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Virtual journey on the Camino Sanabres, March-April 2020

C clearly

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Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Before COVID-19, etc., my 2020 plan was to walk the Camino Sanabres in the Spring. I haven't done this route before, although I did walk from Seville to Astorga in 2017. I have my spreadsheet ready, with distances, villages, optional stages, and a few notes. I have the Gerald Kelly 2020 guide, and all the KML tracks on my phone. I am wearing Brooks Ghost 11 shoes - my second pair - and my Osprey Talon 33 pack weighs about 5.5 kg before water and snack .

I will try to post daily - maybe I will focus on my plan for the next day, and I'll ask questions you can help with, if you know this route. If not, you can ask questions too, and make guesses about the next day.

The rest will be fiction. If it all gets too tiresome, I can always bail out - Let's see how this goes...

P.S. Feel free to make suggestions even if you have never walked this section. Tell me what you have found online.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Day 0 - Home to Zamora –

I'm arriving in Madrid tomorrow (Sunday) just before noon, after travelling 16 hours and 9 time zones. From the Madrid airport I might get the Metro to Atocha, simply because I like the Metro and I always feel that I've arrived in Madrid when I get to Atocha station. It is familiar - I first went there in 1971. However, I will need to get to Chamartin Station for a train to Zamora. One leaves at 14:57, getting to Zamora only about 90 minutes later. The next one takes 3 hours, so if I miss the first one, I'll wait for the fast one leaving at 16:30.

In Zamora, I'll want a good night's sleep . I stayed in the albergue before, but will want a private room for the night.

Questions:
  1. What is there to do around Chamartin Station for a couple of hours on Sunday? Should I go straight there from the airport, or should I pass through Atocha and plan to get the later train?
  2. Where should I stay in Zamora? I want a comfortable private room since my sleep will be disturbed and I don't plan to leave early the next day.
  3. What are the sightseeing highlights for a few hours in Zamora?
  4. Should I walk or bus to Montamarta?
 

nathanael

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Plata,
Day 0 - Home to Zamora –

I'm arriving in Madrid tomorrow (Sunday) just before noon, after travelling 16 hours and 9 time zones. From the Madrid airport I might get the Metro to Atocha, simply because I like the Metro and I always feel that I've arrived in Madrid when I get to Atocha station. It is familiar - I first went there in 1971. However, I will need to get to Chamartin Station for a train to Zamora. One leaves at 14:57, getting to Zamora only about 90 minutes later. The next one takes 3 hours, so if I miss the first one, I'll wait for the fast one leaving at 16:30.

In Zamora, I'll want a good night's sleep . I stayed in the albergue before, but will want a private room for the night.

Questions:
  1. What is there to do around Chamartin Station for a couple of hours on Sunday? Should I go straight there from the airport, or should I pass through Atocha and plan to get the later train?
  2. Where should I stay in Zamora? I want a comfortable private room since my sleep will be disturbed and I don't plan to leave early the next day.
  3. What are the sightseeing highlights for a few hours in Zamora?
  4. Should I walk or bus to Montamarta?
I have fond memories of Montamarta
 

Pinker to

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future
Good initiative!
In time of crisis necessity is the mother of invention.
💪

Loved Zamora.
I also wanted to rest overnight, so I decided to stay in a fancy lodging, nice, a bit pricey though.

I just wandered along the old quarter in no particular direction. Later in the evening enjoyed a cold beer sitting in main square while soaking in the lively atmosphere of Zamora.

You brought back great memories.
❤
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
What a lovely idea

My memories of Zamora are fuzzy because I'd been sick with a gastro bug and bussed into town. We did have a little wander and we stayed in the muni alberugue... this was from my notes...

+++++++++++++++++++

We moved on to Zamora… and we’ll hopefully be walking out tomorrow or the next day. I can’t wait. Being sick on the camino is no fun. I should have been a little less blasé about it from the start… I think I might have been on the mend a little sooner… but we live and learn. I posted on a camino forum yesterday asking for suggestions and a very kind aussie doctor sent me loads of great advice… more camino kindness from strangers who just go out of their way to help.

We have a bed in the municipal albergue tonight… it seems like there are just three in our little dorm… we think its a mystery lady, who must be out exploring.

We had a little meander around the town and the museum, castle walls and cathedral. I’m finding it hard to be enthused about much… Zamora is nice but I want to walk… walk out of the city and far away. I’m bored now and I’m fed up. I want to get back on to the camino.

I’ve eaten toast and a little potato (and no.. they weren’t chips) and a banana… I feel a bit weary but I don’t feel ill anymore. Fingers crossed the next time we chat I’ll be walking again (St James. .. please… if you’re listening… please 🙂 )

Ps our mystery lady is actually the rather dashing Brazilian from yesterday who has been entertaining us with witty tales for the last hour… so he’s clever, witty, tri – lingual, tall, dark and handsome… but can he grow rhubarb, figs and tomatoes like my lovely hubby 🙂



14766391554170.jpg14766391558417.jpg14766391543439.jpg14766391550086.jpg14766391531605.jpg14766391535100.jpg14766391535791.jpg14766391528070.jpg
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Day 0 - Home to Zamora –

I'm arriving in Madrid tomorrow (Sunday) just before noon, after travelling 16 hours and 9 time zones. From the Madrid airport I might get the Metro to Atocha, simply because I like the Metro and I always feel that I've arrived in Madrid when I get to Atocha station. It is familiar - I first went there in 1971. However, I will need to get to Chamartin Station for a train to Zamora. One leaves at 14:57, getting to Zamora only about 90 minutes later. The next one takes 3 hours, so if I miss the first one, I'll wait for the fast one leaving at 16:30.

In Zamora, I'll want a good night's sleep . I stayed in the albergue before, but will want a private room for the night.

Questions:
  1. What is there to do around Chamartin Station for a couple of hours on Sunday? Should I go straight there from the airport, or should I pass through Atocha and plan to get the later train?
  2. Where should I stay in Zamora? I want a comfortable private room since my sleep will be disturbed and I don't plan to leave early the next day.
  3. What are the sightseeing highlights for a few hours in Zamora?
  4. Should I walk or bus to Montamarta?
Ok, as one who always jumps into these threads when they are real, and as someone looking for distractions, I’ll take a stab. Not sure how this will go, but I am always happy to give advice — even when it is “fake advice.”

At first, I thought — why would you go to Atocha if your train is leaving from Chamartín? It’s a 40 minute metro ride, with changes. Then back from Atocha to Chamartín, another half hour or so. BUT... if you really want to get back to Atocha and if you have the time, who am I to stand in the way. Sounds like it may have some symbolic importance. The much easier route (and with much lower risk of pickpockets, in fact with virtually no risk of pickpockets) would be to take Cercanías from the “basement“of T4 at the airport. It runs twice an hour, so not as frequent as the metro, but gets you to chamartín in about 12 minutes. And it’s about a half hour from airport to Atocha. So if I were going to do that, I’d go by Cercanías in either case.

Now to your questions

1. Nothing much to do around Chamartín. It is soon to become the biggest redevelopment project in the history of Madrid, which means that you may be seeing lots of demolition and cordoned off areas, but not much in the way of interesting sights. You could take a walk up the Castellana to the Plaza de Castilla where you will see the first arrow of the Camino de Madrid, which I believe is still outside the Rodillas sandwich shop.

2. I have stayed only in one place in Zamora other than the albergue. Once when I walked in totally zonked, I got a last minute cheap rate at the parador and enjoyed the bathtub, towels, and sheets more than most of the other amenities, which include seeing knights in full armor standing on the landings (no humans inside of course) and very heavy traditional Castilian furnishings. There is a nice outdoor terrace where you are likely to meet peregrinos from the nearby albergue and then decide how to react if they seem critical of your decision to splurge. You can use your favorite retort to the “you are not a true pilgrim” vitriol.

3. Sightseeing highlights. For me, the church Santiago de los Caballeros is the absolutely most unmissable of Zamora’s 26 romanesque churches. It is slightly outside the gates (take an exit through the walls near the cathedral) and is where El Cid reportedly spent a night in prayer. Whether that is true or not, it is wonderful. If I only had a few hours, I probably would not go inside the cathedral (others may disagree, the museum has some pretty awesome tapestries), but it is unique in its architecture and interesting to see from the outside. The castle has been totally renovated and made welcoming to tourists, a huge change since my first time in Zamora years ago. Great tapas bars on the street that the parador is on. And the church of San Cipriano, located between the albergue and the parador, has a very beautiful carving (in my aesthetic anyway) of Daniel in the lions’ den. That church, like many in Zamora, has stones that are purple-ish in color — I once heard an explanation of what the rock was, but I have forgotten.

4. That is a question only you can answer, but it isn’t a painful walk, maybe a bit boring but a good way to get into camino introspection mindset in my opinion. It’s also a good “first day distance” if you are trying to gear up slowly. The Bar Restaurante Rosamary on the way out of town is great. I know it’s always risky to walk by open cafés with the thought that you’ll find another one, but this one is worth it. Run by two women, at least it was, and the food was local and fresh.

So, now you have given me a great distraction from reading coronavirus threads!
 

C clearly

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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Day 1 – Zamora to Montamarta

Yesterday I took @peregrina2000's excellent advice to take the Cercanías to Chamartin. [Remember, we are suspending current reality about restrictions on movement.]

In Zamora I got a room at Hostal Gemi - it has good reviews and is a reasonable price, but more importantly it is near to both the train station (on arrival) and the bus station (for departure). So, I can sleep in late, leave my backpack while I go out, and pick it up before getting the bus to Montamarta at either 13:00 or 17:30.

I had studied various options for a very short walk today, but there aren’t any alternatives to 18 km to Montamarta. I followed the route pretty closely on Google Earth and decided to jump ahead by bus today, and start my walk in Montamarta.

I am just now going out (at 10 a.m.) for café con leche, tortilla and a SIM card for my phone. If I don’t feel like sightseeing, I’ll get the early bus. Otherwise, I might go to the Cathedral Museum to see the tapestries such as @LesBrass showed in her photos. I admired them last time here, and visited the castle, but maybe this time I'll walk past the castle to see the Iglesia de Santiago Caballero.

I am hoping to stay at El Molino de Castilla in Montamarta but I’m having trouble booking online and seeing exactly what is available for pilgrims. I’d prefer another comfy night in a private room. Then I’ll be open to staying in albergues. El Molino is just across from Restaurant Rosamary, which will be good for dinner today and breakfast in the morning. I should meet my first fellow pilgrims by then. There is a Coviran supermercada in Montamarta, so I can stock up on a couple of water bottles, an emergency bottle of Aquarius, emergency rations of nuts and chocolate, and perhaps a banana and orange for tomorrow.

Questions:
  • Is the Molino a museum site even for people who aren’t staying there?
  • What can you tell me about the Ermita de la Virgen del Castillo?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Well, @C clearly, I am enjoying this! I try to learn about the places I walk through, so your questions are a way for me to see what I may have missed and talk about what I enjoyed.

On your way to Montamarta tomorrow, I hope you have time to take a stroll through the ruins of Castrotorafe. It is right on the reservoir of the Esla, and dates from the 12th century. It was totally open and accessible several years ago, but I don’t know if there are limits on access now.

I don’t know about visiting the Molino or staying there. I stayed in Casa del Sastre years ago, which Gronze now suggests is closed. The albergue was, years ago, a dingy dangerous place. I think they have cleaned it up, but its location somewhat out of town and on a busy road made it a magnet for some unsavory characters. I remember there were thefts, but as I said I think this is all history.

The 17th century ermita is up on a hill overlooking the reservoir/river and you see it on your way out of town. I have not visited it, but have googled a bit and learned that it is where the statue of town’s patron, the Virgen del Castillo, is located. In 2010, thieves yanked the Baby Jesus out of her arms and made off with it, leaving the townspeople understandably despondent and angry. News coverage reported that the two most valuable items in the chapel were stolen, the Baby Jesus from the arms of the Virgen and another Baby Jesus statue that was used in religious processions in town.
 

C clearly

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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Aside:
This is an interesting writing challenge. I am not a professional writer or even experienced amateur, except for technical documents, but I am finding this to be fun and time-consuming. How can I combine imaginery today and last night at the albergue in a way that seems credible, with the realistic plans for the next day, and at the same time get readers to participate? Should I write about the current day or the next day? In some cases I am posing questions to which I know some of the answers. But that is sort of a technique (it probably has a name) to engage others in the conversation. Thanks for participating - I need that. At the end of the walk I will have a very customized guide written for myself! :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I am hoping to stay at El Molino de Castilla in Montamarta but I’m having trouble booking online and seeing exactly what is available for pilgrims. I’d prefer another comfy night in a private room.
The nice thing about virtual pilgrimages is you can always get a private room with no reservations (and for very little virtual money).

Felices sueños y buen camino.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
The nice thing about virtual pilgrimages is you can always get a private room with no reservations (and for very little virtual money).
That is a very good point! I would have stayed at the Parador in Zamora except that I liked the location of Hostal Gemi. It looks from this site that my next opportunity will be in Puebla de Sanabria.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Aside:
This is an interesting writing challenge. I am not a professional writer or even experienced amateur, except for technical documents, but I am finding this to be fun and time-consuming. How can I combine imaginery today and last night at the albergue in a way that seems credible, with the realistic plans for the next day, and at the same time get readers to participate? Should I write about the current day or the next day? In some cases I am posing questions to which I know some of the answers. But that is sort of a technique (it probably has a name) to engage others in the conversation. Thanks for participating - I need that. At the end of the walk I will have a very customized guide written for myself! :)
I personally prefer that you lay out the next day’s plans, that leaves plenty of opportunity for my unsolicited advice, which would be totally beyond the point if you were already reporting after having done the day’s walk. But you should do whatever is the most fun for you.
 

C clearly

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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I personally prefer that you lay out the next day’s plans, that leaves plenty of opportunity for my unsolicited advice, which would be totally beyond the point if you were already reporting after having done the day’s walk.
Agree!
 

C clearly

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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Especially good because I can practice my Spanish with him.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Especially good because I can practice my Spanish with him.
But you surely don’t want to walk with him, because he announces he has given up walking on the dirty pebbly camino and will stick with walking on the road, which he thinks is heavenly!

In that case you may want to hear the residents too. Too fast for me but with YouTube you can slow down the playback (I don't see closed captioning).
This is apparently a TV show, which I took the time to watch — how interesting. It is a weekly show, apparently, entitled Me Vuelvo al Pueblo (I’m going back to my pueblo — “town” just doesn’t capture the meaning of pueblo, IMO). There are two segments, one in a small place in Burgos, one in Montamarta. The people producing this show provide an excellent combination of interviews with old retired folks living (and usually loving) their lives in the pueblo, and in each segment there is a “youngster” who has moved home. The first one is a bee cultivator, a young woman who turned apiculturist, left Madrid and is building her business slowly. In Montamarta their is a young couple with two kids who returned to their pueblo and decided to start up an ice delivery business. That seems less likely to be a success to me, but he said they do a rip-roaring business during the summer when all the pueblos in the area have all-night celebrations where lots of alcoholic drinks means that the ice always runs out. Anyway, if your Spanish is good, take a look, they are really interesting, thanks Rick!
 

Peregrinopaul

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
I'm hoping you haven't virtually walked by the stunning ruins of the Monasterio de Moreruela without stopping for an hour to two to explore.
I had the place completely to myself in 2012.
 

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
I have even found out by Google Maps and IGN, that walking from Riego del Camino to the monastery could be a short-cut (-2 km) on your way to Tabara (if - like me - you want to bypass La Granja de Moreruela).
 

Peregrinopaul

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I have even found out by Google Maps and IGN, that walking from Riego del Camino to the monastery could be a short-cut (-2 km) on your way to Tabara (if - like me - you want to bypass La Granja de Moreruela).
But I thoight this marker was rather special.P6230839.jpeg
 

C clearly

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Here I am back! I had to take a couple of rest days to catch up on things. I will catch up by reviewing those videos and looking at my next walking stage!
 

C clearly

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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I have even found out by Google Maps and IGN, that walking from Riego del Camino to the monastery could be a short-cut (-2 km) on your way to Tabara (if - like me - you want to bypass La Granja de Moreruela).
Thanks for that interesting option - it seems to be about 28 km from Riego to Tabara. I probably won't do that on this journey, because I'm not quite ready for a 28 km day.
 

C clearly

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Thanks for these links - they are excellent.

But you surely don’t want to walk with him, because he announces he has given up walking on the dirty pebbly camino and will stick with walking on the road, which he thinks is heavenly!
This guy was a bit fast (as a walker) for me,. He is going to Montamarta tomorrow, and on to Astorga the next day, so I won't see him. However, I liked listening to him talk.
you may want to hear the residents too. Too fast for me
Yes, these were a bit fast (talking, not walking), but a good level to challenge me. However, I find that about 15 minutes at a time is enough. I have bookmarked the YouTube channel for ongoing practice.

I've been lazy and need to get back on the road!
 

C clearly

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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Day 2 – Montamarta to Fontanillas de Castro (13 km)

Another day of sleeping late at El Molino in Montamarta and a good breakfast across the street - this will be a short day, my first walking. All the other pilgrims in town have left already so I expect to be on my own.

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. Then I’ll have only a few kilometres to walk to the new albergue in Fontanillas de Castro. There was a discussion in another forum thread about this albergue.

Question:
  • What is the story behind the ruins at Castrotorafe?
 

C clearly

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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I'm hoping you haven't virtually walked by the stunning ruins of the Monasterio de Moreruela without stopping
Do you mean the one right outside Granja de Moreruela? I am not there yet on my virtual journey, but will definitely stop there.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Thanks for these links - they are excellent.


This guy was a bit fast (as a walker) for me,. He is going to Montamarta tomorrow, and on to Astorga the next day, so I won't see him. However, I liked listening to him talk.

Yes, these were a bit fast (talking, not walking), but a good level to challenge me. However, I find that about 15 minutes at a time is enough. I have bookmarked the YouTube channel for ongoing practice.

I've been lazy and need to get back on the road!
Sorry if this came up before, but you can watch on youtube and slow down the playback speed.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Sorry if this came up before, but you can watch on youtube and slow down the playback speed.
Can't slow his walking speed, though. C. Clearly is pacing this walk for "Four seasons on the Sanabres."

When you get to Granja, see if you can coax a smile out of the man running the bar in the morning. He was as sullen in 2019 as I remembered him being in 2017. Actually, scratch that. Just don't bother going to the bar in the morning. If you inquire about food, he just gestures toward last nights leftovers - or if there are none, then toward the boxes of long shelf-life "Madeleines." (Seriously*, anyone called Madeleine should sue a Spanish bakery for damage to reputation).

* I am using seriously in the way that some people use literally - literally.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Leaving the Via de la Plata at Granja is like cancelling an internet subscription. By the church is the sign, advising you that you've a choice ahead (as posted above). After that you go through multiple stages of having to confirm your intent. A regular Camino sign marking the bifurcation of the ways, a cute folk-art sign made by the local blacksmith, some more signs in case you missed the opportunity to stay on the Via before, and finally when you've gotten through the whole pueblo ... as you feel the sun hitting your face from an unfamiliar angle, and you sense the prospect of crooked paths through lush landscapes instead of the dusty, straight, Roman road that you've cleaved to for the last few days ... the Via de la Plata makes one last special offer in an effort to tempt you back onto the path to Astorga.
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
I just read my blog for our walk to Granja... I remember that day so we’ll as it was Flying Ants Day!!

Riego del Camino promised a bar… there was a bar but pilgrims…never ever go there. It is the grubbiest of grubby bars ever on the planet… and the most miserable of miserable people behind the bar. I could go on but I will just say… DO NOT STOP. Having left the devils lair we walked out into the street and into a biblical plague of flying ants. Clouds gathered in the sky and birds filled the air.

Apart from returning into the devils bar we had no choice but to walk on. Mouth closed… Molly up… it was Flying Ant Day but on a Via scale. Am I the only one that knows about Flying Ant Day? The last 6km went quick…. I hate ants now almost as much as bulls.

We’ve arrived at Granja de Moreruela just before the rain started. There is so much I could say about today but to be honest… it’s late and we’re in the bar with Ruth… a new pilgrim from Ireland… and we’re talking way too much… Bjorn (a vegan cyclist from Germany) and Renalta (the handsome Brazilian) have joined us too… so the stories will have to wait for another day.


At least you won’t have ants on your walk 😬😂

P. S. Molly was my umbrella ☂ 😁
 

Pinker to

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future
I am the steady tortoise when walking, so applaud your relaxed schedule.😊

Also decided to head up to the castle where I was able to soak in the quietness of this kind of haunting historical site, as the stunning views over the river.
Definitely a worthwhile detour.

Hope you enjoy your stay at the brand new albergue and looking forward to your report on it.

Virtual regards.
 

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
Riego del Camino promised a bar… there was a bar but pilgrims…never ever go there. It is the grubbiest of grubby bars ever on the planet… and the most miserable of miserable people behind the bar.
...
Apart from returning into the devils bar we had no choice but to walk on.
I can still remember my visit in this bar back in 2010. The bored waitress was wearing a Barca sports-dress and watching the spanish version of "the Wheel of fortune" on TV. The level of this TV-Entertainment was considerably low. You have to complete words or phrases which you must guess from the letters given. Even my limited knowledge of the Spanish language was sufficient to win each turn, but the waitress was puzzled. She would better have cleaned the premises instead of watching TV. When she opened the window we saw how filthy the whole place was and were glad that we had only ordered coffee (water apparently boiled) and brandy (good desinfectant) for drinks.
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
I can still remember my visit in this bar back in 2010. The bored waitress was wearing a Barca sports-dress and watching the spanish version of "the Wheel of fortune" on TV. The level of this TV-Entertainment was considerably low. You have to complete words or phrases which you must guess from the letters given. Even my limited knowledge of the Spanish language was sufficient to win each turn, but the waitress was puzzled. She would better have cleaned the premises instead of watching TV. When she opened the window we saw how filthy the whole place was and were glad that we had only ordered coffee (water apparently boiled) and brandy (good desinfectant) for drinks.
We had an old chap... he opened a bottle of dark liquid from a cupboard opposite the bar and said it was Coke... he charged us 5 euro for two glasses of coke because he said he had no change... then he told us to keep our packs on and only sit in one corner of the bar... and there was no loo that we could use. Needless to say we never drank the coke... because oh lordy it was soooo dirty everywhere... and our shoes stuck to the floor as we walked to out chairs.

As bad as the ants were we decided to risk the millions of them rather than return to the bar (and there literally were millions) urghhh it was awful :oops: 😂 😂 😂
 

C clearly

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Hope you enjoy your stay at the brand new albergue and looking forward to your report on it.
That is a difficulty in walking a virtual camino - my report on the new albergue at Riego del Camino has to rely entirely on the information from another forum thread :) . I wonder what those people are doing now.
EDITED TO ADD: Whoops, I am getting mixed up between a new albergue in Fontanillas, and the re-opened Casa Camino in Riego del Camino.
I reckon even with that bar and those ants I'd be a happy pilgrim walking that path today!
So true. These descriptions of the bar make me want to go there just to experience the fun. I have a memory of going into a bar somewhere on the VDLP, taking a look around, and deciding to move on, even though I seriously wanted a break. But I don't remember where it was.
 

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That is a difficulty in walking a virtual camino - my report on the new albergue at Riego del Camino has to rely entirely on the information from another forum thread :) . I wonder what those people are doing now.
EDITED TO ADD: Whoops, I am getting mixed up between a new albergue in Fontanillas, and the re-opened Casa Camino in Riego del Camino.
So did I, oddly enough. 😊

I recall all those remarks in the thread, even so, also got confused and mixed up albergues and towns. :rolleyes:
That's me, so no confinement to blame.

Anyway, excited at your next input from… Granja tomorrow?
 

C clearly

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Day 3 – Fontanillas de Castro to Granja de Moreruela (10 15 km)

I’m glad I decided to take these two short days. Now my jet-lag has pretty much gone. It can be a real problem as I am not a good sleeper in the best of times.

Now with only 10 km planned for today, I will arrive in Granja early, but I don’t remember either the town or the albergue with much pleasure. I couldn’t find anything between Granja and Faramontanos de Tabara, and I don’t want to do 35 km to walk all the way to Tabara today.

EDITED PER POST #44 BELOW: I will take the shortcut to the Monasterio and then walk "back" to Granja, for a total of 15 km.

So maybe I’ll try the place listed in Gronze – La Casa del Tío Quico in Granja. It looks quite nice and makes gastronomic claims. Anything would be better than that bar in town.

Does anyone know about La Casa del Tío Quico? Any other place to stay?
 
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peregrina2000

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Day 3 – Fontanillas de Castro to Granja de Moreruela (10 km)

I’m glad I decided to take these two short days. Now my jet-lag has pretty much gone. It can be a real problem as I am not a good sleeper in the best of times.

Now with only 10 km planned for today, I will arrive in Granja early, but I don’t remember either the town or the albergue with much pleasure. I couldn’t find anything between Granja and Faramontanos de Tabara, and I don’t want to do 35 km to walk all the way to Tabara today.

So maybe I’ll try the place listed in Gronze – La Casa del Tío Quico in Granja. It looks quite nice and makes gastronomic claims. Anything would be better than that bar in town.

Does anyone know about La Casa del Tío Quico? Any other place to stay?
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to be on the forum much the past couple of days, but this was the first thread I came back to! Such a nice diversion. I’m glad that @Peregrinopaul and @Via2010 made the case for the visit to Moreruela. Like @Peregrinopaul, I had the place all to myself, until a few minutes before the guided tour. Then there were 6 people there. It’s a great place for a picnic, and sitting outside looking at the back of the romanesque church is a treat for the eyes. — lots of angles, curves, arches. What I don’t remember is whether the inside would be closed off outside of formal visiting hours. Maybe you can enlighten us, C!

I stayed at Tio Quico — it is a nice little Casa Rural right across the street from the albergue, run by a very simpática family. There was a kitchen in the house, but all the gastronomy had to be provided by us. Did you see that there are meals provided?

So what I would to is walk into Granja and leave your stuff at Tio Quico. Then take the path out to the moanastery, it’s under an hour each way. And oh so worth it. Not much going on in Granja, unless the arrival of the icemaker family has really livened things up!
 

C clearly

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Did you see that there are meals provided?
No, but their website showed this"
gastro3
(no se pierda nuestra GASTRONOMÍA),

Not much going on in Granja, unless the arrival of the icemaker family has really livened things up!
That reminded me to go listen to another 15 minutes of the video in post #18. I haven't got to the story of the icemaker yet, but am looking forward to the excitement. 🤣

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.
This is a good plan but I know I can get lazy once I arrive at my "home" for the evening. I think a better plan would be to go to the Monasterio before going into Granja, using the shortcut to Tábara that @Via2010 mentioned in post #22. After the monastery, I'll walk east to Granja for a total of about 15 km that day.

Thanks for the help! I am quite pleased with the new plan.
 

peregrina2000

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I think a better plan would be to go to the Monasterio before going into Granja, using the shortcut to Tábara that @Via2010 mentioned in post #22. After the monastery, I'll walk east to Granja for a total of about 15 km that day.

Thanks for the help! I am quite pleased with the new plan.
I think this is a great idea for anyone who wants to either avoid Granja or detour to the monastery and then head to Granja. Kind of like the detour to Santa Lucía del Trampal on the Vdlp on the way into Alcuéscar.

Do these tracks look right to you, C clearly? Getting from the monastery back into the town of Granja de Moreruela is an easy straight shot so the only thing you need are the tracks to get from Riego to the monastery.

https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/c-de-levante-sanabres-30-riego-del-camino-tabara-17947934

I suppose one other bit of information that would be good to have is the scheduling of visits. The monastery website says this:

Winter (October to March) — from 11 to 17:30

Summer (April to September) — from 10 to 14:00 and 16:00 - 20:30

But I will say that even if you are limited to sitting outside, the back of the church is well worth soaking in, and it’s a nice pastoral place to relax.



 

C clearly

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Do these tracks look right to you, C clearly?
I have included that track, but there is another track that seems to go straight across the countryside, farther from the highway:

You can see both of those country roads joining up with the road from Granja to the monastery, by following the Granja-Monastery road on Google Earth street view.

Normally I wouldn't get into such detailed study of the walking route in advance, but under these circumstances, it is a good alternative to walking.
 
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OK -- I am back on your first day and want to follow with some comments @peregrina2000 made now that I am researching whether we should walk the Via de la Plata for our next camino. Where is the Molina -- Ourense? And where is the potentially dangerous albergue by the motorway?

Edit -- OK -- my bad for not reading closely enough -- the Molina is in Montamarta! And I assume the albergue also is? Thanks!
 
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I stayed in Casa del Sastre years ago, which Gronze now suggests is closed. The albergue was, years ago, a dingy dangerous place. I think they have cleaned it up, but its location somewhat out of town and on a busy road made it a magnet for some unsavory characters. I remember there were thefts, but as I said I think this is all history.
Just following up on this comment. L
 

C clearly

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Just following up on this comment
Ah, yes. That was referring to Montamarta. I stayed at that albergue in 2017 and found it to be fine; I think it had been improved by that point. It is a little removed from the town and was near to a roadway, so I'd probably not stay there by myself, but it wasn't dingy or noisy at all.
 

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This thread is becoming such a healthy diversion from our real world. @C clearly you are not only on a virtual pilgrimage, you're building up a virtual community of peregrinos here.
I'm realising how much simpler the logistics are for me on my bike, without the critical limits of daily distance.
 

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P6230848.jpegWas there anyone else there?
 

C clearly

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Day 4 – Granja de Moreruela to Faramontanos de Tábara (18 km) or Tábara (25 km)

Today on the outskirts of Granja, I will turn onto the Sanabres, and into territory I haven’t walked before. I will have already toured the Monasterio, so I don’t need to be tempted on that detour.

I am increasing my distance gradually, possibly going only 18 km today to Faramontanos de Tábara, but I could get energetic and walk another 7 km to Tábara. I am looking forward to your advice.

The accommodation in Faramontanos is “Acogida La Casa Azul y Amarilla”; Gronze says it is not really an albergue, rather a private home with very simple lodging for pilgrims – 5 places, but 3 are “on the floor.” I wonder what it is like. Maybe I’ll do the 25 km to get to Tábara after all. It would put me in a better position to walk to Santa Marta de Tera the next day.

What do you think?
 

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I can't comment on that.
But enjoy the view on the way!P6230858.jpeg
 

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Maybe I’ll do the 25 km to get to Tábara after all. It would put me in a better position to walk to Santa Marta de Tera the next day.
The walk from Granja de la Moreruela is full of contrasts. Soon after you leave town, the spectacular river Esla will come into view. Once you cross the bridge, you'll be rock hopping your way along the water until you climb again for a last view over it - a lovely spot to take a breather and refuel. I've heard that there's an archeological site (prehistoric?) nearby, but I haven't explored and I can't find any references to it. Perhaps someone else knows? Once you clear the last rocks, you find yourself in a completely different landscape - a wide open finca with holm oaks and reddish earth. On the descent to Faramontanos de Tabara, you first pass some small vineyards - each with a small cottage, patio, and barbecue - then some fields of sunflowers.

The views are less dramatic and less unspoiled from this point, but there are some points of interest - Faramontanos itself is a small village with one or two bars and locals who are used to helping lost pilgrims to find the trail to Tabara. The area must produce a lot of wine because the town is full of long, low cellars built into hillsides, like hobbit houses. I've read some nice comments about the welcome at the private home in Faramontanos. 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.

The path from Faramontanos (ask for directions if you can't find it) will take you toward the newly constructed railway that slices across the Camino. The tower of the 12th century Iglesia de Santa Maria in Tábara will give you the encouragement you need to schlep yourself up the railway overpass. I'm told that this church was built by Mozarabs who migrated north when conditions in Islamic Spain became less tolerable for Christians. Tabara is a decent sized town with at least one pharmacy, a supermarket, and a pleasant square with a cafe where you can have a drink outside before heading to the Albergue (which is another kilometer or so from the center). There's a big "Albergue" sign in gothic script outside one hotel. I've read and heard some negative reviews of that place.

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.
 
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Peregrinopaul

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Yes, But ignore Peregrinopaul's map if you're walking. Cyclists must stay on the road, but walkers turn sharp left after the bridge and scramble along the rocky river bank.
Indeed I did have to stay on the road, but the walkers' route is marked on the map with shells. It sounds, from your description that it was a bit of a scramble, so it looks like I (have) made the right decision.
I was interested in your enthusiastic accountof the albergue. I obviously missed out, choosing to stay at Hostal El Roble in town, which actually was fine. But it looks like I really missed out.
Still, @C clearly, in a couple of days your in for a real treat.
 

peregrina2000

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I agree with everyone who recommends forging ahead to Tábara. Take the scramble option after the bridge, it is not strenuous and it is very short. Gronze doesn’t show any ascent on the entire stage of more than 50 m. Definitely sit down on a rock, eat an orange, and enjoy the view over the river, as Stivandrer’s pictures show, it is really beautiful. That picture looks like early morning sun to me, so that is what you are likely to enjoy as well.

I remember a nice bar in Faramontanos, and the person behind the counter was associated with the casa de acogida, which had then just opened. I know some who have stayed there, and think it is very nice, but after a nice cold drink in the bar, you will have just the amount of energy you need to make those last kms, which are kind of a slog, IMO.

In Tábara, I also stayed in El Roble like peregrinopaul. When I was there the albergue had not yet been rescued by José Almeida. I remember (I think) that the walk into Tábara takes you through a nice fruit orchard just as you get in sight of the romanesque tower of Santa María. It is a beautiful little church, and if I remember correctly, it has been deconsecrated. There was a little museum inside when I went thrrough, but I am having trouble finding current info on hours and visits, so maybe it has been shut down.

It´s a lively little town, good tapas in the plaza mayor, and the Roble’s menú del día wasn’t bad at all. It was a weekend when I was there, I think, and the restaurant was crowded.

Hope you have a good walk to Tábara!

Edited to add that I found some info on visiting the church, though it is a bit confusing. Closed Sunday and Monday for visits, though, so I think you are out of luck!

IGLESIA DE SANTA MARÍA
– De martes a viernes: 11 a 14 horas y 16 a 17 horas.
– Sábados: 10 a 14 horas.
– TODO EL AÑO (EXCEPTO JULIO Y AGOSTO): abre de 11h a 15h y por la tarde mediante cita al teléfono 603 567 153.

And three of these four churches are right there for every Sanabrés pilgrim to see!
 
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C clearly

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Wow, @Raggy, that description makes me look forward to the stage. How do you remember all these details? Diary? photos? brain? I am seriously curious because I don't have my own memories so accessible (assuming they even exist somewhere deep inside my head).

Take the scramble option after the bridge
I like having to scramble from time to time. It makes me feel like a kid again, free from the inhibitions of everyday adult life.
 

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How do you remember all these details? Diary? photos? brain?
I wrote that from memory, having walked this route twice (Nov. 2017 and Sept 2019). There's also a contemporaneous account on my my blog site - jonagrams.com (I originally posted the diary to Facebook and later copied to my blog). But memory is a funny thing ... Today I realized that I mixed up the Moreruela Abbey with the Ermita de la Virgen del Castillo near Montamarta, so I've deleted that nonsense about dry valleys flooding with water.
 
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C clearly

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Day 5 - Tábara to Santa Marta de Tera (22 km)

I walked all the way to Tábara yesterday. It seems that today, 10 km after Tabara, I need to make a choice – left to Villanueva de las Peras (where there is an albergue) or right to Bercianos de Valverde (which seems to be an even sleepier village, perhaps even without a bar?) Then on to Santa Marta de Tera, where there is an albergue with good reviews.

the walk from Tabara to Santa Marta is strenuous
Is there anything in particular that makes it strenuous?

@Raggy - I followed much of your Facebook account of the Mozarabe, and didn't know this was you. I'll check out the blog.
 

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Is there anything in particular that makes it strenuous?
I really can't put my finger on it. You spend half the day going uphill on a straight, compacted-dirt road and the scenery is dull compared with the day before. I really think it might be the quality of the scenery that makes me feel tired - the hill is nothing compared with what you climb when you enter Galicia, and the road surface is not my favorite but I've walked further on worse. Sometimes it's mental strength rather than physical stamina that you need..

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. In 2017 I met them in the fields immediately after the railway overpass. Last year they were a bit higher up in the wooded area. As far as I know they haven't attacked anyone but you may wish to walk in a group if you're nervous about dogs.

I've taken the route through Villanueva de las Peras twice now - can't tell you anything about the other option. The restaurant La Moña in Villanueva is very pilgrim friendly. The owners opened up for us to have lunch when we passed through on a Tuesday (their day off). To cap it off, they gave us each some French toast as a dessert.

The twin villages of Santa Croya and Santa Marta are, for me, the highlight of the stage. They make a pretty scene on either side of the Tera river. Santa Croya is the larger of the two pueblos - a Minneapolis to Santa Marta's Saint Paul. It has a couple of banks, a bakery, a supermarket, and a few bars and restaurants. When the modern-day Camino Sanabres was being revived, I believe Santa Croya is where the first albergue was established. It closed a few years ago. Santa Marta across the bridge, is the site of the Romanesque church of Santa Marta with its famous 11th century (or 12th?) statue of St. James - the oldest of the saint as a pilgrim. The statue is under threat now because of holes created by burrowing insects. I believe it will have to be moved indoors to protect it. If you have a chance to visit the inside of the church and the museum upstairs, it's well worth doing so. Last year we went to the church to pay for the albergue and get our credentials stamped, and the lady in charge kindly showed us around.

If you don't feel like hopping back to Santa Croya, there's a restaurant and a bar in Santa Marta and a small store where you can buy ingredients to cook for yourself. The albergue is modern, clean, and comfortable; large kitchen, two dormitories, good showers, washing machine, patio with line for drying, etc.

Friends have told me that the water in the Tera valley gives them digestive problems. I didn't experience any problems, but if you are sensitive to such things, you might want to drink bottled water while passing through this region.
 
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peregrina2000

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I really can't put my finger on it. You spend half the day going uphill on a straight, compacted-dirt road and the scenery is dull compared with the day before. I really think it might be the quality of the scenery that makes me feel tired - the hill is nothing compared with what you climb when you enter Galicia, and the road surface is not my favorite but I've walked further on worse. Sometimes it's mental strength rather than physical stamina that you need..

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. In 2017 I met them in the fields immediately after the railway overpass. Last year they were a bit higher up in the wooded area. As far as I know they haven't attacked anyone but you may wish to walk in a group if you're nervous about dogs.

I've taken the route through Villanueva de las Peras twice now - can't tell you anything about the other option. The restaurant La Moña in Villanueva is very pilgrim friendly. The owners opened up for us to have lunch when we passed through on a Tuesday (their day off). To cap it off, they gave us each some French toast as a dessert.

The twin villages of Santa Croya and Santa Marta are, for me, the highlight of the stage. They make a pretty scene on either side of the Tera river. Santa Croya is the larger of the two pueblos - a Minneapolis to Santa Marta's Saint Paul. It has a couple of banks, a bakery, a supermarket, and a few bars and restaurants. When the modern-day Camino Sanabres was being revived, I believe Santa Croya is where the first albergue was established. It closed a few years ago. Santa Marta across the bridge, is the site of the Romanesque church of Santa Marta with its famous 11th century (or 12th?) statue of St. James - the oldest of the saint as a pilgrim. The statue is under threat now because of holes created by burrowing insects. I believe it will have to be moved indoors to protect it. If you have a chance to visit the inside of the church and the museum upstairs, it's well worth doing so. Last year we went to the church to pay for the albergue and get our credentials stamped, and the lady in charge kindly showed us around.

If you don't feel like hopping back to Santa Croya, there's a restaurant and a bar in Santa Marta and a small store where you can buy ingredients to cook for yourself. The albergue is modern, clean, and comfortable; large kitchen, two dormitories, good showers, washing machine, patio with line for drying, etc.

Friends have told me that the water in the Tera valley gives them digestive problems. I didn't experience any problems, but if you are sensitive to such things, you might want to drink bottled water while passing through this region.
Well, I take some solace in learning that you walked this route less than a year ago. I find myself having to go back to my notes to jar my recollection of this stage.

I remember a whole lot of arrow warfare on the stage, and it was around the place where you have tochoose between Villafranca and Bercianos. When I walked, the "official" camino was through Bercianos, at least according to the French guys' guide by "Gerard." Here's what I wrote years ago

We didn't take the highly advertised alternative to Villanueva de Peras but kept on the camino to Bercianos, hoping the guidebook was right that there was a bar. When we asked an elderly resident where the bar was, he told us the bar had closed but that any one of the town's residents would be happy to take us to the municipal social center and make us some coffee. Turns out that when the bar closed, the town opened a center for residents for socializing and drinks and the like, and each resident has a key. It took a lot longer than we would have hoped because the machine was turned off and needed the attention of the municipal worker planting something in front of the town hall. But we had a good rest and a nice chat with this very kind man, and finally got our very excellent coffee. When the resident learned that Etienne and Raymond were French, he told us how he had worked in Nancy for six months about 40 years ago in a factory, and that he now received 36 euros a month as a pension (and had been for more than 20 years). He had also worked for several months in both Germany and Switzerland, but neither of these countries was willing to send him any retirement pay. Vive la France!

Now that I'm focusing on it, I remember that there was a hot and slog-ish section, shadeless, uphill, and not gloriously pretty, probably around where @Raggy noted the bodegas/hermit houses, which I also remember.

I have stayed in the now-defunct Casa Anita in Santa Croya. It was quite the place to stay, especially since when we were there the municipal albergue across the river in Santa Marta was unimproved. The Casa Anita was being taken over by the daughter of the couple that started it, she was trying to figure out how to expand the albergue's business by offering summer English camps, but I think that she ultimately failed in that endeavor, and the place closed. It was very nice -- I stayed there twice, and I remember that after dinner, she brought everyone outside to take a group picture.

But I also remember that staying in Santa Marta, I was unable to interest anyone to go across the river to see the church in Santa Marta. I know I am like a dog who won't let go of your pant leg when I talk about romanesque churches, but this one is really special. Lots of nice pictures on this website. As Raggy says, the oldest known Santiago peregrino statue on the outside, coupled with beautiful interior.

Buen camino on this stage, Laurie
 

C clearly

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All this talk about dogs is a bit concerning...
I am like a dog who won't let go of your pant leg when I talk about romanesque churches,
Maybe that's what Raggy's dogs were trying to do!
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. In 2017 I met them in the fields immediately after the railway overpass. Last year they were a bit higher up in the wooded area. As far as I know they haven't attacked anyone but you may wish to walk in a group if you're nervous about dogs.
How far out of Tabara? I don't see any railway tracks on Google maps.
 

peregrina2000

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I think that he may be referring to the AVE construction. If this is the part that isn’t done yet, it wouldn’t show up. I remember, or I think I remember, a lot of unfinished tracks and overpasses along this part of the Sanabrés, but maybe it has been finished now.

Gronze shows it on their schematic map.

And btw, I never saw any dogs. Maybe they’ve got in in for @Raggy. But he has been here more recently than I, my last time through was 2013 I think.
 

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C clearly

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In 2017 I met them [pack of dogs] in the fields immediately after the railway overpass. Last year they were a bit higher up in the wooded area.
Now I've identified the AVE line. If I am alone and feeling anxious about the dogs, I could taxi about 3 km to a point on the ZA-100 where a dirt road goes left 500 m along the Arroyo de Valdefontantillas to join up with the Camino. On the two map attachments, I put a red circle at the turnoff, and the street view photo even shows a yellow arrow on the back of the sign! That would cut about 4 km off my walking for the day.

Is that far enough to avoid them, or should I take a taxi 1.5 km farther up the ZA-100 to the next dirt road along Arroyo de la Balina? There's another arrow there.

[By the way, I would not be micromanaging my route like this, if I were actually able to walk it this year.]
 

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Raggy

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Is that far enough to avoid them, or should I take a taxi 1.5 km farther up the ZA-100 to the next dirt road along Arroyo de la Balina? There's another arrow there.
I met the dogs at somewhat different points in 2017 and 2019.
2017 they were in a field somewhat before the tree covered hillocks - and dashed over to meet me on the path.
2019 they were among the trees on the slopes.
 

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Right. Where are we @C clearly? (I've been distracted having to travel 500km, (and back), off-camino to have cataract surgery, which was cancelled hours before - the dreaded virus hits home...sigh.)
Hopefully you're en route to Santa Marta, avoiding dogs - I too missed them. I'm looking forward to the Rio Tera, and stripping off for a delicious swim just before the bridge, (but then I'm a June guy).
You may be confronted with this.
P6240863.jpeg
I decided to follow the directions to Bar la Moña, previously mentione dy someone I think. It might have in volved a small detour into Villanueva de las Peras, but worth it for a welcoming hearty lunch.
 

Peregrinopaul

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Ah! I've just looked back on the thread and realise Im going to have to engage a high gear and stick to the road to catch you up.
 

peregrina2000

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Right. Where are we @C clearly? (I've been distracted having to travel 500km, (and back), off-camino to have cataract surgery, which was cancelled hours before - the dreaded virus hits home...sigh.)
Hopefully you're en route to Santa Marta, avoiding dogs - I too missed them. I'm looking forward to the Rio Tera, and stripping off for a delicious swim just before the bridge, (but then I'm a June guy).
You may be confronted with this.
View attachment 71788
I decided to follow the directions to Bar la Moña, previously mentione dy someone I think. It might have in volved a small detour into Villanueva de las Peras, but worth it for a welcoming hearty lunch.
Well, I am going to weigh in on the side of Bercianos, at least if you have brought enough food to tide you over and can confirm that the Centro Social is still there. It is all off-road, unlike the route to Villanueva. Even though technically Bercianos is on the camino, those Villanueva signs have really diverted most people with the lure of the bar. 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. Now that I have gone back in my memory to revisit that day, it was a very enjoyable highlight of a not too spectacular stage. And because the social center had one of those fancy (though wasteful) Nespresso machines, the coffee was excellent!

Nothing wrong with supporting the bar in Villanueva, of course! Buen camino, Laurie

And P.s., just to thow another option into the mix. If you feel like walking beyond Santa Marta (having enjoyed the church of course), there is a very nice little one star hotel about a km off-camino in Carmanzana de Tera. Hotel Juan Manuel. That made for a 26 km day from Tábara.
 

Peregrinopaul

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I'm sorry, I cant wait for someone else to take the bait and introduce Me Gusta Comer, which must be the best pilgrim restaurant on the Sanabres.
About 4 years ago I posted this description of my first visit to that establishment. There are a couple of errors that I wasn't aware of at the time. The lady wasn't the owner, she was cleaning up. The chef, Tio, is the owner and a bit of a legend to many peregrinos.

"I had just rolled into Rionegro. The only accommodation is the very fine albergue, and when I went in, there was a group of pilgrims sitting around the table who turned out to be Irish. It was very late in the day and I was famished. When I asked where I could get some food, they all enthusiastically pointed in unison, indicating the restaurant across the road. Off I went and I was greeted by the owner, a lady, who sat me down at one of the 20 or so totally empty tables. She then explained, I think, that the cook had gone home, but she'd get him back, and proceeded to do just that over her mobile phone. I didn't think that this was very promising, but I ordered a vino tinto, and we waited.

A few minutes later, in rushed this quite extraordinary man, looking a bit like a leprechaun, in bright green shorts and extravagant Hawaiian shirt, with a wild mop of unruly hair. After a few words with the lady, he made an immediate start on my Menu del Dia, in full view of me, at the far end of the restaurant. I was given soup, which only took a few minutes to reheat, then he began the main course and I realised he was putting on a real performance for my benefit. An operatic CD was playing, and he began to sing along in a loud, very passable tenor voice while he prepared the main course. This involved hilarious theatrical flourishes as though he were a magician performing a trick. The sliced pork with potatoes and vegetables was very much to my taste, and when I requested a refill of vino tinto, he produced a large carafe of the stuff, complete with a blue ribbon tied around it. A delicious sweet and coffee followed, and I indicated that I'd like to sit outside and have a smoke. He beamed at this, and insisted on carrying both the coffee, and still virtually-full carafe of wine to a table in the street, opposite the albergue, where he proceeded to sit down opposite me, produced his own pack and offered me one. At this point we were joined by the Irish contingent, who must have been watching the antics from the albergue. We all, including the chef, polished off the wine, followed by shots of whiskey from a large flask which he produced, (again with a dramatic flourish) from his pocket. He chatted amiably in an accent that completely defeated all of us, but that didn't seem to matter. Come 11pm, (one of the Irish guys had the albergue key in his pocket), I thought it time to call a halt, and asked for “la cuenta”. “Diez euros” says he, and he cleared the table, locked up the restaurant, and wandered off up the street.
 

peregrina2000

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As someone who went through (two or three times!!! :mad: ) before this place opened, your description ratchets up my desire to go back to the Sanabrés.

I do have a couple of Rionegro stories of my own though, one involving a dead mouse. But I’ll wait for C to bring us up to date. :p
 

C clearly

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Where are we @C clearly?
Well, since we are not in a hurry on this Camino, I am suspending time and only posting a new stage when I feel like it! :) Last I checked, I was on Day 5, discussing with a taxi driver where to drop me off on the side of the Z-100, to avoid the pack of dogs. Then I was having to decide on the very enticing restaurant in Villanueva de las Peras, and the old folks centre in Bercianos. I liked what @peregrina2000 said...
you will bring something of interest (yourself) into a tiny community of elderly residents, many of whom are eager to talk to you.
Maybe I have installed myself in their community for a few days!
Right guys, shall we tell her about Rionegro?
Trust me - Me Gusta Comer is highlighted on my spreadsheet! I really enjoyed your description. That will be tomorrow (whenever that arrives).
If you feel like walking beyond Santa Marta
Thanks for that suggestion - if I am (possibly) jumping ahead in the taxi today, maybe I will want to go past Santa Marta de Tera. We shall see!
 

Peregrinopaul

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As someone who went through (two or three times!!! :mad: ) before this place opened, your description ratchets up my desire to go back to the Sanabrés.
I do have a couple of Rionegro stories of my own though, one involving a dead mouse. But I’ll wait for Clare to bring us up to date. :p
I think the reason I’m enjoying this thread so much is because it’s bringing back so many memories of my first Camino in 2012. I had bought a new, and very good Olympus camera, (and even carried a tripod and extra lenses - and even an iPad; my load was ridiculous. When C began her virtual Sanabres, I sought out the mini disk of the pictures I took then and the therapeutic effect has been most welcome.
I’m curious to know in what year you first travelled this way. Was there an albergue in Rionegro then? I think when I passed through, the new albergue had only been open for a few months.
I'm sorry if I seem over eager, but I keep overtaking you (both?) on my bike. (I used to feel a bit of a cheat about that, but I've long got over it!)
 

peregrina2000

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I think the reason I’m enjoying this thread so much is because it’s bringing back so many memories of my first Camino in 2012. I had bought a new, and very good Olympus camera, (and even carried a tripod and extra lenses - and even an iPad; my load was ridiculous. When C began her virtual Sanabres, I sought out the mini disk of the pictures I took then and the therapeutic effect has been most welcome.
I’m curious to know in what year you first travelled this way. Was there an albergue in Rionegro then? I think when I passed through, the new albergue had only been open for a few months.
I'm sorry if I seem over eager, but I keep overtaking you (both?) on my bike. (I used to feel a bit of a cheat about that, but I've long got over it!)
Yes, it is so much fun to go back through old pictures and posts and memories. And it is such a great distraction in these awful days.

I slept in the albrgue in Rionegro in 2010. I am not sure how long it had been open when we got there, but we were all alone. It is the location of my dead mouse story, but I’ll wait till C posts her itinerary for the day to tell it. You just pedal on ahead. ;)
 

C clearly

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Day 6 - Santa Marta de Tera to Rionegro del Puente (27 km)

Here is the long anticipated stage to Me Gusta Comer. However, I have a slight quandary...

If I walk the 27 km to Rionegro, I will be eating my evening meal at Me Gusta Comer. Since I have unlimited time, should I take two days by stopping in Olleros de Tera or Villar de Farfón and then making a very short walk to Rionegro the next day? I would arrive very early, in good time to shower, do laundry and put on my finery for the mid-day meal, AND then eat there in the evening too!
 

Peregrinopaul

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Geamap

A quick word about maps. The only guide I had was the free one which was given to me at the Amigos office in Tirana. The guy there spoke good English, thankfully, and he sat down with me and went through the entire route, offering advice on when to use the road instead of the track. I was so grateful for his encouragement which was sorely needed.

Before I left though, I had printed out strips of map for the entire VdlP from the IGN site at a quite large scale, and stuck them into 4 (!) small volumes. They must have weighed an extra kilo - I told you I was loaded.

Are you familiar with these maps. You’ll find them on https://www.geamap.com/en/spain#zoo....93376&layer=4&overlays=FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF- that’s the Santa Marta segment I was looking at yesterday. Great for Camino-dreaming. I particularly like having accurate contours. The Camino shells are only displayed at the bigger scales. It’s a bit skittish to use, but well worth the perseverance.
 

Peregrinopaul

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I have a slight quandary...
should I take two days by stopping in Olleros de Tera or Villar de Farfón and then making a very short walk to Rionegro the next day?
Why not. I thought this was a very pleasant section. I think there were at least 2 water fountains along the track which is comprehensively, and handsomely marked
.P6240877.jpeg
There's some welcome shelter at the Ermita de Nuestra Señora which you encounter soon after Olleros, just before reaching the river again.
P6240878.jpeg
P6240881.jpeg This is the old building opposite the Ermita.
 

Peregrinopaul

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Between Olleros and Farfón you will cross the Embalse Dam.
When I was crossing the dam, I stopped to take this photo by leaning right out over the rail with my arms outstretched. At the very moment I was shooting the picture I set off an automatic alarm. The siren was absolutely deafening, and must have been audible for miles up and down the valley. I panicked and got out of there very fast!!:eek:
 

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Peregrinopaul

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I am really enjoying all this! Thanks for posting your virtual camino.
I hope I'm not muscling in too much on @C clearly 's camino, but she forgot to bring a camera.
I'm going to hole up in Rionegro. It'll be good custom for the Bar Palacio, (and Me Gusta), but the weather is closing in fast and it looks grim for tomorrow. There's the albergue with the red roof.
FullSizeRender 36.jpeg

FullSizeRender 52.jpeg
 

Raggy

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If I walk the 27 km to Rionegro, I will be eating my evening meal at Me Gusta Comer. Since I have unlimited time, should I take two days by stopping in Olleros de Tera or Villar de Farfón and then making a very short walk to Rionegro the next day? I would arrive very early, in good time to shower, do laundry and put on my finery for the mid-day meal, AND then eat there in the evening too!
In Olleros de Tera, the albergue is very basic - essentially a breeze block shed with a row of beds at the back of Bar La Trucha. Verrry cold in November, but the grandma who owns the bar was lovely and so was her mother (or mother-in-law?) who directed me there! If you pass through in the afternoon, you should stop for a plate of her home made sausage and other cold cuts. But you're out of luck today because they're closed on Wednesdays.
Vilar de Farfón is an altogether more stylish little albergue, built by a missionary couple from South Africa. They restored the old house themselves and they have great taste. You can open the gate to the covered kitchen-dining patio area and enjoy a cup of Rooibos tea (or coffee, tea, cold soda etc.) at the wooden table. You can leave a donation for what you consume. I believe the dormitory is unheated - so your decision to stay or not may be influenced by the season. The main problem with staying at Vilar de Farfón is that you'll pass through Rionegro the next day before the restaurant opens. For that reason, I feel that you're better off just dropping in for some refreshment before you head down the hill to Rionegro. In 2017, my coffee came with an earful of evangelism and a gift of the gospel of St. John. In 2019, I came armed with a theologian and they left us to our own devices.
The walk through these depopulated villages is quite pleasant - following a little stream for much of the way to Olleros, past the Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Agavanzal, with its huge buttresses, attesting to a major miscalculation by the architects. After the Ermita, you walk through a mossy woodland on the banks of the river Tera. The path may seem unclear in the dense forest, but keep going along the river and you'll reach the point where you need to climb back to the road that takes you over the impressive hydroelectric dam. One of my fellow travelers last year stopped after crossing over the dam, to swim in the reservoir. I love swimming, but I'm fussy about where I do it. In Rionegro, where there's a beach on the river, which gets my approval (but not in November).
The church in Rionegro has an interesting porch with chains hanging from the walls. I forget the story behind the chains ... a local legend / tradition / festival. You can find out if you visit the church itself and (I believe) the attached museum. I heard about it from some other pilgrims but by the time I got there it was closed.
Super albergue in Rionegro. Paul's description of Me Gusta Comer does it justice.
 

Peregrinopaul

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In Olleros de Tera, the albergue is very basic.....
Wow, Raggy! Reading that entry brings home to me one of the great disadvantages of travelling by bike. You can easily miss so much detail, and whizz by splendidly interesting albergues like the one you describe at Farfón. The other great disadvantage is that you only meet fellow peregrinos like all of you on this thread, once.
 

Peregrinopaul

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peregrina2000

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Just wanted to remember that this stage starts out with a really nice river-side walk, but if you are allergic and it‘s the right time of year, the millions of cottonwoods are likely to give you a problem. Once when I walked through, the ground was thick with the cotton. But what a nice walk! I also note that in the little towns you pass through, you will have to look hard to find shade if it is hot and sunny like it was for me. In Calzadilla de Tera, for instance, the only shade we could find was on the stairs leading up to the church belfry. No people, no movement of any kind in town.

I stopped at Vilar de Farfón just as @Raggy suggested, to have a drink and some cookies. The first time I went through, in 2010, they were just beginning their rehabbing, and nothing was really up and running. But a drink of cold water was much appreciated. It was hot. The second time I walked through, we were carrying on to Mombuey, so it was a nice place for a rest. We were all given religious tracts to take (NOT given aggressively). The albergue in Mombuey had a huge stack of them in many languages, and I felt bad about adding more to the pile. But I think people often feel bad — not wanting to insult the person giving out the material, not wanting to feel like a jerk after having had a delightful rest on their property — with donativo, but still it is awkward.

I would echo Raggy and Paul — carry on to Riego. If you get there in the afternoon, you may have an opportunity to see and interact with many villagers standing alongside the river and fishing. There were LOTS of people doing that when I stayed there in 2010. Lots of chatter, lots of fish jumping out of the water (this was before the Asian carp epidemic, so I don’t think that’s what they were), and lots of intergenerational, intergender fishing going on.

The albergue was very nice. Two floors, beds, not bunks, nicely spaced (likely to be more of an issue today). (And you can see in Paul’s picture that it has its very own balcony, which was really nice for those of us who didn’t have the ability to eat in you-know-where — I noted we had bought a bottle of La Colegiata 2008 Tinta de Toro, which was heavenly to my unsophisticated palate).

In the albergue, my walking companion was looking to see if there was a stamp somewhere in a little desk on the main floor, since we hadn’t gotten a stamp, and she opened the drawer to find a dead mouse. Maybe the better thing for a pilgrim to do would have been to take out the mouse and dispose of it, but that was not what happened - just a little screaming and running around in typical hysterical female fashion. We left a note and hoped that someone else would deal with it, as we were the only two in the albergue that night.

And as I have already noted with disappointment, Me Gusta Comer was not operational when I went through the first time, and the second time, we carried on to Mombuey! Hope you have a great meal. Will someone (or multiple someones) please describe their meal like Paul has done?
 

Peregrinopaul

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Albergue.jpg
From the balcony across the square to Bar Palacio
Bar Palacio.jpg
Balcony.jpg
 

Raggy

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The albergue was very nice. Two floors, beds, not bunks
From what I saw in Sept. 2019, it's all bunks now.
Will someone (or multiple someones) please describe their meal like Paul has done?
Shh .... you'll start an avalanche. You can find a few reviews here:
and more reviews and photos (including mine) here:
I love it to bits, but I'd rather this didn't become another Me Gusta Comer thread.
 

C clearly

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Well, it sounds like a visit to Rionegro is worth a trip to Spain in itself.

Day 7 - Rionegro del Puente to Entrepenas (23 km)

I will be waddling today, after so much delicious food. I understand that Mombuey has the last shop before Puebla de Sanabria (next day's destination). But tonight, if I stay in one of the Casa Rurales in Entrepeñas, I should get dinner and breakfast, so I'll only need to stock up on snacks. If I walk on to Asturianos, the accommodation is at the polydeportivo. Gronze indicates that there is a bar or restaurant there.
 

Raggy

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If I walk on to Asturianos, the accommodation is at the polydeportivo. Gronze indicates that there is a bar or restaurant there.
It's a dorm with bunk beds in an annex of the sports hall. If you bring your shotgun, you might be able to get some practice in at the clay pigeon range nearby. (Don't worry, they'll stop shooting before bedtime).

There's a bar-restaurant at the other end of the sports hall, where you check in. The staff may assume that you want to hire bedding, so if you carry your own you can insist on paying the basic fee for the albergue only. Down in the town there's a nicer bar-restaurant, a pharmacy and a grocery store.

The walk from Rionegro is a joy - Comfortable paths over heathlands punctuated by huge rocks, and through some pretty villages. Monbuey is a long ribbon of a town that stretches along the highway. If you were to stop there, you'd see that the old part of town (where the church and the two albergues are) is more homely than the truck stop, the roadside restaurants, and the stores that you see on the way through. There's a bakery on the way out of town, where you can pick up a freshly baked treat to enjoy on the way to Asturianos, but there's no need to stock up - unless it's a Sunday. The store in Asturianos has fresh fruit and veg., all the usual dry goods, and a deli counter with cheese and meats. It would be nice if there were cooking facilities at the polideportivo, but I don't think there are. (Perhaps there's a barbecue grill on the grassy area in front of the sports hall. I don't recall).
 

Peregrinopaul

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It's intresting that all the Templar churches hereabouts have external steps to their towers.
I don't have a record of where these two are, but I'm sure they're on this stage. Over to you @Raggy! ;)
Church.jpg
church tower.jpg
 

Stivandrer

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I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
our meal at Me Gusta Comer:

20190908_202601.jpg20190908_201546.jpg20190908_203918.jpg20190908_203918.jpg20190908_205014.jpgIMG-20190909-WA0000.jpg

We enjoyed a simpel elegant meal and we were the only ones there.
Our horses had been watered properly (!) earlier, so it was just what we needed......
 
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