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Salvador solo - March 2017

Discussion in 'Camino del Salvador' started by Gipsy Moon, Mar 22, 2017.

  1. Gipsy Moon

    Gipsy Moon Member

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    Just finished El Salvador, thought i would share...

    Decision to walk this Camino was completely spontaneous, a soft but insisting whisper in my ears coming from the mountains while walking el Camino Frances. Rested one day in Leon to gather some information as I didn't have any map or guide, and to make few phone calls.

    Best sources of info for me were :

    > Facebook "Camino El Salvador Page".
    The guy in charge of this page generously answered few questions - asked in basic Spanish, mainly about the meteo conditions - was there snow? - and were the albergues open? He also sent me a Google doc PDF with very detailled explanations (both English & Spanish) that you can find directly on the page... (document that might help someone into much reading... but confusing for me)

    (there is also a FB group called "Camino El Salvador" but 2 weeks later still hasn't answered my request to join).

    > In Leon : Albergue de las Carbajalas
    They gave me a summary map of the Camino del Salvador, and a Credencial that contains all the basic info with all services available or not (bar, albergue, supermarket...) on all possible etapas - quite a short Camino as you can walk it in 4 to 7 days (125 km), with many stages possibilities

    > In Leon : there is a Pilgrims Association where several members have been walking el Salvador, and part of the team taking care of the marking of this camino in Castilla i Leon. Very friendly, patient - some might speak English - and happy to help, with concrete experience.

    It is just outside old centre >
    Associacion Amigos Camino Santiago
    Av. Independecia 2 - 5th floor
    they open appx from 6 to 8 pm

    *** A bit of planning is important for El Salvador as in some villages, you need to call in advance so someone can prepare some food for you - usually a nearby bar or restaurant. Otherwise there might be nothing...

    *** the Credencial is not mandatory. You can keep using your Camino Frances one if you prefer. Unless you want to have a Salvadora (equivalent of Compostela) when you arrive in Oviedo (at the Cathedral). And as I just wrote, it contains all the info you need if you are not into carrying a big guide book with you : services, altitude profiles, villages and albergues phone numbers.

    *** speaking basic Spanish would definitely help

    *** Internet can be very unstable on this Camino or unexistant, so apps won't always be useful

    (to have an idea of how beautiful nature is in El Salvador, you can have a look on my Instagram pics)
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
  2. Gipsy Moon

    Gipsy Moon Member

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    Day 1 - Leon > La Robla 27 km

    It takes quite a while to walk out of Leon, but after 2 hours when I finally reached the mountains, felt happy and light to be in nature and silence again. Quite a climb, but not too hard, especially if you have already been walking el Camino Frances (comparable to the stage SJPP - Roncesvalles... but with daily training beforehand : )

    This time of the year I didn't see a single soul, eventhough weather was sunny glorious, and terrain very dry - not snow. Beautiful forest and views, following from above the Rio Bernesga in the valley. There are also two times some kind of metallic letter box - middle of nowhere - with few emergency items inside, and a book where you can leave a message)

    Would recommend to take some food, as except for a fountain and an albergue in Cabanillas, there is not much after Carbajal. Had to face my fantasy that somehow, someone would magically share a delicious meal with me from their house.. and start some more serious advanced basic planning (!)

    Luckily there was a bar in Cascantes, with really friendly owners, happy to prepare some vegetarian plate. From there, you have the choice to take the road - a bit shorter - or more walk supposedly in nature until La Robla, which I choose. I don't think I would go for this option again, as I ended up walking for appx 6 km around a huge thermal power plant... and being smudged by the smoke of clearing fires all around.

    La Robla is a city with all commodities. Made the choice to sleep in a pension for the first night rather than an albergue, but realised that along this Camino staying in the municipal Albergue is a more practical option. The Camino always passes in front of it, and all the hospitaleros are so very caring and friendly. It also simplifies things when you need to order food in advance so it can be prepared for you.
     
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  3. Magwood

    Magwood Veteran Member

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    Useful info, thanks. Will be walking the Salvador after the Madrid early May. Did you find any snow?
     
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  4. Gipsy Moon

    Gipsy Moon Member

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    There was some at the top when I walked Magwood. Weather has been surprisingly warm and sunny this year... would still suggest you check on daily or weekly basis when you are there.

    Buen Camino :)
     
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  5. Gipsy Moon

    Gipsy Moon Member

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    Day 2 - La Robla > Poladura de la Tierca 24 km

    *** if you are going to stop there, make sure you call the albergue the day before, so the hospitalero can order some food to be prepared for you.

    Got stuck early morning trying to leave town, turning in round... tricked by a yellow arrow i had seen on arrival the day before, leading to... the highway. (This arrow is actually showing a yellow bridge you are supposed to take to cross the main road at the entry of La Robla only, and its not part of the Camino - was painted for some kind of event unrelated)

    The Camino continues through the centre of La Robla, and passes in front of the municipal Albergue. Must say the first 4-5 hours is a walk through quite some asphalt, but saw some interesting old mountain villages... Generally I would say, don't just except this Camino to be mountains only.

    Real nature really starts after La Buiza, as climbing does... I also think I recognized some kind of Via Romana... in full mountain. Magnificient landscape, zenitude, tranquility... could see some snowy caps around further, but not part of the Camino.

    Arrived quite early in Poladura, there was no one in the albergue, but door was open and someone had already installed an electrical heater in the room... (for one peligrina only!)

    Went to restaurant few stairs down - with some kind of wobly wifi - were you can eat/drink something if you want, but mainly who is going to prepare the food you ordered in advance... and deliver it to the albergue.

    ** When you do order food on the phone, they ask if it is lunch or dinner you want... just remember Spanish eating times are generally quite late... so if you want an early dinner, better say lunch : )

    Had the dormitory for myself (no lavadora or secadora, no wifi or kitchen... just a microwave and vending machine with basic sugar things) Basic, but ok clean and comfortable... and plenty of blankets... and a very nocturnal active little black rat that visited me in the bathroom in the morning : )

    The hospitalero showed up eventually. He suggested that I take a taxi the day after to next stage if when waking up next morning the weather was as bad as predicted - snow and rain. As I insisted that if starting very early I might beat the weather - snow was only supposed to start end of morning, he said that if I had any problem in the mountain then, I could call him anytime (!)

    Must say that all along the Camino El Salvador I have been very impressed by the caring community of mountain villages and albergue people <3 incredibly helpful and caring
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
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  6. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Wow, you are quite the trooper, Gipsy Moon! Looking forward to hearing what happened on the most spectacular day to Pajares or Bendueños.

    Just a little point about that arrow you saw in La Robla. It is probably an arrow leading people who are walking the Camino Olvidado out of town to their next stage of Pandorado. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...dado-viejo-camino-camino-de-la-montaña.28456/

    Ender (José Antonio), the guy who wrote the guide, who answers you on his facebook page, who built the bridge into Poladura, who built the cross up at the peak, who has made and installed every metal arrow and shell that you see, has just told me he has spent a LOT of time getting the Camino Olvidado waymarked.

    So this may be the next mountain camino opportunity for those who want to stay ahead of the crowds (when Susanna and I walked the Olvidado a few years ago, we never saw another pilgrim). Anyway, I don't mean to derail your thread, just to say I am enjoying hearing about your Salvador very much. Buen camino, Laurie
     
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  7. Gipsy Moon

    Gipsy Moon Member

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    Wow Laurie, this sounds like an interesting Camino... love the name : ) guessing by now things have 'evolved' as the linked you posted is dated 2014...

    A big cheer and heartfelt gratitude to those dedicated people who are marking the Caminos with arrows and shells... especially the less travelled ones.

    Only realised how important this his once walking El Salvador... Is José Antonio the partner of the hospitalera in Pajares?

    Your post reminded me a third important source of info i forgot to write about when in Leon - will edit my first post . A pelegrinos assiociation whose members also 'maintain' the marking on El Salvador until... el Pajares i believe? (where Castilla i Leon provincia finishes and Asturias starts). And they mentionned this guy spending endless time in the mountains, walking and marking the way in all Asturia's Salvador Camino... so i guess its him ?

    What I can say is that any person concretely 'living and being part of this Camino' I came in contact with has been anything but helpful and reassuring... (so much more precious than those who just reflec their fear on you 'what ?! El Salvador? no map no plan? by yourself? you are just crazy!'

    Blessed be those Caminos Angels <3
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
  8. jpflavin1

    jpflavin1 Veteran Member

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    Gipsy moon:

    Has the Albergue in Poladura de la Tercia changed. It was a two story building with a couple of bedrooms upstairs, a bathroom (tiny hot water tank) and kitchen. That said, every time you turned on something a circuit breaker popped, box downstairs by door. Not a welcoming Albergue from my memory.

    Cabanillas was a good stop for me. Great Albergue and the woman who lived next door brought me to her house for dinner. Very clean albergue, hot showers and a small kitchen but only a microwave.

    Your bringing back some good memories.

    Ultreya,
    Joe
     
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  9. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    I share your gratitude to these camino angels, they are really amazing people. José Antonio is not the partner of the Pajares hospitalera. He is a retired miner who loves the mountains and who lives about 15 km from La Robla, I believe.

    Now that the Salvador is pretty well taken care of, he's turned his attention to the Olvidado. He has done an amazing amount of work, and I'll put up a post in the Olvidado section. The Olvidado goes from Bilbao through the mountains southwest to Ponferrada or Villafranca, depending on how you angle your last day walking. The day from Fasgar ranks right up there with other spectacular mountain days. And the day into Cistierna is another stunning one.

    Tell us more about your Salvador! Sorry to have taken the attention away from the main attraction in this thread, the chance to hear how one intrepid peregrina forged ahead alone on the Salvador in early spring!!! Buen camino, Laurie
     
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  10. Gipsy Moon

    Gipsy Moon Member

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    Ah ah Joe :D
    The Albergue is a two story building, but all the bed (literas) are in one room only. And there are two bathrooms, and if i remember well, one of them is a bit more modern than the other one... so I guess it was added after you went there? and no circuit breaker popped... may be because i was by myself?
    The only worry for me during the evening, with some noise at some stage, was that the main door downstairs didn't have a lock... if you remember, the big room on ground floor is for the community, so I assume anyone can come any time, even if it is just to buy some chocolate from the vending machine? (even had a dream about this during the night, that a wanderer showed up in the room where I was sleeping, bothering me, but was then caught by the hospitalero...) To find out in the morning that the noise I had heard wasn't from people visiting... but the active rat !

    So Poladura albergue for myself was really ok.

    Actually called Cabanillas on way up... but for food... and the woman told me that I should know that there was nothing to eat or drink here, just water in the fountain village... so didn't visit the inside of the albergue o_O
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
  11. jpflavin1

    jpflavin1 Veteran Member

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    Gipsy moon:

    The room down stairs was more like a storage room when I was there. It was full of furniture, equipment and not usable. There were no vending machines. I saw the Hospitalero when I checked in but that was it.

    Joe
     
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  12. If you are interested in the Olvidado, they are having a "marcha inogural" starting on the 29th of April, ending May 19th. Info onthe Salvador's FB page.
     
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  13. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    I guess that means that Susanna, AJ, and I had a pre-inaugural Camino olvidado! Seriously, though, I think this is all Ender's doing to drum up local support. He has told me of plans to put albergues in places like Boñar along the route. Having someone as knowledgeable about how to popularize a Camino working on this effort is a pretty good indicator of its likely success, IMO.
     
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  14. I think many have been walking the Olvidado lately. When I was on the Norte in 2014, I think, one of the hospitaleras was part of a group of people marking the route.

    I think a marketed walk like this one may encourage some who would not have wanted to walk it alone.
     
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  15. Gipsy Moon

    Gipsy Moon Member

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    Day 3 - Poladura de la Tierca > Pajares 15 km

    Started the day very early, had to walk back into the albergue to put some rain gear. It was pretty cold, change of weather... but didn't look that bad. The scenery is actually stunning from the moment you leave the village. Was also blessed by an amazing rainbow above the mountains that brought gratitude tears to my soul. Here is the real deal of the Salvador. Wilderness. Solitude. Pure natural beauty.

    It soon started to rain more and more, and strong face wind... then snow... then hail. Was already well on my way up to go back. And I must say... there is something very special when all the elements wake up at once. Feeling very alive.

    Then I had been warned it might happen, a storm snow at the highest point. But it was like a show. Soo beautiful and wild !! More into the beauty of natural wonders around than body discomfort and feeling the cold. Until the little running waters i had to cross were so full with all the water falling from sky and mountain tops that I had no choice but to get my feet wet above shoes height. Wet with really cold water. (Tried to add more rocks and other tricks before crossing, but... ) Ended up freezing my b... . But just one direction to go... ahead.

    When I finally reached Parador de Pajares, thought I was close to find my dry and warm resting nest in the albergue of Pajares... but that would be only few more kilometers later, few more up and down hills walking, and beautiful scenery, dramatic pouring clouds beforehand

    When finally reaching the Albergue, just after the church, again the hospitalero didn't hesistate to warm up the whole place for one pilgrim only. Very friendly and welcoming. No kitchen there, or supermarket in the village. Just a meal that I had to order the day before. This time it wasn't delivered in the albergue. Had to go to the bar of the village. Also realised that in these remote villages, smoking inside a room is just normal... be warned, if you are allergic

    Albergue here is very good, space in the rooms, clean. Heating all day long, incl. bathroom, hot water showers. And the main access door closes :) you are given a key... to my home she said)

    One more thing... when I called the albergue the day before to confirm it was open and reserve a meal, the hospitaleira already knew I was on my way. Hospitaleros from all albergues on El Salavador communicate with each other. They are actually waiting for you on next stage before you even make contact with them. Amazing. You walk all day long without seeing a single other soul... but you never feel alone in spirit.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
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  16. Gipsy Moon

    Gipsy Moon Member

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    Thank you Anemone... who knows ? Walking El Primitivo now, but will be well arrived in Santiago by April... so...
    By the way... what does mean an inaugural walk?
     
  17. No idea what he means. Perhaps the first marketed/organised walk?
     
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  18. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Brilliant, evocative description, thanks so much.

    I'm wondering if the bar at the pass, which is across the street from the closed parador, has reopened yet. When I walked through last summer, it was closed for repairs, having had a terrible fire, I think. It is a great stopping point, especially on days when you can see for miles from the lookout point in front of the parador. We have frequently commented here on what a great albergue that albatross of a building would make. ;)
     
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  19. Gipsy Moon

    Gipsy Moon Member

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    Day 4 - Pajares > Pola de Lena 27 (+ 10 !) km

    Early departure, in snow to start with in Pajares, then rain... all fields around were white, very cold... Amazing how in few days I have had all seasons on this Camino. The good point is that when you wear all the layers you have, your backpack is much lighter : )

    The way was water & mud by now. But the forest is amazing! Old distorted tree trunks, dead leaves carpet and chestnusts make the walk very special, fairylike and enjoyable.

    Until I reached Erias village, and missed the sign telling me to take the path going down on the right - to Campomanes / Pola de Lena (quite an obvious one, i realised later). Found myself in a huge field with three bulls, and just a kind of thin ribbon separating us really. Didn't realised straight away I hadn't seen a yellow arrow for a while, butterfly walking, happy that the rain has finally stopped and taking pictures..

    Started to worry when two of the beasts began 'scratching the floor' with their front leg, looking in my direction... rushed ahead, opposite but wrong direction further, cutting through more grass fields, little stone walls and a forest... until I couldn't go further ahead because of a big drop... finally accepting I had lost my way : (

    Very important lesson here... me pilgrim who doesn't like to ever go back, and stubbornly walking ahead instead of returning to the last arrow (!) Surely a slow learner, as I ended up walking 10 more km than necessary in the end, passing by the Albergue of Benduenos, and other small villages. Not very proud of myself coming across the same woman in Erias, few hours later, telling me I should be in Pola de Lena by now, "make sure you always only take the path going down from now on" she said... I very carefully did this time.

    Very happy to arrive in the Youth Albergue of Pola de Lena by late afternoon. Very welcoming people, heated, and all commodities (hot showers, heated room, comfortable beds... wobly wifi again... in reception area only). On suggestion of the hospitalera, and so tired after walking nearly 40 km in the end, just ordered a delivered pizza. Huge. Ready to go to sleep with full belly.

    Pola de Lena is a small city with all you need, easy to go in and out
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
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  20. Gipsy Moon

    Gipsy Moon Member

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    Haven't seen that bar you are mentionning... but would agree that by then any pilgrim would be ready to stop and have a hot drink or something to eat...
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
  21. Gipsy Moon

    Gipsy Moon Member

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    Day 5 - Pola de Lena > Oviedo 34 km

    Already the last etapa of this amazing Camino... good weather early morning, a welcomed blessing for tired legs and feet : ) Most of the starting walk is close to the road, but there is an alternative along the river until Mieres instead of asphalt (many locals exercising here...). Crossing several little villages along the way.

    Mieres del Camino is a city midway where you can find all you need (bars, shops, supermarket, etc).

    17 km to go to Oviedo from there...
    no polygonos here, but green pastures and nature until very close to the center. Easy and mostly flat walk.

    What else to say?

    El Salvador has been an amazing, very solitary winter Camino for me, with mostly Spring, even Summer temperatures.... and sometimes snow and a bit of freezing my b...

    A 4 seasons Camino

    Loved every single kilometers of it, and very glad I answered the call to walk it...

    If that call whispers to your hear too... make sure you don't let anyone take you out of it... every nice moment, every challenge will be worthwhile <3
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
  22. jpflavin1

    jpflavin1 Veteran Member

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    Gipsy moon:

    Your Camino Salvador reminds me a lot of my own Salvador experience. I started April 1st and encountered all 4 seasons, a little bit of Sun, Wind, pouring rain, snow drifts, mud and lots of welcoming locals. Definitely a beautiful Camino I will walk again in more pleasant conditions. I did have the good fortune of the Meson being open when I came down from the mountains before trudging off into the mud leading to Pajares.

    I enjoyed reading about your journey.

    Joe
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
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  23. AZgirl

    AZgirl Active Member

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    Thank so much for the write up And the links to your Instagram! Very beautiful photos, can't wait to follow in your footsteps soon.
     
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  24. camino07

    camino07 Veteran Member Donating Member

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    When I walked end of last September I was dying for a hot drink at the cafe near the old Posada but no cafe!! lots of building going on at what I thought must have been the place but didn't look nearly finished. I then got lost for a while up behind it trying to find the path ,my own fault! Great hearing about your Salvado,Gypsy moon. Brought back many lovely memories.
     
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  25. Gipsy Moon

    Gipsy Moon Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Camino
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Sept 2015 - Camino del Norte
    March 2016 - Camino del Ebro
    April 2016 - Camino Frances
    Feb. 2017 - Camino Frances
    March 2017 - Camino Salvador
    March 2017 - Camino Primitivo
    Thank you camino07
    The few times i got lost on this Camino were my own fault too... ( despite being convinced of the contrary to start with! )
    El Salvador was really well marked. Just not sure what the marking would be like if there is more snow...
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
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  26. Gipsy Moon

    Gipsy Moon Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Camino
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Sept 2015 - Camino del Norte
    March 2016 - Camino del Ebro
    April 2016 - Camino Frances
    Feb. 2017 - Camino Frances
    March 2017 - Camino Salvador
    March 2017 - Camino Primitivo
    Thank you very much AZgirl will you walk el Salvador this year?
     
  27. Chuck Cunningham

    Chuck Cunningham Active Member

    Joined:
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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Starting April, 15, 2017








    whoa. First of all you should be a professional photographer. Your pictures are too good. I am definitely going to look into the El Salvador. Did you have much trouble with accomadations? Thanks for sharing. Also you look cold in some pics. What time of year was it? I have a million questions but it would take up too much time and space here. Anyway, I assume you started the ES at Leon and that Leon is on the Camino de Frances.. correct?
     
  28. Gipsy Moon

    Gipsy Moon Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Camino
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Sept 2015 - Camino del Norte
    March 2016 - Camino del Ebro
    April 2016 - Camino Frances
    Feb. 2017 - Camino Frances
    March 2017 - Camino Salvador
    March 2017 - Camino Primitivo
    Thank you very much Chuck.
    Yes el Salvador starts in Leon (also part of camino Frances... just departing opposite direction from the huge hotel 'Parador de Leon')
    No problems with accomodation, albergues seem to be open all year around and plenty of different kilometers options. Just may be better call the day before, esp. if you have to order meal in advance like in Poladura and Pajares... guessing there would be more people in summer?

    I started walking El Salvadore appx 10 days ago... March 10 (this year) may be ? First days were summer like, short sleeves, specially when climbing... then weather changed radically (like it might in mountains like this - 1500 m) and temperatures dropped abruptly, with snow. By then was wearing full rain gear.

    (I think the pics being cold you are referring to might be more recent, where i am walking el Primitivo - now. Lots of fog for few hours in the morning, ending up with hair completely wet, and cold, from humidity)

    Please feel free to message me directly if i can help you with more detailed info.
     
  29. AZgirl

    AZgirl Active Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Arizona
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances 2012 , via de la Plata 2014
    Next up: Madrid/Salvador/primitive Sept/Oct 2017
    Yes, as long everything goes according to plan. I am Hoping to begin the camino de Madrid sept 12 then Salvador to primitive and onto Santiago. I love the pics you are posting!
     
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  30. Bad Pilgrim

    Bad Pilgrim Veteran Member

    Joined:
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    Camino(s) past & future:
    09 CFrancés, CFisterra 10 VPodiensis 11 CNorte 12 VPlata 13 VPlata, CSanabrés 14 CLevante, CSanabrés 15 CSureste, CInvierno, CMuxia 16 CMadrid, CSalvador, CPrimitivo (17 RLana, CInterior)
    Wow, I took the same options last year. It's a nice way to combine several caminos. Have a wonderful trip!

    /BP
     
  31. alaskadiver

    alaskadiver Active Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Alaska
    Camino(s) past & future:
    May 2017-Camino Primitivo
    Won't be returning in 2018 going on a dive trip instead.
    You say it was cold. Do you by chance happen to know what the temperatures were when you were there? It sounds wonderful to me. looking for another Camino but I don't want to deal with the temps in 70sF (20sC) again. thanks for a great report!
     
  32. Gipsy Moon

    Gipsy Moon Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Camino
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Sept 2015 - Camino del Norte
    March 2016 - Camino del Ebro
    April 2016 - Camino Frances
    Feb. 2017 - Camino Frances
    March 2017 - Camino Salvador
    March 2017 - Camino Primitivo
     
  33. Gipsy Moon

    Gipsy Moon Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    87
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    Location:
    Camino
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Sept 2015 - Camino del Norte
    March 2016 - Camino del Ebro
    April 2016 - Camino Frances
    Feb. 2017 - Camino Frances
    March 2017 - Camino Salvador
    March 2017 - Camino Primitivo
    Not sure alaskadiver, but temperatures in winter were definitely below 20°C.
     
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