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LIVE from the Camino Salvador June 2022

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
While Wendy is slaving away at work in Montreal this week, I am excited to start walking the Salvador tomorrow with my friend Darin. It’s his first camino but he’s an avid hiker - we met on the first day of the Torres del Paine circuit in Chile, and we later did a two-week walk together in the Italian Dolomites.

I’ve spent the last couple of days in León, my first visit in five years since our first camino (the Francés). It’s been fun to rediscover the town, especially the cathedral and San Isidoro.

A6DEF35D-8B7F-4150-9F6A-955F711E31D6.jpeg

8FDC7061-3D7C-4BDE-A790-851E32211691.jpeg

It’s really hot here at the moment (highs of mid-30s Celsius), so we are going to start before sunrise tomorrow as it’s a long-ish day to La Robla (about 27km). I expect tomorrow will be a bit of a ‘set-up day’ to bring us towards the mountains, so I don’t know how interesting it will be in and of itself, but hopefully the river walk out of León will be nice.

The albergue in La Robla is still closed but we have reservations at Pensión Mundo, which has budget rooms. I’m quite interested to see how many pilgrims will be walking the Salvador; I guess we’ll find out tomorrow!
 
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Dilbin

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Irun to Santander del Norte
While Wendy is slaving away at work in Montreal this week, I am excited to start walking the Salvador tomorrow with my friend Darin. It’s his first camino but he’s an avid hiker - we met on the first day of the Torres del Paine circuit in Chile, and we later did a two-week walk together in the Italian Dolomites.

I’ve spent the last couple of days in León, my first visit in five years since our first camino (the Francés). It’s been fun to rediscover the town, especially the cathedral and San Isidoro.

View attachment 127641

View attachment 127642

It’s really hot here at the moment (highs of mid-30s Celsius), so we are going to start before sunrise tomorrow as it’s a long-ish day to La Robla (about 27km). I expect tomorrow will be a bit of a ‘set-up day’ to bring us towards the mountains, so I don’t know how interesting it will be in and of itself, but hopefully the river walk out of León will be nice.

The albergue in La Robla is still closed but we have reservations at Pensión Mundo, which has budget rooms. I’m quite interested to see how many pilgrims will be walking the Salvador; I guess we’ll find out tomorrow!
Hi and Buen Camino. Really looking forward to hearing all about it. Setting off in August and will be on my own so any relevant info greatly appreciated. Daniel
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Day 1: León - La Robla: ~28km

Phew! A very long and hot day but ultimately an enjoyable one. Even though I only had four off days after finishing the CPI-Sanabrés, in a way it felt all new to be back on camino again, and exciting to be on this camino.

For some reason I expected it to be a bit of an urban-asphalt type of day so I was pleasantly surprised that almost the entire stage was on dirt paths through countryside. The riverside path out of León starts right behind San Marcos, so this is an excellent city exit, especially compared with the Francés exit from León (IIRC).

1A5767F0-00F5-4E20-93CF-C5EEFE0AF5D6.jpeg

Much of the stage is through shrubs and light forest, often near rivers. We saw three other single pilgrims (I think two Spanish and one French), one of whom I took this photo of in a typical stretch of landscape.

461CCD97-940B-45A2-8247-49787BD30091.jpeg

At 19km, the trail doesn’t go through the village of La Seca but we detoured five minutes into town to stop for a drink at Bar Marisa, which was doing a roaring trade with about 15-20 locals there. We talked to a couple of them who had walked the Salvador before and overall it was a really nice stop that showed how a small village can still be really bustling with activity.

By mid-afternoon it was 33 degrees Celsius and felt hotter. I am OK with heat in general (coming from a ‘sunburnt country’) but it was definitely warmer than ideal, as well as being a bit hazy, and locals kept telling us how hot it was. A storm will hopefully come soon, as early as tonight according to the forecast. The perfect scenario would be that the storm comes and goes in the next 36 hours to leave us with great weather for the mountain stages after Poladura. Fingers crossed!

Some tips/info from today’s stage:

- There is an excellent bakery called Flecha 1957 Panadería in the northern outskirts of León that opens at 7am. It’s only two blocks east of the riverside camino and is perfect for breakfast and/or buying bread for lunch.

- At the southern outskirts of Carbajal de la Legua, the arrows (and most tracks) turn away from the river to the road entering town, which stretches out quite a long way along the road. But it’s perfectly feasible (and recommended, especially if you don’t need any services in town) to continue along the river for another several kilometres, only entering Carbajal at the very northern end of town. @Elle Bieling’s tracks (based on Ender’s tracks) include this as an option.

- Water can be a bit tricky between Carbajal and Cabanillas (a 10km stretch with some ups and downs that is hot and at times shadeless). There is a marked fountain off the camino to the left (Fuente de Villabura) but it was dry today. Further on, there is a fountain that is marked on Maps.me (42°42′45.61″N 05°37′22.71″W) but some tracks take a shortcut just before it which misses it. The Gronze tracks go past the fountain and there is a physical sign at the shortcut saying ‘Agua 50m’ (although it is further than 50m). Shortly after this is Fuente San Pelayo but we somehow missed it, although we had just filled up so it was no problem. There is a fountain at the end of Cabanillas on the main road.

- For the last stretch from Cascantes to La Robla, there is the option of a left turn to a 1km longer trail off asphalt, or the asphalt trail. We took the dirt trail and the beginning of it was very nice, in a forest with a water channel alongside the path. Later a huge industrial complex came into view and we walked towards and around that for some time, but it was still mostly off asphalt so if you want to avoid hard surfaces and don’t mind walking a little extra to do so, it’s a good option. Both trails are marked and the alternative is included in Elle’s tracks (but not in Gronze’s or Wise Pilgrim’s, although the latter mentions it).

- The albergue in La Robla remains closed. We are at Pensión Mundo which has single rooms with private bathroom for a very reasonable €20.

P.S. Thank you all for your well wishes!
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Buen camino!!! What time did you set off this morning? Like 5.30? 6? How much water did you bring?
We set off at 6:30 (sunrise is currently 6:45), about the same time as one of the other pilgrims with the other two having left earlier.

We each had 1L of water and Darin has an extra 2L bag with him but didn’t fill it. The 10km stretch between Carbajal to Cabanillas stretch is the only really long stretch between villages and there are a few possible options for water here (see above). I was getting a little anxious until we came to the fountain but I wasn’t super close to running out and could probably have made it to Cabanillas without refilling. Though that fountain was cold and definitely much appreciated!
 
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Dilbin

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Irun to Santander del Norte
We set off at 6:30 (sunrise is currently 6:45), about the same time as one of the other pilgrims with the other two having left earlier.

We each had 1L of water and Darin has an extra 2L bag with him but didn’t fill it. The 10km stretch between Carbajal to Cabanillas stretch is the only really long stretch between villages and there are a few possible options for water here (see above). I was getting a little anxious until we came to the fountain but I wasn’t super close to running out and could probably have made it to Cabanillas without refilling. Though that fountain was cold and definitely much appreciated!
Thanks for great info. Have a good day's walk.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Day 2: La Robla - Poladura: ~24km

The Salvador adventures continue!

Today was a bit shorter and (slightly) cooler than yesterday but there was more elevation change and I think I felt more exhausted upon arrival today.

It was pleasantly cool upon departure (about 16 degrees Celsius with a breeze) but first half of the stage wasn’t especially noteworthy. There were some nice rivers and bridges but the trail is on asphalt for the first 3.5km and it’s more village-based than nature-based. Heading towards Buiza, the scenery becomes prettier with impressive cliffs to the left of the path.

712E2C82-D979-4405-B60B-747EAAA6DA89.jpeg

The highlight of the stage was the climb to the Alto de San Antón and subsequent descent. It was about midday and high 20s Celsius as we began the climb and it was mostly shadeless, but we didn’t find it too difficult and the mountain scenery was great. Yellow flowers provided a burst of colour which helped offset the hazy sky a bit.

EF2D2EE7-8FF6-4C79-B31A-9FA4EC1AB72B.jpeg

It rained a bit overnight and more is forecast tonight. Hoping for clear skies and less haze tomorrow but that might be wishful thinking!

Some tips/info from today’s stage:

- Water: Until Buiza there’s no problem with water as you go through several villages with fountains and the path is pretty flat. Make sure to fill up in Buiza for the climb. The next place to fill up after Buiza (and the only place between Buiza and Poladura as far as I can tell) is a spring with a makeshift spout to the left of the path soon after the start of the descent from the pass (42°54′56.66″N 05°41′47.29″W).

- Food: There are two supermarkets opposite each other in La Pola de Gordon, about two hours from La Robla. MYM is the bigger and better of the two but neither opens until 10am, which is inconvenient if leaving early from La Robla. There aren’t any shops for quite a while after this so you may need to stock up here, especially if splitting up the next stage into two as we are.

As noted in several guides, the pension/restaurant El Embrujo is the only place that does meals in Poladura. I called yesterday to confirm and the guy said he didn’t have any vegetables and therefore couldn’t make anything for me. It seems he currently has eggs and meat and that’s about it. Edit: I tried again in person when we arrive and he literally only has eggs, cheese and meat; not even potatoes or rice or pasta. I have food with me so I’m fine for tonight but hopefully Pajares can do something tomorrow night!

- Accommodation: We arrived shortly before 4pm and got the last two beds (of 12) in the albergue in Poladura. It’s a muni so it can’t be booked in advance but I called anyway a couple of days ago and they seemed to think there would be plenty of space. Most of the other pilgrims seem to be Spanish though they’re not a talkative bunch so far!
 
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Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Various ones.
Thanks Nick, I'm on my way up from Malaga to Madrid, spending tonight in Segovia but should be in Leon for tomorrow. Your posts are very helpful for me, I might book accommodation all the way if it's going to be really busy.
 

LavanyaLea

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (May/June 2022)
I tried again in person when we arrive and he literally only has eggs, cheese and meat; not even potatoes or rice or pasta.
😱😱😱

That is interesting because the reviews on google said they do 5-course tasting menu for dinner. 5-course tasting menu with only meat eggs and cheese? 🤢

I think you deserve a treat tomorrow in Pajares. I heard the casa rural there has swimming pool and jacuzzi!
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
That is interesting because the reviews on google said they do 5-course tasting menu for dinner. 5-course tasting menu with only meat eggs and cheese? 🤢
In fairness I think they usually have vegetables but they have run out and the next delivery hasn’t come yet. But I was a bit surprised they didn’t have grains or canned goods (tomatoes, chickpeas etc).

I called the Pajares bar and they said they could do something for dinner tomorrow and there are a few restaurant possibilities for lunch so it should be all good!
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
I might book accommodation all the way if it's going to be really busy.
I feel like Poladura might be a bit of a bottleneck. I’ve heard several people say they’re going to Pola de Lena tomorrow whereas we’re only going to Pajares so maybe this group will split up a bit. But so far there seem to be reasonably priced pensiones at the end-of-stage destinations so booking those could certainly be an option.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I feel like Poladura might be a bit of a bottleneck.
I think that’s right. The options for ”avoiding Poladura” are limited, at least that I can think of. If you walk the first day to Pola de Gordón (that’s about 38 from León), you could then walk to Pajares with a 30-something day. I have done that, but I have also stayed in Poladura, which gives you the option to break up the mountains into two wonderful days rather than just one. We had a weather report that showed cloud and rain on day three, so leaving León we decided to get to Pola de Gordón on day 1 and Pajares on Day 2. It wasn’t super humanly difficult, but next time I’ll stop in La Robla again.

And on the other end, from Poladura you have to choose a short stage to Pajares or long to Llanos or Bendueños. No perfect spacing, but that’s about the only thing that isn’t perfect on this camino! Not surprised to hear that the albergue in Pajares is full, you are lucky you’re not walking in August when it gets quite crazy!
 

LavanyaLea

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (May/June 2022)
And on the other end, from Poladura you have to choose a short stage to Pajares or long to Llanos or Bendueños.
I thought Llanos is perfectly positioned 20km from Poladura and 20km from Pola de Lena? Or is that just google map distance, but not the same effort-wise on the ground with the terrain profile?

From what I gather so far, September is also a very busy month right? We are thinking very end of Sept/first week of Oct….
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I thought Llanos is perfectly positioned 20km from Poladura and 20km from Pola de Lena? Or is that just google map distance, but not the same effort-wise on the ground with the terrain profile?

From what I gather so far, September is also a very busy month right? We are thinking very end of Sept/first week of Oct….
Oh, of course, you are right. I was thinking Poladura to Llanos, not Pajares to Llanos. :D

Another forum member sent me her proposed stages to keep all the days around or under 20 — here is a masterful itinerary, IMO.
1. Leon to Cabanillas. 2. Cabanillas to Cabornera (pensión about a half km off camino a few kms after Pola de Gordón). 3. Cabornera to Poladura. 4. Poladura to Pajares. 5. Pajares to Bendueños. 6. Bendueños to Mieres. 7. Mieres to Oviedo.

I walked last year in the beginning of September and it wasn’t crowded at all. In my experience, most walkers on the Salvador are Spaniards, and August is their crunch time.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
The options for ”avoiding Poladura” are limited, at least that I can think of.
I’ve always found it strange that Gronze’s stages are for a five-day Salvador (which requires some long stages), yet their second stage is only 15km from La Robla to Buiza, whereas La Robla to Poladura seems like the much better option for several reasons. And then in the description of that strange short stage, they say:

Etapa fácil, corta y con desniveles muy moderados: recomendamos vivamente alargarla hasta Poladura de la Tercia, para así acortar la dura jornada de mañana.
(Basically: we strongly recommend continuing to Poladura.)

So why don’t they just make the stage La Robla - Poladura if that’s what they recommend?
 
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LavanyaLea

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (May/June 2022)
I’ve always found it strange that Gronze’s stages are for a five-day Salvador (which requires some long stages), yet their second stage is only 15km from La Robla to Buiza, whereas La Robla to Poladura seems like the much better option for several reasons. And then in the description of that strange short stage, they say:


(Basically: we strongly recommend continuing to Poladura.)

So why don’t they just make the stage La Robla - Poladura if that’s what they recommend?
Tbh I was never a big fan of Gronze, much prefer Buen Camino in terms of user experience. But that’s just me! (And Buen Camino hasn’t even created this Camino, but each town is searchable).
 

Dilbin

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Irun to Santander del Norte
Day 2: La Robla - Poladura: ~24km

The Salvador adventures continue!

Today was a bit shorter and (slightly) cooler than yesterday but there was more elevation change and I think I felt more exhausted upon arrival today.

It was pleasantly cool upon departure (about 16 degrees Celsius with a breeze) but first half of the stage wasn’t especially noteworthy. There were some nice rivers and bridges but the trail is on asphalt for the first 3.5km and it’s more village-based than nature-based. Heading towards Buiza, the scenery becomes prettier with impressive cliffs to the left of the path.

View attachment 127725

The highlight of the stage was the climb to the Alto de San Antón and subsequent descent. It was about midday and high 20s Celsius as we began the climb and it was mostly shadeless, but we didn’t find it too difficult and the mountain scenery was great. Yellow flowers provided a burst of colour which helped offset the hazy sky a bit.

View attachment 127726

It rained a bit overnight and more is forecast tonight. Hoping for clear skies and less haze tomorrow but that might be wishful thinking!

Some tips/info from today’s stage:

- Water: Until Buiza there’s no problem with water as you go through several villages with fountains and the path is pretty flat. Make sure to fill up in Buiza for the climb. The next place to fill up after Buiza (and the only place between Buiza and Poladura as far as I can tell) is a spring with a makeshift spout to the left of the path soon after the start of the descent from the pass (42°54′56.66″N 05°41′47.29″W).

- Food: There are two supermarkets opposite each other in La Pola de Gordon, about two hours from La Robla. MYM is the bigger and better of the two but neither opens until 10am, which is inconvenient if leaving early from La Robla. There aren’t any shops for quite a while after this so you may need to stock up here, especially if splitting up the next stage into two as we are.

As noted in several guides, the pension/restaurant El Embrujo is the only place that does meals in Poladura. I called yesterday to confirm and the guy said he didn’t have any vegetables and therefore couldn’t make anything for me. It seems he currently has eggs and meat and that’s about it. Edit: I tried again in person when we arrive and he literally only has eggs, cheese and meat; not even potatoes or rice or pasta. I have food with me so I’m fine for tonight but hopefully Pajares can do something tomorrow night!

- Accommodation: We arrived shortly before 4pm and got the last two beds (of 12) in the albergue in Poladura. It’s a muni so it can’t be booked in advance but I called anyway a couple of days ago and they seemed to think there would be plenty of space. Most of the other pilgrims seem to be Spanish though they’re not a talkative bunch so far!
Ah man. Your posts are fantastic. I'm archiving them all for August. My only concern so far reading is the possibility of serious heat then but weather is always unpredictable. I'm assuming that walking on my own will not be an issue. I love meeting pilgrims buy I also like my own company so either or. Anyhow sleep well and looking forward to your next post. Daniel
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Tbh I was never a big fan of Gronze, much prefer Buen Camino in terms of user experience. But that’s just me! (And Buen Camino hasn’t even created this Camino, but each town is searchable).
We became big Gronze fans on our recent CPI-Sanabrés, and I’m still using it for eating/sleeping info on the Salvador but I’m mostly using the Wise Pilgrim app, because it’s so user-friendly, along with other tracks.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Day 3: Poladura de la Tercia - Pajares: ~16km

We always planned to divide the mountain stage into two and we are super happy with that choice. We took our time today, taking lots of breaks and photo stops without the pressure of needing to put a lot of kilometres behind us.

The highlight was the Cruz del Salvador, 3km from Poladura. We didn’t quite heed Elle’s advice to arrive for sunrise but it worked out for us anyway. ‘Sunrise’ at the cruz is a while after true sunrise because the sun has to rise above the mountains, and although it was a bit overcast and hazy again, the first sunlight began to hit the valley while we were there. The haze made it difficult to photograph the peaks but we took some panorama shots from the cruz, which came out pretty well. Here’s one behind a spoiler in case those coming behind us don’t want to see the view in advance:

05DEF9D2-B2F1-4C88-BD52-850568C3F168.jpeg

The explosion of yellow flowers hit its peak today and this made for a beautiful combination with the green of the grasses and pine trees.

7E9C7252-5091-41E0-B98A-3BEB6FF5090D.jpeg

71499AE6-E648-4B44-84B8-582963876C61.jpeg

(Yes, that’s the camino in the second photo; it’s the climb to the second-highest point of the stage.)

All in all it was a tremendous stage and not too hot after last night’s thunderstorms. Looking forward to more scenery tomorrow!

Some tips/info from today’s stage:

- Food: Meson El Ruchu, on the highway about 1.5km before Pajares, is marked as a restaurant on Google Maps but it’s just a bar with drinks and snacks (no meals). There’s a restaurant at Puerto de Pajares but you’ll likely pass there well before lunchtime if leaving from Poladura. In Pajares, Pensión El Mirador (called ‘Bar de Pajares’ in signs in Poladura) will do meals if you let them know in advance. We booked for dinner but really the best thing to do if you’re doing the same stage as us is to book both meals with them. There are no shops on the stage.

- Accommodation: We stopped by Pensión El Mirador to see about private rooms but they were full, so it’s best to call ahead if you want to stay there. The albergue is a fair bit nicer than the one in Poladura and it seems as though there will only be five of us here tonight if there are no latecomers.
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
I know you usually don’t like spoilers, @jungleboy, but since you missed it, here goes:
Looks nice! It was just a funny thing with the trail where you had to turn almost 90 degrees to the right to go into Arbás but basically straight ahead was the ultimate direction. We must have just been talking and missed it and by the time we realised it didn’t seem worth it to go back.

15ABEBE1-7E5E-4E8F-BAEB-CD9E78B28C10.jpeg
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Day 4: Pajares - Bendueños: ~19km (a few more than expected!)

Another adventurous day on the Salvador! It was really slow going for us today with our ‘paso de fotógrafo’ and we are pretty wrecked even after two short stages - I really can’t imagine wanting to do a 30km day in these mountains as we have been taking our (sweet) time, making photo stops etc and are still exhausted.

Most of today’s stage took place in the forest and was quite different from yesterday. Given that it was our first full day in Asturias, it felt a bit like being back on the Primitivo (with Bendueños playing the role of Bodenaya as the finishing touch).

The sky was hazy again, despite another storm last night, but today was more about forest explorations than mountain views. We passed a few little waterfalls, ate tiny wild cherries and strawberries, peeked into spider web tunnels and walked in our share of mud! It was pretty hot (high 20s Celsius) and tough going and we were glad to finally make it to the albergue shortly before 3pm, especially since it started pouring with rain five minutes after we arrived.

Photography wasn’t so easy for me today but here are a couple of shots that hopefully capture some of the forest ambience.

F46689B9-3255-4EF9-A205-FE786FDA6041.jpeg

9C10E7E0-2A85-4E73-809E-50296479F73F.jpeg

Some tips/info from today’s stage:

- Munisteriu Alternative: there’s now a signboard leaving Llanos (Chanos) giving the option of the Munisteriu alternative, so if you want to add some more adventure to your Salvador adventure, take it! We took it instead of the road and we’re really glad we did as it’s a beautiful, forested path. Elle’s/Ender’s tracks include it and it’s signposted. It’s about 300m longer than the road option and will take longer because of the terrain and some some ups and downs, but it was worth it for us. As far as difficulty goes, we felt the ups of the subsequent stretch (Fresneo-Herias) made that the harder section.

- Accommodation: The albergue in Bendueños is so fantastic. It’s a rustic stone house that’s amazingly situated and beautifully outfitted. Highly, highly recommended.
 
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LavanyaLea

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (May/June 2022)
Day 4: Pajares - Bendueños: ~19km (a few more than expected!)

Another adventurous day on the Salvador! It was really slow going for us today with our ‘paso de fotógrafo’ and we are pretty wrecked even after two short stages - I really can’t imagine wanting to do a 30km day in these mountains as we have been taking our (sweet) time, making photo stops etc and are still exhausted.

Most of today’s stage took place in the forest and was quite different from yesterday. Given that it was our first full day in Asturias, it felt a bit like being back on the Primitivo (with Bendueños playing the role of Bodenaya as the finishing touch).

The sky was hazy again, despite another storm last night, but today was more about forest explorations than mountain views. We passed a few little waterfalls, ate tiny wild cherries and strawberries, peeked into spider web tunnels and walked in our share of mud! It was pretty hot (high 20s Celsius) and tough going and we were glad to finally make it to the albergue shortly before 3pm, especially since it started pouring with rain five minutes after we arrived.

Photography wasn’t so easy for me today but here are a couple of shots that hopefully capture some of the forest ambience.

View attachment 127882

View attachment 127883

Some tips/info from today’s stage:

- Munisteriu Alternative: there’s now a signboard leaving Llanos (Chanos) giving the option of the Munisteriu alternative, so if you want to add some more adventure to your Salvador adventure, take it! We took it instead of the road and we’re really glad we did as it’s a beautiful, forested path. Elle’s/Ender’s tracks include it and it’s signposted. It’s about 300m longer than the road option and will take longer because of the terrain and some some ups and downs, but it was worth it for us. As far as difficulty goes, we felt the ups of the subsequent stretch (Fresneo-Herias) made that the harder section.

- Accommodation: The albergue in Bendueños is so fantastic. It’s a rustic stone house that’s amazingly situated and beautifully outfitted. Highly, highly recommended.
Are these lovely forest photos taken on the Munisteriu alternative route?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Munisteriu Alternative: there’s now a signboard leaving Llanos (Chanos) giving the option of the Munisteriu alternative, so if you want to add some more adventure to your Salvador adventure, take it! We took it instead of the road and we’re really glad we did as it’s a beautiful, forested path.

Tell us more, @jungleboy. I totally agree about the beautiful, forested path, but wasn’t there a precarious ascent up to a high point on jagged rocks? I have seen a picture of someone walking this route — she is ascending on a dirt path, holding on to a rope on the side. I didn’t walk on that path. What about you — jagged rock or dirt path with a rope? (or maybe something else).

I am also surprised that you say it added only 300 m. I had walked on the “road route” down to the turnoff for Fresneo several times, and had always arrived in Pola de Lena in time to visit the church, which closes at 1. But last September, with the Munistiriu alternative, I got there hours later. I am not doubting your report that it is only 300 m, but it also makes me think that I was given tracks that are no longer the Munistiriu alternative (I will check with Ender when he is back home).

See if Sandra will open up the church so you can see the paintings in the sacristy. According to one of Ender’s camino friends who was there when we had a big meal together there, they are singular and historically significant. In fact, he was able to get some funding for preservation, which has happened, I think.

Rest and soak up the beauty and hospitality of Bendueños, it is so special.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Are these lovely forest photos taken on the Munisteriu alternative route?
The first one yes, the second one I think was on the subsequent Fresneo-Herias part, which was also very forested. So you’ll have plenty of forest on this stage even if not taking the alternative route.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Tell us more, @jungleboy. I totally agree about the beautiful, forested path, but wasn’t there a precarious ascent up to a high point on jagged rocks? I have seen a picture of someone walking this route — she is ascending on a dirt path, holding on to a rope on the side. I didn’t walk on that path. What about you — jagged rock or dirt path with a rope? (or maybe something else).
In my view, that makes it sound worse than it really is. Yes, there is a rope for assistance at one point but it’s not difficult/complicated to use. An arrow clearly points away from the jagged rocks at the same point, with a large X on one of the rocks. Honestly, we didn’t find this part problematic.

I am also surprised that you say it added only 300 m. I had walked on the “road route” down to the turnoff for Fresneo several times, and had always arrived in Pola de Lena in time to visit the church, which closes at 1. But last September, with the Munistiriu alternative, I got there hours later. I am not doubting your report that it is only 300 m, but it also makes me think that I was given tracks that are no longer the Munistiriu alternative (I will check with Ender when he is back home).
The 300m figure came from the information board in Llanos. It took us a long time and my phone registered our total day as 19km when we thought it would be 16-something, so maybe it was more than 300m extra.

See if Sandra will open up the church so you can see the paintings in the sacristy.
Will do when she arrives!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
An arrow clearly points away from the jagged rocks at the same point, with a large X on one of the rocks. Honestly, we didn’t find this part problematic.
That is fantastic news. Following the GPS up through those rocks was not fun, and I am so glad they have marked a different route.

The rope on the dirt path didn’t look particularly challenging to me, I was just using it as a point of clarification, because I didn’t have any rope.

If it hadn’t been for those jagged rocks, I would have totally enjoyed the alternative, so I’m very happy to know that Ender and co. were able to find a good way to avoid them. Henceforth I will say nothing but good things about Munistiriu!!
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
If it hadn’t been for those jagged rocks, I would have totally enjoyed the alternative, so I’m very happy to know that Ender and co. were able to find a good way to avoid them. Henceforth I will say nothing but good things about Munistiriu!!
Darin took a photo of the rocks I think you’re referring to. Does this look familiar?

AE28CF03-50E9-43D5-BE71-9F25922F6776.jpeg

The rock with the X is on the verge of toppling down the mountain but the path really does steer clear of this.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Not exactly, it was not an outcroppinng like that. It was a wide swath of extremely jagged rocks (like those that seem to be starting on the very top left of the photo) with no way to go around. You just had to pick your way carefully up step by step (very much like the reverse of the hairy descent on the Olvidado to Ciñera). I didn’t take any pictures, unfortunately, but it was challenging enough to use the GPS while trying to stay upright with my poles. As my mother always told me — Grace is not my middle name.

I’ll ask Ender about it when he is back, but I think that what your posts show is that it is. really good alternative to many kms of walking alongside the (very untraveled) road.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Not exactly, it was not an outcroppinng like that. It was a wide swath of extremely jagged rocks (like those that seem to be starting on the very top left of the photo) with no way to go around. You just had to pick your way carefully up step by step (very much like the reverse of the hairy descent on the Olvidado to Ciñera). I didn’t take any pictures, unfortunately, but it was challenging enough to use the GPS while trying to stay upright with my poles. As my mother always told me — Grace is not my middle name.

I’ll ask Ender about it when he is back, but I think that what your posts show is that it is. really good alternative to many kms of walking alongside the (very untraveled) road.
The takeaway from today, then, is that the alternative is well marked and we didn’t have any problems with way-finding or with anything that seemed dangerous. I was checking with GPS every now and then just to be sure but the path was clear. It is still quite adventurous though!
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
See if Sandra will open up the church so you can see the paintings in the sacristy. According to one of Ender’s camino friends who was there when we had a big meal together there, they are singular and historically significant. In fact, he was able to get some funding for preservation, which has happened, I think.
Oh my gosh, amazing! Here’s a photo behind a spoiler in case those coming behind us don’t want to see:

3B13FA85-D14F-45A3-BB3F-043C401DFF23.jpeg
 
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LavanyaLea

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (May/June 2022)
Oh my gosh, amazing! Here’s a photo behind a spoiler in case those coming behind us don’t want to see:

This is the church in Benduenos? Interesting! Wasn’t planning to stay overnight here (no pet friendly place), so my current itinerary is Llanos->Pola de Lena. Do you think we would be able to have a look inside the church as we pass by?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
This is the church in Benduenos? Interesting! Wasn’t planning to stay overnight here (no pet friendly place), so my current itinerary is Llanos->Pola de Lena. Do you think we would be able to have a look inside the church as we pass by?
Bendueños is about 1.5 km off camino, up a hill on a road (turn-off is clearly mrked in Herías).

Yes, it’s the Bendueños church. There are a lot of theories about how those paintings came to be painted in an Asturian church in the 1800s. I think the one that Ender’s friend thought most likely was that one of the priests had been to the Caribbean.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Do you think we would be able to have a look inside the church as we pass by?
Bendueños is about 1.5 km off camino, up a hill on a road (turn-off is clearly mrked in Herías).
Beyond that, you need to get the key from the hospitalera Sandra to access the church and while she’s very accommodating and generous, there’s no guarantee that she will be available at the time you would be there. So I think this could be difficult.
 

LavanyaLea

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (May/June 2022)
Beyond that, you need to get the key from the hospitalera Sandra to access the church and while she’s very accommodating and generous, there’s no guarantee that she will be available at the time you would be there. So I think this could be difficult.
That’s what I thought!
 
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Canche

Volcano Climber
Past OR future Camino
Norte/Frances 2016, San Salvador & Primitivo 2021
While Wendy is slaving away at work in Montreal this week, I am excited to start walking the Salvador tomorrow with my friend Darin. It’s his first camino but he’s an avid hiker - we met on the first day of the Torres del Paine circuit in Chile, and we later did a two-week walk together in the Italian Dolomites.

I’ve spent the last couple of days in León, my first visit in five years since our first camino (the Francés). It’s been fun to rediscover the town, especially the cathedral and San Isidoro.

View attachment 127641

View attachment 127642

It’s really hot here at the moment (highs of mid-30s Celsius), so we are going to start before sunrise tomorrow as it’s a long-ish day to La Robla (about 27km). I expect tomorrow will be a bit of a ‘set-up day’ to bring us towards the mountains, so I don’t know how interesting it will be in and of itself, but hopefully the river walk out of León will be nice.

The albergue in La Robla is still closed but we have reservations at Pensión Mundo, which has budget rooms. I’m quite interested to see how many pilgrims will be walking the Salvador; I guess we’ll find out tomorrow!
Buen Camino. I loved the San Salvador but only went as far as Cabanillas where we stayed at a wonderful little albergue with 4 beds, but they were only allowing two at a time so we had it to ourselves.
 
Past OR future Camino
Sept. 2022 El Salvador, Oct. 2022 Tui Portugués
The rock with the X is on the verge of toppling down the mountain but the path really does steer clear of this.
Holy rocks Batman. Rock slide waiting to happen. Hope the new path is not in its some day downhill trajectory, and that I’m not walking there then.
 
Past OR future Camino
Sept. 2022 El Salvador, Oct. 2022 Tui Portugués
On the website xuliocs.com under Bendueños found a great deal of information about this region written in a combination of Spanish and Asturiano :
“El santuario, la Iglesia Bendueños, la piedra de Malpique

En la campera del pueblo destaca el conjunto del llamado Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Bendueños. En principio, está La Capilla, de cruz latina, con signos evidentes de sucesivos añadidos en el tiempo, caso delCamerín (parte posterior de la iglesia). Este pequeño recinto (hoy mejorado y declarado BIC), mantiene el pequeño altar, y unas paredes con motivos indígenas americanos, ángeles negros, vírgenes con rasgos amerindios... Un patrimonio a investigar, o, por lo menos, a conservar.
For some reason, this is now of interest to me and I would like to find out more about its origins.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Laurie is this the one you said had a Cuban connection? How to find out?
The man in Ender’s group who wound up applying for the grant that did the preservation said he thought the figures, both racially and by dress, looked Caribbean. There are also parrots in the painting, I think. And I think he mentioned something about a connection between that part of Asturias and Cuba, but my memory is fuzzy. I have done a little googling but haven’t found much.

 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Thanks, Nick! Your reports, as always, are terrific. I want to thank you for mentioning food resources as I also have to plan around dietary restrictions. This is super helpful -- and FUN to read!
So glad the posts are useful! Since I neglected to mention food for the Pajares-Bendueños stage, I’ll do it now: as far as I can tell, there’s literally nowhere to get food on the entire stage (no shops, no bars, no restaurants). Sandra at Bendueños will make dinner if you call ahead and we asked for lunch too which she also made and left in the fridge for us to heat up when we arrived. A lifesaver!
 
Past OR future Camino
06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
Day 4: Pajares - Bendueños: ~19km (a few more than expected!)

Another adventurous day on the Salvador! It was really slow going for us today with our ‘paso de fotógrafo’ and we are pretty wrecked even after two short stages - I really can’t imagine wanting to do a 30km day in these mountains as we have been taking our (sweet) time, making photo stops etc and are still exhausted.

Most of today’s stage took place in the forest and was quite different from yesterday. Given that it was our first full day in Asturias, it felt a bit like being back on the Primitivo (with Bendueños playing the role of Bodenaya as the finishing touch).

The sky was hazy again, despite another storm last night, but today was more about forest explorations than mountain views. We passed a few little waterfalls, ate tiny wild cherries and strawberries, peeked into spider web tunnels and walked in our share of mud! It was pretty hot (high 20s Celsius) and tough going and we were glad to finally make it to the albergue shortly before 3pm, especially since it started pouring with rain five minutes after we arrived.

Photography wasn’t so easy for me today but here are a couple of shots that hopefully capture some of the forest ambience.

View attachment 127882

View attachment 127883

Some tips/info from today’s stage:

- Munisteriu Alternative: there’s now a signboard leaving Llanos (Chanos) giving the option of the Munisteriu alternative, so if you want to add some more adventure to your Salvador adventure, take it! We took it instead of the road and we’re really glad we did as it’s a beautiful, forested path. Elle’s/Ender’s tracks include it and it’s signposted. It’s about 300m longer than the road option and will take longer because of the terrain and some some ups and downs, but it was worth it for us. As far as difficulty goes, we felt the ups of the subsequent stretch (Fresneo-Herias) made that the harder section.

- Accommodation: The albergue in Bendueños is so fantastic. It’s a rustic stone house that’s amazingly situated and beautifully outfitted. Highly, highly recommended.
Could not agree more with what you say re Sandra and her albergue. It is as cosy as any home. Everything you could hope to find in the bathrooms. A clear atmosphere of generosity and trust. We were very fortunate - we were collected at the foot of the hill by Sandra. I think you said yourself that she is no longer in a position to do that...
 

Dilbin

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Irun to Santander del Norte
Could not agree more with what you say re Sandra and her albergue. It is as cosy as any home. Everything you could hope to find in the bathrooms. A clear atmosphere of generosity and trust. We were very fortunate - we were collected at the foot of the hill by Sandra. I think you said yourself that she is no longer in a position to do that...
Hi. Yes I believe collecting pilgrims is no longer an option. As for food I think it needs to be bought in a supermercado halfway the stage or day before. I believe there are two stages that we need to carry our own food due to lack of shops/ cafes etc. Is it advisable to book Sandra's 2 days in advance? I'm walking the route in August. Thanks, Daniel
 
Past OR future Camino
06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
Hi. Yes I believe collecting pilgrims is no longer an option. As for food I think it needs to be bought in a supermercado halfway the stage or day before. I believe there are two stages that we need to carry our own food due to lack of shops/ cafes etc. Is it advisable to book Sandra's 2 days in advance? I'm walking the route in August. Thanks, Daniel
If you have two days notice, use them... or even, right now! The early bird...
 

Canche

Volcano Climber
Past OR future Camino
Norte/Frances 2016, San Salvador & Primitivo 2021
So glad the posts are useful! Since I neglected to mention food for the Pajares-Bendueños stage, I’ll do it now: as far as I can tell, there’s literally nowhere to get food on the entire stage (no shops, no bars, no restaurants). Sandra at Bendueños will make dinner if you call ahead and we asked for lunch too which she also made and left in the fridge for us to heat up when we arrived. A lifesaver!
Sandra is fantastic. We didh't even ask and she prepared dinner and breakfast and there is beer in fridge!
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Day 5: Bendueños - Mieres del Camino: ~23km

Where to start? Well, firstly, I wrote yesterday’s post shortly after arriving in Bendueños and I hadn’t had the full experience yet. Today I can say that this is now my favourite albergue on any camino. The welcome, the spirit, the building itself, the church, the food, the views - I loved absolutely everything about it.

After a lot of rain overnight, we finally awoke to a non-hazy sky this morning (and lower temperatures - high of 23C today). We saw the first light hit the mountain peaks and then watched the light, fog and clouds shift over the next hour or two to create different landscapes. The opening of Santa Cristina de Lena at 11am was a blessing in disguise as it allowed us to spend longer in Bendueños admiring the views.

D60848CA-063D-41A2-9421-95AE4BB7ADB8.jpeg

The other highlight of the day was, of course, the aforementioned Santa Cristina de Lena. As an amateur medievalist, I especially like the early Middle Ages and I had very much been looking forward to seeing this 9th-century church that is part of the Asturian pre-Romanesque World Heritage listing. And it didn’t disappoint - what a beautiful place! Photos behind spoilers:

34C7E32D-1697-4C04-BBD7-CE51E04C90FE.jpeg

17F2CFB3-5881-45D1-9DA4-CA4CCD1491A4.jpeg

Having not made much progress until midday while savouring the mountain views and the church, we got on our proverbial bikes after that and got moving to Mieres. Other than some practicalities listed below, there isn’t much to say about most of the stage. I found six ticks on me today (!) and Darin and I are also dealing with various other physical issues, so we’re a bit battered and bruised but looking forward to Oviedo tomorrow!

Some tips/info from today’s stage:

- Waymarking: three things to note from today.

Bendueños: leaving town and going back the way you came, there’s a sign and camino arrow pointing to a path to Campomanes. But there are two paths and it isn’t clear which one it is. In the end we just took the road back down to Herias and continued from there. The other pilgrims staying at Bendueños did the same. Maybe someone can check with Sandra as to which path is correct.

Campomanes: there are two sets of arrows leaving town and it’s easy to take the wrong ones. The wrong ones continue through town and over the bridge, with the river now on the right. Instead, turn right two blocks before the bridge and follow different arrows, with the river on the left. I say ‘wrong arrows’ because that way puts you on the opposite side of the river from Santa Cristina. Wise Pilgrim has both tracks but Gronze and Elle/Ender only have the ‘correct’ ones on the right side of the river.

Pola de Lena: the Gronze tracks continue straight out of Pola on the left side of the river. We followed this briefly and this is presumably the road @peregrina2000 talked about as being a terrifying one, with no shoulder and lots of traffic. Instead, arrows now turn right shortly before the end of town and cross the river, which is what we ultimately did. The first section of this part is on an unused asphalt road adjacent to the highway, so it’s not wonderful but is safe. The next part, opposite Villallana, goes into a forest with a decent up and a down, and then the path continues adjacent to the highway (but not on it) until crossing the river again to enter Ujo. Elle/Ender’s tracks have all of this marked but also include another option which crosses back at Villallana and skips the forest section. This option then goes on the original road where the Gronze tracks go before crossing the river to merge with the other tracks a couple of kms before Ujo. I can’t compare routes but the forest one is not too hard, perhaps unless there’s been a lot of rain.

- Bridge closure: at Mieres del Camino, the pedestrian bridge right opposite the albergue / university accommodation is currently closed for works. Cross the river at the previous bridge (Calle Vega de Arriba) to enter town, or else you will have to continue to the next bridge and then walk back south again if you are staying at the university or somewhere else in the south end of town.
 
Past OR future Camino
Sept. 2022 El Salvador, Oct. 2022 Tui Portugués
@jungleboy Thanks once more for your live accounts & pictures!
How long did it take you to walk to Santa Cristina de Lena?
Ticks? Yikes! Are you wearing shorts? How did you deal with this? Hope you are well! Ultreia as you walk into Oviedo.
 

LavanyaLea

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (May/June 2022)
Day 5: Bendueños - Mieres del Camino: ~23km

Where to start? Well, firstly, I wrote yesterday’s post shortly after arriving in Bendueños and I hadn’t had the full experience yet. Today I can say that this is now my favourite albergue on any camino. The welcome, the spirit, the building itself, the church, the food, the views - I loved absolutely everything about it.

After a lot of rain overnight, we finally awoke to a non-hazy sky this morning (and lower temperatures - high of 23C today). We saw the first light hit the mountain peaks and then watched the light, fog and clouds shift over the next hour or two to create different landscapes. The opening of Santa Cristina de Lena at 11am was a blessing in disguise as it allowed us to spend longer in Bendueños admiring the views.

View attachment 128011

The other highlight of the day was, of course, the aforementioned Santa Cristina de Lena. As an amateur medievalist, I especially like the early Middle Ages and I had very much been looking forward to seeing this 9th-century church that is part of the Asturian pre-Romanesque World Heritage listing. And it didn’t disappoint - what a beautiful place! Photos behind spoilers:


Having not made much progress until midday while savouring the mountain views and the church, we got on our proverbial bikes after that and got moving to Mieres. Other than some practicalities listed below, there isn’t much to say about most of the stage. I found six ticks on me today (!) and Darin and I are also dealing with various other physical issues, so we’re a bit battered and bruised but looking forward to Oviedo tomorrow!

Some tips/info from today’s stage:

- Waymarking: three things to note from today.

Bendueños: leaving town and going back the way you came, there’s a sign and camino arrow pointing to a path to Campomanes. But there are two paths and it isn’t clear which one it is. In the end we just took the road back down to Herias and continued from there. The other pilgrims staying at Bendueños did the same. Maybe someone can check with Sandra as to which path is correct.

Campomanes: there are two sets of arrows leaving town and it’s easy to take the wrong ones. The wrong ones continue through town and over the bridge, with the river now on the right. Instead, turn right two blocks before the bridge and follow different arrows, with the river on the left. I say ‘wrong arrows’ because that way puts you on the opposite side of the river from Santa Cristina. Wise Pilgrim has both tracks but Gronze and Elle/Ender only have the ‘correct’ ones on the right side of the river.

Pola de Lena: the Gronze tracks continue straight out of Pola on the left side of the river. We followed this briefly and this is presumably the road @peregrina2000 talked about as being a terrifying one, with no shoulder and lots of traffic. Instead, arrows now turn right shortly before the end of town and cross the river, which is what we ultimately did. The first section of this part is on an unused asphalt road adjacent to the highway, so it’s not wonderful but is safe. The next part, opposite Villallana, goes into a forest with a decent up and a down, and then the path continues adjacent to the highway (but not on it) until crossing the river again to enter Ujo. Elle/Ender’s tracks have all of this marked but also include another option which crosses back at Villallana and skips the forest section. This option then goes on the original road where the Gronze tracks go before crossing the river to merge with the other tracks a couple of kms before Ujo. I can’t compare routes but the forest one is not too hard, perhaps unless there’s been a lot of rain.

- Bridge closure: at Mieres del Camino, the pedestrian bridge right opposite the albergue / university accommodation is currently closed for works. Cross the river at the previous bridge (Calle Vega de Arriba) to enter town, or else you will have to continue to the next bridge and then walk back south again if you are staying at the university or somewhere else in the south end of town.
Thank you! I think I will have to sit down and read again your comments about the route marking, and compare that to whatever GPS tracks I’ll be using! Hopefully it will lead us to the right way 😝

How’s the trail past Pola de Lena, is it relatively more flat? Wondering if we should carry on from Campumanes straight to Mieres, or have a rest day in Pola de Lena.

Have you managed to remove the ticks? They can be quite tricky! I brought tick remover forceps on our last Camino and then never needed to use it! And I keep thinking “why do I even bother bringing this”.
 

Dilbin

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Irun to Santander del Norte
Day 5: Bendueños - Mieres del Camino: ~23km

Where to start? Well, firstly, I wrote yesterday’s post shortly after arriving in Bendueños and I hadn’t had the full experience yet. Today I can say that this is now my favourite albergue on any camino. The welcome, the spirit, the building itself, the church, the food, the views - I loved absolutely everything about it.

After a lot of rain overnight, we finally awoke to a non-hazy sky this morning (and lower temperatures - high of 23C today). We saw the first light hit the mountain peaks and then watched the light, fog and clouds shift over the next hour or two to create different landscapes. The opening of Santa Cristina de Lena at 11am was a blessing in disguise as it allowed us to spend longer in Bendueños admiring the views.

View attachment 128011

The other highlight of the day was, of course, the aforementioned Santa Cristina de Lena. As an amateur medievalist, I especially like the early Middle Ages and I had very much been looking forward to seeing this 9th-century church that is part of the Asturian pre-Romanesque World Heritage listing. And it didn’t disappoint - what a beautiful place! Photos behind spoilers:


Having not made much progress until midday while savouring the mountain views and the church, we got on our proverbial bikes after that and got moving to Mieres. Other than some practicalities listed below, there isn’t much to say about most of the stage. I found six ticks on me today (!) and Darin and I are also dealing with various other physical issues, so we’re a bit battered and bruised but looking forward to Oviedo tomorrow!

Some tips/info from today’s stage:

- Waymarking: three things to note from today.

Bendueños: leaving town and going back the way you came, there’s a sign and camino arrow pointing to a path to Campomanes. But there are two paths and it isn’t clear which one it is. In the end we just took the road back down to Herias and continued from there. The other pilgrims staying at Bendueños did the same. Maybe someone can check with Sandra as to which path is correct.

Campomanes: there are two sets of arrows leaving town and it’s easy to take the wrong ones. The wrong ones continue through town and over the bridge, with the river now on the right. Instead, turn right two blocks before the bridge and follow different arrows, with the river on the left. I say ‘wrong arrows’ because that way puts you on the opposite side of the river from Santa Cristina. Wise Pilgrim has both tracks but Gronze and Elle/Ender only have the ‘correct’ ones on the right side of the river.

Pola de Lena: the Gronze tracks continue straight out of Pola on the left side of the river. We followed this briefly and this is presumably the road @peregrina2000 talked about as being a terrifying one, with no shoulder and lots of traffic. Instead, arrows now turn right shortly before the end of town and cross the river, which is what we ultimately did. The first section of this part is on an unused asphalt road adjacent to the highway, so it’s not wonderful but is safe. The next part, opposite Villallana, goes into a forest with a decent up and a down, and then the path continues adjacent to the highway (but not on it) until crossing the river again to enter Ujo. Elle/Ender’s tracks have all of this marked but also include another option which crosses back at Villallana and skips the forest section. This option then goes on the original road where the Gronze tracks go before crossing the river to merge with the other tracks a couple of kms before Ujo. I can’t compare routes but the forest one is not too hard, perhaps unless there’s been a lot of rain.

- Bridge closure: at Mieres del Camino, the pedestrian bridge right opposite the albergue / university accommodation is currently closed for works. Cross the river at the previous bridge (Calle Vega de Arriba) to enter town, or else you will have to continue to the next bridge and then walk back south again if you are staying at the university or somewhere else in the south end of town.
Hey guys. Thank you again for the updates. I'm getting quite anxious when you mentioned bruised and injured as I'm taking this trip solo. That first image of the mountain ahead however makes me want to walk it more. Have a safe trip tomorrow to Oviedo. Daniel
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Pola de Lena: the Gronze tracks continue straight out of Pola on the left side of the river. We followed this briefly and this is presumably the road @peregrina2000 talked about as being a terrifying one, with no shoulder and lots of traffic.
Wrong road. That road you walked on, on the left side of the river, doesn’t have any cars at all on it. The bad road started after the gasolinera in Villalana, which is where the arrows now take you under the highway. It wouldn’t have been too bad today since it is a Sunday, but on weekdays it is really treacherous. Ender was able to get people totally off that road (it’s the AS-375, there is no shoulder whatsoever, and the road is lined with big supply yards so there is a ton of truck traffic).

Anyway, I am glad that people are following the alternative, which has a bit of elevation as compared to the previous flat kms, but is almost all off road. How did you find the segment after you went under the superhighway till you got to Ujo? Ender and crew recently finished a staircase of sorts at the steepest part of the decline.

And I agree with your assessment of Bendueños. Just perfect.


p.s. here are a couple of screen shots of the AS-375
 

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Canche

Volcano Climber
Past OR future Camino
Norte/Frances 2016, San Salvador & Primitivo 2021
Day 5: Bendueños - Mieres del Camino: ~23km

Where to start? Well, firstly, I wrote yesterday’s post shortly after arriving in Bendueños and I hadn’t had the full experience yet. Today I can say that this is now my favourite albergue on any camino. The welcome, the spirit, the building itself, the church, the food, the views - I loved absolutely everything about it.

After a lot of rain overnight, we finally awoke to a non-hazy sky this morning (and lower temperatures - high of 23C today). We saw the first light hit the mountain peaks and then watched the light, fog and clouds shift over the next hour or two to create different landscapes. The opening of Santa Cristina de Lena at 11am was a blessing in disguise as it allowed us to spend longer in Bendueños admiring the views.

View attachment 128011

The other highlight of the day was, of course, the aforementioned Santa Cristina de Lena. As an amateur medievalist, I especially like the early Middle Ages and I had very much been looking forward to seeing this 9th-century church that is part of the Asturian pre-Romanesque World Heritage listing. And it didn’t disappoint - what a beautiful place! Photos behind spoilers:


Having not made much progress until midday while savouring the mountain views and the church, we got on our proverbial bikes after that and got moving to Mieres. Other than some practicalities listed below, there isn’t much to say about most of the stage. I found six ticks on me today (!) and Darin and I are also dealing with various other physical issues, so we’re a bit battered and bruised but looking forward to Oviedo tomorrow!

Some tips/info from today’s stage:

- Waymarking: three things to note from today.

Bendueños: leaving town and going back the way you came, there’s a sign and camino arrow pointing to a path to Campomanes. But there are two paths and it isn’t clear which one it is. In the end we just took the road back down to Herias and continued from there. The other pilgrims staying at Bendueños did the same. Maybe someone can check with Sandra as to which path is correct.

Campomanes: there are two sets of arrows leaving town and it’s easy to take the wrong ones. The wrong ones continue through town and over the bridge, with the river now on the right. Instead, turn right two blocks before the bridge and follow different arrows, with the river on the left. I say ‘wrong arrows’ because that way puts you on the opposite side of the river from Santa Cristina. Wise Pilgrim has both tracks but Gronze and Elle/Ender only have the ‘correct’ ones on the right side of the river.

Pola de Lena: the Gronze tracks continue straight out of Pola on the left side of the river. We followed this briefly and this is presumably the road @peregrina2000 talked about as being a terrifying one, with no shoulder and lots of traffic. Instead, arrows now turn right shortly before the end of town and cross the river, which is what we ultimately did. The first section of this part is on an unused asphalt road adjacent to the highway, so it’s not wonderful but is safe. The next part, opposite Villallana, goes into a forest with a decent up and a down, and then the path continues adjacent to the highway (but not on it) until crossing the river again to enter Ujo. Elle/Ender’s tracks have all of this marked but also include another option which crosses back at Villallana and skips the forest section. This option then goes on the original road where the Gronze tracks go before crossing the river to merge with the other tracks a couple of kms before Ujo. I can’t compare routes but the forest one is not too hard, perhaps unless there’s been a lot of rain.

- Bridge closure: at Mieres del Camino, the pedestrian bridge right opposite the albergue / university accommodation is currently closed for works. Cross the river at the previous bridge (Calle Vega de Arriba) to enter town, or else you will have to continue to the next bridge and then walk back south again if you are staying at the university or somewhere else in the south end of town.
Yes the hospitalera in Bendueñas is exceptionall
 
Past OR future Camino
06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
Day 5: Bendueños - Mieres del Camino: ~23km

Where to start? Well, firstly, I wrote yesterday’s post shortly after arriving in Bendueños and I hadn’t had the full experience yet. Today I can say that this is now my favourite albergue on any camino. The welcome, the spirit, the building itself, the church, the food, the views - I loved absolutely everything about it.

After a lot of rain overnight, we finally awoke to a non-hazy sky this morning (and lower temperatures - high of 23C today). We saw the first light hit the mountain peaks and then watched the light, fog and clouds shift over the next hour or two to create different landscapes. The opening of Santa Cristina de Lena at 11am was a blessing in disguise as it allowed us to spend longer in Bendueños admiring the views.

View attachment 128011

The other highlight of the day was, of course, the aforementioned Santa Cristina de Lena. As an amateur medievalist, I especially like the early Middle Ages and I had very much been looking forward to seeing this 9th-century church that is part of the Asturian pre-Romanesque World Heritage listing. And it didn’t disappoint - what a beautiful place! Photos behind spoilers:


Having not made much progress until midday while savouring the mountain views and the church, we got on our proverbial bikes after that and got moving to Mieres. Other than some practicalities listed below, there isn’t much to say about most of the stage. I found six ticks on me today (!) and Darin and I are also dealing with various other physical issues, so we’re a bit battered and bruised but looking forward to Oviedo tomorrow!

Some tips/info from today’s stage:

- Waymarking: three things to note from today.

Bendueños: leaving town and going back the way you came, there’s a sign and camino arrow pointing to a path to Campomanes. But there are two paths and it isn’t clear which one it is. In the end we just took the road back down to Herias and continued from there. The other pilgrims staying at Bendueños did the same. Maybe someone can check with Sandra as to which path is correct.

Campomanes: there are two sets of arrows leaving town and it’s easy to take the wrong ones. The wrong ones continue through town and over the bridge, with the river now on the right. Instead, turn right two blocks before the bridge and follow different arrows, with the river on the left. I say ‘wrong arrows’ because that way puts you on the opposite side of the river from Santa Cristina. Wise Pilgrim has both tracks but Gronze and Elle/Ender only have the ‘correct’ ones on the right side of the river.

Pola de Lena: the Gronze tracks continue straight out of Pola on the left side of the river. We followed this briefly and this is presumably the road @peregrina2000 talked about as being a terrifying one, with no shoulder and lots of traffic. Instead, arrows now turn right shortly before the end of town and cross the river, which is what we ultimately did. The first section of this part is on an unused asphalt road adjacent to the highway, so it’s not wonderful but is safe. The next part, opposite Villallana, goes into a forest with a decent up and a down, and then the path continues adjacent to the highway (but not on it) until crossing the river again to enter Ujo. Elle/Ender’s tracks have all of this marked but also include another option which crosses back at Villallana and skips the forest section. This option then goes on the original road where the Gronze tracks go before crossing the river to merge with the other tracks a couple of kms before Ujo. I can’t compare routes but the forest one is not too hard, perhaps unless there’s been a lot of rain.

- Bridge closure: at Mieres del Camino, the pedestrian bridge right opposite the albergue / university accommodation is currently closed for works. Cross the river at the previous bridge (Calle Vega de Arriba) to enter town, or else you will have to continue to the next bridge and then walk back south again if you are staying at the university or somewhere else in the south end of town.
When you go back down to Herias, and turn left to continue, there is a field on your right. That is where we saw a foal being born. The owner came along from his house, he was watching everything! The field has a downwards slope, so the mother had to nudge the newborn a few times into a position to enable it to find its feet. An amazing experience. Most of the other pilgrims who had stayed in the albergue stopped with us to watch. Thanks for the memories, and lovely photos of Santa Cristina.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
@jungleboy Thanks once more for your live accounts & pictures!
Thank you :)

How long did it take you to walk to Santa Cristina de Lena?
About two hours (at a leisurely pace) from Bendueños. Maybe a little less.

Ticks? Yikes! Are you wearing shorts? How did you deal with this?
Yes to shorts. Removed them with tweezers (making sure to get all of them) and then applied antiseptic and now monitoring the spots.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Wrong road. That road you walked on, on the left side of the river, doesn’t have any cars at all on it. The bad road started after the gasolinera in Villalana, which is where the arrows now take you under the highway. It wouldn’t have been too bad today since it is a Sunday, but on weekdays it is really treacherous. Ender was able to get people totally off that road (it’s the AS-375, there is no shoulder whatsoever, and the road is lined with big supply yards so there is a ton of truck traffic).
Got it! Here is a map to clarify:

CAC3C53F-C957-4C0C-91EE-AB1BCB2674EC.jpeg

The maroon tracks are Gronze, staying on the left of the river leaving Pola. The arrows take you over the river on the red tracks (Elle/Ender). Where the red tracks fork, we took the right fork into the forest and your road is the left fork (rejoining the Gronze tracks which are hidden underneath), if I have this right.

How did you find the segment after you went under the superhighway till you got to Ujo? Ender and crew recently finished a staircase of sorts at the steepest part of the decline.
There are some steps on the descent in the forest which is helpful, but the part just after the steps is also steep and slippery after rain. After the forest there was a fair bit of mud on the trail. Post-forest, the trail isn’t anything to write home about but it sounds much better than the alternative!
 

LavanyaLea

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (May/June 2022)
Beyond that, you need to get the key from the hospitalera Sandra to access the church and while she’s very accommodating and generous, there’s no guarantee that she will be available at the time you would be there. So I think this could be difficult.
Hoping that the day we walk to Campomanes, we will meet people walking to Bendueños and they can let us know when they’re going to visit the church 🤪 hey, crazier things have happened on the Camino. Maybe it will happen, maybe not.
 
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LavanyaLea

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (May/June 2022)
The arrows take you over the river on the red tracks (Elle/Ender). Where the red tracks fork, we took the right fork into the forest and your road is the left fork (rejoining the Gronze tracks which are hidden underneath), if I have this right.
So to avoid walking on the motorway, I should follow the red track out of Pola, and when it forks, take the right one into the forest?
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Hoping that the day we walk to Campomanes, we will meet people walking to Bendueños and they can let us know when they’re going to visit the church 🤪 hey, crazier things have happened on the Camino. Maybe it will happen, maybe not.
Just to let you know how it worked for us. Sandra isn’t at the albergue all day. One pilgrim arrived at 11:30am. Sandra let him in and then went home to tend to her daughter. The pilgrim let the rest of us in and Sandra came back at about 6pm and opened the church for us to see it.

Your best bet is to call/WhatsApp her a day in advance and see if her schedule can match up with yours.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
There are some steps on the descent in the forest which is helpful, but the part just after the steps is also steep and slippery after rain. After the forest there was a fair bit of mud on the trail. Post-forest, the trail isn’t anything to write home about but it sounds much better than the alternative!


So, this is probably too much tedious detail, but here is the evolution of the new alternative through the tunnel under the motorway (A-6) and up the hill.

The “camino de siempre” followed the maroon tracks from Pola, till they joined up with the red tracks in Villalana and continued straight through Vallines and into Ujo. That entire stretch is the awful AS-375.

About 6 (?) years ago, Ender found the red road leaving Pola de Lena, which kept people off the AS-375 at least till the gas station at Villalana.

Within the last year, he opened up the route that turns right at the gas station, through the tunnel and up through the mata. This is a scrubby overgrowth area so I am not surprised at your comments about the mud and sliding. Sounds like it would not be fun in the rain, but walking on the AS-375 in the rain on a weekday would be less fun, as you say.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Day 6: Mieres del Camino - Oviedo: ~19km

Our Salvador victory lap wasn’t a brilliant stage but it was cool (max 17C today) and we didn’t get rained on. The weather changed quite a bit over the six days of the camino and that intense heat on day 1 out of León seems like a while ago now.

There are three ascents and descents on this stage: the first ascent is the longest and reaches the highest point; the second one is the steepest but is in the forest and was my favourite part of the stage; while the third one is pretty minor. Apart from that middle forest section, most of the stage is on asphalt and while there are some mountain views, there are also views of industrial sites and a lot of power lines, so it’s certainly not the best scenery the Salvador has to offer.

Having started early to avoid the afternoon rain, we arrived in Oviedo at about 12:30pm and it was great for me to be back here four years after walking the Primitivo. We received our salvadoranas and went inside the cathedral, and as was the case last time, my favourite part was the ninth-century crypt of Santa Leocadia.

F07CC72A-23A2-4EAD-97DC-ACAA1EEA1F74.jpeg

We are taking a rest day in Oviedo tomorrow and then weighing up our options. The Primitivo was our plan but there’s a lot of rain in the forecast and Darin’s blisters are pretty bad, so we’ll decide tomorrow if that still makes the most sense.

In any case, the Salvador was a great adventure and a beautiful if tough camino. Thanks to everyone for the encouragement and for following along!
 
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nycwalking

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
Day 6: Mieres del Camino - Oviedo: ~19km

Our Salvador victory lap wasn’t a brilliant stage but it was cool (max 17C today) and we didn’t get rained on. The weather changed quite a bit over the six days of the camino and that intense heat on day 1 out of León seems like a while ago now.

There are three ascents and descents on this stage: the first ascent is the longest and reaches the highest point; the second one is the steepest but is in the forest and was my favourite part of the stage; while the third one is pretty minor. Apart from that middle forest section, most of the stage is on asphalt and while there are some mountain views, there are also views of industrial sites and a lot of power lines, so it’s certainly not the best scenery the Salvador has to offer.

Having started early to avoid the afternoon rain, we arrived in Oviedo at about 12:30pm and it was great for me to be back here four years after walking the Primitivo. We received our salvadoranas and went inside the cathedral, and as was the case last time, my favourite part was the ninth-century crypt of Santa Leocadia.

View attachment 128090

We are taking a rest day in Oviedo tomorrow and then weighing up our options. The Primitivo was our plan but there’s a lot of rain in the forecast and Darin’s blisters are pretty bad, so we’ll decide tomorrow if that still makes the most sense.

In any case, the Salvador was a great adventure and a beautiful if tough camino. Thanks to everyone for the encouragement and for following along!

Jungleboy,

Thanks for sharing.

Enjoyed so much.
 

Ceepa

New Member
Past OR future Camino
France
Portuguese
Arles
Aragones
Baztan
Madrid
Day 6: Mieres del Camino - Oviedo: ~19km

Our Salvador victory lap wasn’t a brilliant stage but it was cool (max 17C today) and we didn’t get rained on. The weather changed quite a bit over the six days of the camino and that intense heat on day 1 out of León seems like a while ago now.

There are three ascents and descents on this stage: the first ascent is the longest and reaches the highest point; the second one is the steepest but is in the forest and was my favourite part of the stage; while the third one is pretty minor. Apart from that middle forest section, most of the stage is on asphalt and while there are some mountain views, there are also views of industrial sites and a lot of power lines, so it’s certainly not the best scenery the Salvador has to offer.

Having started early to avoid the afternoon rain, we arrived in Oviedo at about 12:30pm and it was great for me to be back here four years after walking the Primitivo. We received our salvadoranas and went inside the cathedral, and as was the case last time, my favourite part was the ninth-century crypt of Santa Leocadia.

View attachment 128090

We are taking a rest day in Oviedo tomorrow and then weighing up our options. The Primitivo was our plan but there’s a lot of rain in the forecast and Darin’s blisters are pretty bad, so we’ll decide tomorrow if that still makes the most sense.

In any case, the Salvador was a great adventure and a beautiful if tough camino. Thanks to everyone for the encouragement and for following along!
Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed walking with you. I'm hoping to do it myself this September, but no definite plans as of yet.
 

Walli Walker

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Many. First 2009 and still going.
Thanks so much for your posts. Fabulous information. I’ll be watching for what you do next. Cheers, Jacki.
 
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Walli Walker

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Many. First 2009 and still going.
Oh, of course, you are right. I was thinking Poladura to Llanos, not Pajares to Llanos. :D

Another forum member sent me her proposed stages to keep all the days around or under 20 — here is a masterful itinerary, IMO.
1. Leon to Cabanillas. 2. Cabanillas to Cabornera (pensión about a half km off camino a few kms after Pola de Gordón). 3. Cabornera to Poladura. 4. Poladura to Pajares. 5. Pajares to Bendueños. 6. Bendueños to Mieres. 7. Mieres to Oviedo.

I walked last year in the beginning of September and it wasn’t crowded at all. In my experience, most walkers on the Salvador are Spaniards, and August is their crunch time.
Peregrina 2000 can you please give me more information on the pension in Cabornera? This seems ideal for us but I can’t find what it’s called, where it is or contact details. We’re starting the San Salvador in a few days. Thanks, Jacki.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Peregrina 2000 can you please give me more information on the pension in Cabornera? This seems ideal for us but I can’t find what it’s called, where it is or contact details. We’re starting the San Salvador in a few days. Thanks, Jacki.
I assume it’s this one:


Phone and email in the ‘contacto’ section.

And pet friendly for @LavanyaLea!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Peregrina 2000 can you please give me more information on the pension in Cabornera? This seems ideal for us but I can’t find what it’s called, where it is or contact details. We’re starting the San Salvador in a few days. Thanks, Jacki.


The pensión that Ender was talking about is the Rabocán.

640 70 66 21 They are on WhatsApp.

I don’t know about that Casa Rural that @jungleboy found, but it may also be a good option. It looks to me, though, that the Casa Rural is only available for whole-house rental.

The Rabocán is a few hundred meters off camino, but you can see from the google maps that it is a bit closer to the camino than the CR.
 

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Walli Walker

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Many. First 2009 and still going.
The pensión that Ender was talking about is the Rabocán.

640 70 66 21 They are on WhatsApp.

I don’t know about that Casa Rural that @jungleboy found, but it may also be a good option. It looks to me, though, that the Casa Rural is only available for whole-house rental.

The Rabocán is a few hundred meters off camino, but you can see from the google maps that it is a bit closer to the camino than the CR.
Many thanks, that’s what I was looking for. X
 

hiro

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Lourdes to Muxia(2010)
Hello. Thank you for a very helpful post.
I am thinking to walk Camino San Salvador alone this July. (I'm female.)

I watched some youtube about Salvadore and I saw one Canadian lady encountered a wired guy. It made me a bit scared to walk this route alone now.

Are there some pilgrims on Salvadore in June 2022?
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Are there some pilgrims on Salvadore in June 2022?
There are some but not many. In Poladura there were 12 in the albergue and 1-2 more in the pensión. In Pajares there were only five in the albergue (as the rest did a longer day). In Bendueños there were seven in the albergue. We usually didn’t see pilgrims on the trail.
 

hiro

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Lourdes to Muxia(2010)
There are some but not many. In Poladura there were 12 in the albergue and 1-2 more in the pensión. In Pajares there were only five in the albergue (as the rest did a longer day). In Bendueños there were seven in the albergue. We usually didn’t see pilgrims on the trail.
Thank you very much for your detailed info! Thanks to you, I can image how Camino Salvador like. Muchas gracious!
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
@jungleboy will you be doing one of your wonderful updates on the Primitivo?
?? Hmm weren’t you going there after Salvador??
To make a long story short, we decided for a variety of reasons not to walk the Primitivo and instead relocated to Tui to walk the last part of the CP (+VE), arriving in Santiago yesterday! Since the CP is very well known at this point I opted against posting updates, but thank you for the kind words!
 

rojasa

New Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2021; CSS/CP 2022
Hi Nick, I can't thank you enough for your posts - and for the additional comments from others in this thread! God willing, I am scheduled to begin the Camino San Salvador in early October, and am finding so much information here useful. (Planning a 7 day walk, described in @peregrina2000 post above. After a rest day in Oviedo, heading west on the Camino Primitivo.) So grateful to all you peregrinos who share your experiences so generously...
 
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