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LIVE from the Camino Live from the Camino Frances

Barbara Whelan

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Hello peregrinos. We left SJPP on 15/9 and I thought I would post something about our experience which might be of help to those a week or two behind. Most people seem to be booking a bit ahead. Some aren’t and are finding beds though there are pinch points along the way. We ran into difficulty because our search engine kept bouncing us into Booking.com which invariably said there were no properties available. Some are using gronze but we have found Wise Pilgrim really good as it often gives you the email address of a place not just a phone number.

My Spanish isn’t good enough to conduct a telephone call but with Google translate I manage by email! However we often find that even though we book a double room it turns out that we have a room with three beds in it which we would have been willing to share with someone who needed it. Numbers wise there are probably about a third of 2018 pilgrims and because people are reserving a bit ahead there is a complete absence of the bed race and no mention of those dreaded bedbugs!

Finding food has sometimes been a challenge as some places have definitely closed down. We left Belorado early one morning to discover that nowhere was open for breakfast and it wasn’t until Villafranca 12K later that we found somewhere open. Boy did we enjoy that breakfast! Our favourite place so far was Agès. If you pass through make sure to eat in the Alquimista. It is run by the most wonderful warm sunny couple. Open early and serves food all day. You can even have dinner at 7 pm! One of the most wonderful memories I have is of eating breakfast at 7.15, dark outside but warm and cosy in this gem of a café. If you get to Hornillos there is a super restaurant called Origen about 200m on from the church on the way out of the village. It is run by a warm welcoming man from Senegal. The pilgrims’ meal costs €10.50 but if you can go for the Special Menu at €13.50. We had a delicious mixed salad followed by a tender steak in Roquefort sauce and a delicious youghourt based desert. I’m not usually a carnivore but my body was crying out for protein! Also in Hornillos is a pilgrims’ mass at 6 pm. You don’t have to be religious or spiritual but the priest is so lovely and friendly and at the end invited all the pilgrims to gather around the altar and say where they were from. A lovely way to get to know a little about the pilgrims you have passed during the day.

If you are tempted to skip the Meseta don’t. It’s here that the Camino is working it’s magic. Because it’s so flat, a 20/25K is a doddle so you can slow down and meet people. There are no big groups as far as we can see. Just small groups of friends, couples and lots of solo walkers. All incredibly friendly but as in life, small irritations can surface. I came across something lovely just before I left Ireland which has become my mantra when I feel myself becoming judgmental. I’ll pass it on to you in the hope that you might find something in it too…

"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always."

[Edited to correct the formatting]
 
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Past OR future Camino
Planning on the pilgrimage 2015
Hello peregrinos. We left SJPP on 15/9 and I thought I would post something about our experience which might be of help to those a week or two behind. Most people seem to be booking a bit ahead. Some aren’t and are finding beds though there are pinch points along the way. We ran into difficulty because our search engine kept bouncing us into Booking.com which invariably said there were no properties available. Some are using gronze but we have found Wise Pilgrim really good as it often gives you the email address of a place not just a phone number.

My Spanish isn’t good enough to conduct a telephone call but with Google translate I manage by email! However we often find that even though we book a double room it turns out that we have a room with three beds in it which we would have been willing to share with someone who needed it. Numbers wise there are probably about a third of 2018 pilgrims and because people are reserving a bit ahead there is a complete absence of the bed race and no mention of those dreaded bedbugs!

Finding food has sometimes been a challenge as some places have definitely closed down. We left Belorado early one morning to discover that nowhere was open for breakfast and it wasn’t until Villafranca 12K later that we found somewhere open. Boy did we enjoy that breakfast! Our favourite place so far was Agès. If you pass through make sure to eat in the Alquimista. It is run by the most wonderful warm sunny couple. Open early and serves food all day. You can even have dinner at 7 pm! One of the most wonderful memories I have is of eating breakfast at 7.15, dark outside but warm and cosy in this gem of a café. If you get to Hornillos there is a super restaurant called Origen about 200m on from the church on the way out of the village. It is run by a warm welcoming man from Senegal. The pilgrims’ meal costs €10.50 but if you can go for the Special Menu at €13.50. We had a delicious mixed salad followed by a tender steak in Roquefort sauce and a delicious youghourt based desert. I’m not usually a carnivore but my body was crying out for protein! Also in Hornillos is a pilgrims’ mass at 6 pm. You don’t have to be religious or spiritual but the priest is so lovely and friendly and at the end invited all the pilgrims to gather around the altar and say where they were from. A lovely way to get to know a little about the pilgrims you have passed during the day.

If you are tempted to skip the Meseta don’t. It’s here that the Camino is working it’s magic. Because it’s so flat, a 20/25K is a doddle so you can slow down and meet people. There are no big groups as far as we can see. Just small groups of friends, couples and lots of solo walkers. All incredibly friendly but as in life, small irritations can surface. I came across something lovely just before I left Ireland which has become my mantra when I feel myself becoming judgmental. I’ll pass it on to you in the hope that you might find something in it too…

"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always."

[Edited to correct the formatting]
Hi Barbara that is a wonderful post full of great nuggets. Oh those early morning cafes are the best. Hot coffee to power you through your day with a warm fresh tortia to enjoy.
I'm like you not particularly religious and definitely not catholic but I would attend masses as often as I could. I found it a beautiful experience. Calming and a time of coming together with the other worshipers. Usually the mass was entirely In Spanish and though I don't speak Spanish this didn't bother me. I imagined what it was like 800 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed this time with God. Keep walking and posting buen camino
 

Meggins

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - One complete St.J.P.P to Santiago plus twice more for 500km each time.
-If you are tempted to skip the Meseta don’t.-

I agree. I loved, loved, loved the Meseta - it was totally a Zen experience for me.
Many peopled disagree, but for me it was a wonderful experience. ---)
 

celticone

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013)
part Le Puy (2012)
Hello peregrinos. We left SJPP on 15/9 and I thought I would post something about our experience which might be of help to those a week or two behind. Most people seem to be booking a bit ahead. Some aren’t and are finding beds though there are pinch points along the way. We ran into difficulty because our search engine kept bouncing us into Booking.com which invariably said there were no properties available. Some are using gronze but we have found Wise Pilgrim really good as it often gives you the email address of a place not just a phone number.

My Spanish isn’t good enough to conduct a telephone call but with Google translate I manage by email! However we often find that even though we book a double room it turns out that we have a room with three beds in it which we would have been willing to share with someone who needed it. Numbers wise there are probably about a third of 2018 pilgrims and because people are reserving a bit ahead there is a complete absence of the bed race and no mention of those dreaded bedbugs!

Finding food has sometimes been a challenge as some places have definitely closed down. We left Belorado early one morning to discover that nowhere was open for breakfast and it wasn’t until Villafranca 12K later that we found somewhere open. Boy did we enjoy that breakfast! Our favourite place so far was Agès. If you pass through make sure to eat in the Alquimista. It is run by the most wonderful warm sunny couple. Open early and serves food all day. You can even have dinner at 7 pm! One of the most wonderful memories I have is of eating breakfast at 7.15, dark outside but warm and cosy in this gem of a café. If you get to Hornillos there is a super restaurant called Origen about 200m on from the church on the way out of the village. It is run by a warm welcoming man from Senegal. The pilgrims’ meal costs €10.50 but if you can go for the Special Menu at €13.50. We had a delicious mixed salad followed by a tender steak in Roquefort sauce and a delicious youghourt based desert. I’m not usually a carnivore but my body was crying out for protein! Also in Hornillos is a pilgrims’ mass at 6 pm. You don’t have to be religious or spiritual but the priest is so lovely and friendly and at the end invited all the pilgrims to gather around the altar and say where they were from. A lovely way to get to know a little about the pilgrims you have passed during the day.

If you are tempted to skip the Meseta don’t. It’s here that the Camino is working it’s magic. Because it’s so flat, a 20/25K is a doddle so you can slow down and meet people. There are no big groups as far as we can see. Just small groups of friends, couples and lots of solo walkers. All incredibly friendly but as in life, small irritations can surface. I came across something lovely just before I left Ireland which has become my mantra when I feel myself becoming judgmental. I’ll pass it on to you in the hope that you might find something in it too…

"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always."

[Edited to correct the formatting]
Thank you so much for your post. I hope/plan to be in Hornillos on 12th October after my first day's walk. I love the meseta too. I will follow in your footsteps.
Ena (Ireland/Edinburgh)
 
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biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Breakfast in Spain is operated on "Spanish" time. Most things there do get moving until after 9am, so a normal breakfast time is a litle later than most Americans are accustomed to.
 

Ptruong

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Hello peregrinos. We left SJPP on 15/9 and I thought I would post something about our experience which might be of help to those a week or two behind. Most people seem to be booking a bit ahead. Some aren’t and are finding beds though there are pinch points along the way. We ran into difficulty because our search engine kept bouncing us into Booking.com which invariably said there were no properties available. Some are using gronze but we have found Wise Pilgrim really good as it often gives you the email address of a place not just a phone number.

My Spanish isn’t good enough to conduct a telephone call but with Google translate I manage by email! However we often find that even though we book a double room it turns out that we have a room with three beds in it which we would have been willing to share with someone who needed it. Numbers wise there are probably about a third of 2018 pilgrims and because people are reserving a bit ahead there is a complete absence of the bed race and no mention of those dreaded bedbugs!

Finding food has sometimes been a challenge as some places have definitely closed down. We left Belorado early one morning to discover that nowhere was open for breakfast and it wasn’t until Villafranca 12K later that we found somewhere open. Boy did we enjoy that breakfast! Our favourite place so far was Agès. If you pass through make sure to eat in the Alquimista. It is run by the most wonderful warm sunny couple. Open early and serves food all day. You can even have dinner at 7 pm! One of the most wonderful memories I have is of eating breakfast at 7.15, dark outside but warm and cosy in this gem of a café. If you get to Hornillos there is a super restaurant called Origen about 200m on from the church on the way out of the village. It is run by a warm welcoming man from Senegal. The pilgrims’ meal costs €10.50 but if you can go for the Special Menu at €13.50. We had a delicious mixed salad followed by a tender steak in Roquefort sauce and a delicious youghourt based desert. I’m not usually a carnivore but my body was crying out for protein! Also in Hornillos is a pilgrims’ mass at 6 pm. You don’t have to be religious or spiritual but the priest is so lovely and friendly and at the end invited all the pilgrims to gather around the altar and say where they were from. A lovely way to get to know a little about the pilgrims you have passed during the day.

If you are tempted to skip the Meseta don’t. It’s here that the Camino is working it’s magic. Because it’s so flat, a 20/25K is a doddle so you can slow down and meet people. There are no big groups as far as we can see. Just small groups of friends, couples and lots of solo walkers. All incredibly friendly but as in life, small irritations can surface. I came across something lovely just before I left Ireland which has become my mantra when I feel myself becoming judgmental. I’ll pass it on to you in the hope that you might find something in it too…

"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always."

[Edited to correct the formatting]
I had dinner there at Alquimista, sat next to the bar in full view of the wife in the open kitchen. It was packed. The husband kept hobbling by on his injured foot, rubbed my shoulder saying “Tranquilo, tranquilo”. He made sure I understood that my wine glass was going to be bottomless. There was no menu, they just brought stuff out. Sometimes dishes would run out and she would make other stuff. Then she would rub my shoulder as she walked by. Felt like I was a guest in their home. Wouldn’t say it was the best food but it was a cool experience.
 

Becky 59

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (May 2018)
Camino Ingles (Aug 2019)
Thank you for the tips in your post! I am in Belorado tonight, and the hostel is providing me with a “bag lunch” breakfast for tomorrow, sounds like I will really need it!
 

Kev&Kath

Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Hello peregrinos. We left SJPP on 15/9 and I thought I would post something about our experience which might be of help to those a week or two behind. Most people seem to be booking a bit ahead. Some aren’t and are finding beds though there are pinch points along the way. We ran into difficulty because our search engine kept bouncing us into Booking.com which invariably said there were no properties available. Some are using gronze but we have found Wise Pilgrim really good as it often gives you the email address of a place not just a phone number.

My Spanish isn’t good enough to conduct a telephone call but with Google translate I manage by email! However we often find that even though we book a double room it turns out that we have a room with three beds in it which we would have been willing to share with someone who needed it. Numbers wise there are probably about a third of 2018 pilgrims and because people are reserving a bit ahead there is a complete absence of the bed race and no mention of those dreaded bedbugs!

Finding food has sometimes been a challenge as some places have definitely closed down. We left Belorado early one morning to discover that nowhere was open for breakfast and it wasn’t until Villafranca 12K later that we found somewhere open. Boy did we enjoy that breakfast! Our favourite place so far was Agès. If you pass through make sure to eat in the Alquimista. It is run by the most wonderful warm sunny couple. Open early and serves food all day. You can even have dinner at 7 pm! One of the most wonderful memories I have is of eating breakfast at 7.15, dark outside but warm and cosy in this gem of a café. If you get to Hornillos there is a super restaurant called Origen about 200m on from the church on the way out of the village. It is run by a warm welcoming man from Senegal. The pilgrims’ meal costs €10.50 but if you can go for the Special Menu at €13.50. We had a delicious mixed salad followed by a tender steak in Roquefort sauce and a delicious youghourt based desert. I’m not usually a carnivore but my body was crying out for protein! Also in Hornillos is a pilgrims’ mass at 6 pm. You don’t have to be religious or spiritual but the priest is so lovely and friendly and at the end invited all the pilgrims to gather around the altar and say where they were from. A lovely way to get to know a little about the pilgrims you have passed during the day.

If you are tempted to skip the Meseta don’t. It’s here that the Camino is working it’s magic. Because it’s so flat, a 20/25K is a doddle so you can slow down and meet people. There are no big groups as far as we can see. Just small groups of friends, couples and lots of solo walkers. All incredibly friendly but as in life, small irritations can surface. I came across something lovely just before I left Ireland which has become my mantra when I feel myself becoming judgmental. I’ll pass it on to you in the hope that you might find something in it too…

"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always."

[Edited to correct the formatting]
Yes I gather breakfast on 'the way' can be problematic. My wife and I will be walking later this month (and it still seems weird to write that given this will be our fourth attempt at our first Camino) and I suspect we'll be visiting a supermarket during the walking day to grab a couple of bananas/nuts to provide that initial kick of energy. As I sit in the comfort of my home....having to walk a few Klms to get breakfast doesn't seem that much of a problem. In fact this whole Camino 'thing' is very easy and 'doable' from the comforts of home :)

Thanks for the great advice above!
 
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Barbara Whelan

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Approaching Leon

Hello peregrinos. Tomorrow we will be in Leon taking a rest day. Since Burgos it has been easier to find supermarkets open and restaurants serving early meals. It seems to be easier to get beds too as there are more albergues in this part of the Camino, though tonight beds at Mansilla de las Mulas are tight because the municipal albergue is closed.

From Hornillos we walked to Fromista and then to Carrion. In Carrion we stayed at the Hostel La Corte which was as nice as any small hotel. Beautiful and bright with the best shower we’ve had on the Camino. Attached to it is a restaurant where we also had the best pilgrim menu so far. €12 and absolutely delicious. It opens for a simple breakfast from 7 am. Next door to La Corte is an outdoor shop. Excellent quality. Not cheap but perfect if you discover that you need another pair of socks or your rain gear isn’t waterproof.

We then walked to Ledigos and stayed at Albergue La Morena which has laundry facilities and a restaurant serving a basic dinner and an early breakfast from 7 am. After that we stopped in Bercianos del Real Camino staying in Hostel Rivero. Can’t say I can recommend it. However we found the pearl of Bercianos the next morning when we ate breakfast at Santa Clara Albergue which opens at 6.30 for breakfast (everywhere else is 8 am). Take a right turn (there is a small sign) just before you leave town. Run by a kind and calm woman called Rosa I’d say it is nice to stay in too. Their email address is alberguesantaclara@hotmail.com There is a small food shop in Bercianos - to the left halfway down the main street. Other pilgrims on the trail were taking the alternative route and staying at Calzadilla rather than Bercianos.

In Burgos we treated ourselves to a nice hotel but even though there were other pilgrims there we felt like fish out of water. So in Leon we are going to stay in a private room at Hostel Albany Ancha a stones throw from the cathedral. We hope that that way we won’t lose the connection with our fellow pilgrims and being a hostel it will be more geared towards a walker’s needs.

I picked up my first blister just as I neared the half-way mark. Lost in conversation with a pilgrim I didn’t become aware of the tell-tale signs. I’ve spent the last two days altering my gait so that my feet land gently on the ball of my foot rather than my heel and today remembered something I heard from Zen monk Thich Nhat Han many years ago:

“We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the Earth. Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”

Buen Camino!
 

palmah

Member
Past OR future Camino
2010
Hello peregrinos. Tomorrow we will be in Leon taking a rest day. Since Burgos it has been easier to find supermarkets open and restaurants serving early meals. It seems to be easier to get beds too as there are more albergues in this part of the Camino, though tonight beds at Mansilla de las Mulas are tight because the municipal albergue is closed.

From Hornillos we walked to Fromista and then to Carrion. In Carrion we stayed at the Hostel La Corte which was as nice as any small hotel. Beautiful and bright with the best shower we’ve had on the Camino. Attached to it is a restaurant where we also had the best pilgrim menu so far. €12 and absolutely delicious. It opens for a simple breakfast from 7 am. Next door to La Corte is an outdoor shop. Excellent quality. Not cheap but perfect if you discover that you need another pair of socks or your rain gear isn’t waterproof.

We then walked to Ledigos and stayed at Albergue La Morena which has laundry facilities and a restaurant serving a basic dinner and an early breakfast from 7 am. After that we stopped in Bercianos del Real Camino staying in Hostel Rivero. Can’t say I can recommend it. However we found the pearl of Bercianos the next morning when we ate breakfast at Santa Clara Albergue which opens at 6.30 for breakfast (everywhere else is 8 am). Take a right turn (there is a small sign) just before you leave town. Run by a kind and calm woman called Rosa I’d say it is nice to stay in too. Their email address is alberguesantaclara@hotmail.com There is a small food shop in Bercianos - to the left halfway down the main street. Other pilgrims on the trail were taking the alternative route and staying at Calzadilla rather than Bercianos.

In Burgos we treated ourselves to a nice hotel but even though there were other pilgrims there we felt like fish out of water. So in Leon we are going to stay in a private room at Hostel Albany Ancha a stones throw from the cathedral. We hope that that way we won’t lose the connection with our fellow pilgrims and being a hostel it will be more geared towards a walker’s needs.

I picked up my first blister just as I neared the half-way mark. Lost in conversation with a pilgrim I didn’t become aware of the tell-tale signs. I’ve spent the last two days altering my gait so that my feet land gently on the ball of my foot rather than my heel and today remembered something I heard from Zen monk Thich Nhat Han many years ago:

“We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the Earth. Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”

Buen Camino!
Great post! Thanks for all the information. Hope your blister heals quickly!
 

thistleamy

Camino Portuguese - 2019; CF - 2021
Past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese (2019); Camino Frances (2021)
I think I am just ahead of you, I am in Hospital de Orbigo tonight and was in Leon yesterday. There was some kind of medieval festival going on which was interesting.
 
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Becky 59

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (May 2018)
Camino Ingles (Aug 2019)
I’m in Hontillos and appreciate your tips through the Meseta! Happy to hear breakfast and groceries will get easier to find!
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Past OR future Camino
2019
Don’t forget the upcoming Spanish holiday on Oct 12 - sure to cause issues for unprepared pilgrims due to temporary changes to transportation, restaurants, grocery stores, and accommodations.
 

Armagh49

New Member
Past OR future Camino
'2018' April
Hello peregrinos. Tomorrow we will be in Leon taking a rest day. Since Burgos it has been easier to find supermarkets open and restaurants serving early meals. It seems to be easier to get beds too as there are more albergues in this part of the Camino, though tonight beds at Mansilla de las Mulas are tight because the municipal albergue is closed.

From Hornillos we walked to Fromista and then to Carrion. In Carrion we stayed at the Hostel La Corte which was as nice as any small hotel. Beautiful and bright with the best shower we’ve had on the Camino. Attached to it is a restaurant where we also had the best pilgrim menu so far. €12 and absolutely delicious. It opens for a simple breakfast from 7 am. Next door to La Corte is an outdoor shop. Excellent quality. Not cheap but perfect if you discover that you need another pair of socks or your rain gear isn’t waterproof.

We then walked to Ledigos and stayed at Albergue La Morena which has laundry facilities and a restaurant serving a basic dinner and an early breakfast from 7 am. After that we stopped in Bercianos del Real Camino staying in Hostel Rivero. Can’t say I can recommend it. However we found the pearl of Bercianos the next morning when we ate breakfast at Santa Clara Albergue which opens at 6.30 for breakfast (everywhere else is 8 am). Take a right turn (there is a small sign) just before you leave town. Run by a kind and calm woman called Rosa I’d say it is nice to stay in too. Their email address is alberguesantaclara@hotmail.com There is a small food shop in Bercianos - to the left halfway down the main street. Other pilgrims on the trail were taking the alternative route and staying at Calzadilla rather than Bercianos.

In Burgos we treated ourselves to a nice hotel but even though there were other pilgrims there we felt like fish out of water. So in Leon we are going to stay in a private room at Hostel Albany Ancha a stones throw from the cathedral. We hope that that way we won’t lose the connection with our fellow pilgrims and being a hostel it will be more geared towards a walker’s needs.

I picked up my first blister just as I neared the half-way mark. Lost in conversation with a pilgrim I didn’t become aware of the tell-tale signs. I’ve spent the last two days altering my gait so that my feet land gently on the ball of my foot rather than my heel and today remembered something I heard from Zen monk Thich Nhat Han many years ago:

“We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the Earth. Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”

Buen Camino!
Hi Barbara, we met on the Way starting 15 September, enjoyed the company of both of you so much. We finished 20k on from Logrono this time. We miss the Camino so such and will take on board your thoughts next spring when we return. Good Luck, enjoy. Looking forward to your posts. J&V
 
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RENSHAW

Official Camino Vino taster
Past OR future Camino
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks on the CF frequently.
Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
Hello peregrinos. Tomorrow we will be in Leon taking a rest day........................ So in Leon we are going to stay in a private room at Hostel Albany Ancha a stones throw from the cathedral.
Camino 2012 495.JPG
Very neat and tidy with a bakery and coffee shop.
 

Barbara Whelan

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
From O Cebreiro now

We loved our rest day in Leon which is a wonderful city. On recommendations we ate our main meal at lunchtime in Ezequiel on C Ancha - €19 for 3 course meal and water/wine. Huge portions! On the second day we ate at El Capriche on Pl. de S Marcelo - €16 for more manageable portions. I noticed two small holes in my trail shoes on the way into Leon and bought a new pair at Armenia Castro on C la Rua. Very good outdoor shop, good quality though not cheap. I got a pair of Meindl shoes a brand I know, the only downside being that they come in luminous turquoise. The poem “When I am old I shall wear purple “ by Jenny Joseph came to mind, though in my case it will be luminous turquoise! In Leon I had a massage at the Centro de Masajes on Calle Ancha. Very professional, Carlos is a chiropractor who gives sports massages. Very, very reasonable rates so maybe leave a tip if you can.

The next day we headed to Villadangos starting with breakfast in the early morning darkness in a café beside the cathedral. We were going to stay in Hotel Avenida 111 the only accommodation we could get. While we knew the reviews of the place were poor, it was pretty miserable. It’s a truckers’ stop with the restaurant 60m away. When we enquired about breakfast we were told it would be closed (on a Saturday). But we hadn’t realised the hotel is 2K short of Villadangos making our walk to Astorga the following day a 32K one. Those two days from Leon to Astorga were the toughest psychologically for me so far. The vast majority of the Camino on this stretch is on a stony track alongside a main road with the constant noise of juggernauts. There is an alternative route but other pilgrims found that option challenging too.

We fled the Hotel Avenida at 7.15 am and in St Martin the first village we came to, went into the first albergue on the left to see if we could have breakfast there. To our delight we were welcomed in and sitting quietly around the table with other pilgrims, the gentleness of the Camino wrapped itself around me again.

In Astorga we stayed at the most beautiful place that is Albergue So Por Hoje. Run by Patricia a Brazilian and her son Gabrielle, this is a special place. That evening we had a communal Brazilian meal of rice, chicken casserole, bean stew and salad. Bliss - not a chip/French fry or grilled meat in sight!

Our walk to Rabanal del Camino was a feast for the senses, the early morning silence only broken by birdsong and the earthen tracks a more forgiving terrain for tired joints. In Rabanal we stayed at Posada El Tesin. Even if you don’t stay there, the restaurant is excellent. Open all day until 9 pm you can have dinner early or late as you please. In Rabanal there is a Benedictine church to the left past the village church where the monks sing Vespers at 7 pm. A beautiful space.

Molinaseca is a beautiful town with lots of accommodation and pilgrim meals. The long descent into it is tough (think Zubiri X 20!). I wouldn’t attempt it in rain as it would be treacherous. Some pilgrims with knee/leg issues went down on the road which offered a more even surface.

We set out at 7 am the following day as we were walking to Villafranca. Cafés near the centre of Ponferrada on the Camino were open for breakfast. The walk as far as Cacabelos is very easy; the stretch onwards to Villafranca a bit more tiring. The three days from Rabanal to O’Cebriero are three long days. Taking four days for this stretch would ease it considerably.

Ate the best pilgrims meal so far at El Casino, Plaza Mayor in Villafranca. Run by a very friendly multi-lingual Portuguese, the vegetable starter dish was to die for.

At O’Cebriero now and I will definitely sleep soundly tonight!

“With each step a gentle wind blows.” (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Buen camino peregrinos…..
 
Past OR future Camino
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
We loved our rest day in Leon which is a wonderful city. On recommendations we ate our main meal at lunchtime in Ezequiel on C Ancha - €19 for 3 course meal and water/wine. Huge portions! On the second day we ate at El Capriche on Pl. de S Marcelo - €16 for more manageable portions. I noticed two small holes in my trail shoes on the way into Leon and bought a new pair at Armenia Castro on C la Rua. Very good outdoor shop, good quality though not cheap. I got a pair of Meindl shoes a brand I know, the only downside being that they come in luminous turquoise. The poem “When I am old I shall wear purple “ by Jenny Joseph came to mind, though in my case it will be luminous turquoise! In Leon I had a massage at the Centro de Masajes on Calle Ancha. Very professional, Carlos is a chiropractor who gives sports massages. Very, very reasonable rates so maybe leave a tip if you can.

The next day we headed to Villadangos starting with breakfast in the early morning darkness in a café beside the cathedral. We were going to stay in Hotel Avenida 111 the only accommodation we could get. While we knew the reviews of the place were poor, it was pretty miserable. It’s a truckers’ stop with the restaurant 60m away. When we enquired about breakfast we were told it would be closed (on a Saturday). But we hadn’t realised the hotel is 2K short of Villadangos making our walk to Astorga the following day a 32K one. Those two days from Leon to Astorga were the toughest psychologically for me so far. The vast majority of the Camino on this stretch is on a stony track alongside a main road with the constant noise of juggernauts. There is an alternative route but other pilgrims found that option challenging too.

We fled the Hotel Avenida at 7.15 am and in St Martin the first village we came to, went into the first albergue on the left to see if we could have breakfast there. To our delight we were welcomed in and sitting quietly around the table with other pilgrims, the gentleness of the Camino wrapped itself around me again.

In Astorga we stayed at the most beautiful place that is Albergue So Por Hoje. Run by Patricia a Brazilian and her son Gabrielle, this is a special place. That evening we had a communal Brazilian meal of rice, chicken casserole, bean stew and salad. Bliss - not a chip/French fry or grilled meat in sight!

Our walk to Rabanal del Camino was a feast for the senses, the early morning silence only broken by birdsong and the earthen tracks a more forgiving terrain for tired joints. In Rabanal we stayed at Posada El Tesin. Even if you don’t stay there, the restaurant is excellent. Open all day until 9 pm you can have dinner early or late as you please. In Rabanal there is a Benedictine church to the left past the village church where the monks sing Vespers at 7 pm. A beautiful space.

Molinaseca is a beautiful town with lots of accommodation and pilgrim meals. The long descent into it is tough (think Zubiri X 20!). I wouldn’t attempt it in rain as it would be treacherous. Some pilgrims with knee/leg issues went down on the road which offered a more even surface.

We set out at 7 am the following day as we were walking to Villafranca. Cafés near the centre of Ponferrada on the Camino were open for breakfast. The walk as far as Cacabelos is very easy; the stretch onwards to Villafranca a bit more tiring. The three days from Rabanal to O’Cebriero are three long days. Taking four days for this stretch would ease it considerably.

Ate the best pilgrims meal so far at El Casino, Plaza Mayor in Villafranca. Run by a very friendly multi-lingual Portuguese, the vegetable starter dish was to die for.

At O’Cebriero now and I will definitely sleep soundly tonight!

“With each step a gentle wind blows.” (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Buen camino peregrinos…..
I'm glad you bought Meindl shoes. They are my favourites irrespective of colour! I have been to a lot of the places you mention and its good to see you enjoying them and giving me back enough happy memories to provoke me into seeing them again next year. Good luck, God bless and Buen Camino.

Samarkand.
 

Kev&Kath

Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
We loved our rest day in Leon which is a wonderful city. On recommendations we ate our main meal at lunchtime in Ezequiel on C Ancha - €19 for 3 course meal and water/wine. Huge portions! On the second day we ate at El Capriche on Pl. de S Marcelo - €16 for more manageable portions. I noticed two small holes in my trail shoes on the way into Leon and bought a new pair at Armenia Castro on C la Rua. Very good outdoor shop, good quality though not cheap. I got a pair of Meindl shoes a brand I know, the only downside being that they come in luminous turquoise. The poem “When I am old I shall wear purple “ by Jenny Joseph came to mind, though in my case it will be luminous turquoise! In Leon I had a massage at the Centro de Masajes on Calle Ancha. Very professional, Carlos is a chiropractor who gives sports massages. Very, very reasonable rates so maybe leave a tip if you can.

The next day we headed to Villadangos starting with breakfast in the early morning darkness in a café beside the cathedral. We were going to stay in Hotel Avenida 111 the only accommodation we could get. While we knew the reviews of the place were poor, it was pretty miserable. It’s a truckers’ stop with the restaurant 60m away. When we enquired about breakfast we were told it would be closed (on a Saturday). But we hadn’t realised the hotel is 2K short of Villadangos making our walk to Astorga the following day a 32K one. Those two days from Leon to Astorga were the toughest psychologically for me so far. The vast majority of the Camino on this stretch is on a stony track alongside a main road with the constant noise of juggernauts. There is an alternative route but other pilgrims found that option challenging too.

We fled the Hotel Avenida at 7.15 am and in St Martin the first village we came to, went into the first albergue on the left to see if we could have breakfast there. To our delight we were welcomed in and sitting quietly around the table with other pilgrims, the gentleness of the Camino wrapped itself around me again.

In Astorga we stayed at the most beautiful place that is Albergue So Por Hoje. Run by Patricia a Brazilian and her son Gabrielle, this is a special place. That evening we had a communal Brazilian meal of rice, chicken casserole, bean stew and salad. Bliss - not a chip/French fry or grilled meat in sight!

Our walk to Rabanal del Camino was a feast for the senses, the early morning silence only broken by birdsong and the earthen tracks a more forgiving terrain for tired joints. In Rabanal we stayed at Posada El Tesin. Even if you don’t stay there, the restaurant is excellent. Open all day until 9 pm you can have dinner early or late as you please. In Rabanal there is a Benedictine church to the left past the village church where the monks sing Vespers at 7 pm. A beautiful space.

Molinaseca is a beautiful town with lots of accommodation and pilgrim meals. The long descent into it is tough (think Zubiri X 20!). I wouldn’t attempt it in rain as it would be treacherous. Some pilgrims with knee/leg issues went down on the road which offered a more even surface.

We set out at 7 am the following day as we were walking to Villafranca. Cafés near the centre of Ponferrada on the Camino were open for breakfast. The walk as far as Cacabelos is very easy; the stretch onwards to Villafranca a bit more tiring. The three days from Rabanal to O’Cebriero are three long days. Taking four days for this stretch would ease it considerably.

Ate the best pilgrims meal so far at El Casino, Plaza Mayor in Villafranca. Run by a very friendly multi-lingual Portuguese, the vegetable starter dish was to die for.

At O’Cebriero now and I will definitely sleep soundly tonight!

“With each step a gentle wind blows.” (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Buen camino peregrinos…..
Thank you for this excellent/detailed update. My wife and I start out from STJPdP on 27 Oct....so I'm sort of focused to posts like yours. Brilliant information and recommendations...which are very much appreciated. Safe travels...Buen Camino!
 
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