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Villamarco and other towns the Camino missed

jeffnd

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
March/April 2014
On the way to Reliegos, if you look to the left, you'll see the town of Villamarco. There is a large sign with a picture of a pilgrim or St. James, who seems to be welcoming you into town. However, the little yellow arrows keep you going straight. According to Google Earth, Villamarco is about a kilometer off the path. Brierley has this town marked on the map, but doesn't say anything about it. I felt like venturing into the town, but I thought I wanted to push myself and make it to Leon. (The Elvis Bar in Reliegos stopped that from happening.)

But as I walked on past, I felt sorry for the little town. Why had the Camino passed it by? I saw many towns along the way that the Camino had clearly been routed through, adding unnecessary distance in the hope of grabbing a some of that pilgrim cash. (Or at least that's how it looked to me.) I wondered why Villamarco had not done the same thing.

Has anyone ever been to Villamarco? Or some of the other little towns the Camino has passed by?
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Medieval pilgrims wandered all over the countryside making their way to Santiago, so there are many towns and villages that are not on the current popular path but that can rightly claim a connection. Most people on their first camino are intent on following a guidebook, the yellow arrows, not getting lost, and getting to "the end" in one piece. An extra kilometer seems too much and a variation not included in the guidebook too tricky. Nowadays I find it very rewarding to meander off the path to see something interesting or to find better accommodation, but that's after a few Caminos.
 

Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
Past OR future Camino
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
On the way to Reliegos, if you look to the left, you'll see the town of Villamarco. There is a large sign with a picture of a pilgrim or St. James, who seems to be welcoming you into town. However, the little yellow arrows keep you going straight. According to Google Earth, Villamarco is about a kilometer off the path. Brierley has this town marked on the map, but doesn't say anything about it. I felt like venturing into the town, but I thought I wanted to push myself and make it to Leon. (The Elvis Bar in Reliegos stopped that from happening.)

But as I walked on past, I felt sorry for the little town. Why had the Camino passed it by? I saw many towns along the way that the Camino had clearly been routed through, adding unnecessary distance in the hope of grabbing a some of that pilgrim cash. (Or at least that's how it looked to me.) I wondered why Villamarco had not done the same thing.

Has anyone ever been to Villamarco? Or some of the other little towns the Camino has passed by?


My wife went there last year , it was a very nice little town .
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I was on the Frances after the Olvidado this year, so I had Ponferrada to Santiago to deal with. I had forgotten how lovely the Frances is on that section, so I am glad to have gone back. I took a little detour after Palas de Rei to a private tourist albergue about a km off road in Vilar de Remonde, called A Bolboreta. From there I was able to walk to the visit the castle at Pambre, a lovely walk along rivers and through a bunch of little hamlets, but only to find the castle was undergoing serious renovations. Oh well. It felt very odd, being so close to the huge crowds on the Frances but going through hamlets that had a few elderly residents and a church in varying stages of disrepair.

I think finding a few off-road destinations is a great way to break up the steady stream of pilgrims on the last parts of the Frances.
 

Olivares

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
May 1997 (Leon to Santiago); Sections Camino Frances: May 2011, May 2012, May 2013, October 2013, June-July 2014 (Sahagun to Santiago).
It is interesting how Villamarcos leaves a similar impression on many pilgrims passing by. I actually took a break along with a bunch of German cyclists at the rest area at the intersection of the Camino and the turn to the town. It looked inviting, but it was still early and I had my heart set on Reliegos. My cultural guide mentioned how this town has always been kind of in Reliegos's shadow. Highly trafficked during Roman times, as it was on the path to Reliegos where three Roman military roads converged. So, it is very likely that pilgrims passed thru Villamarcos -- Significant to note that Villamarcos (Valdearcos) name ("Vallis-arcuurn Valley Arches"), alludes to a Roman bridge usd by the Roman legions. If the guide had indicated the location in Villamarcos, I would had definitely taken the detour, but the location still unknown.

My best memory of Reliegos is the local people. I attended the Sunday 6pm Rosary and one of the ladies and her husband offered to walk the town with me. Incredibly welcoming.
 
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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
It is interesting how Villamarcos leaves a similar impression on many passing pilgrims. I actually took a break along with a bunch of German cyclists at the rest area at the intersection of the Camino and the turn to the town. It look inviting, but it was still early and I had my heart set on Reliegos. My cultural guide mentioned how this town has always been kind of in Reliegos's shadow. Highly trafficked during Roman times, as it was on the path to Reliegos where three Roman military roads converged. So, it is very likely that pilgrims passed thru Villamarcos -- Significant to note that Villamarcos (Valdearcos) name ("Vallis-arcuurn Valley Arches"), alludes to a Roman bridge usd by the Roman legions. If the guide had indicated the location in Villamarcos, I would had definitely taken the detour, but the location still unknown.

My best memory of Reliegos is the local people. I attended the Sunday 6pm Rosary and one of the ladies and her husband offered to walk the town with me. Incredibly welcoming.

I had exactly the same thoughts this year when passing by Vilamarcos. And that pilgrim looked so inviting but it was quite late (7PM) and I had no info on acommodation there so I pushed on to Reliegos too. I did some google search about the village and its acommodation possibilities after my return but found nothing. Would be nice to know something more.
 

jeffnd

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
March/April 2014
Medieval pilgrims wandered all over the countryside making their way to Santiago, so there are many towns and villages that are not on the current popular path but that can rightly claim a connection. Most people on their first camino are intent on following a guidebook, the yellow arrows, not getting lost, and getting to "the end" in one piece. An extra kilometer seems too much and a variation not included in the guidebook too tricky. Nowadays I find it very rewarding to meander off the path to see something interesting or to find better accommodation, but that's after a few Caminos.

I would have taken more detours and meandered like a medieval pilgrim, but I was pressed for time. I actually wasn't, but in my head I was. But to make a 2 kilometer round trip detour just wasn't in the cards, especially since I didn't know what was over there.

But next time, I shall meander!
 

jeffnd

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
March/April 2014
I had exactly the same thoughts this year when passing by Vilamarcos. And that pilgrim looked so inviting but it was quite late (7PM) and I had no info on acommodation there so I pushed on to Reliegos too. I did some google search about the village and its acommodation possibilities after my return but found nothing. Would be nice to know something more.

My wife went there last year , it was a very nice little town .

Do you have an information what services are there? Bars, shops, places to stay? I'm assuming if they had an albergue Brierley would have mentioned it.
 

jeffnd

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
March/April 2014
I was on the Frances after the Olvidado this year, so I had Ponferrada to Santiago to deal with. I had forgotten how lovely the Frances is on that section, so I am glad to have gone back. I took a little detour after Palas de Rei to a private tourist albergue about a km off road in Vilar de Remonde, called A Bolboreta. From there I was able to walk to the visit the castle at Pambre, a lovely walk along rivers and through a bunch of little hamlets, but only to find the castle was undergoing serious renovations. Oh well. It felt very odd, being so close to the huge crowds on the Frances but going through hamlets that had a few elderly residents and a church in varying stages of disrepair.

I think finding a few off-road destinations is a great way to break up the steady stream of pilgrims on the last parts of the Frances.

It is interesting how Villamarcos leaves a similar impression on many pilgrims passerbs by. I actually took a break along with a bunch of German cyclists at the rest area at the intersection of the Camino and the turn to the town. It look inviting, but it was still early and I had my heart set on Reliegos. My cultural guide mentioned how this town has always been kind of in Reliegos's shadow. Highly trafficked during Roman times, as it was on the path to Reliegos where three Roman military roads converged. So, it is very likely that pilgrims passed thru Villamarcos -- Significant to note that Villamarcos (Valdearcos) name ("Vallis-arcuurn Valley Arches"), alludes to a Roman bridge usd by the Roman legions. If the guide had indicated the location in Villamarcos, I would had definitely taken the detour, but the location still unknown.

My best memory of Reliegos is the local people. I attended the Sunday 6pm Rosary and one of the ladies and her husband offered to walk the town with me. Incredibly welcoming.

I think there is money to be made in doing a supplemental Camino guide showcasing these places just off the Camino.
 

Olivares

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
May 1997 (Leon to Santiago); Sections Camino Frances: May 2011, May 2012, May 2013, October 2013, June-July 2014 (Sahagun to Santiago).
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Deleted member 3000

Guest
I think there is money to be made in doing a supplemental Camino guide showcasing these places just off the Camino.
Probably not, if it is in English. The Miam Miam Dodo does a good job of listing the places off the route. It is in French. Before the surge from "The Way," almost three times as many French walked as Americans. Half the pilgrims are Spanish, so they might like a guidebook with off-track places (if one does not already exist).

An iPhone app that is comprehensive might have some money in it! It would cut out the book publishing middlemen. While there is a strong dinosaur advocacy in the Forum, technology is here to stay for the rest of the world.:)

Ivar? Spare time?;)
 

jeffnd

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
March/April 2014
Probably not, if it is in English. The Miam Miam Dodo does a good job of listing the places off the route. It is in French. Before the surge from "The Way," almost three times as many French walked as Americans. Half the pilgrims are Spanish, so they might like a guidebook with off-track places (if one does not already exist).

An iPhone app that is comprehensive might have some money in it! It would cut out the book publishing middlemen. While there is a strong dinosaur advocacy in the Forum, technology is here to stay for the rest of the world.:)

Ivar? Spare time?;)

Note I said "guide" and not "book!" ;)
 

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