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Virtual Camino Many Forum members on the Lana

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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)
Day(s) 0. Getting to Alicante and seeing the sights.

Here we go!
This first post is a little long as there's a lot of information at the beginning.

Before taking off up the Lana, we need to actually arrive in Alicante, and perhaps take care of last-minute necessities — such as buying a Spanish Sim and getting any last minute equipment.

Has plenty of information about getting to Almeria overland or by air, as well as some basic information about the town itself.

Those of us traveling a long distance to get here would benefit from a day or so to explore and get our feet on the ground.

Alicante is not a huge place, but there's the sea, there are tapas to be tried, a cathedral and castle to be explored — as well as an archaeological Museum, and a couple of art museums (http://www.maca-alicante.es/ and http://www.mubag.es/). If you have time and want something different, you could take a boat to the Island of Tabarca, perhaps even spending the night. It is very crowded and touristy in the summer, so a trip in the spring or fall would be more pleasant.

If you need last minute camino equipment there's a Decathlon on the edge of town with all the usual stuff (Calle Bolulla, 20, 03009 Alicante). There are a other sporting goods stores closer in to the centre of town, as well:
Screenshot_20201113-191102_Google.jpg

If you need a credencial, you can get one from the Alicante amigos; they have an office near the centre of town (965926623, c/Serrano 5. not far from the Renfe station). @alansykes reports an enthusiastic and friendly reception.

Here is contact information for the Amigos in Alicante.

Tel. (+34) 965 926 623
Email: peregrinos@encaminodesdealicante

Their non-covid normal hours of operation are the following:

June 1 - August 31
Tuesday, 5 - 7:30 pm
Friday, 10 - 1 pm

Rest of the year
Tuesday, 5 - 7 pm
Friday, 11 - 1 pm.

Where to stay?
There's an albergue (Albergue Juvenil del I.V.aJ., Avenida de Orihuela 59, Tel.:965 113 044.), and @Bad Pilgrim reccommends this:
there's a hostel called Pensión Versailles. It is about 50 mtrs from the Basílica Santa María, the traditional starting point of the Sureste.
Anyone who's been here care to share your recommendation?

Here are @domigee's suggestions for where to eat;
Thoroughly recommend ‘el Canto’. https://restaurantguru.com/El-Canto-Alicante
For a menú del dia - last time I was there it was 10.50 Euros - there’s La Mary’. It’s a chain (there’s one in Madrid airport now I’m told) but it is very good. There are many other places of course but sadly many have closed down. I was last back in September and it was like a ghost town 😔

It is a small town so easily visited. Worth walking up to the castle ‘santa Barbara’ where you get the best views. (There is also a lift to get you there but the walk is excellent training 😉). Then you are in the ‘old town’ and you can stop at the ‘Concatedral San Nicolas’ . A big plus is the wonderful ice cream shop (Italian) just next to it! 😍

I’ll try and find photos, might take a while 😁

pS: For cheap and cheerful tapas, this place is great (I think it’s the one, I stop there often but actually didn’t know the name! 😁https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Resta...a_Province_of_Alicante_Valencian_Country.html
And Lizarran are also ‘pilgrim priced’, there are three in Alicante.
https://lizarran.es/en/the-menu/ If you are tired and hungry, huevos rotos con chistorra does the trick! You can of course share

It needs to be said that there are three possible ways to begin the Lana, and only one starts in Alicante. @alansykes lays out the possibilities:
there are three possible starts to the Lana, the one from Alicante that most people do, one from Villajoyosa (or Benidorm) joining at Villena or Almansa, and the Camino del Alba from Xàbia, which briefly overlaps with the Levante at la Font de la Figuera (birthplace of the hero of Madrid, Vicente Rojo Lluch) before joining the Lana at Almansa.

Of the three possibilities, I'd say my least favourite was the standard one vía Novelda, mostly flat and not very exciting. The other two both quickly get you up into beautiful sierra country with amazing views back down over the Mediterranean, the Alba on the lovely Serpís valley, and Villajoyosa up past Puig Campaña
He took the Villajoyosa route and wrote of it here:
I have to say this option is quite tempting. Does anyone have a preference? Something to be discussed over tapas.



Here are our basic resources, as gathered by @AJGuillaume:

@VNwalking has already shared various threads as well as resources on this Forum. In particular @Kevin F. O*brien 's 2018 walking guide is worth downloading.

There is an extensive guide, all 237 pages of it, that is produced by the Asociación de Amigos del Camino de Santiago en Alicante.

@Magwood has shared a spreadsheet with accommodation, as well as a list with all the facilities on the Ruta de la Lana. You can also follow her blog, written last year (2019).

Gronze's online guide is still under development. I found another online guide with maps.

If you're interested in GPX tracks, there's one that covers the whole lot, from Alicante to Burgos.
 
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peregrina2000

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While you’re in Alicante, you can see the sights by following some of the city’s walking routes.


Anyone who's been here care to share your recommendation?

My pal @Krimpa, with whom I was supposed to start the Lana, actually went to Alicante this summer and stayed in Hotel Cervantes, 31€ for a single. He says it’s fine. Very well located in the old center, as is BP’s Versailles recommendation.

For those who want to consider the alternative route, the Cervantes is closer to the train station.

Our plan had been to spend some time in Alicante, sleep in the Cervantes, then take an early morning train to Villajoyosa (trains take an hour and leave every half hour). From there, walk to Relleu (24 km). Based on Alan’s recommendation, and my not so positive impression of Benidorm, I thought leaving from Villajoyosa was the best way to go.

Alan did the 93 kms in four days, Relleu - Torremanzanas - Onil - Villena. There is also a possibility of 3 days with stops in Relleu, Ibi, and Villena.

I would favor exploring the Villajoyosa alternative, in addition to providing information on the “standard” camino, because surely the majority of pilgrims go that way. Maybe a condensed one shot for the Villajoyosa alternative, after doing the day by day of the standard route from Alicante to Villena. After we see what the standard route does/doesn’t offer, we may be more inclined to try Villajoyosa. Alan’s live thread left absolutely no doubt in my mind!
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I am arriving jet-lagged as usual, so I am looking for private accommodation for 2 nights while I recover and get my bearings. If I stay an extra night, I might walk partway out of town, get a bus back and then bus to that point the next day. Figuring this out in advance (starting with Rome2Rio.com) gives me extra flexibility on the first couple of days.

Each of us likes a different format for our planning documents. Attached below, is my spreadsheet for the Lana, listing almost all of the villages and towns from Alicante to Burgos. I have included all the intermediate distances as well as an indication of what lodging is available. I’ve taken this from various sources, and will be following along, trying to verify or correct the information. I will add notes about things that are confusing or interesting to me.

I have columns for Plan A (which is the 27-stage plan shown in various websites), and Plan B which will be my “expected” plan. With this format I can see the implications of adding rest days or stopping early some days, and then see how to catch up with the schedule if necessary. If you want this as an Excel or Word file, just send me your email address by private Conversation.

[Edited to update the attachment with corrections and notes made from this thread, as far as Cuenca. The stages are still there as far as Burgos, but I have no notes and Plan B hasn't been created yet.]
 

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amancio

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
I would love to hear about the Villajoyosa alternative that Laurie mentions above, I hate large cities, and Alicante is a BIG place!

AND ALSO... together with Astorga, Villajoyosa is the Spanish capital of chocolate!

I found a couple of tracks, actually, and found out that there are other starting points, like Altea, a GORGEOUS village by the sea, beautiful, nothing to do with Benidorm.

And it is quite hilly, lots of mountains on the first 3/4 days to Villena!
 
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Magwood

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Year of past OR future Camino
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
Budget is always an over-riding factor in my travels. In April 2019 I caught the night bus from Málaga to Alicante - a 7.5 hour stress-free journey which deposited me in Alicante at 09:00. I stayed overnight in the very pleasant Market Hostal – 13 euros for a substantial lower bunk in a room for four, with good bathroom facilities and kitchen/sitting area.
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
I found a couple of tracks, actually, and found out that there are other starting points, like Altea, a GORGEOUS village by the sea, beautiful, nothing to do with Benidorm.

And it is quite hilly, lots of mountains on the first 3/4 days to Villena!
Altea is worth a visit if you have the time, it’s very pretty and there are lots of ‘arty‘ shops. There is (or was?) a very good restaurant at the bottom of the hill, (before you go up to the village) facing the beach but I can’t remember the name, sorry. And I have no idea if it is still open ...
It’s about 1 1/2 hour journey from Alicante on the Tram. You can take it at Luceros or Mercado or the next stop near the archaeological museum and you change once. It costs a few euros.
In Summer Altea is pretty touristy....
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
When you arrive a Alicante airport, you can take the bus C6 which will take you to the town centre. It costs 3.75 euros and takes about 20 or 30 min (depending where you stop 😉). The service is very reliable.
If you prefer a taxi it’s about 20 to 22 euros.

Re the restaurant ‘El Canto’, I don’t think you can book 😀 People queue outside. The key is to arrive early, shortly after 8.30 pm then you usually have a table without waiting. Saturdays are packed, not recommended and it is closed on Sundays.
 
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alansykes

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
There are two things I'd recommend doing before leaving Alicante. One is to try the gazpacho Alicante, a marriage of fish stew with the normal gazpacho Andaluz. I loved it. There are also meat versions with hare or partridge which I haven't (yet) tried.

One of my favourite poets is Miguel Hernández, a local shepherd. The usual Lana/Sureste route out of Alicante partly follows, in reverse, the "senda del poeta" that he took as a boy when walking from his birthplace of Orihuela (el Cid's most southerly conquest) to the big city of Alicante. On the outskirts of town is the municipal cemetery, where you can pay homage to his grave, always covered with fresh flowers. It is now in the cemetery's place of honour. Originally it was in an obscure place after the fascists condemned him to death and he died in Alicante prison in 1942, aged only 31.

Conozco bien los caminos
conozco los caminantes
del mar, del fuego, del sueño,
de la tierra, de los aires.
Y te conozco a ti
que estás dentro de mí sangre.
 

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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
last-minute necessities — such as buying a Spanish Sim
Yes, your phone will go on strike in certain areas. Last time on the Lana it happened mainly in & around Alpera, and Monteagudo de las Salinas. I didn't know and still don't know anything about technology so I didn't know how to fix it. But I guess buying a Spanish Sim is the way to go.
Anyone who's been here care to share your recommendation?
Pensión Versailles is certainly recommended: 34 euros in 2015. Don't know now. Because the location was ridiculously perfect: across the street is the Basílica and the official start of the Camino from Alicante. A little pricy though. Normally one would pay 25-30 for a place like that.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I would favor exploring the Villajoyosa alternative, in addition to providing information on the “standard” camino, because surely the majority of pilgrims go that way. Maybe a condensed one shot for the Villajoyosa alternative, after doing the day by day of the standard route from Alicante to Villena.

I didn't know about the Villajoyosa alternative: that should be interesting. But I have no problem starting from Alicante either. Yes, you have to walk through the suburbs - pigs roaming the streets, literally - but that stretch has become like an old friend of mine! I am so fond of Orito, Novelda, Sax (before Villena). La cueva de San Pascual (a small sanctuary on top of a hill near Orito on the 1st stage) is a pilgrimage in its own right. I wouldn't dream of staying anywhere else than in Orito!

At the same time I totally understand that others may find the walk from Alicante, and the following stages, lacking in charm. It's flat, dusty, and hot in June/July. Sara Dhooma said that she walked through Orito in 30 seconds and that there was nothing interesting there... How different we percieve the Camino!
 
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peregrina2000

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One of my favourite poets is Miguel Hernández, a local shepherd.
And with that sentence, you plunged me down a rabbit hole! My love of Miguel Hernández came via pop culture — both Joan Manuel Serrat and Paco Ibañez sing his poems. In fact, Serrat has a whole album of his poems. I was lucky to attend several concerts of both of them in the 70s in Spain. Lots of linking arms, swaying back and forth, holding lighted candles. And I was hooked! Though I like Serrat’s voice beter, I have to say my absolute favorite Hernandez poem put to music is Andaluces de Jaén, sung by Paco Ibañez. I remember one night alone on the Mozárabe, listening to the song so that I would remember the words and then sang it over and over as I walked through endless olive groves.

Now having spent an hour listening to his poems put to music, I would very much like to pay my respects to Miguel Hernández when I am in Alicante. I had no idea he died so young. Google maps has the path directly to his tomb.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPDP to SdC (2011-13-14-17). Norte (15). Mozárabe Almería-Merida (18) Guimaraes to SdC, F + M (18)
I choose no. 45 from the menu, 60 gr.

It’s so good to be in Alicante again. The weather is so much better than up here in the North. You all bring so much good information, and I can’t wait to get started. Never has my backpack been so light. There was room for some extra special shoe brushes for you all. Why, you wonder; be prepared for a mud nightmare when we have walked about two weeks …
 

Magwood

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Year of past OR future Camino
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
... How different we percieve the Camino!
Very true @Bad Pilgrim. @Undermanager waked from Alicante one month after our departure and I didn’t recognise his descriptions of green and pleasant lands with an abundance of wild flowers. Our early April start was definitely too early in 2019. Our scenery for the most part and for many early stages was completely barren. Undermanager’s report can be seen here on the forum.

Incidentally, when I refer to ‘our’ Camino de la Lana, the other half of our team was @Ninja who is also accompanying us on this virtual camino.
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy

@VNwalking as far as I have seen you can start from (south to north)​

Alicante (flat and easy up to Villena)​

Villajoyosa
Benidorm
Altea

Those three go via Relleu, Torremanzanas, Onil.

These three merge inland, just before the end of their first stage, the Altea option goes through Benidorm. All these three routes are seriously hilly and physically demanding compared to the Alicante start. Before joining the Alicante branch, you need to climb 2600 meters in 4 days, that would be the equivalent of 1 Cebreiro a day, 4 days in a row. I would have no problem with those climbs, but it would be nicer if they were further ahead of the route, not on the first 4 days.

To make things more complicated, I believe you can also start from Jávea (also spelled Xabia) and then Valencia further up North.

This is a small illustrating map: red is the Alicante route, black is the 3 alternative routes, green is where all starting points join.

1605346582711.png
 
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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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I am arriving jet-lagged as usual, so I am looking for private accommodation for 2 nights while I recover and get my bearings.
Talk about jet-lag: takes us 24 hours to fly from Melbourne... ;)

We (my wife Rachel and I) have arrived in Spain a few days ago, and we went straight to Alicante, then took the bus from the airport to Calp (or Calpe as it is also known) where a dear friend of ours lives. We have known her since the 1960's. She knew me as a child.

Calp sits in between the starting points of the Camino del Alba (Xàbia) and the Ruta de la Lana (Alicante). In fact it is closer to Xàbia, so in a real life Camino, we would probably take the Camino del Alba and join the Lana in Almansa. However, for this virtual Camino, we're starting in Alicante. Or wherever everybody else is starting...
Wait, now I'm confused. Dies that make four alternative starting places?
I am confused too: Alicante, Villajoyosa, Altea... What's the fourth one?
Oh, @amancio has just answered my question: Benidorm!

My pal @Krimpa, with whom I was supposed to start the Lana, actually went to Alicante this summer and stayed in Hotel Cervantes, 31€ for a single. He says it’s fine. Very well located in the old center, as is BP’s Versailles recommendation.
Pensión Versailles is certainly recommended: 34 euros in 2015. Don't know now. Because the location was ridiculously perfect: across the street is the Basílica and the official start of the Camino from Alicante.
Either of those is perfect for us. Pension Versalles looks nice, so does the Hotel Cervantes. The Asociación de Amigos del Camino de Santiago en Alicante (I'll just call them the Amigos in future) also mention in their guide the Chameleon Hostel, the Hostel Olé, and the usual online reservation systems will offer heaps more.

My love of Miguel Hernández came via pop culture — both Joan Manuel Serrat and Paco Ibañez sing his poems. [...] Though I like Serrat’s voice beter, I have to say my absolute favorite Hernandez poem put to music is Andaluces de Jaén, sung by Paco Ibañez.
Wow! @peregrina2000 , not only do we share the same interest in Romanesque architecture, but like you, I am also an aficionado of Paco Ibañez!

Does anyone know how to directly download this on an android? I can download it on my computer, then transfer the file to my phone — but there must be an easier way .
The way it works on my android is that I click on the link, and as the site is the Spanish version of Wikilocs, there's a big green button that appears with the word Descarga. In the new page, I select Archivo, and then download in GPX format. I hope that helps.

And for those of us on the ignorant side of the street, what's so bad about Benidorm?
I think it is the fact that it is a very popular tourist destination. Just like Calp, it used to be a fishing village many moons ago, and now the beach is in the shade of skyscraper apartment blocks... A peregrin@ would stick out from the crowd, I think ;)😂
 
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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)
It looks interesting, although we would try to avoid the crowds
Getting up there is also a good warm up for the exertions to come!

There is also the co-cathedral San Nicholas, which is relatively modern, being finished in 1662. "What's a co-cathedral," you ask? Yeah. I had to look it up too. Wikipedia to the rescue:
A co-cathedral is a cathedral church which shares the function of being a bishop's seat, or cathedra, with another cathedral, often in another city
There is no magnificent ancient mosque in Alicante, because they put the cathedral where it has been.

Should your taste in churches run to something older as mine does, there is also the Basilica of Santa Maria, which is apparently the oldest active church in Alicante.
Wikipedia again:
It was built in Valencian Gothic style between the 14th and 16th centuries over the remains of a mosque.
More to my taste (as older is better) is a visit to the Roman city of Lucentum. It and the archaeological museum look very interesting.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Buen Camino to all!

I walked the Lana from Alicante to Cuenca March 2019 (a few weeks before Maggie if I recall correctly @Magwood ?). I got lost on numerous occasions and only saw one other pilgrim until I met up with Luis the librarian, eternal peregrino and hospitalero that will welcome you to the Association albergue next to his workplace in Cuenca.

Maybe I'll join you after Cuenca, the leg to Burgos still needs to be walked.

Hope you have better luck finding your way!
Ultreia
 
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JLWV

Jean-Luc
Year of past OR future Camino
Levante (2014-2016); Levante to Toledo (2017-2018), to be continued; Fisterra & Muxia (2018);
you could take a boat to the Island of Tabarca
Good idea! You can walk around the island and then have a sea-food lunch in one of the many restaurants in the center.

and my not so positive impression of Benidorm
I agree. As a spanish senior I have the opportunity to spend a week at low cost in Benidorm, but I dont like so many skyscrappers on the beach. Nevertheless, if you go there, there is a nice little sea museum on the shore down the old town. And in this old town there is a lot of bars owned by people from the basc country, so with very good tapas.

I would love to hear about the Villajoyosa alternative // Villajoyosa is the Spanish capital of chocolate!
sorry, I mix two quotes.
I like the coloured houses along the beach, and yes, it is a capital of chocolate: dont lose a visit to the museum of chocolate. It includes sections about the product, old technology, and a visit to the actual processing plant.

Jávea (also spelled Xabia)
Remenber, Alicante, Castellón and Valencia have their own language, similar but different from Catalonian. 'Javea' is the name in Castellano, and 'Xabia' is the name in Valencian.

I strongly recommend that visit, for historical and architectural aspect, and for the good sightings of the sea and landscape.
The castle is up the mountain, but there is a lift at shore level to avoid excessive climbing.

I definitively will watch this thread.
Buen camino
 
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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I say,

While y'all were having a virtual siesta after the imaginary meals at El Canto, I did some research about the Vilajoyosa alternative. Turns out it is a documented Camino since 1734. It has been dubbed "the Italian Camino" because a lot of Italian pilgrims arrived there to start their journey towards Compostela. And... from what I gather, it is more often seen as a part of the Sureste than of the Lana. But who cares: it reaches Villena, where the Lana and the Sureste split, right at the monolith (or whatever) that indicates the different directions:

1605391370658.png
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
This is SO helpful — thank you @amancio!
Now I get it......

And for those of us on the ignorant side of the street, what's so bad about Benidorm?
Benidorm is ... err... full of shops and err... of... British tourists....
My Spanish friends are very proud of it....
I dislike ‘shopping places’ so no, I don’t like Benidorm, even in Winter.
Not my cup of tea 😉
But there is a place (an old restaurant) where to have a wonderful paella!
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Oh, I am so excited to get started. According to Laurie, we could start with Alicante, then try the Vilajoyosa alternative, and finally compare both. I'm all in. But I'm not in charge here!

There are cultural extravagances along the Alicante branch that I will gladly to point out for you; it's not all roaming pigs and polígonos industriales. But I will wait until we actually get going. Can I just say something about the stage(s)?

When we start from Alicante, the possibilities for the 1st stage are to stay in: Orito (24 kms from Alicante), Monforte del Cid (28 kms) or Novelda (32 kms). (The Mundicamino website got it all wrong: there are 24 kms from Alicante to Orito!)

Unfortunately, the stage cannot be any shorter than the 24 kms to Orito. There is nowhere to stay before. In Orito, there is the Casa del Pelegrino (once donativo/free, now 15 euros). Do not be fooled by the several info sheets & guidebooks circulating on the web that say the Casa del Pelegrino only accept groups: solo pilgrims are allowed. There is also a municipal albergue (that I know nothing about).

Monforte del Cid (28 kms) is the official end of the 1st stage according to the guide from the Asociación (there is a hotel: Avenida). But I think that a majority of pilgrims walk on to Novelda (32 kms) where there is a very good albergue run by Paco Serra, the author of the printed guidebook for the Sureste. Although I have never been there, since I always stay in Orito. I couldn't be able to do more than 24 kms the first day of any Camino...!

For the 2nd stage, it doesn't really matter where one stayed the night before. The following towns of Petrer, Elda, Sax and Villena are all options that we can reach.

EDIT: OK, most of this is obvious from C Clearly's informative spreadsheet above, sorry... Well, here you have it in words 😄!
 
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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)
There are 129 items on the menu, and there are only about 15 of us!
We'll start tomorrow with the 'standard' Lana, and a relatively short stage to Orito. BP, I know you're fond of Orito...so feel free to wax poetic.
Whilst the 15 of us are sampling the 129 items on the menu, I checked out the next stage to Orito. I know you like the place, @Bad Pilgrim , but what are your thoughts about the albergue?
This is what @Undermanager had to say about it last year:
The albergue in Orito is okay. It's €15, there's no WiFi either in the albergue or in Bar Nuevo, which is right next door. It took an hour to get let in, as the bar phoned someone, who took a while to arrive. The albergue doesn't have a kitchen, and the one working shower is unisex, but doesn't have a door!! There were only a few of us here so no problem, but you might want to think about going a bit further along the trail. I was tired so stopped and to be honest, it is fine for a night.
Was that at the Albergue “Casa del Peregrino” del Monasterio de Orito de los Padres Franciscanos, @Undermanager ?

Knowing how slow we (my wife and I) walk, we'll be the last ones to arrive at the albergue, and after everybody has had their shower in the one working shower, we'll probably be left with cold water... ;)
I am working on a Plan B...
 
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Beautiful sunshine today. It’s like summer! I am just circling Alicante in a private jet, it was the only way I could make it in time for Day 1.

Even though I know that the first 10-15 km is partly through industrial areas making it a not so pretty start, I don’t mind at all because from here on it improves. Actually, even walking through industrial areas on any Camino, I love it; it means I’m on a Camino plus what will follow will be even better when you have seen the “dark side”.

Anyone bringing a tent?
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
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San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
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Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Day 1. Alicante - Orito. 22.5* km

We have 'Goldilocks weather' for a gentle start today! This first stage is mostly flat and relatively short, allowing us to work any kinks out with shoes, packs, and bodies.

The first 4.9 kilometers take us out of the city, and it's wise to stock up on water and snacks because there's not a lot in the way of sevices between Alicante and Orito.

If you want to bypass the city altogether, it looks like — though I'm not sure — you can take a bus or a tram to La Serreta which is a little further along from the edge of the city (my map has a little bus icon not far from the camino that says 'P.I. Pla Vallonga - Guillermo Stewart P9').

After La Serreta, the Camino at first roughly follows the railway, but after passing the dump, it veers away onto agricultural roads, passing many orchards (oranges, I'm guessing — I can't tell from the map). At kilometers, the Camino passes a shrine to Nuestra Senora del Carmen. There's also a bus stop near here a little ways off the Camino in the town of Rebolledo (the stop is Paseo Mayor 32)

Approaching Orito, there is the only serious hill of the day, a climb and then and then a descent into town.

At the top of the hill here, there's the
Mirador Sierra de las Águilas, with views back the way we came, followed by the
Monumento and Cueva de San Pascual.
c08132m.JPG

BP will tell us about Orito!
There's an albergue juvenil, so we should all find a place to sleep

*I'm following the wikiloc track mentioned in the bottom of the first post, and measuring distances using the Osmond app. This may vary a little bit from what is mentioned in guides, but it's an accurate point to point distance measured on the map.
 
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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)
Knowing how slow we (my wife and I) walk, we'll be the last ones to arrive at the albergue, and after everybody has had their shower in the one working shower, we'll probably be left with cold water... ;)
I am working on a Plan B...
Plan B is to get a jump start on the rest of us by taking the bus maybe even as far as Rebolledo— that way you guys get all the hot water! 😊

I am just circling Alicante in a private jet,
😇 Now that's dedication! Welcome, @Ninja!

Anyone bringing a tent?
Not me...
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Year of past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Yay, we're on our way! ☺️

The Amigos guide gives the distance from the Basílica de Santa María de Alicante in Alicante to the Plaza Nuestra Señora de Orito as 23.9 km.
Unfortunately, the stage cannot be any shorter than the 24 kms to Orito.

If you want to bypass the city altogether, it looks like — though I'm not sure — you can take a bus or a tram to La Serreta which is a little further along from the edge of the city
The Camino passes just south of the cemetery, and bus number 4 goes there. So I found these options from the Plaza de Santa María to Plaza Cementerio:
Alicante bus.jpg
This probably shaves off about 5 km from the total.

For those who didn't follow my wife and I on the Levante, for a number of reasons, we aim to walk short stages where possible, and this would give us a first comfortable day of about 18 km.

Plan B is to get a jump start on the rest of us by taking the bus maybe even as far as Rebolledo
Indeed, from the bus stop (linea 07) in Rebolledo, it's about 1.2 km to the Camino, and from there about 10 km to Orito. In a real life Camino, we would probably then walk on to Monforte del Cid, which is an extra 3.9 km from Orito. There we can stay at the Hostal Avenida. Incidentally, the Amigos' published first stage on the Lana is from Alicante to Monforte del Cid.

Here is a video of the Cueva de San Pascual. Great views from up there!
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
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Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
About that climb before Orito:
The last 600m to the top are REALLY REALLY steep. So be aware. The first bit is over 15% gradient and it does not ease off much but the view on the top makes the effort worthwhile.

So I got to thinking of this cave on the top of the hill with massive views, and I could not imagine that it would not have been used for many millennia, long before St. Pascual. But there is not much out there about its history. This is from Wikipedia, from an article about the romeria that happens there every year:
La Cueva de San Pascual está situada en la falda de la Sierra de las Águilas, a 2 km aproximadamente de Orito. Anteriormente, esta cueva había sido refugio de pastores ante el mal tiempo. Fue después de la beatificación del santo cuando se la llamó "Cueva de San Pascual". Se compone de dos habitaciones, una en donde se encuentra la talla en madera policromada del santo, así como todas las prendas de los peregrinos y otra (crematorio) situada un poco más abajo y utilizada para poner las tradicionales velas al santo.

A la cueva no sólo se puede acceder a pie, también se puede en automóvil, en donde hay habilitados unos aparcamientos especiales y zonas de acampada. Se puede observar un monumento a San Pascual (de 6 m de altura) de piedra caliza, fiel reproducción de la que encontraremos en el interior de la cueva.
St Pascual had been a shepard, so must have known about and used the cave before he ordained in 1565 in Orito. He was a Franciscan, and an strong ascetic, the kind of guy who would happily live in a cave.
 
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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)
Incidentally, the Amigos' published first stage on the Lana is from Alicante to Monforte del Cid.
Monforte del Cid is described in Kevin's guide as a "large industrial town," which just goes to show you having a romantic name doesn't necessarily mean anything about the place. ;)

@Bad Pilgrim has been singing Orito's praises, so it sounds like a pleasant place.

There are two restaurants, the Bar San Pasqual, and the Iñaki - which looks quite nice. Although after all our tapas last night we may not need to eat very much.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
The great advantage of San Pascual and his cave is that there is lots of lovely cool untreated water there, very welcome after that energetic hot dry climb - one of the hills next to the path is called El Desert, which gives a clue.

At the cave is a signpost telling you that you are 1175km from Santiago, but that's if you take the Sureste - I'm sure it's more by the Lana and Frances (a lot more if, like me you continue on the Olvidado and Invierno rather than the Francés).
 

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)
With the castle, the archaeological museum, a visit to Miguel Hernández’s grave, and the Hogueras museum (I had no idea Alicante had a Fallas-like fiesta!), I will be busy.
BTW, here are the Michelin-recognized restaurants in Alicante:
We expect reports...
;)
And there's always the beach with a good book. You could go out to that really cool-looking Island, too.
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
Here is the Wikiloc elevation profile for the first stage that we walked. We continued through Orito to Novelda but, as I forgot to turn on Wikiloc until we had travelled a few kms from Alicante, the total distances shown are not accurate. Just thought you might be interested to see the profile of the climb before Orito (although we didn't continue in an upward direction to visit San Pascual). I have put a marker at Orito (21.7 km).
Screenshot 2020-11-16 at 14.04.41.png

From my blog entry regarding the albergue in Novelda -
....hospitalero Paco Serra, ideally phone the day before on 629668829 or 965600842. Paco is a star and arrives on his bicycle within five minutes. The albergue is in an apartment block, three bedrooms each with two singles, two bathrooms, sitting room and fully functioning kitchen, central terrace with washing machine. Donativo. Thank you Paco and Novelda.
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
I had no idea Alicante had a Fallas-like fiesta!
Oh yes, Las Hogueras, non-stop fiesta during the week of San Juan! (Around last week of June)
First you’re woken up every morning at 8 am (!) by bands walking and playing very loudly through the city centre.
Then at 2 pm it’s the ‘concurso de mazcletas’ in Plaza de Luceros. Every day.
It’s a competition of ‘firecrackers’ - as in ... the loudest wins 😳 And it is not just VERY loud, it makes all the buildings shake 😁
And like in Valencia, they have spent the whole year making very elaborate figures (some huge) depicting or deriding politicians and various things that have happened in Spain that year. They all get burnt on the last evening ‘La Quema’. It’s very impressive and the ‘bomberos’ (firefighters) are absolute stars, whenever they can dousing the crowds with water 😂
And of course there are lots of processions in the evenings, everyone in local traditional gear, ending up at the concatedral covering its façade in flowers.
 

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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I am just circling Alicante in a private jet...
Actually, even walking through industrial areas on any Camino, I love it; it means I’m on a Camino
I know just what you mean. I especially love that part circling in the private jet - my Camino has started.

I don't mind the industrial areas, either, and prefer to include them in my itinerary. However, life is about trade-offs, and it is possible that I will need to conserve time - I now try not to be away from home more than a month, which means that I can't walk from Alicante to Burgos in one trip. (It is a minimum 27 stages, and I need a couple of recovery and travel days at each end.) So, sometimes I will choose to gain a couple of days at the beginning, and maybe also make time for little side trips, visits or rests.

So, I'm noting that one can get as far as Villena by train in an hour, to save 3 days of walking! Alternatively, the bus service follows the Camino more closely, so I could ring the bell and get off if I see other pilgrims having a joyous time on the path and I want to join them. (Of course, the train goes to Almansa and even onward to Santiago, I suppose, but that's a different adventure!)

That's why, on my spreadsheet, I will aim for Plan B stopping in Orito, but include Plan C to take a train ahead. For example, if I arrived in Alicante and found that there was something exciting I wanted to do (like 128 more items on the tapas menu), I could glance at my spreadsheet and see a way to catch up with my schedule.

Las Hogueras, non-stop fiesta during the week of San Juan! (Around last week of June)
That's another reason I might want to use a couple of days that would otherwise be used for walking. However, I doubt that late June would be a good time to be starting La Lana.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
but what are your thoughts about the albergue?
This is what @Undermanager had to say about it last year:

Was that at the Albergue “Casa del Peregrino” del Monasterio de Orito de los Padres Franciscanos, @Undermanager ?

Knowing how slow we (my wife and I) walk, we'll be the last ones to arrive at the albergue, and after everybody has had their shower in the one working shower, we'll probably be left with cold water... ;)
I am working on a Plan B...
The albergue doesn’t sound great - I have stayed in a couple of those, with showers with no doors 😳 (WHY???)
On a ‘normal’ Camino, I’d very likely carry on to the next town Montforte del Cid hoping for more ’comfort’ 😀
As it is and since I am now very unfit and haven’t properly walked for a year, I’ll settle for the Orito albergue.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I checked out the next stage to Orito. I know you like the place, @Bad Pilgrim , but what are your thoughts about the albergue?
The albergue is good. I have always stayed there alone, but it is a large building supposed to take in groups. Yes, it is the Casa del Peregrino (dedicated to San Juan Bailón). Everything Undermanager writes above is basically correct, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder! And yes, each and every time I too had to wait for someone to open for me, but usually I am so happy to be on the 1st stage on a Camino that I don't care how much I have to wait for them. The plaza is nice and the bar is in the next building. I would not move on to Monforte/Novelda, although they are larger towns and, once again, I know that the majority go to Novelda to stay at the very nice albergue. Staying in Orito means that I will pass Monforte and Novelda early in the morning just in time for breakfast...!

One problem is that it gets noisy outside, down by the plaza, if it's San Juan or close to it. I once had to move to another bedroom to get away from the windows, and the sound travels far in the broad corridor...
The first 4.9 kilometers take us out of the city, and it's wise to stock up on water and snacks because there's not a lot in the way of services between Alicante and Orito
The last bar in Alicante is by the cemetery, Bar Los Cipreses, in the outskirts of the outskirts. It's at the very end of the Vial de los Cipreses, when you hit the cemetary and turn left to leave Alicante on the Camino Alcoraya. After that, there is no food or water for about 20 kms until your reach the Cueva de San Pascual (water on the way up the hill, and at the ermita itself) and the bar in Orito.
The Amigos guide gives the distance from the Basílica de Santa María de Alicante in Alicante to the Plaza Nuestra Señora de Orito as 23.9 km.
I believe this is correct.
@Bad Pilgrim has been singing Orito's praises, so it sounds like a pleasant place.
Now hold your ensaladilla rusa!! I think I am in the minority. I suspect people don't think highly of Orito: that is why people carry on to Novelda. Orito is a sleepy, dusty summer hamlet that takes 30 seconds to walk through. I don't know if there's a supermercado: I usually survive in the bar. But it is nice to know that breakfast awaits in Monforte (4 kms) and Novelda (8 kms) the next day ☕ 🥳 !

There is no shadow in summer between Alicante and Orito. Before ascending to the Cueva you walk through a desolate, lunar landscape down and up some barrancos. So it's no that flat after all. It's pretty cool: it's "el barranco del Infierno" on the map. 😈 Don't miss the lonely, naked tree where people (pilgrims?) have attached multicolored plastic bottles, corks and stripes. It's the art installation of the day: it is there, all alone, and nowhere else.

I'll try to attach some photos of Orito, from my last visit there!

EDIT: Stupid photos!! Sorry. I will adjust the resolution next time.
 

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So, I'm noting that one can get as far as Villena by train in an hour, to save 3 days of walking!

I agree, it makes perfect sense to skip some stages at the beginning especially if you don’t have all the time in the world to complete the Camino. But for several years in the beginning of my Camino career, I thought it a crime to skip stages. Now I am so much wiser, so I will gladly join you on the train @C clearly and I won’t mind staying in Alicante for more tapas and wine!
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
The albergue doesn’t sound great - I have stayed in a couple of those, with showers with no doors 😳 (WHY???

Last time there were shower curtains (opaque indeed) and separated shower booths (two? three? don't remember). It's not like you're out in the open when showering. 🤭 It is indeed unisex though.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
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Before ascending to the Cueva you walk through a desolate, lunar landscape down and up some barrancos. So it's no that flat after all. It's pretty cool: it's "el barranco del Infierno" on the map
A lunar landscape with hot and dry ravines?
:eek:
Hmmmm. Sounds charming...it makes me lean towards the Villajoyosa route.

So this is what a few people have said about Orito:
Orito is a safe haven on the first stage and I wouldn't stay anywhere else. But I am well aware that a lot of pilgrims stay in the albergue in Novelda instead (Orito + 8 kms).
The albergue in Orito is okay. It's €15, there's no WiFi either in the albergue or in Bar Nuevo, which is right next door. It took an hour to get let in, as the bar phoned someone, who took a while to arrive. The albergue doesn't have a kitchen, and the one working shower is unisex, but doesn't have a door!! There were only a few of us here so no problem, but you might want to think about going a bit further along the trail. I was tired so stopped and to be honest, it is fine for a night. The bar is nice with a good range of food.
I was the only person in the whole building and it was quite big, several floors with multiple rooms. My room, the camino de santiago peregrino room had two single beds and I think a mobile fold up bed. They have big pilgrim groups stay at certain times of the year who walk to a nearby hermita,
 
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LTfit

Veteran Member
Here is the Wikiloc elevation profile for the first stage that we walked. We continued through Orito to Novelda but, as I forgot to turn on Wikiloc until we had travelled a few kms from Alicante, the total distances shown are not accurate. Just thought you might be interested to see the profile of the climb before Orito (although we didn't continue in an upward direction to visit San Pascual). I have put a marker at Orito (21.7 km).
View attachment 87672

From my blog entry regarding the albergue in Novelda -
....hospitalero Paco Serra, ideally phone the day before on 629668829 or 965600842. Paco is a star and arrives on his bicycle within five minutes. The albergue is in an apartment block, three bedrooms each with two singles, two bathrooms, sitting room and fully functioning kitchen, central terrace with washing machine. Donativo. Thank you Paco and Novelda.

Paco is from the Amigos association and was such a dear! I also walked to Novelda on day 1 and can recommend staying there.
 
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I'm lost for words...! 😂

And the sheep is not insignificant in this context. I have seen the following drawing/painting here and there on the Lana. Not enough to make it the official symbol for this Camino, but I think it should be: cute, don't you think? Two white sheep and a black one. Photo attached. It's from one of the albergues.
Very cute indeed. And yes, the sheep should be a visual symbol for this Camino!

When Maggie and I walked the La Lana this coat of arms at the Santa Bárbara Castle in Alicante was close to being the only sheep we met. Somehow I had expected to see tons of them..

santa_babara_castle.jpg
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
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Day 2. Orito-Elda 21.0

In real life, whether I had stopped in Orito or not, I would be heading for Sax today. But since the Villajoyosa variant meets the way we're walking at Villena, I'm planning with stages we're walking with that in mind. From Sax, Villena's only 13.7 km, but 22.7 km from Elda-Petrer.

Here's our weather for the day, courtesy of the windy app:
Screenshot_20201118-131857_Windy.jpg
We won't have to start early to beat the heat, but we pass through both Monforte del Cid (3.76 kms) and Novelda (7.7 kms), both of which offer ample opportunities for first and second breakfast. If you've walked the Lana before, and have a recommendation for a good place for breakfast (first or second), please feel free to sing out!

Both are biggish places with plenty of accomodation options, as well. As has already been mentioned, MdC is the end of the first stage as listed by the amigos.

MdC:
Hotel Avenida, apparently very expensive. Telephone 965626333.

Novelda:
Kevin's guide describes the albergue as "first class:" Avenida Constitución 96, near the entrance to the town. Call Paco Serra one day before on 629668829 or 965600842. Five Euros
There are beautiful beds, kitchen, washing machine, dryer and your own living room! The old albergue here no longer exists. Tienda on the corner near the building, restaurants 100 metres further down.
Also:
  • Hostal Suiza, Calle Tirso de Molina 50. 965601996
  • Hostal Residencia Pasaje, Emilio Castelar, 43, 03660 Novelda (30€)
BP has promised us more moonscape, but after Novelda, the Camino bends more the northerly direction, and begins to follow a riverbank toward Elda — which should provide some relief.

The stage is not without interesting things to see. At 11.5 kilometers, there is a turn off on a path that goes up to the Castillo de la Mola and the Santuario la Magdalena.
Screenshot_20201118-140512_Google.jpg

The latter was built about a hundred years ago in the style of Gaudi looks quite impressive. My OSMand app tells me there is a restaurant up there, too. Perhaps a nice place for a leasurely stop.
Screenshot_20201118-140138_Gallery.jpg

Our destination, Elda, is also a biggish place — actually a twin town of Elda-Petrer. My map shows in abundance of places to eat and stay, and I will leave it to others to fill in the blanks there.

It has some deep history, and an arcaepoogical site that looks super interesting:

And...if you have a liking for quirky Spanish museums, you're in luck - here's one right up our pilgrim alley (courtesy of Wikipedia):
Elda is known for its footwear industry, in particular for women's shoes. Tourist sites include the Footwear Museum, the Archaeological Museum, the Torre del Homenaje del castillo (a tower dating from the 12th century), Castelar Square, Count of Coloma Palace, the Town Hall and the church of Santa Ana. It also celebrates the important festival of Moros y Cristianos

Happy walking to us all — see you at breakfast in Monforte!
 
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You will not regret doing the little detour climb up to Castillo de la Mola Novelda. I hope the church is open so you can see the very unique church organ. Well, everything about this church, inside and outside, is so special and different from all other churches (besides La Familia in Barcelona), and it seems so close to nature in its appearance, the colors and the organic architecture, every little detail is unique and copy the surrounding nature. I’m not religious, but something, I don’t know what, is definitely trying to reach out to you here.

And yes, there is a restaurant too.
 

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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
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Via Gebennensis (2018)
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Orito to Elda is a nice 21 km stage for slow walkers.

Novelda is the end of the first stage as listed by the amigos.
Sorry to correct you, @VNwalking ;) , the Amigos guide has the first stage ending a little bit earlier:
ETAPA 1: ALICANTE – MONFORTE DEL CID (27,8 KM)
Not that it matters anyway, as we stayed in Orito last night.
Most able bodied peregrin@s would walk to Novelda anyway, as it is said the albergue is nicer than the one in Orito.

Hotel Avenida, apparently very expensive
I have spent some time looking for a room rate for that hotel, and the only thing I haven't done is call the hotel. I couldn't find it listed in any of the usual online reservation websites, and it doesn't have its own website.
On the website of the Asociacion de Amigos del Camino de Santiago de Cuenca, I found two files with listings of albergues and other lodgings, one for Alicante to Burgos, and the other for Valencia to Burgos. In the first one, the only entry for Monforte del Cid is:
3,7 km MONFORTE DEL CID , Recomiendan Hostal Avenida (965.626.333). Oferta hostelera. Todos los servicios.

One of the options for slow walkers was to take a bus to Rebolledo from Alicante, and the distance then from Rebolledo to Novelda would be about 19 km. So in a real life Camino, stopping in Novelda could also be considered.
In Novelda, Hostal Suiza has a social media page.

From Monforte del Cid, there are two paths, one to Elda (via Novelda), the other one to Petrer (18.7 km). Petrer (or Petrel as I have seen it written sometimes) has a municipal albergue:
Albergue municipal rural Ferrusa, Pda. Ferrusa, s/n, Teléfono 966989400 (Ayuntam.)
There are no albergues in Elda, and the Amigos list Hotel Santa Ana and Hotel Residencia Elda. A map search shows also Hostal Carrizo, and AC Hotel by Marriott Elda. In Petrer, you'll also find the Sant Bonifaci.
 
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You will not regret doing the little detour climb up to Castillo de la Mola Novelda.
According to this website that VNwalking linked above, the Castillo is open every day of the year. Winter 10:00 -14:00 and 16:00 to 19:00; Summer 10:00 -14:00 and 17:00 to 20:00. If I have time to kill waiting for it to open, I might take this short 4.48 km walk around the base of the castle's hill:

The author of the track has a link on wikiloc to his own website with photos of many gorgeous mountain walks in the area - and even better for planning purposes, a link to great map of all the GR's and PR's in the province of Alicante. There are a lot!
 
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Bad Pilgrim

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If you've walked the Lana before, and have a recommendation for a good place for breakfast (first or second), please feel free to sing out!
One will find places for breakfast in every corner... at least in Novelda. I usually arrive too early in an empty Monforte, where everything is closed!

BP has promised us more moonscape, but after Novelda, the Camino bends more the northerly direction, and begins to follow a riverbank toward Elda — which should provide some relief
After Novelda there is a pleasant walk on a dirt road, and sometimes through bushes where the path is narrow. This is an area popular for walking and cycling so you will meet people doing exercise, at least in summer. Or riding horses, as in the 3rd picture below.

Some areas are reddish and apparently have a high concentration of salt: sometimes there is a white layer covering parts of the ground, looking like snow in the summer heat. I have many pictures of the rocky landscape: two attached below. You can see the riverbank and what's left of the water. I think it's looks like the moon... But then again, I haven't been to the moon for a while 🤔

There are a few arroyos and ditches to cross on this section. But in summer there's no problem. Only at one place, where acrobacy is required to cross a stream that's a bit larger. But last year, the Camino had be re-routed to avoid that stream. Before 2019, one would cross the stream, continue along the Río Vinalopó and enter Elda after a few kms (a bar right at the entrance, yum yum). Now the Camino veers further to the right, slightly ascending and instead entering the town further east. Now there is a real slog to get through town to finally reach the old way that followed the river. I very much prefer the old Camino!

From Monforte del Cid, there are two paths, one to Elda (via Novelda), the other one to Petrer (18.7 km).

Yes, the alternative directly to Petrer is the purple line in the guide from the Asociación. I have thought about exploring it. But it deprives me of my breakfast in Novelda...!
 

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Magwood

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Elevation profile of alternative stage 2, Novelda to Sax, 26.6 km. The bump at around 5 km was our side trip up the hill to visit the Santuario de Santa María Magdalena. You can check out the wikiloc trail here.
Before 2019, one would cross that stream and enter Elda after a few kms. Now the Camino veers further to the right, slightly ascending and instead entering the twin town of Petrel.
In April 2019 we weren't diverted via Petrel.
On brief acquaintence Elda didn't seem to hold many charms - a sprawling town with many high rise apartment blocks, whereas Sax has a castle to explore! There is no albergue at Sax and we stayed the night at the very pleasant Fuente de la Cura - 25 euros each for a twin room - a bit of a budget buster but highly recommended.
Screenshot 2020-11-18 at 20.52.18.png
 

Bad Pilgrim

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In April 2019 we weren't diverted via Petrel

Dang! I looked at your wikiloc. You are right! I followed the same trail as you did in April. I have edited my post above so it's not misleading. Still, the route that you & I followed is not the one in the guía (and that I walked in 2015 & 2017): they really changed the Camino. The guide from the Asociación is not up to date! :eek: Outrage!
 

Bad Pilgrim

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There is no albergue at Sax and we stayed the night at the very pleasant Fuente de la Cura - 25 euros each for a twin room - a bit of a budget buster but highly recommended

Yes oh yes. It's one of the most luxurious places to stay on the Lana. Prices seem to fluctuate according to who is behind the counter: I've payed 20-25 euros at my visits. But I am worried now that I see that Fuente el Cura has been omitted from the list of accomodation in Sax (guía Asociación); I wonder why.
 
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amancio

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Sounds exciting
This Hogueras de San Juan is actually always on the same night, the shortest night of the year, June 23rd, San Juan's Day Eve (Saint John's day is on June 24th). Massive partying on all Spanish beaches that night!
 

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Massive partying on all Spanish beaches that night!
Does anyone know if this has any ramifications in the Lana hinterlands? Are towns that are more tourisic booked out because people have holidays? I'm like @Undermanager, and prefer to wing it rather than calling ahead — so if there is and expected surge of visitors because of something like this it would be good to know.
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Does anyone know if this has any ramifications in the Lana hinterlands? Are towns that are more tourisic booked out because people have holidays? I'm like @Undermanager, and prefer to wing it rather than calling ahead — so if there is and expected surge of visitors because of something like this it would be good to know.
No idea, but the RWTH (Roaming and Wild Teenagers of Hispania) association have their annual get-together at the square in Orito at San Juan until five in the morning. Don't know if they put fire on anything, but it wouldn't surprise me!
 

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Day 3. Elda - Villena. 22.4

Putting even more space between us and the RWTHs, we walk as far as Villena today — where the alternate routes from Villajoyosa and Benidorm join.

The Camino leaves Elda along the river, but after 3.5 kms, it follows the railroad easement until 2.5 kms before Sax.

Sax looks like a very interesting place, and there is no shortage of places to take first or second breakfast — my map shows seven restaurants, bars, or cafes in addition to El Almendros, which is the first one we encounter right on the outskirts of town.

Kevin's guide says this:
Small and very tidy little town with all facilities. The castle is of Roman and Moorish origin it’s ownership causing tension between Aragon and the Castile during the Reconquista.. There is no refugio here but the three star Hotel Fuente el Cura, Tel. 966969013 (recommended) does a Pilgrim price of 26 Euros with breakfast. (Credencia) It’s about 800 metres on your right as you enter the town, and happily on the Camino! Tiendas, supermarket, restaurants.
I would definitely be staying here!
The town is dominated by its castillo on the hill, and has a rich history going back to pre-roman times.
Screenshot_20201120-141923_Firefox.jpg

After Sax, we again fillow the Rio Vinalopó until Sta Eulalia, another 5.5 kms. Near here, a short way from the Camino, there is another restaurant, La Casona. After this we leave the river for another 8.6 km into Villena.

Villena has "all facilities" but no albergue. Kevin's guide lists Pension La Casa de las Aromas (Tel. 666475612). He noted that he'd seen other pensions/hostals, as well, ang Googlemap shows 3 others, none of which are cheap.

The town has Atalaya Castle, which was an important bastion on the northern frontier of Islamic Iberia. Later, it guarded the frontier between Castile and Aragon.
The Church of Santiago looks beautiful, with its corkscrew columns.

There is also a bodega, and two museums— the Museo Escultor Navarro Santafé, and the Museo Festero.

On our virtual walk, from here we return to Alicante by train to rejoin a feasting @peregrina2000, and pick up the Villajoyosa alternative.
 
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Can totally recommend Fuente de la Cura. Too bad we won’t be staying overnight. I remember they had a very tasteful Cava, but when we pass Sax today it will be too early for those delightful bubbles. Yes?

We could maybe instead take the time to visit the Castillo? Last time around it was impossible for us to occupy the castle, which was bravely but sadly defended by a lock on the gate. Walking all those steps for nothing felt at first like a defeat, but it did give us a good view of the town and of the next very flat stage that lay ahead of us.

sax_is_locked.jpg
 
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VNwalking

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when we pass Sax today it will be too early for those delightful bubbles. Yes?
Not necessarily! It's only a 22+ km walk between Elda and Villena. And the last train back to Alicante from Villena doesn't leave until 19.16. So how long does it take you to walk ~13.5 kms between Sax and there? ;)
It looks to me like you could wobble out of Sax at 15.00 and still be fine.
 

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AJGuillaume

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Sax looks like a very interesting place
Can totally recommend Fuente de la Cura. Too bad we won’t be staying overnight.
Well, taking it from a slow walker's perspective, we could actually break this stage in two days. We won't on this virtual Camino, but in a real life Camino, we would be tempted to stop in Sax. I know that would be two short stages, 9 km from Elda to Sax, and another 13.7 km to Villena, but sometimes that's what is needed to allow energy to build up, in particular for when we will need it in the next few stages after Villena.

The Amigos' guide book lists two places to stay, the Casa Saxrural, which is a little bit out of town, and the Hostal Los Almendros. This is what @Magwood wrote about the latter in her blog:
We tried the Hostal Los Almendros which my info quoted at 30 euros for a shared room. The place did not look very salubrious and is situated on the edge of town. We declined the host’s offer of a shared room for 40 euros, preferring to pay a bit more for a lot more comfort. The host argued with me that his offer was far superior to the hotel – he got quite het up. I cut him off and we left. As we were approaching the hotel this guy pulled up in his car and continued his argument. What?! He must have been very desperate.

El Capricho looks nice too. It has a swimming pool, which offsets the fact that it is out of town 😀
We'll settle for a room at the Fuente El Cura.

On this virtual Camino, we're stopping in Villena. There's no albergue in Villena, and the Amigos suggest Pensión La Casa de los Aromas, which is between the castle and the Plaza Mayor. Looking at the usual map, there's also the Hotel Restaurante Salvadora.

EDIT: we're actually not staying in Villena, we're catching the train! So save this info for when we come back! ;)
 
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peregrina2000

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Ok, restaurant selection committee reporting for duty. I spent a while googling around looking for a restaurant that would offer a wide enough range of options for our group’s diverse dietary preferences. I also adopted @filly’s filter of linen tablecloths, since this is going to be a festive event. I decided against going with a strictly vegetarian restaurant, though one looked interesting, and made sure that good “arroces” (paella/rices) were on the menu. I also wanted the location to be in the historic center, because a post-prandial stroll through the centro with perhaps the castle illuminated above, is always a good way to end.

So the winner, IMO, is Sotaterra. Though its instagram pictures make it look a bit fussy and pretentious, based on the reviews, the offering of arroces, and the prices, it seems to be somewhat of a splurge but not outrageous. I particularly liked the repeated references to warm and friendly service, because a big group of peregrinos might not be welcome in all linen table cloth restaurants.

So hurry back from Villena and let’s get the party started.
 

Bad Pilgrim

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The Camino leaves Elda along the river, but after 3.5 kms, it follows the railroad easement until 2.5 kms before Sax.
Elda to Sax is pretty interesting: from Elda you have to walk straight up several hills as a shortcut to avoid the road. In Elda, aim for the hospital, and the ascent starts kind of behind it. Cyclists will probably take the longer way on the road. So it's a bit of a climb. I see that Nina & Maggie took another way round to look at the Yacimiento Monastil (roman ruins? What is it?) Was it worth it?
After Sax, we again fillow the Rio Vinalopó until Sta Eulalia, another 5.5 kms.
Santa Eulalia is a depressing place. It looks abandoned. The guía says the population is 26, but it was obviously meant for many more people. Seems like everyone left decades ago. I'm sure the people who live there (summer residents from nearby Sax; Alicante?) love it, but it's not my cup of tea. It's my least favorite place on the Lana, I think. Also because I have never seen any bar there. On Google Maps there is a "Cafetería Santa Eulalia" right on the Camino: yeah right, perhaps in 1975. I will believe it when I see it.
Near here, a short way from the Camino, there is another restaurant, La Casona.
This is wonderful! I never knew there was a restaurant a few hundred mtrs from the Camino, near Santa Eulalia! Looks so close on the map, but must be hidden from view on the Camino. Definitely checking that one out.
I think I might need to stop off at Sax and get some bubbles too and lighten my mood.
... one can fly on bubbles 🥳

Watch out: too many bubbles might make you loose your way, as @LTfit did when she didn't know where/how to leave Sax. I don't know how much alcohol she had consumed though! 😄;) It's more likely it was too dark in the morning. I was confused myself the first time I left Sax in the darkness. But we will be leaving in broad daylight so we won't have that problem?

I've inserted a map, if anyone should have a problem finding their way towards la Colonia de Santa Eulalia. It starts right at the door of Fuente el Cura. See picture below. I don't have Maggie's Wikiloc, but I do have Wiki-sketch so I used my artistic skills to draw the trail...
 

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Magwood

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I see that Nina & Maggie took another way round to look at the Yacimiento Monastil (roman ruins? What is it?) Was it worth it?
As far as I can remember, we followed the arrows and I don't recall seeing the Yacimiento Monastil, so have no idea what it is!

Here is a link to our wikiloc track from Novelda to Sax
 

alansykes

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The irrepressible Álvaro Lazaga is back walking, on his 44th camino - this time on one of the other variants of the Lana, the camino del Alba. It starts up the coast at Xàbia/Jávea and joins the Lana at Almansa, after a day on the Levante from la Font de la Figuera.

And this appears to be good website done by a local association with stages, tracks, and other info.They also note 9 albergues between the starting point and where it merges with the Levante before continuing on the the Lana.

 
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VNwalking

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So here is the train schedule back to Alicante. It turns out the information I found yesterday was wrong! So those of you still in Sax enjoying with the bubbles have even more time. That said, we don't want to miss our sumptuous meal with Laurie.
Screenshot_20201122-115040_Firefox.jpg

@peregrina2000 , hungry pilgrims are inbound! What time should we meet you at that fabulous restaurant?

Here's a link to @alansykes 's recent walk from Villajoyosa, so we are all primed and on the same page.

Have you learned anything else in your wanderings, Laurie?

This time it's my turn to stay... in Villena. I wonder what I am supposed to do there for four whole days, while y'all are gallivanting on the Vilajoyosa...!
Hmmm. A 4-day silent meditation retreat, perhaps? :p
Or, hey! Why not come along? We'd love your company, and you might be surprised how fit you've suddenly become. A few of us have already discovered that virtial caminos come with their own magic wings.
 
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VNwalking

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More Villajoyosa stuff to check out:
Here's a link to @alansykes 's recent walk from Villajoyosa, so we are all primed and on the same page.
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/villa
So in addition to the posts from Alan here on the Forum, there is also this blog with a lot of maps and information. We have a guide!:
 
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peregrina2000

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I‘ve made reservations for a 3 pm lunch. I’m guessing it will be closed for Sunday cena, and who wants a late night meal before we start walking?

I have enjoyed myself here but am ready to go. I took a tram ride out to Altea for a day trip. Very nice.

I’ve attached a map from Hotel Cervantes to the Mercat Central tram stop. And the schedule for tomorrow.

All three variants (starting from Villajoyosa, Benidorm, or Altea) wind up in Relleu on the first day. I will be starting from Villajoyosa. I am not a huge fan of Benidorm, and have already visited Altea. (And the Altea start simply adds 10 km to the first day by taking you to Benidorm on minor roads. My impression is that it does not go through the parque natural, so would not be much of a treat. But I could be wrong).

Álvaro Lazaga lives in Benidorm and you can see him in pictures in the guide. I think he walks four or five caminos a year. I believe I saw on one of his youtubes that he celebrated his 50th birthday on a recent camino. Some people have all the luck. I was just starting on my first camino when I turned 50!
 

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VNwalking

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Here's something to check out — the elevation profile of the alternative from Benidorm (starting from Villajoyosa will be similar):

20201124_121142.jpg

The first day to Relleu will look a little different, because we start in Villajoyosa.
Our immediate task is to get up there from Alicante. It's only 28 kilometers, and both bus and tram are possible:
Screenshot_20201124-122619_Firefox.jpg

The tram looks fantastic, and goes every 30 minutes, so we have a lot of flexibility.
 
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AJGuillaume

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here's something to check out — what awaits us in the next three days:
20201124_121142.jpg
Here's a GPX track for the first day: https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/camino-de-santiago-desde-villajoyosa-a-relleu-12417984

An all day steady climb. We're stuffing our faces with one aim: carb loading 😄
 
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Day 1a. Alicante - Relleu 19.7
Okay gang, up and at at'em!
If we can catch the 08.11 tram from the Mercat Central tram stop, we'll get to Villajoyosa with plenty of time to walk.

I'm totally cheating here by quoting Alan's post in its entirety:
I started at Villajoyosa yesterday morning, after an hour's tram ride from central Alicante. Villajoyosa is a pretty polychrome village which seems more Spanish than much of the rest of the coast. You then spend a pleasant hour or so ambling slowly upwards through orange and lemon groves, currently dripping with ripe fruit, before reaching the reservoir of the Amadorio River. Another few km and you are having coffee or a caña in Orxeta. You're already surrounded by beautiful hills, with the imposing 1400m bulk of Puig Campana dominating the views. The last few km up to Relleu are on a narrow steep path, paso de la mula, according to somebody I bumped in to, through wild thyme, rosemary and juniper. It felt like summer again after a month in the north, with bees buzzing around, a few butterflies, even a lizard or two. Relleu is an attractive hill village (with a modern church of Santiago) and I was soon tucking in to an excellent menú del día, including local capers in the salad. Yum. If you ring ahead, which I forgot to do, you can apparently sleep in the polidiportivo, but I had a very nice room in an (empty) casa rural for 22$. This was the view from the sitting room:

It sounds like interesting walking, and a real mix of surfaces, with the opportunity for 2nd breakfast in Orxeta.

And as @Bad Pilgrim said before, this way has serious Camino credentials:
Turns out it is a documented Camino since 1734. It has been dubbed "the Italian Camino" because a lot of Italian pilgrims arrived there to start their journey towards Compostela. And... from what I gather, it is more often seen as a part of the Sureste than of the Lana.

Here's a wikiloc track:

Hardy souls may want to brave the polideportivo, but it looks like we could take over the CR and have a super time!
@alansykes , do you have the contact information of the place where you stayed? Your photo from there is fantastic.

Here is useful contact info in the website I linked to the other day, including two CRs:
  • Tlfno. Ayuntamiento de Orxeta 966855080
  • Tlfno. Ayuntamiento de Relleu 966856041 para reservar y poder dormir en el lugar de acogida con colchones, Policía Local para recoger la llave 636288756.
  • Casa Balcón de Relleu, Maripaz. 20 € con desayuno. 636 85 76 95
  • Casa Rural Pepa, cocina .... 20 € persona. 663894021
  • Tlfno. Autobús 965121738

Relleu has the Bar Restaurante el Balcón de Relleu, Restaurante Isidro, and the Casa Alta Vista — amongst others. As far as food is concerned there is no shortage of options. For anyone who wants to take the simple way, there is also a Coviran.

A little ways out of town, there is a castle and the Ermita San Albert, in case you still have spring in your step after walking up from the coast.
Screenshot_20201125-115003_Maps.jpg
 
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Now in the tram, feeling like a kid!

I have just been reading Alan’s post, googled, wikiloced and seen lots of photos of the landscape and of Relleu. I like what I see very much and even though it may be a subjective perspective; this alternative route looks like a much, much better path than the first days of walking out of Alicante…
 
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Vía Serrana, Camino Francés
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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)
If we can catch the 08.11 tram from the Mercat Central tram stop, we'll get to Villajoyosa with plenty of time to walk.
The slow walker amongst us may need a head start, and we might take the 07:11 tram. You'll probably overtake us in Orxeta... ;)

I'm totally cheating here by quoting Alan's post in its entirety
That's not called cheating, it's called using your resources and references wisely 😀

this alternative route looks like a much, much better path than the first days of walking out of Alicante…
Defining 'better' as 'more picturesque', yes, probably. Slow walkers had better be well trained, because this first day could be a shock to the legs 😀

but like many CR's on Airbnb, it has a 2 night minimum
Ah, there's the solution for the slow walkers who will collapse on arrival in Relleu, and who realise that there's another day of more ascent tomorrow... ;)☺️

It's also quite 'interesting' typography, lending itself to taking more days rather than fewer. ;)
(Today is a steady uphill, but have a look at the next stage on that elevation profile!):eek:
Yep... :eek:☺️ In real life, definitely more days!

A search for casa rurales yields: La Senyoria Casa del Escriva, Casa El Racó, Almàssera Vella, Las Puertas del Indiano. As has been mentioned on this forum, even if it looks like a casa rural officially requests 2 nights, or is only available as a whole house accommodation, a phone call might yield a room just for one night.

My darling wife has just gone to bed... She needs as much rest as she can for tomorrow!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
@alansykes , do you have the contact information of the place where you stayed? Your photo from there is fantastic.

I had put Casa Perla in my whatsApp contacts. But I’ve received a message from them that they are permanently closed. I have also sent a WhatsApp message the two places mentioned by VN above and listed on caminosantiago.org site, Casa Rural Pepa and Bar Restaurante Balcón. Casa Pepa responded immediately to say she is open and will take reservations. Since the Balcón seems to be the place to eat in town, I will probably try to spread my gold coins around to both businesses and sleep in Casa Pepa.

The Relleu turismo website lists three casas rurales. With @islandwalker‘s info on Airbnb there’s a pretty good offering.

BTW, a tip for AJ and anyone else who uses Whatsapp for phone numbers for lodging. When I enter a new number, the first name of each contact is always the town, so when I look for a place in my next destination, I just type in, for instance Relleu. Then up pop all the places I have added — I would get Relleu Casa Perla, Relleu Balcón, Relleu Casa Rural Pepa, etc. — makes it much easier to find the places.

The Benidorm guide lists the Balcón as the place to eat — with a name like that, I am imagining there is a good view, and maybe this is where Alan stayed.

Here's a wikiloc track:

I did a bit of searching for wikiloc tracks, and if you want annotation, the tracks of twin.astirhave a lot of commentary and information added (in Spanish).

The Benidorm amigos point out that there is a rocky trail after Finestrat, Costera del Peix, which can be avoided by staying on the road. It is a rural road and probably has very little traffic. This will save two kms.

So happy to have joined up with the crowd, we’re off!
 
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alansykes

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
It's a lovely walk and not that steep - one or two places where you have to scramble, but nothing extreme. And outstanding views, at first from the reservoir of the Amadoiro river, then of the imposing bulk of Puig Campana high above you, and as you gain height you can see back down onto the coast, and mostly walking through fruit groves, and mostly off tarmac.

I had a very good lunch (and breakfast) in the Balcón. The casa rural was around the corner and steeply above the restaurant, but I don't remember them being connected. It was 20€ for effectively the whole house, with a fabulous view onto Puig Campana, now almost at eye-level, and a very helpful landlady.

It was well worth the short stroll to the ruined moorish castle and Chapel of St Albert of Sicily, mainly for yet more views.

The pic is of sunset on Puig Campana. There are a few more pics of the route on the wikiloc trail I recorded:

 

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Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés, Oct 2020
See you at Bar El Pantano...
Drinks are on me.
If I’m not too late, I’ll have a beer please. I don’t know, I miss a couple of days and it takes me half the evening to catch up on the news. Not sure that my foot is ready for that steep ascent. Maybe I’ll join AJGuillaume in his slower group.
 

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)
If I’m not too late, I’ll have a beer please.
Since half of us have gotten distracted by holidays we're not going anywhere in a hurry. Have a seat, Sue!

Not sure that my foot is ready for that steep ascent. M
No worries. Just wait until the virtual Camino magical powers kick in — you'll fly up that hill!
🎇🥾
 
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2021 Camino Guides
Most all Camino authors have decided to use 2020 guides for 2021, with free PDF files with updates coming in the spring. Get yours today.
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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)
Should we stay for the weekend?
Given that we're attracted by the more picturesque trail from Villajoyosa, and looking at the profile of the days to come, the slow walkers won't say no to that suggestion, @Ninja . 😄 And it would probably be what we would do in a real life Camino.
 

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)
Should we stay for the weekend?
Sure! In fact, you can do both: enjoy the stupendous view from the Balcón with your feet up, while powering up that hill at the same time. The joy of a virtual Camino is the wrinkles in the space-time continuum that allow us all to be in at least two places at once, if not more.

So gird your loins everyone — tomorrow is an epic hill-climbing day.
 

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)
Day 2a. Relleu - Torremanzanas 19.8
First, bringing this elevation back to give us sense of what we will face— which looks like a steady and steepening climb and a bit of a descent at the end of the day.
Once again, shamelessly cribbing Alan's notes, first with a QR code which will take you to his Wikilock track (I'm on my phone without the deluxe version of Wikiloc, and so can't figure out how to copy the link).
Screenshot_20201129-163027_Wikiloc.jpg
Relleu to Torremanzanas:

4 or 5 stars. Sunrise from my balcony was spectacular, with the view down to a little castle that was used as a lookout for when corsairs were raiding the coast, and the more modern equivalent, a radar station, higher up.

The bar near my casa rural was open from 6.30 - it may be the only bar open in winter. It also seemed to be the only one in the village not offering "English breakfast", so I assume in summer the place must be full of tourists.

Just out of the village takes you down into the gorge of the Amadoiro. Almost dry at the moment, but according to the barman last night, after spring and autumn storms it can be a raging torrent.

Then there is a continuous, mostly relatively gentle, climb for the next 11km, with fabulous views at every turn, as Puig Cardena recedes into the distance, the hazy flat of the coast to the south, and with the neat terraces reaching up to the sky on every side. After 8km some pillock has painted over the arrows, but once you see the shade of paint used, it's relatively easy to spot where they were, or just follow a wikiloc. The isolation is total, and it was easy to believe that some of the remoter valleys up here apparently stayed muslim for a generation or two after the fall of Granada, rather like the Alpujarras.

Once over the top, the descent towards Torremanzanas, mostly through fruit trees and olive groves, is less spectacular until the first sight of the 12th century almohad Torre Alta dominating the village. Lunch was still being served at gone 4pm when I arrived (I do like southern habits - one Galician restaurant I went to recently had shut its kitchen by about 2.30) and was another treat, with pomegranite seeds and almost raw fresh tuna in the salad, and olive oil from the local co-op. The albergue (donativo) is above the medical centre, 3 bedrooms, a nice sitting room and well equipped kitchen. According to the register, I was the 4th person to stay in it this year, a record for me. Luckily the friendly hospitalera lives opposite and I don't think is often away. The register quotes the hospital archives of Villajoyosa which report, for example, that a Neapolitan pilgrim on his way to Santiago had a fever and was given a chicken and some money in 1740, so this has been a genuine Jacobeo pilgrim route for centuries.

It sounds like it sounds like breakfast will be easy to acquire, even if you're one of those people who likes beans on toast and grilled stuff.

But make sure you have enough sustenance in your pack to keep body and soul together for the day, because while the way zigs and zags over hill and dale — and it looks like beautiful country — there looks to be nothing in the way of services between our start and our destination. Just blissful walking.

Here's a piece of Alan's account that I want to highlight, though, so that we don't get lost— Laurie, with your Seven League Boots, probably be way out in front, so word to the wise: please make sure you are following Alan's track here. ;) We sure would hate to lose you!
After 8km some pillock has painted over the arrows, but once you see the shade of paint used, it's relatively easy to spot where they were, or just follow a wikiloc.

The albergue sounds really nice, above the centre de salud,and there are other options for where to stay too, even without relying on airbnbs:
And:⅝
Screenshot_20201129-165726_Maps.jpg

Food is in abundance too (being lazy today, offering you screenshots; thank you for your patience):
20201129_164618.jpg
I'm looking forward the same kind of salad Alan had, minus the tuna. But where did you have that @alansykes ?

This link has some interesting information about the town. As I am the kind of person for whom older is definitely better, what really caught my eye was this:
The surroundings of the village are also pretty interesting. We can hike to some interesting points and, walking through the beautiful nature, we’ll find a lot of constructions that have a great historical meaning for the area.

For example, we can find some prehistorical remains, such as Freginal de la Font Major, from the mesolithic period. Besides, we can find grain storages in La Foia de Cortés and El Xipreret, and a necropolis placed in Barsella’s mountain, where we can also find an interesting cave.
 
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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)
So gird your loins everyone — tomorrow is an epic hill-climbing day.
@alansykes describes this as
a continuous, mostly relatively gentle, climb for the next 11km
Epic nevertheless for slow walkers :cool:

there looks to be nothing in the way of services between our start and our destination.
This also means there is no way we can break this stage in two. Slow walkers, take courage, but don't forget to enjoy the views!
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I have seen in a couple of places that the albergue in Torremanzanas is closed, but the Amigos in Valencia confirm that it is only for the duration of the pandemic. and it didn’t seem like a typical covid announcement. I have emailed and sent WhatsApps to I’ve also made contact with a couple of the Casas Rurales to see if they rent individual rooms or just the whole house. The. hotel is a good alternative, but it is about a km out of the center.

On the rare occasion that the river is flooded leaving Relleu, the amigos from Benidorm have come up with an alternative, here on wikilocs.

Relleu to Torremanzanas is 19 km. Torremanzanas to Ibi is another 18. Does anyone want to come with me to Ibi today? I know the elevation profile is a bit daunting, and maybe whenever we get back to the camino it will be out of my reach, but my preference would be to give that a try. The good thing is that there is no need to decide until we see how we feel in Torremanzanas.
 
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alansykes

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
QR code which will take you to his Wikilock track
I can't read that, but the wikiloc link below shows my trail, including highlighting where the arrows are painted out, and how to spot how the inconsiderate moron who thinks he owns the world has done it


It was a glorious lonely trail, utterly solitary, through Aleppo pines and terraces of vines and olives and fruit trees, with the occasional strawberry tree, some still dripping with their intoxicating pretty berries. As well as the moors, expelled from Relleu after the fall of Granada, apparently a few people loyal to the Republic managed to shelter safely up here for several years after the debâcle of 1939.

I ate in the Amber restaurant in Torremanzanas and highly recommend it, although I expect the others might be good too. The salad was spectacular - as well as the almost raw fresh tuna vegans will pass on, there was grated beetroot, recently harvested local olives, pomegranate seeds, lettuce, carrot and grilled pepper. And the tostada for breakfast was special too - I don't often get fresh basil in my crushed tomato of a morning.

I have seen in a couple of places that the albergue in Torremanzanas is closed
That would be very sad. But not entirely surprising. In the 10 years I've been walking caminos, especially since I started concentrating on the more obscure ones, it has been a regular surprise that many small, often clearly far from prosperous, communities make an extraordinary effort, clearly not cost free, to enable flâneurs like myself to progress across Spain at sometimes ridiculously small expense. Torremanzanas was perhaps the most glaring example. I'm sure more than the 4 pilgrims who signed the register slept there in 2018, but I doubt it was more than 50. Hot water, lighting, relative cleanliness, beds, shelter, a few local pamphlets to read, all for the 10-20€ we each put in the donativo box? For a village whose population has halved in the last 50 years? It's a miracle.

2018-12-05_10-40-22.jpg
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
FYI for those contemplating a stay in a Casa Rural in Torremanzanas. I have heard from both L’Auela (which owns two other places in/near Torremanzanas, Pla del Viudo, and Pinars de Montagut) and Casa Rural La Torre that their houses are only rented out in their entirety. I would still contact them in a pinch, because sometimes owners take pity on peregrinos if their homes are sitting empty, but they wouldn’t be on the top of my Torremanzanas lodging list.

I ate in the Amber restaurant in Torremanzanas and highly recommend it,

I have never regretted taking a restaurant recommendation from @alansykes or @SabineP so if I stay here when I walk, I will definitely go there!
 

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)
Day 3a. Torremanzanas to Onil. 34.7km
From Torremanzanas, there are a couple of options. We can walk roughly 24 km to Ibi, or continue to Onil, which is another 10km. Those last 10 km are flat, making the longer stage more easily negotiated.

Those wanting to stay in Villena would have more balanced mileage by stopping in Ibi.
Here's what Osmand measures:

Screenshot_20201201-174206_OsmAnd.jpg

That said, following in Alan's footsteps, we take the longer alternative today. In real life I might be tempted to stop because it really looks beautiful, but it's a long road ahead and I am thinking of @Bad Pilgrim waiting for us in Villena. His juggling arm must be getting sore.

Here is what Alan had to say:
Torremanzanas to Onil: the village bars were open before dawn, and you then head steadily up (nearly 500m up in 5km) to a beautiful high ridge at over 1000m up. The camino follows the camí del peix here, a route that was used to take fish inland since Roman times. It regularly snows here and there were several "pou de nei" (pozo de nieve) stone structures designed to hold snow for several months, and used to make an early form of ice cream. From the Puerto de la Carrasqueta you have fabulous views over the Sierra, out to sea and down to Xixona/Jijona (in the pic) of turron fame (with the turron and the ice cream, Xixona seems justified in calling itself "el lugar mas dulce del mundo").

From the pass you go down to the town of Ibi, where I met a friendly couple who had compostelas from Tui and Sarria and were astonished to learn that they lived on a camino de Santiago. They walked me to El Cordobés, a restaurant run by a friend of theirs and insisted that he feed me. It was a holiday so every place in town was packed with people, and I doubt I'd have got a meal without their help. Very good mdd for 10 or 11€. The final 10km to Onil are flat and fairly dull on a vía verde. At Onil acogida is provided in his slightly Warholian workshop by José Mocho. You share the space with a vintage car and some avant garde art. José made salad and grilled some meat over his fire an we had a convivial evening with some harsh local vi nou from a friend's vines.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Year of past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
We can walk roughly 24 km to Ibi, or continue to Onil, which is another 10km. Those last 10 km are flat, making the longer stage more easily negotiated.

Those wanting to stay in Villena would have more balanced mileage by stopping in Ibi.
Time warp option on: we slow walkers are stopping in Ibi, and we'll catch up with you. 24 km, with that stage profile, is going to make it a little hard for someone. I might carry her backpack for the last km to make it easier for her.

In Ibi, we can stay at Hotel Plata, Hotel del Jugete (hmmmm, maybe not if it is overrun by children ;)😂), Casa Rosalía, or Hotel Ibi. I couldn't find any details about a municipal albergue.
 
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