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Planning a “25 km or less” Camino on the Invierno

Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
Tally Ho folks....looks like we're on the road again!!
Wonderful photos VN/Theatregal

We may have been too early for the Las Vegas to open so had some cake in our room and a coffee before we left
On the way out of the village the cafes were opening for the day
In retrospect,and as we were only walking about 18 km that day we should maybe have taken our time a bit more and relaxed over breakfast at the hotel or in one of the cafes

We did see the sign to Salcedo at the village of Barxa do Lor but decided to follow the arrows in case we got lost!

Most of the day was spent in forest tracks and we stopped for a while at the little forest house/ chapel photographed above
I do remember a fierce barking dog on the way but can't remember exactly where....As we passed by him though I remembered what other forum members had said about him....he was on a chain and a short one at that poor dog

We had also been forewarned about the little "black flies/ mosquitos" in the forest!!

I will try and put a screenshot of the problem with the mosquitos on here .when I was doing the Live posts image.png The forest opened out just befor the village of Castroncelos and with some open fields
We reached the crossroads where Jose Luis picked us up for the 4 km distance to Salcedo
Again, in retrospect we could and maybe should have walked this stretch as we arrived so early at the hotel
The little complex itself was a beautifully relaxing place to stay....a .rustic room with a huge bath. There was also a swimming pool but we gave that a miss!
Half board was €60 and not €80 as I put on the live post
We were the only ones staying there that night
Jose Luis drove us back to the crossroads in the morning
This is a service that Jose Luis lays on for pilgrims and which Charrito had told us about before we left for the Camino
Jose Luis is a very pleasant and welcoming man
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
Also @Theatregal.
I really loved this place, and the friendly family feeling. It broke up the stage nicely, and means you tackle the hill after BdL first thing in the morning. It's extremely quiet here, but I like that.

I stayed in the albergue in Quiroga, and vaguely remember stopping at a bar on the same side of the street for breakfast that morning. It didn't make a huge impression, because I can't remember any details. What I do remember about this stage is crossing the river into San Clodio, which seemed a pretty place, and then what felt like a long walk uphill through the pine plantation. It's biologically boring, but the light was pretty. The views as you get higher and emerge into a meadow were very nice.

Barxa do Lor is sweet, but now mostly bypassed by the newer superhighway that sails past it.

Then another climb, and the second 'different universe' experience on this camino. We've left the Sil Valley, and the particular feeling of the communities there (which I can't find a way to describe), and emerge into full-on Galicia — gone are the pine plantations, the Vineyards, and the slate plants; suddenly we emerge from the valley into in dairy country. Cows, green pastures, oak trees, and blooming broom.

Pobra was a much bigger place than Barxa do Lor, an actual happening town. The bar I stopped at for cafe was a busy and upbeat place, but once again my timing was crummy and not much else was open in town.

View attachment 92253 View attachment 92255 View attachment 92254 View attachment 92257 View attachment 92258 View attachment 92260 View attachment 92261 View attachment 92262 View attachment 92259 View attachment 92252
When I went through Barxa del Lor, there were two fierce dogs chained at the same place, but the one which was leeping fiercely against his metal chain was truly dangerous. I was certain that, if the chain broke I was dead. Oddly, I had seen the most beautiful, large and tame dog of my life a short distance before. I almost missed it, as it was lying on the front porch of a house that I passed, completely unmoving: a very large dog of the type used as guard dogs in Spain, and with a mixed colour coat brushed to a shine. When I noticed the front door of the house open and heard chatter from inside, I understood this was a comfortable domestic pet.
I stayed that night, and the next, at Pension Pacita, where I was well-fed and cared for, along with two other pilgrims hiding out from the relentless rain. I would certainly stay there again, regardless of future accommodation in Pobra de Brollon. It is a comfortable place, welcoming for pilgrims, and deserves to survive, even if slightly off the main pilgrim route.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Those are gorgeous pictures, VN!

Like Annette, I encountered hoards of annoying flies on this stage? I remember them, I think, in a flat open area on a dirt road after Barxa, as well as in some of the forested areas. This was only once, though, so maybe it had to do with seasonal variation or maybe I was just hotter and smellier on one of my walks. I know some people have mosquito nets that drop down from their hats, but I have never bothered with that. If this seems to be a more general phenomenon on this route, however, maybe it’d be a good idea.

Half board was €60 and not €80 as I put on the live post

Annette, was that for both of you or per person?
When I went through Barxa del Lor, there were two fierce dogs chained at the same place, but the one which was leeping fiercely against his metal chain was truly dangerous. I was certain that, if the chain broke I was dead.

I am certain that is the dog in Labrada or A Trampilla. Trampilla is a hamlet of about four houses at the top of the hill before Barxa do Lor, and Labrada looks to be before that (Labrada is the address for the Pensión Pacita). I always assumed I was in Barxa do Lor till someone pointed out that it is a different hamlet. I’ve put in some screen shots. Zooming in and out changes what you see on google maps, so the first one shows the hamlets, and the second the pensión. The Pensión Pacita is off to the left a bit, at the intersection of the national highway and the LU-933.

DE7A3B48-75DC-48E1-AC25-8A6790285A63.png DCE362EF-25FC-4CFD-8961-FD2503ED84EF.png

I have found a contact email for the Invierno Association in Monforte, which is not too far away. This is the association headed by Aida Menéndez, author of one of the Invierno guidebooks. I am going to write and will let you know if I hear anything back.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
Those are gorgeous pictures, VN!

Like Annette, I encountered hoards of annoying flies on this stage? I remember them, I think, in a flat open area on a dirt road after Barxa, as well as in some of the forested areas. This was only once, though, so maybe it had to do with seasonal variation or maybe I was just hotter and smellier on one of my walks. I know some people have mosquito nets that drop down from their hats, but I have never bothered with that. If this seems to be a more general phenomenon on this route, however, maybe it’d be a good idea.



Annette, was that for both of you or per person?


I am certain that is the dog in Labrada or A Trampilla. Those are two hamlets of about four houses at the top of the hill before Barxa do Lor, so I always assumed I was in Barxa do Lor till someone pointed out that it is a different hamlet. I’ve put in a screen shot. The Pensión Pacita is off to the left a bit, at the intersection of the national highway and the LU-933.

View attachment 92272

I have found a contact email for the Invierno Association in Monforte, which is not too far away. This is the association headed by Aida Menéndez, author of one of the Invierno guidebooks. I am going to write and will let you know if I hear anything back.
Those are gorgeous pictures, VN!

Like Annette, I encountered hoards of annoying flies on this stage? I remember them, I think, in a flat open area on a dirt road after Barxa, as well as in some of the forested areas. This was only once, though, so maybe it had to do with seasonal variation or maybe I was just hotter and smellier on one of my walks. I know some people have mosquito nets that drop down from their hats, but I have never bothered with that. If this seems to be a more general phenomenon on this route, however, maybe it’d be a good idea.



Annette, was that for both of you or per person?


I am certain that is the dog in Labrada or A Trampilla. Those are two hamlets of about four houses at the top of the hill before Barxa do Lor, so I always assumed I was in Barxa do Lor till someone pointed out that it is a different hamlet. I’ve put in a screen shot. The Pensión Pacita is off to the left a bit, at the intersection of the national highway and the LU-933.

View attachment 92272

I have found a contact email for the Invierno Association in Monforte, which is not too far away. This is the association headed by Aida Menéndez, author of one of the Invierno guidebooks. I am going to write and will let you know if I hear anything back.
Laurie,
On checking my notes again, it was actually €65 for the two of us on half board basis
Wine was included in the meal and separate glasses of wine ....of which there were many were very inexpensive!
For such a treat really it was well worth it image.png image.png image.png
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Your pictures led me to poke around a little about Salcedo, because it’s fun to take little detours when there are nice things along the way.

Did you know there was a “monumental cedar” there in town, Annette? 😁

385F7437-C889-4A62-AAFB-0CB222EB1DB7.jpeg

And it looks like there’s a nice little circular walk of about 1.5 km that takes you to a castro and some old mills.

Guess you’ll just have to go back and see that tree!
 
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Quiroga to Barxa do Lor

The bar at the Hostal Quiper wasn't open when I left in the morning. I had a very good breakfast at a bakery (Panaderia Marisa) with a view of the mural on the Albergue across the street. I saw a pilgrim leaving - the 2nd of the maybe 6 pilgrims I saw the whole camino!.
albergue.JPG
Leaving Quiroga along the main road, the way crosses the bridge (with a beautiful morning view of the Sil) to and through San Clodio, before crossing another bridge and back to the main road. You could easily stay on the road out of Quiroga and bypass San Clodio, but I enjoyed crossing the bridges and seeing the village.
qui4.JPG qui3.jpg
The path continues along the highway for some time before arrows take you down a short grassy slope and through a metal tunnel under the highway to the other side and on to a quiet tarmac road ascending over Noceda.

The route climbs steadily on the tarmac road for a few km – keep an eye out for the waymarked right turn onto a forested dirt path and a continuing climb through a pine forest (on this day, intermittently plagued by swarming black flies) leading to the Capela dos Remedios.
qui7.jpg qui8.jpg
The path winds down through Carballo do Lor (covered rest area) with lovely views opening up of farms, bee boxes and hamlets.
qui9.jpg
A word of caution. Just before the road starts to descend to Barxa do Lor, in the hamlet of Trampilla, there is a small farm. The narrow camino path goes between the house and a small hay barn. As I approached, two large dogs lunged out on chains, barking ferociously. They were truly in a frenzy, lunging and straining at their chains. There was no one there and no other way to go around. I inched forward hugging the side of the barn to test the length of the chains. I soon saw that they couldn’t reach me by about 5 or 6 feet. A scary moment and they continued barking well after I had passed.

The path continues across the medieval Barxa do Lor Bridge. Historically, pilgrims are exempt from a crossing toll :)
qui1.jpg
Across the bridge, there is a signed left turn onto a path leading to the Pensión Pacita, my accommodation for the night. 20 euro for a private room with bath. I enjoyed my evening there, nice people, a good dinner, and had a lovely walk and exploration of the village accompanied by Rin, the Pensión Pacita dog. There is a pretty path along the river, leading under the bridge to an abandoned mill.
barxa2.JPG barxa1.JPG qui5.JPG
 
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MikeJS

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)
In 2017 I noted that it was a lovely walk with a few hills but nothing too strenuous, reminded me of the gentle slopes up Vesuvius when I used to do the annual race. Lots of woodland and a great walk along a stream from O Pobra. Stopped at A Pobra for a coffee, luckily one cafe was open at 1100 on a Sunday. There were a group of 5 dogs just before Barxa rowdy but no problem.

I went on to Monforte de Lemos and stayed in the Hostal Puente Romano with a view straight onto the roman bridge and a lot of noisy geese…...
 
Barxa do Lor to Pobra do Brollón

Beautiful morning leaving Hostal Pacita after a good breakfast of coffee, fruit and tostadas con acieta. It was delicious.

The day starts with a heart starting ascent from the village that gets the blood flowing to those walking muscles!! All good though because there are constant little rest moments with the need to stop and look back at the beautiful expanding views.

obar5.jpg obar7.JPG obar4.jpg obar6.jpg

The path ascends for quite some time and there’s that moment when you think, “I haven’t seen an arrow for awhile, did I miss something, am I on the right path?” Then you turn a corner and there it is, the path flattens, your heart rate slows and you sink into the relaxation of a nice easy pace and a lovely gentle view ahead. It had been overcast leaving O Barxa but at this point the clouds lifted and skies brightened. All through this stretch, the sound of cuckoo birds.

obar1.jpg obar9.JPG obar11.jpg

The path continues through Castroncelos with a view of it’s unusual church across a field. I regretted not stopping at the time for a visit. I've done some research since and learned about it's more recent 20th century history. The atrium of the Igrexa de Santiago de Castroncelos, with it’s medieval origins, is a Place of Historic Memory. Victims of the civil war are buried here.

castroncelos.jpg

Just past the sign for Reguengo and a cow barn on the right, arrows take you off the road to the left, onto a dirt tractor path through fields and along a stream and wooded area and into Pobra do Brollón.
obar8.jpg obar10.jpg

I did not stay in Pobra do Brollón - I knew that this was a stage that I would need to shorten because I wanted time to explore Monforte de Lemos and most importantly visit the Colegio Nuestra Señora de la Antigua and the Museo de Arte Sacro de las Clarisas. After coffee in Pobra, I took a taxi on to Monforte.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
Your pictures led me to poke around a little about Salcedo, because it’s fun to take little detours when there are nice things along the way.

Did you know there was a “monumental cedar” there in town, Annette? 😁

View attachment 92291

And it looks like there’s a nice little circular walk of about 1.5 km that takes you to a castro and some old mills.

Guess you’ll just have to go back and see that tree!
Wonderful!!
Thank you for that
We had a little tour of the village but did not know of this place
We love trees and marvel at them on our walks in the forest
Better not let the grandsons see this one!
To them, all trees are meant to be climbed
Now there's only one answer.....go again when we can and next time be more tech savvy!!
Mind you, half the fun we had was due to NOT being tech savvy with that blessed smartphone!!
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
Same as VN I also broke this stage into two...

QUIROGA TO A LABRADA (BARXA DO LOR). (15km??) After the first ascent and descent... Stayed at quiet Pension Pacita in Labrada, next door to Barxa do Lor. Definitely recommend for a peaceful stop or meal, very nice accom, pleasant with TV and baño, and food great. Special trout. Friendly chooks/chickens out the back! To get to Pension Pacita..after crossing the bridge in Barxa, turn left and follow the river (probably signposted) for perhaps 300m??. On the LU-933 Ph 982 430 008. Monica speaks Eng. 20-30Euro. I had a lovely room, 2 full meals inc wine (their own), drinks and early breakfast in my room… all for $38. Lovely Monica is muy simpatico.

Pension Pacita in Labrada...My sort of place, a friendly hostel and friendly locals. Very pretty surroundings, in spite of the overhead motorway.
 
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CaroleH

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
One thing to alert you to is the angry barking dog just as you are approaching Barxa do Lor. You can see the bridge ahead of you, but the specific name of the dog’s hamlet is Labrada. This dog is one for the record books, but everyone who has seen him confirms that he is always on a chain. I never saw this dog on my first two Inviernos. But the last time I passed by, the owner was actually out there with the chained dog at his side. The owner’s presence had no impact on the dog’s fierce barking, lunging, and growling, and the owner himself appeared unconcerned.
Yes saw him. So glad he was about 20 m from the track and chained up, but he certainly made his presence felt. Perhaps he's just making sure we take his photo....?... while keeping on walking and not looking him in the eye.

The path ascends for quite some time and there’s that moment when you think, “I haven’t seen an arrow for awhile, did I miss something, am I on the right path?” Then you turn a corner and there it is, the path flattens, your heart rate slows and you sink into the relaxation of a nice easy pace and a lovely gentle view ahead. It had been overcast leaving O Barxa but at this point the clouds lifted and skies brightened. All through this stretch, the sound of cuckoo birds.
That's exactly it Theatregal. Beautifully written.


A LABRADA to POBRA DO BROLLON .. Another big ascent and descent day! To begin, some confusion with the signs.
After the descent, Reguengo. Guide says “Arrive in Vilarmao, turn Right towards Reguengo” However, I found, Camino arrows continue straight on at the Reguengo sign (bypassing the pueblo) and then straight down a farm track and into Pobra do Brolløn. (NB: This was in 2018 so probably updated and more signage since then)

As you come into Pobra, you can see the main road, but the signs lead you briefly beside the manicured, pretty, stream. Only briefly, watch carefully for an arrow on the paving to cross the stream on a pretty footbridge.. If you miss it, just cross on one of the following footbridges, and go to the main road, where you turn Right onto it. Two or three Bars on this main road. Just past the 3rd bar is a distinguished building with name , Concello de Pobra etc. Cross the carreterra hereabouts and turn Left (Marked). Not many signs, some on the ground and have become overgrown or faded.

Yes, Pobra looked nice and worth a visit... next time.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
Gosh -- I have been trying to follow this and every time I sign on the string has taken off again! I finally have caught up. I've been busily adding notes to my planning document. Unlike @Kanga I plan and plan and just dream about walking while I'm doing it. Then we start walking and the planning sort of goes to the wind! We consult my notes but really don't follow them! Thanks for all the pics, notes and memories. They make this camino just come alive!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Across the bridge, there is a signed left turn onto a path leading to the Pensión Pacita, my accommodation for the night. 20 euro for a private room with bath.
The google maps screen shots I posted earlier indicate that the pensión is “temporarily closed,” so hopefully it’s a COVID closure and not another case like As Viñas in Pobra de Brollón.

But more generally, @Theatregal, I love your posts. I realize now that I read very little when you posted live because I was also walking at the same time, in fact just a few weeks behind you. Reading these posts now is quite the treat.

Then we start walking and the planning sort of goes to the wind!
You know, @ebrant, I think most of us planners take the same approach. I think it’s impossible to be happy on the camino tied to a schedule, but like you, I really feel more comfortable having all the information and options organized and accessible so I can make decisions in real time. Especially when there are alternatives to explore, like from Borrenes or to the Miño horseshoe (coming up after Monforte), I would miss a lot of wonderful things if I didn’t have my two or three pages that distill all this info. But of course to each her own!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
@peregrina2000 My favorite trees are Cedar...” The just shall grown as tall as palms...like Cedars they shall stand!” Nut trees can be a great for sources of nourishment but what a mess the nuts make when they fall on your property!

Thank you all for the wonderful posts, directions, pictures, warnings, and notes!

I will be prepared for the dogs on this segment andthrow them a treat in Labrada and anywhere they may be problematic.

With regards to accommodations, we are looking for clean, mold-less as possible rooms that have good window ventilation because whenever we go, ventilation will be important in a now COVID world. A room without windows is out for us. Twin rooms with windows, and private bathrooms.
Many of the accommodations between towns have limited info on line. Up till this segment I have found sufficient info...but I would like to know if pension Pacita, and any of the places in Quiroga fit my criteria?

Also have any of you gone off the camino trail and walked ( at the sign) and followed the path directly to Salcedo? If so, what was the path like and how long did it you take?
 
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Rowena

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances(2015, 2018) Le Puy-SJPP(2016) Geneva Way(2017) Portugués Muxia Fisterra(2019) Invierno(2021)
This thread is absolutely wonderful! I feel as if I am connected to the Camino once again. The Invierno was to have been my spring 2020 Camino, and I had spent a lot of time with the forum guide planning my stages and accommodations. I love being able to see the photos as we walk this virtual Camino. When I finally get there, I will appreciate these places all the more for having seen your photos and read your descriptions of the route. I especially enjoyed the valley of the Rio Sil.

I’m wondering about accommodation too, specifically about booking ahead. I wish I didn’t have to do that, but some of the places I would like to stop have only a few rooms. What has been your experience with availability? Of course, who knows what the future holds in that regard. In 2022 there may be more, fewer or the same number of pilgrims as there were pre-pandemic.

Has anyone with the Brierley guide compared his distances and difficulty levels with Gronze? I see that Gronze rates the sections from Quiroga to Chantada as 4 out of 5 level of difficulty. I imagine myself enjoying that challenge if I can break it into four days, so I really hope that Pensión Pacita is only temporarily closed. It sounds like the ideal place to stop between Quiroga and Monforte.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
You know, @ebrant, I think most of us planners take the same approach. I think it’s impossible to be happy on the camino tied to a schedule, but like you, I really feel more comfortable having all the information and options organized and accessible so I can make decisions in real time.
The planning itself can bring a bit of the camino home too! I can just get totally transported by reading, googling, looking at pics and blogs! And I need to be transported these days!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
but I would like to know if pension Pacita, and any of the places in Quiroga fit my criteria?
I expect VN and theatregal can give Pacita opinions, I’ve never stayed there. I’ve been in the Quiper twice, once with exterior window and once with interior window (to an air shaft basically, as you have probably experienced in other accommodations in spain). The time I had the “interior room,” it was at my request, because it was a weekend and the street was very noisy below. I’ve inserted a picture from google street view. And yes, bathrooms are private.

4281C9A6-15E7-4811-BF5A-38A15FC2845D.jpeg

The place you would probably like best, especially since it has an interior garden that is shaded and pleasant for outdoor eating, is the Las Vegas in San Clodio. Quieter location. The nearby river “beach” is very pleasant if you have some nice late afternoon hours to relax. Also private baths and exterior windows.

Pictures of the outside and the garden

9008661F-ADFA-4163-97E0-A12DFFB34718.jpg

I have not walked the trail to Salcedo, but if you look at the wikiloc track I linked to you can see lots of pictures — every place there is a yellow flag, there is a picture below. And based on the numbers of people who have posted GPS tracks for this trail, it seems to be well traveled. Looks like about 6 kms to get from Barxa to Salcedo.

And this newspaper article has pictures too. If you look on google maps, you’ll see you will never be far from a road, which goes from Barxa to Beirán to Salcedo.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I see that Gronze rates the sections from Quiroga to Chantada as 4 out of 5 level of difficulty. I imagine myself enjoying that challenge if I can break it into four days, so I really hope that Pensión Pacita is only temporarily closed. It sounds like the ideal place to stop between Quiroga and Monforte
Quiroga to Chantada has the challenge of three ascents, one a few kms after Quiroga, one after Barxa de Lor, and one more thrown in for good measure closer to Monforte. The climbs are of decreasing difficulty so you get the hard ones out of the way first. I think those difficulty ratings are so intensely personal that it is hard to know what gronze means by 4 out of 5. It was definitely not one of the hardest stages I’ve walked on caminos, but maybe one way to get an idea would be to see their difficulty rating for a stage you are familiar with and then see if you agree. I’ve now got a pretty good idea about what my body likes in terms of some combination of distance and elevation gain, so that’s what I focus on when I’m looking at potential stages.

Pensión Pacita is a good place to break this stage, but Salcedo seems pretty good too. So that could be a good Plan B if Pacita does not reopen. (I’m assuming you meant that you want to break Quiroga to Monforte into two stages, not four.)

I have walked this route several times, never with any reservations for more than a day out, maybe two. It has never been a problem. I know there are fiestas and other events in summer particularly, but I rarely walk in “high summer” so I miss those unexpected blindsides.

How about the rest of the Invierno veterans — do you reserve, and if so, how far in advance?

And p,s, just one more thought about difficulty — I remember the first time I walked from Quiroga to Monforte I was really dragging. It was hot, the flies were annoying me mercilessly, and I felt drained when I arrived. But the last time I walked in still with plenty of time to eat lunch, visit with @Annette london, walk up to the parador, etc, so difficulty also depends on the weather and so many other conditions.
 
I’m wondering about accommodation too, specifically about booking ahead. I wish I didn’t have to do that, but some of the places I would like to stop have only a few rooms. What has been your experience with availability? Of course, who knows what the future holds in that regard. In 2022 there may be more, fewer or the same number of pilgrims as there were pre-pandemic.
Hi @Rowena ~ This is the first camino that I booked almost all of my accommodation in advance. For various reasons, I needed an 'ease of mind' and just really wanted to sink into this walk without the concern of finding a place to stay at the end of the day.

I decided on accommodation for each stage, mostly on recommendations from the forum guide, Gronze and information in threads posted by people who had walked within the previous 3 or 4 years.

I booked most of the places by phone with the help of my Cuban sister-in-law.. My Spanish isn't fluent enough to communicate well on the phone. She asked if they had pilgrim rates and with the exception of one Casa Rural, they all did. Everything worked out well.

All of this being said, re: your question of availability - I never had the impression that any place I stayed was full. At the time I walked (June 2019), there wouldn't have been trouble finding a bed.
 

MikeJS

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)
The question of difficulty is very hard to quantify from one person to another. In 2017 I wrote for my first stage of the Invierno (Ponferrada to Puente de Domingo Florez 35kms) that' it was a tough stage' and that was after starting that camino in Alicante and regularly walking 40km plus days. Then on the Quiroga to Monforte de Lemos 35kms day I wrote - this was a lovely walk with a few hills but nothing too strenuous. Obviously, different people experience days and routes differently and we can all feel more energised on some days than others.
 
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With regards to accommodations, we are looking for clean, mold-less as possible rooms that have good window ventilation because whenever we go, ventilation will be important in a now COVID world. A room without windows is out for us. Twin rooms with windows, and private bathrooms.
Many of the accommodations between towns have limited info on line. Up till this segment I have found sufficient info...but I would like to know if pension Pacita, and any of the places in Quiroga fit my criteria?
My room at Pension Pacita was very clean, light and airy with a window that opened and private bathroom. Same with Hostal Quiper in Quiroga.
 

MJB

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Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (in sections 2004, 2012, 2015); Portugues (from Oporto 2013); Primitivo (from Castroverde) 2012; Invierno (2016)
If you stay at the youth hostel in Quiroga and don't leave too early, there is a great bakery (with coffee and seating) right across the street, Panaderia Marisa. It opens at 8:00 am.
 
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Did you know there was a “monumental cedar” there in town, Annette?
And it looks like there’s a nice little circular walk of about 1.5 km that takes you to a castro and some old mills.
Ok, ok. I give up. I guess I have to walk the invierno again.

plagued by swarming black flies
Wow. I was just a week or so ahead of you and missed these guys completely.

Especially when there are alternatives to explore
I'm the sort of person who figures out how to get to the first town on the Camino and then just heads West without too much of a plan. But if there's one thing this year has taught me is how much I am potentially walking right past unawares by doing that. And I've missed out on alternatives, because I just don't know about them. Not any more. I'm converted. 🙃

My room at Pension Pacita was very clean, light and airy with a window that opened and private bathroom
Ditto.
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
With regards to accommodations, we are looking for clean, mold-less as possible rooms that have good window ventilation because whenever we go, ventilation will be important in a now COVID world. A room without windows is out for us. Twin rooms with windows, and private bathrooms.
Many of the accommodations between towns have limited info on line. Up till this segment I have found sufficient info...but I would like to know if pension Pacita, and any of the places in Quiroga fit my criteria?
Marbe, pre covid, I too always looked for mould-less rooms with windows that open if I get a chance. I n dormitories I will try to get nearest any window and 'fight' everyone else to keep it open. Post covid even more so.....

Pension Pacita, hopefully will reopen. My room there, may have had a double bed, but I'd hope there'd be twin rooms amongst the 6+ bedrooms. I had opening windows and private bathroom. It was very clean and remains one of my top 3 favourites on the Invierno. Definitely recommend. (Re: my earlier post)

Re Quiroga (also see my earlier post).. Don't let the fact it's 'The municipal albergue' put you off staying there. My twin room with good bedding, and private bathroom (big with big bath) was surprisingly good, spacious and airy, with opening windows. It may be possible to book ahead. Not sure but I'll try to find out. There are rooms and dorms in the building with differing numbers of beds so it would be necessary to ask for a twin room, and check if there are large groups staying that night. I probably wouldn't stay there if it was full of noisy school kids.

Panaderia Marisa as others said, is right opposite the albergue and very popular for breakfast.

I have lots of photos of the these and all along the way, but sadly they are too big to share here and I don't know how to reduce in size.
How about the rest of the Invierno veterans — do you reserve, and if so, how far in advance?
I reserved ahead only one or two times i think, and that was the morning of or the evening before. One was for Asun's albergue, Casa da Solaina, in A Rua ( now closed down) which was just as well with about 5-6 pilgrims there that night. I may have booked ahead for Pacita, but I was the only guest and it wasn't necessary. The 5 other pilgrims all walked on further.
On other caminos, walking with my husband, we sometimes booked ahead in the morning, because we were slower than most other walkers and were not able to walk longer distances.
However, I don't like to book further ahead. That's too much pressure ....
 
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Albertagirl

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How about the rest of the Invierno veterans — do you reserve, and if so, how far in advance?
As for whether veteran walkers of the Invierno book ahead, I did so for the first night, at Villavieja, but that did not work out and I went on to Borrenes. Later, with your help, @peregrina2000 , I got a booking at Torre Vilarino, which I had been unable to book for myself, it being the last night that the hotel was open before closing for the month of November. They just sent me a form letter email saying that they would be closed, but you were somehow able to get me a room. Does anyone know if the fire damage at Torre Vilarino has been repaired, or should this be left until we are discussing where to stay in that region? Other than there, and at Villavieja, I did not reserve, as I find it challenging to know in advance where I will stop. However, I don't want to leave myself without a bed, either.
 

peregrina2000

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I have lots of photos of the these and all along the way, but sadly they are too big to share here and I don't know how to reduce in size.
Let me jump at the chance to provide some help — I am almost always on the receiving end when it comes to technology, and this is something I actually learned by trial and error.

Hope this works: When you get the message that your picture is too big to upload, go back to the picture and click on it to attach it. You will see that in the bottom of the picture it is being instructed to attach it as its “actual size.”. If you click on actual size, it brings up several options of other sizes. In my experience, it doesn’t matter which one you click on, but I usually try large first on the theory that the resolution will be better. The size is then changed, you can click on done and attach it!

Would love to see some of your Invierno pics, @CaroleH

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peregrina2000

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Into Monforte de Lemos (12.5 km from Pobra de Brollón, 18 km from Salcedo, about 20 from Pensión Pacita).

For those who want to walk beyond Monforte and stay within the 25 km range, there are options, so stay tuned. But I thought I would stop here to let people give their recommendations about Monforte. It is the major city on the Invierno and is the “official starting point” for those who will walk the minimum distance for a compostela. One of the Invierno Associations has its headquarters here, and some members have met Aida Menéndez, one of the tireless champions for Invierno official recognition.

From Pobra de Brollón to Monforte there is one small ascent, a few small towns, and one terribly muddy and always watersoaked short stretch.

I am hoping VN will give us info on the castro (hill fort) she took a slight detour to see.

I am hoping others will tell us about their visit to the Colegio de los Escolapios in Monforte, which I have never visited. There are two El Grecos there, I’ve been told, but I am really not an El Greco fan, so I (shamefully) never made the effort.

I am hoping others will also tell us about the tour to the wine museum, another place I haven’t visited, and any other fun times they had in Monforte.

So, you may wonder, what have I done all those times I have been in Monforte?! For me, it’s a very nice small city with wonderful open space, a nice parador to climb up to, and a small historic center with nice cafés.

Of my three times there, once I walked through and on to Torre Vilariño (which I will rave about in the next stage, and yes Albertagirl it is back in business); once I stayed in the parador in Monforte and was content to stay put and luxuriate in the creature comforts there; and once I stayed in Mon comeysueña https://www.facebook.com/hostalmon (which I very highly recommend, both for its hostal and its home cooking in the restaurant). I spent my afternoon walking around the central area with @annettelondon. So I can tell you that even if you are not keen to visit museums or monasteries, you will find that Monforte has a lot going on and is a great place to stop.
 

Marbe2

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2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
On the Invierno, if you were going to take a rest day, would it be in Monforte de Lemos, or?

When is the best time in the Fall or Winter, weather-wise to the walk the Invierno and why ( no Spring due to allergies).
 
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peregrina2000

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On the Invierno, if you were going to take a rest day, would it be in Monforte de Lemos, or?
Well, that depends on what you want to do on your rest day. 😁

Do you like to spend rest days seeing the sights, or would you prefer to relax out in the country in a casa rural with a swimming pool? Monforte is undoubtedly the place with the most going on. If you prefer the R&R approach, I think Torre Vilariño, about 18 from Monforte, is the perfect option. There’s a STUPENDOUS 6 km circle walk with some 5-star views over the Miño and a little romanesque church, plus an ethnographic museum right near by, adjacent to a prehistoric hill fort with more fantabulous views, but wait! I am getting ahead of myself. :)
 

Marbe2

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2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I
Well, that depends on what you want to do on your rest day. 😁

Do you like to spend rest days seeing the sights, or would you prefer to relax out in the country in a casa rural with a swimming pool? Monforte is undoubtedly the place with the most going on. If you prefer the R&R approach, I think Torre Vilariño, about 18 from Monforte, is the perfect option. There’s a STUPENDOUS 6 km circle walk with some 5-star views over the Miño and a little romanesque church, plus an ethnographic museum right near by, adjacent to a prehistoric hill fort with more fantabulous views, but wait! I am getting ahead of myself. :)
I am not a pool person. In light of COVID, I doubt I would use a pool for a while Normally, we leave early in the morning, so on a rest day, I like to get extra rest. sleep in, veg, breathe in narure, and maybe visit one attraction close by, but not necessary. So, for example, one place I take a rest day on the CF is in El Acebo. At the Albergue Casa del Peregrino. Nice rooms, beautiful patio with gorgeous panorama (pool in summer).evening pilgrim meal is average. I have only stayed in the off season, perhaps one can order off menu in high season. Great room/ lodge-like with panoramic windows , where folks eat breakfast is lovely.
 
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@peregrina2000 My favorite trees are Cedar...” The just shall grown as tall as palms...like Cedars they shall stand!” Nut trees can be a great for sources of nourishment but what a mess the nuts make when they fall on your property!

Thank you all for the wonderful posts, directions, pictures, warnings, and notes!

I will be prepared for the dogs on this segment andthrow them a treat in Labrada and anywhere they may be problematic.

With regards to accommodations, we are looking for clean, mold-less as possible rooms that have good window ventilation because whenever we go, ventilation will be important in a now COVID world. A room without windows is out for us. Twin rooms with windows, and private bathrooms.
Many of the accommodations between towns have limited info on line. Up till this segment I have found sufficient info...but I would like to know if pension Pacita, and any of the places in Quiroga fit my criteria?

Also have any of you gone off the camino trail and walked ( at the sign) and followed the path directly to Salcedo? If so, what was the path like and how long did it you take?
Hi Marbe2,
Apart from one hotel/pension....the Fabio...all of them had windows or balconies and all with private bathrooms....and all were spotless. There were rooms at the Fabio with balconies and we did ask for one of these, but were toLd that they were already occupied...I don't think they were however as we never saw anyone else there. The room we did have however was enormous and we were OK with that.

Regarding booking ahead..
When we first looked at the Invierno...there were about 5 different options for walking on the forum guide and that's what we went on, taking the 12 day option. We based this on a few things.....mileage,available accommodation and the amount of tarmac to be walked.
Whilst walking however we realised that 11 days might have been ok but I wanted to have some extra time in Santiago.
Saying this however, I think that if walking it again the 12 day option would be good for us
In times past we used to walk 30-35 km at times but time moves on as does getting older and we wanted this to be a relaxing time as opposed to an endurance test!!
Frequent ascents don't bother us too much and in fact descents can often be more problematic

We had intended to walk from A Rua to Montefurido with the option of getting the train back but the heat got to us that day and more tarmac might have finished us off,even though the Invierno in 2019 was spared the worst of the heatwave that June/July.

Befor leaving home, we'd booked the first 5 nights as far as Salcedo and then booked as we went along though in reality there was no need, as apart from 2 places further on, we were the only 2 people staying at each of the establishments......ha ha , probably heard we were coming and the word went out!!
When and if we walk the Invierno again, I think we will book ahead...and even more so this time as it seems the Invierno will be the place to be as soon as all this madness ends.
 

MikeJS

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In MdL I stayed in the Hostal Puente Romano with a view straight onto the roman bridge in 2017. Hotel was fine and there are lots of places to eat. I tried to go to the wine tasting but got my timings wrong!
 
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On the Invierno, if you were going to take a rest day, would it be in Monforte de Lemos, or?

When is the best time in the Fall or Winter, weather-wise to the walk the Invierno and why ( no Spring due to allergies).
A rest for us would probably be a shorter walking day of perhaps 15 km and then arriving at a place early on...
We've never stayed more than one night at a place on any Camino.
I think I'd be "chafing at the bit" to get going!
Now, we just relax, read and listen to some music on an "early" day ...sit at a cafe or two and just watch the world go by....
I'm usually the one who goes off a bit to have a look while himself supports the local cafes and brewery
We will have a gander around town to see what's what but don't generally go to museums or such as we've done enough of that in years gone by ....now we're just happy to look at the scenery of mountains, lakes and such if a rural place is booked.
 
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I am hoping VN will give us info on the castro (hill fort) she took a slight detour to see.
This place was very cool. And a very short detour. It's on the right shortly after Pobra, and is very clearly signposted. It would be next to impossible to miss. The detour is very short, maybe 200 m? Here's a map:
Screenshot_20210130-222740_OsmAnd.jpg
This is not a flash rehabilitated Castro, with many interpretive signs and lots of information, just a lonely and very evocative place.
I found it quite moving — people had been here; they were born and died and lived full lives with the same intensity as any of us. But now there's not even memory, just imagination of what it must have been like to live here all those many years ago.
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Year of past OR future Camino
2019
On the Invierno, if you were going to take a rest day, would it be in Monforte de Lemos, or?
I like to get extra rest. sleep in, veg, breathe in narure, and maybe visit one attraction close by, but not necessary.
If Torre Vilariño is back in business, it suits your criteria nicely.

It was a lovely walk between Pobra and Montforte. I will let the photos tell the story; the 6th one is the unavoidable muddy spot as you are coming into the outskirts of Monforte.

After being in the countryside, Monforte felt like a big city. It isn't, that was just subjective. In fact it's a lively town and if you want to splurge there's a parador on the top of the hill looking over it all. I stayed in much cheaper digs right by the bridge — my room had a superb view.

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Salcedo to Monteforte
A lovely walk of about 15 km
Although I wrote a day to day live from the Camino section, I did not give any information re prices and telephone numbers as all this was available on the forum PDF.
Somehow I'd found a new hotel by the river on the Internet called The Cardinal and that's where we stayed. image.png
 

peregrina2000

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the 6th one is the unavoidable muddy spot as you are coming into the outskirts of Monforte
The last time I walked through it was really really muddy. I happened to get there just as an Italian peregrino had picked himself up after what looked like (based on the mud all over him) a combination of a face plant and a 360 roll in the mud (though I’m not sure how that could have happened). There is a way to avoid this, which involves taking the old camino and the entrance into town near the RR station.

See this thread and this one, for example, for information on how to do that.
 
Monforte de Lemos

I stayed at the MON ComeySueña Guesthouse. Lovely simple, airy room with bathroom - 28 euros. Very central and close to the Roman bridge, Ponte Vella (5 min walk) Fantastic cafe downstairs.
mroom1.jpg

I arrived during siesta and enjoyed wandering the quiet streets, finding an open place for coffee and walking along the banks of the Rio Cabe with beautiful views in both directions from the Ponte Vella.

m st.jpg mst1.jpg mr1.jpg mr2.jpg

Unfortunately, the Colegio de los Escolapios wasn’t open for visits the day I was there.

m coleg.jpg

Tickets for the Museo de Arte Sacro de las Clarisas are purchased at the Tourist Office and not at the Museo itself. I was able to get a ticket for the last tour of the day. A fascinating 90 minute guided tour of the multi roomed, phenomenal collection of sacred art. I could easily have spent at least another hour there on my own.

mc5.jpg mc3.jpg mcross.jpg mc4.jpg

As I left the museum, the streets were alive and vibrant with evening, cafe and community life. Had a very good dinner at the Restaurante Taperia La Fabrica. Happy to have had the time to wander about and see a bit of this city.
 
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peregrina2000

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I stayed at the MON ComeySueña Guesthouse. Lovely simple, airy room with bathroom - 28 euros. Very central and close to the Roman bridge, Ponte Vella (5 min walk) Fantastic cafe downstairs.
That’s where I stayed too! Totally agree about the place downstairs. I wonder if I had read about it on a live post from you, as I was several weeks behind you. I can’t remember how I found it but I was very happy.

Well, I have the answer to my own question. From your live thread:😍😍

Finally catching up on these great posts, as I start the Invierno tomorrow. Where did you stay in Monforte?

I stayed at the MON ComeySueña Guesthouse on Roberto Baamond, 30. Lovely single room with beautiful bathroom - 28 euros. Close to the Puente Romana (5 min walk) Fantastic cafe downstairs. Buen camino tomorrow Laurie!
 

Albertagirl

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I stayed two days at Monteforte de Lemos, in Pension Mino, hiding out from the rain and buying new rain gear at an outdoor store on Avenida de Galicia. Pension Mino was fine, but the nearby Colexio dos Padres Escolapios was locked both days. This is my biggest regret about many pilgrim routes in Spain. The local points of interest are often well-advertised, but almost always shut when I am going through, and churches are always locked, unless there is someone present to give you a sello in exchange for a "donation". I stayed at Torre Vilarino, but the nearby museum was locked and I had no desire to go on a scenic walk in the pouring rain. However, the terrible mud hole before Montforte de Lemos seems to have been filled in thoroughly before I went through on Oct. 29, 2019, as there was no sign of it after weeks of rain.
 

CaroleH

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VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
Thanks for the instructions for uploading pics, Laurie. I'll have a go a bit later, cos I'd love to share some photos of the buildings and places we've mentioned. Going off camino today to spend a 'rest' day or two with my daughter and grandchild, in Sydney. My dream is to walk with them one day. . .I can dream.


Montforte… big town, no signs to the bridge that I saw. I stayed at the Hotel Puente Romano, just right before and at the bridge. Thought about the Parador, but that was up one hill too many. Big supermarkets across the bridge and just off the camino on the way out of town. Camino signage is good from the bridge to the big horario roundabout, and it is easy to get out of Montforte, with the guide directions, and some arrows, a few, to get you to the ‘horario’ roundabout.

I was really tired, as usual, and spent the time recovering, housekeeping, finding supermarket (boring) and pre walking the way out of town. Made it a rule when alone, an ever so comforting and necessary rule, to sus out the next day's route and know where to go in the morning.
I find the bigger towns overwhelming if I don't know where I'm going and not sure where I'm sleeping, but on arrival at Montfore I just kept walking, thinking I must get to the river eventually... and I did. Found the bridge and HotelPuente Romano. Next time! Next time, I'll know and be organised and visit a museum. And I'll have maps and be more IT savvy... and all these wonderful updates. Thanks everyone.
 

Albertagirl

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I have just spent the evening watching @Sara_Dhooma 's videos of her walk on the Invierno. She walked in Dec. 2019, the month after I did. And it was still raining. It is wonderful to see so much that is familiar, and beautiful. I am really eager to get going. However, I hope that my next camino walk will be on the Levante, so I shall be following the Sanabres into Santiago, with just a peek into the Invierno as I pass by A Laxe. I am longing to get going when I can.
 
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Marbe2

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I have just spent the evening watching @Sara_Dhooma 's videos of her walk on the Invierno. She walked in Dec. 2019, the month after I did. And it was still raining. It is wonderful to see so much that is familiar, and beautiful. I am really eager to get going. However, I hope that my next camino walk will be on the Levante, so I shall be following the Sanabres into Santiago, with just a peek into the Invierno as I pass by A Laxe. I am longing to get going when I can.


I learned a lot about the terrain from watching Sara’s videos.... she is quite a character and her video is a wonderful resource. It was a bit concerning to me, however, that she kept walking sometimes at night, in the pouring rain, with pour visibility and “Alone” in December ... sometimes in isolated areas, that likely may not have had cell phone reception, Obviously, from her many videos, she is an experienced walker, but I am not sure some of her choices were always prudent. What if she had gotten injured? For first time walkers, please be careful.
 
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ranthr

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I learned a lot about the terrain from watching Sara’s videos.... she is quite a character and her video is a wonderful resource. It was a bit concerning to me, however, that she kept walking sometimes at night, in the pouring rain, with pour visibility and “Alone” in December ... sometimes in isolated areas, that likely may not have had cell phone reception, Obviously, from her many videos, she is an experienced walker, but I am not sure some of her choices were always prudent. What if she had gotten injured? For first time walkers, please be careful.
Some of us grandmas have worried a bit😉😨. But then I learned that she was not a youth but a grown up woman capable of taking care of herself, so I decided not to grandmaworry her anymore.🤯
 

Marbe2

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Some of us grandmas have worried a bit😉😨. But then I learned that she was not a youth but a grown up woman capable of taking care of herself, so I decided not to grandmaworry her anymore.🤯
Agree, but for 1st time walkers viewing it, a word of concern might be worth voicing?
 
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Albertagirl

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Sara does what she wants: drinks a lot of beer, starts late almost every morning and walks long distances, so finishes late at night. I watched her Invierno walk to improve my sense of continuity for the walk. It was a wonderful way to refresh my memories. But if I can walk the Invierno again some day I shall certainly do it my own way. I would hope that new and inexperienced walkers would choose easier routes and walk them according to their own capacity.
 
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peregrina2000

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Thanks for the reminder about Sara’s Invierno videos. I hadn’t seen a bridge dance in a while! I enjoy her videos, as her caminos are totally different than mine. The night walking is not something I would choose to do, especially on this camino because it means you will miss some real beauty! It does give her some great stories, though. And yes, I agree that it’s hard to resist those natural maternal instincts — Sara, it’s dangerous to walk at night!!!

One thing for people who are interested in the quality of the accommodations — she always gives a good video tour of where she has stayed, which may help people in their choices. I thought the Villavieja albergue looked really nice, and now that it’s under new management, I think many more people will be stopping there.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I
Thanks for the reminder about Sara’s Invierno videos. I hadn’t seen a bridge dance in a while! I enjoy her videos, as her caminos are totally different than mine. The night walking is not something I would choose to do, especially on this camino because it means you will miss some real beauty! It does give her some great stories, though. And yes, I agree that it’s hard to resist those natural maternal instincts — Sara, it’s dangerous to walk at night!!!

One thing for people who are interested in the quality of the accommodations — she always gives a good video tour of where she has stayed, which may help people in their choices. I thought the Villavieja albergue looked really nice, and now that it’s under new management, I think many more people will be stopping there.

agree @peregrina2000 that Sara’s filming of the albergues is informative. I found snippets of the terrain she videoed giving a sense of her altitude in relation to the valley and N120 and to where she approximately was most helpful in planning.
 
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ranthr

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
It’s the time to admit that I took the train from San Clodio to Monforte the Lemos since the fog was heavy and I had no place to stop in between. Like in A Rua I had a rest day in Monforte, stayed in the Parador on top of the hill, still with breakfast and dinner cheaper than my airport hotel without breakfast in Oslo, Norway, where I have to spend the night going from the north of Norway before going abroad. Since I live out in the country at home, 22 km from a food shop and even further from any other shops. I enjoy staying in a town now and then. Therefore I would take a restday in a town, not out in a quiet place in the country,
even if Torre Vilariño will be on my list if I walk again. I stayed in another nice place on the next stage, closed now as I see,walked to Diamondo and was picked up by Ean to their home, beautiful place.
 

peregrina2000

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. I was certain that, if the chain broke I was dead.
Albertagirl, I wrote an email to the association to raise concerns about this dog, and included this sentence in Spanish. I just received a response from Aida Menendez herself! I have heard and read lots and lots about her - a tireless advocate and promoter of the Invierno. She was heavily involved in the long process to get the Camino recognized by the authorities.

Anyway, she told me she has heard about this dog, and went out herself after getting my email, but of course the dog wasn’t there. Anyway, since she has received more than one report, she has notified the ayuntamiento of Quiroga, who have promised to investigate further. For what that’s worth! I have offered to write a letter myself, and will let you know if there seems to be any point in writing up our terrifying experiences!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Albertagirl, I wrote an email to the association to raise concerns about this dog, and included this sentence in Spanish. I just received a response from Aida Menendez herself! I have heard and read lots and lots about her - a tireless advocate and promoter of the Invierno. She was heavily involved in the long process to get the Camino recognized by the authorities.

Anyway, she told me she has heard about this dog, and went out herself after getting my email, but of course the dog wasn’t there. Anyway, since she has received more than one report, she has notified the ayuntamiento of Quiroga, who have promised to investigate further. For what that’s worth! I have offered to write a letter myself, and will let you know if there seems to be any point in writing up our terrifying experiences!
Thank you for your advocacy. I hope the poor dog finds a good home...😢
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I wrote an email to the association to raise concerns about this dog,
Thank you. It is true that I thought that my death would be the result, if the dog succeeded to break the chain that he was leaping ferociously against. But I wasn't really afraid that he would succeed in doing so while I was walking past. Having heard of this dog previously, I felt that the odds were in my favour to survive a short walk past. Which I did. I was apprehensive, but not really terrified. But of course the point was not my fear but the danger to pilgrims at that point, where there was no obvious alternate route.
 

peregrina2000

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Staff member
Monforte to ???? (16 - 23 kms approximately)

The “standard stage” would be Monforte to Chantada, which is about 30 km. But even if you don’t mind walking that distance, and if you have the time, I would highly recommend a stop before Chantada.

Leaving Monforte, there is a lot of road walking, but they are very untraveled roads for the most part. Some of the earlier bits of confusion have now been completely cleared up, and there is no need for details about the muddy trail after Pazo Reguengo, or the hopelessly confusing maze going into Camiño Grande. The marking is very clear.

The guide lists several options for a stop before Chantada, so you do have choices. I can’t give first hand comments on The Rectoral or Escairón or Castrotañe, but the guide discusses them all with sufficient detail for you to plan. And I hope that any others who have taken those options will chime in with their opinions.

Torre Vilariño (about a four minute walk off camino) is my five star option.

It was the first Casa Rural in Galicia, way back in the 80s and still has a plaque conferred by the former fascist turned democrat and Minister of Tourism. It is a lovely place. There is outdoor seating, there is indoor seating, the rooms are very comfortable, there are flowers everywhere, there is a pool, and the restaurant serves delicious meals (if you can, go for the menú del día and not the menú del peregrino). As Albertagirl noted, there was a fire last year, but I have had recent contact with Susana and she tells me that the fire was limited to the kitchen and one guest room. Everything has been repaired and rebuilt. They are closed now because of COVID, open only for workers who are doing archaeological and biological investigations in the area, but will open when they can.

There are some absolutely gorgeous parts of this walk, particularly the path from Piñeiro to Camiño Grande — fairy woods, just beautiful. And it’s totally flat.

If the 16 or so km from Monforte to Torre Vilariño leave you feeling like you want to continue walking, never fear. There is a 6 km loop from near Torre Vilariño that takes you, all on untraveled roads, past two romanesque churches and to some viewing spots over the Miño that are gorgeous. VN posted details and a shot of the GPS tracks. it is really lovely. I left Monforte after a good breakfast and did the loop before checking in to Torre Vilariño, but others have checked in first and then walked after shower and without pack.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, there is also an ethnographic museum in an old pazo (Galician estate). It is virtually next door to Torre Vilariño, and several people have visited and enjoyed it. It was closed on the day I was there, but the gate was open and Susana told me to go in and walk around. I went up to the Castro (hill fort), which is on the pazo grounds and partially excavated. It has an amazing position over the river, and I also thought the pazo looked very nice. So if you are there when it’s open, go for it.

And I guess this is the post to comment on the albergue in Diomondi that is apparently still underway. If you walked straight from Monforte to Diomondi you would have a stage of about 23 km. The most recent forum news about the albergue is in this thread.

The church is not in a town, it’s just the church with the attached episcopal palace and a few houses nearby. But it would be pretty amazing to stay here, IMO. You would have to bring food (either from Monforte or pick up something in the bar in Torre Vilariño) and beware that though the Brierley guide says there is a kitchen, the real question is whether there is going to be cooking equipment. I can’t think of a public albergue in Galicia that has a kitchen with any equipment at all.

I know people have lots to say about this stage, so I’m hoping for some chatter.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
For what that’s worth! I have offered to write a letter myself, and will let you know if there seems to be any point in writing up our terrifying experiences!
Brilliant! Thank you, Laurie.
You have probably thought of this, but it might be it might be worth mentioning that the dog has acquired international fame — and not of the sort that the ayuntamiento would want (not to mention the powers that be in Galicia who are pushing the Invierno).

I have had recent contact with Susana and she tells me that the fire was limited to the kitchen and one guest room. Everything has been repaired and rebuilt. They are closed now because of COVID, open only for workers who are doing archaeological and biological investigations in the area, but will open when they can.
Wonderful news!

This stage is sooooooo nice, even though there was a lot of road walking at first. From a distance of a year-and-a-half, lots of little vignettes stick in my mind.

The lady with the flock of sheep going right through the middle of the first village after Monforte. A little while after that, meeting a small group of wild boar as they were crossing the road — there was nothing to fear as they were way more frightened of me than I could have been of them. The little church you pass by about halfway to Torre Vilariño. The beautiful spot to stop and rest next to the Fuente near Castrotane, and meeting a very friendly and very muddy border collie there. That stretch that you mention, Laurie, because it was indeed really beautiful. The proliferation of signs after Camiño Grande. And then of course the loop that takes you to the view of the river and the beautiful little churches along the way.

Torre Vilariño was a gem of a place. And next time I'm going to visit the Castro — it was closed when I went to and I didn't think to try the gate.
 

Mary-Rose O’Regan

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre and Muxia, Celtic Camino, Camino Primitivo.
Thanks to @Marbe for the interest in the Invierno.

A few years ago, I posted some shorter stages options for the Invierno. Since that time, facilities have increased and there are more options. So I am starting a day by day Virtual Invierno tour, following the examples of my good buddies’ @AJGuillaume and @VNwalking, who have done this for the Viejo, the Mozárabe, and currently the Lana.

So, here is what I suggest. Let’s talk about it one stage at a time. I will post the stage, give a couple of days for input (both questions and suggestions) and then move on to the next. At the end we should have a pretty good document to complement our Forum Resources guide. John Brierley has an Invierno guide now, which is available in the forum store. I think our forum guide is all you need, but the fact that Brierley has one is a clear indication of which way he thinks the winds are blowing!

The way we have done the Lana planning is a good guide for us, I think. We just completed Part I (Alicante to Cuenca). It had about 450 posts, and I went back and edited out all the banter so that the end product would be more helpful as a planning tool. We wound up with about 250 posts in the Part I document. So, let’s continue with that here, because the side chatter makes it feel more like a real conversation. At the end, I will go back and “clean it up.”

The unknown, of course, is how covid will ultimately impact the infrastructure, but we will just have to use our best judgment.

I will be back in a few minutes to get this started.

Buen camino, Laurie
Hi Laurie
I’m hoping I’ll be able to walk the Invierno from mid September (if I’ll be allowed leave Ireland) 😳... I have John Brierely’s book on it..... I’m glad you’re beginning to post the stages over shorter distances, I found those in the book quite long.... looking forward to more information at a later stage.... mary-Rose O’Regan.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Good Lu
Hi Laurie
I’m hoping I’ll be able to walk the Invierno from mid September (if I’ll be allowed leave Ireland) 😳... I have John Brierely’s book on it..... I’m glad you’re beginning to post the stages over shorter distances, I found those in the book quite long.... looking forward to more information at a later stage.... mary-Rose O’Regan.
Good Luck in your planning, Mary Rose! It looks like, so far, that most of my days adjusting for hills, will be about 20km. When we do days of 20km consistently with hills, I make sure after 5 days I either do a really short day, or, if I am tired, a rest day. I always say, know thyself....what makes the journey enjoyable and safe, for you!
 
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MikeJS

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)
Not surprisingly to those who know my like of long(ish) stages I walked to Chantada. I thought it was a great stage especially after getting past the dull straight road at the start to Vide. I met 3 small yappy dogs at Barxa but I just threw them a few doggy treats and they shut up. However, the most memorable part, besides the obvious beauty of the Belasar section was getting dive bombed by a pair of nesting swallows. They were really feisty and flew within inches of my head. I guess they were not very used to people walking past their barn
When i walked in 2017 the route down to Belasar was not well marked but it would be hard to get lost, just keep heading down. The views are spectacular. Got to the bottom and as usual the bar was closed at 1130. At the time I thought it was a significant indication of the poor state of the Spanish economy that even in the beautiful setting of Belasar there were numerous empty and abandoned houses. I hate to imagine what it is like now. The climb up from there is tough but for those less inclined there is the road option.

In Chantada, I stayed at Hotel Mogay which was a good place. Very clean and smart. I paid 26 euros as a peregrino in 2017.
 
Monforte de Lemos to Vilariño

Such a nice way to leave the city - crossing the Ponte Vella in beautiful early morning light.
mbrid.jpg
After crossing the bridge and then turning left at the monastery of the Clarisas, it was difficult to find waymarks. There was a street market, as well as a carnival set up in the old town hall plaza area, hiding buildings and waymarks. Luckily there were some street cleaners who knew the way and pointed me in the right direction. You know you’re definitely on the right track when you see the pilgrim statue at a roundabout.
mpil.jpg
After the stretch along the highway to A Vide, I did not see any waymarks that would have taken the camino off off the road and onto earthen trails (as mentioned in the forum guide). I continued on the road.

Stopped for a rest on a shaded bench in front of the church in Moreda and had a nice chat with the priest who arrived to ring the bell for 11:00am mass.
mmor.JPG mm.jpg
Continuing on the quiet road past the church, I met this woman and her flock near Broza. I really enjoy watching the Galician women bring their animals to pasture and how they control their progress through vocal commands. She said her sheep weren’t listening well today and laughed and continued on.
mshep.JPG
The camino stayed on the road until the left turn into San Lourenzo. Between here and Piñerio (where there is a wonderful spot on a stone bench at a fountain with potable water) it was bit confusing but I won’t post my experiences because I believe the waymarking and paths have been tremendously improved and clarified.

As I was leaving Piñeiro, there was a bull directly in my path who was not responding to his farmer’s commands. The farmer gave a whistle and a beautiful little border collie came racing around the corner and got that bull moving. The collie followed the bull for a bit then turned and came running toward me. He stopped at my feet, looked up, wagged his tail and then ran off after the farmer. It’s like he wanted to tell me the path was clear, all was okay. Loved that moment.

After a ways along the road again, arrows take you on to lovely stone walled shaded forest path, leading to Camiño Grande.
mw.jpg
After Camiño Grande, there is a stretch of quiet road walking through small hamlets, leading to a busier highway junction with many directional signs. Most importantly, the one I was looking for, pointing left to Torre Vilariño where I was staying for the night - a short, 400 metre walk along the highway.
msign.jpg
Torre Vilariño was a lovely place to stay. (20 euro) Beautiful room and gardens. When I arrived they were extremely busy, serving lunch to about 50 people from a tour bus. I managed to get a drink and some chips but wasn’t able to order lunch. They don’t serve dinner until 9:00pm. There is nothing else around so it’s a good idea to have snacks to sustain you.
mvil.jpg
I went for a walk and found, about 200 metres up the road, the ethnological museum, Ecomuseo Arxeriz.
meco.jpg
I highly recommend a visit here. Housed in multiple buildings, the museum is dedicated to preserving the culture of the peoples of the Miño and especially the many villages that were lost due to damming on the river.
mcast2.JPG
There is a castro on the site that is still under excavation, but you can walk through it. It’s situated with a stunning view of the bend in the Miño River. It was a great way to occupy my time while waiting for dinner. I had the menu del dia which was delicious. If I walk this way again, I might stay two nights at Torre Vilariño - such a special place to stay and there is much more to explore in this area.
 
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MJB

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (in sections 2004, 2012, 2015); Portugues (from Oporto 2013); Primitivo (from Castroverde) 2012; Invierno (2016)
Monforte de Lemos
I love Monforte. On weekdays there is bit of charming provincial bustle. It's a little quiet on the weekends.

The chapel of the Colegio del los Escolapios is very beautiful, if you can make it during the two hours a day it is open for tours (one on Sunday) or during Mass. I'm attaching a photo of the interior and of a Flemish Adoration of the Magi. A good description can be found at


I have never managed to visit the Mueso de Arte Sacro. Hopefully next time.

There is a lot of nice architecture, some of it a little tired and unoccupied or under-occupied. There is a pretty walk along the river (Paseo Malecon). The climb to the Parador (15 minute direct route via stairs and alleys or a longer road walk) is pretty too.

Very good restaurants for a city of under 20,000. I enjoyed Restaurant/Bar Polar (center of town, good bar with fresh baked goods, better dining room), the Parador's restaurant, and the O Grelo (on the street that climbs the hill to the Parador). I stayed at the Hotel Puente Romano (clean, quiet, central, by the river) and the Parador (luxury, wonderful views, tempting to stay there, eat there and not leave there).

Clean, modern laudromat, Lavandertia Excellence, at R. Roberto Baamonde, 63. Another at Rúa Chantada, 9 near the Lidl supermarket as the Camino leaves town.
 

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Mary-Rose O’Regan

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre and Muxia, Celtic Camino, Camino Primitivo.
Good Lu

Good Luck in your planning, Mary Rose! It looks like, so far, that most of my days adjusting for hills, will be about 20km. When we do days of 20km consistently with hills, I make sure after 5 days I either do a really short day, or, if I am tired, a rest day. I always say, know thyself....what makes the journey enjoyable and safe, for you!
Thanks Laurie.... I’ve walked many a Camino but I’ve developed osteonecrosis of my knee so I don’t want to do long days.... I try to listen to my inner voice... not always successfully though 😀🇮🇪
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
Before walking in 2018 I watched De Rutas y Sendas Camino de Invierno on youtube. Learnt a lot about each stage there. I recommend seeing it.

From Monforte de Lemos I walked to Diamondo and stayed in a nice Casa Rural near by.
When the camino took offroad to O Camiño Grande at Pinheiro, I stayed on the LU-P-4112 since there was heavy rain and thunder during the night and I thought the mud could be bad. It was a quiet road so it was ok to me.
After Cruce Fion I met one of the very few peregrinos I met on this Camino, a young cyclist stopped to talk to me. I met another bicigrino some days before in Pension Lar in O Barco at breakfast. Some days later on the walk to Rodeiro I met two Spanish elderly men, and that was all until the Invierno joined the Camino Sanabree.
Since I had been resting 2 days in Monforte, starting walking again was a bit hard.
But after recovering in the home of Ean and Irene with good bed and excellent food, the next day to Chantada was a piece of cake.
Stayed there in Hotel Mogay. Nice room and very good breakfast. Booked on booking.com and no pilgrim price, but I am too old to not knowing where to stay the night.
The restaurant connected to the hotel gave me a lesson on the local menćia vines and good food.
 
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peregrina2000

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But after recovering in the home of Ean and Irene with good bed and excellent food, the next day to Chantada was a piece of cake.
Hi, @ranthr, I meant to comment when you mentioned the now closed but very lovely Casa Santo Estevo. I have also stayed there a couple of times, and have always enjoyed my time with Irene and Ian - a Dutch/British expat couple. The Santo Estevo church overlooking the Miño (not to be confused with the monastery of Santo Estevo on the Sil River) is a real Romanesque gem, and it is approxiately 10 feet from their house. I have been lucky both times I was there that the church was opened for one reason or another and I could go inside.

The Casa Rural is for sale, so if anyone has come into a big chunk of change recently, this might be an opprtunity. I am so sad they have closed it. http://www.ribeirasacra.com/
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
Monforte to Chantada Day 8

Looking at all the wonderful photos of Monforte, I'm now a bit sorry that I did not explore the town a bit more ...especially the Roman bridge.
With so much tarmac ahead of us today, we decided to get a taxi to Pinairo.There is a lovely little cafe here but we were probably too early for a coffee.even though we'd just had breakfast, any cafe is a magnet for us!
A lovely path going through an eerie section of forest brought us back on the road.Lots of little villages today and the roads were traffic free
The few people we met were so friendly
One lady offered us coffee and another gave us a bag of cherries

I don't honestly know how we missed Diomondi but we thought it was right on the Camino instead of just off the path
There is a church/building to the right just as the path turns sharp left at a bus shelter and down into Belesar.
The scenery between the trees is spectacular the whole way down to the river
It was so quiet and we did not see a soul there, which was a bit surprising for the beginning of July
This would probably be an ideal place for a hostal or cafe/restaurant as it really is a beautiful place
We crossed the bridge and sat on a stone seat for a while
Then it was up and up on a nice path to the Bodega where I tentatively asked if they served coffee!!!
Well "hope springs eternal" doesn't it!!
It was a very funny encounter but they did take our photos for their Facebook page
The restaurant on the opposite side of the road was closed
Then it was up and up again to the hamlet of St. Pedro de Lincora.
The path was pretty wet and overgrown but a nice change from the tarmac
From here it was down all the way where the road then took us into the old part of town with lovely houses and narrow streets.
The hotel Mogay is right on the Camino...a lovely hotel
Room was €49 and breakfast €5 each.
The town itself is a lively place with lots of cafes and places to eat in the square just around the corner from the hotel
I think the walk today might have been around 20 km from Pineiro to Chantada and was a pretty varied walk
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
That’s Diomondi! 😁
Seriously!
So near and yet so far!
I'd been thinking that it was much further on in the road after we'd realised that we'd missed it
I remember talking to you about it but obviously the "penny didn't drop" then either!
Next time.
I've been looking at the stages throughout this thread and realising that with different stop/accommodation, we could probably walk the route again with just one extra day on our itinerary from last time
It's a bit of a double edged sword really....
1) we don't want to walk for hours and hours and not be able to relax at the destination
2) arriving too early at a place would make for a very long day
Can't please us really!!!!
Guess we'll have to sleep a bit more in the mornings!!
Thanks again

Edit:
I forgot to mention that on the little roads we spent some time looking at the ground and the edges looking out for a lost credential!
But that's another story and one that had very successful outcome the day after when the credential was found safe and sound!
 
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peregrina2000

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I forgot to mention that on the little roads we spent some time looking at the ground and the edges looking out for a lost credential!
But that's another story and one that had very successful outcome the day after when the credential was found safe and sound!
AHHHH, the perfect invitation for me to ramble down memory lane. VN had lost her credential and I was a few weeks behind her. Several forum members were walking the Invierno, and we were all keeping an eye out, because she was pretty sure she had lost it somewhere between Torre Vilari;o and Belesar.

I took my loop walk before going to Torre Vilariño, and I even made a point of walking on the same side of the road as she would have walked, even though I did the loop in the opposite direction. No credential.

But when I checked into Torre Vilariño, I asked about it -- success! They had found it on the floor of her room and had put it away in a desk at the entrance. They thought I was crazy when I started jumping up and down with glee. A very wonderful Camino moment.
 
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Edit:
I forgot to mention that on the little roads we spent some time looking at the ground and the edges looking out for a lost credential!
But that's another story and one that had very successful outcome the day after when the credential was found safe and sound!
:D You, @peregrina2000 and me - all on the trail hunt for @VNwalking 's credential !! Fun how we were all so close behind her!!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Just catching up. We are in the midst of a monster snow storm that has been going on for couple of days. Started here on Sunday around noon and is still going. We are over 3ft...at the moment.

I wanted to ask about the V shaped downhill with Belesar in between. What is the trail downward like. Is it a real hiking train? Is it paved? Also the ascent into Chantada what kind of a grade is it?
 
Vilariño to Chantada

A very foggy moody morning, leaving Vilariño. I left later than I like to. Susanna, who runs Torre Vilariño talked me into staying for breakfast which isn’t served until 9:00am. She said “To Chantada it’s easy. A bit of down, a bit of up and you’ll be there quickly.” Okay :) I'm glad I did as there were no services until lunch half way up on the ascent out of Belesar.

From the multi signed crossroads it’s a nice flat walk on a quiet road through multiple hamlets to Diomondi. During the whole 7.5 km stretch only 3 or 4 cars passed.
vil4.jpg
At Diomondi, take a short detour to the right to see the Igrexa San Paio Diomondi. Spent some time there looking at all the details and beautiful carvings above the doors. As always with these wonderful old churches it’s so important to circle around the whole building. So much more than just the front facade. I forget to do that sometimes.
vil5.jpg vil7.jpg vil6.jpg
Retracing your steps, the camino turns right, off road at a bus shelter and 100km waymark.
vil8.jpg
I loved the next part of the walk - the steep descent through forest along the remains of a Roman road and then through terraced vineyards, all the while catching glimpses of the river far below, the terraced slopes on the other side and then that first beautiful view of Belesar and it’s bridge. Spectacular!
vil9.jpg vil1.jpg
In Belesar, I turned right before the bridge, hoping that the marina restaurant, Abaceria o Batuxo would be open but it wasn’t. I crossed the bridge and had a nice rest on a bench before starting the ascent which begins immediately out of the village. The first part of the climb is along the road and made easier by stopping to admire the stunning vistas that open up the higher you go.

This part of the camino between Belesar and San Pedro alternates between switchback road sections and off road dirt paths cutting through the switchbacks. It is possible of course to stay on the road and avoid the dirt path cut-throughs.

About half way up the ascent, a road stretch takes you to the restaurant Mesón Adega do Veiga. Look for the sign at their driveway on the left. I arrived at about 2:30pm and it was open for lunch. A welcome break with beautiful views from their picture windowed dining room.
vil10.jpg
Soon after leaving the restaurant, arrows take you off the road onto a short steep descent into a lush green gully and across a stream on steppingstones past an old stone mill. Saw a stunning blue dragonfly next to the stream.
vil2.jpg vil3.jpg
The path immediately ascends again to another short walk along the road. The next ascent that takes you off road is signposted San Pedro de Lincora, 1.9 km. This short section which leads to the road again, was very overgrown and muddy. Shoe covering wet muck and a struggle in parts to wack through the folliage. A lot of flying insects here too. It was a difficult stretch and this was the only part of the whole ascent where it would have been better to stay on the road.

There is one more off road section, leading to the road and into San Pedro and the rest of the way downhill on the road into Chantada where I stayed at the Hotel Mogay (28 euro with breakfast) I had a nice evening walk and dinner at a café near Plaza Santa Ana.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
Just catching up. We are in the midst of a monster snow storm that has been going on for couple of days. Started here on Sunday around noon and is still going. We are over 3ft...at the moment.

I wanted to ask about the V shaped downhill with Belesar in between. What is the trail downward like. Is it a real hiking train? Is it paved? Also the ascent into Chantada what kind of a grade is it?
It's pretty steep going down...mostly rounded stones/slabs of stone
Walking poles an advantage ....for us a necessity!!
Could be very slippery if wet but ok if you take your time
We often find it he decent S harder than the ascents
Decent to Chandata....no problem there at all....
There's a good comparison on the Gronz profile
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
Vilariño to Chantada

A very foggy moody morning, leaving Vilariño. I left later than I like to. Susanna, who runs Torre Vilariño talked me into staying for breakfast which isn’t served until 9:00am. She said “To Chantada it’s easy. A bit of down, a bit of up and you’ll be there quickly.” Okay :) I'm glad I did as there were no services until lunch half way up on the ascent out of Belesar.

From the multi signed crossroads it’s a nice flat walk on a quiet road through multiple hamlets to Diomondi. During the whole 7.5 km stretch only 3 or 4 cars passed.
View attachment 92699
At Diomondi, take a short detour to the right to see the Igrexa San Paio Diomondi. Spent some time there looking at all the details and beautiful carvings above the doors. As always with these wonderful old churches it’s so important to circle around the whole building. So much more than just the front facade. I forget to do that sometimes.
View attachment 92700 View attachment 92702 View attachment 92701
Retracing your steps, the camino turns right, off road at a bus shelter and 100km waymark.
View attachment 92703
I loved the next part of the walk - the steep descent through forest along the remains of a Roman road and then through terraced vineyards, all the while catching glimpses of the river far below, the terraced slopes on the other side and then that first beautiful view of Belesar and it’s bridge. Spectacular!
View attachment 92704 View attachment 92696
In Belesar, I turned right before the bridge, hoping that the marina restaurant, Abaceria o Batuxo would be open but it wasn’t. I crossed the bridge and had a nice rest on a bench before starting the ascent which begins immediately out of the village. The first part of the climb is along the road and made easier by stopping to admire the stunning vistas that open up the higher you go.

This part of the camino between Belesar and San Pedro alternates between switchback road sections and off road dirt paths cutting through the switchbacks. It is possible of course to stay on the road and avoid the dirt path cut-throughs.

About half way up the ascent, a road stretch takes you to the restaurant Mesón Adega do Veiga. Look for the sign at their driveway on the left. I arrived at about 2:30pm and it was open for lunch. A welcome break with beautiful views from their picture windowed dining room.
View attachment 92705
Soon after leaving the restaurant, arrows take you off the road onto a short steep descent into a lush green gully and across a stream on steppingstones past an old stone mill. Saw a stunning blue dragonfly next to the stream.
View attachment 92697 View attachment 92698
The path immediately ascends again to another short walk along the road. The next ascent that takes you off road is signposted San Pedro de Lincora, 1.9 km. This part, which leads to the road again was very overgrown and muddy. Shoe covering wet muck and a struggle in parts to wack through the folliage. A lot of flying insects here too. It was a difficult stretch and this was the only part of the whole ascent where it would have been better to stay on the road.

There is one more off road section, leading to the road and into San Pedro and the rest of the way downhill on the road into Chantada where I stayed at the Hotel Mogay (28 euro with breakfast) I had a nice evening walk and dinner at a café near Plaza Santa Ana.
Theatregiel
Beautiful photos
Brought that wonderful section right back to me and I'm just enjoying the scenery once more
A brilliant description of the route up
I just remember the muddy path past the mill
Now how did I know that you would have a photo of a bird/ butterfly somewhere in those photos!!!?
 
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Brought that wonderful section right back to me and I'm just enjoying the scenery once more
A brilliant description of the route up
I just remember the muddy path past the mill
Loved that little gully section with the stone mill and stream. It reminded me of a part of the Variante Espiritual - the Ruta de la Piedra y del Agua, also lush and green with the remains of stone mills.
It's been so interesting revisiting this camino - this is a day I would love to walk again.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Vilariño to Chantada

A very foggy moody morning, leaving Vilariño. I left later than I like to. Susanna, who runs Torre Vilariño talked me into staying for breakfast which isn’t served until 9:00am. She said “To Chantada it’s easy. A bit of down, a bit of up and you’ll be there quickly.” Okay :) I'm glad I did as there were no services until lunch half way up on the ascent out of Belesar.

From the multi signed crossroads it’s a nice flat walk on a quiet road through multiple hamlets to Diomondi. During the whole 7.5 km stretch only 3 or 4 cars passed.
View attachment 92699
At Diomondi, take a short detour to the right to see the Igrexa San Paio Diomondi. Spent some time there looking at all the details and beautiful carvings above the doors. As always with these wonderful old churches it’s so important to circle around the whole building. So much more than just the front facade. I forget to do that sometimes.
View attachment 92700 View attachment 92702 View attachment 92701
Retracing your steps, the camino turns right, off road at a bus shelter and 100km waymark.
View attachment 92703
I loved the next part of the walk - the steep descent through forest along the remains of a Roman road and then through terraced vineyards, all the while catching glimpses of the river far below, the terraced slopes on the other side and then that first beautiful view of Belesar and it’s bridge. Spectacular!
View attachment 92704 View attachment 92696
In Belesar, I turned right before the bridge, hoping that the marina restaurant, Abaceria o Batuxo would be open but it wasn’t. I crossed the bridge and had a nice rest on a bench before starting the ascent which begins immediately out of the village. The first part of the climb is along the road and made easier by stopping to admire the stunning vistas that open up the higher you go.

This part of the camino between Belesar and San Pedro alternates between switchback road sections and off road dirt paths cutting through the switchbacks. It is possible of course to stay on the road and avoid the dirt path cut-throughs.

About half way up the ascent, a road stretch takes you to the restaurant Mesón Adega do Veiga. Look for the sign at their driveway on the left. I arrived at about 2:30pm and it was open for lunch. A welcome break with beautiful views from their picture windowed dining room.
View attachment 92705
Soon after leaving the restaurant, arrows take you off the road onto a short steep descent into a lush green gully and across a stream on steppingstones past an old stone mill. Saw a stunning blue dragonfly next to the stream.
View attachment 92697 View attachment 92698
The path immediately ascends again to another short walk along the road. The next ascent that takes you off road is signposted San Pedro de Lincora, 1.9 km. This short section which leads to the road again, was very overgrown and muddy. Shoe covering wet muck and a struggle in parts to wack through the folliage. A lot of flying insects here too. It was a difficult stretch and this was the only part of the whole ascent where it would have been better to stay on the road.

There is one more off road section, leading to the road and into San Pedro and the rest of the way downhill on the road into Chantada where I stayed at the Hotel Mogay (28 euro with breakfast) I had a nice evening walk and dinner at a café near Plaza Santa Ana.
Theatregal, your descriptions and pictures are really terrific. I can see the road..beginning the descent. Quite rocky it is! My sister will be 81 and I am thinking about taking the road down. I am sure it is a bit longer, but will be safer for her. Thanks!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Casa Rural to Chantada (15) or Hotel Vilaseco (23)

The decision for those who like short stages will be to choose between stopping in Chantada, a big town with all services, or continuing on to the Hotel Vilaseco, 400 m off Camino after Lucenza, which also has opened an albergue.

That decision depends not only on whether you want to spend time in Chantada, but also how you want to position yourself for the following day, where Rodeiro is likely to be the end spot no matter where you sleep. Rodeiro is 25 km from Chantada, and about 19 from the Hotel Vilaseco. Not to jump too far ahead, but both of the days between Torre Vilariño and Rodeiro, however you jiggle them, will have one ascent, with the ascent on the day into Chantada being more significant. The ascent on the day into Rodeiro, to Monte Faro, can also be reduced by taking an alternative route. So on balance, those factors seem to tip the scale in favor of a short day into Chantada and a longer day into Rodeiro, but that of course depends on you! Also, I would add the opinion that the day down to Belesar and up on the other side of the Miño through vineyards is one of the route’s prettiest stretches.

The walk to Chantada is one to savor, and also one to huff and puff. Leaving the Torre Vilariño, your walk is on the side of rural roads for the approximately 8 km to the XII century church of Diomondi. As Annette pointed out, it is just a few steps beyond the covered bus stop, which is where the descent to the Miño River begins on the “Belesar’s Elbows” trail. It is a precious little church, and though I know of no forum member who has gotten inside, the carvings around the side and front doors are beautiful. The building adjacent to the church, the Bishop’s Palace, is where the Xunta plans to open an albergue. They have spent years remodeling the building, which was on the verge of total collapse, so the structural work should be done. I eagerly await the news of forum members who stay there!

The kms down to the Miño River and the village of Belesar are on a well-established trail through the forest. Just gorgeous, but a bit hard on the knees for some. At the river, and a few hundred meters to the right, there is a café which has opened and closed a few times over the years. Not sure what its post-covid status will be.

Once you cross the river, you have to go back up. Gronze says it’s about 400 m down to the river, and about 350 m back up on the other side. You can stay on the road the whole way, getting a less pronounced incline in exchange for a longer walk, but the off-road bits are very nice. I remember the last off-road stretch as quite muddy and overgrown, but of course how will you know when you get to the “last off-road bit”? Maybe some forum members can help out on that.

I will leave the descriptions of the vineyards, the river, and the forests to others, but it is really gorgeous. The last 3 or 4 km from San Pedro de Líncora into Chantada are unremarkable, on the road, and they take you into Chantada and its river walk.

I have stayed several times in the Hotel Mogay, and other options are described in the guide. A bit pricey, a standard modest modern hotel, but no complaints. Eating in Chantada used to be a no-brainer — the riverside Mesón Lucus was the hands-down favorite. Its original owners retired and new people have taken over. My second lunch there was nothng like my first, but others have had better luck.

If you keep on to the Hotel Vilaseco, it looks to me like there’s a turnoff after A Lucenza and before Vilaseco. Sara’s video describes how she made the mistake of walking all the way into Peñasillás, but luckily the owners came to get her.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Theatregal, your descriptions and pictures are really terrific. I can see the road..beginning the descent. Quite rocky it is! My sister will be 81 and I am thinking about taking the road down. I am sure it is a bit longer, but will be safer for her. Thanks!
Theatregal is, IMO, leading the pack in the running for Forum Photographer Laureate. 😍

I think the road option is only viable for the ascent on the other side of the Miño and not the descent to Belesar. This map shot shows you how the short descent from the church in Diomondi to Belesar turns into a 10 km walk on a road.

6251061D-557E-42B1-B227-C4B803F7CCB8.png

But Marbe, if that descent looks like something you want to avoid, what I would do is take the road option straight from Torre Vilariño down to the river and over to Belesar. You would leave the camino at the ethnographic museum and continue on the road. That would be 11 km from Torre Vilariño to Belesar, which is about the same distance as the camino route to Diomondi and down to the river on the Belesar’s elbows trail. I have never done that but it looks like you would have a really nice stretch right on the riverside, with the gorgeous views over to the vineyards on the other side. And those roads just aren’t heavily trafficked at all. And you would also coincidentally be on part of the 6 km loop VN and I have described and on your descent to the river would pass a romanesque church as well as the Adegas Moure, which has one of the most beautiful viewing points of that horseshoe bend in the river below.

13C11746-DE5F-4B44-907E-17AFD9CBF8D7.png
 
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MikeJS

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)
In Chantada I ate at Cafe Amedeo’s. No food in the evening until 2100, but then menu la dia at 10 euros with lots of meat. Then they ask if you want more!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Theatregal is, IMO, leading the pack in the running for Forum Photographer Laureate. 😍

I think the road option is only viable for the ascent on the other side of the Miño and not the descent to Belesar. This map shot shows you how the short descent from the church in Diomondi to Belesar turns into a 10 km walk on a road.

View attachment 92726

But Marbe, if that descent looks like something you want to avoid, what I would do is take the road option straight from Torre Vilariño down to the river and over to Belesar. You would leave the camino at the ethnographic museum and continue on the road. That would be 11 km from Torre Vilariño to Belesar, which is about the same distance as the camino route to Diomondi and down to the river on the Belesar’s elbows trail. I have never done that but it looks like you would have a really nice stretch right on the riverside, with the gorgeous views over to the vineyards on the other side. And those roads just aren’t heavily trafficked at all. And you would also coincidentally be on part of the 6 km loop VN and I have described and on your descent to the river would pass a romanesque church as well as the Adegas Moure, which has one of the most beautiful viewing points of that horseshoe bend in the river below.

View attachment 92727
@peregrina2000 Thank you so much! Might I suggest you consider putting this alternative in your updated version of your guide book. I would also put the picture of the rocky path going down hill with a caution and the alternative route. There appears to be a couple of routes suggested by google maps down to the river. The one you posted appears to have a Winery slightly off the road called Abadia da cova Mourve.

If you stay on 5819, it appears to be 3minutes longer, but there are two restaurants on it. Restaurante ACoba ( currently open 12-4pm). The other is close to the river. It is called Playa Fluvial De ACova Restaurante & Ocio.
https://playadacova.es/#!/restaurante (right now take out). Looks like a fun place!

Sometimes you ask why many do not do the Invierno. This section is likely one reason why. I bet, many who explore this Camino are tempted but look at this down hill and have second thoughts. For those 30 km-ers its likely not an issue.

We stay in El Acebo (CF) always before walking down to Ponferrada. We split the route Rabanal to El Acebo and then Acebo to Ponferrada. I cannot tell you how many people get to El Acebo stay overnight, or just arrive there and take a taxi down. The descent from Acebo, is 400 meters in circa 7km. From Diamondi to Belasar the drop is circa 300 meters in 2.1km. So, my 2 cents worth is to promote an alternative, an easier way down ...like they do when descending to Roncevalles. The walk along the Minho river and activity would be a draw especially between late Spring to early Fall. Just a thought.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés (1974 + others)
1. Train option (thanks, Charrito). Arrive in A Rúa after 14 km from Barco. Leave your backpack in your pensión or hotel. Walk 10 km on to Montefurado. Take the 6:14 pm train back to A Rúa. The next morning, catch the 10 am train to Montefurado and carry on.

Sorry to backtrack, but this just occurred to me:

Question for someone who has taken the train option: where does one acquire the train ticket? Is there a station in Montefurado or is it just an apeadero (minor stop without a station)? Do you pay on the train?
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
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Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
Sorry to backtrack, but this just occurred to me:

Question for someone who has taken the train option: where does one acquire the train ticket? Is there a station in Montefurado or is it just an apeadero (minor stop without a station)? Do you pay on the train?
I bought the ticket on the Renfe app. You can also buy it on www.renfe.es. Ticket cost 2.2 euro in 2018.
So it is not a great loss if you book and print the ticket at home and don’t use it. I guess there might be a ticketmachine at Rua-Petin trainstaion, where you can buy a ticket Montefurado- A Rua-Petin too, but I do no know. In Montefurado there is nothing. My train stopped on the opposite platform, not the nearest.
 
I wanted to break up the stage between Chantada and Rodiero, staying near Penasillas so I’d be rested for the climb to Monte Faro in the morning. My notes from that day.

Chantada to Penasillas (9km) and San Pedro de Viana (3km)

A clear, well marked way leaving Chantada along city roads leading to a “Petos de las Ánimas”, a medieval shrine / offering box.
ch1.jpg
Just past the shrine a mojón takes the camino off road and through the hamlet of Centulle, leading to a dirt service road. The service road runs beside the highway for a bit and then meanders away and becomes a quieter country road, passing through the hamlet of Boan.
ch2.jpg ch10.JPG ch3.jpg
Continuing through the hamlets of Lucenza and Vilaseco, you soon arrive at Penasillas. There is a very welcoming bar here - Cantina o Peto. I had coffee before continuing off camino for 3 km to the Casa Rural As Casas in San Pedro de Viana. You can also arrange for the hosts (Liván and Emilia) to pick you up at the Cantina O Peto and they’ll bring you back the next morning.
ch6.jpg
As Casas is definitely one of those “treat” places for rest and beauty. A 17th century pazo surrounded by fields and beautiful views, it’s a house of music and art with work by photographer Liván on the walls and a gallery dedicated to Emilia’s father, the Galician sculptor Eduard R. Osorio. I had a lovely afternoon, walking in the area and when it started to rain, sitting with my book on one of the covered terraces. The last photo is Emilia with one of their 3 friendly dogs.
ch7.jpg ch4.jpg ch9.jpg ch.jpg ch5.jpg
The room, with bathroom was 40 euro. The food was delicious - if memory serves me, dinner was 15 euro and breakfast 8. Emilia and Liván are two that I think of in these pandemic times - I really hope their business will survive.
 
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peregrina2000

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Staff member
If you stay on 5819, it appears to be 3minutes longer, but there are two restaurants on it. Restaurante ACoba ( currently open 12-4pm). The other is close to the river. It is called Playa Fluvial De ACova Restaurante & Ocio.
https://playadacova.es/#!/restaurante (right now take out). Looks like a fun place!
I had seen that place and hadn’t bothered to do a google maps that goes directly to the “river beach” and restaurant. It looks like you leave Torre Vilariño on the LU-5807 and make your way down almost to the river level where it picks up the LU-5819 (which then continues all the way into Belesar). Lots of different little roads here to pay attention, but I suppose in the end if you keep going down you will make it to the river.

I noticed that the restaurant website says “call us if you get lost” so it must be a bit confusing. :D

Once you are at the river beach the 5819 takes you directly into Belesar, about 7 kms.

In between the two options, the choice is

1. Getting down to the river quicker, having the restaurant/bar there on the river to stop, and walking along the river a bit longer to Belesar. (google map shot below) 9E281F2B-97C3-4FC6-9072-6E1CAF9CDC39.png
2. Taking the route that stays higher longer, which gives you some fabulous views of the river but misses the bar on the beach and comes out on the river about a km beyond the restaurant/river beach.​
Both options have long walks along the river, though.​
 

ranthr

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Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
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Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
Diamondi to Belesar:
When I walked from Diomondo to Chantada (May 2018) I was a bit surprised of the description of the way down to Belesar, in my opinion it was a nice walk through the wood down to the river. The weather was ok, but even if it had been raining some days before, the path was dry and ok.
I would say that there are several streches on the Frances that is much worse that this:
From the cross down to Acebo, through the wood down to Roncesvalles, down from Alto Perdon, the last part down to Zubiri, just to mention a few of them that I have walked several times.
I was 71 in 2018 and a very slow walker, I always use poles downwards.
I stayed the night in Santo Estevo and went there by car from Diomondo. There were several ups and downs along the road too.
Up from Belesar I took the road, the arroyo along path was froading, the path was muddy and slippy, so I continued on road instead with a nice stop in the bodega with the beautiful view.
 

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Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I had seen that place and hadn’t bothered to do a google maps that goes directly to the “river beach” and restaurant. It looks like you leave Torre Vilariño on the LU-5807 and make your way down almost to the river level where it picks up the LU-5819 (which then continues all the way into Belesar). Lots of different little roads here to pay attention, but I suppose in the end if you keep going down you will make it to the river.

I noticed that the restaurant website says “call us if you get lost” so it must be a bit confusing. :D

Once you are at the river beach the 5819 takes you directly into Belesar, about 7 kms.

In between the two options, the choice is

1. Getting down to the river quicker, having the restaurant/bar there on the river to stop, and walking along the river a bit longer to Belesar. (google map shot below) View attachment 92754
2. Taking the route that stays higher longer, which gives you some fabulous views of the river but misses the bar on the beach and comes out on the river about a km beyond the restaurant/river beach.​
Both options have long walks along the river, though.​
My thinking is that there will be no route numbers on these small roads in all likelihood, but one could aim at the small towns or signs for the restaurants. When I go, I’ll report back!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Diamondi to Belesar:
When I walked from Diomondo to Chantada (May 2018) I was a bit surprised of the description of the way down to Belesar, in my opinion it was a nice walk through the wood down to the river. The weather was ok, but even if it had been raining some days before, the path was dry and ok.
I would say that there are several streches on the Frances that is much worse that this:
From the cross down to Acebo, through the wood down to Roncesvalles, down from Alto Perdon, the last part down to Zubiri, just to mention a few of them that I have walked several times.
I was 71 in 2018 and a very slow walker, I always use poles downwards.
I stayed the night in Santo Estevo and went there by car from Diomondo. There were several ups and downs along the road too.
Up from Belesar I took the road, the arroyo along path was froading, the path was muddy and slippy, so I continued on road instead with a nice stop in the bodega with the beautiful view.
I appreciate your experience on this section.

One of the differences on the descent between Cruz de Ferro to Acebo, is that one had the option of following the parallel road. We actuallly use both. The steeper descent to Roncevalles was stressful, hence the need for an alternate route. I have done a lot of mountain hiking.....Like up at 3200 meters and descending to 1000 meters, with some rocky terrain, but also decent hiking trails....if the trail is stone in cement, it is a killer on the feet, and we would prefer a road that brought us down more evenly...less stress on the legs.
 
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ranthr

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
You know I might also be tempted to try this river walk alternative. The route down to Belesar is beautiful, fairy forests, but it’s so wooded that you don’t get many views of the river till you are almost down there. These road walks would give you a nice 7 km stroll along the beautiful Sil River.
That’s right, you don’t see so much, I guess you see more on both roadalternatives.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
That’s right, you don’t see so much, I guess you see more on both roadalternatives.
One highlight for the current route for me was the Roman road downhill to Belesar, with apparently genuine Roman pavement, though I suspect it needed repairs over the millenia. For a while, I was walking in the past, through a forest and down a walkway that may not be so very different from in ancient times. I cannot imagine choosing a modern road as an alternative.
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
Like @CaroleH, I stayed at Puente Romano, which was good enough. But if there's a next time, I'll definitely try this place.
Me too. Mon Comey Sueña Guesthouse in Montford sounds good.

Thanks for the reminder about Sara’s Invierno videos. I hadn’t seen a bridge dance in a while! I enjoy her videos, as her caminos are totally different than mine. The night walking is not something I would choose to do, especially on this camino because it means you will miss some real beauty! It does give her some great stories, though. And yes, I agree that it’s hard to resist those natural maternal instincts — Sara, it’s dangerous to walk at night!!!

One thing for people who are interested in the quality of the accommodations — she always gives a good video tour of where she has stayed, which may help people in their choices. I thought the Villavieja albergue looked really nice, and now that it’s under new management, I think many more people will be stopping there.
Good to know about Sarah's videos. Just watched her Day 1 Invierno, not sure if I can cope with the rather annoying flippant, commentary for long, but it was nice to see Albergue Villavieja, where i had very similar experience to her, the previous year when it had been open only 2 months, the key hunt, then blown away by the great facility. Loved that place. Recommend.

Albertagirl, I wrote an email to the association to raise concerns about this dog
I'm wondering about the dog problem on the Invierno. It seems worse than the early days on VdlP and other lesser traveled caminos. I was really worried about it when I started the Invierno alone, and had encounters with the dogs some of you mention. I had a really scary attack by 3 loose farm dogs later, which I'll talk about then, but first day, Villavieja, with its mastiff, now chained up, still had a bunch of dogs sitting in the middle of a street, which worried me a bit. Then two separate guys, pilgrims I met, had both had dog attacks, one with no hiking stick, had to fight off the attacking bulldog with his fist.

The local people along the Invierno are keen and friendly plus lots of effort has been put into promoting and organising infrastructure. They want pilgrims to use the route. Therefore, it would make sense for them to inform the offenders, and make sure these scary and dangerous dogs are removed or enclosed. Maybe fines or bribes or whatever.....
I've heard of pilgrims giving up their camino because of dog attacks. I wondered if I would .... but early on, probably at Villavieja, made a decision to conquer my own fears... and using various tactics suggested on the Forum... succeeded in overcoming my real fear of dog attack... sort of.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I'm wondering about the dog problem on the Invierno.

Years ago, I was very involved in the conversation about the big barking mastiff in Villavieja, and I am so glad that has been resolved. But he was nothing compared to this. My first experience with the dog outside Barxa do Lor (sometimes two dogs) was on my third Invierno, so I really lucked out the first two times. This was probably the scariest dog experience I’ve ever had on a camino, even though he was chained. But I am hopeful that some official involvement will help with that.

Do you know where the other dogs were that attacked the people you met? I think that, in general, the Invierno is no “worse” than any other untraveled camino in rural Spain in terms of loose dogs. After many years of paralyzing fear, I’ve gotten to the point that I can walk past some loose barking dogs without feeling my heart jump through my chest. @Rebekah Scott was a very good teacher.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Years ago, I was very involved in the conversation about the big barking mastiff in Villavieja, and I am so glad that has been resolved. But he was nothing compared to this. My first experience with the dog outside Barxa do Lor (sometimes two dogs) was on my third Invierno, so I really lucked out the first two times. This was probably the scariest dog experience I’ve ever had on a camino, even though he was chained. But I am hopeful that some official involvement will help with that.

Do you know where the other dogs were that attacked the people you met? I think that, in general, the Invierno is no “worse” than any other untraveled camino in rural Spain in terms of loose dogs. After many years of paralyzing fear, I’ve gotten to the point that I can walk past some loose barking dogs without feeling my heart jump through my chest. @Rebekah Scott was a very good teacher.
Have you tried carrying a small bag of good dog treats....keeping a few of them ever accessible in a pocket for emergencies?
 
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CaroleH

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
Have you tried carrying a small bag of good dog treats....keeping a few of them ever accessible in a pocket for emergencies?
No, Marbe, I haven't. Sometimes carry a few stones in case!! ... though I've learned to use the 'pretend stone throw' effectively and was saved by it along the invierno. In fact, my pretend stone act must be convincing.. used it here in Aust and the dog's owner rushed out and threatened to report me for animal cruelty. He said he saw the 'stone' fly through the air!
 
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CaroleH

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
Years ago, I was very involved in the conversation about the big barking mastiff in Villavieja, and I am so glad that has been resolved.

Do you know where the other dogs were that attacked the people you met?
Laurie, one of the attacks was between Villavieja and Las Medulas. The other, I'm not sure, but before A Rua. Sorry for not collecting all the details.... (in 2018). Should I delete my comment?... don't wish to scare anyone without all the evidence. The two pilgrims were both tall, strapping males, veteran walkers.
Thank you for your previous conversations in the 2017/18 guide re the Villavieja mastiff.
 
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CaroleH

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
My notes from 2018...
In Chantada, Bar Lucas, near the tourismo, was open for the evening meal, lovely food. I stayed in the Hostal Yoel, Aveda. 17E. Adequate but Don’t recommend.

CHANTADA to RODEIRO. (25.8KM) Taxi for about 9km to Penasillas. Bar opened for me and another pilgrim met briefly here, then didn’t charge for cup of tea. If its closed, knock on the door of house on its right where the owner lives. Lovely lady, bar just not always open.

If you keep on to the Hotel Vilaseco, it looks to me like there’s a turnoff after A Lucenza and before Vilaseco. Sara’s video describes how she made the mistake of walking all the way into Peñasillás, but luckily the owners came to get her
Hotel Vilaseco sounds ideal, instead of staying in Chantada... for next time. That would make the following day's stage doable for me (19km). Thanks Laurie.
Or 'As Casas' CR in San Pedro de Viana is another option and it sounds and looks delightful. Thanks Theatregal ... great pics.
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
Diamondi to Belesar

The steep drop down to Belesar was so worthwhile and full of 'wow" moments that it would be a shame to miss it. I was blown away and just had to take photo after photo and sit to write poetry, so I did the descent very slowly with hiking sticks. You need to be careful though if you stop and place packs or pens down... they might roll on without you.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
The walk to Chantada is one to savor, and also one to huff and puff.
if the trail is stone in cement, it is a killer on the feet
This is a perfect description of this stage in a nutshell, Laurie! It was fabulous in all ways: a 10* stage, even if the way up felt a wee bit steep in places. The best day of walking ever, I thought.

I didn't find this stage to be too challenging in terms of what was underfoot, though. I was prepared for the downhill from Diamondi to be terrible, but it was just cobblestones. They are not set in cement, just very old and irregular. It felt like walking the old way, very special. Others have said (and it's very true) that there's no view until right before you get to the bottom.

Hotel Mogay
I stayed here too, and liked it. But after the night before in Torre Vilariño, it felt a bit impersonal.
Eating in Chantada
I really lucked out here.
I gave the chef at Meson Lucus a free hand and what came out was the most beautiful salad with goat cheese and walnuts. Then an omelette with a side of pimntos de padron. For this vegetarian, it was Manna From Heaven. I don't generally take photos of food, but took photos of this!
20190611_205050.jpg 20190611_212815.jpg
I will leave the descriptions of the vineyards, the river, and the forests to others, but it is really gorgeous.
Next post...
 
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