forum members were here last night. Now have to decide where to walk next as I have almost 3 weeks. Not the Invierno, I need a bit of company.


Portuguese coastal starting Tuesday or maybe Wednesday. Might spend extra day in Porto.
 

Anthony Rocco

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2014, Ignaciano +Aragones +Parts of Frances 2016, Salvador, Primitivo, Ingles (2017)
Last day tomorrow, I’m so glad. This has been the hardest of my Caminos. Mainly the heat, no shade and blisters. Thought I was done with blisters, none in the last few walks. I’m alone tonight in Santervas, Beautiful big stone Albergue, looks recently renovated but with its old charm still here. Friendly bar next door run by English speaking couple who say they will cook when I’m ready. Endless, flat , gravelly paths stretching to the horizon. I see that two of the other forum members were here last night. Now have to decide where to walk next as I have almost 3 weeks. Not the Invierno, I need a bit of company.
I'm sorry your experience did not go so well. My wife and I finished in Sahagun a week ago and we concluded that this was one of the best of the 8 different caminos we have walked. I would like to provide guidance for those who are thinking about walking this camino, following that with what we consider how to make the best of it.

Guidance to those considering walking the Camino de Madrid.

This is NOT for first-time walkers. Even though the trail is well marked and does not require that one be in top shape (unlike the week-long mountain walk we did immediately before this on the Camino Ignaciano from Loyola to Logrono). Let me explain.

-- We keep very thorough journals, and we encountered 12 places along the way where one could take a wrong turn. As experienced perigrinos, we know that if you are unsure about a turn, stop, look and calculate. While we never did get lost, we had some significant delays as we figured things out.

-- You're on your own. Unlike the Frances where, as one pilgrim in Sahagun joined us for coffee commented, "You can't swing a dead cat on Frances without hitting another peregrine." Not so on Madrid. We never even once encountered any other pilgrims while walking. We did see others in the albergues, and made some wonderful friends over dinner and wine. But not along the way. If you get lost, you have no one to turn to.

-- The infrastructure is so lacking compared to the Frances. You need to be intrepid, and we give tips on that below. You also need to bring snacks and at least on several days, sandwiches.

-- If you are doing the camino for the comeraderie with other other peregrinos, this is not for you. I have already mentioned how few other peregrinos you will encounter. But if you are willing to let go and be embraced by the locals, which we have increasingly sought from our caminos, this was the best for that.

Tips on making for a less frustrating and more rewarding camino.

1. Even in late September, it can get hot on the meseta. When you arrive at a town, always check on the route out of town. When we were on the meseta, we left before dawn, so we needed to know our way. It was cool till mid-day, and we often finished by 2pm, at which time the sun was searing. We also benefitted from unforgettable sunrises, which put us in a great mood.

2. Check the route for the following day. There may not be any bars open. If not, ask for a "bocadillo para llevarse" when you get your dinner, or pick up things at a Mercado. We found that an orange, nuts and cookies could take us far.

3. We never found any problems when it came to water, so travel light in this respect. Water weighs a lot.

4. When you enter a village, look for the first person you can speak with, whether you speak Spanish or not. Look weary, miserable, hungry, desperate. This worked like a charm, and at every village we were guided to the albergue or pension, then taken to a bar where our guide argued to provide us with food. Never failed once. We ate when we wanted to eat, and often sumptuously for low prices. And the villagers loved it; people like to be needed, and we were textbook examples of this.

5. Spend an extra day in Segovia. It's one of the best stops on any camino. We stayed at the Hostal Fornos near the Plaza Mayor. Wonderful, and refreshed us after the the hill walk preceding Segovia.

6. Stop in Valladolid for at least a night. We got there mid-afternoon via a ten-minute train ride from Valdesillas. It was a Saturday and Valladolid was alive and rocking. Great fun. We toured sights in the morning and then went back to the trail in the afternoon.

7. Before you start, go the Iglesia of Santiago not far from the Plaza Mayor in Madrid to get your credencial. It's very cool...possibly the coolest in our collection. And with that, you never have to worry about being turned out from an albergue. The credencial is donativo, by the way (no cost...up to you if you want to pay anything.)

8. Unless you are absolute purist (which was our situation only on our first walk on the Camino Frances), take a bus from Madrid to either Tres Cantos or Colmenar Viejo.

Do some homework before you go. You will not regret having as much knowledge as possible, including giving yourself options if something goes or wrong or alternatively, you fall in love with a place.

Burn Camino!
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
When you enter a village, look for the first person you can speak with, whether you speak Spanish or not. Look weary, miserable, hungry, desperate. This worked like a charm, and at every village we were guided to the albergue or pension, then taken to a bar where our guide argued to provide us with food. Never failed once. We ate when we wanted to eat, and often sumptuously for low prices. And the villagers loved it; people like to be needed, and we were textbook examples of this.
Haha! Wonderful. 😄
As I tend to suck it up when I feel this way, it'll take some practice.
 

Stripey Socks

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances '13, Via de la Plata '14, Portuguese '16, Via Francigena - Italy '18, Madrid Combo'20
I'm sorry your experience did not go so well. My wife and I finished in Sahagun a week ago and we concluded that this was one of the best of the 8 different caminos we have walked. I would like to provide guidance for those who are thinking about walking this camino, following that with what we consider how to make the best of it.

Guidance to those considering walking the Camino de Madrid.

This is NOT for first-time walkers. Even though the trail is well marked and does not require that one be in top shape (unlike the week-long mountain walk we did immediately before this on the Camino Ignaciano from Loyola to Logrono). Let me explain.

-- We keep very thorough journals, and we encountered 12 places along the way where one could take a wrong turn. As experienced perigrinos, we know that if you are unsure about a turn, stop, look and calculate. While we never did get lost, we had some significant delays as we figured things out.

-- You're on your own. Unlike the Frances where, as one pilgrim in Sahagun joined us for coffee commented, "You can't swing a dead cat on Frances without hitting another peregrine." Not so on Madrid. We never even once encountered any other pilgrims while walking. We did see others in the albergues, and made some wonderful friends over dinner and wine. But not along the way. If you get lost, you have no one to turn to.

-- The infrastructure is so lacking compared to the Frances. You need to be intrepid, and we give tips on that below. You also need to bring snacks and at least on several days, sandwiches.

-- If you are doing the camino for the comeraderie with other other peregrinos, this is not for you. I have already mentioned how few other peregrinos you will encounter. But if you are willing to let go and be embraced by the locals, which we have increasingly sought from our caminos, this was the best for that.

Tips on making for a less frustrating and more rewarding camino.

1. Even in late September, it can get hot on the meseta. When you arrive at a town, always check on the route out of town. When we were on the meseta, we left before dawn, so we needed to know our way. It was cool till mid-day, and we often finished by 2pm, at which time the sun was searing. We also benefitted from unforgettable sunrises, which put us in a great mood.

2. Check the route for the following day. There may not be any bars open. If not, ask for a "bocadillo para llevarse" when you get your dinner, or pick up things at a Mercado. We found that an orange, nuts and cookies could take us far.

3. We never found any problems when it came to water, so travel light in this respect. Water weighs a lot.

4. When you enter a village, look for the first person you can speak with, whether you speak Spanish or not. Look weary, miserable, hungry, desperate. This worked like a charm, and at every village we were guided to the albergue or pension, then taken to a bar where our guide argued to provide us with food. Never failed once. We ate when we wanted to eat, and often sumptuously for low prices. And the villagers loved it; people like to be needed, and we were textbook examples of this.

5. Spend an extra day in Segovia. It's one of the best stops on any camino. We stayed at the Hostal Fornos near the Plaza Mayor. Wonderful, and refreshed us after the the hill walk preceding Segovia.

6. Stop in Valladolid for at least a night. We got there mid-afternoon via a ten-minute train ride from Valdesillas. It was a Saturday and Valladolid was alive and rocking. Great fun. We toured sights in the morning and then went back to the trail in the afternoon.

7. Before you start, go the Iglesia of Santiago not far from the Plaza Mayor in Madrid to get your credencial. It's very cool...possibly the coolest in our collection. And with that, you never have to worry about being turned out from an albergue. The credencial is donativo, by the way (no cost...up to you if you want to pay anything.)

8. Unless you are absolute purist (which was our situation only on our first walk on the Camino Frances), take a bus from Madrid to either Tres Cantos or Colmenar Viejo.

Do some homework before you go. You will not regret having as much knowledge as possible, including giving yourself options if something goes or wrong or alternatively, you fall in love with a place.

Burn Camino!
Thank you so much @Anthony Rocco . I am walking this path solo in May next year. Your tips are much appreciated. I have done a fair bit of solo walking in the past so the solitude doesn't worry me too much and I will be joining a friend for the San Salvador/Primitivo combo. Can I ask what you used to navigate please? Which map or app, if any?? Thanks, Mel
 

Anthony Rocco

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2014, Ignaciano +Aragones +Parts of Frances 2016, Salvador, Primitivo, Ingles (2017)
Thank you so much @Anthony Rocco . I am walking this path solo in May next year. Your tips are much appreciated. I have done a fair bit of solo walking in the past so the solitude doesn't worry me too much and I will be joining a friend for the San Salvador/Primitivo combo. Can I ask what you used to navigate please? Which map or app, if any?? Thanks, Mel
Thank you so much @Anthony Rocco . I am walking this path solo in May next year. Your tips are much appreciated. I have done a fair bit of solo walking in the past so the solitude doesn't worry me too much and I will be joining a friend for the San Salvador/Primitivo combo. Can I ask what you used tnavigate please? Which map or app, if any?? Thanks, Mel
No app. Our basic guide was the Confraternity one, which was out of date. We did find online an updated list of albergues, Gronze was 100 percent accurate and we asked in every place we stayed about the next day. You won't have a problem. Check Ivar regularly as we had Grace walking a week ahead of us who kept us posted.

We did Salvador and Primitivo last year. Gorgeous. Salvador we found has lots of walkers, more than the infrastructure could handle. Hope it's better. Primitivo was as beautiful as everyone told us, and the infrastructure was superb.
 

Stripey Socks

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances '13, Via de la Plata '14, Portuguese '16, Via Francigena - Italy '18, Madrid Combo'20
No app. Our basic guide was the Confraternity one, which was out of date. We did find online an updated list of albergues, Gronze was 100 percent accurate and we asked in every place we stayed about the next day. You won't have a problem. Check Ivar regularly as we had Grace walking a week ahead of us who kept us posted.

We did Salvador and Primitivo last year. Gorgeous. Salvador we found has lots of walkers, more than the infrastructure could handle. Hope it's better. Primitivo was as beautiful as everyone told us, and the infrastructure was superb.
Thanks so much @Anthony Rocco - I am walking May/June so it will be interesting to see how busy things are. My last camino was in 2016 and I have been reading on Facebook groups how busy the paths are these days. I have to say I am a little worried about finding a bed, but I know I needn't be. Have a good day, Mel
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Completely agree with you on how nice the locals are. The Madrid and Invierno stand out big time in this aspect for me. Although not everybody knew that the Caminos de Santiago going through their town/village they were all extremely welcoming. One more reason to return someday :)
 
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Anthony Rocco

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2014, Ignaciano +Aragones +Parts of Frances 2016, Salvador, Primitivo, Ingles (2017)
Saw that among your many caminos is the Levante, which we were looking at as our next camino. I know the Levante in full is perhaps a month and a half or longer. How far can we get in 21 days walking (not counting stops in cities worth stopping in, like Toledo) if we start in Valencia? Can we make it to Avila? We are not purists, so are there stretches of nothingness (lack of albergues, food) that we can skip via bus or train? We have no desire, in any case, to walk on the Frances, so I guess Zamora or Porto could be final destination.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Saw that among your many caminos is the Levante, which we were looking at as our next camino. I know the Levante in full is perhaps a month and a half or longer. How far can we get in 21 days walking (not counting stops in cities worth stopping in, like Toledo) if we start in Valencia? Can we make it to Avila? We are not purists, so are there stretches of nothingness (lack of albergues, food) that we can skip via bus or train? We have no desire, in any case, to walk on the Frances, so I guess Zamora or Porto could be final destination.
If you are not a purist anything is possible :D

I think your best bet would be to check infrastructure on these two sites:

Also forum member @JLWV can be of great help because he's very much into Amigos de Levante in Valencia.

Otherwise there is no "nothingness". If I remember correctly you have the place to sleep (not always albergue) and buy food/eat out at least every 20km.
How far can you get depends on many things so I really wouldn't want to speculate about that.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Funny how we each have different experiences.
I absolutely LOVED the Madrid route and have done it 2.5 times.
I'd love to do it again.
I only found one place to get lost -
Just goes to show you.... different strokes!
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
The Madrid is a great 2 week Camino. It is well marked with plenty of accommodation.

I know everyone has a different comfort zone when walking Camino's. That said, Spain is not a third world country. Even if you did get lost on the Madrid it would only be for a short while and you may have to back track or reconnect down the road.

Camino's, imo, are adventures. A place where many of us step out of our comfort zone.

My advice, on the Madrid, is to not over plan. Just walk and let the Camino be your guide. If you get lost, don't worry it could lead you to something you never would have discovered staying on the path.

Ultreya,
Joe
 
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Theatregal

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
So far...
2012 ~ 2019
7. Before you start, go the Iglesia of Santiago not far from the Plaza Mayor in Madrid to get your credencial. It's very cool...possibly the coolest in our collection. And with that, you never have to worry about being turned out from an albergue. The credencial is donativo, by the way (no cost...up to you if you want to pay anything.)
I hope to walk the Madrid soon. Thank you for taking the time to share some good info and tips here. I do want to say though..."donativo" should never mean "free".
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
Always wondering, when I take a train somewhere from Madrid to start a camino, that I rather should have started walking instead. May be next time, just walk from Barajas?
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'Portuguese,Frances,Norte,Salvador/primitivo,Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, VDLP spring19
Funny how we each have different experiences.
I absolutely LOVED the Madrid route and have done it 2.5 times.
I'd love to do it again.
I only found one place to get lost -
Just goes to show you.... different strokes!
Me too Annie
I have lovely memories of the Madrid route ., possibly coloured by company of 2 lovely forum members..
only regret was missing out walking over Fuenfria as advised not safe at that time /late March(snow)

I would return and with a start in Madrid., it’s so easy to get to !
Buen camino
Annie
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Me too Annie
I have lovely memories of the Madrid route ., possibly coloured by company of 2 lovely forum members..
only regret was missing out walking over Fuenfria as advised not safe at that time /late March(snow)

I would return and with a start in Madrid., it’s so easy to get to !
Buen camino
Annie
Next time you can start in Guadalajara on Camino Mendocino and join Madrid in Manzanares.
Here's link to excellent thread by @NualaOC about it:
 

eventhisishard

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo(2019)
Last day tomorrow, I’m so glad. This has been the hardest of my Caminos. Mainly the heat, no shade and blisters. Thought I was done with blisters, none in the last few walks. I’m alone tonight in Santervas, Beautiful big stone Albergue, looks recently renovated but with its old charm still here. Friendly bar next door run by English speaking couple who say they will cook when I’m ready. Endless, flat , gravelly paths stretching to the horizon. I see that two of the other forum members were here last night. Now have to decide where to walk next as I have almost 3 weeks. Not the Invierno, I need a bit of company.
Just finished the Primitivo and was going to walk to Muxia but it is looking like rain all the way so i wondered whether i might do a few days from Madrid. I have to get to Santander for ferry next Wednesday and just wondered if anyone had any tips. Thanks
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18Norte
The Madrid is a great 2 week Camino. It is well marked with plenty of accommodation.

I know everyone has a different comfort zone when walking Camino's. That said, Spain is not a third world country. Even if you did get lost on the Madrid it would only be for a short while and you may have to back track or reconnect down the road.

Camino's, imo, are adventures. A place where many of us step out of our comfort zone.

My advice, on the Madrid, is to not over plan. Just walk and let the Camino be your guide. If you get lost, don't worry it could lead you to something you never would have discovered staying on the path.

Ultreya,
Joe
I agree, there is not much chance of getting lost , just follow the arrows. It may be better in Spring. Good Albergues. Good to have some company though. I am now walking the Frances with my Camino Madrid , couple from Argentina. Not too many on the Frances.
 

eventhisishard

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo(2019)
I agree, there is not much chance of getting lost , just follow the arrows. It may be better in Spring. Good Albergues. Good to have some company though. I am now walking the Frances with my Camino Madrid , couple from Argentina. Not too many on the Frances.
Thank you both for replies. I decide to continue from Santiago to Muxia and should arrive there tomorrow. I.found the Primitivo perfect for numbers of other walkers, the Frances was an unpleasant shock after such a peaceful 12 days and even this section is much busier. I may try the Madrid next year although I'm considering cycling from Santander on the Norte as i can travel by boat from the UK thus making a tiny contribution to our global predicament.
 

Anthony Rocco

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2014, Ignaciano +Aragones +Parts of Frances 2016, Salvador, Primitivo, Ingles (2017)
I hope to walk the Madrid soon. Thank you for taking the time to share some good info and tips here. I do want to say though..."donativo" should never mean "free".
To be honest, we almost always pay more at donativos. Could be guilt, discomfort over not having a fixed price or just a feel good thing. One of our favorite donativos on the Camino de Madrid was the convent/monastery albergue at the entrance to Madina del Rio Seco. It was wonderful. We ended up putting a generous donation in the box near the door and buying a good supply of essentials to leave behind. We felt good when we left, hoping that our contribution may help cover the costs of a true mendicant pilgrim, rare as that may be. But...there are a few out there.
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
To be honest, we almost always pay more at donativos. Could be guilt, discomfort over not having a fixed price or just a feel good thing. One of our favorite donativos on the Camino de Madrid was the convent/monastery albergue at the entrance to Madina del Rio Seco. It was wonderful. We ended up putting a generous donation in the box near the door and buying a good supply of essentials to leave behind. We felt good when we left, hoping that our contribution may help cover the costs of a true mendicant pilgrim, rare as that may be. But...there are a few out there.
Yes, I do too...I think it is, that I find the trust so touching.
 

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