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ranthr

Veteran Member
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C Frances 2005, 2007
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I stayed in Pension Recidencial Viktoria a few km after Ponte Ulla. It is at the N-525, but I walked the camino and took a small road down to the hotel. Seemed new and modern in 2018 and the restaurant had good food.
 

Marbe2

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2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!

If anyone has stayed at The Hotel Via Argentum in Silleda— Do windows open in the bedrooms?​

 

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.
More common stopping points than Lestedo are Ponte Ulla (13 km from Bandeira) or the albergue in Outeiro (18 km from Bandeira). I’ve stayed in both of these places, and the guide has a lot of information about your options there. All of these places for your “last night” will give you a comfortable walk into Santiago the next day (13 km from Lestedo, 18 from the albergue in Outeiro, and about 23 from Ponte Ulla).
I like these options @peregrina2000.

Those bigger towns in the final days are not my favourites and I find them hard to negotiate, so only having one day remaining before needing to be in SdC, I walked to Silleda, then took a taxi to Ponte Ulla for my final night.
 
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Silleda to Ponte Ulla

Both times I’ve walked this way (2018 and 2019), the route between Silleda and Dornelas is unremarkable in my memory. A combination of road walking, quieter paths and a short stretch through woods and back along the road.

I had hoped the 12th century Igrexa de San Martiño de Dornelas would be open. A friend who walked this way the year before, told me there was a beautiful wood ceiling worth a good look. Unfortunately it was closed.
sil4.jpg sil5.jpg
Both times, I’ve also stopped for coffee at the albergue Casa Leiras run by the wonderful Italian couple, Andrea and Cristina. Have had nice talks with them - would really like to stay there sometime.

Just before A Estrada, in a wooded area, is a shrine in a hollowed out tree where people have left notes, photos, trinkets. I don’t remember this being here in 2018. It was a nice place for a rest because someone had built some benches!
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In 2018 there was a cafe on the left side of the road in San Miguel de Castro. Saw no sign of it in 2019.

After a steep descent, it’s a pretty entry into Ponte Ulla, over the bridge and past the Igrexa Santa Maria Magdelena and then up the stairs beside the highway bridge to the albergue / pension O’ Cruceiro. I stayed in a single room with bathroom (20 euro). Very comfortable.
sil1.jpg sil2.jpg
If you’re okay with heights, and can cross about half way across the highway bridge, there is a beautiful view over Ponte Ulla and it’s bridges.
sil3.JPG
This was my last walking day.
 
D

Deleted member 73526

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I usually walk with people who are crazy enough to want to do that no matter where we stay, so I have left as early as 4, maybe even earlier. You just need to set your alarm earlier, @Raggy!
To be clear, my dream scenario is not "Pilgrims mass or bust."
No. I think it would be nice to have a relaxed last day, stopping to smell the roses, enjoying a cup of coffee along the way, finagling an early check in at a super hotel, taking a shower, changing into fresh clothes, and ambling down to take my place in the queue at the cathedral.
 

peregrina2000

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Since we're all thinking of ways to prolong the walk, we should also mention the small off-camino climb that offers a first view of Santiago. Is it Pico Sacro, just after Outeiro?

Yes! On the Vdlp planning thread, we discussed how that would be an easy thing to do from Lestedo. See some ideas on the posts starting around here.
 
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I loved climbing out of Ponte Ulla in the fog at dawn. It was a magical start to the last day of the camino. The last day of a Camino for me is always a day of so much gratitude, so I was very glad to have this quiet walk and gentle entry into Santiago to end the journey.

Of the three ways I've enteted Santiago (on the Francés, the Ingles, and the Sanabres/Invierno) this is my favorite. It's how one sneaks up on the city and then crests a hill by the Ciduad de Cultura to clearly see the spires of the Cathedral straight ahead.

Highlights of the day for me, besides the start, were seeing Pico Sacra emerging from her blanket of fog, a bar about halfway, a little off the way on the lefthand side (very nice people!); the bridge over the railway where that terrible derailment happened, and the stunning Santa Maria a Real de Sar, followed by the clomb up to the center of the city.
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peregrina2000

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Lestedo to Santiago (13 km)

There’s not really much to say, and that’s appropriate since this is usually a time for contemplating and taking stock. But there are a few things on the way worth pointing out.

Others have already mentioned the entrance into Santiago, and the pictures show it best. I agree with the opinion that it’s the nicest Camino entrance into Santiago, because the views of the cathedral are great.

As you cross over the AVE tracks about 4 km before entering Santiago, that bridge is very near the site of the tragic accident that killed almost 100 people on St. James Day in 2013. The train was taking the curve too fast. The bridge became a makeshift memorial, with pictures and stories taped on the the rails. From what I read on my last time by, in 2019, the families of the victims have still not received compensation and it is all tangled up in the courts. So very sad.

Then a happier moment, when you come to the medieval Ponte do Sar, the bridge over the Sar River, at the bottom of one last hill up into the Plaza Galicia. The Colegiata do Sar, a Romanesque church nearby, had buttresses added in later centuries. When you go inside, you can imagine that the height was truly a wonder in its day, but the architects must have gotten ahead of the engineers. Thankfully, the buttresses have kept the building standing. Part of the cloister remains, along with a museum of medieval art. If you don’t fancy taking a detour on your way in to town, consider a return visit, because it’s quite nice.

And right at the bridge, there is a road leading up to the futuristic Cidade da Cultura, a large complex built over ten years or so in the early 2000s, with horror stories of cost overruns and expensive modifications needed to make the design work. I think the last building of the plan was never built. It has never become much of a hot spot, and for years the library building was totally empty — I was told they ran out of money before they got around to installing the collection. I have been up there twice, once to just walk around, because after all who wants to stop walking? I think it was 2015 or thereabouts that I walked up and found an exhibit on Amazonian tribal people open in the museum. It was very nicely done, great exposition space inside.

Maybe people should chime in with their favorites “to do” in Santiago. Some don’t do anything, some get ready to head to Finisterre or Muxia as soon as possible, to keep on walking, and some enjoy a few days of rest and enjoy being a tourist. I am pretty sure I speak for many of us when I say that San Martín Pinario has become my go-to place. Its albergue rooms are the perfect mix of creature comforts (clean crisp ironed sheets, private bath) and simple no-frills living in the old seminarian rooms. There are hotel rooms in the building as well, but if I were going to splurge, I think I'd head farther afield.

For years I stayed in the Hotel Costa Vella, which is a very nice hotel with a gorgeous outdoor garden for breakfast and a bar in the afternoon. The family-owned business includes two other hotels on the same street, the Altair, and the Moure. The Costa Vella is traditional old stone walls, flower pots and wood floors; the Altair is modern and boutique-y, and the Moure is contemporary, environmentally sensitive design . So they’ve got you covered no matter what your hotel choice. I’ve stayed in all of them (they move you around if the place is filled up) and definitely prefer the Costa Vella, but they are all very nice. I've also stayed in the parador and Hotel San Francisco and frankly I prefer the latter.

One thing I have never managed to visit, and it was definitely on my list for the camino that never was in 2020, and is also on my list for the camino that is unlikely to be in 2021, is the Ethnographic Museum. Some forum members have really raved about it. On the way there, you could stop for pimientos de padrón at the Bodeguilla San Roque. Not a bad way to end the walk!

edit -- OH NO!!!! After 35 years, the Bodeguilla San Roque has closed its doors. Its two much more recent and much more upscale Bodeguillas, San Lázaro and Santa Marta, remain open (the San Lázaro is right on the Camino Francés as you cross into the city and pass the big arch-like construction Porta Itineris). But they are spiffy and modern, gone is the down home original place. So glad I had one last plate of padrón peppers there in 2019.
 
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MikeJS

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)
Agree wholeheartedly about the San Martin Pinario, but please don’t tell anyone else…. The food there, especially the breakfast, is also very good and plentiful - as is the wine.
The fish market with the associated restaurants is also well worth trying. A touch on the expensive side but very good.
 

Rowena

Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Thank you so much @peregrina2000 for all the time you have put into this thread, and to the other Invierno veterans who have posted the descriptions and beautiful photographs of the walk. I’m sorry we have arrived, just as I am in real life when I reach Santiago. And thanks to @Marbe2 for all the questions, many of which were my questions too.
The Invierno was to have been my 2020 Camino, now put off until, hopefully, spring of 2022. Even if things open up for travel this fall, it will probably be too late in the year, as I want to start at Roncesvalles, taking approximately 42 days to reach Santiago.
I’ve watched Sarah Dhooma’s videos, and would prefer to arrive in Galicia before all that rain sets in. In the fall of 2019 I walked from Porto to Santiago and then on to Muxia and Fisterra in November, and it rained, and rained, and rained...
I have just received my Brierley Invierno guide and holy year credencial from the Forum store, and have planned my stages according to the advice given in the thread, so I’m ready to go when it’s safe to do so. We are behind with the vaccine here in Canada. I’m over 70, but probably won’t receive the vaccine until sometime between April and June.
Is anyone else planning to walk the Invierno in April/May of 2022? It would be wonderful to meet!
Thanks again,
Rowena
 
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Silleda to Ponte Ulla..day 12

Lagging behind a bitters so we'd better get a move on!
Left around 730 and had a coffee and long stop in Banderia

More pilgrims now appearing from the VDLP ..a bit of a shock really as we'd been mostly alone for the past 11 days

We were looking foreword to having a stop in Dornelas but we passed by just one day too early as the young Italian couple on holiday were not reopening until the following day....just our luck!

Met a large group of Spanish pilgrims walking from Ourense...they were walking about 15 km a day and then being picked up by coach at the end of the walk.
Taken back to their hotel and then resuming at the pick up point the following day
A really friendly and happy group who shared their figs and nuts with us

At one stage we passed a hollowed out tree where people had put medals and pictures of family and saints
I decided to add my Mums mortuary card to the display
So.....if anyone is passing by that tree in the future, please say "hello" to Elazabeth McGrath.
Maybe she will still be there if we walk that way again. image.jpeg

Pension OCrucerio is a lovely hostal.
Room with a huge bathroom was €35
They also have an albergue at €12
Had a lovely late lunch with Peregrina 2000 and Alan from Australia..beautiful food
Can hardly wait for tomorrow!!
 
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Annette,
I am wondering when you stayed here. I had a room with a huge bathroom when I went through in 2017, but it had disappeared and only a small bathroom with shower was there in 2019.
Hi
We stayed there in early July 2019
It was a bathroom with a shower
I think it was at the very end of the corridor
 
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Maybe people should chime in with their favorites “to do” in Santiago.
Oh, that's a fun idea!

Connecting with forum/walking friends in Santiago over long sobremesas, eating pimentos de padron wherever I can find them, tea and breakfast at the Tertulia, mass at the cathedral and English-language mass offerred by Fr Manny, walking in the city, buying a few small presents for absent friends, just being there and enjoying the vibe.

Other than an exhibit of camino artfacts at the Cidade de Cultura in 2015, I never get around to going to any museums in Santiago.

Thank you so much for this thread, Laurie, and to everyone for your beautiful contributions. It's been a joy.
 
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Oh, that's a fun idea!

Connecting with forum/walking friends in Santiago over long sobremesas, eating pimentos de padron wherever I can find them, tea and breakfast at the Tertulia, mass at the cathedral and English-language mass offerred by Fr Manny, walking in the city, buying a few small presents for absent friends, just being there and enjoying the vibe.

Other than an exhibit of camino artfacts at the Cidade de Cultura in 2015, I never get around to going to any museums in Santiago.

Thank you so much for this thread, Laurie, and to everyone for your beautiful contributions. It's been a joy.
JUST BEING THERE...

That says it all..... for me anyway..
Now I hate shopping...
Any kind of shopping!
I avoid shopping like the plague
However!!!
This all changes when we get to Santiago
Those trinket shops are like a magnet to me and while I'm in and out of every one of "himself" drinks copious amounts of coffee in the cafes
Magnets, key rings, beads, pictures ...I just load up and that's my shopping experience done and dusted till we return again.
We also just like to sit at the cafes and just watch the world go by and it's such a delight to see the pilgrims entering the the streets from whatever Camino they've just walked ...some crying with joy and some smiling wirh happiness and
Meeting up with others that we've met on the way
Now I just want to get back there again
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Past OR future Camino
2022
Lestedo to Santiago (13 km)

Maybe people should chime in with their favorites “to do” in Santiago. Some don’t do any

For years I stayed in the Hotel Costa Vella, which is a very nice hotel with a gorgeous outdoor garden for breakfast and a bar in the afternoon. The family-owned business includes two other hotels on the same street, the Altair, and the Moure.
Unfortunately, none of these three hotels are currently accepting bookings on their websites for any dates in 2021.

I am not sure if this means that they are being cautious or if it is more permanent. 🙁
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
alk the Invierno in April/May of 2022? It would be wonderful to meet!
Thanks again,
Rowena

Rowena! Glad a lot of your questions were answered! I still have a few more.
Like...on the CF, Is there a listing of albergues open for the Invierno In the Winter months? If not, it might be helpful as it is promoted as a winter option for the CF. Would you or have you walked this route this route between November - February and what were the conditions and services like?
 

Marbe2

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Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
One time we we took a private tour with a historian who took us around the town to various places and explained how these places were significant...for the early pilgrims. We also had a fun tapas tour with this same historian and had a fixed meal with friends who met us in SdC.

Another time we entered ScD for the Triduum liturgies which was a perfect way to end the CF. The processions were very moving....

Another-time we wanted to veg. So we stayed at the Hotel Bonaval which had 24hour breakfast included. Some people indicated air-con did not work well, but we didn't get there till beginning of Nov. so was not an issue. All we did was eat breakfast all day, and sleep for two days

A couple of times we focused on trying different restaurants...sitting enjoying a glass of wine and watching the pilgrims walk in....we just strolled around the city.
 
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I am not sure if this means that they are being cautious or if it is more permanent.
I so hope that's caution! I have a soft spot for the Altair because I've stayed there twice and am very touched by the kindness of the staff. They booked a salon appointment for my friend without batting an eye, and the second time I was there after a gap of four years, the receptionist rembered the previous stay and asked how she was.

The only drawback is that it's so comfortable leaving the room can be a challenge.
 

CaroleH

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Maybe people should chime in with their favorites “to do” in Santiago. I am pretty sure I speak for many of us when I say that San Martín Pinario has become my go-to place. Its albergue rooms are the perfect mix of creature comforts (clean crisp ironed sheets, private bath) and simple no-frills living in the old seminarian rooms. There are hotel rooms in the building as well, but if I were going to splurge, I think I'd head farther afield.
Sad this camino is coming to an end but nice to re-experience those feelings even just a little bit from afar. Have felt like we've been on a journey together, loved reminiscing with you all, and grateful to @peregrinna2000 for leading us out of muddy holes, drenching rain, angry dogs and closed facilities. Plus we now have so many off-camino attractions that just have to be checked out, we all need to go again. Would be lovely to catch up with any of you on the Invierno. Who knows, maybe in 2022 or later. . .

From Ponte Ulla this time I just followed the arrows and fragments of memory, had no guide (that's a first for me who loves paper maps and detailed guides) and it was lovely. Ambling along, stopping to contemplate and scribble poetry, meditating on everything, rejoicing at the sight of the cathedral, yet again.

Thank you for the great photos everyone. Sorry I didn't get my act together to share mine, in spite of Laurie's detailed instructions. Life!
Pico Sacro... on our first camino in 2006 we hid our packs in the bushes at its base and climbed to the top. Great view. Recommend.

Santiago has grown on me over the years, as we've learned to get away from the tourist aspect and have friends to catch up with. Cidade da Cultura ...was interesting to visit, when there's an exhibition on... and for the views. For an upmarket dining splurge we tried 'Abastos 2' at the the Mercado de Abastos and that was a great, if expensive, experience.
San Martin Pinario (thanks Laurie) has also become our go-to place, especially as you can forward luggage/suitcases to them and they'll keep them until you arrive. However, in 2018, in a mini heat wave, it was very uncomfortably hot in our monk's room under the eaves, so we transferred to one of the hotel rooms. It was nicer and bigger but still no air conditioning, and I wouldn't do that again.
The rooftop of the cathedral is worth a visit.

Thanks everyone. Sniff sniff. Buen camino.
 

peregrina2000

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Staff member
Pico Sacro... on our first camino in 2006 we hid our packs in the bushes at its base and climbed to the top. Great view. Recommend.
@CaroleH, I don’t know anyone else who has walked up here, can you describe it a bit more? On a road? Walking trail? Lots of people? Since it’s such a traditional and well known site in Galicia, I wonder if the crowds head up and you find tchotchke sellers and chiringuitos, etc. Or just a quiet contemplative viewing spot over lots of Galicia.

The legend of Pico Sacro (which I posted on another thread, but for those who haven’t seen it):

Legend has it that Queen Lupa sent the two disciples carrying Santiago’s body up to the Pico Sacro for burial. She did that knowing that a dragon lived there, which would devour them all. The disciples escaped by making the sign of the cross, and brought the body safely to Santiago. More stories here.

And now you know how the Albergue Reina Lupa got its name!
 
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Left Ponte Ulla very early in the morning
A lot of fog and mist and soon passed the Outeiro albergue where we stayed in 2008
Surprised to hear that only 4 pilgrims had stayed there the previous night

The way then passed through the suburbs and across the rail bridge wher 79 people were killed in 2013 when the renfe train derailed

It looked so sad where people had left mementoes of their loved ones who had died there
At a crossroads and a few meters off the Camino is the Bar Rosende ....also an albergue where we had a long stop and chatted to others
Then it was an emotional time seeing the spires of the cathedral and once again met the Argentinian man from Chantada
A lovely gesture when he reached across to hold my hand
What really set me off though was that just in front of us was the taggle taggle group of Spanish pilgrims that we'd met had gathered together with their Extramedura flag held high as they moved off as one.
We followed them into the square and there it was....the Cathedral
We just sat back against a wall and marvelled at the whoLe scene

As VN walking said, this is our favourite entrance into Santiago ..its short and sweet and not as torturous as that on the CF

Stayed at the Hostal Hortus for two nights ...a small place about 5 minutes from the square and pretty inexpensive for where it's situated.....I think it was about €120 for the room only for two nights
The rooms and bathroom are small and there is no air con but more importantly for us it had a little garden at the back
 
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Marbe2

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Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
QUESTION...if we decided to do the Invierno in Oct or Nov. 2021...do you think we would need reservations for the last stages?
 
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peregrina2000

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If anyone has stayed at The Hotel Via Argentum in Silleda— Do windows open in the bedrooms?

I forgot to say that I have written to them to ask this question. No response yet. But I notice that on their website, you can see that some of the rooms have small balconies with nice views. So I would go for one of those rooms unless you know that the windows open, because from the picture of the outside of the hotel, it could be one of those places where the windows open, if at all, for an inch or two.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I forgot to say that I have written to them to ask this question. No response yet. But I notice that on their website, you can see that some of the rooms have small balconies with nice views. So I would go for one of those rooms unless you know that the windows open, because from the picture of the outside of the hotel, it could be one of those places where the windows open, if at all, for an inch or two.

Thanks so much! Yes, I too saw the room with the balcony, but not sure it would be available. There does seem to be some double rooms with balconies...
If you hear anything letme know. Right now I am trying to set up different options, with distances.....so not yet settled on where we would stay on this stretch...but definitely private rooms with ventilation....
 
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Deleted member 73526

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QUESTION...if we decided to do the Invierno in Oct or Nov. 2021...do you think we would need reservations for the last stages?
The section that might concern you is after the Invierno merges with the Sanabres. I noticed that someone upthread mentioned that they noticed that the way became more crowded after Lalin. Hehe. Everything is relative.

Thinking about the two times that I've walked the Camino Sanabres:

In late November 2017, I was aware of five other pilgrims on roughly the same section of the Camino as me, but one of them was a day ahead of me (and in touch via WhatsApp), two were walking the same stages but mostly staying at different accommodations, and two were just emerging from the albergue at Outeiro as I walked past on my last day. Definitely no bed race.

In late September 2019, there were more people on the route. After experiencing a couple of pilgrim bubbles (i.e. near fully occupied albergues in Tabara and Cea), one of my walking companions got a bit anxious and insisted on making reservations for the final stages into Santiago. It turned out that these were unnecessary. We saw other pilgrims here and there but only a handful were staying at the same places as us.
 

Rowena

Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Rowena! Glad a lot of your questions were answered! I still have a few more.
Like...on the CF, Is there a listing of albergues open for the Invierno In the Winter months? If not, it might be helpful as it is promoted as a winter option for the CF. Would you or have you walked this route this route between November - February and what were the conditions and services like?

Hi Marbe2,
I haven’t walked any Camino in winter, but I have walked in the first half of
November and it was vey rainy and windy. Sarah’s videos were done a month later, if I recall correctly, and the weather was even worse, with flooding and lots of mud. I don’t know if I would have wanted to carry on every day wet and cold like that!
So no, I would try in the future to be arriving in Santiago by the end of October. The Portugués was ideal for me in the fall, because it was short enough to avoid being too hot at the beginning or too cold at the end. Besides, in the cold weather there is more gear required, which would need to be carried if the weather was mild.
In 2019, after the end of October, I found that several albergues had already closed on the Muxia Fisterra loop. I think you would have to check with them individually closer to the time. I book ahead from home as little as possible, just the first two or three nights and my stay in Santiago.
Buen Camino!
 
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CaroleH

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Oops, I made a mistake. Sorry everyone. I've now checked old guide books (as I should have done before writing) and photo album and it wasn't Pico Sacro we went up. The old Ben Cole guide book calls it a 'castro' , just before the big descent into Puente Ulla. I should have realised Pico Sacro is the much higher pointy hill seen from the top of the 'castro'. Much more exciting..

There is no castle at the top of this smaller hill, but a stone rotunda which was a great shade and rest spot on a very hot day, with 360 degree views. Of course, this may have changed since 2006.

Photos below are grainy images taken from my old photos. Hopefully they'll show Pico Sacro in the distance, and the rotunda on top of the castro.



FullSizeRender 3.jpg FullSizeRender 2.jpg FullSizeRender 4.jpg
 

peregrina2000

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it wasn't Pico Sacro we went up. The old Ben Cole guide book calls it a 'castro' , just before the big descent into Puente Ulla.
Yes, that’s the Pico Sacro in the distance of your shot. I once walked up to that castro, too, @CaroleH, which is the Spanish term for those prehistoric hill forts, but all I found was a place filled with trash under a covering. Nothing much renovated that I could see. So that is not an ascent I would recommend, except for the nice view you got of Pico Sacro! I remember it being really hot that day as well.

If some forum member undertakes the ascent to Pico Sacro, please report back!

The Casa del Casal, the Lestedo Casa Rural, has some information on its website. The photo shows a nice mirador with good views. In addition, it seems there are a couple of caves up there (where the dragon lived) -- one seems a bit dangerous, the other easier to enter. For those who are really interested, there is a Centro de Interpretacion about Pico Sacro in Lestedo. There you can find out all about its geology, its legends, its religious significance.

If anyone has stayed at The Hotel Via Argentum in Silleda— Do windows open in the bedrooms?
Just heard back from the hotel that yes indeed their windows do open!

Like...on the CF, Is there a listing of albergues open for the Invierno In the Winter months? If not, it might be helpful as it is promoted as a winter option for the CF.
There is no similar list for the Invierno that I know of. That’s probably due to the fact that the Invierno has so few private albergues, which are the accommodations that tend to close in winter on the Francés. The private pensiones are not geared to Invierno pilgrims, and are likely to remain open year round. The one place we had some questions was in Las Médulas, since its accommodations are directed at the tourist trade, which drops off in winter. The hotel at the entrance of town seems to open and close on a whim, but the Agoga and Casa Socorro both confirmed to me via email that they are open year round.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Yes, that’s the Pico Sacro in the distance of your shot. I once walked up to that castro, too, @CaroleH, which is the Spanish term for those prehistoric hill forts, but all I found was a place filled with trash under a covering. Nothing much renovated that I could see. So that is not an ascent I would recommend, except for the nice view you got of Pico Sacro! I remember it being really hot that day as well.

If some forum member undertakes the ascent to Pico Sacro, please report back!

The Casa del Casal, the Lestedo Casa Rural, has some information on its website. The photo shows a nice mirador with good views. In addition, it seems there are a couple of caves up there (where the dragon lived) -- one seems a bit dangerous, the other easier to enter. For those who are really interested, there is a Centro de Interpretacion about Pico Sacro in Lestedo. There you can find out all about its geology, its legends, its religious significance.


Just heard back from the hotel that yes indeed their windows do open!


There is no similar list for the Invierno that I know of. That’s probably due to the fact that the Invierno has so few private albergues, which are the accommodations that tend to close in winter on the Francés. The private pensiones are not geared to Invierno pilgrims, and are likely to remain open year round. The one place we had some questions was in Las Médulas, since its accommodations are directed at the tourist trade, which drops off in winter. The hotel at the entrance of town seems to open and close on a whim, but the Agoga and Casa Socorro both confirmed to me via email that they are open year round.


@peregrina2000 Thanks so much for info regarding bedroom window access at the Hotel Via Argentum...Looks like a great place to relax and spoil ourselves! Glad to hear that some accommodations in Las Medulas are open all year as well as most other towns having accommodations available throughout the year. We would like to be able to walk according to plan without having to resort to a taxi, due to an unexpected closure. Normally, I just book through Booking.com and am reasonably confident that the accommodations won’t easily shut down unexpectedly. However, some of the accommodations on the Invierno require direct booking so they may be more prone to close without notice. Of course, I will reconfirm the day before that we are comng, which I do not normally do when using booking.com.
 
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D

Deleted member 73526

Guest
Is there a listing of albergues open for the Invierno In the Winter months?
There is no similar list for the Invierno that I know of. That’s probably due to the fact that the Invierno has so few private albergues, which are the accommodations that tend to close in winter on the Francés.
If you open the albergue detail page on Gronze, there is usually a section for "Datos Basicos" that includes the albergue's dates of operation and closed periods - For example, the Albergue de peregrinos de Xagoaza has the following information.

Datos básicos
Exclusivo para peregrinos:
Disponibilidad (meses inclusives): Todo el año
Hora de apertura: No tiene
Hora de cierre: No tiene

Unfortunately, the information is sometimes unreliable.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Hi Marbe2,
I haven’t walked any Camino in winter, but I have walked in the first half of
November and it was vey rainy and windy. Sarah’s videos were done a month later, if I recall correctly, and the weather was even worse, with flooding and lots of mud. I don’t know if I would have wanted to carry on every day wet and cold like that!
So no, I would try in the future to be arriving in Santiago by the end of October. The Portugués was ideal for me in the fall, because it was short enough to avoid being too hot at the beginning or too cold at the end. Besides, in the cold weather there is more gear required, which would need to be carried if the weather was mild.
In 2019, after the end of October, I found that several albergues had already closed on the Muxia Fisterra loop. I think you would have to check with them individually closer to the time. I book ahead from home as little as possible, just the first two or three nights and my stay in Santiago.
Buen Camino!

Thanks Rowena. Actually we have been on the CF in late February to the early April and have encountered lots of snow, rain and icy conditions. That really does not bother us. If it is muddy we stay n the roads!

If you or anyone has walked both caminos routes in November is there any real difference weatherwise between Ponferrada and SdC? Is the Invierno actually warmer than the CF in November? Or, is it just that the elevation On the Invierno does not reach the height of OCebriero making the liklihood of significant snow less?
 
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Deleted member 73526

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If you or anyone has walked both caminos routes in November is there any real difference weatherwise between Ponferrada and SdC? Is the Invierno actually warmer than the CF in November? Or, is it just that the elevation On the Invierno does not reach the height of OCebriero making the liklihood of significant snow less?
Climate graphs show Ponferrada and SdC to have roughly similar temperatures and hours of daylight in November. But SdC has about twice as much precipitation.

Correos suggests that the Camino de Invierno was conceived to give people an alternative to O'Cebriero's peak which can be impassable due to snow:
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
The Ribeira Sacra is its own microclimate (more mediterranian than the generally Atlantic weather of Galicia), which is why there are Vineyards there and have been since the time of the Romans.
Thank you @VNwalking. Informative! I looked on google and this region appears to cover from about Quiroga to Chantada along the Sil river, indeed a mediteranean climate but with 700-800mm of rain. However, another text includes Ponferrada. The articles mention the area near the canyon can be quite windy as well.
 
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FreeCat

El gato libre
Past OR future Camino
1340
Sobradelo is the first town you will come to, and it has all services. For accommodations, the only game in town is Bar Mar, where there is an albergue of sorts. I have no first hand experience, because I always walk from Médulas to Barco de Valdeorras. I have been photographed for his facebook page, though, a tradition in Bar Mar.

Hi Lauri.
I have stayed at Bar Mar 3 times. The last one in October 2020.
Great. They are rooms with 4 or 5 beds with sheets and duvet. Also towel. The price now is € 18 per person and includes washing and drying clothes and breakfast at the time you tell them.

My favorite place to stop is across the street from Bar Mar at the Centro Social. Very nice people, home-cooked food with good prices.

If you walk down into town, there is a good restaurant at the other side of the historical bridge. I think it was @Rebekah who recommended it and has eaten there.

Restaurante Mesón Museo is called.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I am trying to organize info regarding Restaurants/ bars/accommodations for my Invierno walk. Hours included if listed on Google maps. Several places previously listed do not appear to be up and running...??? Thanks to all involved in this thread especially @peregrina2000.
Any corrections or additions are much appreciated. I like services to be condensed in one spot. So I can access phone numbers quickly...

PONFERRADA TO LAS MEDULAS

Toral de Mayo.

Can not find references to bar puente and Cafe Nogaledo or Cafe Noga ...
On google maps?

Have seen references in 2019 guide and Brierley as well as our discussion 25 km on C. invierno. but I can only find the following on google maps:

Alondra Casa Lito (cuuently take out, closed Sunday)
987-421194. Hrs. Opens 12 noon.

Teteria Filandon bar
opens 4pm -10pm.

Bolito Pasteleria
c. vina Val
619 588434 (no hours listed)


Antonio Rodriguez Bianco
Store (food market)
Right before the bridge


Villalibre de la Jurrisdiccion
both places on main road

BarRuta 98.
Open 24 hours.

Mesa Para 2.
Restaurant
Opens 8am -4pn and 7pm-12am M, W-Sat.,
Sunday 9am-4pm, 7:30pm -12am
Closed Tuesdays.
( this may be the restaurant that Brierley refers to as Cafe Patricia)?



Priaranza del Bierzo

El sito de mi Recreo
T-F 3pm-10pm
Sat. 1-10pm
Sun 12:30pm -10pm
679 69 31 89

On The Main Road
Panaderia Gomez (no hrs listed)
987 42 08 24

La Cantina
open daily. 12pm-4pm, 7pm-12am
646 98 16 16

Estanco Bar Ines 9am-12am
987 42 08 72

Abanco (bank)
M-F 8:15am 14:15pm

Santalla del Bierzo

Ronda Bar
M-Th, Sun, 10am-11pm
F 10am-12am
Sat.10am-11pm.

Cafe Caracol. ...currently closed?

Borrones
Casa Rural Cornnatel Medulas /Restaurant Bar attached. (Saturno & Marisol)
987 420 568

Alquiler Casas Rurales Los Telares el Bierzo
657838940

Restaurant Las Vegas-on Route N 536
987420550
Opens 9am



Las Medulas

Hotel Rural Agoga,
private places in Las Médulas, end of village, open throughout the winter email Breakfast arranged for early risers.
Carretera Las Cuevas, s/n, 24442 Las Médulas
reservas@ruralagoga.com
FAX: 987 422 844 | Teléfono móvil: 699 722 488

Albergue/ Hostel La Senda
Carucedo Highway 40, 24442, Las Médulas.
Tel: 640244705 - 66429165

Cabanas Rurales Lares
www.laresrural.com
tel:626108522
mailto:lares.rural@gmail.com
11 Las Médulas, 24442 León
Looks like two apartments , 1) 1-4 persons, 2 bedrooms; 2) 1-2 persons
Both have kitchens, heat and bathrooms.
No food available

Casa Rural Socorro
Tel: 987422858
Camino Lleres, 2A, 24442 Las Médulas, León

Casa Socorro in town, rooms in a private home with access to kitchen. Pilgrim opinions vary from very good to not so great. To find the Casa Socorro, turn left from the lavadero, then right, then quick left; it is very close to the town church. Also open year round.

Hotel Medulio:
Tel. 987 422 833; 987 422 889.
http://www.hotel-medulio.com/ Average roadside hotel
They also operate something like an albergue, but not recommended.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I recall that some needed transportation along the Invierno.

There appears to be a regional train which we discussed before-going from A Rua to Montefurado.

This regional Train leaves Ponferrada at 6:15am and goes to Ourense and beyond. But it stops in a number of places along the route of the Invierno up to Monforte de Lemos that might be convenient If one has to shorten a stage. It appears to run daily but advise you check the schedule closer to your departure date.


PONFERRADA - 6:15am
villadepalos - 6:25am
Toral de Los Vados - 6:28am
Covas - 6:37am
QUERENO - 6:44am
SOBRADELO. 6:52am
O BARCO DE VALDEORRAS 6:58am
VILAMARTIN. 7:04am
A RUA-PETIN. 7:09am
MONTEFURADO. 7:18am
SAN CLODIO-QUIROGA. 7:33am
MONFORTE DE LEMOS. 8:06am
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I know on the CF some partners can’t walk the whole way. They inquire about public transportation for them and then meet them later. Knowing that there would be public transportation option(s) available will make the Invierno more accessible.
Not sure if this is currently running but this bus may be running when the camino route opens up. Check the website before you go. Monbus.es
 

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Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Continuing on means of transportation, Charitto had mentioned that there was bus transport through Autocares Sánchez. www.sanchezbus.es


The route is OBARCO -MONFORTE-OURENSE
 

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Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
There are Monbus routes from LALIN to SdC with quite a few stops in towns between them. So if someone needs a rest day or is injured, and/or their partner keeps walking ...there are lots of towns they could meet up at.

The 7am weekday bus stops, 14:50 bus, 16:50, and 19:50 weekday buses currently stop at the following towns ...See photos There are also a number of express buses leaving from Lalin to SdC.
Weekend buses run less frequently so check the schedule at www.monbus.es
 

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FreeCat

El gato libre
Past OR future Camino
1340
Hello everyone.

I have created a map of the Camino de Invierno and would like to share it with all of you.

On the map I detail my stages made in 2017 and 2019, and also the different shortcuts and variants that we find on the route (some are described in this thread). Also accommodation for pilgrims, cafes, restaurants and rest areas. I will continue to update the map with fountains and interesting places to visit.

There are stages with more than 25 kilometers, but it is possible to divide them or plan them differently.

This is the link to the map:


The map is in Spanish. My English is poor and I write to you thanks to Google Translator.

I describe the different variants in the following lines:

01. Ponferrada - Las Médulas

Alternative route 1.
It is an unmarked shortcut that does not go up to Villavieja and Cornatel Castle, avoid climbing the 300 meters of unevenness to the castle, the subsequent descent, and we subtract 4 kilometers from this long stage.

02. Las Medulas - Sobradelo

Alternative route 2.
It leads us directly to the Hostal La Torre to continue further along the official route.

Alternative route 3.
Another short cut that leads us to a fountain.

03.Sobradelo - A Rúa de Valdeorras

Alternative route 4.
It is not signposted and it is not recommended, as it runs along the shoulder of a road with little traffic and the only advantage it has is that it is shorter and without slopes.

Alternative route 5.
It leads us directly to the Xagoaza hostel.

Alternative route 6.
It is the route what John Brierley describes in his guide from O Barco to Penouta.

Alternative route 7.
Straight and shorter section through the center of the town where we find all kinds of services.

04. To Rúa de Valdeorras - Quiroga

Alternative route 8.
It has been signposted for a long time, as it was the old route. It leads us directly to Soldón along the old disused road. It is shorter and with hardly any unevenness. We only need to be careful when crossing the low-traffic N-120 road.

IMG_20190811_150156.jpg
Official route


IMG_20190811_150209.jpg
Alternative route.


05. Quiroga - Monforte de Lemos.

We have always divided this stage, but Google Maps does not allow me more layers.

Alternative route 9.
Small shortcut that many pilgrims have taken without knowing, as it continues straight on a road with little traffic and does not pass through the town of San Clodio.

Alternative route 10.
It is the route that they must walk from Barxa de Lor to Salcedo if the accommodation is in that town. The following day, following the route, they link up with the official route before reaching A Pobra do Brollón.

Alternative route 11.
It is the old route that takes us to the walls of the medieval fortress of Monforte de Lemos.

06. Monforte de Lemos - Chantada

Alternative route 12.
Small shortcut following the lightly trafficked road in a straight line to Moreda. If we want to visit the Romanesque church we must deviate a few meters at the end.

07. Chantada - Rodeiro

Alternative route 13.
It is known as Variante por Mouricios and avoids going up to Monte Faro. In winter with snow or a lot of fog it is recommended. It is signposted with yellow arrows, it is shorter and rises to a lower elevation than of Monte Faro.

DSCN0940.JPG
Yellow arrow in the stone.

Alternative route 14.
If we decide to go up to Monte Faro, we have the possibility of taking this shortcut that leads us from the hermitage to Rodeiro along a much shorter route, but with a long and steep descent at the beginning, not suitable for all audiences.

08. Rodeiro - A Laxe

There is an alternative route that runs along an agricultural service road without traffic, parallel to the PO-533 road. There are 16 km of asphalt from Rodeiro to Lalín.

It was only recommended when in seasons of heavy rain many sections of this stage were flooded. In recent months the Xunta de Galicia has improved the route and that problem no longer exists. Emiliano Meijone (Lalín Centro Hostel) has verified this in recent days.

I hope it will be useful to clarify doubts and plan stages.
Saludos ;-)
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Hello everyone.

I have created a map of the Camino de Invierno and would like to share it with all of you.

On the map I detail my stages made in 2017 and 2019, and also the different shortcuts and variants that we find on the route (some are described in this thread). Also accommodation for pilgrims, cafes, restaurants and rest areas. I will continue to update the map with fountains and interesting places to visit.

There are stages with more than 25 kilometers, but it is possible to divide them or plan them differently.

This is the link to the map:


The map is in Spanish. My English is poor and I write to you thanks to Google Translator.

I describe the different variants in the following lines:

01. Ponferrada - Las Médulas

Alternative route 1.
It is an unmarked shortcut that does not go up to Villavieja and Cornatel Castle, avoid climbing the 300 meters of unevenness to the castle, the subsequent descent, and we subtract 4 kilometers from this long stage.

02. Las Medulas - Sobradelo

Alternative route 2.
It leads us directly to the Hostal La Torre to continue further along the official route.

Alternative route 3.
Another short cut that leads us to a fountain.

03.Sobradelo - A Rúa de Valdeorras

Alternative route 4.
It is not signposted and it is not recommended, as it runs along the shoulder of a road with little traffic and the only advantage it has is that it is shorter and without slopes.

Alternative route 5.
It leads us directly to the Xagoaza hostel.

Alternative route 6.
It is the route what John Brierley describes in his guide from O Barco to Penouta.

Alternative route 7.
Straight and shorter section through the center of the town where we find all kinds of services.

04. To Rúa de Valdeorras - Quiroga

Alternative route 8.
It has been signposted for a long time, as it was the old route. It leads us directly to Soldón along the old disused road. It is shorter and with hardly any unevenness. We only need to be careful when crossing the low-traffic N-120 road.

View attachment 94618
Official route


View attachment 94619
Alternative route.


05. Quiroga - Monforte de Lemos.

We have always divided this stage, but Google Maps does not allow me more layers.

Alternative route 9.
Small shortcut that many pilgrims have taken without knowing, as it continues straight on a road with little traffic and does not pass through the town of San Clodio.

Alternative route 10.
It is the route that they must walk from Barxa de Lor to Salcedo if the accommodation is in that town. The following day, following the route, they link up with the official route before reaching A Pobra do Brollón.

Alternative route 11.
It is the old route that takes us to the walls of the medieval fortress of Monforte de Lemos.

06. Monforte de Lemos - Chantada

Alternative route 12.
Small shortcut following the lightly trafficked road in a straight line to Moreda. If we want to visit the Romanesque church we must deviate a few meters at the end.

07. Chantada - Rodeiro

Alternative route 13.
It is known as Variante por Mouricios and avoids going up to Monte Faro. In winter with snow or a lot of fog it is recommended. It is signposted with yellow arrows, it is shorter and rises to a lower elevation than of Monte Faro.

View attachment 94620
Yellow arrow in the stone.

Alternative route 14.
If we decide to go up to Monte Faro, we have the possibility of taking this shortcut that leads us from the hermitage to Rodeiro along a much shorter route, but with a long and steep descent at the beginning, not suitable for all audiences.

08. Rodeiro - A Laxe

There is an alternative route that runs along an agricultural service road without traffic, parallel to the PO-533 road. There are 16 km of asphalt from Rodeiro to Lalín.

It was only recommended when in seasons of heavy rain many sections of this stage were flooded. In recent months the Xunta de Galicia has improved the route and that problem no longer exists. Emiliano Meijone (Lalín Centro Hostel) has verified this in recent days.

I hope it will be useful to clarify doubts and plan stages.
Saludos ;-)

I am processing your suggestions slowly...up to O Barco
Made notes on various options, near Ermita del Carmen, which peregrina 2000, Charito and others also described; entrance into Puente dDF to L Torre Hostal. Exiting PdDF viaTalleres Dupont short cut; The alternate route down from Entoma, which looks like a savings of abt a 40m climb.

Thank you , I will keep up the notes on the other sections. Your post was appreciated!
 

filly

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2022 Mid-May Almería to Córdoba
When I stayed at the Xunta albergue at Outeiro, having bought provisions at Ponte Ulla, I recall the hospitaleiro (a lady) was really angry and unhelpful regarding the use of the kitchen as she provided meals herself...

Some years ago as the fateful train accident had taken place.

I am scheduled to return this year, leaving Seville on 26 August. Not ideal schedule but accommodating a fellow hiker from France.Hope to take Laurie’s detour to the waterfalls!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
When I stayed at the Xunta albergue at Outeiro, having bought provisions at Ponte Ulla, I recall the hospitaleiro (a lady) was really angry and unhelpful regarding the use of the kitchen as she provided meals herself...

Some years ago as the fateful train accident had taken place.

I am scheduled to return this year, leaving Seville on 26 August. Not ideal schedule but accommodating a fellow hiker from France.Hope to take Laurie’s detour to the waterfalls!
Hi, Filly,
That hospitalera is now gone, as is her little cabin out back where she made meals. Recent comments in Gronze refer to a hospitalero, so that is consistent with what I have heard.

I had really hoped to spend my last night in Pazo dos Galegos on my next Invierno, but I was so sad to read that it is closed for good.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
@FreeCat I read(post 450)

04. To Rúa de Valdeorras - Quiroga

Alternative route 8.
It has been signposted for a long time, as it was the old route. It leads us directly to Soldón along the old disused road. It is shorter and with hardly any unevenness. We only need to be careful when crossing the low-traffic N-120 road.

I saw arrow crossing to old road on the photo. Gronze’s map does not appear to show where this starts? Can you give us an idea where we can pick this up? Leaving A Rua or further down? Can you be more specific? Thanks!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Does anyone
@FreeCat I read(post 450)

04. To Rúa de Valdeorras - Quiroga

Alternative route 8.
It has been signposted for a long time, as it was the old route. It leads us directly to Soldón along the old disused road. It is shorter and with hardly any unevenness. We only need to be careful when crossing the low-traffic N-120 road.

I saw arrow crossing to old road on the photo. Gronze’s map does not appear to show where this starts? Can you give us an idea where we can pick this up? Leaving A Rua or further down? Can you be more specific? Thanks!
Does anyone know exactly where the old road to Soldon starts which Freecat refers to and shows arrow towards?
 
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Does anyone know exactly where the old road to Soldon starts which Freecat refers to and shows arrow towards?
The arrow shown in Freecat's post is at the bottom of the long steep descent from Bendilló to the highway N-120.

This is what I wrote re: the route to Soldon:

In June 2019, there appeared to be a route change (from that listed in the forum guide) once the descending path from Bendilló joins the highway N-120.

The old route was still marked with yellow arrows painted on the road that take you across the highway (N-120) and onto an access road into Soldón. There is also now a new mojón that keeps you on the right side of the highway and immediately ascends a steep hill up and beside the right side of the N-120. I didn’t feel like climbing at that point and decided to stick with the old waymarking crossing to the left side of the highway. It was just fine. The first part of the path was a bit overgrown until it joined a tarmac road into Soldon. I expect with the new routing, it may not be maintained and will eventually become completely overgrown. I don’t know where the new ascending route on the right side of the highway ultimately goes.

Waymarking had also been reported as confusing through Soldón but this must have been corrected because it was very clear.
 

FreeCat

El gato libre
Past OR future Camino
1340
I saw arrow crossing to old road on the photo. Gronze’s map does not appear to show where this starts? Can you give us an idea where we can pick this up? Leaving A Rua or further down? Can you be more specific? Thanks!

It is easy. I'll explain it to you with a simple Street View photo.
After leaving the town of Bendilló, we walk steeply down to the N-120 road. A few meters further on we are at this point:


To the right of the red car, we see a Jacobean mojón indicating a climb, and to the left of the car, painted on the asphalt, a yellow arrow that invites us to cross the road.
If we move forward and turn the image to the left, we will see another yellow arrow on the other side of the road indicating the path to follow.
Greetings.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
The arrow shown in Freecat's post is at the bottom of the long steep descent from Bendilló to the highway N-120.

This is what I wrote re: the route to Soldon:

In June 2019, there appeared to be a route change (from that listed in the forum guide) once the descending path from Bendilló joins the highway N-120.

The old route was still marked with yellow arrows painted on the road that take you across the highway (N-120) and onto an access road into Soldón. There is also now a new mojón that keeps you on the right side of the highway and immediately ascends a steep hill up and beside the right side of the N-120. I didn’t feel like climbing at that point and decided to stick with the old waymarking crossing to the left side of the highway. It was just fine. The first part of the path was a bit overgrown until it joined a tarmac road into Soldon. I expect with the new routing, it may not be maintained and will eventually become completely overgrown. I don’t know where the new ascending route on the right side of the highway ultimately goes.

Waymarking had also been reported as confusing through Soldón but this must have been corrected because it was very clear.

Thanks! I was thinking Feecats route to Solden might have started closer to A Rua. I did not realize it was the same. Thanks for both of you clearing this up!
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
A Rúa to Quiroga (26 km)

A Rúa to Quiroga is 26 km. It’s a beautiful stage, especially the first part. Lots of views down to the Sil River. Much of what used to be a LOT of road walking (on untraveled roads) has been taken off road, though there is still a fair amount. Even though the distance is just a bit over the 25 km goal, many people have broken it up into shorter stages. Here are several ways to do that:

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.

2. Second train option. If you sleep in A Rúa and want to walk to Montefurado the next day and return again to A Rúa to sleep, the best option would be to spend the morning in A Rúa doing chores, and then walk the 10 km in the afternoon. Otherwise, you are going to have a LONG wait in Montefurado. The only train option is at 6:14 pm.

3. A Rúa to Soldón is about 20. The apartamentos available for rent are described in detail on p. 23 of the guide. @ranthr and others can chime in with opinions. Soldón is surely a very tiny village without anything going on. But the apartamentos look nice, the owners will do grocery shopping for you, and it is directly on the camino. In summer, it will be a lot more lively, because of the chirringuito (bar) right on the river. The huge pylons that support the highway overhead don’t add to the charm, but they did give shade on a hot sunny day. I have never slept in these apartments, but I spoke with the owner in 2019 when I walked through, and he seemed very nice and interested in pilgrims.

If you choose to go all the way to Quiroga, you will go up and down to the river a couple of times, through nice little hamlets, along the river with gorgeous views, and through vineyards during the latter parts of the stage.

I know that some have shortened the stage into Quiroga a bit by going directly into town along the side of the highway. It’s the LU- 933, which you have been following for kms since leaving A Rúa. A little before Soldón, the 933 merges with the national highway N 120, so the traffic picks up. If you stay on the road, you will not visit the castle of Torrenovas, which isn’t in great shape, but the walk from there has some really pretty parts through green woods and bubbling brooks.

Lots of lodging options in Quiroga, so we are open for opinions! There is a youth hostel, so beware of large exuberant groups of young people. My go-to place is the Quiper, all details in the guide. And hands down my favorite restaurant is the Aroza, which is a little off the main drag. On my first Invierno in 2008, a Cuban woman in a small grocery shop recommended that I try it. That was after we had decided that if the powers that be left it to us, we could figure out how to restore harmony between our respective countries.

I like the town of Quiroga a lot. But in 2019, I walked 2 kms further on to San Clodio, the place where Quiroga’s train station is located. There is a very nice 1 star hotel, the Hotel las Vegas, good food, lovely enclosed outdoor shaded terrace. After a lunch there, I walked down to the river “beach”, where lots of people were enjoying the late afternoon. I also walked out to the church, which has a remnant or two of Romanesque, but wasn’t a must-see site.

Hi, I am working on the A Rua to Quiroga section and I have been following it on Google maps. Have you or anyone followed the road from Soldon, detouring thru Sequerios, over the river, to Las Vegas Hotel in San Clodio. Looks like it would save me at least 1 km. Looking at Quiroga on the Satellite, I might skip it? Also thought this alt.route might be more picturesque.
 

peregrina2000

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Staff member
Hi, I am working on the A Rua to Quiroga section and I have been following it on Google maps. Have you or anyone followed the road from Soldon, detouring thru Sequerios, over the river, to Las Vegas Hotel in San Clodio. Looks like it would save me at least 1 km. Looking at Quiroga on the Satellite, I might skip it? Also thought this alt.route might be more picturesque.
Hi, Marbe2,

Funny you should mention that. When I walked the Invierno with Rebekah, years ago, we went through Sequeiros because I had remembered thinking it was a nice little place. We then decided to keep on going without backtracking, but I know we wound up back on the camino at some later spot and decided we had not done ourselves any favors. But we did not have access to google maps while walking so I can't tell you where we actually went. And we were trying to get to Quiroga, not San Clodio.

But with the advantage of google maps and streetview on my computer I can see that the roads to San Clodio are quite deserted. You go through some vineyards, you cross the river and are near the river (and walking the same route as the RR) for a while, all in all it looks like a pretty pleasant walk.

Quiroga is not a show stopper town, but it has always been friendly to me! You would miss the castle, but it is in an un-renovated state, and you would also miss the nice green tunnel walk after the castle, but these are minor. There is a great restaurant in Quiroga, but the Hotel Las Vegas serves a decent meal, there is a supermarket or two in San Clodio, and all in all if it makes sense for you, I don't think you are "missing out" on anything terribly exceptional.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Thanks, @peregrina2000. I can understand without the advantage of Google Maps, I too would have instinctively continued on and taken the route that brought one to Quiroga.

It is my goal to do this stage from A Rua in one day, so I am lookng to reduce mileage where I can. Also, we may get some nice views crossing (?) over the Sil river near. Thanks.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Continuing to Consolidate info for my Invierno
Do check for possible closings and time changes before walking
Any corrections or additions are welcome

Puente de Domingo Florez (.5km From Quereno Train to OBarco 6:44am daily)

Hostal/Restaurant LaTorre I
Calle Chao do Marco,
Tel: 987460081
www.hrlatorre.com

El BomVita (bar & grill)
Plaza Virgen de la Luz, 24380
Puente de Domingo Flórez,
Open 24 hrs

Meson La Colmena
Calle Núm. 2, 9,
+34 987 46 06 89
M-Th 8am-12am
F 8am-2:30 am
S 12:00pm-2:30am
Sun 12:00pm-12am


Supermarcado Claudio
Av. de Orense, 68,
+34 987 46 01 17
Closed Sundays
Sat. 9-14:00
M-F 9-2pm, 17:00-20:30

Dia
Calle Chao do Marco, s/n, 24380 Puente de Domingo Flórez, León, Spain
ClosedSundays
Sat. 9am-2pm
M-F 9:30am- 2pm & 5:30-8:15pm

Banco Santander
Cajero Automatico, 24hours
Plaza El Toral 2

Centro de Salud Puente de Domingo Florez
Plaza Epifanio Campo Nunez
987 460 426
Saludcastillayleon.e


Sobredelo
5.5km (train 6:52am to OBarco)

Bar Mar – refurbished hostal
Ctra de Entoma 37
988 335 106
8am-12am daily
Has a terrace,washer/dryer

Cafe Pontenova Centro Sozial
Camino Regueiros de Aguas, 12,
8am-12am daily
988 334 844

Carbadella de valdeorass (tapas bar)
Estrada de Entoma 25
650 344 247
9am-1am daily

Pharmacy: Lidia Garcia Lope
Entrada de Entoma 41
988 335 O38
M-F 9-2:30, 4:30-8pm
Sa 10- 1:30pm
Su. Closed

(On the south side of the river)

Restaurant Meson Museo
Carretera Leoncio Fernandez Real 47
9am-8pm

Bakery: Panaderia Fernandez
Estrada Longrono-Vigo
988 335 152


Entoma 2.7 km
Bar Martillo
Rua de Albar 147
9am-1am daily
Terrace

Bodega. 4.4km
Bar San Rogue
Av. Florencio Delgado Gurriaran, 63
8am-12am daily
 
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El Cascayal

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
What a wonderful journey this is. THANK YOU so much Laurie and all the Invierno veterans for this detailed incredible excursion!!! I am just now catching up with all of this. Originally my goal was to peek at it nightly, but no such luck. I started the Invierno in 2019 at Casa Pacita in Barxa de Lor since my Mother became critically ill and I cancelled the loosely planned trip with2 Peregrino friends from the Primitivo. My 95 y.o Mom thankfully improved and she and my family urged me to go ahead with the Invierno. So, I caught up with my friends and missed Ponferrada until Barxa de Lor. Can you guys clarify something for me? I am a bit confused after reading Stage 1. Is one of your recommendations to go from Borrenes to Orellana? Or do you recommend stopping at Borrenes and heading out next day to Mirador de Orellana and then on to Las Medulas? I want to overnight in Sobradelo on the second night. THANKS for all this experienced information. Loving every second.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Orellan is both the name of a town and the name of the best lookout point (mirador). The standard Invierno route doesn’t take you straight to the lookout point, but deposits you in the town of Las médulas. From there it’s about 3 km up to the lookout and then back to town. There is an alternate route from Borrenes that takes you up and around, so that you come into Las Medulas from the “back way.” On that route you walk through the village of Orellan and then arrive at the lookout point. Then it’s an easy walk down into the village of Las Medulas. I took this alternative on my most recent Invierno, and it was great but I was glad to have a GPS. It was about 31 km and about 1100 m elevation, which I think puts it in the vicinity of St. Jean to Roncesvalles.

I think your choice of route and stopping point depend on your preferred walking distance and whether you want to take the time to visit the Medulas, which is a world heritage site. Sobradelo is about 18 km from Las Medulas. And about 25 from Borrenes.

The forum guide explores this in much greater detail, but if it’s still unclear just let us know.

Buen camino, Laurie
 

El Cascayal

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Orellan is both the name of a town and the name of the best lookout point (mirador). The standard Invierno route doesn’t take you straight to the lookout point, but deposits you in the town of Las médulas. From there it’s about 3 km up to the lookout and then back to town. There is an alternate route from Borrenes that takes you up and around, so that you come into Las Medulas from the “back way.” On that route you walk through the village of Orellan and then arrive at the lookout point. Then it’s an easy walk down into the village of Las Medulas. I took this
alternative on my most recent Invierno, and it was great but I was glad to have a GPS. It was about 31 km and about 1100 m elevation, which I think puts it in the vicinity of St. Jean to Roncesvalles.

I think your choice of route and stopping point depend on your preferred walking distance and whether you want to take the time to visit the Medulas, which is a world heritage site. Sobradelo is about 18 km from Las Medulas. And about 25 from Borrenes.

The forum guide explores this in much greater detail, but if it’s still unclear just let us know.

Buen camino, Laurie
Thanks Laurie. I guess my question is: For Stage 1 sleep in Borrenes or sleep in one of the Casa Rurales in Orellan if want to visit Mirador de Orellan on first stage and Las Medulas on the way to Sobradelo for stage 2. Covid permitting, I’m hoping to go sometime in late September to early November & planning with a friend. This time around want to meander and see surrounding sites instead of plowing ahead. This post & all contributors make imagination and dreams soar. Delighted and thankful for all of you. Aymarah
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks Laurie. I guess my question is: For Stage 1 sleep in Borrenes or sleep in one of the Casa Rurales in Orellan if want to visit Mirador de Orellan on first stage and Las Medulas on the way to Sobradelo for stage 2.

Hi, @El Cayascal,

Hmm, this is a tough question, actually, more than I thought when I first read it. But I think that sleeping in the village of Orellán is not really a good fit for you. It’s another few kms from there to the mirador, so if you want to see the mirador on Day 1, you would have to go to the casa rural in Orellán, drop off your pack perhaps, and then continue the few kms to the mirador and then back again to the casa rural. The next day you will have to repeat that stretch again, go past the mirador, then down to the village, and then back up and on to Sobradelo. Not a good plan.

But if you sleep in Borrenes, you will not be able to get to the mirador on day 1 either. Because Borrenes is about 7 kms before the town of Médulas, which is in turn about 3 km below the mirador.

Since the mirador of the Médulas is about 3 km above the town of Médulas, where the museums are, and where you can walk around the weird formations, too, I think you should think about re-jiggering this day. At least if I am understanding your intentions.
 

El Cascayal

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Thanks Laurie! So, at the risk of being a pain in the grass... On Stage 1, is it not recommended to go to Mirador de Orellan? I thought some folks recommended going there in the afternoon. If you do go, where do you recommend for the first night stop, and when do you recommend Las Medulas? 25-29 km or so, give or take. In other words: to Mirador stop somewhere, continue next day to Las Medulas?
From Borrenes to Calle de Arriba LE 62203 to LA Chana 1.3 km. To LE 62221 to Orellan ~3km on to Mirador. Orellan Las Medulas ~ 4.2 km. From Correos maps. Lots of options, has anyone done this and how?
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks Laurie! So, at the risk of being a pain in the grass... On Stage 1, is it not recommended to go to Mirador de Orellan? I thought some folks recommended going there in the afternoon. If you do go, where do you recommend for the first night stop, and when do you recommend Las Medulas? 25-29 km or so, give or take. In other words: to Mirador stop somewhere, continue next day to Las Medulas?
From Borrenes to Calle de Arriba LE 62203 to LA Chana 1.3 km. To LE 62221 to Orellan ~3km on to Mirador. Orellan Las Medulas ~ 4.2 km. From Correos maps. Lots of options, has anyone done this and how?
Hi, Cayascal,

No problem, I hope I didn’t make you think I was getting annoyed with the questions — au contraire, I love the questions! But the only way to go to the mirador before going to the town of Médulas is to take the “back route” through the town of Orellán. Otherwise you will arrive in Médulas without going to the mirador.

I have spent three nights in Las Médulas, and here are the three different ways I have visited the Mirador de Orellán

1. Walk to town of Médulas, shower and drop off my pack, and in the afternoon walk up to the mirador on the nice forested path through chestnuts. That’s about a total of 33 km but the afternoon 6 are pack free and feeling fresh.

2. Walk to town of Médulas, shower and drop off my pack, and in the afternoon miss the short path and unintentionally take a much longer looping path to the mirador. The guide now stresses that it is important to pay attention to which route you take from town up to the mirador:

You can also pick up a map describing various walks around the site. The absolute best place to go for a view is the Orellán lookout. There are several ways to get there. We unintentionally took the 6 km route, so be careful when following the map. The shortest way to Orellán is to go to the hotel complex Agoga, and take the road on the LEFT side of the complex. That will take you to the turn-off for the slightly steep but beautiful pedestrian path up through chestnut forests. When you are at the top, turn left, and you will soon come to the large lookout area.

3. Take the back route described in the guide. I did that on my most recent Invierno, and I left Ponferrada around 6 because I knew it was going to be a long day. I had already visited the gallery, which is right next to the mirador, so I didn’t spend time doing that. I remember getting to the hotel Agoga a little late for lunch, but it was summer and the restaurant was full, so they let me shower and eat well after 4 pm. So it was a long day.

I can think of several forum members who had planned to visit Orellán on the day they walked into Médulas and were just too tired to do that. I had PMs from two of them who wished they had broken the stage from Ponferrada into two — day one to Borrenes, day 2 to Médulas with lots of time to visit. So it just depends on the kind of stages you enjoy. There is a lot of elevation gain from Ponferrada, that’s for sure.

Marbe’s idea is a good one if you want to spend the night in Borrenes. Walk to Borrenes from Ponferrada, rent an ebike for the afternoon ascent to the mirador and return to Borrenes. Next day, walk through Médulas and carry on to Sobradelo. Borrenes to Sobradelo would be about 25 or 26.


I think the confusion is that the sentence below really isn’t an option.
In other words: to Mirador stop somewhere, continue next day to Las Medulas?

The closest place to the Mirador is the town of Las Médulas.
 

filly

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2022 Mid-May Almería to Córdoba
Hi, Filly,
That hospitalera is now gone, as is her little cabin out back where she made meals. Recent comments in Gronze refer to a hospitalero, so that is consistent with what I have heard.

I had really hoped to spend my last night in Pazo dos Galegos on my next Invierno, but I was so sad to read that it is closed for good.
Thanks for the update Laurie... It makes me recall that the reason I so wished to use the kitchen was the purchase of a local trout in Ponte Ulla from a van vendor (with the added purchase of a bottle of wine from a suddenly less frosty hospitalera!)
 
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peregrina2000

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Now that you all have your stages thought out, all Invierno dreamers had better get going as soon as conditions permit, before the crowds arrive. The Association of Municipalities on the Invierno is launching facebook, twitter, and instagram accounts.

 

dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Day 1. Ponferrada to Borrenes (23 km)

No need to introduce people to Ponferrada, the starting point. Lots to enjoy there, so maybe a rest day is in the cards before starting!

The first day has a fairly hefty ascent, up to the Castle of Cornatel, then down to Borrenes.

If you want to shorten the first day more, there is also a public albergue in Villavieja, about 16 km from Ponferrada. Villavieja is a charming little village (with no services), a bit below the castle. It is where the serfs and other castle support lived. The albergue had very spotty and sometimes shoddy service, but the license has recently been awarded to a new person and she gets very good reviews.

If you continue on to Borrenes, you will pass the castle and then have an on-the-road (not heavily traveled road) walk down to Borrenes. There used to be an off-road option, but the motocross people ruined it. In Borrenes, Marisol has accommodation for pilgrims. I’m not sure it is a full-blown albergue yet, but there are places to sleep.

The only debate I can remember over this part has to do with whether it’s worth it to visit the Castle of Cornatel. I have visited it once, but did not return on subsequent visits, mainly because of timing. You can climb around a bit, and there are some nice views, but it isn’t a full blown castle renovation liked Zamora or any of the many castles you guys have probably visited on different caminos.

The other point where people have had very different experiences has to do with bars. There is a good availability along the entire route, but opening times are typically later in the morning than you may see on other caminos. So if you leave early, you are going to find fewer options. In my several Inviernos, I have only found one bar open in between Ponferrada and Borrenes, but I leave early.

Hoping that others will now chime in with suggestions, questions, comments!

Buen camino, Laurie
It's a bit of a slog up to Villavieja, and the waymarks seem to take you up there although that is unnecessary unless you plan to stay in the albergue (which was very nice, but bring your own provisions). You'd have to be a serious castle fancier to go up there just for the sake of the castle. So if you are not heading for Villavieja, my advice is stay on the road.
 
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So if you are not heading for Villavieja, my advice is stay on the road.
It depends. For me this was one of the most magical stretches of the whole Invierno. The camino goes up a defile, on one side of a steep slope, with the castle looming above closer and closer on the other side. Then it goes through what looks like a very old rock quarry, and levels off a bit before it goes through Villavieja - which is the village closest to the Castillo. The camino then goes directly to the castle on an old road shaded by some of the most beautiful ancient chestnut trees. The resonance of the past was palpable the whole way, both going up to Villavieja, and between there and the castle. I wouldn't miss it for anything.

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Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
This is on my bucket list ! Hope to walk it soon! Great information abounds on this thread!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
For me this was one of the most magical stretches of the whole Invierno.

I have to chime in to agree with @VN. The totally off-road ascent to Villavieja, with occasional glimpses from different angles of a castle perched impossibly up on the pinnacle, is a gorgeous walk. And the little hamlet itself is very pretty. And the chestnuts…. need we say more?

It’s a stiff ascent in places, no doubt about it, but overall it’s about 300 m ascent in about 5.5 km according to my rough estimate. True, there is another ascent coming up to Las Médulas, about 250 m over about 7 km. If those two ascents put together make the day out of range for you, I would recommend staying in either Villavieja or Borrenes and breaking it into two days as preferable to staying on the road and missing both the village and the castle.
 
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about 300 m ascent in about 5.5 km
about 250 m over about 7 km
I was gobsmacked to see these juxtaposed and didn't quite believe it, because the ascent to Las Medulas felt so much easier.

So I checked Wikiloc, specifically - measuring each climb from its base, not necessarily from the start of the stage.
This is what I got:

Ermita near N-536 - Villavieja (not the entire climb to the castillo but the stiffest part of it):
• 232 m over 3.32 km (6.98% slope)
20211007_191518.jpg
Main climb after Borrenes - LM:
• 241 m over 4.17 km (5.92% slope)
20211007_182600.jpg

Someone please check my arithmatic, because it's not a huge difference on paper. But underfoot? That climb up to Villavieja felt like a beast, whereas the one to LM was a cakewalk.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I was gobsmacked to see these juxtaposed and didn't quite believe it, because the ascent to Las Medulas felt so much easier.

So I checked Wikiloc, specifically - measuring each climb from its base, not necessarily from the start of the stage.
This is what I got:

Ermita near N-536 - Villavieja (not the entire climb to the castillo but the stiffest part of it):
• 232 m over 3.32 km (6.98% slope)
View attachment 110629
Main climb after Borrenes - LM:
• 241 m over 4.17 km (5.92% slope)
View attachment 110630

Someone please check my arithmatic, because it's not a huge difference on paper. But underfoot? That climb up to Villavieja felt like a beast, whereas the one to LM was a cakewalk.
I just looked at gronze’s profile, but we all know that these elevation estimates are notoriously inaccurate. The Villavieja climb is definitely more strenuous than the climb to Las Médulas.
 

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The Villavieja climb is definitely more strenuous than the climb to Las Médulas.
That squares with experience. But the slopes on the profile are also in close enough agreement with the ones on those Wikiloc maps.

The difference in experience in my case could the difference between a sunny midday versus an overcast early morning.
 

Flog

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I was gobsmacked to see these juxtaposed and didn't quite believe it, because the ascent to Las Medulas felt so much easier.

So I checked Wikiloc, specifically - measuring each climb from its base, not necessarily from the start of the stage.
This is what I got:

Ermita near N-536 - Villavieja (not the entire climb to the castillo but the stiffest part of it):
• 232 m over 3.32 km (6.98% slope)
View attachment 110629
Main climb after Borrenes - LM:
• 241 m over 4.17 km (5.92% slope)
View attachment 110630

Someone please check my arithmatic, because it's not a huge difference on paper. But underfoot? That climb up to Villavieja felt like a beast, whereas the one to LM was a cakewalk.
I dunno, the slog out of Belesar up by those giant granite cobble things stands out as the toughest climb of the Invierno for me... maybe because it was late in the day too..
 
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