A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Virtual Camino Virtual journey on the Camino Sanabres, March-April 2020

2020 Camino Guides

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
Have you any pictures of the track between Rionegro and Asturianos?
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
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! ;)
View attachment 71888
Both photos are of the same church - Iglesia de la transfiguración del Señor in San Salvador de Palazuelo

What's the transfiguration? It's when Jesus took Peter, James, and John, the brother of James up a mountain and "His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light," and then Moses and Elijah showed up. It made quite an impression on the disciples . Well, it would, wouldn't it?

I met an eccentric old man once, who had a theory that Jesus and other religious figures were actually time travelers who, thanks to their knowledge of modern detergents, had Ariel whiter than white clothes. Of course, it's not an entirely satisfactory theory. For one thing, the gospels don't mention Jesus's floral scent and soft towels.

I heard a far more plausible explanation for the stairs on the side of the churches in this region, when I asked about them over dinner at Bar La Trucha in Olleros de Tera. Here's the relevant section from my blog about that conversation:

Question: Why do church campaniles here have steps up to the bells and little roofs near the bells?
Answer: In the rest of Spain, they have a rope from the bell to ring it. And the bell belongs to the church. But here, the bells belongs to the pueblo. We used to use the bells to communicate – not just to call the hours or announce mass. We struck the bells directly, not using a rope to allow us to signal different things with specific tunes. One tune meant “Bring the animals up from the low field,” another tune meant “Take them back down,” and other tunes could let people know that someone had died or some other event had taken place.
Question: So it’s like in the Canary Islands where people have a special whistling language that enables them to discuss Kierkegaard over vast distances and across valleys?
Answer: It’s your bedtime pal. You need to rest to walk tomorrow.
IMG_2256.jpegIMG_2078.jpegIMG_1831.jpeg

Another feature that you see in the churches from this area onward is a large, covered, space at the entrance or the side of the building. I guess the parishioners needed somewhere to wait out of the rain before mass, and pilgrims must have bedded down there, when no other shelter was available.
 
Last edited:

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
Both photos are of the same church ....
I'm delighted with your response, lots to interest me there. (Incidentally, where are you? I've noticed a distinct time-zone-posting effect with our two Pacific coast co-peregrinas).
Actually it did occur to me too late that I might have posted the same building. A shame because I have others that are definitely Mombuey. I'm not sure of any religious affiliations with our compadres, but I'm a Catholic so none of the Transfiguration explanation was lost on me.
Re your eccentric old man, I don't know what age bracket you belong to, but back in the 70's John Fowles, (The Magus: French Lieutenant's Woman) published a weird and wonderful novel called "A Maggot" about exactly such a scenario. I loved it.
The stairs explanation is satisfyingly prosaic, though I have come acroos a more exciting explanation that they had a Templar military function as look-out towers to warn of approaching muslim armies! Who knows.
When @C clearly gets there in a couple of days, I am intending to post pictures of my favourite Templar church at Terroso, which has a shelter exactly as you describe. And very welcome it was too in June 2012.
 

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
PS, I had to look for San Salvador de Palazoelo. I have no memory of passing through, but there's the evidence.
 

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
I recognise your middle photo as Terroso, but where on earth is the third? That would definitely have stopped my bike!
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
I'm in Japan.

The first photo is San Salvador de Palazuelo, the second is Vilar de Farfon, and the third is Santa Marta de Tera - the church with the famous statue of Santiago pilgrim.

I took a snap of the church in Mombuey, which has a tall tower, but I got there after dusk, so the steps are hard to make out.
IMG_2209.jpeg
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Both photos are of the same church - Iglesia de la transfiguración del Señor in San Salvador de Palazuelo

What's the transfiguration? It's when Jesus took Peter, James, and John, the brother of James up a mountain and "His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light," and then Moses and Elijah showed up. It made quite an impression on the disciples . Well, it would, wouldn't it?

I met an eccentric old man once, who had a theory that Jesus and other religious figures were actually time travelers who, thanks to their knowledge of modern detergents, had Ariel whiter than white clothes. Of course, it's not an entirely satisfactory theory. For one thing, the gospels don't mention Jesus's floral scent and soft towels.

I heard a far more plausible explanation for the stairs on the side of the churches in this region, when I asked about them over dinner at Bar La Trucha in Olleros de Tera. Here's the relevant section from my blog about that conversation:

View attachment 71914View attachment 71915View attachment 71916

Another feature that you see in the churches from this area onward is a large, covered, space at the entrance or the side of the building. I guess the parishioners needed somewhere to wait out of the rain before mass, and pilgrims must have bedded down there, when no other shelter was available.
So fascinating, thanks Raggy. I was very glad to see those exterior stairways on these stages because depending on the angle of the sun, they provided much needed shade in the heat, in towns like these where there is no shade anywhere!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
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.
Great choice, if you are thinking that the following day will be a shorter day to Puebla de Sanabría — such a pretty, touristy, flower-filled town with its requisite Romanesque church and a very interesting museum. But I’m jumping ahead.

I remember the walk all the way from here into Puebla de Sanabria as really lovely — lots of little towns with shops and the occasional bar, lots of green tunnels, squishy meadows with flowers. On both of my caminos, I encountered a lot of Ave construction and detours, but the detours were all off-road, not all asphalt like some of the others further on. What did the more recent pilgrims experience? Is all that construction done?

The mozárabe church in Mombuey has a beautiful romanesque tower and the town itself has lots of services. It’s a small albergue in an old building and has had its share of bed bug outbreaks. We saw some the morning we left but suffered no ill effects.

I see that the accommodation in Palacios de Sanabria is no longer available. There was a (closed) butcher shop, a bit outside of town, where Teresa had opened up the second floor for peregrinos walking through. She and her family lived next door. Totally makeshift, but we had a wonderful night there out on a terraza with a terrible meal (made by her with love, to offset the bad quality) and a good bottle of wine we had bought in the village. This is another place I had one of those unforgettable interactions with “the locals.” I walked down through the ”center” and over to an area where some amazing reconstruction of old houses was going on. Right there was the old lavadero, the covered stone place where women went to wash their clothes. As it still had running water, I figured out a way to soak my feet (in my days before silicone orthotics). An elderly neighbor came out to chat. She said that this lavadero was in operation well into the 1990s and that she missed it because it had given her a daily time to check in with her neighbors. Now her neighbors were summer-only and didn’t wash their clothes outside by hand. In 2010 when I walked through, there were only 8 children in town, so who knows what is going on there now. The best kept building in town at that time was the tanatorio, but as the population decreases, so will their business.

My 2010 notes also say that between Santa Marta and Palacios there were albergues in Cernadilla, San Salvador and ASturianos. Looks like only Asturianos has survived (maybe because it’s in the polideportivo), so this suggests that pilgrim traffic is declining or has declined. Such a truly lovely route, thanks so much for doing your virtual camino, @C clearly, because maybe it will encourage others to walk in real time!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
It's intresting that all the Templar churches hereabouts have external steps to their towers.
OK, I'll bite. How do you know those are Templar churches, and why wouldn't they have external steps to their towers? :cool:
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Day 8 - Entrepenas to Puebla de Sanabria (19 km)

This sounds like a really nice walk. I need to make a decision on where to stay in Puebla de Sanabria. This might be a time to splurge, since I'll get there by mid-afternoon and will have time to enjoy nice facilities. The albergue doesn't get top reviews. Is this the time for the Parador (remember I am paying with virtual money, so I can afford it). Or should I go ahead across the river and stay on that side of town? It seems there are quite a few hotels and restaurants on that side.

The next day I will be asking about the AVE construction and some awkward sections, so get your notebooks out.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Day 8 - Entrepenas to Puebla de Sanabria (19 km)

This sounds like a really nice walk. I need to make a decision on where to stay in Puebla de Sanabria. This might be a time to splurge, since I'll get there by mid-afternoon and will have time to enjoy nice facilities. The albergue doesn't get top reviews. Is this the time for the Parador (remember I am paying with virtual money, so I can afford it). Or should I go ahead across the river and stay on that side of town? It seems there are quite a few hotels and restaurants on that side.

The next day I will be asking about the AVE construction and some awkward sections, so get your notebooks out.
Enjoy what is definitely a LOVELY walk!

I think you’re wrong about the albergue in Puebla de Sanabria. The private albergue coming into town (on the other side of the river from the main town) is really nice, one of the nicest on the Sanabrés, IMO.

The parador is on the same side of the river as the albergue, and I would recommend staying in one of the many very nice small hotels on the other side of the river, in the main town. I don’t think the parador is the best splurge in town because of its location. Once when I went through, got there early and was in a splurging mood, I stayed in Posada Real la Cartería. It is very nice, great location, and a much better splurge than the parador IMO.

Visit the castle, but for sure take a look at the human-sized statues at the entrance to the romanesque church.

Save lots of time for just walking up and down and around through the streets, lots of beautiful stone homes and nice nooks and crannies.

And don’t worry, we have you covered for your next day, no need to take your life in your hands by walking through that tunnel!
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
I need to make a decision on where to stay in Puebla de Sanabria.
In November 2017, I stayed at the Hotel Carlos Quinto - The albergue was closed. Carlos is a reasonable price for very comfortable and stylish rooms. Its restaurant looks the part but did not live up to expectations. My companions and I were served an awful, oily, dinner. The indigestion kept me up half the night.

In 2019, I pressed on as far as Requejo to give myself a shorter stage the next day to Lubian, which is a tough, old, uphill slog. It would be a shame not to spend some time Puebla de Sanabria on your first visit, though. It is a delightful town where you can really feel as though you're stepping back through time.

If you decide to cut short your visit to Puebla and trek on to Requejo, be sure to avoid the cheap, cheap, highly recommended, blah, blah, roadside "Hostel tu Casa." At the entrance of the municipal albergue, you'll see a poster with ecstatic comments about the super-cheap, fantastic, home cooked, meal with lots of wine. It certainly is cheap (7 or 8 euros), portions are okay, and the wine is included, but there's nothing super or very home-made about it and the cleanliness of the run-down motel leaves much to be desired. Furthermore, it's quite a trek from the albergue along the busy road at night. Not worth it. The silver lining is that it reinforces your appreciation of the extraordinary meal that you enjoyed at Me Gusta Comer for just a couple of Euros more. Oh ... and I got ripped off by one of the bars on the roadside at Requejo. They tried to charge me 25 Euros for four medium-sized beers and one lemonade that my friends and I drank. When I queried the price, the barman apologized for making a mistake and then calculated ... 17 Euros... They've gotten used to the money that the homesick AVE construction workers have been spending for the past few years.

Well .. sorry to be so negative. There are some nice and reasonable cafes and restaurants in Puebla de Sanabria. The bar and shops at the entrance of Requejo are perfectly decent. The municipal albergue in Requejo is basic but clean.... and I've heard great things about the private albergue in Puebla.

The walk from Asturianos (or from Entrepenas if you stayed there) is very pleasant bar the last couple of kilometers into Puebla de Sanabres, which is on the roadside. Until you get to that stretch, you'll be on comfortable paths with beautiful scenery and some small, depopulated villages with stone houses (some abandoned and falling into ruin). Be sure to take a look at the frieze in the porch of the church in Otero Triufe - It shows the lazy pilgrims being consumed by the fires of hell. Let that be a warning to get thee to Santiago, pronto!
 
Last edited:

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
OK, I'll bite. How do you know those are Templar churches, and why wouldn't they have external steps to their towers? :cool:
Ah! I don't have a definitive answer to that - it's in my head. The Templars certainly got a mention on some of the stone tablets like this one at Mombuey.
P6250900 (1).jpeg
I mentioned the external steps because I hadn't noticed this feature in other places.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
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.
Sorry to back up a few days, but there is a drone visit to the Moreruela monastery in this article

 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
In November 2017, I stayed at the Hotel Carlos Quinto - The albergue was closed.
I am pretty sure that they are owned by the same family. I think the hostal is run by the older generation, and the albergue by the newer. But we met both generations at the albergue. The year I stayed there, they recommended the same restaurant, but for some reason I can’t remember, we didn’t take their advice, and had a really good meal somewhere else.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Sorry to back up a few days, but there is a drone visit to the Moreruela monastery in this article
No problem. I walked all the way back today to tour the grounds. That is why I haven't been able to get on to my next stage yet. 🤣 🤣
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Day 9 - Puebla de Sanabria to ???

I need help here. In my notes, I have said to consider a taxi (to Padornelo or even Lubián) if I need to catch up, time-wise. That way I would avoid some potential problems, e.g.:
  • Muddy stretches on the way to Terroso
  • After Requejo (where Casa Cervino is good), there is a 5 km climb, possible AVE work, and a river crossing to contend with
  • Between Requejo and Padornelo there is a bridge, a nasty tunnel, AVE work, and a big climb. There's a hotel just after Padernelo
  • 2 km after Padernelo, there was a detour to Lubián since the route through Aciberos might not be OK
In my notes, it all became so uncertain that I decided I would need to wait until I got there, to make decisions.

I am open to suggestions. I am willing to taxi ahead (I don't think there is a feasible bus) if necessary, but would be happy to know what the best route is if I walk.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Day 9 - Puebla de Sanabria to ???
The walk from Puebla de Sanabria to Requejo is okay - The signage to get out of Puebla de Sanabria could be better but once you're out of town and you get off the road, you have pleasant riverside and woodland walking. If you have deadlines to meet, you could skip this section (a bit of a loss) and the following bit (not much of a loss at all).

From Requejo to Padornelo is the stretch of the Sanabres that least appeals to me. The way out of Requejo is alongside the N525. The traffic is not heavy but there is little separation between pilgrims and fast moving cars and trucks for five uphill kilometers. The mountains all around are very pretty but scarred by all the construction. I managed to get off road for some of it in 2017, and I could see how lovely it once was - but it was horribly disfigured by quarries and cement plants and so on. The poor cows that were wandering around the wasteland were visibly distressed. I expect this could be a very nice stage if local authorities work out an off-road route when the construction is completed. But for now, this is the section that I consider the most missable part of the Camino (next most missable is the approach to Ourense through the industrial park).

Some people have reported that they would up losing the Camino and walking through a terrifying road tunnel after Requejo. I think that may be due to scarce signage on the diverted route - which is the fault of the construction works. (And I repeat, with all the gazillions being spent on the AVE, could they not have budgeted a handful of euros to put more yellow arrows up for pilgrims?) Essentially, if you keep on the N525 and start looking for tracks off the road from about 4km onward, you'll spot one that takes you left and away from the big road. the track takes you on a curved route under the tall bridges as they enter the tunnels - so if you're still on the roadside and you see an elevated section and tunnel ahead, turn around and look for that track.

Once you're off the road, things get better but not super. Shortly before Padornelo, you will reach the highest altitude of the whole Camino. There is a stone cross and a nearby bench for you to rest. From there, it's a descent toward the road intersection and pedestrian tunnel that takes you through to the sleepy village of Padornelo. Not much to see here, apart from the church and a few heavy stone houses. As you exit from the village you pass through the forecourt of a Repsol gas station by the busy road. It has a restaurant and shop attached, so you can stock up on food and refill your water.

As you pointed out, there appear to be no buses to connect Puebla de Sanabria to Requejo, Padornelo, or Lubian, so there isn't a public transport alternative to this section. BlaBlaCar is one way to reduce the cost - a ride sharing service that allows you to connect with drivers who can offer you a ride for a minimal cost. If you find that nobody is driving this route at the time when you need a ride, you can call a taxi from Puebla (if you're going to ride as far as Padornelo) or Lubian (if you're going to ride from Requejo to Lubian):
Taxis Macarena (in Puebla) - +34 657 89 74 94 (source: google)
Taxi Álvaro (in Lubian) - +34 664 46 31 27 (source: Lubian albergue cork board)

Which part of this should you do by BlaBla car or taxi? It depends on your deadlines.
  • Puebla de Sanabria or Requejo to Padornelo - Ask the driver to drop you in the pueblo if you want to check it out, or ask them to drop you at the Repsol gas station just off the N525 if you want to get straight to walking.
  • Puebla de Sanabria or Requejo to Lubian - Don't miss Lubian. It is such a beautiful village to walk around. If you're dropped on the main road through the village, you should definitely drop down into the pueblo itself, walk through the narrow streets with mineral water springs every few meters (untreated but good to drink), and visit the church. There are a couple of restaurants on the main road and a supermarket in the pueblo. The Lubian albergue is terrific now that it has the new shower block built on the back. It would seem a shame not to stop overnight, but if you get dropped here, you can walk the gorgeous stage (with one heck of a climb and descent) to A Gudiña. (Or if you don't think you can make it that far, you could stay at the posh Hotel Spa Vilavella (in A Vilavella).

By the way - From here on, you're not going to find blankets in municipal albergues.
By the way 2 - No ATMs between Puebla de Sanabria and A Gudiña, so you'd better carry cash. (Or persuade a restaurant in Lubian to charge your credit card and advance you some cash).

The walk after Lubian is super-gorgeous and deserves treatment in a post of its own so I'll stop here. I suggest that your next post be an invitation to talk about Lubian to A Gudiña.
 
Last edited:

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
I can’t be much help at this point, because I made the (probably sensible) decision to stay on the bitumen from here on through the mountains. My next stop was Requejo, and I stayed at the albergue, which I remember as being pleasant, though I may have been influenced by the fact that I shared with a lovely Swedish couple, who were walking - I had often had albergues to myself.


I particularly enjoyed an hours’ respite at the little church of Santiago near the village of Terroso. It was charmingly situated, with a potable water tap, in a sylvan clearing, approached by a quiet path through woodland.


After leaving there I followed a bogus(?) yellow arrow that got me hopelessly lost on terrible tracks in the highlands for 2 hours on a hot day.
P6250932.jpeg
P6250934 (1).jpeg
P6250929 (1).jpeg
The view from the tower
P6250922 (1).jpeg
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Since Puebla de Sanabria to Lubián is 31 kms, I suggest you break it up in Requejo rather than hop in a bla bla. You have time and you are in a pretty part of Spain, though I agree with Raggy that the roadside kms because of the AVE are tedious.

But the case for breaking it up in Requejo is that you can do some research for me to see whether Raggy’s experience at Tu Casa was a one-off or whether it has totally gone downhill. When I was there (admittedly 10 years ago!) it was a welcoming, kind of run down, struggling to stay alive business that treated customers with kindness and provided simple but very good home made food. Requejo itself is nothing much, but there is a beautiful forest about 5 kms away (good use of your bla bla car). It has some thousand year old trees, I think. The owner of the albergue Cerviño took three of us there for the afternoon and it was very relaxing. And that albergue is very nice.

But if you decide to continue on to Lubián (one of the prettiest towns on this camino, IMO), definitely pay attention to avoid going through the tunnel. This thread gives pictures and instructions.

I know nothing stays the same, but for me the loss of the absolutely beautiful stretch (green tunnels, meadows, flowers, small stream at your side) between Padornelo through Aciberos and onto Lubián is a real downer. The last time I walked through, in 2013, you could see the AVE works getting close, and I figured it would be the last time. Gronze still shows a dotted line alternative there, though, so I am not sure what that means and would love to know if others have walked it.

In Lubián I have stayed in what is now the Casa de Irene. Irene was the proprietor when I was there, a woman who had been a widow since her 30s (almost 20 years earlier) and had made it out of her extreme depression by opening this casa rural. She served food from her organic garden (probably a violation of EU regulations) and every detail in the house was perfect. I learned several years ago that she had died and that some new owners had taken over. It still gets very good reviews. The albergue, right at the entrance to town, is small but fine. The plumbing was’t working when I was there, and the albergue was crowded, so we opted for the casa rural.

Two more things about Lubián.

One is the very old rusty shell I had seen on a door latch in the square. One of the most precious little camino artifacts I have seen on my caminos. @DeansFamily helped me out, and with their searching, we concluded that it had been taken away.

The other is the old wolf catcher, about 1 km up the hill from the medical center. VERY interesting.

And a very good meal on the highway restaurant, probably still filled with AVE workers, but maybe they have finished.

So my advice is savor the kms between Puebla and Lubián and break it into two days!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Which EU regulations are you thinking of?
Well I don’t really know, but I have been told this various times — like when the 90-something owners of the bar in Castromonte went to their garden and brought me back some food. The mayor, I think it was, told me he wouldn’t say anything but it wasn’t allowed. Irene (in Lubian) herself told us she was not supposed to be serving us her own food, so I assumed she knew. Maybe this is folklore about the big bad bureaucracy, can you set me straight?
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Maybe this is folklore about the big bad bureaucracy, can you set me straight?
I can't think of an EU regulation,, but I am not a lawyer. I can think of some celebrated restaurants that proudly serve seasonable vegetables from their own fields and wild plants foraged from the surrounding country - I doubt that they're flouting laws:
L'enclume
Manoir aux Quat' Saisons
Arpege
At Subline Comporta you can eat in the vegetable garden itself.
In Italy there is an Agriturismo industry that brings tourists to stay and dine at farms. enjoying home produced veg., meat, cheese etc.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I can't think of an EU regulation,, but I am not a lawyer. I can think of some celebrated restaurants that proudly serve seasonable vegetables from their own fields and wild plants foraged from the surrounding country - I doubt that they're flouting laws:
L'enclume
Manoir aux Quat' Saisons
Arpege
At Subline Comporta you can eat in the vegetable garden itself.
In Italy there is an Agriturismo industry that brings tourists to stay and dine at farms. enjoying home produced veg., meat, cheese etc.
So maybe it has more to do with what they are licensed to do. I remember once in the Sierra de Gredos going to a beautiful casa rural and asking if we could eat dinner there, but they told me they were only licensed to serve guests. Well, I am glad I don’t need to feel guilty about eating those home grown foods!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
This is some excellent information. I think I will need to take a rest day to study it and make notes. With the laziness that comes of quarantine, I might not get onto my next stage for a day or so.
 

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
I've just checked, and I stayed at the municipal albergue in Requejo, just north of N125. I don't remember anything about the facilities, but I do remember that it was comfortable.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I've just checked, and I stayed at the municipal albergue in Requejo, just north of N125. I don't remember anything about the facilities, but I do remember that it was comfortable.

That’s great to hear, because the last time I was there, years ago, the albergue was reported as a real disaster. There was a lot of chatter in town about improving it, but it may also be that you are just a lot more forgiving and accepting of “minimum standards” than the average peregrino. Commentary on Gronze is very mixed.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
I remember the Requejo municipal hostel as basic but clean and conveniently located across the N525 from the two hotel/restaurants and the private albergue (Casa Cervino). There's a pharmacy nearby . It comprises one dormitory - a large hall with three or four tightly-spaced rows of steel pipe bunk beds (20 in all, according to Gronze). There isn't much space between the rows. When I stayed, there were only four of us, so we spread out and didn't get in each others way, but I think it probably gets a bit cramped when all bunks are occupied. There are male and female bathrooms (shower and toilet in the same room).. Showers had decent pressure, but I think the water got a little tepid after four of us had our quick showers and the floor outside the shower gets wet and slippery - so I can understand that this is not comfortable when 20 people are sharing the facility.

I think the municipal albergue has blankets, but no kitchen and no washing machine. There's a sagging piece of string out back to hang wet clothes. The dorm and bathrooms were well cleaned, but he air inside felt a little stale when we arrived. Once we raised the shutters and ventilated the space, it was fine. A lady showed up at the time indicated on the notice at the entrance to stamp our credentials and take a nominal fee.

I took a quick look around the private albergue (Casa Cervino). It's brightly painted (in contrast to the municipal which has bare, white, walls). It has a lounge space that's separate from the dormitory and a kitchen (according to Gronze). The dorm is not that different from the municipal albergue. Perhaps it has a little more space and the appearance is better, but the beds are the same. Perhaps when there are more pilgrims staying at the municipal albergue, it would be worth paying a few more Euros for the relative comfort of the Casa Cervino.

Hotel Maite - Seems to the the cheaper of the two hotels on the highway. I stayed in 2017 because I wanted WiFI so that I could join a conference call (of an association - Amis du Camino Mozarabe Via de la Plata). The room was rather bare bones and tired, but if you prefer to have a room of your own, it's fine I guess. The cafe-restaurant downstairs is OK. Not especially friendly, but that's to be expected from a place that sees mostly passing trade from the highway.

Hostal Restaurante Mar Rojo - The more upmarket of the two large hotels on the highway. It was completely full with AVE construction workers when I passed through in 2017. The restaurant does an OK steak ... for a price. The bar ripped me off when a couple of fellow pilgrims and I had beers on the terrace last year. Overall, I get the feeling that the management and staff have gotten used to being a "gold rush" hotel. Perhaps it will all get a bit more customer-oriented when the AVE workers disappear.

The bar Rincon de Mayte, which is the first one you see on arriving in Requejo - next to the Ayuntamento - is my preferred spot for a drink and a snack in Requejo. When you enter, you see that it combines the roles of bar, food store, and souvenir shop. There's a nice garden out back where you can sit under a tree.

The grocery store near the Rincon de Mayte and the pharmacy by the albergue have more of the small-town, friendly, charm that I get used to when walking through rural Spain - they're not just places to exchange money for products. They're focuses of community where people take pleasure from interacting with other human beings. Of course, you can also exchange money for products - The grocery store has a good selection of cheeses and meats, as well as fresh vegetables, fresh bread, and all other daily necessities.

Tu Casa - some distance up the N525. We've already given our opinions up thread (one positive, one negative).
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Day 10 - Requejo de Sanabria to Lubian (19 km)

So I decided to stop in Requejo de Sanabria to investigate all of the options presented! I'd better get moving now or I think all of you will be charging on ahead without me!

Now from Requejo to Lubian. I can see that I've been given some good advice about about that route and the lodging options.

Anything more to suggest?
 

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
I have a question about the walking route. In 2012 I had agreed to meet up again in Lubian with my Swedish aquaintances, and they walked through the Rio Requejo valley before a big climb to Padornelo - presumably @Peregrina 2000 did too. I made the leisurely climb up the 525. When I passed through again a couple of years ago I was stunned by the AVE work in progress. Presumably you have to take the bitumen now?
Screen Shot 2020-03-31 at 12.09.56 pm.jpeg
The IGN map hasn't been updated to show the AVE work.
Screen Shot 2020-03-31 at 12.15.27 pm (1).jpeg
 

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
I'm not sure which albergue i stayed at in Lubian, but here's the sello.
IMG_0331.jpeg
...and the shared meal
P6270953.jpeg
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
I'm not sure which albergue i stayed at in Lubian
It's the municipal albergue. I have the same sello. The photo brings back a couple of nice memories. When I stepped into that kitchen on a chilly November afternoon, I met a couple that I hadn't seen since Fuenterroble de Salvatierra on the VLDP. It was so moving. We hugged then they shared their hot chocolate and biscuits with me. The layout is a bit different now - a bit less roomy as they had to create access to the shower block at the back.

I have a question about the walking route.
Yes. The route no longer takes you along the river (although I managed to follow it for a bit in 2017). You walk on the N525 for 4~5 km and be careful to take the track off the road to avoid the terrifying bridge and tunnel (as described in the link provided by Peregrina2000 above)

I'm all out of tips for the walk from Requejo to Lubian. Enjoy Lubian; your last stop before you venture into deepest Galicia.
 

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
I met a couple that I hadn't seen since Fuenterroble de Salvatierra on the VLDP. It was so moving. We hugged then they shared their hot chocolate and biscuits with me.
Yes, Raggy, my connection with the Swedish couple also meant a lot to me, because as I've mentioned previously, biking the Camino can be a lonely affair. I had actually met them the first time in Zamora, sharing one of the small dorms with them. They had bussed on ahead to Puebla de Sanabria, because they were short of time. They told me that they passed me on the bus along the way.
It is the connection with fellow peregrinos that make the journey so memorable. I may comment on another as we progress on this virtual journey.
And thank you @C clearly for getting me involved with this. It is one of the joys of my isolated day to check in on this thread.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Day 10 - Requejo de Sanabria to Lubian (19 km)

So I decided to stop in Requejo de Sanabria to investigate all of the options presented! I'd better get moving now or I think all of you will be charging on ahead without me!

Now from Requejo to Lubian. I can see that I've been given some good advice about about that route and the lodging options.

Anything more to suggest?
Well since you have such a short day, you should really consider going up to see the wolf catcher outside of town. There are at least a few of these in northwestern Spain and northern Portugal, but this one is the closest to any camino that I’ve come across. It’s called a Cortello de Lobos, and the one outside of Lubián is several centuries old. It is huge. This website has a good description and video. I also read that this particular design of wolf-catcher is found only in northwestern Iberia and northern India.

Edited to add: I just watched and listened to the video. I learned that it was the clever construction on a hill that caught the wolf. It could look down from the top of the wall that was level with the hilltop, jump down, and then find itself in the middle of a circle stone ring with walls too high for it to leave. And the bait was a goat.

Every morning, someone in the village would go up to see if a wolf had been caught. If so, the whole town would go up to watch (and had a perfect viewing spot from the point where the wall met the hilltop). Young men would vie for the chance to rope the wolf (to impress the young ladies watching), and then it was paraded through town before being killed.
 
Last edited:

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
It’s called a Cortello de Lobos, and the one outside of Lubián is several centuries old. It is huge.
I doubt that many people know about this, p2000. It was certainly a revelation to me, and will be a priority on my itinerary for my next non-virtual Sanabres! Any thoughts on why the thing is so big? A lot of skilled labour went into constructing that huge wall. The structure is marked on Open Street Map.
I am reminded of watching a French film, Le Pacte des Loupes, (Brotherhood of the Wolf - English title), based on an 18th century incident involving a wolf, (perhaps,) in the Gévaudin region of France. Wolves were a real menace in past times.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Day 11 - Lubián to A Gudiña (24 km)

It looks like I'll be walking through several villages and entering Galicia. I've heard some bad things about the Albergue in A Gudiña, but there are some hostales to choose from. A Gudiña is a town of 1300 people so I should stock up on cash and snacks for the next few days.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Future
Nice virtual journey.

Have you considered heading south from A Gudina and hike the southern branch of the sanabres via Verin?
This alternate route merges with the portuguese interior and also rejoins the zamorano that split earlier from VdP in Zamora.

Long stage first day up to Verin, from there on fairly easy walk through nice towns like Sinzo or Allariz up to Orense, where you would connect again with the main leg coming from Laza.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Well, amiga, you have a very uncomplicated and pretty day coming up!

Leaving town, you go past the church where the annual romería takes place. That was where my French friend found a little young deer trapped in a fence. When he helped him get out of the mess, he got his hand all gouged by the horns and hooves of this frantic little animal. Quite the bloody sight. Good thing I had my little first aid kit!

The ascent to the border with Galicia at Porto Canda is one of those beautiful green tunnel walks. I noticed the immediate appearance of cow poop as soon as I started down on the other side, so we are definitely in Galicia. The little town of Villavella has a fancy spa/hotel with special pilgrim rates apparently. I have never stayed there but did get a very good breakfast in their café a couple of years ago.

Though most of this stage is green and pretty, I remember a few very strange kms of lunar-like landscape — looking at the gronze map, it must have been between Pereiro and O Gañizo (but I could be wrong, fresher memories welcome).

I have never walked the alternative route through Verín and Allariz, but I have visited Allariz and its nearby Santa Mariña de Aguas Santas and HIGHLY recommend that visit. Roman ruins, the site of Santa Mariña’s martyrdom, and hill forts also right there to visit. So you will have a choice to make once you are in A Gudiña.

A Gudiña’s albergue was quite nice when I was there, but like most albergues, it has had its occasional spate of bed bugs. Nice little town with all services.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
I agree with Laurie about A Gudiña's albergue - the five times I've stayed there it was fine, at least twice empty of other pilgrims, and always clear of bed bugs. Although other people have obviously had less happy experiences there.

I also liked eating at Oscar's restaurant on the main drag - good solid food, and many others clearly shared my opinion, as it was always busy with truck drivers and construction workers. If/when the AVE is finally finished, it's going to have a very negative effect on the local economy.

I liked both routes out of A Gudiña. The high road past the venta of Teresa is wonderful, with glorious views over the highlands of northern Portugal and green Galicia. I expect it's come down now, but I especially enjoyed the "moderen la velocidad: peregrinos en la carretera" hazard sign. The sharp, steep, slate stone descent to Campobecerros is fine in dry weather, but I'd not like to have to do it if it was wet.

Almost everybody seems to take the Laza route out of A Gudiña, presumably because it's a day or so shorter, but the Verín way is good too. Verín itself is a bustling friendly border town with a great dominating mediaeval hill-top fortress and some decent restaurants. The largely empty albergues on the way are outstanding - last November I was about the 125th person of 2019 to stay in the very well equipped and clean albergues of Villaderei and Xinzo de Limia. And, as Laurie also says, Santa Mariña is well worth a visit, and only 500m off the camino.

IMG_20161128_121540.jpg
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Portuguese Finisterre Muxia Ingles Mozarabe VldP Sanabres Serrana Salvador Norte Espiritual
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!
Did exactly that,, nearly 2 years ago,, 2 of the very best eating experiences ever!! Thanks Teo
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
As Peregrina2000 said, Lubian to A Gudiña is uncomplicated and pretty, and crossing the border into Galicia at the Portela de Canda is suitably dramatic.

After you leave Lubian, you pass a baroque church - the Ermita Santuario de la Tuiza and start climbing. From here, you'll be walking on earth and rock, wrapped in a blanket of foliage. It's so comforting after all the ugly asphalt of the day before. At the top of the climb, the reward is a splendid view over the surrounding country and various signs and monuments, including one of the cutest sculpted, stone, mojons of the trail. The road ahead takes you down to the small settlement of Canda, and then Villavella with its posh spa (I'm told) and youth hostel (I believe). I haven't explored those for myself, but I'm a big fan of Bar On in Villavella - a very stylish cafe, just where you need it.

Villavella is probably a third of the way to A Gudiña, but because of the effort of the climb, I somehow find myself thinking that I've covered half the distance. In truth, there's quite a bit further to walk. After Villavella, the landscape changes to a flatter, rocky, heath. I wouldn't describe it as "lunar" but it feels a little surreal after the lush forests earlier in the day. There are a few points with beautiful views and I get an exhilarating feeling from seeing the landscape change so rapidly, as if I'm making tremendous progress through the country. It's deceptively strenuous, though. If you're like me, you'll feel it in your legs when you cross the highway to enter A Gudiña and walk the last couple of kilometers on the path to reach the town center. A Gudiña is a long ribbon of a town that grew up along the highway and the railway line. I was sad to see some of the old shops going out of business on my last visit - in particular the quaint pharmacy with its art nouveau-ish display windows in the little plaza. But there are banks, and supermarkets, a bakery, and several bars and restaurants - everything a pilgrim needs. You are right to stock up on snacks here, though, because its the last town of significance for a while (unless you take the Verin route, which I do not know)

In 2017, I stayed in the Hostel Amadrileña on the way into town, as I was terrified by reports of bedbugs at the albergue from a couple of years before. But some of the pilgrims on the road told me that the albergue was fine - and I had the courage to stay there in 2019 and found it clean and functional. Like other albergues in Galicia, it has a somewhat brutalist style, with heavy concrete stairs and a steel cage in the middle of the upper floor dormitory - perhaps initially intended for luggage storage? Nonetheless, it's clean and well maintained, with a kitchen and lounge areas downstairs. No blankets, as with all municipal albergues in Galicia. If there was once a bedbug problem on this stretch of Camino, it was dealt with long ago, but the notoriety lingers in online forums and pilgrim legends.

Restaurants in the town center aren't terribly inspiring. I was told that there's finer dining to be had if you continue down the N525 to the second town center. On the map, I see a cluster of five or six restaurants at that end of town. But it's more of a trek than my friends or I were willing to make. We had burgers and sausages and bean stews at the Cafe Bar O Peregrino - the closest to the albergue. Nothing gourmet about it, but the portions were huge and the owner was happy to wrap up the leftovers in foil and bag it for us to enjoy on the road the next day with fresh bread that we picked up at the bakery in the morning on our way out of town.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
If there was once a bedbug problem on this stretch of Camino, it was dealt with long ago, but the notoriety lingers in
Good to hear. I have deleted that note from my spreadsheet.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Day 12 - A Gudiña to Laza (34 km)

Have you considered heading south from A Gudina and hike the southern branch of the sanabres via Verin?
Yes, I have considered this option, and I have the track on my phone in case of inspiration. However, oddly, even on a virtual camino, like a real one, I am feeling the urge to move more quickly to my destination! Therefore, I'll take the shorter route.

It is about time that I did a longer day. How is that walk? If necessary, I could stop at 20 km in Campobecerros, but hopefully I'll go on to Laza. Looking at the map, I might collapse at Hostal Laza near the entrance.
 
Last edited:

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
I loved this stretch across the ridgelines, passing through all those little "A Venda" villages. The country is open, and the views can be spectacular.
IMG_4685 (1).jpeg
There are some ruins of railway workers' houses at Vilariño de Conso; a nice place for rest and shade.
IMG_4682 2.jpeg
And... if you brought a stone, you can lay it under the imposing cross near Portocamba
P6280976 (1).jpeg
Then a picturesque descent into Eiras
IMG_4701 2.jpeg
I remember stopping for a beer in Campobecerros, where I met a group of Portuguese bicigrinos.
IMG_4687.jpeg
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Totally agree with peregrinoPaul — this is a nice stage. The AVE construction should be done (?) by now, but the view down into Campobecerros the last time I walked was really bleak due to massive construction. It is slightly comforting to realize that the actual construction phase is by far the most jarring, and that within a few years some of the natural areas will recover a bit.

Along that ridge he describes, when I walked with two French peregrinos, I had ducked behind a bush and when I came out they told me they had seen a wolf! How unfortunate that nature’s demands made me miss it. They said it locked eyes with them and then sauntered off regally.

The descent into Campobecerros, though, is not likely to improve unless they re-route the camino. It is, as Alan said, sliding shale rock, and I had to do it once in the rain. OMG.

On one of my Sanabrés caminos, we had planned to stop in Campobecerros, but the albergue (which was then in the train station, I think) was closed, and the hostal on the way out of town had no rooms. The walk from Campobecerros to Laza is very pretty, if I remember right, but along the road the entire way. There are two places to eat in Laza. One is more “upscale” — the Ardillas, the other more down home, huge quantities, cheap — Bar Picota. Your choice, both are fine.

Laza has a very unusual and well known Carnaval, called the Entroido. You will see pictures all over. It is apparently one of the oldest in the world, definitely the oldest in Spain. Some of the rituals are very well preserved from a historical standpoint, I’ve been told. There’s a good article from a few years ago that describes what all the costumed figures represent.

The albergue in Laza is really nice, small rooms around an outdoor patio. It is managed by the local civil protection folks and they treated us very nicely.

Hope you made it all the way to Laza!

And p.s., I really like that this way of “walking” gives us the chance to dig a little deeper into the places we have walked. There’s just such a wealth of wonders that we walk right by!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I think I did make it to Laza, since you all say this is a pleasant stage. I can walk 34 km upon occasion - as long as the terrain is not too demanding and the weather is pleasant.

I had ducked behind a bush and... they told me they had seen a wolf!
Better that they saw it, and not you - it would have been disconcerting to be in your compromised position and have a wolf appear! :eek:

Laza has a very unusual and well known Carnaval, called the Entroido.
I will keep this in mind for a February camino.
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
Hello @ CClearly, what a lovely leisurely camino this is. Just as well for me as I only 'started' a couple of days ago and have surprised myself by becoming a virtual super walker, catching up with you all. .I've skipped along, through the stages, and now amazingly in Campobecerrus. So while I catch my breath ...


... Isn't it interesting how different places, even very small ordinary places, can become significant to any one of us, the way some small event, can change the colour of our day, and leave indelible marks on our souls and memories. The little town of Campobecerrus became one such place for us, twice.

In 2006, first camino, we didn't think we could walk from A Gudiña to Laza in one day, so we hopefully walked to Campo, then hung around for hours waiting for the only train back to A Gudiña,... much later in the afternoon. The 'hanging around' was filled with lovely little moments with the locals, the bar-lady who fed us and took us to visit the local church (she had the key) and explained her family's multi-story graves, inc her own waiting. . ., another who gave us a bunch of the sweetest tasting white cherries. Watching Raffa V Lleyton fighting it out in the French Open or maybe it was Wimbledon. Spending an hour 500m up the hill at the deserted train station, dreaming of turning it into an albergue. Fabulous building. Then finally waving down the train and going back to A Gudiña to the albergue, which was fine in those days, no bedbugs, though run like a Hitler Youth Camp by a very regimented hospitalero, who berated us for going backwards on the camino, but eventually gave in and let us stay a second night. Next morning, train back to Campo, sharing breakfast brandies with local firefighters and onwards, downwards, to Llaza. . .

In 2011, after sliding down the shale hillside there,on the entrance to Campobecerrus, was a newish *Albergue* sign pointing up the hill. Just had to check it out. My dream! The train station had been renovated into one of those wonderful Turistico Albergues, two dorms, new beds, best views, brilliant. Forgetting the plumbing which had 'issues', it was probably the highlight of the whole VdlP for me, so special. I couldn't go to sleep, kept wanting to take more photos of the fab view down into the valley, sunsets and morning mists, fog and light.
In 2016, I recommended friends check out 'our' albergue. Sadly it had been taken over by AVE and was no longer available for pilgrims so that was that.

Maybe CClearly it might have been open for your virtual camino. Buen camino. Carole
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
P1070542.jpg
Somewhere down there in the mist is campobecerrus...from the old train station albergue.
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
P1070575.JPG
On the way to Llaza... Campobecerrus down on the left. Converted train station, wonderful albergue mid right. 2011.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
If necessary, I could stop at 20 km in Campobecerros, but hopefully I'll go on to Laza. Looking at the map, I might collapse at Hostal Laza near the entrance.
In 2017, A German friend and I left A Gudiña in a cross-fire hurricane, and we howled at the morning, driving rain. I doubt that we would have made it to Laza that day if we had tried. But it's alright now. In fact it's a gas ...

In A Venda da Capela, one of three tiny hamlets on the way to Campobecerros, we took a break in a derelict row house - finding shelter under the leaky roof, cutting sausage on the broken kitchen tiles, and changing into dry socks that would soon be wet socks. Since 2013, there have been no trains on the line that runs through Venda da Capela. I wonder who lived in the little workers' houses, what industry they once had there, and what lives they lived. Perhaps they were employees of the railway company? In the last hamlet before Campobecerros, Venda de Bolaño, we passed a very spiffy looking holiday apartment. Had there been any sign of life in the area, we might have inquired about renting it, but we saw nobody. The entire population was huddled up indoors with fires in the hearths and all loose fittings battened down.

The way to Campobecerros is paved with good intentions asphalt, but there's very little traffic. On that rainy day, a handful of cars passed us at a very cautious pace through the low cloud that surrounded us. One of them stopped to offer us a ride. Visibility was abysmal for most of the way, but the skies started to clear somewhat shortly before we reached Campobecerros and we caught tantalizing glimpses of the crests of hills that peeked out of the misty valleys all around us. That's when we knew what a treat we had been missing. Campobecerros greeted us with rain gushing out of gutters into the stream at the entrance to the village and a cup of hot chocolate at the first bar. The muted reaction of the owner and her mother who sat by a paraffin stove in the corner showed that they were unimpressed by the arrival of two pilgrims looking like drowned rats. Feeling self-conscious, I tried to break the ice with some humor "Hace un poco lluvia." The lady of the house offered a laconic response "Un poco mucho."

The albergue has relocated from the fine building that @CaroelH photographed*. Today it's a short walk under the arched passageway, past the house with the goats in a pen on the ground floor, and up the little hill to the top of the town. It's well signposted and there's a larger than life statue of a dancer in traditional festival costume outside. You can't miss it. It's got the basic essentials for an albergue - a clean room with bunk beds, a washer and dryer in the basement for a reasonable fee, and a couple of showers. No kitchen, but it looks like there may be a barbecue in the yard out back for the summer. There is, however, very little in the way of commerce in the town, so I'm not sure what ingredients you'd find to cook. My German friend and I went up to the second bar-restaurant, which also has rooms to rent,. There we found a silent but not unwelcoming atmosphere. This is a gallego-speaking area, so the conversation at the bar is hard to penetrate and the people here are somewhat reticent toward newcomers, I guess.

It is, however, a fascinating place to spend a night. It's cut off from the world and from mobile phone signals - a last holdout of a disappearing culture and an old way of life. If you visit the museum of the Galician people when you get to Santiago, memories of Campobecerros will come flooding back to you.

Sometime last year, I read reports of bed bugs in the rooms offered at the bar, so I warned some people not to risk staying there. I would hope that they've sorted the problem out by now, but if you do decide to stay at Campobecerros, I think the albergue, with blue plastic covers on the mattresses, is the best bet.

* I guess that the old railway station may have been torn down to make way for the AVE, which has ripped a hole in the landscape to one side of the pueblo. Express trains will rattle the villagers windows when they start to burst out of the tunnel there. As someone mentioned earlier, high-speed rail links can suck people and wealth out of the little communities that they bypass - some studies even go further to suggest that they contribute to further concentration of economic power in the hub (i.e. Madrid) at the expense of the regions - and I think that will be the case for Campobecerros, although the depopulation is already quite evident. It's mostly old people living there today.

On my way through Campobecerros in 2019, the place was livelier, with a crowd in town for a local wedding. I spoke with one group of old guys about how they grew up in the pueblo but moving out to work - some to the big cities and some as far as Germany. We sat outside the first bar for a cold drink and soaked up the atmosphere. I think that Campobecerros is a special place, where you won't regret stopping if you do.

If you choose to continue to Laza, as we did, then you have another stretch of hard road surface ahead of you and a continuation of the beautiful scenery, picturesque valleys, and depopulated villages with decaying stone buildings and no commercial activity. On the gates of one house, you'll see a brightly painted depiction of the costume worn by the figure in front of the Campobecerros albergue. The decorations suggest that this is a local tradition on May 3rd. If you are lucky enough to be in the area at that time, please post a report and video. I want to see it.

There's a little respite from the bitumen as the Camino turns into a beautiful sunken lane at one point, and then in the village of Eiras, there is a donativo pilgrim rest stop. It really feels like the Camino is smiling on you at this point. You can expect to find a flask of coffee in the cold months (tepid, but who's complaining?), and a box filled with ice and canned soda in the hotter months, as well as fresh fruit and packaged snacks. It's just the boost that you need for the last push to Laza.

Laza itself is a lovely town. The heavy stone buildings have narrow horizontal openings to ventilate the cellars in this damp climate. You could stay at the hotel, but the albergue is not far from the town center and it's a pretty good one - a big, municipal affair with multiple dorms for eight people each. It has male and female shower rooms with two showers each and basins for washing clothes. There are washing lines in the central yard, a good kitchen, and a large dining / social area. I have the feeling that it's set up for school groups, although there were only adults there when I stayed. You must register for the albergue at the fire station on the way into town. They'll check your passport and take payment before giving you a key that must be returned to their letter box the next morning.

The supermarket in Laza can sell you everything you might want to cook your own dinner, but I would strongly recommend the restaurant which is upstairs from the cafe bar A Picota. If you arrive early, you can stop for a drink downstairs in the cafe. Drinks here come with a snack that you choose from a tray - Galician style. I love the fact that this part of the route offers frequent and delicious cues to remind me that I'm now in Galicia.

The restaurant upstairs opens at 7:30, I think. 10 Euros gets you the pilgrim menu - Three courses with a lot of choices. All good, homemade dishes. Included in the menu is a drink (which if you order wine, means a full bottle). And the service is super-friendly and completely honest. I remember the waitress telling me: "The flan isn't home made flan, but it's a very good one. You won't be disappointed." She was right. I would rate this menu peregrino as the second best on the Sanabres.
IMG_3236.jpegIMG_3286.jpegIMG_3303.jpegIMG_3333.jpegIMG_3343.jpegIMG_3347.jpegIMG_3357.jpegIMG_3382.jpeg
 

Attachments

Last edited:

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Great post, Raggy. Just a couple of comments.

That abandoned worker village was, I was told, accommodation for the workers who built the reservoir below, the Encoro das Portas. Sort of like the situation at the dam in Grandas on the Primitivo.

And the statue in your picture, I thought, was from the Entroido (Carnaval). Did a little searching and it turns out that this guy comes out for both carnaval and the spring festival. I thought this website gave a great explanation of the festivals and has some really nice pictures. The guy is called a peliqueiro, a word I had never heard before.
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
Raggy, thanks for the info. Your second pic, Campobecerrus and the Ave destruction made me sad, but I can see the old rail line and the old station buildings still there, higher up. (Vertical mid line, 1/3 horizontal.) I believe during construction of The AVE, it was used to accommodate the workers. Maybe still.... Renfe/slower trains still use the line.
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
That abandoned worker village was, I was told, accommodation for the workers who built the reservoir below, the Encoro das Portas. Sort of like the situation at the dam in Grandas on the Primitivo.
Also sort of like the tiny village of Villvieja, on the Invierno, where the servants from the Castillo de Cornatel lived.
Another tangent... Julio Llamazares writes of the progressive decline of Spain's rural cultural heritage in his books. Two of them translated to English, Wolf Moon and The Yellow Rain, the latter such beautiful, sad , poetic writing about the last inhabitant of an isolated mountain village. It's a small book, could pop it in your pack @CClearly...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Future
I hope @C clearly hasn’t fallen down the shale slide into Campobecerros or been eaten by that wolf my friends saw up on the ridge out of A Gudiña.
I don’t hope so. 😲 🐺
Surely our brave and virtual pilgrim is having some rest to gain the necessary strength to tackle the final stretch of the sanabres.
Anyway, you’re right, as we are looking forward to knowing any further on this lovely adventure.
❤
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
I expect she's exploring the church of Santiago in Campobecerros, which I forgot to mention.

Collecting stamps is not a big deal for me, but if I see a church of Santiago, and it's open, and I remember that that I'm on the Camino of Santiago, I will pop in to take a look and request a stamp. Never managed that in Campobecerros, though.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
what a lovely leisurely camino this is
I hope @C clearly hasn’t fallen down the shale slide into Campobecerros or been eaten by that wolf my friends saw up on the ridge out of A Gudiña.
Surely our brave and virtual pilgrim is having some rest
I expect she's exploring the church of Santiago in Campobecerros,
Hahaha! 🤣 :D :D
Yes, I've been doing all of these things. Also got caught up at the new Pilgrim Bar Zoom that keeps popping up everywhere.

But I must lace up my virtual shoes, which are outstandingly comfortable, and take to the virtual road again. (My brand new ones, identical to ones I've already worn, are waiting expectantly. They were expecting to be worn to Spain next week.)

I need to get moving to Santiago, since @peregrina2000 is thinking of starting the Olvidado, and I might want to get the bus or train to Bilbao to join her on that walk.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Day 14 - Laza to Xunqueira de Ambia (34 km)

I did fine with 34 km on my last stage, and I am well rested now, so I'll try it again.

I see that there is a steep climb after Laza to a rest stop at Soutelo Verde. Also where is the "shell bar" run by Luis? I hope he is managing OK with the COVID situation. Is there an area that could be flooded?

There seem to be several pueblos also the route, but no accommodation between Vilar do Barrio and Xungueira. With a population of 1400, there are a couple of options there. What do you suggest?
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Also got caught up at the new Pilgrim Bar Zoom that keeps popping up everywhere.
Oy, me too. It's seriously slowing me down.

Hey, @C clearly, I'm on the Invierno right now, at Vilamartin right before A Rua. I'm really ambling along - doing at best 5-9 kms a day - so can't really estimate how long it will take me to get there...but it would be so cool if we meet up in Lalin or A Laxe for the last days into Santiago!

Edit...Laurie's starting the Olvidado?? Wow. Maybe I'll abort and catch the train in Monforte!
 

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
Luis' bar is in Albergueria at the top of the climb out of Laza. It seemed to me that Luis is Albergueria. He ran out of room for shells in the bar a couple of years ago and has expanded the collection into the idiosynchratic albergue across the road. Here's Luis on the right.
IMG_4709.jpeg
 

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
Luis has speakers mounted on the outside front wall of the bar. When I pedalled in on my first visit, I remember hearing the Kingston Trio singing Where Have All the Flowers Gone. In 2018 I was greeted with Leonard Cohen's Suzanne. Quite bizarre. I'll be interested to know what music greets you, cc.
 

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
When I had visited the Amigos office in Triana, they had insisited that I stay at Rincon del Peregrino in Albergueria. I pass on that advice to you.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Luis made some improvements to the albergue last year (and the resulting closure is the reason for his three negative reviews on Gronze - Unfair to give an albergue a thumbs down if you haven't stayed there, but I think it speaks to the fact that the closure wasn't well publicized ). He turned the "living / dining area," into a bedroom and an accessible bathroom, which necessitated changes to the kitchen. The work dragged on for much longer than he had expected, with a corresponding loss of revenue from pilgrims. It must have been a tough year and now this farkakta pandemic... I hope he's OK.

The walk from Laza to Xunqueira is quite pretty and most of it is on comfortable footpaths - a welcome change after all the tarmac between A Gudiña and Laza. The steep slope that you're thinking of starts at the church of Santa Maria in Tamicelas. There's a bench in front of the church, so do yourself a favor and pause for water. You'll get a break shortly after the hill at Luis' bar, so let that thought keep you going. There are more physically demanding climbs on this camino but this one messes with your head. Several times, when think you're about to reach the summit, you find that the hill has tricked you and there's another stretch to climb. It's best to just enjoy the magnificent view and keep a steady pace without allowing your brain to ask when you'l get to the top. You'll get there when you get there. At the top, there's a splendid view over the Galician hills and a kilometer or two of flat road to the village of Albergueria.

As Peregronopaul said, there's very, very little to Albergueria apart from Luis' bar and the albergue. But it's a happening bar, for sure. Stop for a coffee and complementary Madeleine or hard-boiled egg from the basket on the counter. Luis isn't a talkative guy, but he has a good heart and his little bar is the heart of the community - many locals drop by for a coffee and a chupito during the day and so does every pilgrim who is on the route. You can buy a shell (but only one per party please) for a euro or two and write your name and a message. Don't think for a minute that it's just a bar full of randomly arranged shells. There's a system. If you inscribed a shell on a previous visit, Luis will take pleasure in guiding you its place on the wall, as long as you remember the month and year. As Paul mentioned, Luis likes to play the oldies on the sound system inside and outside. When I noticed that he had a photograph of Jacques Brel on the wall, he was pleased to tell me that he himself took the photo ... Yes, he lived in Paris in the '50s (I guess) and he knew Brel. I was delighted when he broadcast Quand On A Que L'Amour to the village, and then stunned when he presented me with one of his photographs. I packed it very carefully and mailed it home from Ourense. I framed it recently (sorry for the reflection from the glass in the photo below).

When I stayed at the albergue in November 2017, it was pretty chilly. There's a wood chip heater but it doesn't really make any difference to the temperature in the dormitory upstairs. That said, it's a charming building and the kitchen well equipped - all the gear you need to cook up a little meal with the dry goods that are in the cupboards or the provisions that you can buy from Luis - pasta, tinned fish, eggs, bread, milk, ham. Basic but enough. The bar doesn't serve meals. The albergue is donativo (but prices are indicated on the dry goods in the cupboards and a fee is indicated above the washing machine and dryer).

From Albergueria, the walking is easy. There are a few ups and downs, which I might not normally have noticed, but my friend last year was having a bit of trouble with one of those injuries that flares up on the descents. The town of Vilar de Bario is a pretty little place. Flowers in baskets and that sort of thing. There are a couple of bars if you feel like stopping - but it's too soon after Albergueria really. I met a couple of pilgrims who stayed at the albergue there and had only good things to say about it. Apparently, they got there on a holiday and found nowhere to buy food - but the owner of a restaurant (with a blue door?) opened especially for them and made them a feast for a ridiculously cheap price. So ... another place with good camino spirit.

Xunqueira municipal albergue is on the way into town. it's modern and clean, if a little bare. It's one of those Xunta albergues where the warden shows up at 5pm to collect fees and then disappears. The Guardia Civil drop by late at night to secure the building. The kitchen is spacious but lacking in essential equipment,. If you want to buy food, you have to walk into town and back ... so ... if I sound like I'm damning it with faint praise, that's because I'm damning it with faint praise.

Unless you're trying to save every Euro you can, my recommendation is to continue past the municipal albergue into the town center to stay at the private albergue - Casa Tomas. The location alone is worth the extra seven or eight euros. The owners are lovely people - I stayed at the temporary albergue that they ran while they were repairing the main albergue (which had a fire a few years ago). There's not a heck of a lot going on in Xunqueira but you have a supermarket, three cafe-bars, a couple of restaurants, some typical heavy stone buildings with ventilation slots to air the cellars and one or two interesting statues on the corners, and a very impressive church.

The bar in front of the albergue Casa Tomas and the restaurant just up the road (Bar Guede) are both fine. If you continue up the road, you will see another bar-restaurant with vines above the entrance (Bar Luciano). It looks like a pleasant spot to stop for breakfast on your way out of town, but it really isn't. For one thing, the only food is the worst kind of plastic-wrapped madeleines. But more importantly, the barman seems to hate his job and deals with everyone in an impatient, ungracious way (not only my experience but that of others that I've spoken to). A much, much, much better place is the Bar Copas, which is just a couple of hundred meters across the square. There you will find good coffee, toast, freshly baked croissants, pains au chocolat, (probably other things too), and friendly service.

img_3533.jpgScanbot 8 Apr 2020 21.52 2.jpg
 
Last edited:

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
This is not actually relevant to this thread, but since you are the guys I’m communicating with at this time I thought I’d update you on my real-time situation in this time of Coronavirus. I live in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia. I just checked, and if we were a US state we would rank as number 5 in area just after Montana. Right now we are cut off from the rest of the country. The main highways, (2), in and out have police roadblocks. On the official statistics we have one case of the virus, but in reality that is a lady who we personally know, who is actually in isolation in Perth, 1000km away, imposed after she returned from a holiday on a cruise ship. Because of her home address she is recorded as our only Gascoyne case. We live in the regions' main town, Carnarvon, which has a permanent population of about 7000.

So, at the moment, although my wife and I are complying with all the self-isolation regulations, we are feeling that we might be in the safest place in the world. The Gascoyne region is named for the river that flows seasonally, and has its headwaters 600km inland. Our town is built on the river delta.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
First let me say that I hope, @C clearly, that you do NOT abort this camino. The Olvidado event is a horse of totally a different color, just a one session Zoom meeting. This comes out drip by delicious drip, so please keep going!

I have slept in both Vilar do Barrio and Xunqueira. The main attraction for a short day to Vilar do Barrio would be the pulpo event that comes to town on the 9th of every month (I just checked and it’s still the same 10 years later), so if you hurry you might make it! We had planned to go on, but we saw those tables, the vats, the wooden plates, the people, it all seemed too good to pass up. I like pulpo, but find I hit my saturation point pretty quickly. But we sat and talked with lots of people, all of whom thought we were kind of crazy. But we had a lot of that wonderful conversation that just keeps on coming as the wine keeps on being poured. The albergue there is a wonderful and clean place, btw, right smack dab in the center.

The other time I went on the the albergue in Xunqueira. Clean and functional, little charm but fine. And it’s a town with a lovely romanesque church (I haven’t said that in a few days, have I?). It was another very friendly town, good restaurant started by two women who got laid off from the local factory. But I was sorry to see it had closed the last time I went through. Bocatería Bejé was its name in case anyone going through recently saw that it had opened — it was right on the main drag from albergue into town.

Some of the townsfolk in Laza have a very bad opinion of Luis up in Alberguería — they think he is a scofflaw and has tried to avoid the rules for years and years. The authorities did shut down his albergue for a while, while he corrected some of its violations and fined him for opening without permission. But to me, he was polite and kind (and surprisingly introverted for someone with such a well-known must-stop place.). I have two shells there, but on my second visit could not find the first one — I didn’t know that Luis had a system, I will have to check back on my third visit!

It was on the Laza-Alberguería stage that I first started to question the wisdom of “ask the locals.” I left town early that morning in the rain, but the rain soon stopped and it cleared nicely. All of the people in Laza told us we should take the highway. They said it with such insistence that my two amigos did, but being stubborn and always in search of off-road walking, I took the path, must be the one Raggy describes as starting in Tamicelas. And it was fine. I won’t go off on a tangent now, but just let me say that I find that well-meaning locals who have not walked the camino have no idea what the route is like and think that the only way to walk from point A to point B is on the most direct route, hence the road recommendation.

Anyway, I remember the walk from Alberguería onward as really lovely and rural.

Buen camino, @C clearly!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Future
This is not actually relevant to this thread, but since you are the guys I’m communicating with at this time I thought I’d update you on my real-time situation in this time of Coronavirus. I live in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia. I just checked, and if we were a US state we would rank as number 5 in area just after Montana. Right now we are cut off from the rest of the country. The main highways, (2), in and out have police roadblocks. On the official statistics we have one case of the virus, but in reality that is a lady who we personally know, who is actually in isolation in Perth, 1000km away, imposed after she returned from a holiday on a cruise ship. Because of her home address she is recorded as our only Gascoyne case. We live in the regions' main town, Carnarvon, which has a permanent population of about 7000.

So, at the moment, although my wife and I are complying with all the self-isolation regulations, we are feeling that we might be in the safest place in the world. The Gascoyne region is named for the river that flows seasonally, and has its headwaters 600km inland. Our town is built on the river delta.
I have been checking a bit about your region in Western Australia, as I just knew very little about it, just Perth, and envious of what appears to be a nice and somewhat unspoilt area on the seaside.
Take care of yourselves.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I hope... that you do NOT abort this camino.
Oh no. I wasn't thinking of stopping. (Well, I was, but I immediately realized that was not the right thing to do!) I was thinking that I need to walk a bit faster. Or, I would just take a side trip for a day or two to meet up with you or @VNwalking or others, wherever you are. That is the beauty of Spain's good ground transportation system.

I like pulpo, but find I hit my saturation point pretty quickly.
Yes, I hit my saturation point very soon after the first bite. But the "experience" is important.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Day 15 - Xunqueira de Ambia to Ourense (22 km)

I have timed this perfectly - I will walk into Ourense on Easter Sunday. Being a virtual Camino, we can imagine that there will be Easter crowds, but I will still have my choice of accommodation.

I understand that there is a train from the Plaza Mayor that goes to the hotsprings, and that the last (?) stop is a free one. I'm not really a hotsprings sort of person, but when on the Camino, anything might inspire me.

How are the entrance and exits from the city? I'm looking for recommendations for lodging and restaurants, as well as any other sights. (When I actually walk into Ourense, it might not be Easter Sunday.)
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
But the "experience" is important.
I rarely disagree with you, @C clearly but feel moved to ask a rhetorical, "Really?" 🙃;)
Nah. I've never eaten pulpo and have had one rewarding camino after another after another.
(I don't drink vino or cerveza either. But don't anyone dare take away my plate of pimeñtos...or my cafe...)

More to the point...welcome to Ourense! You're way ahead of me at this point, so a meet-up in Lalin is out...but you could take the train to Monforte. (I am walking in real time and virtually on the Invierno simultaneously, so I'm three or four times slower than normal.)

Ourense and Monforte are a very short and quite amazing train journey apart, so it could be a lovely off-Sanabres day off...and the city has a lot to offer, as @Charrito and @peregrina2000 can describe.

Here are the possible rail links, from RometoRio:

Screenshot_20200412-124518_Firefox.jpgScreenshot_20200412-124537_Firefox.jpg
 
Camino(s) past & future
Future
Great idea to take that ride to Monforte, a nice town and just a stone’s throw away from Orense.
A local told me that it was a shame but due to railway issues this days the town had fallen somewhat into decay.
Apparently prior to that fact it used to be even a livelier town. Anyway, nice place and no doubt it’s worth visiting.

BTW, this reminded me of cutting across from Dozon to Monterroso and then on to Ligonde and eventually joining the frances up to Santiago.
Some kind of roadwalking through little hamlets, but was long time since I wanted to visit that so closely tied to the camino town.

Grateful that this virtual camino is being so enjoyable bringing back all those fond memories. ❤
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
You have a choice going into Ourense. Stay on the camino and take the commercial/industrial slog into town or turn left at the Peugeot place and walk along a delightful river path (think Lalín Río or the river route into Burgos).

I have always found Ourense to be a kind of depressing little city. But the portico on the cathedral (The Pórtico del Paraíso) is from the workshop of Maestro Mateo, who did the Pórtico de la Gloria in Santiago. The painting on the portico was recovered about 10 years ago by removing all the dust and grime. The painting appears to be from the barroque period rather than the original late romanesque. I had a long conversation with a priest there who told me he accepted the scientific findings that the painting was from the 18th century, but as keeper of the cathedral records, which go back to the 17th century and detail every bit of official action and expenditure, the lack of any mention of the painting project leads him to wonder if the painting is actually much older. But whatever century it is from, it is really lovely.

The train (not really a train, it’s like those little things that park in front of the cathedral in Santiago to take tourists around) out to the hot springs is fun and the public place was very clean and well maintained when I was there.

If you are going to take some time off, I would highly recommend a day or two to travel along the Sil River Gorge. There are hidden monasteries, churches, cemeteries from medieval times, and the scenery is spectacular. The Parador Santo Estevo is one of the most magnificent in the parador system, IMO. The Invierno does go along the Sil River but the section close to Ourense is not on any camino. I would save Monforte for when you walk the Invierno.

Apparently there is a big new albergue in Ourense, but it opened after I went through. I always liked the old one, right next to a gothic cloister, San Francisco.

Any recent information on the new albergue in Ourense? This thread is the most recent I could find.

Leaving Ourense, there are two routes apparently, (referred to as the right hand route and the left hand route) but I have now gone through three times and have only found the left route. Threads here and here

Don’t want to jump the gun, but you will soon have to decide whether to take the slight detour to the monastery of Oseira. Another one of those perfectly placed complexes in a serene spot with an air of mystery.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
I have timed this perfectly - I will walk into Ourense on Easter Sunday. Being a virtual Camino, we can imagine that there will be Easter crowds, but I will still have my choice of accommodation.
If you want a pleasant start to the day, I recommend having a coffee and pastry at Bar Copas. which I mentioned upthread. It's across the square from the bar with the vine growing over the entrance. Walk toward the supermarket and it will come into view. I think it's good treat yourself to a pastry this morning, because in terms of scenery, you can expect to feel rather drained by the very ugly industrial estate before you reach Ourense's satellite town (Seixalbo). There is, I'm told, an alternative route by a river that avoids the worst of the industrial estate. Someone else will have to provide instructions or a link to that.

The best part of the day is the first half, which takes you along a road (the OU-0102), through farming areas and small communities of houses with vineyards, Don't succumb to the temptation of taking the pleasant looking hiking path with a stone bridge that you can see on the way out of Xunqueira. You're not going to be on such an idyllic path today. People who are drawn in that direction, will take a while to realize the error of their ways. There are even a few arrows down there that lead nowhere. After thrashing around in the woods they will eventually realize that they have to double back and follow the road. Save yourself time and stay on the OU-0102.

You will find yourself wondering how this can feel so different since you're still in the countryside, and there are still farms around you, but something has changed. It's hard to put your finger on it at first - the countryside here has been tamed. There's "street furniture" (concrete telegraph poles, red brick sidewalks), and modern houses with neat suburban fences and dropped curbs for access to their driveways. You're entering the big city's gravitational field. Your journey from here will be punctuated at regular intervals by the corrugated steel bus stops of Ourense's public transportation network ... although I don't think I saw any buses until I got closer to the city.

There are several bars and cafes on the roadside. Cafe Bar Manuel in Penelas has some outdoor seating, which is inviting on a fine day. In Pereilas, there's Cafe-Bar Ruta da Prata. A couple of kilometers later there's a gasolinera and Cafe Bikalla, and then Restaurant O Carballo in Castellana. Fortify yourself with a coffee at one of these places because you're approaching the ugliest stretch of the entire Camino - the Poligono Industrial San Cibriao das Viñas. I hope that someone will give you instructions for diverting off the Camino onto a better path around here. If not, you just want to put your head down and keep putting one foot in front of the other ...

The industrial zone looms into view shortly after Castellana. You'll come to a fork in the road with a bus stop and a big sculpted Camino stone that directs you to the left fork, where truck trailers are parked outside distribution centers. Carry on past the auto repair shops, cement works, some small manufacturing plants, and a warehouse that holds a fitness center ... At some point you'll notice the big, dirty chimney in the distance. Strap on an N95 mask and tread carefully around the puddles of oily water. Be grateful that the road is flat and straight. Think happy thoughts and continue on the OU-0102 until you reach the junction in front of the big chimney. It gets better soon . Turn left. and breath easier as you leave the industrial zone. If you didn't stop for coffee before the Poligono, you will surely want some refreshment when you get past it. There are a few bars and restaurants on the roadside - one is named "El Industrial." While that's an apt name, it didn't appeal to me.

The route from here to Seixalbo takes you along one stretch of rather fast road - the OU-105. In a couple of places,, the camino signs divert you down to a side road and then back up to the OU-105. It's annoying because you end up walking twice as far but it's probably worth it to stay off the fast road as much as possible. Keep an eye on the oncoming traffic and don't hesitate to move to a safe spot if you see a car approaching too fast. Somewhere around here, you'll catch your first glimpse of Ourense in the valley below and you'll see signs to turn left into Seixalbo.

Seixalbo is a delightful surprise - a pretty town with beautiful stone buildings and narrow streets. There are a couple of shops, including a nice panadeira with a sign welcoming pilgrims. I've never made it this far without taking a break at an earlier cafe, so I haven't ever stopped here, but I'm sure it would be nice to find a park or a square and sit down for a bit. It's tempting to think that you're virtually in Ourense at this point, but in fact, you still have a fair bit of walking through outskirts to go - downhill through modern, dull, buildings, ring roads, commerce, apartment blocks. and then a last bit of uphill to reach the historic center.

In Ourense I have stayed at two places and heard many negative comments about the municipal albergue:

1) Casa Habana - An Airbnb that was recommended by the owners of Casa Tomas in Xunqueira. Pilgrim price was very good for a beautiful, large, three bedroom apartment. I think the owner would have asked us to share with others if there had been any other demand that day.

2) Grelo Hostel - Walking distance from the center. Excellent, clean, modern, hostel. The manager will take laundry from you for a reasonable fee and you will pick it up dried and folded when you return. The hostel lays on a free breakfast of coffee, cereal, and low-quality bread / long-life pastries. It is not a dedicated pilgrim hostel, so there's a chance that it could be full if you are looking for a room at easter. But that's not a problem because Ourense does have one dedicated pilgrim hostel - the Xunta albergue:

3) Xunta albergue - A year or two ago, it moved to a historic building in the center of town. Best location possible. But location and quality of building are not everything. People have told me that the kitchen is basically unusable because it has no equipment. The manager frequently gets criticized on Gronze for being unfriendly (and this was something that people said when the albergue was in the previous location).

As you know, Ourense is about 100km from Santiago, making it a starting point for many pilgrims. Depending on the time of year, you may encounter some groups with the nervous energy of people on their last night before starting the pilgrimage. How on earth they're planning to get to Santiago with their large suitcases? They're having them delivered every day, of course.

What to do in Ourense?
Cathedral
The cathedral is a must. Some spectacular sights in there. At one end is basically a mini copy of Santiago's portico de gloria. And one side chapel is is decorated gaudily in gold - if I recall correctly. Really impressive. (Although we had an awful experience there, as we persuaded the lady at the entrance to let us in for the last ten minutes before it closed - and then we got shouted at by a very mean priest who gave us an interrogation about how we got in, then insisted that we had no right to enter, and then, after we begged forgiveness, "magnanimously" decided to let us have ten minutes of viewing the portico while he bestowed his great knowledge on us ... just horrible).
Hot springs
The hot springs not as great as I expected, but nice. Don't bother with the private ones (especially not the "Japanese" style ones). The municipal baths in the town center are the easiest to access. If you want a more relaxed atmosphere then ride the tourist train all the way to the last baths. There you'll find the locals in their swimming costumes socializing, sunbathing, dipping their feet in the river, or just enjoying a long soak. Entry is free. Changing sheds are by the pools, but there is no secure storage, so leave valuables under lock and key at the hostel or bring a ziplock bag and keep them on your person. Remember to bring your swimming costume and towel.
Historic center (around cathedral)
Compact and attractive. Many nice restaurants and bars to one side of the cathedral. Prices are geared to tourists but the quality of the seafood and other dishes is great. Worth splurging if you're not on a tight budget.
Roman bridge
You will cross on the way out of town and you'll see the other bridges if you take the tourist train to the hot springs.

I've never spent long in Ourense so I can't comment on the quality of the museums, but I'd be interested in the archeological museum (since there are remains of old Celtic settlements near Ourense, I believe) and the Galician costume museum.

Should you feel that you're not carry enough equipment, there's a hiking goods shop (Entre Picos) in a side street near the cathedral and there's a Decathlon somewhere in the outskirts of the city.

EDIT - Looks like Peregrina2000 has posted some advice for avoiding the industrial zone in the time that I've been writing this. Good.
 
Last edited:

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
But the "experience" is important.
I rarely disagree with you, @C clearly but feel moved to ask a rhetorical, "Really?" 🙃;)
Nah. I've never eaten pulpo and have had one rewarding camino after another after another.
I stand corrected! The experience was not at all important except to satisfy my curiosity about the supposed delicacy. I was very satisfied to not desire another bite.
you could take the train to Monforte.
That is good to know about the link between the Sanabres and the Invierno. Have you done it? But then I read @peregrina2000 's suggestion about the Sil River Gorge and the Parador San Estevo. I will have to look into those options.
Strap on an N95 mask
By the time I get there in real life, we will all be accustomed to using such regularly, and the N95s will probably be available! Thanks for all the detailed observations and suggestions!
Grelo Hostel - Walking distance from the center. Excellent, clean, modern, hostel.
A few months ago when it looked like I might be in Ourense for part of Semana Santa, I had decided on Hostal Grelo.

I will need to study my KML files more thoroughly to compare routes.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
.
I had no idea Ourense had so many museums. But I didn’t see the Archaeological Museum on that webpage. Maybe that’s because it is closed for renovation. (Though some of the main pieces are being displayed at the San Francisco cloister up next to the old albergue). I was in the museum once years ago and enjoyed it, especially because it is in such a nice old pazo.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
I had no idea Ourense had so many museums. But I didn’t see the Archaeological Museum on that webpage. Maybe that’s because it is closed for renovation. (Though some of the main pieces are being displayed at the San Francisco cloister up next to the old albergue). I was in the museum once years ago and enjoyed it, especially because it is in such a nice old pazo.
I didn't realize that it was under renovation. It was recommended to me by a friend. Tried to find some more information:
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I stand corrected! The experience was not at all important except to satisfy my curiosity about the supposed delicacy. I was very satisfied to not desire another bite.

That is good to know about the link between the Sanabres and the Invierno. Have you done it? But then I read @peregrina2000 's suggestion about the Sil River Gorge and the Parador San Estevo. I will have to look into those options.

By the time I get there in real life, we will all be accustomed to using such regularly, and the N95s will probably be available! Thanks for all the detailed observations and suggestions!

A few months ago when it looked like I might be in Ourense for part of Semana Santa, I had decided on Hostal Grelo.

I will need to study my KML files more thoroughly to compare routes.
Come back, @C clearly — you’ve only got those last 100 kms to go!!!!!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Day 16 - Ourense to Oseira (30 km)

Today I have a decision to make - to the left or right. @peregina2000 says she never found the right-hand route, but both are shown on Gronze - left por Canedo, or right por Tamallancos. And I have two KML tracks on my phone, although the left one seems less precise.

Now I remember why it is so hard to keep going. Each time I post, I want to do a bit of research first, so I can ask intelligent questions. My KML route to the right looks very clear, but @peregrina2000 went to the left, which I don't have marked on my Google Earth view on my computer. Now I need to find the sources for my 2 KML files, so I can post them for comparison. I have spent at least 30 minutes puzzling over this, and have found a few clues, but I definitely haven't figured it out yet. For example, here is a screenshot that looks useful, but I have lost track of where it was. I'm sure you can help!
Sanabres.JPG

Now I have checked out Mandras and just after the Bar Mandras, I found what might be an arrow to the left for the route over a forested area.
Bar Mandras.JPG

Now I am rushing to keep up with @peregrina2000 and @Raggy , not to mention @Peregrinopaul on his bicycle, who are faster than I! In any case, they are providing so much good information that I can study it all later - maybe when I have more time! (How is it that virtual lockdown during a pandemic still doesn't provide enough time! 🤔 )

Right now, I am going out for a real walk before the afternoon is gone. :)
 
Last edited:

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I am pretty sure most people walk the left hand route, but I could be wrong. That is the route that goes past the Ourense bus barn (well, maybe the bus barn is before the split) and the killer uphill on asphalt that is short but that leaves you panting. See nyc’s description.

This is not an exhilarating or breathtaking stage by any means, but at least on the left hand route there are several really nice green tunnel stretches.

In O Reguengo, Casa César is there offering coffee and cake/cookie on a donativo basis. My personal advice would be to wait the extra 3 km to get to Mandrás where there is a real bar. I did not enjoy chatting with him and felt no sense of hospitality, more like someone just taking advantage. But others may have had a different experience. My French companions said it was the worst and the coldest coffee they had had on any camino.

Anyway, Cea is a cute little town, but I have heard that the albergue there frequently has bed bugs.
The building itself is historic and seemed nicely remodeled. I’ve never slept there, but have either walked on to Castro Dozón or taken the detour to Oseira. Two things worth eating in Cea are the bread and the pulpo (I know we share the same idea about pulpo, but for those who like it, the pulpería here gets rave reviews).

So if you can continue on 8 more kms, you could spend the night in the albergue in the monastery of Oseira. Though it was the coldest and dampest night I have ever spent in an albergue, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It is a magical place. The showers were about a ten minute walk from the albergue down tiny winding corridors of the monastery — it was really something. The tour of the monastery was great. I also met a cyclist who was spending four days there in their hospedería as part of a spiritual retreat, but I believe that option is only open to men. There are (or at least were) two bars in town, and the owners seemed to be in a competition to see who could be the rudest and most indifferent to pilgrims. But we had a meal, so we were satisfied. I have now visited a number of albergues in monasteries on many caminos, and you have to give it to the site-selection committee, because they always choose spectacular locations.

So, come on, @C clearly, stretch those legs and carry on to Oseira, you will not regret it.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Left or right? I don't know. Of the eight times I've walked out of Ourense, I think I've done four of each. The last couple of times I've taken the right. It's a km longer, but, I think, less steep and less tarmac, and gives some impressive views back down over the Miño valley. It also avoids the bad coffee and indifferent conversation of Casa César - I share Laurie's opinion of its host, but many pilgrims seem to like him.

If it's been raining hard I've tended to stay at Cea - with the world's only DOC bread - whose albergue I like (especially since the motion-sensitive lighting has been removed), where I've never been bitten by bed-bugs, and whose shy hospitalero is a gaita expert. But, after pulpo at the pulpería, heading on towards Oseira is my recommendation. Vespers in the huge partially deserted monastery there is a wonderful experience. It's a beautiful building in a lovely secluded valley - Graham Greene set the conclusion to one of his later novels there and was a regular visitor.

The monastery's albergue/tithe barn is, shall we say politely, basic, and indeed was often very cold on my five stays in various Novembers and Decembers, but perfectly comfortable and there are plenty of blankets. The former brother hospitalero Fray Luis is quite a respected artist, and used to give little icons he'd painted of Christ to passing pilgrims - I have three of them in my study.
 

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
An auspicious moment for me to turn up again.
Naturally I’ve taken the road route out of Ourense, And I made it without having to get off and push, so it doesn’t rank as an absolute killer climb for me, but was certainly a major challenge. From there on was a pleasant pedal to Cea, After a refreshing break at the bar in the square, I pushed on to the monastery, arriving just in time for the 11am mass.

What an imposing sight the monastery is! And of course it is a world unto itself. I was thrilled at the prospect of spending the next 24 hours there, and devastated to find that the albergue was booked out by a secondary school party. After some discussion between the very sympathetic volunteer hospitalero and the teachers, it was arranged that a mattress would be provided for me on the floor at the entrance end of the barrel-vaulted dormitory. That suited me just fine. (The showers were adjacent to the dormitory, but perhaps just male.)

I had a special reason to be looking forward to this stay. I am very familiar with monastic life, having in my youth, along with my father and three brothers, stayed for extended periods at a Cistercian monastery in England, (Mt St Bernard’s), - a life-long friend of my father’s became a monk there. So attendance at Compline that night, in the monks’ choir, was a very emotional experience for me, particularly because I was able to participate in the singing of the final prayer, Salve Regina.

2012 was the year that Spain won the European cup, and they won it on that very day. I watched it with the students and teachers at the bar across from the monastery in an atmosphere of pandemonium! A startling contrast.

Here's the imposing complex as you approach on the road.
P7011078.jpeg
And a view fro the hills nearby
P7011082.jpeg
At the morning mass
P7011036.jpeg
The old monk in the picture below knew Ernest Hemingway, who visited here once, and he was also a friend of Graham Greene who stayed here on retreat at least twice. Oseira featured in Greene's hilarious novella "Monsignor Quixote". When the BBC filmed the story many years ago, with Alec Guiness in the title role, they were given permission to film the final scene at the monastery.
P7011040.jpeg
This is part of the nave, which has a vault that seems to defy gravity
P7011069.jpeg
The albergue entrance in the building on the left. The abbey library is above.
P7021089.jpeg
My bed...
P7021087.jpeg
The dorm
P7021086.jpeg
The European Cup final
P7021092.jpeg
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
if you can continue on 8 more kms, you could spend the night in the albergue in the monastery of Oseira.
it was the coldest and dampest night I have ever spent in an albergue
What an imposing sight the monastery is! And of course it is a world unto itself.
I will give this a try - if the weather is good and I feel energetic. Then I will be able to compare the monastery with the monastery in Samos, to see which wins the cold and damp contest. I have edited my last post to show that I'm walking to Oseira. I will need to add some information to my spreadsheet.

This is a good reason to review some Graham Greene. I really cannot remember if I have read Monsignor Quixote (this happens a lot), but I found this 1982 review of it. I have been listening to Don Quixote as an audio book when I walk. I am at Chapter 61 of 74 and I'm eager to get finished. It will be interesting to read Greene after having listened to the original.
 

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
CAABABBD-17EB-402C-9D86-5BE8B757BE3B.jpeg
From Fr Leopoldo’s affectionate biography of G Greene.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
I have edited my last post to show that I'm walking to Oseira.
You lucky pilgrim. On both occasions, I've allowed others to set my pace on this section - which has always meant taking the shorter route. For that reason, I can only tell you about Ourense to Cea.

There are actually three options for leaving Ourense - Two options to the left (one which is famously steep and the other that goes past the hot springs). I've only ever gone right.

Whether you go left or right, I think that you will first cross the Roman bridge. Look for cafe Don Gaetano on the left after you cross the river. It's popular in the mornings, because they give away a piece of cake with every cup of coffee. if you're greedy, you can order some toast with tomato too. Just what you need to put a spring in your step before the climb.

For a city that sells itself as one of the 100km points for starting a Camino, Ourense could do a better job of marking the way out of town. Continuing on your way after cafe Don Gaetano, you'll come to the bifurcation point at the junction with the Avenida de Santiago (which goes off to the right). The dividing of the ways is marked by a huge stone on a traffic island in the middle of a zebra crossing with arrows pointing left and right. Although the stone is large, it makes much less impression than a brightly painted arrow. On a cloudy day, it just blends into the background. The arrows along the Avenida de Santiago are also rather shy. My instructions, if you decide to follow that route, are in this old thread:

I quite like the walk out of Ourense. I think the climb gets an unfair rap. That may be because folks who start in Ourense find it to be a rude shock in the first hour of their first day of their first camino. If you've come all the way from Zamora, it will get your blood pumping but not in a bad way. At the top of the hill, you may be treated to a gorgeous view over the city.

The walk to Cea is on hard surfaces but very pretty. It passes through some prosperous villages. Now that you're within 100km of Santiago, the signs of the pilgrimage economy are much more evident. At the entrance to villages like Tamallancos there are signs to lure you to the cafes and bars that offer pilgrim breakfasts, and elevenses, and lunches, and afternoon beers, and ....The owners know their customers. They will offer to stamp your credential without prompting. Take the stamp. You're in two stamps per day territory now.

Cea itself is a lovely village. There used to be bakeries on every corner - Today, you can view the ruins of those beautiful stone buildings and the horreos. If you feel like stopping here instead of continuing to the monastery, I don't think you'll regret it. The albergue is a really nice conversion of a huge, old, stone building. When I was there in November 2019, I was very surprised to find that Orlando, the hospitalero was out in the field at the entrance of the town, waiting for me (the only pilgrim that day) to arrive. The heating was on, and he came back in the evening to guide me to the pulperia. He isn't talkative, but I really appreciated his hospitality.

On my last visit, the pulperia was closed. Too bad, because it's better value than the fancier restaurants by the cathedral in Ourense (I like them too but you'll spend two to three times as much there). Fortunately, there's another very acceptable menu peregrino at the restaurant on the way into town. During a black out last year - no electricity in the entire pueblo - the owners cooked us a perfect dinner by candlelight. They apologized for the limited options - a couple of soups, two or three choices of main dish with vegetables, and home made flan - but no apology was needed. It was all nicely done and served with the famous, local, rye bread.

Enjoy the route through Oseira. I'll see you in Castro Dozon!
 
Last edited:

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Aha! I am glad to know there are two left hand routes out of Ourense! I have taken both of them, unknowingly, because I definitely remember that on only one of them did I pass the baths. I assumed the route had been changed. But I know I took that same steep road up after going through the little tunnel, so maybe I somehow merged the two. Are you saying, Raggy, that the route that goes by the baths does not go up the steep road?

And more questions for you, @Raggy — do you remember passing the huge bus barn for all city buses? We were walking by once as the fleet was leaving in the early morning and nearly every single driver honked and waved, it was a nice sendoff. I’m just trying to figure out where these routes are, maybe time to do some hunting on wikiloc. But @C clearly should be able to make it with the info she has here!
 
Last edited:

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Are you saying, Raggy, that the route that goes by the baths does not go up the steep road?
Having only gone right, I regret I don't know for sure. You may be correct that both routes go up the same steep road. With Ourense sitting in a valley, there's no way to avoid a climb of some sort.

The people in the tourist office in the center of Ourense gave me a map of the city and were very patient with me as I tried to make up my mind which way to go. If I recall correctly, the main "left route" is the shortest, but is steeper and less scenic (maybe this is where you saw the bus depot). The main "right route" is slightly further with a slightly less steep climb (and only a very short stretch of ugly buildings on the Av. de Santiago). The route via the baths might be a compromise - a bit further than the main "left" route but a bit prettier. It's possible that this route is not marked.

Don't take my word for it, though. I'm trying to remember what the tourist information center told me in 2017.

@Raggy — do you remember passing the huge bus barn for all city buses?
Pretty sure that I didn't pass a big bus barn.
 
Last edited:

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
We were walking by once as the fleet was leaving in the early morning and nearly every single driver honked and waved, it was a nice sendoff.
Fantastic!
I had a train toot at me on the Invierno - it made my day. A fleet of buses would have me grinning from ear to ear.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Day 17 - Oseira to Estación de Lalín (27 km) or A Laxe (33 km)

It looks straightforward, leaving the monastery and passing though Castro Dozón to join the other route from Cea. Then walking to Estación de Lalín. But where is the albergue in Estación.

I see that Albergue A Laxe is nowhere near the "A Laxe" en route to Pontevedra, so I must be sure to walk on toward Bendoiro.

Following the roads on Google Earth, I even saw a pilgrim walking. I wonder if she knows she is there.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I think you‘ve got your distances a bit off. Oseira to A Laxe is, according to Gronze, 29. But staying in A Laxe may or may not be your cup of tea. I’ve been in the albergue several times, and it is not always well maintained. The building itself is kind of weird, but functional. Biggest empty kitchen I can remember In any albergue, except for maybe Lugo.

I walked the Invierno last year (it meets the Sanabrés in A Laxe) and went on a km or two past Laxe for a splurge at Pazo Bendoiro. I think the room was 50 or 60 € but the same room would have been twice that a few days later in Santiago, so I went for it. And it was the 4th of July, US Independence Day, so it all seemed to fall together. I had a late lunch, an excellent menú del día, and the rest of the day lounging around. The Pazo has large grounds with lots of sitting spots, very nice common areas. The next morning the little reading room was equipped with a decent breakfast, and a microwave to heat the coffee. Staff is extremely kind and not at all “uppity” at the sight of a ragged peregrina in their fancy digs. So if you are feeling like a splurge at this point, that is definitely the way to go.
 

Attachments

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
So if you are feeling like a splurge at this point, that is definitely the way to go.
I'm in Chantada tonight on my virtual Invierno, so thanks for this, Laurie. I'll push ahead on my daily walk to make sure I land there! It sure looked like a nice spot - much nicer than Silleda or Bandeira.
 
Last edited:

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
If, by some accident, you find yourself setting off from Cea rather than from Oseira, I recommend breakfast at the bar cafe Vaticano - Fresh juice, good bread, good coffee, nice atmosphere.

The walking is quite pleasant - a mix of paths and quiet roads. One or two very beautiful vistas over the rolling hills of this part of Galicia. No major challenges. You'll cross the major highway to Santiago a couple of times and you'll be walking along parallel roads at times but at other times (e.g. immediately after Estación de Lalin) you'll be on delightful narrow paths. You might meet the local farmers and their livestock walking along here.

I think it's in Castro Dozon that there's a bar with what looks like it used to be a supermarket at the back. If you inquire about food, the owner will apologize for not having any ... And then he will offer to throw together a sandwich or an omelet, which turns out to be absolutely perfect. made with ingredients from the store. I've had the identical experience twice - Perfectly pleasant but kind of odd.

It looks straightforward, leaving the monastery and passing though Castro Dozón to join the other route from Cea. Then walking to Estación de Lalín. But where is the albergue in Estación?
Pilgrim accommodation in Estación de Lalin is in a big yellow building across the road from the Taberna A Vento, which is where you need to go to pick up the keys. It's not exactly "directly on" the camino as Bronze suggests, but as long as you go into the village, you can't miss it. The accommodation is quite comfortable - Best value if you're with friends is to share a basic room with multiple beds and a shared shower.. The taverna is ideal for dinner and breakfast too - Very warm welcome and good, home-cooked regional food. Some pilgrims who stayed in the village at the same time as us were very happy with the rooms at a private house, which are not listed on the Gronze website. I guess they must be in a guidebook.

If you push on beyond Estación de Lalin, the next option on the Sanabres is A Laxe (sometimes referred to as Lalin A Laxe). From the outside, the albergue looks great, but have read some less enthusiastic comments like Peregrina2000's review above. It was recently renovated by the Xunta, so it should be watertight now. The kitchen might still be unequipped, though - I've seen photos of pilgrims who ordered a pizza delivery there. If you don't fancy pizza, there's a restaurant on the main road.

A Laxe places you somewhat further along the Camino - allowing you to take different options over the next two days. If you want a short last day into Santiago, you might prefer to march on as far as A Laxe.

The other place that I've stayed - by happy accident - is the Albergue in Lalin city center. The Camino de Invierno passes through the center of Lalin. The Sanabres passes about 4km to the south of it - so it's really not on the Sanabres. Lalin is a rust-belt kind of town with few fancy buildings and plenty of shuttered businesses these days. But the private albergue there is quite luxurious and the owner is one of the best. Confusingly, the A Laxe Albergue is also sometimes referred to as a Lalin albergue. A Laxe falls under the Lalin municipality I guess. I don't hear anyone else talking about this, though, so I may be the only one who gets tied in knots over it. I hope I don't infect anyone else with my discombobulation.

If anyone on a virtual invierno is going to join us, they'll do it at the albergue in A Laxe. The two paths converge exactly at that point. I find that strangely satisfying. But if they have any sense, they'll have spent the night at the Lalin Centro albergue.

Looking at what I've written, I see that I've jumped all over the place - Hope it's not confusing.
4C8CB02A-7E1F-43A4-BA49-2C6D6A6D2039.jpeg
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
But if they have any sense, they'll have spent the night at the Lalin Centro albergue.
I can also I can also give this place a very enthusiastic recommendation. The owners also have the pizza place up the street. It was great pizza too - or I thought so, anyway. Maybe I was just starved for variety. The people were really really lovely and very Pilgrim friendly.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I think you‘ve got your distances a bit off
Thanks - I've fixed them.
Confusingly, the A Laxe Albergue is also sometimes referred to as a Lalin albergue. A Laxe falls under the Lalin municipality I guess. I don't hear anyone else talking about this, though, so I may be the only one who gets tied in knots over it. I hope I don't infect anyone else with my discombobulation.
I'm glad to know I wasn't the only person confused. I spent quite a bit of time combobulating myself. I never knew until minutes ago that that was a word. I have been familiar with discombulation but didn't know it could be undone.)

a km or two past Laxe for a splurge at Pazo Bendoiro.
I'll push ahead on my daily walk to make sure I land there!
Thanks for this recommendation. VN and I can meet up there, and maybe walk into Santiago together! :) 👣
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
I'm glad to know I wasn't the only person confused. I spent quite a bit of time combobulating myself. I never knew until minutes ago that that was a word. I have been familiar with discombulation but didn't know it could be undone.)
Some airports in the US have signs for "recombobulation zones" after the security area. An attempt to bring some levity to the experience, I think.
 

Get on our Mailing list for new products on the Camino Store and news from the Camino Forum








Advertisement

Booking.com

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter






Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 16 1.3%
  • February

    Votes: 10 0.8%
  • March

    Votes: 54 4.2%
  • April

    Votes: 193 15.1%
  • May

    Votes: 318 25.0%
  • June

    Votes: 93 7.3%
  • July

    Votes: 23 1.8%
  • August

    Votes: 27 2.1%
  • September

    Votes: 363 28.5%
  • October

    Votes: 154 12.1%
  • November

    Votes: 17 1.3%
  • December

    Votes: 6 0.5%
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock