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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
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Day 0. Cuenca
If you are beginning the Lana in Cuenca (as many do), here are your options for getting there from Madrid:
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
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Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
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Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Just for kicks, I checked to see if there are any vegetarian restaurants in Cuenca, and...voila! Three options:

Wow...we have choice! Two serve meat, so there is something for everyone's taste.
This sounds like a blessed oasis from fries and sad salads.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
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And if you are starting here (or taking a rest day), there are many reasons to linger:

This is the second stellar medieval city on the Rio Jucar that we encounter on this Camino, after Alcala de Jucar.

Here are a couple of impressions from various Forum posts — it looks more than amazing:
Old Cuenca is wonderful. It was a top move having a one day break here. I feel revitalised. Very impressive old buildings mixed in with great views [...] staying a full day in Cuenca was a top move, one of my better decisions. It's definitely got a day in it for sight seeing and relaxing. My hotel is recommended and 2 minutes from a wonderful string in a row of about 10 bars with big outside areas, all serving amazing tapas. It came alive whilst I was there around 8.00pm.
That has to be one of the most beautiful places I have been privileged to explore in Spain.
What can I say about Cuenca that hasn't already been said before? For me it is up there with Toledo. Many years ago when I was a student, someone in Madrid, probably in a bar, told me you had to see Toledo, Segovia, Salamanca, Alcala de Henares, Avila, Aranjuez, El Escorial and Cuenca before you died. I don't want to jack it in just yet but as of today I've seen them all, and I think I might, just, put Cuenca foremost amongst them all. The old town and it's location is simply stunning and without any pretention. Peregrina 2000, if Alcala de Jucar is the Little Canyon then Cuenca is the Grand Canyon of Spain.

And the albergue is special, thanks in part to Luis, the stellar hospi (There were photos of him entering info into his famous albergue register in the virtual Lana thread part 1.)
And what a place it is. Clean and comfortable and an hospitalero who even interrupted his lunch break to sign me in. I've never seen so many Camino posters and maps, so much info. Looking at one map, I see it is possible to join the Ruta de la Lana from Javea, Valencia (Requena), Gallur as well as Alicante. The albergue registry is a thing of beauty. Every pilgrim neatly inscribed followed by a wax crayon flag of their country of origin. It is a piece of art.
The albergue in Cuenca (great location by the way) was very cold due to stone construction and no heating. My sleeping bag and two blankets were needed to sleep and luckily there were more than enough for me as alone but the temperature was too uncomfortable to stay for any length of time if not covered up. There is no kitchen but a microwave. Plus point: the shower was very hot.
 

peregrina2000

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Just reporting in to say that I spent about an hour re-reading the Alicante-Cuenca thread and deleting posts as I had promised.

From 455 original posts, we are down to 234. I think that’s a good ratio to strive for in this thread — half serious, half banter.

My Part I awards:

Most threads that produced a belly laugh — BP
Most amazing visuals — Ninja
Most supportive and encouraging — VN (close second, AJ)
Most rambling off-topic posts — Peregrina2000 o_O

A few clean-up questions about things that I could add if anyone knows the answers

1. VN once said there were three routes into the Paracuellos castle (one looked scary). Does anyone know about that?

2. BP asked for help about a monument leaving Monteagudo and no one has been able to clear it up (now post 203). Anything to add?

It took a little more than two months to go from Alicante to Cuenca. I think it was a lot of fun, and also I think that we produced a very helpful and detailed planning document.

Onward from Cuenca! Buen camino, Laurie
 
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peregrina2000

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to see if there are any vegetarian restaurants in Cuenca
If the abstract art museum has attracted artists and other creative souls to Cuenca, we will probably find a few more “not so typical” restaurants — I see there are several Indian!

I wonder if the vegan/vegetarian crowd can tell me whether my impression is consistent with your impressions or more likely BS. I am not vegetarian, but when I am in Spain, if I ever see a vegetarian restaurant when I’m looking for lunch, I always eat there. I have never been disappointed (in Valladolid, Madrid, Mérida, and even in Jaca with LT, where we had to wait about two hours but our meal was very good). My theory is that since Spain is such a huge meat-eating country, these places have to be special or they won’t last.

In contrast, I have had many not-great meals in vegetarian restaurants in Portugal. Not sure why that should be the case, but it does suggest my theory may be more BS than accurate, since Portugal is also pretty heavy on the meat (running a close second to bacalhau).
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Perhaps I’ll join you again now that my new hip is operational.
Re-upping the link to your wonderful blog, @Magwood, because it really paints a picture of what this camino feels like. I finally bookmarked it...long overdue! I hope you can chime in with your impressions.

we might even have two days here.
Geeze, I'm thinking three. Or of an alternative way of getting there that takes in the natural history that is between here and Valencia:
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
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Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
VN once said there were three routes into the Paracuellos castle
I got that from (I think) Undermanager's thread. Maybe check there?

if I ever see a vegetarian restaurant when I’m looking for lunch, I always eat there. I have never been disappointed (in Valladolid, Madrid, Mérida, and even in Jaca with LT, where we had to wait about two hours but our meal was very good). My theory is that since Spain is such a huge meat-eating country, these places have to be special or they won’t last.
That, and the fact that you can't just throw chips on a plate with whatever cheap meat happens to be around that day. To cook a decent vegetarian meal you to make an effort.

Ok, gang...Onward!
Day 16. Cuenca - Villar de Domingo Garcia. 34.4km.
Part 1; Cuenca to Noheda 24.5km
The distance I am quoting today comes from my OSMand app; the distance quoted in the guides is roughly 30 km. I'm sorry AJ, there is not much in the way of options to break this up. One potential choice, though, is to go as far as Noheda, which is roughly 24.5km from Cuenca. I see nowhere to stay there, but you could taxi back to Cuenca and continue the next day.

There is an Roman Villa just a little past Noheda that certainly looks worth a look;
Perhaps it will mean that a place to stay here will manifest in the future:

There are some wonderful photos here:

It says
Guided tours to this lost corner are only offered on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays at closed hours. They cost barely three euros. Meanwhile, all other days except Mondays are saved for group visits. Reservations are mandatory. Furthermore, in Villar de Domingo García there is a remarkable visitors’ centre with additional information about the Roman villa of Noheda.

More here:
And:

To be continued to VdDG in a further post.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
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Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Ok, gang...Onward!
No dilly dallying anymore? ;):oops:
there is not much in the way of options to break this up. One potential choice, though, is to go as far as Noheda, which is roughly 24.5km from Cuenca. I see nowhere to stay there, but you could taxi back to Cuenca and continue the next day.
A better plan, knowing AJ and his beloved, would be to get a taxi ride out of Cuenca 8 or 10 km and then walk from there to Villar de Domingo Garcia.

Google shows some lodging in Chillaron de Cuenca, but you'd want to confirm that before setting out from Cuenca. You could spend an extra half-day in Cuenca, walk 9 km to Chillaron, and then have about 20 km to go the next day to Villar.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
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San Olav/CF ('16)
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Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
No dilly dallying anymore?
Haha...I got the distinct feeling that there is a desire to move.
😂


A better plan, knowing AJ and his beloved, would be to get a taxi ride out of Cuenca 8 or 10 km and then walk from there to Villar de Domingo Garcia
This is definitely a possibility for those who are not purists wanting to walk every step.

I was thinking that stopping in Noheda would be a wonderful option because of the amazing Roman villa...although to be sure not everybody might share my fascination with such things.

You could spend an extra half-day in Cuenca, walk 9 km to Chillaron, and then have about 20 km to go the next day to Villar.
This works, too!
 

VNwalking

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Day 16. Cuenca - Villar de Domingo Garcia. 34.4km.
Part 2; Noheda - Villar de Domingo Garcia. 9.9km

After Noheda,
there are some kilometers of road walking on a busy road, so it's a place to take care.

In case of rainy weather the first part of the way is either on the road or on sandy tracks, but after Noheda, the mud is the miserable sticky kind. Luis at the albergue in Cuenca recommends following the road the whole way because of mud. @Magwood and @Ninja followed the marked Camino where it left the road after Noheda, and soon discovered the last section has the kind of surface to be avoided after a rain (photo from Magwood's blog)!
Screenshot_20210117-102002_Firefox.jpg

Google shows some lodging in Chillaron de Cuenca
It's also the only place to have our second breakfast! Here's what @Magwood says:
Chillarón is the only village we pass through with facilities. The hostal we called into was buzzing with locals looking for their coffee and croissant fix. We passed through three more villages, but no more opportunities for refreshment.

And today, if you're as lucky as Magwood was, you might have company:
For much of the way we were escorted by dozens of soaring eagles.

Go to Bar Goyo for the key for the albergue at Villar de Domingo Garcia. Several people report that it's small and damp. But, well...pilgrims do not demand...it's amazing and a source of gratitude that there are albergues at all out here where peregrinos are few and far between.
 
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peregrina2000

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I had not known about the Roman villa. It certainly looks amazing. To add some more detail to how to visit, here are two screen shots from the official site. Visits available Thursdays through Sundays with seasonal variations. Looks like a visit will require advance planning, but wow.

I’m wondering if any of the Lana vets saw or passed the site — I don’t remember hearing anything about it. I don’t think it’s not mentioned in the association’s guide either, so I bet this is a very recent development.


. B37AE936-8ED1-496C-962C-2DAD1D56359F.png AAF4947D-2FE5-41B6-801D-9C496727D2E3.png


VN, all the wikiloc tracks put the distance to Villar de Domingo García at about 27 - 30 km. I can’t remember if your distance was higher or lower than wikiloc’s the last time I compared but there does seem to be some not trivial spread. Wonder why. Some routing takes you through Bascuñana de San Pedro (but there is no place to stay there), which may be a bit longer, but the wikiloc routes all go directly to Villar de Domingo García.

A 36 km day would take you to Torralba, where there are three casas rurales, but I have no info on whether they take individuals, and they are not on WhatsApp. For the albergue, call the ayuntamiento — 969 270 101. It’s in the centro social and not guaranteed that they will take you, so calling ahead seems essential.
 
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Day 0. Cuenca
If you are beginning the Lana in Cuenca (as many do), here are your options for getting there from Madrid:
Thank you VN walking. Recently I found myself in camino garb (don't really own anything other than hiking gear), bare feet (it's summer here) and glued to the virtual camino. It's a good substitute, although my friends regard me as a tragic. I'm looking out for AJGuillaume to knock those distances back.
 

VNwalking

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although my friends regard me as a tragic.
Thank you, Bernice, and it's so nice to have you in our little gaggle. And your friends? Little do they know we are the fortunate few!
🙃 :cool:

VN, all the wikiloc tracks put the distance to Villar de Domingo García at about 27 - 30 km. I can’t remember if your distance was higher or lower than wikiloc’s the last time I compared but there does seem to be some not trivial spread. Wonder why.
I have a Lana track that I downloaded from Wikiloc — I can't remember whose track it was. Then I'm using OSMand to do the calculation of distance for me, and that's what it comes up with. It IS a difference to be sure!

Take a look at happy Bar Goyo!
Hahaha!!
Reading @Magwood's blog entry about this place is very entertaining. I can see she wasn't exaggerating.

I'm looking out for AJGuillaume to knock those distances back.
Me too. 🙃

Hey, @Bad Pilgrim, you've been here recently. What say you about the stage after Cuenca? Have you seen the Roman ruins? Sadly, they were closed when @alansykes went by.
 
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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
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Camino Del Norte (2018)
I'm looking out for AJGuillaume to knock those distances back.
We're coming, wait for us! 😀

Part 1; Cuenca to Noheda 24.5km
The distance I am quoting today comes from my OSMand app; the distance quoted in the guides is roughly 30 km. I'm sorry AJ, there is not much in the way of options to break this up. One potential choice, though, is to go as far as Noheda, which is roughly 24.5km from Cuenca. I see nowhere to stay there, but you could taxi back to Cuenca and continue the next day.
Slow walkers always find ways to break stages up ;)😀
According to the Amigos' guide book, the distance from Cuenca to Noheda is 19.3 km, which would be acceptable, but as has been pointed out, there's no where to sleep.
A taxi ride back to Cuenca and then back to Noheda could definitely be considered, although it might be an expensive option, as rome2rio reckons it would cost us €60 to €75 one way.

A better plan, knowing AJ and his beloved, would be to get a taxi ride out of Cuenca 8 or 10 km and then walk from there to Villar de Domingo Garcia.

Google shows some lodging in Chillaron de Cuenca, but you'd want to confirm that before setting out from Cuenca. You could spend an extra half-day in Cuenca, walk 9 km to Chillaron, and then have about 20 km to go the next day to Villar.
Oh, @C clearly , how well you know us!!
Chillarón is actually on the train line from Cuenca, and a ticket is likely to be less than €10 for a 10 minute ride.
The option of walking 8.7 km from Cuenca to Chillarón de Cuenca is the one we would consider. Having some extra time in Cuenca is appealing, and in Chillarón there is a choice of staying at the Hostal Los Ángeles, or at the Hotel Midama. The latter offers a 20% discount for pilgrims:
Aprovechando que la Ruta de la Lana pasa por la puerta de nuestro hotel camino a Santiago, todos los peregrinos que pernocten tendrán un 20% de descuento.
Then we would have 19.3 km to walk to Villar de Domingo García the next day, a good day's walk.

This is definitely a possibility for those who are not purists wanting to walk every step.
Nah, we're not purists, we're slow walkers and realists 😜

I was thinking that stopping in Noheda would be a wonderful option because of the amazing Roman villa...although to be sure not everybody might share my fascination with such things.
Obviously, walking at our pace all the way to Villar de Domingo García from Chillarón means we might not have enough time to stop in Noheda. That would be a shame, as we share your fascination for such things, @VNwalking .

Part 2; Noheda - Villar de Domingo Garcia. 9.9km

After Noheda,
there are some kilometers of road walking on a busy road, so it's a place to take care.

In case of rainy weather the first part of the way is either on the road or on sandy tracks, but after Noheda, the mud is the miserable sticky kind. Luis at the albergue in Cuenca recommends following the road the whole way because of mud. @Magwood and @Ninja followed the marked Camino where it left the road after Noheda, and soon discovered the last section has the kind of surface to be avoided after a rain (photo from Magwood's blog)!
Ah, lovely mud. We had that on the Podiensis in 2018, and the lovely people on the Podiensis installed boot brushes:
IMG_20180809_adj.jpg
VN, all the wikiloc tracks put the distance to Villar de Domingo García at about 27 - 30 km. I can’t remember if your distance was higher or lower than wikiloc’s the last time I compared but there does seem to be some not trivial spread. Wonder why. Some routing takes you through Bascuñana de San Pedro (but there is no place to stay there), which may be a bit longer, but the wikiloc routes all go directly to Villar de Domingo García.
Interestingly, the Amigos' guide book gives this stage as:
ETAPA 3: CUENCA – BASCUÑANA DE SAN PEDRO (24,2 KM)
with an alternative:
Itinerario alternativo por Villar de Domingo García (10,7 Km)
It is interesting, as the guide book also indicates that the only accommodation is:
Centro social (acogida no garantizada)
Tondos to Bascuñana de San Pedro is 8.5 km, so the total distance from Cuenca to Villar de Domingo García at 26.4 km, according to the Amigos. I guess it all comes down to the start and end points.

Aaaah, it's good to be walking again! ☺️
 

VNwalking

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We had that on the Podiensis in 2018, and the lovely people on the Podiensis installed boot brushes:
Oh! SO kind!!!
😍

Distances...yes, confusing - but as you say, AJ, maybe it's about beginnings and endings.
 
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Magwood

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My Wikiloc app clocked 30 km for this stage, although we did take the road most of the way due to dreadfully muddy tracks. Not sure how this affected distance. You can view the track here

@VNwalking would it be useful to post my Wikiloc track for each stage?
 

peregrina2000

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Staff member
Tondos to Bascuñana de San Pedro is 8.5 km, so the total distance from Cuenca to Villar de Domingo García at 26.4 km, according to the Amigos. I guess it all comes down to the start and end points.

I think you have solved the mystery, AJ. Cuenca to Bascuñana is 24, plus 11more to continue to Villar de Domingo García. That’s VN’s total, roughly.

If you look at a map,though, you will see that Bascuñana is not on a direct route to Villar de Domingo García. None of the Lana tracks that I have seen go through Bascuñana. The sketch of Maggie’s walk shows it clearly. So unless you plan to go to Bascuña (and I have yet to hear of a reason to do so ;)) it is about 30.

F92F5739-7035-49CA-AD8A-92FF9BD9B17C.jpeg


Update on visiting the Roman villa outside Noheda. I got a quick response to the questions I emailed to the Red Arqueológica de Castilla y La Mancha. Tickets can ONLY be acquired online. You must go on a guided tour, lasts about 45 minutes. The link for doing that is here.

Ticket availability is shown through May. Because of covid, only 5 people can go in at a time
Tickets are free until the 31st of May.

The online calendar for 2021 only shows tours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The text says they do tours on Thursdays. I have written again to see whether that’s a covid schedule or a likely perment change. That’s a small window for peregrinos on foot, but maybe some of us will be able to coincide with a tour day. These mosaics look spectacular, and there is a lot more excavation to do. I read that they have uncovered 4000 sq m of the entire estate, which corresponds to about 5% of the total. This must have been one wealthy Roman!

And not surprisingly, there was a lawsuit by the landowner who claimed he was entitled to 50 million euros for the government’s actions taking the land.

Spanish law allows the landowner to receive 50% of the value of the find, but it requires the owner to notify the government within 30 days of the find. This landowner found the ruins about twenty years ago and said nothing. But there is of course a complicated explanation of why that happened, involving inheritance, uncertainty about the legitimacy of the government agency in charge, etc. The finding occurred when the owner discovered that the lands were flooding and hired some workers to do some drainage work. They found a mosaic of Helen of Troy and covered it all back up.

The trial court awarded the owner the 7,500 € that correspond to the value of the surface area. An interesting article in El País explains the lawsuit and has a short video showing some of the mosics.


In 2020, the Tribunal Supremo upheld the lower court’s ruling.

 

peregrina2000

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Staff member
Chillarón is actually on the train line from Cuenca, and a ticket is likely to be less than €10 for a 10 minute ride.
Currently it would cost you 1.55€, reduced by 40% if you are eligible for their tarjeta dorada. 😁
One train in the morning at 10:45.

But a short day’s walk would be nice too. There is an ethnographic museum and of course there’s a church, but it doesn’t seem to have much in the way of historical interest. You never know what you’ll encounter in these village churches, though. I’ve sat through First Communion practices, been invited to stay for a funeral, enjoyed choir practices, sat in the back during rosaries, seen baptisms, chatted with the señoras cleaning and/or decorating. If they are open, there is likely to be something going on inside, so I always stick my head in.

I found the ayuntamiento’s website with info on accommodations, history, etc. But you’re the whiz with the videos, AJ, so maybe there’s something I haven’t found.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
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I think you have solved the mystery, AJ. Cuenca to Bascuñana is 24, plus 11more to continue to Villar de Domingo García. That’s VN’s total, roughly.
Haha, nice theory but sorry, not. 🙃
My track is the normal one and goes nowhere near Bascuñana. I thought I must have made a mistake, but just recalculated and it's roughly the same...
Well, go figure. It'll have to remain a mystery.
🤔
 
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VNwalking

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@VNwalking would it be useful to post my Wikiloc track for each stage?
Sure! But only if that's not too much trouble. The distances might differ but it gives a sense of what to expect.

I haven't been posting the track I'm using because it is the entire Lana rather than stage by stage.

Smart move. Trouble seems to follow her around.
You win the forum tonight, Raggy.
🤣🤣🤣🤣
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
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Day 17. Villar de Domingo Garcia - Villaconejos de Trabaque. 23.6 km.

Alan describes what sounds like a wonderful day's walk. (It's gradually downhill all the way there, so there's that. 😊 )
A great day, 90% off tarmac. Couple of villages en route, Albalate de las Nogueras very handsome with partially Romanesque church replacing the minaret, and excellent coffee in a truck stop at the entrance to the village. Rolling russet countryside, and the final 6km besides the Río Trabaque, with apple trees and quinces groaning with ripe fruit.
The first village, Torralba, has a bar. @Magwood found it closed until 9:30 AM — though there was an open tienda next door.
@Undermanager was clearly here later in the day has very nice things to say about Torrala,:
Torralba is a pretty village, with quite a few facilities for the tired traveller for such a small place, or it seems to according to Google Maps. It would, certainly on first impressions, be a better option than yesterday's place! The first bar, Bar Carman, serves coffee but has nothing to eat, although I am offered a biscuit. I have a coffee then decide to go on a morning pub crawl and try Bar Goyo Luis, but get sidetracked as there is a great shop next door.

It sounds like there's also a bar in Albalate de las Nogueras. I got curious about that church in Albalate de las Nogueras, because it sounds fascinating (nice to finally have more Romanesque).
Here it is (from the link below):
Screenshot_20210120-190221_Firefox.jpg
A good place to pause! There is a lot of good information and photos here:

Once in Villaconejos, we are again ìn peregrino heaven in terms of heartfelt hospitality. Pepe and his kindness sound special:
The albergue in Villaconejos is a pilgrim palace, the former house of the caretaker of the ermita of the Immaculate Conception at the entrance to the village, kitchen, spacious sitting room, three bedrooms with three bunks and three single beds, loo and shower, donativo.

Hugely hospitable hospitalero Pepe very kindly invited me to dinner. He is the energetic president of the Cuenca amigos, and he and I and a couple of his fellow amigos had a very convivial feast in the nearby cave where he and his ancestors have made wine for centuries. And we did sample some of his products, ¿cómo no?

A most enjoyable and memorable evening.

This was @Bad Pilgrim and @Magwood & @Ninja's experience too. This sounds like a special stop:
We find the albergue, which is situated in a house attached to the ermita de la Inmaculada, the former residence of the caretaker of the church. We are met by the very friendly hospitalero Pepe (646 128 868). We have heard very good things about Pepe, relating to food and drink and true enough, after checking us in he tells us he will be back at around 20:30 to take us for dinner. Now there’s an offer that would be hard to decline. There are several bedrooms at the albergue with plenty of blankets to go round. We are allocated a room with a bunk and a single. There is one small fan heater to share between the various rooms. The kitchen has a microwave and hot plate and there is a lovely garden which would be delightful in warmer weather.
I have no idea how Pepe and his friends can keep up this traditional welcoming of peregrinos in Villaconejos. There must be pilgrims coming by every other day in spring, for example. They are truly very industrious members of the Asociación!
So what can I say? These people always come up with something that makes pilgrims feel welcome. I took two hours of Antonio's spare time as he guided me through the area. How they keep this up is a mystery to me. They are true ambassadors of the Lana!
There were six of us at the albergue at Villaconejos. We were treated to a wonderful tour of the cave.
Pepe signed us in at the albergue but couldn’t join us in the evening due to an out of town taxi job (a man of many employments!). But Antonio, his cousin Martin, and the characterful Paulino prepared a feast for us (including catering to my vegan diet) and entertained us with tales of old about the cave and how the wine was produced. Such wonderful, charming and uplifting people who go to so much trouble for we pilgrims. Paulino drove to find us on the road to the next day and bought us hot drinks before bidding us ‘buen camino’.

8D33807D-F9D5-4EFE-AF15-CD2E6B888F3B.jpeg
@Bad Pilgrim missed out on the meal in the Bodega, but got what sounded like sn amazing tour of the area from another amigo:
That same evening, Pepe came to stamp my credential. But due to his workload (he works in the fields... In 40 C), the traditional pilgrim dinner would be difficult to arrange. He had to be up early tomorrow, his friends were busy or out of town... He went out of his way to apologize. I said it was no problem at all. He said he would at least call his friend Antonio, whom I have also met before, so Antonio could have a chat with me. Well, that chat turned into a full-fledged guided tour of the region! Antonio invited me to do some sightseeing of the neighboring villages. Temperatures were dropping so why not? We jumped into his car.

We moved mostly along La Ruta del mimbre (wicker) that runs in the region, due to the historical importance of this product. The view of the mountains from the road was breathtaking: vertical cliffs, rocks and woods as far as the eyes could see. The road ran through a canyon with some pretty sharp curves. All the while Antonio told me everything that was to know about the villages and the landscape.
I hope we don't overwhelm them with the number of pilgrims in our little wave!
 

peregrina2000

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This is another one of those parts where some people who want to walk longer distances may have a problem doing so.

I had pencilled in Cuenca to Torralba (36) but note that the albergue in Torralba is ”not guaranteed” and the casas rurales don’t seem to have individual rooms.

Then Torralba to Villaconejos would be about 13, plus another 23 to Valdeolivas, for a total of 35. In Valdeolivas there is a local acogida plus a hotel and CR.

Mid-30s is (or has been) my sweet spot, so these two stages would in theory be great, but not if there is no place to stay in Torralba.

Any advice or suggestions from the Lana veterans in our midst?

And I know that it would mean missing out on the wonderful welcome and albergue in Villaconejos described in VN’s post.

Don’t mean to jump ahead, but it’s kind of like a house of cards where future stages depend on earlier ones. Gracias, amigos.
 
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I hope we don't overwhelm them with the number of pilgrims in our little wave!
I think Pepe, Antonio and Paulino will be very happy to see our group. If I’m not mistaken they miss us very much. ;)

So let us all go to the wine cellar close to the albergue in Villaconejos de Trabaque. Oh the bread, freshly baked and then toasted on the fireplace. Oh the wine, the food! The stories! The hospitality! Let’s triple our donations. (@peregrina2000 you have to stop here 🥰 )

Villaconejos_de_Trabaque_1.jpg Villaconejos_de_Trabaque_2.jpg Villaconejos_de_Trabaque_3.jpg Villaconejos_de_Trabaque_4.jpg Villaconejos_de_Trabaque_5.jpg
 

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I have to say that bread is torture.
Here, I might get decent bread every 6 months, and I'm salivating looking at that! Wow, it looks fabulous.
 
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Here is the Wikiloc track for this stage. As happens fairly regularly I forgot to turn on the app until we had walked approximately 4 km, so this stage is around 23.5 km.
due to the dreadfully muddy conditions we walked entirely on the road.
 

Magwood

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I have to say that bread is torture.
Here, I might get decent bread every 6 months, and I'm salivating looking at that! Wow, it looks fabulous.
The bread is specially baked when pilgrims are in town. It was toasted on the fire and sprinkled with Pepe’s own olive oil and salt. Sorry @VNwalking - it really was as good as it looked.
 
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If the abstract art museum has attracted artists and other creative souls to Cuenca, we will probably find a few more “not so typical” restaurants — I see there are several Indian!

I wonder if the vegan/vegetarian crowd can tell me whether my impression is consistent with your impressions or more likely BS. I am not vegetarian, but when I am in Spain, if I ever see a vegetarian restaurant when I’m looking for lunch, I always eat there. I have never been disappointed (in Valladolid, Madrid, Mérida, and even in Jaca with LT, where we had to wait about two hours but our meal was very good). My theory is that since Spain is such a huge meat-eating country, these places have to be special or they won’t last.

In contrast, I have had many not-great meals in vegetarian restaurants in Portugal. Not sure why that should be the case, but it does suggest my theory may be more BS than accurate, since Portugal is also pretty heavy on the meat (running a close second to bacalhau).
I have found this to be true in my experience on the Frances and Norte. Personal favorite is La Camelia Vegan Bar in Bilbao. One of the 2 top eating experiences of my life.
 
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Bad Pilgrim

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2. BP asked for help about a monument leaving Monteagudo and no one has been able to clear it up (now post 203). Anything to add?

As said, I am pretty sure it is the only rest from some super ancient chapel, as I think I read on the information panel. Don't remember the details, but it was enough fascinating for me to make a mental note of it. I have to return to the Lana to check it out. Actually, my plan was to walk the Requena this winter and joining the Lana in Monteagudos de las Salinas... But nothing came of that!
 
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Bad Pilgrim

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Go to Bar Goyo for the key for the albergue at Villar de Domingo Garcia. Several people report that it's small and damp. But, well...pilgrims do not demand...it's amazing and a source of gratitude that there are albergues at all out here where peregrinos are few and far between.

Oh-kay. But that albergue is a threat to mankind. I can do warm, I can do cold, but not damp. Especially if you have already been there once, and you know what awaits at the end of the day, the walk towards Villar de Domingo García becomes gloomy. I did not look forward to arrive.

I have seen a casa rural on google maps, and I just wrote to them asking if they still are there. If only I could avoid the albergue next time... EDIT: They answered that they plan to re-open in April if it is pandemically possible. So the casa rural is indeed there: Las callejuelas .

Google Maps also shows a second "albergue de peregrinos" in town. I have no idea what that is about. As far as I know there is only one.
 
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Bad Pilgrim

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Hey, @Bad Pilgrim, you've been here recently. What say you about the stage after Cuenca? Have you seen the Roman ruins? Sadly, they were closed when @alansykes went by.

First time I walked the Lana, they had just started the excavations. I met the mayor of Villar de Domingo García who was doing some digging there himself. Two years after, they had built the pavilion (?) on/around the spot. See picture below. No, I never went there. I don't remember why, but I have a faint memory they were closed then as well.
 

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Bad Pilgrim

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Day 16. Cuenca - Villar de Domingo Garcia. 34.4km.
Part 2; Noheda - Villar de Domingo Garcia. 9.9km

After Noheda,
there are some kilometers of road walking on a busy road, so it's a place to take care.

In case of rainy weather the first part of the way is either on the road or on sandy tracks, but after Noheda, the mud is the miserable sticky kind. Luis at the albergue in Cuenca recommends following the road the whole way because of mud. @Magwood and @Ninja followed the marked Camino where it left the road after Noheda, and soon discovered the last section has the kind of surface to be avoided after a rain (photo from Magwood's blog)!
View attachment 91348


It's also the only place to have our second breakfast! Here's what @Magwood says:


And today, if you're as lucky as Magwood was, you might have company:


Go to Bar Goyo for the key for the albergue at Villar de Domingo Garcia. Several people report that it's small and damp. But, well...pilgrims do not demand...it's amazing and a source of gratitude that there are albergues at all out here where peregrinos are few and far between.

Hold your ensaladilla rusa and drop your napolitana,

Don't forget the abandoned village of Villalbila! Between Noheda and Villar de Domingo García, there are remnants of a village. I would say it is the largest abandoned town on any camino, at least the ones I have walked. Your imagination runs wild when you see the empty houses along the street and the crumbling church on the side of the hill.

But the ruins are not from the Civil war, nor the result of a secret nuclear testing: Villalbila was actually inhabited until the 1980's. Apparently they had no access to drinkable water because of their location. Sounds problematic! So people eventually moved to other towns in the area. I attached my pictures below. It is eerie or beautiful, depending on your state of mind.
 

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peregrina2000

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Since we’ll be cleaning up the off-topic banter when the thread is finished, BP’s pictures reminded me of a visit I took to the town of Belchite, totally ruined in a Civil War battle. Rather than rebuild, a new town was built and the ruins just left.

Our family was visiting it as a Civil War site (my husband used to teach a class on the Spanish Civil War) during a trip in the 90s, and when we were there, about 5 army cars filled with young recruits drove up. They took a slow and very careful tour of Belchite, and we talked with the commander (I know nothing about ranks, but he was the guy in charge). He told us he always brings his new enlistees to see Belchite, to impress upon them that war is not glorious. Nice touch from an army officer.
 
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VNwalking

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Alan describes what sounds like a wonderful day's walk. (It's gradually downhill all the way there, so there's that. 😊 )
Gradually downhill for about 23 km is definitely a good thing for slow walkers, and even better if it is a wonderful day's walk.
It sounds like there's also a bar in Albalate de las Nogueras. I got curious about that church in Albalate de las Nogueras, because it sounds fascinating (nice to finally have more Romanesque).
The Amigos' guidebook also indicates that there is a Casa Rural El Museo in Albalate de las Nogueras. So if there was a problem, we could try to walk the 16.2 km from Villar de Domingo García, and then the next day walk the 6 km to Villaconejos de Trabaque.
But I don't imagine that would be necessary. Unless we really wanted to spend some time enjoying the Romanesque church in Albalate....
 

peregrina2000

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The Amigos' guidebook also indicates that there is a Casa Rural El Museo in Albalate de las Nogueras.
I haven’t seen El Museo but google maps shows Alojamientos Rurales Solana, (the link is to escapada rural listing) with two locations in town.Looks like a complex of sorts

694DFA4F-ECCA-43D4-AE1F-236F157CD55B.png

Their facebook page lists a phone number. I can’t use my phone right now, but will try to send them a WhatsApp.

1611332333401.jpeg
 

VNwalking

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Oh-kay. But that albergue is a threat to mankind. I can do warm, I can do cold, but not damp. Especially if you have already been there once, and you know what awaits at the end of the day, the walk towards Villar de Domingo García becomes gloomy. I did not look forward to arrive.
CR it is, then!

Google Maps also shows a second "albergue de peregrinos" in town. I have no idea what that is about. As far as I know there is only one.
A mistake, perhaps?
 
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I have already posted that the CR is only for rent as an entire house, and as a follow up question to the owner, I got the confirmation that there is no other option to sleep in Albalate.
Thank you for following up.
As I wrote earlier, we would probably walk the full length of this stage.
 

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Day 18. Villaconejos de Trabaque - Salmerón. 28.3 km.
This is the standard stage listed by the Amigos. It's definitely possible to shorten it by staying in Valdeolivas at 21.2km, where there's an albergue at the Ermita de Emaculada.

Alan liked this stage a lot, a good sign:
Another 4 star day, starting with undulating hills on all sides, then a section besides the gorge of the fast flowing and melodious tree-lined Guadiela, then a slightly alarming crossing over its bridge with an overflowing section. The water was barely above my ankles, but the surface was very slippery and easy to have a nasty fall. The pale green water was delicious and it would be a lovely spot for a swim, wide and neck deep and cool, but I resisted the temptation. Shortly after you near Albendea, where there is a bar but I carried on to Valdeolivas. 6 more km, mostly the only tarmac of the day, but a very quiet road. Valdeolivas' impressive 4 tiered 12th century church tower had been visible from about 10km, and it would have been pleasant to visit its church, but it was all tightly shut up. The town was a pleasure, with several bars and tiendas, and the first cash machine since Cuenca. I had a pleasant and welcome lunch in the plaza Nueva, one of those increasingly rare places where there is no choice, you just eat what's put in front of you. Very good it was too. And then on another 6km to Salmerón, shortly after Valdeolivas making my first ever footsteps in Guadalajara province. The albergue in Salmerón is another treat, housed in the 16th century former office and prison of the Inquisition. The albergue is very much in the office section rather than the cells - high first floor room with five beds, loo and shower, 5€, key from the Cazador bar. My first night in a prison.
Any comments, Lana vets?
 
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It’s not always easy to find the one picture that will capture the day. Well, here’s one for the end of the day!

We have settled in the albergue in Salmerón at the former prison of the Inquisition, and in our minds we travel back in time. Then we walk around the corner from the albergue to find a bar in a cave/basement and are met by this painting.

It is getting dark outside, the wind howls…

SALMERON_1.jpg
 

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Any comments, Lana vets?
I am definitely not a Lana vet, and as this is a fairly long stage for slow walkers, knowing whether we can walk this in two days is important. So I will be keen to know what the Lana vets have to say.
It's definitely possible to shorten it by staying in Valdeolivas at 21.2km, where there's an albergue at the Ermita de Emaculada.
The Amigos' guidebook lists a "Centro social (acogida no garantizada)" in both Albendea and Valdeolivas. Both would be potential stopovers for slow walkers, with 17.1 km to Albendea, and 21.2km (23.1 km according to the Amigos). Google maps shows a Casa Rural La Cañada in Albendea, a Casa Rural Del Río and a Casa Rural Maese Leonardo in Valdeolivas. I suppose all three are for rent as an entire house. I guess we could always try a phone call when we walk...

I couldn't find the hotel mentioned by @Undermanager :
Valdeolivas was a further 5kms on and perched on the end of a bit of an uphill slog. I arrive at 1:30pm. This is a large, very pretty medieval village, and another place to seriously considering staying a night in. I saw a hotel, a couple of bars and a shop and I can imagine it being even more beautiful at night. There's a Casa Ru4al here too apparently.

There's a taxi service in Cañaveras, 10 minutes away from Villaconejos de Trabaque, so our plan B, if my beloved felt this stage was too long, would be to call that service, and get a lift to say half way to Albendea.

Stopping in Valdeolivas would be nice, specially as there is a Romanesque church with paintings.
The place looks nice:
 
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peregrina2000

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I appreciate going through these stages. My own calculating is taking me far afield from where most others are going these days, though.

My suggested stages those who like longer stages are:

Cuenca to Torralba (36), which I asked about in an earlier post. It has an acogida no garantizada and a couple of CRs that may not offer individual rooms.

Torralba to Valdeolivas (35). It has a few possibilities, as AJ has said:

CR El Río 969 317 177
CR Maese Leonardo +34 658 87 45 83
plus an acogida 969 317 031, that is not guaranteed.


I have written to the ayuntamiento in both places to see if they can give information about what’s available.

I’m guessing none of the forum vets have slept in either Torralba or Valdeolivas, but it would be lovely to be wrong!
 

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Here is the Wikiloc track for this stage. Once again we took the road as far as Valdeolivas in order to avoid the mud. But you can feel the joy we felt on leaving this town and finding ourselves on a beautiful sand track - the urge to skip was irresistible.
810C63D1-C43B-4045-B25E-8B620DDD56A0.jpeg
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Just keep in mind that the camino never really enters Albendea. You have to turn left and go to explore if you want to find the bar, that looked more like a bakery than a bar when I was there. I didn't see or smell any traces of coffee but perhaps there is some if you ask. It looked very small!

Then we walk around the corner from the albergue to find a bar in a cave/basement and are met by this painting.

The bar is La Mazmorra (as written in the upper corner of the mural). I would question the historical accuracy of the painting: goat hair and a halloween pumpkin 😄 ?? Anyway, in spite of looking like a dungeon, La Mazmorra is the merrier of the two bars in town, thanks to the industrious and chatty owners who fed me all evening with tortillas and café con leche. The other bar, El cazador, where you get the keys to the albergue, has to be the gloomiest bar in Spain. I believe I wrote in my journal that it is like a never-ending funeral in there.

Cuenca to Torralba (36), which I asked about in an earlier post. It has an acogida no garantizada and a couple of CRs that may not offer individual rooms.

Torralba to Valdeolivas (35). It has a few possibilities, as AJ has said:

From Cuenca to Trillo (Trillo is coming up in the next post, I think), I struggled to change my stages when I walked the Lana the second time. I wanted to stay in new places for a change... impossible. I know you have proven there are ways to shorten stages. But for those like me who want to walk longer stages (25-35 kms) there are hardly any alternatives; you always end up in the same places (which are those given as end stages in the Asociation's guide). For example, the stage that @peregrina2000 suggests above - Torralba to Valdeolivas - has to be followed by either a short stage to Salmerón (and people used to longer stages don't want to do that), or a long stage from Valdeolivas to Viana de Mondéjar, that certainly has an albergue but where there is nothing else. I wouldn't know what to do there all day. Perhaps I am confusing you with this rambling. But my point is that people who walk longer stages are pretty much at the mercy of the official guide. If anyone has managed to break up their 30+ stages in this area, I would really like to know how!!
 
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Bad Pilgrim

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Oh, I have quite a few photos from this stage. Let me explain. These are from Villaconejos to Valdeolivas. There are two pictures of the owerflowing section that Alan mentions. This is what it looks like in summer, so there is always water, I think. It's deeper than it looks: you have to remove shoes & socks to get through.
 

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Bad Pilgrim

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And this is the part between Valdeolivas and Salméron. Salmerón is pretty!

The last picture is of the enormous heads that greet you when you enter the albergue/prison. Possibly stored there to be used in some procession/festival?

There was a thunderstorm when I spent the night there. The lightning cast ominous shadows around those heads... I had to go up from bed in the middle of the night to search for a door or a window that was rustling in the wind somewhere in the large building... Only with my flashlight, and the lightnings that kept illuminating the rooms. That place made the sportshall in Campillo de Altobuey feel like an amusement park...!
 

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
For example, the stage that @peregrina2000 suggests above - Torralba to Valdeolivas - has to be followed by either a short stage to Salmerón (and people used to longer stages don't want to do that), or a long stage from Valdeolivas to Viana de Mondéjar, that certainly has an albergue but where there is nothing else.

Thanks, BP. Actually, my idea was in fact to walk from Valdeolivas to Viana de Mondejar (28), taking a shorter day there so I would be able to walk the next day the Tetas de Viana alternative that @alansykes really enjoyed. I know this is getting way ahead, but then from Viana de Mondejar - Tetas - Cifuentes (30)

So, back to your original point about how hard it is to do longer stages. Do you think these two days are bad ideas? Any memories of those towns or their acogidas?

Cuenca to Torralba (36) and Torralba to Valdeolivas (35)

Many thanks. Hope you are no longer drowning in work!
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Perhaps I am confusing you with this rambling.
No, you're very clear!

Actually, my idea was in fact to walk from Valdeolivas to Viana de Mondejar (28), taking a shorter day there so I would be able to walk the next day the Tetas de Viana
Viana de Mondejar - Tetas - Cifuentes (30)
Pinning this for later...
😊

Also coming up is Sigüenza. Sorry BP, I can't resist. Perhaps we can take a rest day there while you tell us about the 'official' Lana? Actually, if I were walking this in real life I would go seriously off-piste to go from there to Cassilas de Berlanga to take in San Baudelo, rejoining the Lana at Fresno de Caracena.

But that's days ahead of us! Back to Salméron...which in spite of the spooky albergue seems to be excessively quiet. Searching for castles, churches, etc, brings up nothing. Time to do our laundry, I guess. 🙃
 
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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Year of past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
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Back to Salméron...which in spite of the spooky albergue seems to be excessively quiet. Searching for castles, churches, etc, brings up nothing. Time to do our laundry, I guess.
😄 😄 😄
Not even a little video of Salmerón...
 
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SJPDP to SdC (2011-13-14-17). Norte (15). Mozárabe Almería-Merida (18) Guimaraes to SdC, F + M (18)
The other bar, El cazador, where you get the keys to the albergue, has to be the gloomiest bar in Spain. I believe I wrote in my journal that it is like a never-ending funeral in there.
That is truly a spot on description of the bar! I could add; pure Twin Peaks. (Or Zone Blanc – a French TV-Series).

@Magwood and I didn’t really go to explore much of Salmerón, mainly because of the weather. There was a certain amount of picturesque decay about the village … eg. the door of the church - and especially the fountain (which I liked a lot).

SALMERON_church.jpg

SALMERON_fountain.jpg
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Just to say that I have heard from a forum member who walked the Lana and stayed in Torralba! Sounds like it’s a good place to stay:

As you enter the village there is a villa on your left. This is (was 15/09/18) the albergue. You need to find the hosp. who runs "Bar Goyo". I ended up going to the plaza and drank in the bar next to Ayunt - this is wrong bar. I was then taken to Bar Goyo by a local by a roundabout route. Before you get to the plaza turn left and then ask directions. It is a village so you will not go far wrong. The Alb was donativo (10 euros) and had at least three large bedrooms. The one I had had two single beds not bunks. The water was hot and plentiful - the Hosp. turns the water on for you- plus, being the "La Lana" I had the place to myself. Return key to Bar Goyo where you can get breakfast.

And I found @undermanager’s report, which was also quite positive:
Torralba is a pretty village, with quite a few facilities for the tired traveller for such a small place, or it seems to according to Google Maps. It would, certainly on first impressions, be a better option than yesterday's place! The first bar, Bar Carman, serves coffee but has nothing to eat, although I am offered a biscuit. I have a coffee then decide to go on a morning pub crawl and try Bar Goyo Luis, but get sidetracked as there is a great shop next door. Breakfast! I buy a crusty bread, a hunk of what looks like luncheon meat from the fridge and a couple of bananas. Who would have thought that a bread, luncheon meat and banana sandwich was the tastiest thing ever? So I spend the next half hour relaxing on the strategically placed chair outside the shop, admiring the traffic on the main road. Life is good.

I really like this village and after spending some 25 minutes here, I feel I can speak as an authority ; if your little legs can manage it from Cuenca, I'd definitely stay here. It has a lovely atmosphere with just a minor not major road going through it, is very friendly, most people I've met in the last half hour are sober, it has some impressive ruins on a hill, an albergue, maybe hotels, two bars, a shop and a 24 hour funeral parlour - what more do you need?



I know that walking on the next day from Torralba to Valdeolivas means missing out on the wonderful amigos group, but I would like to have the information so I will know my options.


Actually, if I were walking this in real life I would go seriously off-piste to go from there to Cassilas de Berlanga to take in San Baudelo,
I have some other ideas about that, I’ll post when we get closer.

And p.s. VN, I have all the Tetas information and can put it up when you get there. No need for you to do all the work.
 

Pilger Franz

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Podiensis-Norte-Ingles-SdC; Francigena; Touron.; Bretagne; Lemovic.; Lana; Lusitana (Este)
The Amigos' guidebook lists a "Centro social (acogida no garantizada)" in both Albendea and Valdeolivas. Both would be potential stopovers for slow walkers, with 17.1 km to Albendea, and 21.2km (23.1 km according to the Amigos). Google maps shows a Casa Rural La Cañada in Albendea, a Casa Rural Del Río and a Casa Rural Maese Leonardo in Valdeolivas. I suppose all three are for rent as an entire house. I guess we could always try a phone call when we walk...

In 2018 and again in 2019 I stayed in Albendea in the Casa rural Gabriela opposite to the bar/panaderia.
(+34) 969 316 010 (+34) 695 986 505 - Pilgrims are welcome.
 

Pilger Franz

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Podiensis-Norte-Ingles-SdC; Francigena; Touron.; Bretagne; Lemovic.; Lana; Lusitana (Este)
Just keep in mind that the camino never really enters Albendea. You have to turn left and go to explore if you want to find the bar, that looked more like a bakery than a bar when I was there. I didn't see or smell any traces of coffee but perhaps there is some if you ask. It looked very small!
You should follow the smell of bread. The bar is upstairs and will be opened on pilgrim's request :)
 
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Pilger Franz

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Podiensis-Norte-Ingles-SdC; Francigena; Touron.; Bretagne; Lemovic.; Lana; Lusitana (Este)
I’m guessing none of the forum vets have slept in either Torralba or Valdeolivas, but it would be lovely to be wrong!
In 2019 I stayed overnight in Torralba. Ask for the Bar Goyo und Luis, the hospitalero. The albergue was in a former Seniors' home. In comparison with the albergue in Villar de Santo Domingo it was more like a mansion.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
The other bar, El cazador, where you get the keys to the albergue, has to be the gloomiest bar in Spain. I believe I wrote in my journal that it is like a never-ending funeral in there

Sadly the Mazmorra bar was shut when I went through. I put in my vote for the Cazador to win the prize for "La Mancha's surliest barman, 2017". To be fair, he may have been monosyllabic, but he did make a really very decent bocadillo (and breakfast) to get me through the following day's complete lack of any provisions. I prefer a mono-(or, in his case, virtually nono-)syllabic barman who provides good food to a friendly one who doesn't. Next time (ahhh, next time....) I'll sleep in Valdeolivas and eat again at its excellent Café Martín.

But I slept really well in Salmerón's prison.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
For those who are collecting info on accommodation options in the towns along the way, I don’t think this list from the Cuenca association has been posted, but sorry if it’s a duplicate. And here’s another

As some have mentioned, I think that COVID is going to take its toll on some of these places, so double-checking in advance could be a really good idea closer to real Camino time. And I just found an example of that - The Hotel Infantado in Valdeolivas has closed definitively, according to a WhatsApp I have received.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I responded with a sad face because of your last paragraph, Laurie, but wish I could also have put in thanking hands.
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Will we make it to Trillo tomorrow?
Not quite...stopping short so we can go up the Tetas. And clean all that mud off our boots!
Day 19. Salmerón - Viana de Mondéjar. 21, 5 km.
Without the temptation of the side journey of the mountain (coming next!), I would definitely go all the way to Trillo because it looks like a much more happening place.
It is admittedly a very short stage but VdM has a new albergue, so there's that.

Once again I am cribbing your notes, Alan. I'm up to my neck in the work so I'm hoping all the rest of you who have also done this Camino can fill in the blanks:
Another wonderful day. With hindsight, it might be better to stay in Valdeolivas, despite Salmerón's splendid albergue. The rest of the village is a bit sad, with a tienda only open from 10-2, and I only saw men older than me (57) the whole time I was there. Amazingly, the bar was open at 8 so I got coffee, and the owner, a contender for this year's "Surliest Spanish Barman" award, kindly made me a bocadillo to take away, as Viana de Mondéjar has no tienda, open or closed.

There is a sharpish rise out of the village, c300m in an hour, but the reward was breath-taking views back over about 80km of Cuenca province. Then a woodland path until the camino is illegally blocked by a new landowner. Pepe in Villaconejos and Luis in Cuenca both told me to ignore the padlocked gate and "prohibido el paso" signs and walk over the fence 20 yards to the left of the gate. So, slightly nervously, I did, shortly afterwards passing a hideously vulgar new hacienda which Señor Latifundista has built for himself right next to the crumbling remains of Villaescusa de los Palositos' Romanesque church. Very sad, and irritating to have to crawl under his massive gates to get off his land. Apparently the charming man generously allows the former villagers back to the church to lay flowers on their family graves on one day a year.

Anyway, after that it's fabulous again, and soon you get you the first sight of the twin peaks of the Tetas de Viana, with a goat track leading you towards them through sweet smelling juniper and thyme and rosemary.

It felt like a lot more than the 21km it took, but wonderful. The albergue in Viana de Mondéjar is brand new, with 3 bunks, 1 blanket, no pillows and a spacious sitting room, free. The number to call is on the door. - a nice young man from the ayuntamiento drove out from Trillo with the key. The view from the bedroom is straight up to the Tetas, possibly the best view from any albergue I've stayed in. The village has a midweek population of 5, so the bar is usually closed, but José, the owner, saw me and opened up and we had a couple of cañas and a chat. Very kind
What's with all these fincas and their locked gates? This one sounds like it took over what used to be a village.

There's nothing else to do here besides our laundry and to get ready for our adventure tomorrow:
VN, I have all the Tetas information and can put it up when you get there. No need for you to do all the work.
Gracias amiga! 🙏
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
I'm something of a militant where it comes to people trying to close off rights of way, although not usually when I'm a guest in a foreign country. But in the case of Villaescusa de los Palositos I had active encouragement from several people to "hacer valer nuestros derechos" (as Luis Cañas of Cuenca puts it in an article he wrote about the village) and ignore the "prohibido el paso" signs and walk through to sigh over the increasingly ruined state of the 12th century church of the Asunción - "digno ejemplo de arquitectura románica rural", as Luis calls it. There are some articles (including Luis') here:


I was clearly not alone in exercising my rights, as the fence at the south of the property is barely knee high where people have crossed it, and it was interesting that the first question the barman in Viana de Mondéjar asked me was which route I'd taken, nodding approvingly when I told him. I gather the village may be for sale so one can hope that the next owners will be less selfish about illegally blocking a cañada real and ancient vía pecuaria, not to mention a Jacobeo route.

This is my wikiloc of the day, including descriptions of the attempted blockades in and out of Villaescusa and how to cross them:


2018-10-17_12-32-02.jpg
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
That is very helpful - both the KML track and the encouragement to follow it. One thing I worry about if straying across fences is the presence of dogs. Is there risk of them here?
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
One thing I worry about if straying across fences is the presence of dogs. Is there risk of them here?
My question too.

I'm something of a militant where it comes to people trying to close off rights of way, although not usually when I'm a guest in a foreign country. But in the case of Villaescusa de los Palositos I had active encouragement from several people to "hacer valer nuestros derechos"
So how is it these rights-of-way are being closed off? Are rich people buying abandoned villages and then closing off the access?
 
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peregrina2000

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Staff member
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of property owners closing off clearly established paths and rights of way. My first time on the Salvador, I had to crawl under barbed wire. Ender told me later, when I reported in to him, that he knew exactly where it was and would be back the next day to cut it. He was adamant that the closure was illegal. This kind of behavior was not unusual during the early years after Ender marked the route. Some of you may remember that angry objectors used to go up into the mountains and turn the shells and markings around. That behavior has stopped, thankfully!

Another longstanding one I remember was when the owner of property between Grimaldo and Carcaboso closed off his land. For a while, the route was re-marked through Riolobos, but then they found a more direct alternative path. So in this case it seems that the owner was correct in his assertion of the right to exclude.

I’ve checked a few more wikiloc trails of this section of the Lana and though some show that the person walked up to the gate and then backtracked and went around, many others are like Alan’s.

So, for me, on that glorious day when I finally get to the menacing sign, I am planning to forge ahead, at least that’s my intention now!
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
. One thing I worry about if straying across fences is the presence of dogs. Is there risk of them here?
Good point. There were none here, and indeed I had no nasty dog experiences on the whole of the Lana (unlike some places after Córdoba on the Mozárabe). The only odd thing I encountered was some huge canine footprints near Mirabueno, miles from any farm, which the turismo person at Pelegrina thought might possibly belong to a wolf.

DSC_0057.jpg

Ender told me later, when I reported in to him, that he knew exactly where it was and would be back the next day to cut it.
Three cheers for Ender. I always try to keep any styles and gates over my land in scrupulous order, which seems to result in nobody ever leaving gates open and livestock escaping. There is one farmer a few miles down the valley who hates ramblers so I always take wire-cutters with me if I'm walking down that way in case he's trying to block the right of way over his patch. I think he's getting the message as I doubt I'm the only one.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Year of past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Without the temptation of the side journey of the mountain (coming next!), I would definitely go all the way to Trillo because it looks like a much more happening place.
It is admittedly a very short stage but VdM has a new albergue, so there's that.
I am so glad you are tempted by the side journey, @VNwalking , we have finally made it to Viana de Mondéjar. If you had decided to continue to Trillo, we would have stopped here anyway. And stopped again in Trillo. ;) And for us slow walkers, it's not a "very short stage" 😀

So, for me, on that glorious day when I finally get to the menacing sign, I am planning to forge ahead, at least that’s my intention now!
The intrepid @peregrina2000! Those are the situations where I'm much happier to have a companion in crime.
I have a companion in crime, and what's more, she would be against doing any detour, so she would also be forging ahead! And I in tow!

One thing I worry about if straying across fences is the presence of dogs. Is there risk of them here?
The only odd thing I encountered was some huge canine footprints near Mirabueno, miles from any farm, which the turismo person at Pelegrina thought might possibly belong to a wolf.
:oops::eek:
I have cynophobia since I was a child, having been bitten, and although I am slowly overcoming the fear, thanks to my lovely darling who seems to be able to control dogs, I would be totally freaked out if I came across a wolf!
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Torralba: As you enter the village there is a villa on your left. This is (was 15/09/18) the albergue. You need to find the hosp. who runs "Bar Goyo". I ended up going to the plaza and drank in the bar next to Ayunt - this is wrong bar. I was then taken to Bar Goyo by a local by a roundabout route. Before you get to the plaza turn left and then ask directions. It is a village so you will not go far wrong. The Alb was donativo (10 euros) and had at least three large bedrooms. The one I had had two single beds not bunks. The water was hot and plentiful - the Hosp. turns the water on for you- plus, being the "La Lana" I had the place to myself. Return key to Bar Goyo where you can get breakfast.

In 2018 and again in 2019 I stayed in Albendea in the Casa rural Gabriela opposite to the bar/panaderia.
(+34) 969 316 010 (+34) 695 986 505 - Pilgrims are welcome.

Napkins and napolitanas,

This is a total gamechanger! If it is possible to stay in Torralba and Albendea, it is easier to play with the stages between Cuenca and Trillo. Once again, the Asociation's guide is not up to date. There is no mention of the albergue in Torralba nor the Casa rural Gabriela in Albendea.

Contrary to Undermanager, I find Torralba to be utterly dull. I think there is an explanation: I flee the albergue in Villar de Domingo García as early as I can in the morning, walking a few hours in the compact darkness of the countryside, and arriving too early in Torralba at sunrise. I thought there was only one bar in Torralba, not two, and the one I go to is always closed that early in the morning. But I take notes from my fellow pilgrims in this thread. I will definitely check out these places more thoroughly the next time!

There is a special reason that I search for alternative ways to chop up this stretch. I feel I would be abusing of Pepe & Co:s hospitality in Villaconejos if I was to come by a third time. "Oh no, it's him again... the wandering fool!". They would be running out of ways to entertain me in the evening 🤭
 
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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Day 19. Salmerón - Viana de Mondéjar. 21, 5 km.
Without the temptation of the side journey of the mountain (coming next!), I would definitely go all the way to Trillo because it looks like a much more happening place.
It is admittedly a very short stage but VdM has a new albergue, so there's that.
The albergue may be new. But without a bar (only opens occasionally?) and no store (AAARGH) I don't ever see myself staying there. I would have to carry food from Salmerón, which I find cumbersome. Whenever I reach Viana de Mondéjar, I can already hear the supermercados in Trillo calling my name... ♥️

There is a fuente in the village, which is often needed after those 22 kms without water.

What's with all these fincas and their locked gates? This one sounds like it took over what used to be a village
I, like Alan, spoke with Pepe in Villaconejos about this. He said one could walk through Villaescusa de Palositos, but he added that the difference is only about 500 mtrs compared to walking around the estate. Of course, if one wants to check out that church, it is worth a try. Pictures of the village can be seen here. But I can assure you there is nothing wrong with the other way. I saw the cutest calves ever there, but I lost them with my old cellphone...

One thing I worry about if straying across fences is the presence of dogs. Is there risk of them here?
l saw three of them playing around further down the trail as I was approaching the gates of Villaescusa. My heart rate increased a bit, because they were large ones and no people around if I would need help. The landowner surely lets them loose to roam the area as they please. Luckily they ran away before they saw me...

In general, this is a super pretty but deadly isolated stage. Leaving Salmerón in total darkness to begin walking up the mountain side is an experience. I clutched my flashlight, as it was my only means to disperse the invisible wildlife moving around and rustling close to me. There are some pictures below!
 

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Sorry to jump in at the wrong place, but I just got an email from the owner of the Casa Rural El Río in Valdeolivas (35 km from Torralba). They will rent individual rooms to peregrinos, 25€ per person. And he assured me that though they will rent you an individual room, this is not a pensión, and there will not be other unknown people renting rooms in the same house. So, it sounds like a good option for peregrinos, especially given the message I reported earlier that the Hotel Infantado in Valdeolivas is permanently closed.

For contacts, they responded to an email sent via Escapada Rural, but their phone is 969 317 177. That’s a land line, so no WhatsApp.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
In 2019 I stayed overnight in Torralba. Ask for the Bar Goyo und Luis, the hospitalero.
Go to Bar Goyo for the key for the albergue at Villar de Domingo Garcia.

I am going back through earlier stages to try to get a better lay of the land. So, there are two Bar Goyos, one in Torralba and one in Villar de Domingo García?

That seems to be the case
Torralba

Villar de Domingo García
F764DC00-4DD5-4D7C-B0CD-FFEC75E0F08F.png


Just checking because it seems so unusual, and it also is so easy for me to mix things like this up. Thanks!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Since the forum search function has a four letter word minimum, I can’t search for ATM. So I’m not sure if someone has mentioned this already, but a note that I found scribbled somewhere says: “Use ATM in Valdeolivas”.

Can any of the veterans confirm if there is a stretch with no way to get cash coming up after Valdeolivas?
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Since the forum search function has a four letter word minimum, I can’t search for ATM. So I’m not sure if someone has mentioned this already, but a note that I found scribbled somewhere says: “Use ATM in Valdeolivas”.

Can any of the veterans confirm if there is a stretch with no way to get cash coming up after Valdeolivas?

According to Kevin O'Brien's guide there is an ATM in Valdeolivas. The next one is in Trillo!
 
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VNwalking

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Before we move on... I also have a
question: Looking at my OSMand map, I notice a marker for 'historic ruins' about 4.5 km past Salmeron. It's well before Villaescusa de los Palositos. Does anyone know what it might be?
20210130_221011.jpg

(And it looks like whoever laid down this track went around the nasty finca, is that right?)
 

Pilger Franz

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Podiensis-Norte-Ingles-SdC; Francigena; Touron.; Bretagne; Lemovic.; Lana; Lusitana (Este)
For those who are collecting info on accommodation options in the towns along the way, I don’t think this list from the Cuenca association has been posted, but sorry if it’s a duplicate. And here’s another
The first list has no date of actualization at all, the latter one is dated from 2012. I would not trust them.
 

peregrina2000

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I always do my own research to get phone, whatsapp, email addresses, but these are a place to start. I’ve tried to list those updates as we go along in this thread. I also expect that my own list will be out of date by the time covid releases us from its grip. We’re already seeing some places closing permanently.
 
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Bad Pilgrim

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Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I notice a marker for 'historic ruins' about 4.5 km past Salmeron. It's well before Villaescusa de los Palositos. Does anyone know what it might be?

It must be the ruins of the ermita de San Matias. Sara Dhooma went there in her vlog, if you want to see it (at 01:20 in the video): Day 19- Sara Hikes the Ruta de la Lana Camino

I remember passing the sign - scribbled by hand - but I never ventured to go there. It is only 150 mtrs off Camino though. It is on your right side, right after the first 4 kms uphill where the camino starts to flatten out.

Info about the ermita in Spanish aquí !

(And it looks like whoever laid down this track went around the nasty finca, is that right?)

Correct. And I stress that it is only 500 mtrs longer than going through the finca. Kevin O'Brien says it is "several kilometers extra", but this is not the case.
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Can any of the veterans confirm if there is a stretch with no way to get cash coming up after Valdeolivas?

According to Kevin O'Brien, the part before that is the trickier one: there is no ATM between Cuenca and Valdeolivas according to his guide. Still there is a Globalcaja in Villaconejos de Trabaque. I remember it, since I had pumped up my wallet in Cuenca, afraid to go bankrupt before Valdeolivas. I was surprised to find an ATM in Villaconejos, in spite of Kevin's instructions.

Take note: The ATM closes at 2 p.m. and is closed Saturday-Sunday. If you miss it, no more cash before Valdeolivas. But @Pilger Franz seems to know his way in the area: have you seen any ATM in Torralba, Albendea, and so on? They are so small, it would surprise me.
 
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VNwalking

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Info about the ermita in
Thanks, BP! It looks well worth the detour.

So today's the day for the Tetas!
I suggest we hash this out, and after that go back to discuss the regular way, and perhaps an alternative end point for the stage.

Day 20a. Viana de Mondéjar - Trillo via Tetas de Viana. ~13km.
@peregrina2000, please fire away. Here's Alan's account, for starters. The question that comes to my mind is how difficult it is to find the way to Trillo on the other side. My map is hopeless here, but it looks like navigating the way up is easy, but it's not clear that there's a way down on the other side. Do you have to backtrack towards Viana and intersect the Camino on that side? View attachment 92494
A half day, as I thought it would be silly to get so close and not climb up the Tetas de Viana. And I'm so glad I did, as the view from the top was breathtaking. First time since leaving the sea with no morning coffee or toast, but so it goes. Relatively easy ascent for the first hour, then a chain to help you on and finally a metal ladder to get you up the cliff to the top. And then 360° views. Just amazing. The descent towards Trillo was less pleasant, but nothing too hard - a scramble here and there, but soon back into pleasant woodland trails and so to Trillo, crossing the Tajo by a pretty 16th century bridge just where the Cifuentes river joins it.

And the Cifuentes joins it with a BANG, dropping through the middle of Trillo via four or five spectacular waterfalls. The albergue in Trillo is in the plaza de toros just by the Tajo; call the number on the door and someone will come with the key. 4 single beds, loos and showers, no blankets, one pillow, free. Judging by the huge looking glass, the bedroom is also the matador's changing room. According to my wikiloc, going up the Tetas was 465m of elevation over 13km - the direct route is about 7km with very little elevation. Not going up the Tetas would make going on to Cifuentes (c12km) very easy, or other people go directly to Trillo from Salmerón. I liked Trillo very much, and would recommend staying there.
Screenshot_20210131-101914_OsmAnd.jpg
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
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This is @alansykes ' Wikiloc tracks:


It looks like it's a scramble down for about 500m, and then there's a path.
 
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C clearly

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Well, this is getting to be fun! Does the cage on that ladder accommodate a pilgrim backpack? Do we come down that same ladder? I guess we could leave our backpacks at the bottom. Is it windy up there?

Wikipedia says:
Las Tetas de Viana are two limestone grinding stones eroded by boulevards that arise around them and by the rivers Tajo and de la Solana. They are made up of a common clay body and two limestone rock peaks between 20 and 30 meters thick that make them practically inaccessible due to the verticality of their wall. Only the southernmost is accessible through iron stairs that replaced old stone ones that served as access to the watchtower that stood there.

It looks like it's a scramble down for about 500m, and then there's a path.
Hmmm. I'd like to see some photos of that scramble.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
And once we are in Trillo, because it's a short-ish day, can I interest anyone in a side trip to this place?? It's a 4 km round trip. It's in another one of those dreaded fincas, but is accessible; Wikiloc QR code below (Sorry, I can't find a way to copy the address from my phone). In terms of patrimomy, this is pretty sad, I have to say.
SPOILER="Rabbit hole warning!!!


Screenshot_20210131-125315_OsmAnd.jpg
Screenshot_20210131-132533_Wikiloc.jpg
 
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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Year of past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I have found another Wikiloc track which takes us from Viana de Mondéjar to Trillo:


The difference is that at the bottom of what I call "the scramble", where @alansykes turned left, this one goes right. It is shorter by about 2 km.
 
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