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Variante Espiritual - A Few Questions

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LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
I’m planning a camino with a few friends along the CP and the Variente. We plan to stop one night at Combarro before tackling the climb to Armentiera. I have been in contact with the Monastery and it is possible for us to book rooms here, and then walk to Vilanova the following day. I think this is what I’d like to do… but… I have a few questions.
  • Are there options for eating at Armentiera? We can have breakfast at the monastery but what about lunch or dinner?
  • The monastery closes at 13:30 - I've read that the climb from Combarro is taxing, is it reasonable to expect to arrive from Combarro to Armentiera in good time before the door closes?
  • Has anyone stayed at the monastery? What was your impression of your stay? On previous walks I’ve always opted to stay wherever possible at Monasteries and on the whole we’ve always had a wonderful experience. I read an account on a blog which said don’t stay here (the reason was that they did the tour in 30 minutes and there was nothing else to see or do?) I do realise though that this is just one opinion!
  • I’ve read some folks mention that they visit the monastery and walk on to Hospedaxe Os Castaños in Barrantes. Those who have walked route would you say this was preferable?
Four of my group will be new to the camino and I don’t want to make any days too long or arduous. I am also keen for them to experience the kind of camino that I love… and I do love staying in convents and monasteries.

I’ve walked the CP before but not the variente… The stages I am planning so far are :
  • Tui (Valenca)
  • O Porinno
  • Redondella
  • Pontevedra
  • Combarro (via Poio)
  • Armenteira
  • Vilanova de Arousa
  • A Escravitude (via ferry & Padron)
  • Santiago
Any feedback or suggestions will be very welcome. (thank you)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues May 2019
Brierley's Guide does not mention the monastery closing at 13:30. (PH 627 097 696) www.monasteriodearmenteira.org. He does say they serve dinner for 10 euro. Also, "Adjacent to the monastery is Cafe O Comercio (PH 986 710 186) and A Fonte (PH 986 710 003)"
I loved Combarro and stayed at the hotel Xeito, which has rooms overlooking the harbor (abet next to the busy main road, but the rooms are quiet with the triple glazed windows) They also provide a lovely area to wash and hang your clothes. The old town is delightful and full of wonderful restaurants. Your stages are very doable. The boat ride from Vilanova De Arouse up the estuary is a treat, but it may compromise you getting a compostela since you are starting at Tui.
IMG_0577.JPG Combrarro
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
Brierley's Guide does not mention the monastery closing at 13:30. (PH 627 097 696) www.monasteriodearmenteira.org. He does say they serve dinner for 10 euro. Also, "Adjacent to the monastery is Cafe O Comercio (PH 986 710 186) and A Fonte (PH 986 710 003)"
I loved Combarro and stayed at the hotel Xeito, which has rooms overlooking the harbor (abet next to the busy main road, but the rooms are quiet with the triple glazed windows) They also provide a lovely area to wash and hang your clothes. The old town is delightful and full of wonderful restaurants. Your stages are very doable. The boat ride from Vilanova De Arouse up the estuary is a treat, but it may compromise you getting a compostela since you are starting at Tui.
View attachment 61114 Combrarro
Brilliant thanks for this. Xeito is the hotel I've contacted for booking rooms so good to know it's comfortable. The Monastery have said they close at 13:30 but if they offer dinner for 10€ that would be great. It sounds like our plan is a good one? We can always buy food for lunch before we leave Combarro and eat this once we arrive.

I will double check the compostela rules... I think I read that if we walk every step from Tui (Valenca) we'll be ok? I have several already but I know for a couple in my group this will be important.

Many thanks for the info! lovely photo!
 

John Gilliland

The Pilgrim Continues
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles June 2017
Camino Portugues May 2019
Are there options for eating at Armentiera? We can have breakfast at the monastery but what about lunch or dinner?
  • The monastery closes at 13:30 - I've read that the climb from Combarro is taxing, is it reasonable to expect to arrive from Combarro to Armentiera in good time before the door closes?
  • Has anyone stayed at the monastery? What was your impression of your stay? On previous walks I’ve always opted to stay wherever possible at Monasteries and on the whole we’ve always had a wonderful experience. I read an account on a blog which said don’t stay here (the reason was that they did the tour in 30 minutes and there was nothing else to see or do?) I do realise though that this is just one opinion!
  • I’ve read some folks mention that they visit the monastery and walk on to Hospedaxe Os Castaños in Barrantes. Those who have walked route would you say this was preferable?
There is a cafe and a restaurant in the area in front of the monastery. The vesper service is powerful. We weren't able to eat dinner there but you might be able to with an advance reservation. The nuns have a specific schedule so they want you to arrive before 13:30 or later in the afternoon. There is a gift shop that can help you when you arrive. There isn't much to do but it is a very peaceful, refreshing stay.
 

Rosaleenq

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese camino
Hi there,

I walked from Pontevdra to Combarro, Combarro to Armenteira and there to Vilanouva + boat last week on my own. I stayed in small hotels so no use to you on the monastery for accom am afraid.

A few hopefully helpful tips otherwise:
I really enjoyed it:) The walk from PdeV to Poio is lovely. The last bit nearing Combarro is a wee bit confusing but Combarro itself really gorgeous village.
Having read about ' the climb' to Armenteira on here I was quite nervous but it's actually fine. The first 3-4 km are steep but it really levels off after that. Energy-wise I was initially kind of sorry I hadn't planned to go on to Os Barrantes but actually I really loved Armenteira and it was nice the day before to hang out in Combarro at leisure which is really beautiful.

The cafe beside the monastery in A has fab food and the vespers (at 7) at the monastery are really nice (about 20-30mins) with a blessing for pilgrims. It's just a really nice small restful village.
Having got to Os Barrantes the next morning there isn't a whole lot there. I bought my boat ticket from the extremely helpful girl in the little tourist 'garden shed' opp the cafe. I would stop there for a '2nd breakfast" ad there isn't a whole lot then until reach Vilanouva. I had assumed that I could have a nice lunch in Pontesearlas but only option there was not great tbh. There is a short steep hill out of P/s which I didn't see mentioned here:). It is short though! I sent on my bags.

The boat was fine but was cold/wet (got 7am one) so layer up! Dawn over bay in Vilanouva on walk TO the boat was a highlight.

Have a great time!

Rosaleen
 
Camino(s) past & future
VDLP 9/2016
Senda Litoral/Coastal Português 9/2018
Hello... even though we did not stay in the monastery, my husband and I did attend a pilgrim’s blessing in one of the small chapel rooms in the monastery. It was so beautiful! The nuns sang for half hour or so, the priest ended with an emotional prayer, said in the languages of all of us there... then he came around to each of us and laid his hand on our head for a blessing. It was a powerful spiritually emotional, intimate service. I will never forget it! Check in at the gift shop to see if they are having a pilgrim blessing . My feeling is that they do one each evening. We went at 7pm I think. Buen Camino!
 

jerby

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances-Finisterre 2013
Portugues 2017/18
Ingles 2018
I’m planning a camino with a few friends along the CP and the Variente. We plan to stop one night at Combarro before tackling the climb to Armentiera. I have been in contact with the Monastery and it is possible for us to book rooms here, and then walk to Vilanova the following day. I think this is what I’d like to do… but… I have a few questions.
  • Are there options for eating at Armentiera? We can have breakfast at the monastery but what about lunch or dinner?
  • The monastery closes at 13:30 - I've read that the climb from Combarro is taxing, is it reasonable to expect to arrive from Combarro to Armentiera in good time before the door closes?
  • Has anyone stayed at the monastery? What was your impression of your stay? On previous walks I’ve always opted to stay wherever possible at Monasteries and on the whole we’ve always had a wonderful experience. I read an account on a blog which said don’t stay here (the reason was that they did the tour in 30 minutes and there was nothing else to see or do?) I do realise though that this is just one opinion!
  • I’ve read some folks mention that they visit the monastery and walk on to Hospedaxe Os Castaños in Barrantes. Those who have walked route would you say this was preferable?
Four of my group will be new to the camino and I don’t want to make any days too long or arduous. I am also keen for them to experience the kind of camino that I love… and I do love staying in convents and monasteries.

I’ve walked the CP before but not the variente… The stages I am planning so far are :
  • Tui (Valenca)
  • O Porinno
  • Redondella
  • Pontevedra
  • Combarro (via Poio)
  • Armenteira
  • Vilanova de Arousa
  • A Escravitude (via ferry & Padron)
  • Santiago
Any feedback or suggestions will be very welcome. (thank you)
Good morning LesBrass. Did the Variente last year and loved it. Stayed in the albergue at the end of the village. As you walk into Armenteira you can eat in the bar across the road and there was a restaurant up to the right that was closed at the time.
The 1st mile out of combarro was tough but don't forget to look back and admire the view. Not sure about the monastery but I can't see a problem about booking in. You should make it in plenty of time.
Not much to do in the village but why rush. You'll do enough rushing when you get back to the real world. We walked onto Villanova the next day, which is a beautiful walk. Plenty of places to eat along the way. Stayed in the albergue, which is upstairs in the local sports hall. You can also buy your ticket for the boat there. One bit of advice. Wear warm clothes. Long trousers and warm jacket for the boat trip and even gloves if you had them. Took ages for my fingers to warm up after.
Don't forget to vist the church in Padron and see the stone under the alter. Just outside the church on the right is a lovely little coffee shop. Enjoy and Buen Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances/SJPP 2015,2016,2018,2019
Way of St. Francis, Italy 2017
Portuguese/Finisterre 2018, 2019
We had planned to stay in the Monastery, but the nuns had mixed up the dates (even though we had sent the required money) and "the nuns were having none of us." They didn't even seem particularly bothered by the mistake and sent us on our way. We stayed in the municipal for 6 euro and it was nice and clean. As others have said there are two restaurants. We also had wished that we had stayed in Combarro. We actually found the hill pretty taxing as the second half of our day, after a big lunch and vino in Combarro. :)
I loved the spiritual variant, particularly the walk down from Armenteira and playing in the ocean as we approached Vilanova de Arousa. Enjoy!
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
Thank you all for these replies... all helpful! I have been able to reserve accommodation along this route... even with the Nuns but I'm nervous now that perhaps that might not be fixed in stone :) I did consider the albergue but as there will be 7 in our group I think I'd rather have a confirmed booking? (but I'm noting Susan's comments!)

I've also been reading the other thread about compostella and that also makes me a little nervous... so a little more homework perhaps? Our group will start from Valenca which I thought would be ok but I will double check this too.

Many thanks for the input... I really hope this does work as I'd love to walk the variente.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances/SJPP 2015,2016,2018,2019
Way of St. Francis, Italy 2017
Portuguese/Finisterre 2018, 2019
Thank you all for these replies... all helpful! I have been able to reserve accommodation along this route... even with the Nuns but I'm nervous now that perhaps that might not be fixed in stone :) I did consider the albergue but as there will be 7 in our group I think I'd rather have a confirmed booking? (but I'm noting Susan's comments!)

I've also been reading the other thread about compostella and that also makes me a little nervous... so a little more homework perhaps? Our group will start from Valenca which I thought would be ok but I will double check this too.

Many thanks for the input... I really hope this does work as I'd love to walk the variente.
Don't sweat the accommodations as you will be getting there so early, having walked from Combarro, there will be plenty of space at the municipal if needed. Hopefully, mix ups don't happen often at the monastery. There were 6 of us the first time I walked this route and we did just fine.
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
Don't sweat the accommodations as you will be getting there so early, having walked from Combarro, there will be plenty of space at the municipal if needed. Hopefully, mix ups don't happen often at the monastery. There were 6 of us the first time I walked this route and we did just fine.
great... that's good to know! thank you!
 

Abigail Kelly

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago/Fis/Muxia 2017
A Coruna/Santiago 2017
Portuguese Coastal/Variante Espiritual 2019
Thank you all for these replies... all helpful! I have been able to reserve accommodation along this route... even with the Nuns but I'm nervous now that perhaps that might not be fixed in stone :) I did consider the albergue but as there will be 7 in our group I think I'd rather have a confirmed booking? (but I'm noting Susan's comments!)

I've also been reading the other thread about compostella and that also makes me a little nervous... so a little more homework perhaps? Our group will start from Valenca which I thought would be ok but I will double check this too.

Many thanks for the input... I really hope this does work as I'd love to walk the variente.
Hi, I did the V E this year in March. When I got my compostella the km that I had walked on the VE was not included. When I asked about this the guy just shrugged at the pilgrim office and said we don't include the VE. This might have chaged since March so not sure just in case if this is part of what you are asking :)
 

Mycroft

Member
Hi, I did the V E this year in March. When I got my compostella the km that I had walked on the VE was not included. When I asked about this the guy just shrugged at the pilgrim office and said we don't include the VE. This might have chaged since March so not sure just in case if this is part of what you are asking :)
Hi, Abigail Kelly--I am not clear about what happened at the pilgrim office. Would you tell me more, please? Do you mean you were able to get your compostela, but when they added up your miles, they didn't/wouldn't included the Variante? What's the deal with that--does anyone know?
Also wondering if anyone knows about the regs to get the compostela--I have a memory that it is not just 100 km but a radius of 100 km out from Santiago. In other words if I walked hundreds of km from somewhere, but then 50 km from Santiago I took the train into the city, I would not be eligible for the compostela. Is this correct?
Which brings me to the boat ride along the Variante. Brierley in the introduction says if you take the boat, you are not eligible for the compostela. So have folks found that is true, or that boat ride is acceptable if one has walked the rest of the way from Porto and done the Variante?

Thanks.
 

Abigail Kelly

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago/Fis/Muxia 2017
A Coruna/Santiago 2017
Portuguese Coastal/Variante Espiritual 2019
Hi, Abigail Kelly--I am not clear about what happened at the pilgrim office. Would you tell me more, please? Do you mean you were able to get your compostela, but when they added up your miles, they didn't/wouldn't included the Variante? What's the deal with that--does anyone know?
Also wondering if anyone knows about the regs to get the compostela--I have a memory that it is not just 100 km but a radius of 100 km out from Santiago. In other words if I walked hundreds of km from somewhere, but then 50 km from Santiago I took the train into the city, I would not be eligible for the compostela. Is this correct?
Which brings me to the boat ride along the Variante. Brierley in the introduction says if you take the boat, you are not eligible for the compostela. So have folks found that is true, or that boat ride is acceptable if one has walked the rest of the way from Porto and done the Variante?

Thanks.
Hi Mycroft, you will get your compostela if you walk from Porto. That is where I started. I am not sure what the deal is on the VE about pilgrim office not inc the km walked there. But the VE is beautiful to do. I took the boat ride and had the Brierley guide just keep in mind it is close to 2 hours on the boat and not 1. If I were to go back to do it again I would walk rather than taking the boat :) The boat was nice but I felt it was a bit to long and I was getting bored lol. Have a great trip and don't plan to much :)
 

Mycroft

Member
Hi Mycroft, you will get your compostela if you walk from Porto. That is where I started. I am not sure what the deal is on the VE about pilgrim office not inc the km walked there. But the VE is beautiful to do. I took the boat ride and had the Brierley guide just keep in mind it is close to 2 hours on the boat and not 1. If I were to go back to do it again I would walk rather than taking the boat :) The boat was nice but I felt it was a bit to long and I was getting bored lol. Have a great trip and don't plan to much :)
Glad you mentioned the boat is 2 hours--as you pointed out, Brierley writes it is 1.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I will double check the compostela rules... I think I read that if we walk every step from Tui (Valenca) we'll be ok?
According to a document posted a few days ago, you will qualify for the Compostela starting in O Porriño, even doing the Variante Espiritual. So looks like you are fine starting a bit further back in Tui. Sounds like a wonderful camino!

 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
According to a document posted a few days ago, you will qualify for the Compostela starting in O Porriño, even doing the Variante Espiritual. So looks like you are fine starting a bit further back in Tui. Sounds like a wonderful camino!

Brilliant - I met a couple of the other walkers yesterday and they are so excited about this prospect... I hope I can pull it all together. It's been a life changing year for me... and I am so looking forward to my Madrid camino... I need some time to gather my thoughts and decide what next... but the more I read about this camino the more I think it's going to be part of my 2020 plans!
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
Voie de Paris / Tours Aulnay to Saintes 2017
Camino del Baztan 2018
You'll have to tell me where to go... we couldn't find it last time and the council office was closed? x
I will message you
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés
Glad you mentioned the boat is 2 hours--as you pointed out, Brierley writes it is 1.
Hi, it depends which boat you are on and who the crew are. The first time I was in a rubber dinghy (with a few people sitting on the sides, as there were not enough seats in the main section), and the journey took about 2 hours, mainly because the captain stopped for a long long time at the mussel platforms explaining (in Spanish) all about them. It was very very cold on the boat (this was beginning of June). The second time there were many people and they put on the big boat, which took about 1 hour. It was also cold (late September), so it was so good to be able to sit inside and drink hot coffee. They also explained, as we were sailing, over the intercom (in Spanish and English) about the mussel farming. On the big boat we had to sail very early in the morning, in the dark, to catch the high tide, so we missed all the scenery at the beginning. The sun came up just before we reached Pontecesures. Two very different trips!
 

Abigail Kelly

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago/Fis/Muxia 2017
A Coruna/Santiago 2017
Portuguese Coastal/Variante Espiritual 2019
Hi, it depends which boat you are on and who the crew are. The first time I was in a rubber dinghy (with a few people sitting on the sides, as there were not enough seats in the main section), and the journey took about 2 hours, mainly because the captain stopped for a long long time at the mussel platforms explaining (in Spanish) all about them. It was very very cold on the boat (this was beginning of June). The second time there were many people and they put on the big boat, which took about 1 hour. It was also cold (late September), so it was so good to be able to sit inside and drink hot coffee. They also explained, as we were sailing, over the intercom (in Spanish and English) about the mussel farming. On the big boat we had to sail very early in the morning, in the dark, to catch the high tide, so we missed all the scenery at the beginning. The sun came up just before we reached Pontecesures. Two very different trips!
Hi, I was on the big boat and this was just in April and it still took 2 hours. They did explain in Spanish and English about the mussel farming. I was a bit dissapointed with the view of the 17 stone crosses as that was the main reason I took the boat. I probally expected to much in that regards! Oh god I can't imagine been on that small rubber dingy in the cold for 2 hours brrrrrrrrrr :)
 

Glamgrrl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Travel318
Hi, I did the V E this year in March. When I got my compostella the km that I had walked on the VE was not included. When I asked about this the guy just shrugged at the pilgrim office and said we don't include the VE. This might have chaged since March so not sure just in case if this is part of what you are asking :)
We just finished starting from Porto and the VE was not included in our distance, rather the Coastal Route 280km. We took the boat from Vilanova de Arousa to Padrón. We stayed in Tui, but if we do the route again we’d stay in Valencia, you will then get your distance.
 

whoshebaby

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
We just finished starting from Porto and the VE was not included in our distance, rather the Coastal Route 280km. We took the boat from Vilanova de Arousa to Padrón. We stayed in Tui, but if we do the route again we’d stay in Valencia, you will then get your distance.
We're walking the Camino Portuguese from Porto to Santiago. Where will we pick up the Variate Espiritual? Will we qualify for a pilgrims credential after we finish in Santiago?
 

whoshebaby

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
According to a document posted a few days ago, you will qualify for the Compostela starting in O Porriño, even doing the Variante Espiritual. So looks like you are fine starting a bit further back in Tui. Sounds like a wonderful camino!

Where on the Camino Portuguese does one pick up the Variante Espiritual on our way to Santiago? Please RSVP. Thanks.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
Voie de Paris / Tours Aulnay to Saintes 2017
Camino del Baztan 2018
After you leave Pontevedra there is a path to the left that is well signed . I've not walked the espirituel but I definitely saw the signs.
 

Rosaleenq

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese camino
Approx 3-4km outside Pontevdra.The 'main' route goes right, the SV route goes left. It's well digned.
 

Abigail Kelly

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago/Fis/Muxia 2017
A Coruna/Santiago 2017
Portuguese Coastal/Variante Espiritual 2019
After you leave Pontevedra there is a path to the left that is well signed . I've not walked the espirituel but I definitely saw the signs.
Yes it is after you leave Pontevedra. You can't miss the big signs even if you tried :)
 

TatiLie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues Variante Espiritual July 2019
Finisterre next!
Where on the Camino Portuguese does one pick up the Variante Espiritual on our way to Santiago? Please RSVP. Thanks.
It's 2.5km from the Burgos bridge (which was being renewed in the end of July, detours are well marked and the next bridge is just a few metres away)
That's what it looks like. We met a woman in Poio who was in the wrong route, so I sometimes it may not be very clear to everybody.

(We've done from Baiona to Santiago and the Variante Espiritual, we got the Compostela, no questions asked. Well, they asked me which day I've started and to my husband where we started from. Probably standard questions)
Screen Shot 2019-08-02 at 08.25.14.png
 

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