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Variant of Calzadilla de los Hermanillos

John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
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If you are going to stay in Calzadilla de los Hermanillos there two albergues. One is the newly renovated municipal (donativo) which I have heard is very nice and the other is Via Trajana which is private. There is a small store in Hermanillos and a few bars/restaurants and also a Casa Rural. It is a long walk without services to Mansilla from there, but you can swing over to Religios if you want to walk a sorter distance.

My husband was a hospitalero at the Hermanillos municipal in 2021. It is a farming community and is small and friendly, but has some outdoor museum exhibits from the Roman times. This route follows the old Roman road.
 
Hi,
Between Sahagun and Mansilla de las Mulas, there is a longer variant, by Calzadilla de los Hermanillos: is it better to choose this variant or not ?

By Calzadilla de los Hermanillos

Thanks for advices
I walked that way by accident. I wouldnt do it again - no shade at all once you leave the village, just a long dusty hot Roman road. Maybe not so bad if it isnt hot.
 
I’ve done both routes … and as long as you have a good supply of water and snacks, either is fine. The shop in Calzilla may be closed on Sunday and you may not get breakfast; if you plan ahead and bring what you need from Sahagun, you won’t starve.

I liked the Calzadilla route because it was quiet. I saw only a handful of other pilgrims and the mountains in the north are lovely.

The more direct route runs alongside a mostly unused road and has some shade and occasional benches, and has more pilgrim traffic if you want to chat with others.
 
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I took Cazadilla and I was the only person on that route all day. I literally saw no one else. It was painfully long but looking back I feel I gained a lot of resilience on that day.
 
We stayed in Calzadilla de Los Hermanillos both in 2014 on our first Camino Frances and last year 2022 on our second Camino Frances. We wanted to stay there again because we really enjoyed the walk and staying at Via Trajana. The family who own and run Via Trajana welcomed us back with open arms last year. Walking on the Via Romano was a beautiful walk, very peaceful. We saw others walking both times we walked but not too many. Yes, you certainly need to take supplies with you, water and snacks.
The first time we walked we walked into Mansilla on the path passed the Penitencario but had a bad experience just before entering Mansilla. It was a Festa weekend and outside of town the locals were conducting dog races, as we went passed some young men in an old car approached us as if they were going to run us down, they only swerved away from us at the last moment. This was very scary but we survived!
Because of that experience we decided to come off the Via Romano at Reliegos last year and walked into town on the senda beside the road. We were glad to have only walked a short distance by the road.
Buen Camino
 
Hi,
Between Sahagun and Mansilla de las Mulas, there is a longer variant, by Calzadilla de los Hermanillos: is it better to choose this variant or not ?

By Calzadilla de los Hermanillos

Thanks for advices

This describes my experience walking most of this northern route variant over two days in summer of 2022.

The first day was all on reasonably smooth firm surfaces. Up to Calzadillas de los Hermanillos the road surface was gravel, little travelled, fairly isolated and a bit spooky. There was one rural area de descanso with a spring, beside a creek several kilometres before Calzadillas, and then in the village there was a nice and very welcome café.

After Calzadillas the route was asphalt-paved with very little motorized traffic.

Just after crossing the irrigation canal for the second time in the westbound direction, where this route variant crosses LE-6620 = CV-163 at (42.4395156, -5.1970051), I turned left and walked south on the asphalt-paved two-lane road to El Burgo Ranero. Thus ended day one. It was an easy walk and an acceptable day.

On day two I walked back north to (42.4395156, -5.1970051) and turned left - westbound - back onto the Camino route variant.

From here on the route was surfaced with round-ish river stones set into sand. As I recall, the stones were fist-sized. Farm (I assume) vehicles had been using this route and disturbing the round-ish stones so that they were no longer secure. I found this part of the route very difficult going because about every four or five steps, a stone would roll out from under my foot and my leg would suddenly twist either to the right or left. Walking on this unstable surface required careful attention and consumed a lot of energy. It was not pleasant. This repetitive twisting damaged one of my knees and 9 months later it still hurts a bit.

A second problem was that I could not find anywhere to sit down to rest for a bit. The only option would have been to take off my pack and sprawl in the ditch, but it was a full-sized pack and I was afraid that I would not be able to get it back on, so I did not do that.

A third problem was a complete lack of shade.

A fourth problem was a paucity of escape routes. There is one at (42.4671658, -5.3001201). At that location I turned left and followed the path to rejoin the main CF (LE-6615).

I did survive day two of the northern route variant but I did not enjoy it and do not recommend it.
 
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fourth problem was a paucity of escape routes
In case a wolf is chasing you? 🤭
(Sorry, @Pilgrim9 I couldn't help but chuckle at the dramatic image that came to mind.)

I did survive day two of the northern route variant but I did not enjoy it and do not recommend it.
It may be a matter of your comfort zone. If you're a city person the emptiness of this route may be unnerving. On the other hand you might be used to the countryside, and find the idea of walking on a senda next to a road most of the way to be akin to a trip to the dentist - necessary, but unpleasant.
 
This was the route that I took in 2010, but I haven't done the alternative. I really did enjoy the solitude, especially on the second day. There were perhaps eight or nine of us in the municipal the night I stayed, but I'm not an early riser, and I think they had all departed by the time I got underway.
 
... If you're a city person the emptiness of this route may be unnerving. On the other hand you might be used to the countryside, and find the idea of walking on a senda next to a road most of the way to be akin to a trip to the dentist - necessary, but unpleasant.

The isolation did not bother me but the unstable footing on day two did.
 
From here on the route was surfaced with round-ish river stones set into sand. As I recall, the stones were fist-sized. Farm (I assume) vehicles had been using this route and disturbing the round-ish stones so that they were no longer secure. I found this part of the route very difficult going because about every four or five steps, a stone would roll out from under my foot and my leg would suddenly twist either to the right or left. Walking on this unstable surface required careful attention and consumed a lot of energy. It was not pleasant. This repetitive twisting damaged one of my knees and 9 months later it still hurts a bit.
Your experience in 2022 is different from my memory of this in 2017. Perhaps the farmers ‘improved’ the route for ease of moving heavy equipment. I would not have enjoyed walking on the surface you describe.
 
Hi,
Between Sahagun and Mansilla de las Mulas, there is a longer variant, by Calzadilla de los Hermanillos: is it better to choose this variant or not ?

By Calzadilla de los Hermanillos

Thanks for advices
I really liked walking through and staying in Calzadilla de los Hermanillos. The route is very quiet and does not go long the roadside like the other route. The only people I saw were some hunters out with their dogs. I stayed in the Casa Rural because, at the time of year I walked, nothing else was open and the new albergue municipal didn’t exist yet. Definitely bring sufficient water and snacks for the next day, the walk to Mansilla seemed rather long. I walked in November so heat wasn’t an issue. If / when I walk the Camino Frances again, I will choose this route again too..
 
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Your experience in 2022 is different from my memory of this in 2017. Perhaps the farmers ‘improved’ the route for ease of moving heavy equipment. I would not have enjoyed walking on the surface you describe.
Conditions do change over time. For example, when in 2017 I descended westbound from el Alto del Perdon, the various paths in the network of paths were covered with bowling-ball-sized boulders. By 2022, most of them had been removed from the paths and piled up in big heaps. Whoever did that, I thank you.
 
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We enjoyed it. A joy to arrive at via trajana and rest. Although my feet were aching I did visit the little village shop
 

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From here on the route was surfaced with round-ish river stones set into sand. As I recall, the stones were fist-sized. Farm (I assume) vehicles had been using this route and disturbing the round-ish stones so that they were no longer secure. I found this part of the route very difficult going because about every four or five steps, a stone would roll out from under my foot and my leg would suddenly twist either to the right or left. Walking on this unstable surface required careful attention and consumed a lot of energy. It was not pleasant. This repetitive twisting damaged one of my knees and 9 months later it still hurts a bit.
The day I walked that route in 2017, I met one other person, she was Spanish, and on a bike heading the other way. (She was a Camino angel but I wont go into that story here)
She'd heard that the stones from the original Roman road were becoming exposed and she had come to take photos - so that probably explains the road surface being stony. It has probably become more eroded over time.
 
Conditions do change over time. For example, when in 2017 I descended westbound from el Alto del Perdon, the various paths in the network of paths were covered with bowling-ball-sized boulders. By 2022, most of them had been removed from the paths and piled up in big heaps. Whoever did that, I thank you.
Thats good to hear. I saw the bowling sized ones as well.
 

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