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Virtual Camino VdlP from Zamora and Camino Sanabrés (Virtual)

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Preamble
As my wife and I could not travel from Australia to Portugal this year, we started a virtual walk on the VdlP, starting on 23 April in Sevilla. We have been walking rather slowly, and we have at last reached Romanesque Heaven in Zamora.
If you wish to see what we experienced, you can read more here.
I have started a new thread as the continuation of our walk, as the previous thread was getting somewhat long, and hard to open on a phone. The nice thing about this forum is that when our virtual walk has come to an end, the lovely moderators will be able to wave their magic wands and stitch the two threads together.

Onward from Zamora!
@C clearly has already covered the walk from Zamora to SdC, and I was hesitant in continuing our virtual walk to SdC, but with her and @peregrina2000 's encouragement, and also because we may be doing different stages, I have decided to push on.

Day 43: Zamora to Montamarta
After spending two days enjoying Zamora and its wonderful Romanesque churches and architecture, we resume our walk. We're walking 19.2km to Montamarta today.
Gronze describes this stage as "la comarca Tierra del Pan, caracterizada por extensos campos cerealistas", (the region Tierra del Pan, characterized by extensive cereal fields), which we're looking forward to. Rachel's brother took over the family farm back in Switzerland, and when we were walking in France and Spain in 2018, we would look at various cereal fields and try to distinguish the different types. When we wouldn't know, we would send a photo to her brother for identification.
@C clearly had jumped ahead by bus to Montamarta, and had decided that she was hoping to stay at El Molino de Castilla. Is that the same as Casa Rural Molino 1914 in Gronze? We might stay there too, if we can get a room.
Gerald Kelly recommends the Restaurante Rosamari for good food.
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I'm replying to say 'Thank you,' with the ulterior motive of wanting to get alerts. This is Terra Incognita for me so I am really enjoying it.
Avanti!
 

Jenyat53

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: September 2013 & April/ May 2014
CF: April/May 2016 CP Tui - SDC Feb 2018
We walked Zamora to SDC in February 2019 and loved it. Only met 4 pilgrims on our whole jourrney. Will follow this with joy, thank you 🙏🏼
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I have only stayed once in Montamarta, and it was in a very nice Casa Rural, Casa del Sastre (home of the tailor). It appears to be closed, however.

But I cannot recommend Rosamary Restaurant enough. The restaurant is located on the way out of town, so if you don’t know to look for it, you are likely to eat at an in-town place, of which there are a few. Rosamary is owned and operated by two women, and the food is definitely a notch above. I noted in my journal that it was only the second time on my Vdlp that I had a salad that was not made of iceberg lettuce (the first being in the restaurant across the street from the albergue in Casar de Cáceres).

In the morning, as we were walking out of town, one of the women was sweeping outside the entrance, and she bowed with her broom to bid us farewell. My picture didn’t really capture the bow, but it was such a nice gesture. Not to be missed under any circumstances. 49B5B732-2D57-4465-A6FB-6C9B4083EB66.jpeg
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Day 43: Zamora to Montamarta
Yes. You've left the Tierra del Vino for the Tierra del Pan. And if you leave Zamora nice and early, there's an appropriate treat for you in the first town after Zamora - Roales del Pan:

The relatively recently established bakery "Panificador Alberto," is on a side road to the left of the Main Street. The delicious smell of freshly baked bread will leave you in no doubt about which street. It looks like the kind of business that must have been there forever, but I don't remember seeing it when I walked through in 2017. You can see on Google Streetview that it's a derelict building in the older images.

It doesn't look like a shop that you can walk into and buy bread from - I think they must deliver most of their bread to local businesses and individuals - but they're quite happy for pilgrims to drop by and pay for some purchases at the office. No better mid-morning snack than a still warm loaf on the edge of a field. If you picked up some cheese in Zamora you'll have a feast.

The roads are straight and the landscape undramatic but not unpleasant. I stayed at at the albergue in Montamarta, which was a clean, unattended, building a little out of the town. It had two good showers, a kitchen with basic equipment, a washing machine, a line for drying clothes outside, and a barbecue area. I don't think anyone showed up to check in on us. If I recall correctly, we just left the requested payment in a box and entered our own details in the register. We ate at Rosamary's. I don't remember it as remarkable - perhaps a cut above the average pilgrim menu. There's a supermarket between the albergue and Meson Rosamary, where we bought food for breakfast.

If you push on further than Montamarta, there is a newly opened albergue at Fontanillas de Castro. In 2017, I stayed in the village sports hall. It's a very small community with basically one roadside restaurant. Not much going on there, but it's worth knowing as an option.

BTW.- You'll see a bronze statue of El Zangarron by the church - a colorful part of the local folklore:
 

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amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
I have only stayed once in Montamarta, and it was in a very nice Casa Rural, Casa del Sastre (home of the tailor). It appears to be closed, however.

But I cannot recommend Rosamary Restaurant enough. The restaurant is located on the way out of town, so if you don’t know to look for it, you are likely to eat at an in-town place, of which there are a few. Rosamari is owned and operated by two women, and the food is definitely a notch above. I noted in my journal that it was only the second time on my Vdlp that I had a salad that was not made of iceberg lettuce (the first being in the restaurant across the street from the albergue in Casar de Cáceres).

In the morning, as we were walking out of town, one of the women was sweeping outside the entrance, and she bowed with her broom to bid us farewell. My picture didn’t really capture the bow, but it was such a nice gesture. Not to be missed under any circumstances. View attachment 77316
And stunning callos, a dish that sounds worse when you translate it to tripe. Excellent food indeed in Rosamari
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
That stage was enlivened by some detours along and across road/rail construction in 2017. I suspect that project will continue for decades. It may seem odd, but I enjoy arriving on foot at projects and activities that I would normally only see from a moving car. I feel a bit like a naughty trespasser.

This photo shows a veritable crowd on the VDLP. In front were some Italians (?) who I never got to know. The detours were well marked. On the left are forum member @Simon Shum and his wife.
 

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
That stage was enlivened by some detours along and across road/rail construction in 2017. I suspect that project will continue for decades. It may seem odd, but I enjoy arriving on foot at projects and activities that I would normally only see from a moving car. I feel a bit like a naughty trespasser.

This photo shows a veritable crowd on the VDLP. In front were some Italians (?) who I never got to know. The detours were well marked. On the left are forum member @Simon Shum and his wife.
I’ll bet this is the same place as the overpass in this photo, mine is about four years earlier. There are only two peregrinos in my picture, but these were the French guys I walked with from two or three days out of Valencia all the way into Santiago.
 

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amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
I don’t think I could ever utter a sentence with the word “stunning” describing “callos,” no matter what language it’s in. :D
You love them, you hate them. I passionately love them. Never get enough, particularly with some tasty chickpeas
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
As we sat last night at the Restaurant Rosamary in Montamarta, not eating callos ;), we looked at the next stage(s), and we had to make a decision.

Day 44: Montamarta to Fontanillas de Castro or Riego del Camino

Over the next two days, we would like to see the Ruinas de Castrotorafe, as well as the Monasterio de Moreruela.
On her 2nd day, @C clearly walked to Fontanillas de Castro.
I am looking forward to sitting around the ruins at Castrotorafe and admiring the view. I find it so amazing to see ruins like that just standing there in the middle of nowhere without fences and display signs and tourists.
@Sara_Dhooma mentioned in her video that there are no info signs around there, and that she was curious about the ruins. A question that @C clearly asked too:
What is the story behind the ruins at Castrotorafe?
@alansykes 's photo shows a fence around the ruins. So is it accessible?

We want to enjoy the ruins, and so we have two options for our next stop.

Initially, I thought we could walk all the way to Riego del Camino. It's a 16.1km walk, comfortable on what appears to be a flat trail. We thought we could stay at Casa Camino, and read in @geraldkelly 's guide that it had closed (information that he also confirmed in a post).
But then I read a post from @LTfit that it had new owners and would reopen. With Covid-19, will they have been able to open? Will they be open when we change this virtual VdlP into a real one? I'm hoping they are still ok. The photos on Gronze
Walking to Riego del Camino would give us even more time to then enjoy the Monastery at Moreruela the next day.

The other option was to walk to Fontanillas de Castro, 12.4km, and stay at the Albergue de peregrinos de Fontanillas de Castro, which I assume is the one discussed in this thread. I believe it is also known as Albergue Castroterafe (is that correct?). Looks great. Do they accept reservations, just in case?

One way or the other, we are breaking our journey from Montamarta to Granja de Moreruela into two stages.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, AJ,
Since @LT was in Fontanillas as hospitalera this past February, I posted a question about visiting Castrotorafe to her. When I was there in 2010, it was totally unfenced and just open to walk around. I remember getting my pants soaked walking through high wet grass. But you are right that Alan’s picture shows a gate with what looks like barbed wire on top. Even though most is in ruins it was very cool to be there with one other person and have the place all to ourselves.

The albergue in Fontanillas is a donativo municipal albergue, so there will be no reservations, but it looks like they have more beds than they would typically have pilgrims.

I have stayed in the municipal albergue in Riego (in 2013) which was fine. The mayor was in charge of keeping it open and clean. She was at the time engaged in big battle with the nearby municipality that had subsumed her small town, so in exchange for the key I had to follow a very complicated story involving fights over the communal use of the nearby monte and other intrigues. There was a bar on the road, frequently the subject of a lot of negative commentary. It may be closed now, because the woman in charge told me she was losing steam, and that was in 2013. The place would not have passed a health inspection, but the food was edible and we survived. And though I wouldn’t count on it still being there 7 years later, in 2013 there was a little supermarket in the house marked #10, which would open at any time for pilgrims. The owners told me they took down the sign because it had made them the subect of two robberies in recent years.

I know you plan to detour to the monastery at Moreruela, and that is a place with gates and fences and visiting hours. Just plucked these off the web, they are pretty typical Spanish visiting hours.

HORARIOS Y VISITAS
De abril a septiembre: de 10 a 14 y 16 a 20:30.

De octubre a marzo: de 11 a 17:30.

Cerrado lunes y martes y los días 1 de enero y 24, 25 y 31 de diciembre.

Abierto los días: 6 de enero, 13, 14 y 24 de abril, 1 de mayo, 15 de agosto, 12 de octubre, 1 de noviembre, 6 y 8 de diciembre.

But I would definitely check out visiting times in the Zamora tourist office. I remember that I was able to join a guided visit when I walked out from Granja de Moreruela after dropping off my pack, so it must have been in the later afternoon. But others have described detours that take you first to the monastery and then to town, which would save a few km. The walk from town to the monastery is quiet and pretty.

Nice that you will have the time to do this, because both sites are well worth it.

Buen camino, Laurie
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Day 44: Montamarta to Fontanillas de Castro or Riego del Camino
Who can say what impact the pandemic will have on the little businesses up and down the camino that were just about getting by on the pilgrim economy, such as it was? Municipal albergues that have the backing of local government are financially secure but might not be able to open in some cases because they need to make changes to comply with hygiene rules. Folks who own their land, have family ties to the region, and aren't heavily in debt, are the most likely to weather the storm. People who recently moved to the area and took out a loan ...

I walked this way in November 2017, about a week after Casa Camino said goodbye to its last guest. I wound up at the polideportivo in Fontanillas de Castro (albergue didn't exist at that time), which is a short walk from the gas station and roadside restaurant. The pilgrim dinner there was yer standard pilgrim deal - lentils or garbanzos to start, lamb or pork with fries, and a crème caramel from a packet - but at least it's clean. I'm so terrified by the stories about the dirty bar in Riego that I've never dared to look in.

The way itself is rather ordinary so you'll do well to liven things up with side trips to see the ruins that Peregrina2000 describes.
 

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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
We want to enjoy the ruins, and so we have two options for our next stop.
I got curious and found this, which has reasonably good info in spite of the annoying 'romantic' label on the ruins:

Apparently the town vanished some time before 1688, and I wondered why? Plague? Aiyiyi...I found a wikipedia entry that makes what we're going through seem like nothing:
Here's a staggering quote from that:
Three great plagues ravaged Spain in the 17th century. [...] historians reckon the total cost in human lives due to these plagues throughout Spain, throughout the entire 17th century, to be a minimum of nearly 1.25 million.
1688 was immediately after the 3rd of these plague waves; a small walled town would be just the kind of place that a pneumonic or bubonic plague epidemic could burn through with terrible effect, compounding the effects of whatever other difficulties that might have been happening at the time:
For nine years (1676–1685), great outbreaks of the disease attacked in waves across the country. It struck the areas of Andalucía and Valencia particularly hard. In conjunction with the poor harvest of 1682-83 which created famine conditions, the effects killed tens of thousands of the weakened and exhausted population. When it ended in 1685, it is estimated to have taken over 250,000 lives.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
@alansykes 's photo shows a fence around the ruins. So is it accessible?
it was very cool to be there
In 2017, you could not wander among the ruins - they were fenced. However, on a nice day, especially if no one else is there, it IS very cool to sit for a snack on the edge of the hill overlooking the river, and imagine you were in ancient times watching for friends or enemies approaching on the river.
20170414_113148.jpg

I got curious
Thanks VN for those links - I will go read them now. We will get you onto the VDLP yet!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I wrote to the tourism office to ask for clarification. I got a very quick answer saying that you can enter the grounds and walk around the complex, but you cannot enter the ruins of the castle itself, because it is undergoing conservation work. If you look at Alan’s picture, you can see he is inside the walls of the complex and the fence is around the castle building.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Apparently the town vanished some time before 1688, and I wondered why? Plague?
The article that you linked to states "Castrotorafe's long history came to an end sometime after the wars of Castilian succession. In 1688, we find the first written notice that the town had been abandoned and was in need of repair."

Wikipedia tells me that the War of the Castilian Succession was the military conflict contested from 1475 to 1479 for the succession of the Crown of Castile.

So it became a ghost town sometime between 1479 and 1688. Who knows what the reason or reasons may have been. Plague is possible. Also wars, bad harvests, too much fighting on the dance floor ... ?
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
There was a bar on the road, frequently the subject of a lot of negative commentary. It may be closed now, because the woman in charge told me she was losing steam, and that was in 2013. The place would not have passed a health inspection, but the food was edible and we survived. And though I wouldn’t count on it still being there 7 years later,
The bar in Riego del Camino was still there last November, and the coffee was OK, but I didn't risk eating. A stern notice inside prohibited photography, presumably because a long stream of pilgrims had been fascinated by the squalor and wanted to immortalise it. Runner-up, or possibly third in my really very short list of "Spain's most horrible bars" - Almonacid de Toledo's dirty and racist Kuki [sic] bar on the Levante sharing top spot with the equally unwelcoming and insanitary Bar Mayve at Madrigalejo on the Guadalupe variant of the Mozárabe.

I loved wandering around the ruins of Castrotorafe - only the main castle itself is fenced off, the rest of the (huge) site is open. As the Esla reservoir was very low, you could make out the ruins of the ancient bridge that pilgrims walked across for a millennium.


esla bridge.JPG
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I have just discovered this thread and intend to follow it. I walked the VdlP in 2017 and stayed at Casa Camino in Riego del Camino, the very last pilgrim to stay there, when the three young women who were running it had to close up shop. Now I am planning to walk the Levante next, whenever I can, so more current information about the route after Zamora will be useful. The only location on the VdlP which I did not visit was Granja de Moreruela. The hospitaleras at Casa Camino encouraged me to take the road directly north from Riego del Camino instead of walking to Granja de Moreruela, because I was being harassed by a male pilgrim who had expressed his intention to go to Benaventa. Anyway, I met him later on the detour I had taken, but the point of this rambling is that I am looking forward to visiting Granja de Moreruela on my next time through and am reading information about it with interest. Any changes in accommodation and restaurants are also of interest. Thanks to all contributors.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Thank you for all the information, and in particular for the fabulous photos on this stretch of the VdlP.

Day 45: Fontanillas de Castro or Riego del Camino to Granja de Moreruela

@C clearly suggests walking to the Monasterio de Moreruela via a shortcut mentioned by @Via2010 and then walking back to Granja de Moreruela. This would mean we would have our backpacks with us during the visit of the Monastery. @peregrina2000 has an alternative:
So what I would to is walk into Granja and leave your stuff at Tio Quico. Then take the path out to the monastery, it’s under an hour each way.
If Casa Camino has reopened by the time we walk in real life, we think we would spend the night in Riego del Camino. That gives us a shorter distance to Granja the next morning, and a possible unencumbered visit of the Monastery before lunch.
If not, we would stay in Fontanillas, and then possibly walk straight to the Monastery.

In Granja de Moreruela, we would definitely like to stay at the Casa Rural La Casa del Tío Quico. It looks great! Tío Quico's website mentions an excellent bakery. We will have to try their bread! The casa rural has a kitchen: we might find groceries and supplies at the tienda Alimentacion- Estanco Peñin. Otherwise, we can eat at the Tele-Club.

This is our last night on the VdlP, tomorrow we head off on the Camino Sanabrés.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Day 45: Fontanillas de Castro or Riego del Camino to Granja de Moreruela
Either way, you'll have time to visit the Monasterio de Moreruela and it won't be an over-strenuous day. The walk is straight and dusty. The Via de la Plata doesn't end in Granja - It continues as far as Astorga. But at this point, it wasn't exciting me anymore. I felt a sense of closure. I was ready to make that left turn toward a different kind of landscape.

I think you're wise to stay at the Casa Rural. The albergue facilities are OK when the weather is fine - a single dorm with fine showers, a small kitchen area in the hall and a peculiar dining room upstairs (children's school desks). There's also a laundry sink in a tiny courtyard that you can access from the dormitory. There you'll find a few lines for drying clothes... I have read comments that the management refuse to turn on the heating in the colder months. I have mixed feelings about the Bar Teleclub which manages the albergue. The garden at the bar is actually a delight during the afternoon. A very pleasant spot for an aperitif. Recommend that you use some insect repellant when you're there since the puddles in the river bed make an ideal breeding ground for midges and mozzies. Next to the bar is an interpretation center for the monasteries that were in the area. I've never found it open.

On my first trip through Granja, I was all alone. Second time around, I was surprised that quite a few people rolled up to start their Camino Sanabres from here. I remember that feeling of being surrounded by strangers that night - We became friends the next day in Tábara.

The bar serves dinner from 7pm, I think. They insist on you coming into the bar to eat. I would have loved to stay outside, away from the people shouting to make themselves heard above the noise of football on TV. Fortunately, the food is of quite a high standard and the red wine that I got with the pilgrim menu, was a very pleasant Toro wine - all served by a friendly woman who might be married to the grouchy barman...

I've twice encountered the man behind the bar in the morning and found him to be a grouch on both occasions. If I am ever passing through Granja again, I won't bother going to the bar in the morning. It doesn't serve any food except left-over tapas from the night before or long-life "Madeleines," in their plastic wrappers. You can get a fresh coffee, so there's that. Don't expect a "Buenos Dias," or a "Buen Camino," though.

In summary ... Albergue = OK but casa rural must be better.
Aperitif and pilgrim dinner at Bar Teleclub = Pretty good.
Breakfast = Have them prepare a doggy bag the night before. Don't visit the bar in the morning.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I don't have much to add here. I stayed in the albergue, but don't remember much about it except the school desks upstairs, and the crowded bar. There were new people that I didn't know, and I was going on towards Astorga. The next 4 days I was essentially on my own.

So I'll be following this thread now with questions rather than answers.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
I was going on towards Astorga. The next 4 days I was essentially on my own.
Can you share a high level overview of what we would see if we took the road less travelled?
(By the road less travelled, I mean the VDLP to Astorga. CF from Astorga is well travelled, of course).
 

SioCamino

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
Either way, you'll have time to visit the Monasterio de Moreruela and it won't be an over-strenuous day. The walk is straight and dusty. The Via de la Plata doesn't end in Granja - It continues as far as Astorga. But at this point, it wasn't exciting me anymore. I felt a sense of closure. I was ready to make that left turn toward a different kind of landscape.

I think you're wise to stay at the Casa Rural. The albergue facilities are OK when the weather is fine - a single dorm with fine showers, a small kitchen area in the hall and a peculiar dining room upstairs (children's school desks). There's also a laundry sink in a tiny courtyard that you can access from the dormitory. There you'll find a few lines for drying clothes... I have read comments that the management refuse to turn on the heating in the colder months. I have mixed feelings about the Bar Teleclub which manages the albergue. The garden at the bar is actually a delight during the afternoon. A very pleasant spot for an aperitif. Recommend that you use some insect repellant when you're there since the puddles in the river bed make an ideal breeding ground for midges and mozzies. Next to the bar is an interpretation center for the monasteries that were in the area. I've never found it open.

On my first trip through Granja, I was all alone. Second time around, I was surprised that quite a few people rolled up to start their Camino Sanabres from here. I remember that feeling of being surrounded by strangers that night - We became friends the next day in Tábara.

The bar serves dinner from 7pm, I think. They insist on you coming into the bar to eat. I would have loved to stay outside, away from the people shouting to make themselves heard above the noise of football on TV. Fortunately, the food is of quite a high standard and the red wine that I got with the pilgrim menu, was a very pleasant Toro wine - all served by a friendly woman who might be married to the grouchy barman...

I've twice encountered the man behind the bar in the morning and found him to be a grouch on both occasions. If I am ever passing through Granja again, I won't bother going to the bar in the morning. It doesn't serve any food except left-over tapas from the night before or long-life "Madeleines," in their plastic wrappers. You can get a fresh coffee, so there's that. Don't expect a "Buenos Dias," or a "Buen Camino," though.

In summary ... Albergue = OK but casa rural must be better.
Aperitif and pilgrim dinner at Bar Teleclub = Pretty good.
Breakfast = Have them prepare a doggy bag the night before. Don't visit the bar in the morning.
There's a good bar around the corner from the albergue in Granja, i checked it out as the reviews of bar teleclub were lukewarm at best and i just didn't get a great "feel" from the place when i stopped in to register for the albergue.
Anyway turn to the left exiting the albergue and walk on the same side of the road, there's a bar about 5 minutes up. Friendly & kind welcome, very busy & buzzy after mass on a sunday, food tasty and generous. Theres also a tiny shop across the road to the left from the albergue which seems to open on Sundays for the after mass rush!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Can you share a high level overview of what we would see if we took the road less travelled?
(By the road less travelled, I mean the VDLP to Astorga.
The scenery wasn't spectacular and I don't have tales of wonder, but I did enjoy this stretch - maybe because I had no expectations and I was largely alone.

Granja to Benavente (29 km) - This involved getting information (from a bar maybe in Barcial del Barco) about a greener route, along an abandoned railway. For hours I was uncertain about where I was, until magically I emerged near Benavente, where I got a hotel room.

Benavente to Alija del Infantado (22 km) - Alija del Infantado seemed to be an interesting town, but the details escaped me as I searched for food. There is a fancy mineral water plaza strewn with Greek and Roman statues, and many bodegas still in use. It was Easter Sunday and I could not find anywhere to eat, at least at the right time. Even the gas station had poor pickings – I settled for honey barbeque flavor peanuts with the worst red wine I’ve had in Spain (or maybe just a bad pairing), followed by an ice cream bar. Back at the albergue, I had instant noodle soup and some magdalenas, while discussing the state of the universe with a retired long-distance truck driver from Barcelona, who was wandering Spain and walking south on the Via de la Plata. As the only 2 pilgrims, we each had a private room.

Alija del Infantado to La Bañeza (20 km) - Nothing of note en route, but the albergue in La Bañeza was good. It indicated an active local camino association, and was weird with a roomful of hospital beds! I remember a very good meal and think there were several good restaurants.

La Bañeza to Astorga (22 km) - As I walked through Palacios de la Valduerna, I heard someone calling "peregrina". A local woman, Flora, wanted to welcome me and chat awhile. She invited me into her house for coffee, told me all about the town, how the population is declining, how they want pilgrims to come through, etc. They have a museum of some sort, but being Easter Monday she couldn't track down the key. They were changing the signage in town so that pilgrims would be routed past the church and museum instead of walking straight through as I was trying to do. She had her phone and we spent quite a bit of time taking selfies together. It was fun, but I finally got back to my walk!

Arriving in Astorga from the side door was a bit confusing. While I was a newcomer to the crowd at the Siervas de Maria Albergue, I took satisfaction in being a trail-weary pilgrim, under cover. By that time, I had been away for 5 weeks - I was very happy with my Camino yet was happy to be going home.
 

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peregrina2000

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And @Raggy, just to add to your culinary experience, if you don’t already know this — La Bañeza is reported to be the best place in Spain for frogs’ legs. Back in 1971, when I was a passenger in a car undertaking what was then a 14 hour drive from Madrid up to Santiago on the truck-clogged national highway, the driver and the other two passengers insisted on stopping. I have to admit that my very uneducated palette had much the same reaction to the ancas de rana as I did to those callos Amancio had in Montamarta!
 

Raggy

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2017, 2018, 2019
Incidentally, if the albergue at Faramontanos de Tábara is closed, and you don't feel that you can walk as far as Tábara, there is an alternative to continue on the VDLP as far as Benavente then turn left and kind of follow the Tera to reach Santa Marta de Tera. You would miss some very beautiful landscapes between Granja and Faramontanos de Tábara, but the distances might work for you:

Granja to Barcial de Barco = 18km (according to Gronze)
Barcial de Barco to Benavente = 9km (according to Gronze)
Benavente to Santa Marta = 19.2km (according to Wikiloc)

The route from Benavente is stage 34 of the Camino de Santiago del Sureste, which starts in Alicante. You're unlikely to meet many other pilgrims going this way:
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 46: Granja de Moreruela to Tábara

We have had two relatively short days from Montamarta to Granja de Moreruela, so Rachel thinks we can walk the 25km from Granja to Tábara. The profile of this stage, according to Gronze, doesn't look too bad (please let us know if that's not the case!). @Sara_Dhooma 's video shows a nice path after the bridge, and I assume that this is the beautiful landscapes @Raggy refers to in his last post, so we don't want to miss that.
If we encounter any problems, there is a taxi driver in Tábara, and we have the number to call.

In Tábara, we could spend the night at the albergue where Sara stayed. José Almeida looks like a wonderful hospitalero.
Alternatively, we could take a room at the Hotel El Roble, where @Kanga stayed in May 2018. Here's her review:
I was not going to stay because of previous bad reviews but a friend who had stayed a few nights before said she found it clean and with helpful staff. I stayed in a tiny single bedroom with bathroom and also found it clean and comfortable. At €25 including dinner, it was good value.
 

Raggy

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Day 46: Granja de Moreruela to Tábara
It is a beautiful walk, which I described in @C clearly's virtual Camino. The prettiest scenery is toward the start. Once you reach the long descent toward Faramontanos de Tábara with vineyards and tiny attached cottages, the best is behind you. If you're going to call a cab, you could have it meet you at the bar in Faramontanos.

José Almeida is an angel of the camino - not only because he runs the donativo albergue but also because he has been instrumental in reviving this route and another one from Zamora through Portugal (Camino Zamorano Portugues). The albergue is a great place to get to know the pilgrims that you're sharing the road with. With regard to to the hotel, the folks that I met on the way in 2017 complained about a bad dinner with unfriendly service, but if you're tired of communal dorms at this point, you could check it out on your way through the center of town. Stop there for a drink, assess the welcome, and make up your own minds.
 

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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Tabara's albergue is run by Jose Almeida - a central figure in the Camino Sanabres and the parallel Camino Zamorano-Portugues. (It's one thing to love the Camino so much that you decide to run an albergue, but quite another to love it so much that you also establish an alternative route that bypasses your albergue). Jose will welcome you with tea, show you the dormitory and bathroom, take your dirty clothes for washing (one day's worth of laundry only please), bring you a chupito while you relax in the yard as he prepares dinner, invite you and the other pilgrims to the communal table for dinner with some touching ceremonies, and get consensus on the time for breakfast the next morning.
Watching José Almeida in Sara's video, I could feel that he is someone special.
When we'll walk in reality, we will be staying at his albergue.

I would recommend carrying on as far as Tabara, though, because the walk from Tabara to Santa Marta is strenuous and the municipal (donativo) albergue in Tabara is quite special.
"Strenuous" is a word that we will be considering tonight, as we sit at José Almeida's table, enjoying his meal. And we might ask him about the next day. Should we stop at Villanueva de las Peras? We could stay at Albergue Alameda. He'll probably know when he sees how tired Rachel might be after this day's walk.
 

C clearly

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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I was distracted as I wrote about today's stage
Ha! I found that being the protagonist in a virtual camino thread actually took quite a lot of effort, to do well. Towards the end I got lazy and didn't research so much. But by that point on a camino, one isn't so worried about working out all the details in advance.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
"Strenuous" is a word that we will be considering tonight, as we sit at José Almeida's table, enjoying his meal. And we might ask him about the next day. Should we stop at Villanueva de las Peras? We could stay at Albergue Alameda. He'll probably know when he sees how tired Rachel might be after this day's walk.
By this point in your camino, you may find that you're more confident about longer distances. I guess you'll know what you want to do. The good news is that there's a wealth of options from Tábara. If you stop at Villanueva (14km), you will find what you need there - a nice restaurant with very friendly owners, and an albergue. From there, you have options to walk 10km (Santa Marta), 15km? (Camarzana - off camino), 21km (Calzadilla), or 23km (Olleros). Most pilgrims walk from Tábara to Santa Marta, I think.

Thanks for mentioning Sara's videos. I just watched some snippets. Just a couple of months before her I did the same stages as far as Campobecerros - I stopped overnight there because the weather was filthy.
 
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alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
On my first visit to Tábara, in 2010, there was a really very good display about the town's Scriptorium, which dated back to Visigothic times. It produced some of the most beautiful illuminated manuscripts in Christendom, as well as the only surviving contemporaneous depiction of a scriptorium. The widely copied Beatus, illuminated by Magius in the 970s, has versions in Madrid, Gerona, Valladoid, New York, London and Manchester. Magius has been described as "the Picasso of the 10th Century".


Sadly, the display was an early victim of the economic crisis, and had closed down by the time I next walked through in 2012. One thing I did notice, and which hadn't changed by my last visit in 2017, was the surprising number of illegal street names still ignoring the Ley de Memoria Histórica. Teo, the excellent and engaging chef of Rionegro del Puente's Me Gusta Comer restaurant (two days further on) succinctly explained it to me as "oh, son todos fascistas allí."
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 47: Tábara to Villanueva de las Peras

When @C clearly walked her virtual Sanabrés, she had a choice of going through Villanueva de las Peras or Bercianos de Valverde on her way to Santa Marta de Tera. @peregrina2000 suggested a preference to go via Bercianos. She had a great reason:
But in Bercianos, you will bring something of interest (yourself) into a tiny community of elderly residents, many of whom are eager to talk to you.
In addition, we are very conscious that @Raggy mentioned
the walk from Tabara to Santa Marta is strenuous
and he had mentioned that fact also when @C clearly walked this stage virtually.

So we decided that we would overnight in Villanueva de las Peras, but to get there, we would walk via Bercianos de Valverde, and then down to Villanueva. That would give us an 18km day, but more importantly, what we love on the Camino, the personal contact with local people. Rachel used to work in aged care, and will enjoy meeting some of the residents of Bercianos. We do have a plan B, in case Rachel's stamina wears out quickly on that day, we could just go straight to Villanueva from the Bifurcación point.

I am somewhat concerned about the pack of dogs @Raggy mentions in @C clearly 's virtual Sanabrés:
On your way out of Tabara you will likely have to walk the gauntlet of a pack of quite scary dogs. They are pretty aggressive and they don't want you hanging around their territory.
Hopefully they won't be around.

We'll be sleeping at the Albergue Alameda tonight, which has good reviews on Gronze. We can either cook in the albergue's kitchen (still need to find a local tienda), or eat out at the Bar la Moña.

As we're having our evening meal, we're looking at the stages ahead. We definitely want to stay at Rionegro del Puente, as we want to experience the restaurant Me Gusta Comer that everybody has been raving about. To get there we will go through Santa Marta de Tera, but we have to be careful, as Gerald Kelly advises in his guide book:
ATTENTION! Since the closure of Casa Anita Santa Marta has turned into an accommodation bottleneck with the albergue often filling up early in the day. You would be wise to get here early or to have a Plan B.
Now we have to remember here that we are slow walkers, and even though one could think that we have become more confident with longer distances by now, it all depends on my darling's stamina on the day.

One thing is certain: my love for Romanesque churches rivals that of @peregrina2000 :). We're looking forward to the church in Santa Marta de Tera.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Rachel used to work in aged care, and will enjoy meeting some of the residents of Bercianos.
And with your French, you may get the same loving treatment as my French companions did from the retiree who couldn’t lavish enough praise on the the French safety net. I think he would have kept us there all day!

or eat out at the Bar la Moña
I think this would be a good choice. We didn’t eat there, but I remember very kind people and a lot of local traffic.

But Eroski says they have an “ultramarinos” in Villanueva, which typically means a small shop with some food, maybe not a whole lot in the way of produce, but enough to get you through a night! BTW, just looking at the Eroski guide for the first time in a long time reminded me that the first time I walked the Vdlp, I had no guidebook. I just got on line every day to check with Eroski. There were good walking instructions, as well as complete accommodation/shop information.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Teo, the excellent and engaging chef of Rionegro del Puente's Me Gusta Comer restaurant (two days further on) succinctly explained it to me as "oh, son todos fascistas allí."
Classic. Now I like Teo even more than I did.
Day 47: Tábara to Villanueva

I am somewhat concerned about the pack of dogs @Raggy mentions in @C clearly 's virtual Sanabrés.
Saw a great video about dealing with sheep-guarding dogs on one of the French Facebook groups recently (cheminer?). Basically the advice was to call out in a calm voice to avoid surprising the dogs. Take a path away from the sheep that they’re watching. Keep talking. Don’t make eye contact but keep them in your field of vision. Don’t run. Don’t turn your back on them. Stop and pause for a while if they seem agitated. Hold an object (e.g. your hat or your bag) in front of you to give the dog something else to focus on. Don’t raise your sticks. Don’t throw stones.

All fine but I don’t think those dogs will behave calmly whatever you do. I remember on my first visit that they ran over to me even though I was nowhere near their sheep. And they were on all sides of me. On the other hand it doesn’t seem like they actually hurt anyone either. So ... Bon courage.

We can either cook in the albergue's kitchen (still need to find a local tienda), or eat out at the Bar la Moña.
The owners at La Moña are lovely. I think they also own the albergue. They opened for us on their day off and gave us some French toast as a treat at the end of our meal. Recommended.

To get there we will go through Santa Marta de Tera, but we have to be careful, as Gerald Kelly advises in his guide book:
You have a 14km head start on many of the people who are aiming for Santa Marta so I think you can be confident. I have a feeling that I also saw a boutique hotel there too. Check on google maps if it isn’t in Gronze. [Edit - Scratch that. I was thinking of the restaurant Venta Medievo. The nearest hotel is in Camarzana which is 5km up the road from Santa Marta. It’s off Camino but not by too much - it puts you somewhat closer to Rionegro]. Might be an option if you feel like a bit more comfort. That said, the albergue is modern and well appointed.

In terms of the following stages that you’re thinking about -

Between Santa Marta and Rionegro is Olleros, which you saw in Sara Dhooma’s video. The lady that runs the bar La Trucha does a fine plate of homemade charcuterie. I’ve mentioned it in other threads and I see that Sarah enjoyed it too. As an albergue, it’s somewhat basic - a crude breeze-block building on the back of the bar. Pretty chilly in winter. There are apartments to rent in Calzadilla - the village before Olleros - which may be more to your liking.

The South African missionaries have built a really stunning albergue in Villar de Farfón. I’ve only ever stopped by for a coffee but it’s a beautiful, little, hostel. On my first visit, I was told not to worry about making a donation for the coffee and I got a free copy of the gospel of St. John. In my cynical profession, people say that if something is free, guess what, you’re the product.
If you stay at Villar, you’ll reach Rionegro very shortly after... which isn’t ideal but ...
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
The South African missionaries have built a really stunning albergue in Villar de Farfón. I’ve only ever stopped by for a coffee but it’s a beautiful, little, hostel.
I stayed with the South African missionaries in mid November, 2017. They were very hospitable. At that time, they said that they were about to close for the winter, because the albergue was not heated. I noticed heavy frost on the ground when I began my walk that morning. I don't know if they take reservations, but I would certainly try if I were walking out of season.
 

peregrina2000

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Staff member
The nearest hotel is in Camarzana which is 5km up the road from Santa Marta. It’s off Camino but not by too much - it puts you somewhat closer to Rionegro]. Might be an option if you feel like a bit more comfort.
I have stayed in that hotel, it is fine. I vaguely remember a nice dinner offered outside of normal hours because we were pilgrims. Price was special for us too, so I’m assuming it was in the 20 euro range (the room, not the dinner).
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Saw a great video about dealing with sheep-guarding dogs on one of the French Facebook groups recently (cheminer?). Basically the advice was to call out in a calm voice to avoid surprising the dogs. Take a path away from the sheep that they’re watching. Keep talking. Don’t make eye contact but keep them in your field of vision. Don’t run. Don’t turn your back on them. Stop and pause for a while if they seem agitated. Hold an object (e.g. your hat or your bag) in front of you to give the dog something else to focus on. Don’t raise your sticks. Don’t throw stones.
@Raggy, I saw that video too. Here it is:

But as you said, the pack you encountered were not looking after sheep...
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
While on camino, I was only once was approached fiercely by a dog, which was so eager to get at me that he had pulled out the anchor which was supposed to keep him fastened in one location and was dragging it along behind him. I stopped and waited, while he barked fiercely behind me. I consider all advice to not turn your back on a dog as unrealistic. The dog was a lot more mobile than I was, and he chose to take a position behind me and to continue barking. I stood still for a while, then began to move away, very slowly. Eventually, he must have decided that I was out of his territory, and ceased to follow. In danger, my natural initial response is to freeze, and that has served me so far. But if the dog had attacked, I would certainly have defended myself with my staff.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
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2017, 2018, 2019
@Raggy, I saw that video too. Here it is:
But as you said, the pack you encountered were not looking after sheep...
Yes. That's the one.
As for the Tábara dogs ... In 2017, perhaps there were sheep on the side of the field furthest from where I was walking. In 2019, I think the owner was with them and I seem to recall sheep sounds coming from the wooded areas on either side of the path. No chance to take evasive action when you're on a path through woodland with dogs ether side. But now I fear that my repeated posts about this are exaggerating the significance of the issue. We got barked at and we carried on walking. Nobody got hurt.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 48: Tábara to Santa Marta de Tera or Camarzana de Tera

In her virtual camino, @C clearly walked from Tábara to Santa Marta de Tera. As @Raggy said, we have a 14km head start on her, and we only have 10km to Santa Marta de Tera. I want to be able to enjoy the Romanesque church there, so I'm giving myself plenty of time in Santa Marta.

We are going to try and stay at the albergue in Santa Marta. We have read various accounts and blogs of how the albergue fills up quickly, as the Camino Levante joins the Sanabrés here, so we have a plan B. If we need to, we will walk to Camarzana de Tera, and stay at the Hotel Juan Manuel, where @peregrina2000 stayed, and which seems to have pilgrim rates.

Looking ahead, we are going to take two days to get to Rionegro del Puente. "What??" I hear you exclaim. Well, we are slow walkers, remember ☺. If our experience in 2018 walking from Switzerland to SdC (2178km) taught us anything, it's that we should make the most of short stages when they are available.
 

Albertagirl

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When I was at Santa Marta in November, so out of season, I was the only one to stay in the albergue. There was someone who was available to show pilgrims around the church. As I remember it, I did not have to contact her to be shown around. But there is no telling what the situation might be in the future.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
We have read various accounts and blogs of how the albergue fills up quickly, as the Camino Levante joins the Sanabrés here,
I can't comment on whether there's a bed race here during high season... If you've read it then I guess its' true. But you will be fine, setting off from Villanueva. If you maintain a steady 2.5km per hour for the ten downhill kilometers, only the sportiest walkers from Tábara (>6km/h) will get there before you. Those people won't be stopping in Santa Marta.
"Wont' some people leave Tábara super early in the morning?" you inquire. Some might. But communal breakfast will be at the hour that the majority decides.
"But what about cyclists?" I hear you ask. Well, yes, it's possible that you may encounter a bubble of cyclists. But they will have set off from places that you passed three or four (or more) days ago, so they'll arrive later than you.
"And what about pilgrims from other trails?" you say. I think it's the Camino del Sureste that joins the Sanabres at Santa Marta. (The Levante meets the VDLP in Zamora). Bypassing Zamora and joining the Sanabres at Santa Marta is a very uncommon route. Be sure to get a selfie with anyone who came that way.

Bottom line = You will have your choice of bunks at Santa Marta.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I can't comment on whether there's a bed race here during high season... If you've read it then I guess its' true. [...]
"And what about pilgrims from other trails?" you say. I think it's the Camino del Sureste that joins the Sanabres at Santa Marta. (The Levante meets the VDLP in Zamora). Bypassing Zamora and joining the Sanabres at Santa Marta is a very uncommon route. Be sure to get a selfie with anyone who came that way.
Bottom line = You will have your choice of bunks at Santa Marta.
I guess I was being cautious after reading the warning from Gerald Kelly's guide about an accommodation bottleneck in Santa Marta. I did read a blog (with loads of great photos), where the author wrote:
We tried to save two beds, but two new pilgrims came along from the Camino Levante and took them. The rule is that you can't save beds anyway, so I had to give them up. When our friends finally arrived, Nadine got the last bed, and we were very, very lucky to see another mattress that we could put on the floor for Norm. We dodged a bullet this time!
I trained as an engineer in my youth, and we always designed for worst case scenarios, so I guess that's in the grain :cool: , but I will agree with you, @Raggy , that we will have our choice of bunks at Santa Marta.
And that also means more time at the Romanesque church! ☺
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 49: Santa Marta de Tera to Calzadilla de Tera

When she left Santa Marta (virtually), @C clearly asked whether it would be a good idea to take two days to walk the 27km distance from Santa Marta to Rionegro del Puente, the reason being that she would be able to eat twice at the famous restaurant in Rionegro.
Well, although @Raggy and @peregrina2000 suggested walking all the way to Rionegro, we thought the idea would great, and after having spent a good night at the albergue in Santa Marta, we're heading off today to Calzadilla de Tera.
@peregrina2000 remembers
that this stage starts out with a really nice river-side walk
which we are going to enjoy.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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Day 49: Santa Marta de Tera to Calzadilla de Tera
The walk by the river is pleasant. I don't think it's stunningly beautiful. In places, the river is just a concrete channel, but it's green and lush and it's also flat, which feels good after the ups and downs from Tábara. Unfortunately, there's a large quarry at one point on the way, and when I walked in 2017, I had to cover my mouth a few times when the dirty trucks went past me, kicking up clouds of dust. After that quarry, things become more tranquil again. There's even a nice picnic area with tables overlooking the river Tera. It all feels very close to civilization - no big adventure, just a bit of village to village hopping. I had a spring in my step all the way.

I didn't stay in Calzadilla, but I remember seeing a lot of older residents lined up on a bench in town in the late afternoon, socializing. I expect they've known each other their entire lives. Sadly, there aren't many young people living in the villages around here. They've mostly gone to the big cities. From what I can see on Gronze and Google maps, there's no restaurant in Calzadilla, but there's a bakery and a supermarket, so you should find what you need for a simple meal. The private accommodation has good reviews on Gronze. I assume that it must have some sort of cooking facilities. But perhaps you won't be cooking much, considering the feast that you're planning to enjoy in Rionegro. It's possible, of course, to pop up to Bar La Trucha in Olleros about 2km up the road. Without backpacks that should not require much effort, but it's not a good feeling to yoyo back and forth on the route.

The owner at La Trucha is very nice. The locals in the bar took the trouble to explain some things about the region to me. The memorable part of the meal was the plate of home made hams and sausages. Before you set off in that direction, you'd better make sure it's not her day off.

I remember seeing some awfully shoddy buildings around Calzadilla and Olleros. Too many houses built of ventilation bricks, with windows hastily filled in with breeze blocks. I'm not a builder but it just doesn't look right to me ... leading me to ponder about rural poverty and the flight to the cities ... and then I see something that's wrong, wrong, wrong - a "Who on earth built that and what were they thinking?" staircase on the exterior of a house in Olleros, with no hand rails, no support underneath, tiny steps made of cheap bricks on a steep concrete slope, and what looks like a 90 degree turn at head height where it meets a breeze block wall ... Let me know your engineer's opinion of that. I think there's no excuse for it at any budget.

eat twice at the famous restaurant in Rionegro
One of these days someone is going to tell us that we've overhyped Me Gusta Comer, but yes, it's the "famous restaurant," of the camino. I think you'll feel happy and stuffed after lunch and dinner there. Perhaps you should take a dip in the river to build up an appetite between meals ... or perhaps not if you're walking in the Spring. It may be too chilly. I've read that Tio can also do breakfast in the morning if there is sufficient demand. Not sure how many pilgrims need to sign up for that to happen.
 

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  • August

    Votes: 27 2.1%
  • September

    Votes: 369 28.7%
  • October

    Votes: 154 12.0%
  • November

    Votes: 17 1.3%
  • December

    Votes: 7 0.5%
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