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My Caminos Lebaniego and Vadiniense

Discussion in 'Camino Vadiniense' started by peregrina2000, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    I have just returned from a Camino that included the Camino Lebaniego and Vadiniense. The Lebaniego goes from San Vicente de la Barquera (on the Norte) to Potes (in the Picos de Europa). The Vadiniense starts in Potes and winds up close to Leon. Using Rebekah's guide, I made it without too many difficulties, though I did have an adventure or two. I've sent detailed notes to Reb for her to incorporate into her guide, but I thought I'd post some more general comments and observations here.

    The glory of these caminos is the mountains, no doubt about it!

    The priest in the albergue in Guemes (day before Santander on the Norte), whose name I now cannot remember, has begun to tout the detour from San Vicente de la Barquera to the monastery of Santo Toribio outside Potes, which purportedly houses a piece of the True Cross. As a result there is now a trickle of peregrinos who walk from San Vicente to Potes, but they generally take the bus back to the Norte to continue on their way. So I met one peregrino in the albergue in LaFuente, and 5 more in the albergue in Potes. All of them went back to the Norte. I continued on the Camino Vadiniense, which goes through the Picos in a breathtaking day of mountain splendor and ends in Mansilla de las Mulas or Puente Villarente, depending on which way you go on your last day.

    This is truly spectacular scenery.
    My Camino Lebaniego: https://picasaweb.google.com/laurie.rey ... vuS8KabXg#

    My Camino Vadiniense:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/laurie.rey ... mhqoSClQE#

    I started in Santander, and from there all the way to Potes, I was a prisoner to asphalt. Aside from the ascent and descent to the Collado over Lebena, it was virtually ALL asphalt. It killed my feet, and I almost had to stop walking. So beware.

    The Vadiniense is about 60 kms and can be walked in two days. I had thought I would take three days (in order to avoid some of the asphalt into Potes), but those plans were derailed when I called the albergue in Cabanes only to find it was full with a school group and the casas rurales were not yet open for the summer season. So I had no choice but to do the two day version: San Vicente to the wonderful albergue in LaFuente on Day 1; Day 2 was LaFuente to Potes.

    Day 1 form San Vicente to LaFuente is a long but not too stressful day. On the side of the road all the time, but thankfully the roads have virtually no traffic. Well marked, no problems in that regard. The albergue in LaFuente is terrific -- in the old school, great kitchen, nice facility overall.

    Day 2 from laFuente to Potes involves 9 kms alongside the highway. Lovingkindness has commented on this stretch, and she is absolutely right, it is hair-raising. There you are in the midst of a beautiful mountain gorge with a river rushing off to the side -- and you have nowhere to go but the side of the highway.

    In my pictures, you'll see a couple of shots of shredded pants. I am embarrassed to say that I had a crazy bushwhacking experience that was probably a stupid thing to attempt, but fortunately ended without mishap. I will explain the problem and the solution in my next post. Buen camino, Laurie
     
    owms2323, Aglass and erikas like this.
  2. lovingkindness

    lovingkindness Veteran Member

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    Shredded pants!!! Yes, I can believe that. My trousers just about split with all the gymnastics and barrier hopping I did to flee asphalt. All that lovely pasture land so temptingly close….. It’s a year since I was out there, it's hard to believe. Some days I get these sudden flashbacks: Its 35-40 degrees in the heat and I am back on tarmac slogging it out. The muscular and visual memories are intense. So is the elation.

    Thanks for sharing your pics, Laurie. How differently things appear in May. Did you visit the little porche where I slept out in La Fuente?????? Isn't the albergue in Potes fantastic! bed linen, a washing machine....and oodles of empty rooms :D .....

    Looking forward to reading more,
    -Lovingkindness
     
  3. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Hi, lovingkindness, So good to hear from you, I thought of you often as I walked alongside the highway on the way into Potes. In Tama, I was directed to an off-road option that led me on the other side of the river almost all the way to Potes, so that was some relief. And yes, I stopped at the church in laFuente, closed of course. I didn't remember then that you had slept there. Wasn't the albergue open? It's in the "upper town", a few hundred meters down the road, and a young woman who lives in the village has the key.

    Day 2 from la Fuente to Lebena.
    The walk involves ascending a big hill. The way is well marked all the way to Cicera and then up the hill. As you reach the top, the signs disappear. I did see a few wooden mojones that had been knocked over for no apparent purpose. Continuing straight ahead once I reached the highest point brought me first to what looked like a watering trough for horses, and continuing a little further, I came to one of those high tension electricity towers. From there I could see down the other side, with the village of Lebena a few kms down. I could also see what was clearly the camino next to the next electricity pylon on the way down to Lebena. But I could not, hard as I tried, find where the path came out on the top of the hill where I was. After a good 45 minutes walking back and forth and looking, I decided that Plan B would have to be to find the way down to the next electricity tower, and hop on the camino at that point. That was a foolish thing to do, but I made sure that I kept the electricity wire over my head as best I could. It was rocky, prickly, slippery, just horrible. I slid, jumped, walked, crawled and after a couple of hours had made it to that next tower, and sure enough, there was the Camino. (lovingkineness I am assuming you are a better mountaineer than I and that you found that path down to Lebena easily).

    I changed into my other pants and walked into Lebena, where a nice young man gave me a new water bottle (having lost both, as well as my hat, during the struggle through the bush). He told me that, as I of course knew, the path does reach the summit of the hill. Turns out that it was further over to the right than I had gone. So, for anyone who walks this route, remember when you reach the top after Cicera, go to the high tension electricity tower and keep walking to the right until you find the path down.

    There are no services in Lebena, just a beautiful mozarabic church.

    In Lebena, you have two choices. Choice #1: go alongside the highway through the gorge, to Potes. If you take that route, note that in Tama (about 5 1/2 kms from Lebena, 3 1/2 from Potes) there is an off road option. Cross the bridge on the right just after the bar, and turn left along the river. This will keep you off the highway for the rest of the way into Potes. There is apparently no way to avoid the asphalt between Lebena and Tama, and it is one of the least pleasant stages of any camino I have walked. Beautiful scenery, but way too dangerous.

    Choice #2: leaving Lebena, you can go to Cabanes for the night. To get there, walk on the highway AWAY from Potes to the turnoff for Cabanes (about 1/2 km, I think), and go up the minor road to that town. There is an albergue there and some casas rurales, which are only open in high summer season. Call first -- the albergue was full the day I hoped to sleep there, they take a lot of youth groups. So I had no choice but to walk on to Potes. If you stay in Cabanes, you will then have a 9 km day the next day into Potes.

    Potes is a bustling mountain tourist town, lots of services, shops, restaurants, etc. It had very little tourist traffic when I was there in late May, but I assume that changes as summer progresses.

    I think they've taken the bed linen off the beds in the albergue, lovingkindness, but it is incredibly spacious and the washing machine is great. Luckily there is also an outdoor store in town, where I was able to buy a new pair of pants and a hat. There's also a library with free internet near the tourist office.

    Check-in for the albergue is done at the tourist office, and they give you a set of keys, which you return on your way out. They typically allow pilgrims to spend two nights there, because the albergue at the monastery is closed. That means that you can have a whole day for walking out to the monastery and exploring the town.

    If you are going to continue on to the Vadiniense, though, you may want to visit the monastery on your way out of town because you can connect with the Vadiniense directly from a little chapel near it. I didn't do that, so I spent the first part of Day One on the Vadiniense on the side of the road from Potes to Camaleno.

    More to follow. Buen camino, Laurie
     
  4. camino07

    camino07 Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Hi Laurie
    Looks like a fantastic trip. I am tempted to walk this way next year if I can find a walking buddy.
    This year's Via de la Plata made me realise how isolated I can get walking alone. Won't do that again unless on the Camino Frances. Thanks for the photos and info.
    Heather
     
  5. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    On the Vadiniense: From Potes to Fuente De.

    The notes say this is a 23 km day. That's impossible. I was on the road at 7 and arrived at 4, and there were no huge ascents. I know that's the highway mileage, but this is a day with a lot of off-road, so I am virtually certain it's longer.

    Between Potes and Fuente De there is a system of local/regional walking trails and the Camino just piggy backs onto them. The first is from the Ermita de San Miguel (near the Monastery at Potes) to Camaleno; the second is from Camaleno to Los Llanos; then from Los Llanos to Cosgaya; finally Cosgaya to Pido and then Espinama. Then it's about 3.5 kms up to Fuente De on the side of the road. At the end of each segment you come out in town, walk through town on the road, and then get taken off again. It's too bad that the San Vicente to Potes part of this walk doesn't do the same thing, but oh well.

    These paths are great for walking, shaded, great views, gentle ascents.

    One way to cut this day into two would be to start in Potes, go out to the monastery and visit it, then get on the path at the San Miguel chapel. Walk the next two of these trails (Camaleno to Los Llanos and Los Llanos to Cosgaya), and then stay in Cosgaya, where there is plenty of private accommodation. The next day you would walk from Cosgaya to Fuente De, which wouldn't be a hugely long day, but there is plenty of opportunity for walking more on the trails near Fuente De if you arrive early and just can't stop walking.

    This is a highly touristed part of Spain, but the paths in late May were deserted. The exception was the walk from Fuente De to Portilla de la Reina, which comes next.

    Buen camino, Laurie
    p.s. to Heather -- I too have walked a number of solitary caminos, but this year I think I reached my lifetime quota. Hope you can find a buddy for these, because they are really beautiful.
     
  6. Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah Scott Camino Busybody Donating Member Donating Member

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    Many, various, and continuing.
    A note to users of the Vad Guide mentioned here:

    This trail is SO worth walking. Tons of people are doing their best to make it do-able for you!

    The Amigos Vadiniense have done a comprehensive review of the path and are shifting the trail to put more of the pathway OFF the asphalt and onto drovers´ paths and other dirt roads. The waymarking starts next week (July 24 2012). I am going out to be part of that, and will update the English guide accordingly, as the information comes in.

    Don´t look for the guide on the CSJ site. Soon as it is updated it will appear HERE, for your downloading pleasure, with updated provided by people who walk it, as they walk. In the meantime, contact me via IM for an email copy.

    Rebekah
     
  7. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Oh, wow, Reb, tell me more about the new waymarking. I so wish I could be a part of that. Is this the group from Cistierna? Will it include San Vicente to Potes or just from Potes onward?
    You're awesome! Painting arrows in the Picos sounds like a lovely summer activity. Buen camino, Laurie
     
  8. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    p.s. One thing I just thought about. The young guy who runs the albergue in Portilla de la Reina has a huge interest in getting this thing waymarked off-road, so if he hasn't been contacted about participating in this effort in some way (like perhaps giving people lodging while the marking is going on in his area), that might be a place for some additional support.

    http://www.alberguedeportilla.es/Inicio.html

    Buen camino, Laurie
     
  9. lovingkindness

    lovingkindness Veteran Member

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    Rebekah, that's fantastic news about the proposed new waymarking and updated English guide. The scenery along the Ruta Vadiniense is spectacular. With more off-road hiking it will become a classic.

    *Hi Laurie, a couple of abuelos sitting outside the little romanesque church said the albergue in La Fuente was closed. They suggested I continue on to the village and ask arround for a place but by then I was utterly shattered having hiked all the way from Serdio. Earlier in the day I had made other enquiries about the La Fuente albergue to be told it was closed....

    * no, I'm not much of a mountaineer, finding the path down to Lebena was tricky. Fog rolled in just as I reached the end of the concrete ascent from Cicera. Being in a kind of hazy daze and silken dream I kept plodding. After about 500 meters down a dirt camino I 'came too' and thought, hey, where's the arrows?????? so backtracked to the cattle coral, looked through the mist to the far right and headed up towards a building? or something. I think I followed a wall or fence a few metres then scanned the field and found to the right a post with an arrow on top...and as one does, I thought, Well, it's quite likely I should follow this...it lead to an edge/ decline (a bit scary in the fog) where miraculously a trail appeared. After that it was all down hill ...

    *...I think the Potes albergue is self-service. Other peregrinos showed me where to find linen: As one enters the albergue to the left there is a hospitaleros room, unlocked. Fresh linen and laundry bags for soiled bedding can be found there.

    - :)
     
  10. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    From Fuente De to Portilla de la Reina

    This is one of those days where you gasp every time you round a bend, with one mountain view more stunning than the next. It is gorgeous. I know that there have been some problems with marking, but they are problems no more.

    Essentially, the day's walk has two very different parts. The first is from Fuente De to the Puerto de Panatrave (approximately the halfway mark), and the second from there to Portilla de la Reina. The first is on mountain paths, the second is alongside a minor highway with the mountains kind of fading away.

    In Fuente De, there are three choices -- the campgrounds, the Hotel Rebeco, and the parador. I spent 50E in the Hotel Rebeco, but the parador would have been around 70. I have heard the campgrounds are nice but I didn't stay there. If you are going to walk all the way to Portilla, I think that spending the night in Fuente De makes the most sense, because the earlier towns (Pido or Espinama) will add several kms of ascent to this route.

    The cafeteria in my hotel didn't open till 8:30 or 9, but there is always a night clerk in the parador, and she gladly made me a cafe con leche at about 6:30. Though the coffee was not memorable, it was the best 1.90 I ever spent on a coffee, because otherwise I wouldn't have had any till Portilla. I thoroughly enjoyed and soaked in every minute of the 11 kms to the pass. Just beautiful. The three potential points of confusion that had been the topic of other threads have been completely clarified by some camino angels. I had printed out these pages: Though I didn't really need them, because things were so clear, it was a comfort to have them. http://foroperegrinos.com/fsvr1/read.ph ... msg-324935

    *** This link now works as of June 2013.

    The ascent peaks at the Horcadas Valcavado, and then descends to the Puerto de Pandetrave and the highway. At that point, you have 10-11 kms walking alongside a very minor road to Portilla de la Reina. You are no longer in the mountains, but stick pretty closely to a rushing stream with some nice meadows along the way. Lots of that yellow broom. In Portilla de la Reina, the albergue is the only game in town. http://www.alberguedeportilla.es/Inicio.html It also has the only bar in town, open on weekends and one or two other days. This albergue was bought by a young couple from Guadalajara several years ago. They've tried several ways to make it work (from casa rural to some kind of sports activities place to albergue), but I think they are struggling. They provided a decent meal and a breakfast left out for me early in the morning.

    Buen camino, Laurie
     
  11. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Portilla de la Reina to Riano.

    This is pretty much an all-asphalt day, with a few little detours off onto short trails. Well marked, no elevation gain.

    First 7 kms on the side of the road take you to the town of Barniedo. In Barniedo, there is an albergue and bar, but I went through on a Sunday morning and there was no sign of life. Then you get on some off road tracks to Boca de Huergano. In Boca, there are a couple of bars, and since they are right on the N621 they were open on Sunday am. The reservoir created by the dam at Riano starts around here. Though the camino takes you on the side of the highway, it's pretty easy to see some off-road alternatives near the water. If you keep straight on past the church in Boca, you will get to the water's edge and some roads around the reservoir, always paralleling the highway which is slightly above. It will be obvious where to come up to the highway, and continue into Riano.

    Riano is a funny little town, I am assuming that if there was a "real" Riano, it is now sitting underwater. What's there now is a church that has been moved, several apartment building blocks, and some feeble attempts at creating public spaces. It is not the most inviting of places. There are several hotels/pensiones right in the center. I stayed in the Hotel Presa, http://www.hotelpresa.com/ which was fine. But I didn't like the fact that the 5 German motorcyclists that arrived soon after I did got a better price for room and meals. When I overheard that, I spoke with the owner, and got the run-around about how they were getting different rooms and different meals. It was about a 10 euro difference, so not worth getting upset about but it was annoying.

    There is an albergue in Riano, and I had planned to go there, but I could find no signage and no one with information or directions. I do know the albergue is 1-2 kms outside of town, though. http://www.elrefugioderiano.com/ It looks like a very nice place, and I would try to find out how to get there ahead of time if I ever walk this way again.

    Buen camino, Laurie
     
  12. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Riaño to Ventasierra.

    Though the mileage I saw says this is a 22 km stage, it felt longer than that. The second half of the walk is especially nice, with an ascent up on the roman road to a spot high above the river.

    The first part has a lot of asphalt, you start out by crossing over the dam and walking through a tunnel, which luckily has a safe path for pedestrians. The path takes you off the road near the towns of Carande, and then again through Horcadas. There's an albergue in Horcadas, which is a very pretty little town. http://alberguehorcadas.blogspot.com/ I was told in town that it's advisable to make reservations.

    At the second tunnel, Reb has figured out a way to avoid more asphalt, and her guide describes it clearly. It puts you on a nice GR path marked with red and white blazes, and it tells you that you are on a Sendero Historico (historic path) Ampurias-Finisterre. Not sure how you would get here from Ampurias,though. You go by two towns once you're on that path, Salas and Cremenes. Both towns are on the other side of the river but are easily accessible by bridge. You will be alongside the Esla River for this second half of the walk, and pass a fisherman's hut/refugio, where Francisco Franco is reported to have spent time.

    Ventasierra is not a town, it's essentially a restaurant/hostal with a house nearby. It has a great spot on the river, lots of rushing water which really cools things off. Food is decent, rooms are basic and pretty clean, but a bit pricey at 30 euros for a single room. But the owner agreed to leave me a thermos of cafe con leche and something to eat when she closed up the place. It was surprisingly hot the following morning at 6 am.

    No more ascents between Ventasierra and Leon. Flat, flat, flat.

    Buen camino, Laurie
     
  13. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Ventasierra to Cistierna

    A very short day. In fact, the man in the ayuntamiento in charge of the albergue in Cistierna told me he had expected to see me a day earlier. I had been spotted by someone when I was walking between Riano and Ventasierra, and in his mind the stage is from Riano to Cistierna. That would be a do-able, but very long day, especially if you take the highly recommended off-road option in the tunnel of Remolina after Riano.

    The walk is almost ALL off-road, how blessed. The marking is also generally excellent. You meander along the river, through fields. The surprise of the day is when you reach a huge, coal mining facility, totally abandoned, with rail yards, empty buildings, lots of coal dust, etc. I lost the arrows here, but soon found that I should stay on what appeared to be the "main roads" connecting the plant to the rail yards. Instead I had erroneously stayed on what looked to be a horse path that went to the river. Doubling back to the industrial facility, it was easy to find the rail yards. At that point, you will curve to the right, just as the river does, and look for a gate -- it is huge, heavy, and has a "private property" sign on it, but it takes you to the camino (I later confirmed that with an employee at the electricity building I describe at the end of this paragraph). You will then be between a cliff (on your right) and a large water channel (on your left). Take that till you get to an electricity generator building of some kind and you are then back in civilization. The building has a sign that reads: CH Pena Corcida, not sure what that means or refers to but it should identify the building for anyone who walks.

    Go under the highway at KM44 marking, and the arrows take you into the town of Cistierna. There is some new highway construction here, but the Camino has been re-routed to accommodate it.

    The Camino takes you into the town of Cistierna on the main road, the Avenida de la Constitucion. Stay on it till you come to a very dismal modern church. Turn left at the church and you will arrive at the ayuntamiento/town hall. That's where the keys to the albergue are, and someone will take you up to the albergue, sign you in, give you the keys, stamp your credencial, etc.

    Cistierna has plenty of shops and commerce. The bar that seemed the most lively to me is on the Avda. de la Constitucion, just as you enter town, on the right hand side. It is right next to a "tienda de chinos" and is run by the same Chinese family that runs the shop. The little tapas they give you with your drink are excellent, so I assume they serve some pretty good meals as well.

    There is also a good restaurant in Cistierna with an excellent 10 euro menu del dia. It is also on the main Avda. de la Constitucion and t's connected with the Hotel Moderno. It is located one floor up from the ground. It was a very lively, friendly place, one of my better meals on the Vadiniense.

    The albergue in Cistierna is in a municipally owned apartment, and there is a municipal employee living on the first floor, a very helpful young man. It gave me some comfort to think that I was not totally alone -- he helped me get the hot water going, told me to ask for help if I needed it. The albergue is on the second floor. It has several bedrooms with single beds, clean bathrooms and showers, a huge living/dining room with a lot of books and info on camino-related material. There is no kitchen to speak of. There was a coffee maker, and after running water through it about 15 times, the water finally came out relatively clear and had nothing floating in it, so I took my chances and made instant coffee in the morning. BTW, since I do not like black coffee, I learned from a German peregrina that you can use "condensed milk in a tube" -- no need to refrigerate, and though I prefer my coffee unsweetened, it is a very practical way to add milk.

    I am assuming that it is the Cistierna group that is responsible for the re-routing effort that Rebekah posted about. I can't wait to hear about the results of this effort, because if the Vadiniense adds off-road paths to its already exceptionally beautiful scenery, it could become quite popular. As it is now, this Camino is extremely under-traveled. I was in the albergue in early June, and the last pilgrims to use it had been in early May.

    Buen camino, Laurie
     
  14. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Cistierna to Gradefes

    This is a totally flat walk along the side of a country road. Very little traffic. Though there appears to be a choice between walking on the left side or the right side of the river, the right side is clearly the way to go. A short distance outside Cistierna, the arrows take you over a bridge, and you should follow them. You will go through little villages, many ag fields, not many services. The last part of this segment, from the town of Villanafar to Gradefes, is hot and sunny, not the pleasant shade you've been enjoying up till then. But it's only a few kms more (maybe 3) to Gradefes, so it's tolerable.

    As you enter Gradefes, you go past the monastery Santa Maria la Real, which has a lovely romanesque church attached. It is open for visits,morning and afternoon, and it is directly on the camino. A fair number of tour buses stop there, and the nuns sell a variety of home made sweets.

    Gradefes has a very, very nice albergue. If you arrive before 3 on a week day, the staff in the Ayuntamiento (town hall) will get you set up. If it's outside of those hours, you can find the phone number to call on the door of the town hall. The town hall is very close to the monastery. It might not be a bad idea to call ahead to alert them that you are coming, just because there are so few people who walk that way. The number for the Gradefes town hall is: 987 333 153

    The albergue is modern, clean, totally equipped. Two bedrooms with single beds, a living room, modern baths, kitchen with washing machine, balcony for drying clothes, etc etc. It is not used very much, but the townspeople are very proud of it and justifiably so. I have suggested on another thread how pilgrims on the Camino Frances who wish to take a detour to see the amazing mozarabic church of San Miguel de la Escalada could easily use this albergue as they take a quick detour either from Leon or Mansilla de las Mulas.

    This was the stage in which my camino deteriorated rapidly. About 12 kms outside of Cistierna, on a little foot bridge over a babbling stream, very bucolic and lovely, I took off my boots for a rest, only to find a bloodied sock. The blisters that had been with me since the first few days of asphalt out of Santander were not cooperating. If it hadn't been for my planned visit with Rebekah that evening, I might have even thrown in the towel when I arrived in Gradefes. But thanks to her, I didn't. What I wound up doing instead was foregoing the two days' walk from Gradefes to Leon (which would be either Gradefes to Mansilla or to Puente Villarente, followed by a day into Leon) and taking the 7:30 am bus from Gradefes to Leon. I spent three days in Leon in the terrific Pension Blanca, got new boots and took care of my feet, and voila! I was able to continue on to walk the Salvador/Primitivo as I had originally hoped.

    Though I didn't walk it, I can tell you that the day's walk from Gradefes is alongside a very lightly travelled road, and gives you the opportunity to visit San Miguel de la Escalada. This is one of the real jewels of the camino, it is just amazing, and I was so thankful that Rebekah took me for a short visit by car the night I decided to stop walking!

    Anyway, I know that these caminos are not very popular, but I wanted to post these comments for any who might be searching for information on the camino lebaniego or camino vadiniense, and I hope they will be of use to someone.

    Thus ends my Camino Vadiniense. Happy to answer questions, buen camino, Laurie
     
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  15. oursonpolaire

    oursonpolaire Veteran Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
    I found the last day the most difficult of the Vadiniense, although the lightly-travelled country roads were not the problem. This was where the isolation kicked in for me. But I would underline the comments on San Miguel de Escalada, which has a peaceful eeriness to it. Liturgy geeks will find the use of space in the Mozarabic altar layout fascinating, but most will just bask in the sernity the light entering through the alabaster windows and in the curious carving. In tourism season, there is a café just to the south, but otherwise there is a shop/office where they will give you a very nice sello for your credencial.
     
  16. Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah Scott Camino Busybody Donating Member Donating Member

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    I am in touch with the waymarking crew from the Cistierna Amigos group. We were set up to start waymarking from Cistierna tomorrow, but the "materials" won´t be delivered until Thursday or Friday, so the whole project is being set back a week. And I will be in Malaga then! :(

    Still, I am promised a full run-down on the changes. I intend to re-do the walk myself soon as the work is done, and get them folded into the guide ASAP. I am excited to tell you the final two days are supposed to be much improved, pavement-wise -- all those irrigation canals have access roads alongside, which are un-paved. And using them trims some mileage off the paved path as well!

    FYI: The Ruta Vadiniense amigos group has a well-maintained Facebook page, which will keep you up-to-date on maps and events if you are interested.
     
  17. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Rebekah,
    I cannot wait to hear about the changes.

    I swore I was done with these solitary caminos, but if they move the route off-road, it won't be solitary. If you move it, they will come!

    When are you planning to walk the new route? If it were between January and June, I might be able to fanagle a trip over to walk with you.

    And have a great trip to Malaga! Buen camino, Laurie
     
  18. SLOW WALKER

    SLOW WALKER New Member

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    Hi there,

    Could you tell me if you found an albergue in Santander alright and if you could give me an address. I enjoyed reading your notes. I will be in Santander at the beginning of October.

    Best wishes
     
  19. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Hi, slow walker,

    Welcome to the forum. The albergue in Santander is located on Ruamayor, number 9. It is very close to the cathedral and well marked. Are you going to walk to Santo Toribio and then onto the Vadiniense?

    Buen camino, Laurie
     
  20. Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah Scott Camino Busybody Donating Member Donating Member

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    At long last, I spent a morning with Luis, Monica, and Bruno, the Vadiniense waymarking crew, and got a good look at the maps of the route changes.

    The new route markers are meant to be two-way, which means people who want to visit the Holy Cross relic at the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liebana someday soon can follow the arrows from Mansilla all the way over the picos to Potes -- taking the Vadiniense south-to-north.

    Too many details to include here, (I am working on a blog entry) but I am assured the changes in the route between Cistierna toward Mansilla de las Mulas trim 8 hours of walking from the total, and cut out a large percentage of road walking. The piece we waymarked today takes travelers off-road south of Santibañez de Rueda and along a tree-lined canal toward Gradefes.

    The biggest route changes happen nearer to Mansilla, where the route will now veer eastward through a town, cross the Rio Esla on an irrigation lock, and join the Via Trajana variant of the Camino Frances before heading into Mansilla. It is a welcome change, and the crew from the Ruta Vadiniense Amigos group is doing yeoman work in the hot sun to make this route less of a physical challenge and more of a pleasure.

    Detailed topo maps with all the changes on are now posted on the Vadiniense web site.
     
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  21. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Kudos to you, Reb (and Deirdre, who tells me she was there as well!). This is such a great service, even though there are so few pilgrims. If you keep putting up the arrows, though, they will come.

    Do you know if they have also marked the off-road option that leaves from the end of the second tunnel after Riano? You were the one to tell me about that, and it was really much better than staying along the highway.

    Now we just have to get those Lebaniego folks to find some off-road options from San Vicente to Potes. That would be so marvelous. Laurie
     
  22. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Hi, Reb,
    I have just been looking at the rutavadiniense.org page and as you say the new route from Gradefes to Mansilla de las Mulas is now marked -- am I right that it now takes people across the river at Gradefes, and continues to Mansilla on that eastern side of the river? Though it may cut off 8 kms, it looks like it also means that the new alternative doesn't take people through San Miguel de la Escalada. How could anyone walk the Vadiniense and not visit San Miguel?! Quite a quandry, IMO. But I could be reading the map wrong because the text of the description continues to highlight San Miguel.

    Anyway, I'm wondering if the changes are limited to those south of Cistierna or if plans are in the works for other parts, especially that day from Riano.

    I am certainly quite grateful for the off-road alternatives, so don't think I'm complaining here. And sorry to bombard you with questions. Buen camino, Laurie
     
  23. Aglass

    Aglass Andrew

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Walked el Camino Frances in 2003. Did the Primitivo in August 13 and Ruta lebaniega in July 14. Summer 2016 - Camino del Salvador.
    One day: Ruta de la Plata into the Sanabres, maybe part of the Norte, and perhaps the Olvidado.
     
  24. Aglass

    Aglass Andrew

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Walked el Camino Frances in 2003. Did the Primitivo in August 13 and Ruta lebaniega in July 14. Summer 2016 - Camino del Salvador.
    One day: Ruta de la Plata into the Sanabres, maybe part of the Norte, and perhaps the Olvidado.
    Hi Laurie,
    you helped me out with advice on the lovely Primitivo last year. Just read your blog and seen your great pics on the Vadiniense. It looks tempting for July. One thing putting me off is that I read somewhere that a couple of days are a bit dangerous unless you are an experienced mountain walker. Is that the case? You don't mention that.
    Regards
    Andrew
     
  25. Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah Scott Camino Busybody Donating Member Donating Member

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    Andrew, you do not need to be a mountain-climber to do the Vad. You really should be in good physical condition, though. And this is def. a good-weather camino!

    Laurie, as for the camino following the eastern side of the river after Gradefes -- that was always an option. You can follow the eastern side of the river all the way down from Cistierna to Mansilla if you wish, along an old railway line (tracks are gone) that parallels the highway and passes through several villages. The western track, via San Miguel, is the one we detailed in the guides.
     
  26. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Hi, Reb,
    Somehow I missed this post, but it looks like there are improvements in store for this summer's walkers. I remember the long haul into Gradefes, so that first re-routing you mention will be a nice change from that long streetside sunny pounding into town.

    And the second looks like it makes it more appealing to join the Frances at Mansilla de las Mulas rather than further on in Puente Villarente. The rutavadiniense.com website is not one of the best in the world, but it does have a schematic representation of that change you mention -- cross the Esla on an irrigation lock, etc. It's great that it is all now clearly marked.
    Thanks, Laurie
     
  27. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Hi, Andrew, I agree completely with Reb that there are no mountain skills required. The Senda da Remona is the one 12 km stretch that is out in the wilderness, and it is extremely well marked and popular as a day hike. What you are more likely to need are well conditioned feet that don't mind pounding the pavement day after day after day, because the Lebaniego from San Vicente to Potes is probably 75% asphalt, and from the end of the Senda Remona to Gradefes is also heavy on the road walking.

    The walk from Lebena through the gorge is beautiful but very very dangerous, right on the narrow shoulder of the national highway. Skills are required, but not of the mountain variety! Buen camino, Laurie
     
  28. Aglass

    Aglass Andrew

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Walked el Camino Frances in 2003. Did the Primitivo in August 13 and Ruta lebaniega in July 14. Summer 2016 - Camino del Salvador.
    One day: Ruta de la Plata into the Sanabres, maybe part of the Norte, and perhaps the Olvidado.
    Many thanks Laurie. That's good news. I won't have much time this year so if I do it, I'd start in Potes anyway. Enjoy the camino olviadado, which I see you are doing. On my agenda one year. I wouldn't be surprised if it is almost 'empty'. Buen camino. Andrew
     
  29. adrianflude

    adrianflude New Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Francés 2012
    Camino Francés 2013
    SdC-Finisterre-Muxía-SdC 2013
    Have you got a map of your route you could share?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  30. Camino Samoset Santiago

    Camino Samoset Santiago Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Francés, del Norte. Primitivo, Inglés, Va Augusta, Via de la Plata and Muxia/Fisterra done
    there are many more ways to walk in the future!
    I am planning to walk Camino Libaniego and Vadiniense next year and conect it with camino San Salvador. Is the Routa Vadiniense possible without electronic navigation devices? I like to follow the beautiful yellow arrows. ;-)
    Thanks for posting your experiences! :)
     
  31. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Hi there, I walked these caminos without a gps and really without much in the way of a guide. Rebekah's pamphlet was all I had and I was fine. And I have to tell you I am VERY directionally challenged. So if I was fine, any normal person will be perfectly ok. Buen camino, I think you will love these routes.
     
  32. Camino Samoset Santiago

    Camino Samoset Santiago Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Francés, del Norte. Primitivo, Inglés, Va Augusta, Via de la Plata and Muxia/Fisterra done
    there are many more ways to walk in the future!
    Yeah good news! Thanks for your reply. I will start in April 17th in Santander, stay two nights in Potes, that allows me to visit the monasterio Libiana without to hurry. I hope the weather is with me, snow is no problem, but to much snow could change my planning, that's the Camino. Buen Camino and greetings from Germany
    Thorsten
     
  33. amancio

    amancio Active Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Francés, Primitivo, Salvador, Portugués from Porto, Aragonés, Inglés, VdlP to Salamanca, Lebaniego-Vadiniense, Fisterra
    Hi Thorsten, the only stage with potential issues is the crossing from Fuente Dé to Portilla de la Reina, once you are in Espinama, you should be able to see how feasible the crossing is.

    If you want to know in advance how much snow there is at 1900 meters (you will be crossing at nearly 1800), you can have a look at this webcan in Fuente Dé, it should give you some good reference

    http://www.cantur.com/instalaciones/webcam/5-teleferico-de-fuente-de/parametro-2

    However, more than the snow, I would say the danger would be clouds or mist, the stage is mostly along good dirt roads that should be easy to follow, but if the snow covers the marks, you might be in trouble.

    This is the view you get in the webcam as of today,

    upload_2016-11-1_9-25-51.png
     
  34. Camino Samoset Santiago

    Camino Samoset Santiago Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Francés, del Norte. Primitivo, Inglés, Va Augusta, Via de la Plata and Muxia/Fisterra done
    there are many more ways to walk in the future!
    Thanks for your post and reply. I am home since a couple of weeks, still impressed, still the awesome pictures in my head.
    I started in Santander, from San Vicente Camino Libaniego to Potes, I had a second night in Potes, what a nice place! Then Camino Vadiniense, bad start, fighting wild dogs in the first uphill part in the forest, before Espinama fighting a big Shepard dog, he was protecting a large herd of goats and another dog after a wrong turn into farm property. Luckily the following days were almost without fighting dogs. The way was no walk in the park, but not too exhausting. From León I turned to the Camino San Salvador, WOW, also awesome. From Oviedo Camino Primitivo for a second time. Six and a half weeks, pure mountains and joy.
    Buen Camino!
     
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  35. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    I did the same thing several years ago. Loved the stage from Fuente De. No problem with marking, and as Amancio says this is a wide track (which was at one point long ago supposed to become a paved road for car traffic!

    No dog problem then, luckily. I know the route has been changed and has less asphalt now, which is a very welcome development I'm sure.
     

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