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Suggestion of stages in the Salvador?

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Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
Hi all

I am starting to look at this camino for someday in the future and would love to hear from people that already walked it which stages (and distances) they did.

I already read the Gronze stages, but my impression is that 5 days would be a bit too much for me and my husband, but what better place to get suggestions and info than this forum? :)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi all

I am starting to look at this camino for someday in the future and would love to hear from people that already walked it which stages (and distances) they did.

I already read the Gronze stages, but my impression is that 5 days would be a bit too much for me and my husband, but what better place to get suggestions and info than this forum? :)
Hi, Anamaya,
I don’t know if you have seen it, but the best guide for plotting out stages is, IMO, Ender’s Salvador guide. It is really all you need, and there are lots of suggestions of stages. I translated it into English.


I’ve walked this route three times now and am happy to help with questions. One thing I would start with is that it is easy to divide the mountain stages. Poladura to Pajares to Bendueños would give you short days and great places to stay. León to Poladura and Bendueños to Oviedo can be broken up into two or three days each.

Buen camino, Laurie
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
Oh, Laurie, I had just downloaded the guide to read later. opened it now and saw the start of it is suggestions of stages! How silly of me!

When you did it, how long did you take? And what was your favourite moment? :)
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Oh, Laurie, I had just downloaded the guide to read later. opened it now and saw the start of it is suggestions of stages! How silly of me!

When you did it, how long did you take? And what was your favourite moment? :)
Also fellow forum member @Elle Bieling has a great website with information about the Salvador.

 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Oh, Laurie, I had just downloaded the guide to read later. opened it now and saw the start of it is suggestions of stages! How silly of me!

When you did it, how long did you take? And what was your favourite moment? :)
Hi, Anamaya,
I have walked it three times, once in late Sept-early Oct., once in May, once in late June. I have walked it in four, five, and six days. The six day trip was a real luxury, so I could see Ender and co. a couple of times, in Poladura and Bendueños. Bendueños is an amazing albergue, the views are exceptional, the church has just received national protective status, the albergue itself is gorgeous. It may be too slow of a pace for some, but it gives you plenty of time to luxuriate in the beauty of the mountains. I think Poladura to Pajares may be only 14 or 15 kms. But it is the most stunning section for sure. Pajares to Bendueños is also short, similar distance, but there is also some elevation up and down.

My favorite spot — I am a sucker for ancient churches, and the pre-Romanesque church at Santa Cristina de Lena is one of my all time favorites. It is up on a hill, in a totally tranquil place, nothing anywhere around it. The keeper of the keys lives nearby and will come up to open the church for you at any reasonable time she gets a call (though the the sign on the church door lists explicit opening hours, you should call her — and if you stay at Bendueños the night before, Sandra will call her for you ahead of time so she knows you are coming). For reasons I don’t understand, many on the Salvador find a way to avoid the 100 m (at most) ascent to see the church.

The Salvador has got a steady stream of traffic now, in fact it may soon be reaching the definition of crowded, so you are likely to find others on the way.
Buen camino, Laurie
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
It may be too slow of a pace for some, but it gives you plenty of time to luxuriate in the beauty of the mountains
I am actually a big fan of 15km days, specially in mountain terrain. I surely take my time to smell the flowers, and maybe even enough for the flowers to smell me! 😋

Thanks for the tips on the church, seems indeed gorgeous. I will soon enter the pleasant stage of "reading everything I can about a Camino, making a thousand plans and then throwing them out of the window!"
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Our adventure on El Salvador in 7 parts (15 till 21).
Part 15: Esmine & Gunnar arrived in León and will begin their camino the day after. Click on the link.
www.vimeo.com/84150750
Spoken in Dutch and some other languages. Always subtitled in English.
More will follow the coming weeks.

UPDATE: All parts can be seen here
http://vimeo.com/user9824047/videos
The above was very useful for me when I was preparing for the Salvador. You have more up to date information in the replies to your post above, but this gives you a visual impression. Re the church that Laurie refers to, I just took it for granted that the lady who came to open the church had seen us arriving... and she came along with a beautiful dog.
 

Felice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
I walked the Salvador in May 2017, in 7 stages. I like to walk around 20km a day, but found that accommodation was arranged so that it was either a 30 km day or a 15 km day, so I went for the latter. So glad I did, as the mountain sections provided so many opportunities to stop and smell the orchids.

I decided against staying at Cabanillas, as I am not a fan of self catering, also I was unwilling to be the only person there for the night. So I walked on to Cascantes de Alba and caught the bus back to Leon, returning the next morning and then walking on to Pola de Gordon. Next day was to Poladura de la Tercia (where I met Enders, an absolutely charming gentleman) then on to Pajares. The albergue there is run by a delightful lady. Unfortunately I could not stay at Benduenos, as the village was on fiestas and the albergue closed (a good reason to walk the route again!) but stayed in Campumanes, then Mieres and finally Oviedo.

In May and June, the flowers in the Cantabrians are spectacular. Absolutely no point in rushing. Weather, however, is much less certain. I was blessed with a week of sunshine; the week before had been wet and very cold, and I left Oviedo 2 days later in absolutely torrential rain!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014); Madrid, Salvador (2018)
I walked last year with two other women. We had originally planned to do it over six days but circumstances allowed us to do it in nine and we were very happy with that choice. We stayed in Cabanillas, La Robla, Buiza, Poladura, Pajares (at a bar with rooms), Buendueños, Pola de Lena, and Mieres. It made for shorter days that allowed us to make the most out of our walking time and enjoy our surroundings.
 

calmeg

Member
We walked this route in June:
Leon-La Robla- (~27 Km) the first 2 hours are on flat roads through Leon- then some gentle hills. We started out at 2C! There were 7 of us in the albergue, 2 going the other way!
La Robla-Poladura (~ 24 Km) lovely stunning walk once you get to Buiza! 5 of us in the albergue- lots of food in the adjoining bar/restaurant
Poladura-Pajares- ~16 KM- we elected for the short day. Talked to others who said the long day was simply too long! Lovely walk, lots of ups and downs. started the day with frost! We were the only ones in the albergue!
Pajares to Pola de Lena - ~ 25 Km. Lovely day early through the hills. Sad to come back to the towns. Again we were the only ones in the albergue!
Pola de Lena to Oviedo- because of work commitments we took the train to Oviedo.
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés, '14 '17 Finisterre, '14 '17 '18 Primitivo, '15 '18 Portuguese, '17, '18 San Salvador, '18
Also fellow forum member @Elle Bieling has a great website with information about the Salvador.

Thank you @trecile for the reference. You can also read my information for free at my website, click on the link. Camino de San Salvador. There are lots of photos for you to drool over!

I wish I had known that I could call ahead to see the Santa Cristina church. @peregrina2000, would you happen to have access to the number??
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thank you @trecile for the reference. You can also read my information for free at my website, click on the link. Camino de San Salvador. There are lots of photos for you to drool over!

I wish I had known that I could call ahead to see the Santa Cristina church. @peregrina2000, would you happen to have access to the number??
The phone number is here, and I think the pictures might help convince some people that it's worth the little ascent.

 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Just couldn’t resist when I came across another recent article with some even more stunning pictures of Santa Cristina. Salvador pilgrims, take that little detour up the hill!!!!!
 

NualaOC

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few and hopefully lots more. See signature.
Hi @Anamya, we walked the Salvador this year with no prior planning. After completing the Camino Mendocino and Madrid, I met up with my husband on the Francés and we made a spur of the moment decision to jump on a bus to León!

We walked it in 5 days, which worked fine but involved one very long day: Poladura to Campomanes - a mountainous 30kms. This could have been split into two really nice stages, but we made our decision based on the weather. We had glorious weather and stunning views, but everything was in a cloud the next day. I think that the weather is a big factor when walking the Salvador - the difficulty (or safety) of each day's stage can vary so much.
I will soon enter the pleasant stage of "reading everything I can about a Camino, making a thousand plans and then throwing them out of the window!"
That's definitely the right approach for the Salvador! Enjoy the research and planning - I love it too.
 

NualaOC

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few and hopefully lots more. See signature.
Just couldn’t resist when I came across another recent article with some even more stunning pictures of Santa Cristina. Salvador pilgrims, take that little detour up the hill!!!!!
Thanks Laurie. Another reason for me to walk the Salvador again!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
We walked it in 5 days, which worked fine but involved one very long day: Poladura to Campomanes - a mountainous 30kms. This could have been split into two really nice stages, but we made our decision based on the weather.
I started the Salvador on June 1st this year and made the same decision. The day I left Poladura was beautiful, but rain was forecast for the next day, so when I stopped to eat at Puerto de Pajares I checked the forecast again and made a reservation at a pensión in Campomanes. It was a looooong afternoon with many steep ascents and descents. That 30 km felt more like 40! But I was glad that I did it, as I wouldn't want to do it in the rain.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I started the Salvador on June 1st this year and made the same decision. The day I left Poladura was beautiful, but rain was forecast for the next day, so when I stopped to eat at Puerto de Pajares I checked the forecast again and made a reservation at a pensión in Campomanes. It was a looooong afternoon with many steep ascents and descents. That 30 km felt more like 40! But I was glad that I did it, as I wouldn't want to do it in the rain.
Trecile -- A quick question in light of some other recent Salvador comments. What did you do at Puerto Pajares -- stay on the highway till the turn-off to the left, follow the arrows behind the bar on the right and up to the top of the hill, or use that (apparently now dangerous) path on the left side of the road in front of the old parador? Any enlightenment from others also welcome!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Trecile -- A quick question in light of some other recent Salvador comments. What did you do at Puerto Pajares -- stay on the highway till the turn-off to the left, follow the arrows behind the bar on the right and up to the top of the hill, or use that (apparently now dangerous) path on the left side of the road in front of the old parador? Any enlightenment from others also welcome!
My memory is not always so good, but I'm pretty sure that we (the Spaniard that I was walking with and I) went back across the highway and behind the old bar on the right. When we came to the split where you can walk towards San Miguel on the left or Pajares to the right we separated, since I was continuing on to Campomanes, and he was stopping at Pajares.
 

NualaOC

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few and hopefully lots more. See signature.
Trecile -- A quick question in light of some other recent Salvador comments. What did you do at Puerto Pajares -- stay on the highway till the turn-off to the left, follow the arrows behind the bar on the right and up to the top of the hill, or use that (apparently now dangerous) path on the left side of the road in front of the old parador? Any enlightenment from others also welcome!
We walked on the highway. It was a Sunday morning, so there wasn’t too much traffic. I really didn’t like it, but there were 4 of us walking in single file and it was probably safe enough.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
We walked on the highway. It was a Sunday morning, so there wasn’t too much traffic. I really didn’t like it, but there were 4 of us walking in single file and it was probably safe enough.
You obviously survived. :)
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
I walked the highway. You can hear (and usually see) the trucks coming. Plenty of time to take as much evasive action as needed, such as back to the barrier with your pack over the overhang. The few, and it was only a few, trucks that passed in what is only a 15 minute walk slowed and edged out as far as they could. A blast of "Buen Camino" air-horn can be a bit startling but that is what it is. The only time I tried the "up & down again" route I swore never again - that slope was too steep & too much loose rock for me. I've never tried the "lower" route but on last time of looking it was even more eroded than in previous visits.

In heavy rain or Fog I would still take the highway because the alternatives are even scarier but I'd have my "blinky" lights held high and I'd probably spill some wine for the old-guys though that might just be the tremble in my hands.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I walked the highway. You can hear (and usually see) the trucks coming. Plenty of time to take as much evasive action as needed, such as back to the barrier with your pack over the overhang. The few, and it was only a few, trucks that passed in what is only a 15 minute walk slowed and edged out as far as they could. A blast of "Buen Camino" air-horn can be a bit startling but that is what it is. The only time I tried the "up & down again" route I swore never again - that slope was too steep & too much loose rock for me. I've never tried the "lower" route but on last time of looking it was even more eroded than in previous visits.

In heavy rain or Fog I would still take the highway because the alternatives are even scarier but I'd have my "blinky" lights held high and I'd probably spill some wine for the old-guys though that might just be the tremble in my hands.
I think that is exactly my opinion. The lower route in front of the parador used to be quite do-able, but that was in 2008 when I first walked the Salvador. The last time I went through, I looked at that path and could not believe I had walked on it, because it looked pretty scary. So I would definitely not recommend it now. The marked, official route behind the bar and up to the tower adds a bad descent to what is already going to be a bad descent when you cross the highway.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
We walked this route in June:
Leon-La Robla- (~27 Km) the first 2 hours are on flat roads through Leon-
For those who are not a fan of road walking, the river path starts soon after the parador and continues all the way to Carbajal. Gronze shows it and indicates that it is “not marked.” But even the most cartographically challenged pilgrim can figure out how to stay on the river path until it ends. It is a big improvement over the side of the road, and will have many joggers and dog-walkers out in early morning.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014); Madrid, Salvador (2018)
The marked, official route behind the bar and up to the tower adds a bad descent to what is already going to be a bad descent when you cross the highway.
Laurie, so interesting to see your comment. We did the 'behind and up' route last year in the sunshine (late May) and found it not bad at all. We found parts of the route between Pajares and Buenduenos far more challenging.
Interesting how we can all have such different impressions but I guess weather, timing and individual experiences make all the difference.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Laurie, so interesting to see your comment. We did the 'behind and up' route last year in the sunshine (late May) and found it not bad at all. We found parts of the route between Pajares and Buenduenos far more challenging.
Interesting how we can all have such different impressions but I guess weather, timing and individual experiences make all the difference.
So glad to hear that, because I do think walking on a busy national highway without a shoulder is not ideal -- did I mention I did it in the pouring rain?! :) I do know that Ender is always frustrated when he drives on that highway to see people who have ignored his signs, but he told me this summer he has given up his former practice of stopping and telling them to get off the highway and follow the arrows, since no one pays any attention to him anyway!

And you are so right about timing because my memories of the route between Pajares and Bendueños are that it is an idyllic leisurely walk. :)
 
Thread starter OLDER threads on this topic Forum Replies Date
BeatriceKarjalainen Camino del Salvador 4
OLDER threads on this topic
My stages on Camino de San Salvador (3 days)

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