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hi bc, dawn is right, the albergue is pretty good. Yes, touristy too. That having been said, there r a couple of nice restaurants with actual fireplaces, and pricy private places to stay. The view, when it's not foggy/dark/cloudy, is impressive. The church is pivotal to the history of the Camino. Best, xm 8)
i also found staying at Ruietland amazing. No one gets up until the music is played at 6am!!! what a great way to start the day.
I choose to stay at the unusual spots, not the regular ones for a great experience.
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
I think there will be a pilgrimage trail to O'Cebreiro one day to pay homage to the man who resurrected the camino, painted the yellow arrows and spent his lifetime researching the monuments and places along the camino Frances.
Don Elias Valina Sampedro was appointed priest of the parish of Santa Maria La Real of O’Cebreiro in 1959 when he was just 30 years old. Under his direction the church of St Mary’s as well as the ancient inn and pilgrim hospital – which he described as “little more than a dunghill” - were restored and in 1972 O’Cebreiro was declared a Historical Monument.
He concentrated all of his energies on the restoration and reanimation of the camino. In 1967 he wrote his doctoral thesis on - The Road of St James: A Historical and Legal Study. He directed the - Artistic Inventory of Lugo and its Province- six large volumes of an exhaustive description of all the monuments and items that could have any value
“In the 1970’s there survived only a remote memory of the Jacobean pilgrimage” he wrote. In 1971 he wrote the book ‘Caminos a Compostela’.
In 1974 Edwin Mullins published his book “The Pilgrimage to Santiago”. In it he recounts how difficult it was for a pilgrim on foot in the early 1970’s:
“It was more often a question of dropping into village bars and enquiring politely where the old road might be.”
In 1972 only 6 pilgrims were awarded the Compostela.
D. Elias’s guide was published in 1982 and at a gathering in Santiago in 1985 he was entrusted with the co-ordination of all the resources for the camino. “Refugios” were established and he was the first to mark the way with yellow arrows (with paint begged from the roads department).
Ten years later, in 1986, the Santiago Cathedral issued 2,491 certificates. In 1989, the year of the Pope’s visit (and sadly, also the year D Elias passed away) 5,760 compostelas were issued. If you are one of the estimated 200 000 pilgrims to trustingly follow the yellow arrows this year, remember the generous hand that lovingly drew them.
You can see a bust of D. Elias in the churchyard.
There's a small village called La Faba half way up and about 5k from O Cebriero. Stayed there last year, there's a shop and a refuge and... that's about it. Stopped there as a result of a dodgy tummy on the way from Villafranca. Did the trick and all I had to do was the leave at stupid o' clock to get up for the day's walk to Triacastela!
I passed through O Cebreiro on Sunday April 1st, having come through a wonderful blizzard. Didn't try to get accommodation there, but was told later that the Albergue was closed for repairs. I stayed in Hospital de la Condesa that evening, and about 10 people ended up sleeping on the floor there, many of whom wanted to stay at Cebreiro but couldn't find a bed. Can anybody confirm that the albergue is actually closed at present?
I also heard very positive comments on the albergue in La Faba from people who stayed there on April 1st.
Hmm... Cannot comment on the current O Cebriero situation, but I have heard that it's one of the noisier/worst refuges. That said and done, some people have moaned about other refuges I've used (most notably Belorado) and I've never had a problem. I don't think we're in a position to grumble about our surroundings when a) we're doing a pilgrimage and b) we're paying next to nothing for a bed and shower (although when there's no warm water it does make me do my freezing monkey impression - "ooh ooh ah ah!")
As per info. from AGACS, the albergue at O'Cebreiro has been closed since mid-January, due to repairs. They've put up a temporary albergue with approx 50 beds next to it, with AC/heater. Please refer to the article below for further info.
Instalan casetas en O Cebreiro para que pernocten peregrinos
El albergue de la Xunta está cerrado por obras desde hace meses
Las construcciones, con dos baños y recepción, tendrán calefacción y aire acondicionado
Dolores Cela | lugo
Los operarios trabajaban ayer a marchas forzadas para poder tener listas las dos casetas provisionales, que contarán con entre 45 y 50 camas, en las que pernoctarán los peregrinos en O Cebreiro. La Sociedad de Xestión Xacobeo decidió instalarlas, junto con otras dos en las que irán los servicios y una más de recepción para suplir durante esta Semana Santa al albergue, que se encuentra fuera de servicio por obras.
Las casetas, que dispondrán de calefacción y de aire acondicionado, fueron trasladadas a lo largo de la semana a O Cebreiro en tráileres. La nieve dificultó su instalación. Las colocaron en uno de los laterales del albergue. El sistema para ocupar las camas disponibles será, casi con seguridad, el que se sigue en todos los de la Xunta, por riguroso orden de llegada y en función de unas preferencias establecidas entre los diferentes tipos de romeros que realizan el camino a pie, en bicicleta, a caballo o por otros medios.
Aumento de peregrinos
Durante estos días de Semana Santa se incrementó considerablemente el número de peregrinos que llegan a O Cebreiro, en relación con las semanas precedentes. Pese a que colocaron carteles desde Ponferrada avisando del cierre del albergue, aún llegan algunos contando con pasar la noche en el albergue.
El edificio del albergue cerró sus puertas a mediados del pasado mes de enero para ser sometido a obras de reforma que supondrán una inversión de 330.612 euros. Los trabajos fueron adjudicados a la empresa Orega, que tardará varios meses en ejecutarlos. Inició la renovación de cubierta con peregrinos dentro.
La reforma del inmueble supone un importante cambio, que afecta no sólo a la cubierta del edificio, sino a su diseño interior. Las obras se hacían necesarias debido a la humedad y a las filtraciones.
Desde enero y posiblemente hasta hoy, el poblado prerromano de O Cebreiro permaneció sin oferta pública de camas para los peregrinos. Las pernoctas en los dependientes de la Sociedade de Xestión Xacobeo son, por el momento, gratuitos. Galicia es la única comunidad que no cobra por el uso de sus instalaciones, a diferencia del resto de las atravesadas por el Camiño de Santiago, en que sí lo hacen.
Camera has been off and on (mostly off) for weeks despite my emails to RTV Galicia which tried to help. Did not know albergue was under repair.
O Cebreiro has been a high point (!) in my pilgrimage last year. Albergue is nice, noisy a bit, admits more than pilgrims but the view is astounding.
The morning I left OCebreiro was the day the hurricane passed over this part of Spain in September 2006. Winds stopped us dead in our tracks and rain was such that I almost lost my passeport, my credencial and the content of my wallet. In fact it rained from that day on to the end of my camino... 10 days in a row, except almost one day in Portomarin...
Wish I could do it again!
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I stayed in the albergue in O'Cebriero in Oct 06 and it was the nosiest albergue we stayed in, with lots of singing and laughing in the kitchen. Everyone was welcome and lots of tinto was shared. However, at 2200 the noise stopped abruptly. The hospitalera put us older crowd in the upstairs rooms. (4 bunks per room.) and put the young crowd in the lower level. It was a totally enjoyable experience. Ultreya John
The La Faba refugio is much quieter than the one in O Cebreiro and because stupid me took the high level route from Villafranca del Bierzo, I didn't have enough energy nor patience in that hot afternoon to make it all the way to O Cebreiro. Turns out it was a good decision to stop in La Faba; there's an equipped kitchen, an empty chapel, a well-stocked shop, kind locals, no hint of commercialization anywhere. (It seems to be a good idea to avoid the obvious places.) I just woke up really early and made it to O Cebreiro just as the sun was rising up in the East. Great walk except for that nasty chained dog in Laguna del Castilla.
I was happy to learn that the albergue is being remodeled. In 2002, we were assigned to the upper level room, and as we started to unpack, my walking partner began to have a strong allergic reaction. One quick look around revealed the source -- a large amount of mold on the ceiling. We had to leave.
We were lucky to find a room nearby -- here's one vote for the Venta Celta. At the time it was run by a Basque woman who had done the Camino and wanted to be involved. But two years ago the guy in charge told us she was trying to sell it, so I assume that by now it has changed ownership. Does anyone know about that?
The restaurant part of the establishment is very nice, and has a big stone fireplace that we have enjoyed on several occaions. I don't know if the menu is still the same, but when we were there it was simple and plentiful and set -- caldo gallego, tortilla espanola, ensalada, wine and bread. But the dessert was the piece de resistance -- queixo do cebreiro (local cheese) served with local honey. It was out of this world and we have been back on subsequent caminos, just for the cheese.
If you choose to avoid staying in O'Cebreiro, I echo some of the suggestions here -- we have stayed in Ruitelan on the way up and though the attic room we stayed in was in questionable condition, we enjoyed every other aspect of our stay -- the meal, the comraderie, etc. By staying this far along, you will have plenty of energy to continue past O'Cebreiro.
So, if you walk beyond O'Cebreiro, there is a very very nice private albergue in Fonfria (phone listed on the mundicamino website). That's about 12 km from O'Cebreiro. It has some small rooms and some larger ones, the bathrooms are spotless, and there's lots of hot water and even some heat if I remember correctly. The owners also run a restaurant/bar on the road and they serve a pilgrim meal at a reasonable time for pilgrims. I highly recommend the place.
And p.s. -- time for a memory -- Fonfria is where the famous "pancake lady" comes out of an old stone house and sweetly offers pilgrims her homemade pancakes and then hounds them mercilessly for several euro if they take her up on the offer. Call us suckers, but we complied. My partner later wondered whether she had been sent out by central casting to dupe us, she was a perfect character for the role!
Ditto to all u said, Mark. That albergue, for all u stated, is one of the best ones. O'Cebreiro is a great place to visit, particularly its historic Celtic pallozas and church, Sta Maria de O'Cebreiro, where Don Elias Valino, a most important person in the 20th century history of the Caminos, was a parish priest. There's a monument there erected to his memory. It may make a nice stop to think of the man who came up with the yellow arrows, camino asociaciones, credenciales, and refugios, as well as so many other things we benefit from, in our Caminos. Best, xm 8)