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Rioja Alta Golf Club, Ciruena

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Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
The bar has always been open, well at least since 2012 in my personal experience. Welcoming would be a new phase in its evolution though my last visit was 2015.

I've always regarded that sad little place as an apposite memorandum of the "Debt is good" decade. "If you build it they will come" might have worked for Kevin Costner but it sure screwed up the European economy for the foreseeable future.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
I've had lunch at the bar at the golf course twice. I was told by another pilgrim that they only allow members on the terrace out back.
This year I arrived there early - 8:55, and they opened at 9. So I waited because I was hungry, and I needed to use the bathroom. They opened promptly at 9, but other than a few packaged pastries they had no food to offer as the kitchen wasn't yet opened. Presumably I would have been able to order a beer though. I ended up only using the bathroom and walking on to Santo Domingo, where I had one of the best slices of tortilla of my Camino.
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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
I have visited this place several times and felt welcome. First time in 2007 I think. Is the town still a dead town with empty houses? I always felt sorry for those having bought an apartment ending up living in a dead neighbourhood.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I ended up only using the bathroom and walking on to Santo Domingo, where I had one of the best slices of tortilla of my Camino.
Trecile, do you remember where you had that tortilla? I have a searing memory of the best tortilla I have ever eaten (and I’ve eaten thousands, no doubt) in Santo Domingo. But I was there a few months ago as we were transitioning from the Vasco to the Olvidado and I couldn’t find the place. I think it was on the little street that goes in front of the in-town parador, but I couldn’t find the bar I remember.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I had the menu de dia back in 2005, and on another occasion had a cafe solo and orange juice. Both occasions, staff were welcoming, and the menu was good-- the other clients were friendly and took my dusty smelly presence as part of the scene.
 

GettingThere

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
C. Frances sections Apr-Jun 2019
When I passed by in 2015 that was my understanding. Clearly I was misinformed.
I was there in 2015, 2017 and this year, and felt quite welcome each time. It was a hot day in 2015 and a cold drink in that bar after trudging up that hill is one of my fondest memories! I am fairly sure that they even have a big "welcome pilgrims" sign outside, just to make it clear, and that it was there at least in 2017 and this year. I would think pilgrims are an important revenue source - the place has not been exactly heaving with thirsty golfers when I have been there!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Trecile, do you remember where you had that tortilla? I have a searing memory of the best tortilla I have ever eaten (and I’ve eaten thousands, no doubt) in Santo Domingo. But I was there a few months ago as we were transitioning from the Vasco to the Olvidado and I couldn’t find the place. I think it was on the little street that goes in front of the in-town parador, but I couldn’t find the bar I remember.
Sorry, no. I don't Remember exactly where. It wasn't directly on the Camino, but it was on a major street with other bars/restaurants with outside tables.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Brierley says that it is now welcoming peregrinos to its bar! Anyone been there, done that?
Yes -- but as far as I know, they always have. Took a refreshment there in 2014.

I think what's changed is that the club rearranged the bar to be more overtly open to non-members ; but it's actually frequent on Continental Europe for a sports club bar or restaurant to admit all comers.

In the middle of a virtual ghost town.
There were a few more people living there in 2014 than 2005, but it's definitely a strange place.
 
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Dennis D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés - 2014
Francés - 2015
Francés - 2016
Francés - 2017
Francés - 2018
Francés - 2019
(2020 - ?)
I was there in April of this year and it was the first year that I felt welcome and found that the bar was set up to accommodate Pilgrims.. The menu was reasonable and the bathroom very clean.

In previous years, the staff members was not friendly at all and the food choices were minimal. The employees didn't seem happy to have to deal with Pilgrims. They still don't have a Sello and refer you to the little shop on the other side of the bathrooms. The person in the shop told me that they had a stamp but it wasn't for the Camino. I asked for one anyway and after a little more conversation, one was received.

I googled Ghost town of Ciruena and this is an excerpt of what I found:

" Similar to many other Spanish towns, Ciruena was chosen by private developers as the 'next big thing' during the economic boom. When the depression of 2008 hit, entire developments were left empty. Unlike many other Spanish developments, however, as Ciruena was planned as a market grade residential development, many necessary infrastructures were already constructed along with a functioning swimming pool and golf course. This has made possible for golf players from neighboring towns to visit Ciruena, and the town currently host to a vibrant golf community. In addition, Ciruena lies on the famous pilgrimage route of Camino de Santiago (The Way of Saint James), which brings pilgrims and visitors to the town often.

In addition to the one family homes, Ciruena also hosts a large amount of apartments that line the street. Most of these apartments are for sale, and are often rented to pilgrims alone the Camino de Santiago
."
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
I found the many golf balls in the Camino, as it goes along the Cirueña club, a bit unnerving. They are quite hard, you know...
On the other side, the "casa club" would make for a very nice albergue.
 

Thomas V

Member
Camino(s) past & future
FRANCES, St. Jean to Santiago, 2016
Camino Frances #2 Pamplona to Leon 2017
We walked by it in 2016 and wish we hadn’t because we didn’t find any where else to eat in the ghost town that followed. In 2017 we learned from our previous experience and had lunch in a nice friendly atmosphere. Many other pilgrims were enjoying lunch there.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
They still don't have a Sello and refer you to the little shop on the other side of the bathrooms. The person in the shop told me that they had a stamp but it wasn't for the Camino. I asked for one anyway and after a little more conversation, one was received.
Why did you even want a sello there?
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
If you take a little detour away from the yellow arrows, there's actually a pleasant little "normal" bar in what remains of the "old" village (i.e. not much), and I'm not sure entirely but possibly even a refugio too ?

The less "ghostly" part of the place is anyway 'round there.
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Frances (2018}
Brierley says that it is now welcoming peregrinos to its bar! Anyone been there, done that?
I have not but a friend dropped in 2014 if I remember correctly. Posted pic of the steak he ordered and recommended I should try it. Unfortunately, last time I was there, my companions did not want to stop so we walked on by. Big mistake, always do your own thing :D:D
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
They were very welcoming in 2008
The staff then were terrific.
Brierley is a decade behind the times and I hope they never have a stamp avalable,
Imagine the change to this little oasis if that occurred.
Years later on another Camino from Le Puy we found a very , very good pension in this village owned by the most beautiful people.
Because the foot was swollen we ventured on the next day and stayed in the Parador in Santo Domingo.
These two stops assisted us in a big way in getting to Muxia , 1700 km from Le Puy.
They hold special places with us.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I hope they never have a stamp available
Just checked my 2014 credencial, and on 4th September that year I got myself the "proper" Cirueña stamp, up at the "normal" bar at the old part of the pueblo --- stamp dates BTW suggest that I slept there ...

Nothing special, but it's red and with a decent enough scallop shell image.

I **must** make a point of getting the golf club stamp this go 'round !!
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
Perhaps the confusion about the welcome is due to the fact that pilgrims have tended to be very negative in their attitude, and have assumed it is reciprocal.

(Edited to add that I am referring to expectations and talk about how odd the "ghost town" is. I'm not suggesting that pilgrims are being unpleasant or rude on site.)
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Odd little town to walk through. A bit sad and lonely looking. Shuttered up windows on the residences. A few empty flower pots in the windows I believe. A town that never was, but yes, the golf club house had patrons in it every time I walked past, though I never had the desire to stop there.

Kind of interesting when one stays in the towns/villages less traveled on the Frances. The ones that are between the popular "stages" or are on the less recommended route or the stop at a less recommended stage. The Frances could be busy as heck, but often when you stay in one of those "other" stops/towns the albergues are nearly empty, while just a few kilometres down the Way the places are packed.
 

Dennis D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés - 2014
Francés - 2015
Francés - 2016
Francés - 2017
Francés - 2018
Francés - 2019
(2020 - ?)
Perhaps the confusion about the welcome is due to the fact that pilgrims have tended to be very negative in their attitude, and have assumed it is reciprocal.
Not this pilgrim, I went back there six years in a row. When the food was minimal I could still enjoy a cold beer and a clean bathroom. I go out of my way to smile, say Hola, Muchas Gracias etc... I try to act like an ambassador for my country and for the other pilgrims that will follow me. To the best of my knowledge, I have never and I mean never expressed a negative feeling to anyone in Spain. If I am not happy, I still say Gracias, Buen Camino etc... and walk away.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Perhaps the confusion about the welcome is due to the fact that pilgrims have tended to be very negative in their attitude, and have assumed it is reciprocal.
I think that it could also be that pilgrims weren't allowed on the nice back terrace.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Not this pilgrim, I went back there six years in a row. When the food was minimal I could still enjoy a cold beer and a clean bathroom. I go out of my way to smile, say Hola, Muchas Gracias etc... I try to act like an ambassador for my country and for the other pilgrims that will follow me. To the best of my knowledge, I have never and I mean never expressed a negative feeling to anyone in Spain. If I am not happy, I still say Gracias, Buen Camino etc... and walk away.
Good way to be. I always have a hello or good morning handy when on the Camino. Honestly I do not believe I ever got truly negative or angry on the Camino. Frustrated at times when tired and looking for a bed? Sure, of course, but not angry. I think the only time I came close to being angry is when several pilgrims I knew in the municipal albergue I had stayed in had money stolen out of their packs the night before. I was quite disgusted with that, and disappointed. It made me sad that those pilgrims were victimized like that. They were so joyful and happy while walking prior to that and to see them so sad and hurt for being preyed upon bothered me for quite a while.
 

Trude

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francais 2013 Finnestere, Muxia 2013, 2017
Norte 2014, Francais, 2015, 2016, VDLP 2017
I would suggest that you take left hand variante to the monastery of Santa María in Cañas. Well known for alabaster windows.
No bar there but toilets yes.
Yes that is a lovely diversion and then onto the monasteries of Yuso and Suso. Makes for a very long day to Santo Domingo but an amazing diversion. I also just follow the Electric poles from Azofra to Santo Domingo involves about 1km
Walking into Santo Domingo on the road it’s a pretty good path not so pretty. I went up past the golf course once. Never again.....
 

Anna Kay

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francès (2018)
Sorry, no. I don't Remember exactly where. It wasn't directly on the Camino, but it was on a major street with other bars/restaurants with outside tables.
The best one we've had was at the Cerveceria Capota (Juan Carlos I, 4) in Santo Domingo. It was "stuffed" with spinach, ham and cheese! DSC08896.JPG
 

zrexer

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
We actually stayed in Ciruena on our April 2016 Camino. We were close to town when we were hit with a violent spring rain storm. Gail force winds and the rain was coming at us sideways. We were totally soaked so decided we would were done for the day.
I can't remember the name of the albergue, but it was on the far side of town and run in a ladies house that her family lived in as well. I remember it as being a great place with a nice meal.
It is sad that throughout the Camino you see so many abandoned building projects.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017 - Camino Frances
2019 - Camino Portugues
Brierley says that it is now welcoming peregrinos to its bar! Anyone been there, done that?
Yes, we stopped for lunch there in 2017. I recall we had a plate of paella each and it was very tasty. And of course, being a golfer, I had to buy a hat and souvenir golf ball 😂😂😂
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
Yes, we stopped for lunch there in 2017. I recall we had a plate of paella each and it was very tasty. And of course, being a golfer, I had to buy a hat and souvenir golf ball 😂😂😂
And I a golf shirt Michael , always an extra "x" for the looseness or the non loss of weight😉😇
 

henrythedog

Contented habitual peregrino. With dog.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, Madrid (2019) Portuges (2020)
"always an extra "x" for the looseness or the non loss of weight."

With clothes, as with life, the more kisses the better.

XXX

David
 

Charlie11

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016) SJPDP to SDC
Camino Frances (2018) SJPDP to SDC
Future CP 2019
Love this place despite the depressing surroundings. Enjoyed the coffee, tapas and cool relief from extreme heat on my first Camino. The thought of stopping there again got my tired body up the hill just before the club on my second Camino.
 

TAF

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
July/Aug 2019
I stopped off there a couple of weeks ago. Considering we were soaking wet they were very helpful and the Paella they had on the bar top was delicious! Stayed there until our ponchos had dried off! Horrible urbanisation though, like a ghost town but not as pretty!
 

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