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LIVE from the Camino Past Sarria

Camino(s) past & future
First 2016
Latest Camino Frances Jul-Aug 2020
Today marked an ending and a beginning as I passed Sarria in the afternoon and now feel that I am truly in the last phase of this Camino and I want to enjoy it to the full.

After a great stay in Las Aguedas in Murias de Rechivaldo I set off with the intention of staying in Foncebadon. The walk to Rabanal was fine although close to the road. For the first time since Navarra the Way was through natural woodland and the slow gain in altitude gave an air of expectation to the stage. There were definitely more Peregrinos and I stopped at the Green Garden in Rabanal and chatted to some Spanish pilgrims and a Dutch guy who I first met in Najera and who was preparing for the climb by sending his backpack ahead and drinking a litre of sangria.

I don’t recall much about the climb to Foncebadon except that it wasn’t very hard after three weeks of walking. In Foncebadon I caught up with the people I had been walking with and was faced with the inevitable suggestion that we might want to continue to Acebo. Not having achieved an age where wisdom exceeds impetuosity I assented and ordered a hot dog to fortify me for the climb. I couldn’t find the stone I picked up on the Pyrenees but my disappointment faded when I saw the boulder that one of my companions had lugged from Roncesvalles. Nobody at 19 has accumulated that big a burden. The climb to Cruz de Fierro went quicker than I expected. One Peregrino had gone ahead and missed it entirely (he denied it but I think he must have been looking at his smartphone). There were only two of us at the cross and like many things on the Camino Frances the reality was much less artificial than I had expected. It was actually quite moving. The remainder of the stage to El Acebo was tough at times with steep descents on stony paths. Rain had been forecast but we gratefully watched this falling in the distance. People crossing the next day were less fortunate and walked all day in rain with nil visibility on the mountain. We stayed in La Casa del Peregrino at the end of Al Acebo for 10€. This was fine and the menu was good but it felt as if we had left the Camino behind. The spa was shut but the pool was open. The rooms had four bunk beds which was ok with current restrictions but would be crowded in normal times. The other albergues in the village looked open.

After breakfast we descended the mountain. There was a village half way down whose name I can’t remember but which was very pretty. We had coffee in Molinaseca. I am becoming a connoisseur of Camino towns and this looked a particularly fine example. Shortly after Molinaseca rain started falling (unbeknown to us it was falling harder on our fellow Peregrinos on the mountain). The taking walk to Ponferrada was without interest.

I spent a rest day in Ponferrada doing exciting things like laundry and visiting Decathlon. It has a nice old town and there were lots of Spanish tourists. I stayed at Hotel Alda Central over the river for 35€ per night. Standard city centre hotel for the price.

I set off refreshed the following morning. The walk to Villafranca felt like the Camino Portuguese more than anything else until the off road variant for the last 6km to Villafranca which was a treat. I caught up with another Peregrino and and we decided to take the Camino Duro to Trabadelo. A French Peregrino also decided to take this route but felt he needed a haircut beforehand so we left him behind. The first twenty minutes were steep but the reward was one of those times when you feel you are walking on top of the world. We made a quick detour to Pradela to get water then took the steep path down to Trabadelo. Most places in the village were closed but we stayed at the excellent Camino y Legenda albergue for 10€. The menu was first rate at 12€ and I have not stayed at a better place so far.

Coffee at the albergue followed by a 10km walk saw us at Las Herrerias for 8am and breakfast. There seems to be plenty of open infrastructure on this stretch and I know people who stayed in each village.

The weather was fine for the climb to O Cebreiro, and with the exception of stretches before and after La Faba, it was not too difficult. The fantastic views at the top we’re a fitting farewell to Castile y Leon.

Coffee in O Cebreiro and noticing the different building style together with the large number of tourists was followed by a Galician greeting in the form of the first proper rain of my Camino. We trudged on to find that Fonfria was ‘Completo’. Another first. Luckily a phone call established that Albergue Fillobal had space and the skies cleared to allow us to enjoy the end of the stage. The albergue was fine at 10€ but the weather was cold and the Caldo Gallego at the bar next door was exactly what I needed.

The bar was open again at 7am the next morning and I breakfasted on Tarte de Santiago and orange juice. After descending to Triacastela we took the short but hilly route to Sarria once more mostly under a grey sky. The Galician landscape is as I remember it and reminds me of England more than Spain. A supermarket stop then coffee at Meson a Tapas in the old town before a short warm to Casa Barbadelo where we stay tonight for the noe traditional 10€. Sarria is unprepossessing at first sight but the old town turned out to be nice. Prices at the bars have been markedly lower than earlier in the Camino.

we passed Sarria too late in the day to tell if lots of people are starting there this year. Our albergue has lots of space. I will know more tomorrow.

Ian L

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances summer 2017 (SJPP to Fromista)
Camino Frances summer 2019 (Fromista to Santiago)
I stayed in the same albergues as you in Acebo, Fillobal, and Barbadelo last summer. I really enjoyed that part of the Camino.

I think the only two things in Fillobal are the albergue and bar, lol! The food at the bar was excellent, and the woman that works there was really friendly and helpful. I would recommend that anyone eat there if they get the chance.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015, 2017, 2019) and plans for 2021 (Sept, Oct)
We stayed at the albergue in Barbadelo last fall. It was a real treat. More like a resort than an albergue. We had a spacious private room with a huge bathroom. This was like a villa with our own porch where we could relax. The bar and restaurant were fabulous. We already have reservations to stay there again next year. Bob


New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked Conques to Le Puy (2013)
Walked Sarria to Santiago (2018)
Plan SJPDP to Burgos Sept 2020
Thanks GNS for the great read - ALMOST felt like I was there


New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues in September
Thank you for this. It made me feel as if I was there. I’ve have to postpone my Camino this year so next year I will be back on The Way!!

Buen Camino


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