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Virtual walk on the Camino de Madrid - Detailed planning

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
We are about to walk on the Camino de Madrid for about 328 km from Madrid to Sahagun, where it joins the Camino Frances. I have not walked this route yet, but it is very high on my list of routes to walk next.

Every 2 or 3 days, I will make a post announcing a new stage/etapa. That gives everyone a chance to ask questions or contribute knowledge on that stage. Then we go on to the next stage. At the end, moderators will tidy up the thread, and rearrange some material so that the thread provides a good chronological account.

I will be working from a spreadsheet that lists towns and villages along the route, with distances between them. It is attached here (updated to correspond to our virtual thread) as a PDF file, but you shouldn’t rely on the information I have gathered. If you would like the Excel spreadsheet, send me a private Conversation with your email address.

I will post in 14-stages. Some people will want to walk it in fewer days, and some will take longer. We’ll gather the information for you to decide.

Here are some of the key resources I will be checking as we walk:
It is very difficult in these times to get accurate details in advance, on albergue availability - because of both seasonal openings/closings and issues related to Covid. You should be prepared to confirm such details from the Camino itself.

On my phone I have KML tracks on maps.me. The full route from Madrid to Sahagun is given by rayyrosa’s track here. @peregrina2000 has found the following more recent tracks posted by Daniarkansas on Wikiloc:
As an alternative starting point, the Camino Mendocino starts in Guadalajara, and joins the Camino de Madrid 96km (3 or 4 days) later. There are some good threads on it in the Camino Mendocino sub-forum.

Next post will be Day 0 in Madrid!
 

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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Day 0 – Madrid – Finding Iglesia de Santiago, and Plaza de Castilla

Many of us will be flying into Madrid. It would be satisfying to walk from the airport, but I don’t think it is realistic. What do you think? Could I walk from the airport to the town of Barajas, spend the night, and then walk into Madrid? Would I want to?

I am looking for a hostal in the Sol area. I’m thinking the since there is a train from Sol station to Tres Cantos and Colmenar Viejo, if I choose, I could to walk there over a couple of days, returning to Madrid each night.

There is lots to do in Madrid, but at the start of a Camino, I am mostly focused on starting the walk. I’ll need to get a SIM card for my phone, stock up on snacks, adjust to the time zone, and get a stamp at the Iglesia de Santiago y San Juan Bautista, where the Camino de Madrid officially begins. I understand that the yellow arrows start at the Plaza de Castilla.

If you don’t have your credencial, the Asociación de Amigos del Camino de Santiago de Madrid apparently has open hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

So, peregrinos, do you have recommendations for a hostal in Madrid? Advice about the Iglesia de Santiago? Which is the best route through the city to the Plaza de Castilla? (Save the rest of the route to Tres Cantos for Day 1.)

Day 1 (next post in a couple of days) will take us from Madrid to Tres Cantos.
 
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sharon w

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2007
Camino Portugues 2009
Via Podiensis, Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre 2012
Cammino di Assisi 2014
Via Podiensis, Camino del Norte, Camino Frances(Astorga to Santiago) 2015
Aussie Camino 2016
After a long flight from Australia, I am thinking of staying 2 nights in a bit of luxury before I start walking. I have decided on Hostal Central Palace,Plaza de Oriente, Madrid.
 
Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
I liked the Hostal Mayor a lot - it's very central and pilgrim-friendly.
C. Mayor, 5, 28013 Madrid.

A little more out of the way and a tad more expensive is the Hotel Ganivet, C. de Toledo, 111, 113, 28005 Madrid. Nice, but the room was a bit small - perhaps since 3 of us were sharing. The breakfast was super. Because we split the cost, it was quite reasonable, and the metro is close.

Would I want to?
I posted a way to walk from the airport to (I think) Tres Cantos on another thread. I'm posting it here below...but in all honesty I wouldn't want to do that. Madrid is a lovely place to 'land' in Span for a day or two.

Theoretically it's possible; each of the crossings on this route that OSMand came up with is an actual over- or underpass. But whar's on the ground in reality is another story. Even if it's possible, I wouldn't want to try this without a good map and gps routefinding ability - there are many zigs and zags.
Here also is someone's bike route:
Check out this trail!
https://www.wikiloc.com/mountain-bi...s-y-parque-forestal-de-valdebebas-3c-36620229 (Tres Cantos-Vuelta al Aeropuerto de Barajas y Parque Forestal de Valdebebas-3C) at #wikiloc
If you have time on your hands to visit the city before you walk, here's a guide that has a lot of good local information. I'm headed to see the Goyas at Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida! https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/spain/madrid-local-guide/
 
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Past OR future Camino
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18Norte
I Stay 2 nights in Madrid after my long flights .I often stay in Hostal Persal which I love but it is expensive. Before my Camino Madrid in 2019 I stayed in Hostal Atocha Almudena Martin, cheaper and very central.
First day I walked along a Boulevard to Plaza de Castilla,( straight with pedestrian path in the middle) and took the Metro back to Sol and retraced this next morning.
Johnny Walker's guide was great.
 
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ranthr

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
Since I’ll arrive in the evening I have booked 2 nights at the hotel Chamartin, and use the first day to walk from the chuch to Fuencarral or Tres Cantos without my backpack. The hotel at Chamartin railway station was cheaper than hotels in Tres Cantos, I have stayed there before, and it is close to Plaza de Castilla.
 
Past OR future Camino
Many and many more.
I’d have arrived on a late flight and taken the Aerobús from the airport into Atocha. Big yellow bus every 15 minutes, stopping at Cebiles and Atocha for €5, cash only.

I’d be staying at ‘Sleep’n Atocha’ if only one night or Hostal Gonzalo on Calle Cervantes if two or more.

Hostal Mayor on Sol is great, but hard to get into (as it’s busy) and Senora is often out walking her dogs in the afternoon; so check-in can involve a bit of waiting!

If I wanted a credencial from the church of St Juan Batista I’d be allowing a day in Madrid as the Amigos are only there on certain days and only open from mid morning. It involves a leisurely conversation as they don’t get too many visitors.
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Who knows when I might be back this way again, so I’ll allow an extra day and take the a short train ride to Toledo. What a wonderful day spent exploring this town with its rich history and cultures - Arabic, Jewish and Christian. Wow!
Again with you and Toledo! ;)

Actually I really like it too, although it's been years since I've been there. My favourite photo from Toledo shows Hebrew and Arabic inscriptions together at La Sinagoga del Transito:
 

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Lots happening here!

Which is the best route through the city to the Plaza de Castilla?
Most GPS tracks seem to go up the Calle Bravo Murillo to get to the Plaza Castilla. The Paseo de la Castellana is a much nicer option (mostly a tree-lined boulevard with a very wide walking path with cafés in the middle). I’ve put in two different ways to get to the Castellana from the church. Both are very pleasant, but I have a slight preference for the first one since it takes you on the pedestrian Calle Fuencarral, past the Plateresque facade of the Municipal Museum, and through a bunch of plazas with loads of cafés restaurants, etc. One of my favorites is the Café Comercial on the Plaza de Bilbao. It was the favorite morning coffee place for Tierno de Galván, Socialist opposition leader in late Franco days and eventually mayor of Madrid after the transition. At that time it used to have all the newspapers available for reading with those long wooden poles inserted, like I imagine you would see in a Viennese café.

And then once on the Castellana you will go past the Estadio Bernabeu, home of Real Madrid. Bravo Murillo, on the other hand is unshaded and nowhere near as interesting, IMO.
 

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
A few other scattered things.

. It would be satisfying to walk from the airport, but I don’t think it is realistic.
I love walking as much as the next guy but I think this would border on suicidal. I do not think there are any sidewalks at all.

For those arriving at the airport, this is probably all old news but just in case, you can take the metro or the Cercanías commuter train to the center. The Cercanías is the far superior method, and there are now two lines going into downtown so you won’t have more than a 15 minute wait. Neither goes direct to Puerta del Sol, but you can easily change at Chamartín Station. If you land in T4 (which is for Iberia and its partners) it’s super easy. If you land in T1-3 you would have to get over to T4 on a free airport shuttle bus. The metro on the route to the airport will get crowded and, sorry to say, will be loaded with pickpockets. All looking for bleary eyed foreigners like you.

I think the church of Santiago and San Juan opens at 10 am for a sello. A forum member was just there and I can confirm it with him.

The first arrows are still outside the Rodilla sandwich store just north of the Plaza de Castilla on the left side.

The exit from Madrid has no ugly industrial parts. It is the nicest and quickest exit from a city of all the ones I’ve walked, except maybe Santiago on the route to Finisterre. Once you cross under the M-40 (or is it M-30, not sure), BAM, the city ends and you are in the fields on your way to Tres Cantos. I know this is technically outside the directions of our leader that we shouldn’t start talking about the walk but I wanted to preempt the usual questions about — should I take the metro to get out of the ugly parts of the city?
 

Ian L

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances summer 2017 (SJPP to Fromista)
Camino Frances summer 2019 (Fromista to Santiago)
I'm going to stop at Decathlon at C. del Arenal while walking through Madrid to pick up some trekking poles. Last trip to Madrid my checked bag didn't make the transfer in Dublin, probably due to the short layover over time.
 

dagomez

New Member
Hi just finished Aragones, San Salvador, Primitivo routes and now I'm hanging out here in Madrid for 4 nights until I return to the US Friday. I was curious about Madrid camino. Yesterday I went to Iglesia de Santiago. I walked to Plaza Castilla which was simple and was told yellow arrows would commence there. The plaza is huge with metro and bus stations, skyscrapers etc. If I was in the right place (?) please share where you pick up the Camino. I asked a policeman, went to the information office asked around and nobody knew of the Madrid Camino. Good idea to talk to the association but for sure get some clarity on where to pick up signage. I'm interested in doing next spring. Buen Camino
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
. I walked to Plaza Castilla which was simple and was told yellow arrows would commence there. The plaza is huge with metro and bus stations, skyscrapers etc. If I was in the right place (?) please share where you pick up the Camino
Hi, @dagomaz,

Which streets did you wlk on through Madrid? I’ve got a few suggestions a couple of posts up that are a good alternative to what seems to be the standard up Bravo Murillo.

The arrows start outside the Rodilla sandwich shop just north of the plaza de Castilla. Screen shot attached from google maps.

0FE19556-26D9-4049-8E16-69BA4C761011.png
 

Scott Sweeney

Active Member
We are about to walk on the Camino de Madrid for about 328 km from Madrid to Sahagun, where it joins the Camino Frances. I have not walked this route yet, but it is very high on my list of routes to walk next.

Every 2 or 3 days, I will make a post announcing a new stage/etapa. That gives everyone a chance to ask questions or contribute knowledge on that stage. Then we go on to the next stage. At the end, moderators will tidy up the thread, and rearrange some material so that the thread provides a good chronological account.

I will be working from a spreadsheet that lists towns and villages along the route, with distances between them. It is attached here as a PDF file, but you shouldn’t rely on the information I have gathered. I’ll be making corrections and additions as we go. If you would like the Excel spreadsheet, send me a private Conversation with your email address.

I will probably post in 14-stages. Some people will want to walk it in fewer days, and some will take longer. We’ll gather the information for you to decide.

Here are some of the key resources I will be checking as we walk:
On my phone I have KML tracks on maps.me. The full route from Madrid to Sahagun is given by rayyrosa’s track here. @peregrina2000 has found the following more recent tracks posted by Daniarkansas on Wikiloc:
As an alternative starting point, the Camino Mendocino starts in Guadalajara, and joins the Camino de Madrid 96km (3 or 4 days) later. There are some good threads on it in the Camino Mendocino sub-forum.

Next post will be Day 0 in Madrid!
We were glad we walked this route but wouldn't do it again. End of October 2019 into mid November. The infrastructure just doesn't exist. It was wet and the white mud was terrible. We did take an off route tour to Valladolid.
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
I really would not be in a rush to leave Madrid to start the Camino if you can possibly swing it, or spend time there at the end. You are in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with fabulous Art galleries, food, architecture, gardens, great transport etc etc. It has a budget for everyone, (unless you arrive when there is a football cup final - seriously, check!!)

Hostal Residencia Fernandez, opposite the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte is a very good choice, especially if there are two or more of you.
 

jenny@zen

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Via De la Plata
Arriving in Madrid on an early morning flight from Toulouse we were soon checked in to the Hostal San Lorenzo, a 3 star hotel - comfortable room, good facilities and friendly staff, just off the Gran Via and a short walk to just about everywhere. We were not familiar with Madrid but we found this to be a great location.

We used the day to wander around the city. Two highlights - the magnificent Catedral de La Almudena (especially the interior) and the modest but fabulously named Real Igelsias Parroquial de Santiago y San Juan Bautista in the Plaza de Santiago - this would be the starting point of our Camino Madrid two days later.

We were able to get our Credenciale del Peregrino and enjoy a brief chat with the local priest and volunteers. We will be returning here early on Monday morning to begin our Camino - we could just start from our hostal - but we kinda like starting from this small church so we don't mind making the loop back.

The Camino de Madrid credenciale (pictures attached) is quite a special document - one of my favourites.

Things are off to a good start!
 

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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Flying in from Australia, we will definitely stay more than a couple of nights in Madrid.
Many moons ago, on our way to our honeymoon in the Canary Islands, we stayed in Madrid one night. So we're keen to discover the city and its sights.
That will give us plenty of time to obtain our credencial (Gracias for the photo of yours, @jenny@zen ), and check which way we have to head off when we finally start walking.
 

jenny@zen

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Via De la Plata
The exit from Madrid has no ugly industrial parts. It is the nicest and quickest exit from a city of all the ones I’ve walked, except maybe Santiago on the route to Finisterre.
I agree. While normally a little apprehensive about walking in to and out of large cities, we followed the suggestion of @peregrina2000 for the walk out of Madrid. We made an early start and stopped at a delightful cafe for coffee and croissants along the way. It was an enjoyable walk.
 

jenny@zen

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Via De la Plata
What kind of infrastructure are you referring to, @Scott Sweeney? I guess this will come out as we go through the stages,

My imppression has always been that the pilgrim infrastructure on the Camino de Madrid is way above and beyond what you would expect for a camino with so few pilgrims. Lots of terrific albergues just there waiting for you.
That was also our experience back in 2018. Good albergue or alternative in all usual stops - and often we were the only ones there or with one or two others. I guess not a lot in terms of cafe stops along the way - as you’d see on the Frances - but we were not expecting that level of infrastructure. Waymarking also very good. We still took a wrong turn coming out of Tres Cantos - pilgrim error - but we will get to that 🤣
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
The infrastructure just doesn't exist.
What kind of infrastructure are you referring to, @Scott Sweeney? I guess this will come out as we go through the stages,

But here is a thread that breaks it down for shorter stages.

Álvaro Lazaga walked backwards on a large part of the camino de Madrid recently, so even in covid I can say it’s doable.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
I really would not be in a rush to leave Madrid to start the Camino if you can possibly swing it, or spend time there at the end. You are in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with fabulous Art galleries, food, architecture, gardens, great transport etc etc. It has a budget for everyone
Agree. I would try to do a bit of sightseeing at the start, but more at the end of my trip. Maybe we need a separate thread on Madrid.
thank you P2K!
I love this new nickname for @peregrina2000 !
We were glad we walked this route but wouldn't do it again. End of October 2019 into mid November. The infrastructure just doesn't exist. It was wet and the white mud was terrible.
Nothing will discourage hardcore pilgrims like us! :cool:

do you have recommendations for a hostal in Madrid?
In the past I have stayed, and been happy with: Hostales Astoria, Internacional, Gonzalo, and Bruña.
 
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Past OR future Camino
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18Norte
Most GPS tracks seem to go up the Calle Bravo Murillo to get to the Plaza Castilla. The Paseo de la Castellana is a much nicer option (mostly a tree-lined boulevard with a very wide walking path with cafés in the middle). I’ve put in two different ways to get to the Castellana from the church. Both are very pleasant, but I have a slight preference for the first
Yes, it was the Paseo de Castellana that I used. It was lovely. I got my sello after the 7pm mass in the Iglesia.

(I must be honest that was in 2018 on my aborted Camino Madrid. I was determined to to return and 2019 I took a taxi to Plaza Castilla which took forever in the rush hour.)
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Day 1 – Madrid to Tres Cantos (23 km)

It is time to get started on Stage 1 from Madrid, northward through the city, to Tres Cantos.

As @p2k (@peregrina2000) alerted us...
The arrows start outside the Rodilla sandwich shop just north of the plaza de Castilla. Screen shot attached from google maps.

0FE19556-26D9-4049-8E16-69BA4C761011.png

The exit from Madrid has no ugly industrial parts. It is the nicest and quickest exit from a city of all the ones I’ve walked, except maybe Santiago on the route to Finisterre. Once you cross under the M-40 (or is it M-30, not sure), BAM, the city ends and you are in the fields on your way to Tres Cantos.
Tres Cantos is a "satellite city" built in the 1970s. There are hotels, and a municipal albergue that appears to be closed temporarily (likely due to Covid). Even in normal times, I've read that you must get the key from the Policia during specific hours, and Gronze says that pilgrims must leave by 6 a.m. That is partly why I'll consider taking the commuter train back to Madrid. I don't like to walk in the dark, and I'll still be jet lagged anyway, so who knows how I'll be sleeping!

In fact, I might do this stage in two days - returning by train from Fuencarral one day and from Tres Cantos the next, to stay those nights in Madrid. I would take the train from Sol station to the point where I stopped walking the day before.

Apparently there is an alternate route across the Monte del Pardo. Does anyone have information on it?

The walk to Fuencarral appears to be entirely urban. What is the walking like from there to Tres Cantos?
 
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Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
To throw an interesting option in the ring here, for anyone who may have done the Madrid before and wants tovtry something new:
The Senda Real (GR-124) starts at Principe Pio, and merges with the camino a bit before Tres Cantos.

With the exception of needing to dodge around a big interchange behind the university, it looks less urban than the camino, going through a number of parks. For those allergic to asphalt this route looks like it has much less than the way through the city.

Here is a wikiloc track with lots of comments and photos.
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/gr-124-1-madrid-principe-pio-senda-real-tres-cantos-36969658 (GR-124 (1) Madrid (Príncipe Pío), Senda Real, Tres Cantos) at #wikiloc

Any really dedicated peregrin@ willing to spend an extra night in Madrid to do both two days in succession, then post their feedback for us here? (Not serious) 🙃
 
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jenny@zen

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Via De la Plata
After a quite leisurely 23 km walk from Madrid to Tres Cantos, and having read about the rules of the albergue, including some unverified commentary about being locked in til morning, we found ourselves at the very comfortable Hotel Jardin de Tres Cantos. Arriving mid afternoon we were still able to get lunch nearby (Spanish Way). At 65 euros pn for a twin / double room it would be our most expensive night but we were happy with the choice.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
As I mentioned elsewhere on this forum, my darling and I are slow walkers. Rachel has had cancer and although she starts the day often much stronger than I do, she gets tired by early afternoon, as a result of her treatment and medication. No lullaby needed when she goes to bed! So we prefer short stages, 15km being ideal, hopefully not more than 20km.

With this in mind, and looking at walking out of a big city, I was happy to read that:
The exit from Madrid has no ugly industrial parts. It is the nicest and quickest exit from a city of all the ones I’ve walked, except maybe Santiago on the route to Finisterre.
I quite like the idea of doing:
this stage in two days - returning by train from Fuencarral one day and from Tres Cantos the next, to stay those nights in Madrid.
I looked up the Madrid Metro maps, and it appears the linea 10 will take us to Fuencarral and to Tres Olivos. Both stations are virtually on the Camino. The Cercanias line C4 also stops in Fuencarral (the Cercanias station is further from the Camino than the Metro), and also to Tres Cantos.

So slow walkers have options:
a) take a metro to Fuencarral and walk from there to Tres Cantos, which is roughly 14 to 15km
b) walk to Fuencarral/Tres Olivos and take the metro back to the accommodation in Madrid, and the next morning take the train back to either of these stations and continue walking from there.
c) walk to Fuencarral, stay a night in Fuencarral and then continue the next day to Tres Cantos.

My darling likes option b), as it would allow her to walk without a backpack on day 1 ☺️

In Fuencarral, Gronze gives us some options if we want to take option c).
In Tres Cantos, as we often prefer to have some privacy, so we'll go with @jenny@zen 's choice:
the very comfortable Hotel Jardin de Tres Cantos

The Senda Real (GR-124) starts at Principe Pio, and merges with the camino a bit before Tres Cantos.
Looks nice, my only concern being that it might not be that easy to break this into two days for slow walkers.
 
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ranthr

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
When I returned via Madrid from Santiago in 2018 I gave up the metro since it was impossible to get a ticket from the ticketmachine without some sort of travelcard. I guess I will have the same problem this time.
Since I am staying at Chamartin I hope that the ticketoffice can help me both with a tarjeta dorada and a travelcard if I also need that on the C-train.
Day 1 Madrid - Tres Cantos
Late start since the Santiago church opens at 10, would be nice to get a stamp there before leaving.
Hope to walk the whole stage!
When does it get dark in Madrid in May? I am not like young Sarah D walking in the dark.
 
Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
Using transport would work with the alternate GR route, as well, because you can catch the 601 bus all the way until the GR turns to the northeast towards Tres Cantos. (OSMand never fails to amaze me...)
20211022_132929.jpg

There is another opportunity another 7kms along, right near where the GR-124 and Camino merge; it's about a 1.7km detour over rail tracks and highway to the C4 stop at Cantoblanco (this is another possibility for catching a train on the regular camino route as well, of course).
20211022_140741.jpg

All that said, I'd probably take the camino, at least the first time. I do like the idea of going as far as TC without a pack, just enjoying different neighborhoods - or parks on the alternate route. There are enough transport opportunities to allow a lot of flexibility.)
 
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dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
The municipal 'albergue' in Tres Cantos is actually a room in the basement of the ayuntamiento building with bunks for two (or three if two of them are either very open-minded or already in a relationship) and a double futon. We took the futon as there were two redoubtable French ladies already in the bunks. You don't get the key from the police, you don't get the key at all. You arrive at the ayuntamiento and talk to the security guard who will show you the room and explain that they (the security guards) change shift at 9 pm so if you go out and come back after that, whoever is on the door won't know who you are and won't let you in. Everyone in the office finishes work at 3, but the security guard will let you in and out in exchange for a friendly chat (it's a very boring job). There was no mention of having to be out by 6.

I am using the future tense here, but there is sadly no guarantee that the albergue will be open now, but we found it very straightforward and all of the stuff about how difficult and complicated it is was nonsense.

As you leave Plaza Castilla, keep on the right hand side as the arrows will disappear and you will get lost. The camino goes to the right anyway.

DSC04313.JPG DSC04314.JPG
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
We had some way-marking difficulties leaving the Fuencarral area. I think we missed an arrow at one point and although we got back (via a different way) to where we thought we should be according to the CSJ guide - at the two old bridges going over the rail line - there were no arrows to be seen. Direction-wise, things seemed pretty straightforward, though, so we went over the train tracks and under the motorway, continuing north on one of the dirt paths for a while before it eventually met up with the correct path.
 
Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
Here you go, @Kanga
Decathlon
Sporting goods superstores
Address:
Parque Oeste, Sector 1 - Barrio Salamanca
28922 - Outside Madrid
Madrid
Nearest Bus or Train:
Tren: Cercanías C-7 (Commuter train)
Open Hours:
9a-10p M-Sa

Decathlon Inesis Castellana
Paseo de la Castellana, 110, 28046 Madrid, Spain
+34 915 61 65 55 ‎
Hours: 10:00-10:00 PM
Sunday Closed
. I went to one of the two Barrabes stores in Madrid. Barrabes is a higher end outdoor store than Decathlon and they carry a lot of brands known internationally (with prices to match). But they carry the Altus Poncho and typically have it in stock.

One store is off the Castellana very close to the metro stop Cuzco, and the other one is very close to the Principe de Vergara metro stop. You can see maps and info here: http://www.barrabes.com/qsomos/tiendaMadrid_orense.asp

Both are very easy to get to. I had called several weeks ahead and asked them to hold an Altus poncho for me. The staff is very helpful. And they don't close at mid-day.
No worries...we won't run off without you. In fact those of is walking without a pack to Tres Cantos and taking transport back to Madrid can meet you for tapas tonight. Do you have a favorite place?
 
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Kanga

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Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Here you go, @Kanga


No worries...we won't run off without you. In fact those of is walking without a pack to Tres Cantos and taking transport back to Madrid can meet you for tapas tonight. Do you have a favorite place?
Yes, Bodegas Melibes, I can't remember the name of the street, but it is near Sol. Here is a photo:

Photo removed on more mature reflection. Wonderful tiled pictures but perhaps a bit risqué.
 
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dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Most of the Madrid is incredibly well way-marked. The only time we got into trouble was walking along the Paseo de Castillana (see above) and walking from Tres Cantos to Colmenar Viejo which we eventually reached after heading off into the heathland following arrows that mysteriously vanished. The two redoubtable French ladies (Tessa and Brigitte, they were wonderful) simply followed the cycle path and arrived in leisurely fashion about two hours before we did. In Colmenar El Viejo, we stayed at the 'hotel' El Chabali. Not recommended. For my money, a better bet would be to stay at Tres Cantos then head for Mataelpino or Manzanares for the second night.

By the way, we quite often dropped in at the ayuntamiento for info/keys etc and they were unfailingly kind, friendly, and helpful.
 
Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
Who can resist those tile pictures?
Bwahaha!
Ummmm...me? They're pretty racy...:oops:
But it looks popular, a very good sign.
Calle de Espoz y Mina 9, 28012 Madrid, Spain
I'm around the corner at the Hostal Mayor, so I'll see you there.

I'd also like to try these places:
La Casa del Abuelo, for their Pimentos de Padron, C. de la Victoria, 12
Casa Toni, for their Campiñones a la Plancha, C. de la Cruz, 14
Docimar is said to do mean Patatas Bravas. C. Alcalá, 337

For vegans, our very own @Wendy Werneth made these recommendations:
We'll need some time...
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I'm running behind everyone because I've been delayed in Madrid looking for the sports store that sells Altus poncho/raincoats. I had details somewhere but I've lost them.
Here you go, @Kanga
No worries...we won't run off without you. In fact those of is walking without a pack to Tres Cantos and taking transport back to Madrid can meet you for tapas tonight. Do you have a favorite place?
Sorry to say that neither Decathlon nor Barrabés sells the Altus poncho. Decathlon sells its own brand. Barrabés did years ago but stopped carrying it when Altus discontinued the original and started with the Atmospheric.

There are lots of online sources but shipping will be expensive. I am having a hard time finding an actual store in Madrid with Altus.

For those who wanted to walk further than Tres Cantos, Colmenar is your place. There is also a señora with rooms, Andrea at +34617655243 (and she is on WhatsApp) but I was there in the days before WhatsApp and I couldn’t find her. So I went to the Chiscón.
 
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peregrina2000

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The walk to Fuencarral appears to be entirely urban. What is the walking like from there to Tres Cantos?
As you leave Fuencarral, you go under the M-40 and there is no more development. There is a bike path/via verde that you can walk on, but also a lot of the way has a nearby dirt path. I don’t mean to give the impression that it is idyllic countryside, because most of this stage after El Goloso is right alongside the highway. And it is a busy highway. But you are definitely out of the urban core.
 

Ian L

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances summer 2017 (SJPP to Fromista)
Camino Frances summer 2019 (Fromista to Santiago)
Tres Cantos doesn't seem to be the most scenic town, but it does have cafes and stores so Hotel Jardin de Tres Cantos will work for me.

It looks like there is a bridge to get across the M-607 to get into Tres Cantos at Ronda de Europa. It will be the road that comes out right next to the Hotel Eurostar, which can be seen from the trail.
 
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peregrina2000

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When I returned via Madrid from Santiago in 2018 I gave up the metro since it was impossible to get a ticket from the ticketmachine without some sort of travelcard. I guess I will have the same problem this time.
Yes, it’s a bit more complicated now. You have to have a rechargeable travel card to ride the metro. When you start your purchase, the machine will say something like ”insert your travel card.” But there will be a panel you can click on that says ”get your travel card.” There is a small charge for the card, but you can load it up depending on how long you will be there.
 

peregrina2000

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I had a vague memory of some confusion about which footbridge to take to get into Tres Cantos (I never stayed there so I have no first hand experience).

Here is an old post, but maybe people who have recently walked into Tres Cantos can comment.

The guide of Madrid Camino (at least the one I had) tells that "Here there is a footbridge into Tres Cantos (modern industrial town, Holiday Inn Express Tres Cantos*** and all facilities). If you wish to visit Tres Cantos you must cross the autovia at this footbridge and return the same way, as the next footbridge is 3k ahead and off the camino."

Since I was staying in Tres Cantos for overnight, I crossed the first bridge. It also has some arrows on it and on the road leading to it. From the bridge one also can see signs for autovia exit to Tres Cantos (but it is ahead, it is an exit from autovia and it is not for pedestrians as too dangerous). The road goes between some garden and cemetery for a few kilometers and does NOT lead to Tres Cantos but around it. I was walking for a couple kilometers and then turned and walked almost all way back, asked people at cemetery and one guy give me a ride to my hotel which was was near railway station. Next day I decided to cross autovia by the closest bridge (second in Tres Cantos) and walk back until I see the arrows. To my surprise, there were yellow arrows on this bridge as well (it was not pedestrian, but car bridge with pedestrian sidewalk, though one more pedestrian bridge is near as well). And immediately after it, was the Camino.

So, the point is. To stay in Tres Cantos or to use train station to come back in Madrid, one has to cross not the first bridge, but second. The one which is near Siemens factory and some big building with many flags near it.


I’ve added a google maps screenshot to show where the Siemens factory is
 

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MikeJS

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)
Following this with interest. However, I would prefer to walk further than 23 kms for the first stage are there other options within the next 15kms?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I've never been to Toledo, and I intend to squeeze in a side trip there, one of these years.
For anyone planning a trip to Toledo, it is an easy day trip from Madrid. But if you can squeeze in a night in Toledo you will have two enormous advantages — you will see Toledo lit up at night, and you will be in this city without the thousands and thousands of daily bus trippers. Toledo‘s historic core has extremely narrow streets, sometimes filled to the brim with huge numbers.

Following this with interest. However, I would prefer to walk further than 23 kms for the first stage are there other options within the next 15kms?
Yes, the most obvious is Colmenar, but I won’t jump ahead yet. These long planning threads are much easier to use as a planning tool after the fact if we keep all of the discussion, as much as possible, focused on the stage that @C clearly regularly posts. She posted Day 1 in number 33 above and I expect she’ll post the next stage when she sees that we have pretty much said all there is to say about Madrid to Tres Cantos. 24 posts in the first 5 or 6 hours is a pretty good number, but I’ll bet people aren’t done yet!
 
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The first couple of kilometres from Plaza de Castilla is packed full of embassies and consulates. It’s a good place to get an impressive and rarely-seen sello. Be prepared for tight security, entry having to be negotiated and the purpose of the embassy stamp being applied to ‘unofficial’ paperwork requiring explanation.

The Spanish reception staff are your friends!

If you’re from the UK you’ll find yourself in a secure room decorated with more union flags and photographs of the Queen than an east-end pub.
 
Past OR future Camino
Many and many more.
I had a vague memory of some confusion about which footbridge to take to get into Tres Cantos (I never stayed there so I have no first hand experience).

Here is an old post, but maybe people who have recently walked into Tres Cantos can comment.

The guide of Madrid Camino (at least the one I had) tells that "Here there is a footbridge into Tres Cantos (modern industrial town, Holiday Inn Express Tres Cantos*** and all facilities). If you wish to visit Tres Cantos you must cross the autovia at this footbridge and return the same way, as the next footbridge is 3k ahead and off the camino."

Since I was staying in Tres Cantos for overnight, I crossed the first bridge. It also has some arrows on it and on the road leading to it. From the bridge one also can see signs for autovia exit to Tres Cantos (but it is ahead, it is an exit from autovia and it is not for pedestrians as too dangerous). The road goes between some garden and cemetery for a few kilometers and does NOT lead to Tres Cantos but around it. I was walking for a couple kilometers and then turned and walked almost all way back, asked people at cemetery and one guy give me a ride to my hotel which was was near railway station. Next day I decided to cross autovia by the closest bridge (second in Tres Cantos) and walk back until I see the arrows. To my surprise, there were yellow arrows on this bridge as well (it was not pedestrian, but car bridge with pedestrian sidewalk, though one more pedestrian bridge is near as well). And immediately after it, was the Camino.

So, the point is. To stay in Tres Cantos or to use train station to come back in Madrid, one has to cross not the first bridge, but second. The one which is near Siemens factory and some big building with many flags near it.


I’ve added a google maps screenshot to show where the Siemens factory is
I agree entirely with the confusion over footbridges in Tres Cantos. I was using a GPS alongside the guidebook, and was glad that I was.

I didn’t find the arrows in the outskirts of Madrid to be blindingly obvious. It was, however, a pleasant surprisingly rural walk.

Tres Cantos on the night of my stay could be best described as ‘closed’. I recall resorting to eating at the hotel (VP Jardín de Tres Cantos)- which I also recall being enthusiastically priced for the meagre facilities.

The Municipal in Tres Cantos was closed in Q3 2019, well before Covid hit Spain. The (relatively few) cafeterias cater for the lunch trade from the many technology businesses and many (actually, virtually all) were closed on the night I was there.
 
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Undermanager

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
All this stuff about the Madrid is making me think that a third walk might not be a bad thing next year. The great thing about this walk is how it makes a really handy two week break.
 

sharon w

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2007
Camino Portugues 2009
Via Podiensis, Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre 2012
Cammino di Assisi 2014
Via Podiensis, Camino del Norte, Camino Frances(Astorga to Santiago) 2015
Aussie Camino 2016
Am also staying at Hotel VP Jardin. Quite a good length walk for our first day. Looking forward to the rest of our walk.
 

jenny@zen

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Via De la Plata
Am also staying at Hotel VP Jardin. Quite a good length walk for our first day. Looking forward to the rest of our walk.
It was a good first day. And while there is nothing special or historical (!) about Très Cantos, I think it gets a bad wrap sometimes. As another poster said, it is more ‘alive’ at night when the workers return from downtown Madrid. Our needs were a late lunch, a bed and dinner. ✅✅✅ We had a choice of a couple of restaurants near the VP Jardin for dinner. I’ve stayed in plenty worse (albeit ‘old’ places) on other Caminos. From then on, be assured much more ‘authentic’ pilgrim accommodation awaits the Madrid peregrino/a.
 
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Both times I have stayed in VP Jardin in Tres Cantos, very comfortable hotel .In 2019 I got all the way to Fuencarral and then should have been on the righthand side of the road ,I missed the right turn and went straight on, getting lost, it took me ages to find my way back to the arrows and underpass. Felt very relieved to be back on track. Great to be out in the countryside and looking back to the 4 skyscrapers add 2 towers of Madrid.
Had a nice chat to Albertagirl at the hotel but didn't see her again until Cercedilla. Looking forward to tomorrow to see the place I had my TGA (Transient Global Amnesia ) episode .
 

dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
It was a good first day. And while there is nothing special or historical (!) about Très Cantos, I think it gets a bad wrap sometimes. As another poster said, it is more ‘alive’ at night when the workers return from downtown Madrid. Our needs were a late lunch, a bed and dinner. ✅✅✅ We had a choice of a couple of restaurants near the VP Jardin for dinner. I’ve stayed in plenty worse (albeit ‘old’ places) on other Caminos. From then on, be assured much more ‘authentic’ pilgrim accommodation awaits the Madrid peregrino/a.
Tres Cantos reminded me a lot of Milton Keynes, or an Australian suburb - wide streets, low buildings and lots of pizza restaurants and hairdressers. But it isn't a bad place, it is oddly endearing, and the people who live there seem to like it.
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
Tres Cantos reminded me a lot of Milton Keynes, or an Australian suburb - wide streets, low buildings and lots of pizza restaurants and hairdressers. But it isn't a bad place, it is oddly endearing, and the people who live there seem to like it.
Totally agree. There are more than enough bars, eateries etc, and most people are only going to arrive in the late afternoon, shower, eat, drink, sleep and be gone early the next day. Anywhere can be fine for a short stay.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Some key take-aways from the discussion of Day 1 Madrid to Tres Cantos are:
  • Camino de Madrid begins at the Iglesia de Santiago y Juan Bautista
  • Yellow arrows begin at Plaza de Castilla - by the Rodilla sandwich shop just north of the Plaza.
  • Most GPS tracks follow Calle Bravo Murillo north from the Iglesia to Plaza de Castilla, but the Paseo de la Castellana might be a nicer walk. Either way, the route out of Madrid is quite pleasant.
  • To enter the town of Tres Cantos, cross the red footbridge near the Siemens factory and Hotel Fora (see attachments).
  • Accommodation options for Tres Cantos:
    • 3-5 pp in Ayuntamiento, available only from 22:30 to 06:00, no reservations, but may need to arrive during office hours. Closed in Oct 2022.
    • Several hotels, including VP Jardin
    • Return to Madrid by train
  • Madrid Metro linea 10 goes to Fuencarral, where the station is virtually on the Camino. You need a rechargeable travel card for the Metro. When you start your purchase, the machine will say something like ”insert your travel card.” There is a panel to click on, to ”get your travel card.” There is a small charge for the card, but you can load it up depending on how long you will be there.
  • Cercanias line C4 goes to Tres Cantos and Colmenar Viejo. In Fuencarral the Cercanías station is further from the Camino than the Metro is, and in Cantoblanco it is about a 1.7 km detour from the Camino.
[Edited to add photos of entrance to Tres Cantos, and info provided by @VNwalking, @camino07 and @dick bird ]
 

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C clearly

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Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Day 2 – Tres Cantos to Manzanares el Real (27.5 km)

This stage takes us from Tres Cantos, 12 km to Colmenar Viejo and another 15.5 km to Manzanares el Real. These towns are still within reach of commuter trains from Madrid.

Colmenar Viejo is well equipped with sports stores, restaurants and the Gran Hostal El Chiscón if you would like to walk only a short day.

Otherwise, continue walking to Manzanares el Real, by the Santillana reservoir/embalse which is part of the Madrid water supply system. Keep in mind that this town is a popular destination for weekenders from Madrid who enjoy the walking trails and natural parks. Accommodation options include:
  • Hostel La Pedriza - reasonably priced and located near the Camino.
  • Other hotels/hostales
  • Acogida de peregrinos La Encomienda – Well equipped donativo operated by Ray y Rosa has bunks for 4 pp (maybe up to 7), meals, and takes reservations. Contact +34 645 908 079, preferably by WhatsApp.
The Camino Mendocino from Guadalajara joins the Camino de Madrid in Manzanares del Real.

What are your experiences on this stage as far as Manzanares el Real?
 
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jenny@zen

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Via De la Plata
Ok, apologies in advance for long winded reply. But, this is what I wrote on my blog at the end of Day 2 - starting with taking a wrong turn shortly after Tres Cantos!

Day 2 - Tres Cantos to Manzanares del Real, 27 kms,
‘If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.’ Zen proverb
Well, that proverb turned out to be true for us today.
Despite the fact that few pilgrims walk the Camino de Madrid, it is reputed to be very well way-marked – and I’m sure that’s true. But … The French and I still managed to take a wrong turn today and add a few kms to the official distance of 27. We really have a talent for that sort of thing. Happily, we still ended up where we needed to be.

In our defence, after yesterday, we were so confident in the way marking, that we didn’t pay attention to the brief notes in our guide book about today’s path. Turns out there was a noteworthy sentence or two about a choice between a left and right turn shortly after leaving Tres Cantos this morning. The good news is that we didn’t realise we’d taken a wrong turn until some hours later, as both options had yellow arrows – but only one (the one to the right, which was the right one) was the intended camino path to Colmenar Viejo, the town about 12 kms from our starting point and the only town between Tres Cantos and Manzanares.

After almost three hours, we were within sighting distance of Colmenar when we ran out of yellow arrows. The town looked to be about 2 or 3 kilometres away – and we could see some roads – but which was the best way to enter on foot? Time to consult the eBook on my phone. That’s when we realised our mistake had been made hours ago, in fact in the first 10 minutes. Those couple of important sentences about following the yellow arrow on the right, not the left! Oh well, we could see the church on the hill – we were facing in the right direction – so we just kept on walking.

Our stop in Colmenar, though a little later than scheduled, allowed me a second cafe con leche, a Nestea for Domi and we bought a bocadillo to be shared for lunch later – jamon, queso y tomate. Yum. And it was. Some time and kms later we found the perfect ‘al fresco restaurant’, a big boulder under a shady tree, and that was our lunch stop. Perfecto, though we estimated we still had about 3 hours left to walk and it was getting hot.

Fast forward a few hours and we arrived in Manzanares le Real, a delightful town, complete with castle and lake, at the foot of the Sierra de Guadarrama. A popular destination for nature lovers, hikers and skiers in winter, Manzanares has a few small hotels but no albergue for pilgrims. But I’d read in our guidebook that local Camino enthusiasts Ray and Rosa welcome pilgrims into their home on a donativo (donation) basis. That’s all it said. Nothing more. We didn’t know what to expect – but The French and I were up for it. As we discovered a few years ago on the Camino Mozarabe, one of the great charms of the more remote Caminos – where we meet few if any other walkers – is the opportunity to meet local people. And they seem to feel the same way.

With a bit of help from google translate, Rosa and I exchanged messages via What’s App and she confirmed that we could come and she would have a place for us. And that we could have dinner with the family and breakfast the next morning. Great! I asked for her address in the town but she said they live a little way out – and up a steep hill – so she would meet us in the small park near the information centre. Just send her a message when we are there and she would pick us up. At 4 this afternoon, we sat on a bench under a shady tree and Rosa appeared all smiles. We were easy to spot.

We feel so fortunate to be here! Ray and Rosa have created a perfect space for pilgrims in the garden of,their own home. A mini casa – a wooden ‘chalet’ with place for four (two bunk beds), a small but fully equipped kitchen, bathroom with towels, soaps and shampoo provided. And the list goes on – everything we could possibly need, and more – including a fabulous view of the lake. And we are invited for dinner tonight in ‘the big house’, in fact in about half an hour’s time. We’re looking forward to that and to finding out more about Ray and Rosa and their camino story.
 
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Past OR future Camino
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18Norte
Day 2 : No problems this year getting to Colmenar ,a pleasant walk and as it was September, no anxiety for crossing the flooded valley . This area was totally new to me as I had no memory of walking there last year. Great views back to Madrid on the hill into Colmenar. In the distance could still make out four towers.
After a coffee and snack in the Plaza cafe I walked on to Manzanares .
I stayed at La Pedriza, they have individual small Albergue rooms for women/men. very comfortable with sheet, doona and towel. Restaurant with good food downstairs and town and castle to explore.
I chose not to stay with Ray y Rosa this time as wanted to be alone.
 

jenny@zen

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Via De la Plata
My map shows there are two possible routes to Colemar out of Tres Cantos. The 'official' route on the right and another on the left. Is that the one you took, Jenny?
View attachment 111900
Yes, we went left without any thought. It was a nice path that eventually ran out of arrows. 🤣 but because eventually we could see the church in the distance … crisis averted.
 

dick bird

Veteran Member
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Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Yes, we went left without any thought. It was a nice path that eventually ran out of arrows. 🤣 but because eventually we could see the church in the distance … crisis averted.
We had almost exactly the same experience. We headed off left and spent a long time wandering across scrubby heathland, eventually using our sense of direction and help from locals to get to Colmenar, thankful we'd opted for a short day.

If it is open (big if) the ayuntamiento in Tres Cantos holds at least 3; 5 if you include couples. In order to be able to use it, you would have to arrive during office hours, i.e. before 3 pm. We slept there with two other pilgrims, so this is first-hand information.
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
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A few in the past; more in the future!
After the 6am eviction from the ayuntamiento, we went to the cafeteria nearby (La Auténtica) and had very good tostadas con tomate for breakfast before setting out at about 7:20am.

I got a chuckle out of the name of a square in Colmenar Viejo: Plaza de la Berenjena (Eggplant/Aubergine Square!).

The surprise of the day was seeing a recently restored medieval bridge about an hour out of Colmenar, which is not mentioned in the CSJ guide. Despite the nearby motorway, it’s a lovely spot and we ate our picnic lunch there.

Ray and Rosa’s place in Manzanares is so great - don’t miss it if you do this camino!
 

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Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
Ray and Rosa’s place in Manzanares is so great - don’t miss it if you do this camino!
What a beautiful offering, @rayyrosa !!!

Nick, the naming of a plaza after an eggplant is a good sign, I guess. Please, as we go along, can you let us know how you two managed as far as vegetarian food is concerned? (Asking not just for myself, I hope!) Managing, in terms of both how and where, I mean. Gracias!
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
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Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
In my plans for the camino in 2020 I planned to stop day 2 in Colmenar Viejo. Looking at gronze and booking.com it seems like neither of the hostals in Colmenar is open. Wonder if that is permanently or not. My second option is to take a train back to Tres Cantos and sleep there. Taking it slowly to warm up for the 32 km stage to Segovia in a couple of days.

My biggest concern about this stage is the arroyos between Tres Cantos and Colmenar. (When I walked through El Berocal on Via de la Plata in May 2011 the arroyos were difficult to cross with flooding water over the steppingstones. Pretty scary to me. Now I’m 10 years older so I guess I am not steadier😨)
 
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jenny@zen

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Via De la Plata
Nick, the naming of a plaza after an eggplant is a good sign, I guess.
I remember the first time I’d ever heard of / tasted Berenjenas con miel - we arrived tired and hungry in Castro del Rio on the Camino Mozarabe. In a small bar we asked the young bar owner Miguel to serve us whatever he recommends. Berenjenas con miel was one of the dishes. Since then, when we are in Spain, if it’s on the menu - count us in.
 
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Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
My biggest concern about this stage is the arroyos between Tres Cantos and Colmenar.
Yes, the Camino follows them closely for some distance, so if they are high enough to flood the camino (is this even possible?), that's when you could take the left fork - the one @jenny@zen took right after TC. That longer route can't be washed out because it follows higher ground across the Alto de Navalcaballo. Harder to discern the tracks here, but you can see the topography!
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jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
Why concern about the arroyos?
The arroyos are a bit of a pain because the stepping stones are just too far apart to confidently step from one to the other (at least for me), without losing balance, and falling off into the wrong side of the river.

And they are just too deep to wade across with ankle high waterproof boots without getting the water in.

And the water is freezing in March!

They weren’t a big deal, as you can see in these photos, but I wish we knew about the higher route as there were lots of these crossings.

After taking socks and boots off, walked across the stream in crocs . . .

. . . . dried feet, put socks and boots back on, walk 500 metres or so, come to another arroyo . . .

. . . . take socks and boots off, walk across stream . . . dry feet, put socks and boots back on . . .

. . . . walk another km or so . . .

. . . . come to another stream . . .

. . . etc etc . . . four or five times . . .

. . . well, this all takes A VERY LONG TIME . . .

. . . . and, if memory serves me correctly, we counted TWELVE of these crossings.

If we had known beforehand we would have walked in sandals and socks from the beginning to cross ALL the arroyos, and after the LAST crossing put on boots and another pair of dry socks . . . 😃
 

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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Please, as we go along, can you let us know how you two managed as far as vegetarian food is concerned? (Asking not just for myself, I hope!) Managing, in terms of both how and where, I mean. Gracias!
Sure, Wendy has a list somewhere of where we ate each day. Overall, the Madrid was a bit more of a challenge than most caminos because it is so rural and often there just aren't many food options at all, let alone veggie ones, but we managed OK.

On day two, we had a picnic lunch (which we tend to do on camino anyway), and Rosa cooked us a lovely veg meal for dinner!
 
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Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
And they are just too deep to wade across with ankle high waterproof boots without getting the water in.
Under the circumstances, I'd be just taking off my shoes to wade across the ford, as your photo shows. The colder the better. But it's good to know there's a high way in case the weather's been bad.
 

dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Our second day was Tres Cantos to Colmenar where we stayed in the self-styled hotel, Chabalí. We thought it was not very good value at 40 euros for a double room. A short day (or it would have been if we hadn't got lost coming out of Tres Cantos). If I were doing it again, I'd think seriously about pushing on to Manzanares.
 
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peregrina2000

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Acogida de peregrinos La Encomienda – Well equipped donativo operated by Ray y Rosa has bunks for 4 pp (maybe up to 7), meals, and takes reservations. Contact +34 645 908 079, preferably by WhatsApp.
I am not a shill for WhatsApp and I realize that some people have serious concerns about using the app because of Facebook/privacy issues, but just so you know how popular it is in Spain…. Last month a forum member tried calling Ray y Rosa over a two day period and had given up on staying there. I suggested that he try WhatsApp, and they responded almost instantly.
 
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ranthr

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
Found Hosteleria HC in Colmenar on booking.com now. Booked there in 2020, rooms 45-50 euros.
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
I don’t think that place was in operation when I walked — looks like a better location than the Chiscón, which is on the edge of town.
That´s why I booked there in 2020, not so far away from the camino. Looks ok and rather new.
Got a mail from the hostal yesterday. There is no reception so you have to tell the time you´ll arrive to get your key.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Let's not forget to explore Manzanares el Real...

The Santillana Reservoir and natural area offer bird watching opportunities. We might just lose @VNwalking there.

On the first weekend of every month, in the Plaza del Pueblo of Manzanares, there is an Artisan Market - or at least we hope it is operating, perhaps after a Covid pause. I love to browse craft stalls, but don't want to add to my backpack. However, there are small items such as jewelry, as well as consumables that you would welcome the next day on the long walk to Segovia.

Castillo de Manzanares looks interesting, and can be visited on conducted tours.

I intend to visit the Ethnological and Archaeological Museo (closed Sunday, Monday and bank holidays). This type of small museum always gives insight into the traditional way of life in the region. It gives us a lot to ponder as we walk the paths.
 
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The Santillana Reservoir and natural area offer bird watching opportunities. We might just lose @VNwalking there.
Certainly for a while, perhaps while some are shopping. 🙃 There's good stuff ahead, too, so I won't go far.
(The Ethnological and Archaeological Museo also appeals, so I have a choice to make.)
Here's an excerpt from a very nice brochure about birding in Madrid:
Just east of La Pedriza and while you are passing Manzanares el Real on the busy M-608, you will see a large reservoir on the right. In general, Santillana Reservoir is a great spot in spring and fall for scattered shorebird and songbird vagrants and an important waterfowl and gull wintering site. Among other things, the pastures around the lake host meridionalis Northern Shrikes (part of a complex of subspecies likely to be split from Northern Shrike), Woodchat Shrikes, large numbers of Yellow Wagtails (Motacilla flava) from spring to fall, and foraging European White Stork pairs, which nest in nearby towns and atop sawn-off pasture trees visible from the road
There is also an nice brochure in Spanish.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I'll just quote the obvious for slow walkers:
This stage takes us from Tres Cantos, 12 km to Colmenar Viejo and another 15.5 km to Manzanares el Real.
Colmenar Viejo is well equipped with sports stores, restaurants and the Gran Hostal El Chiscón if you would like to walk only a short day.
In addition to the Gran Hostal El Chiscón, previous posts have added options for accommodation in Colmenar Viejo:
There is also a señora with rooms, Andrea at +34617655243 (and she is on WhatsApp)
That's also listed in Gronze.

We feel so fortunate to be here! Ray and Rosa have created a perfect space for pilgrims in the garden of,their own home
Ray and Rosa’s place in Manzanares is so great - don’t miss it if you do this camino!
We'll definitely not miss it. ¡Gracias @rayyrosa !

Let's not forget to explore Manzanares el Real..
The slow walkers we are often like to have a rest day, in particular if the town is interesting. It's too early in the walk for us to take a rest day, but with a 14.8km (according to Gronze) or 15.5km walk from Colmenar Viejo to Manzanares el Real, we should have time to go exploring. I might find my darling watching birds with @VNwalking ☺️
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Day 3 – Manzanares el Real to Cercedilla (20 km)

We’ll be able to take our time leaving Manzanares el Real, have cafe, and then walk 7.5 km to Mataelpino for second breakfast at Meson Los Alamos.

Mataelpino could be an overnight stop for those who are walking longer days and didn’t stop in Manzanares. The albergue (16 pp) in Mataelpino takes reservations and there’s also a hostal and a hotel. Particularly on weekends, these places may fill up.

Another 7 km gets us to Navacerrada, at an elevation of 1203 m on the Reservoir Navacerrada and the entry of "Valle de la Barranca" in the Sierra de Guadarrama. There are several hostales, possibly serving the ski development that only recently closed down.

5.5 km after Navacerrada, we arrive in Cercedilla. There is a good variety of accommodation choices, including:
  • Ayuntamiento provides basic lodging in the Polideportivo, but not on public holidays.
  • Lodging in Cercedilla – Hostal Aribel Longinos, and Hostal La Maya
  • Large youth hostel Albergue Villa Castora, about 2 or 3 km past the town
  • Also, about 2-3 km along the route to Segovia are two hotel-restaurants. They give you a head start on the 31 km walk to Segovia, but might get rather expensive.
Wherever you decide to stay, be sure to stock up on provisions for the evening and the next day, as there will be no services until Segovia. However, there are frequent trains and buses from Cercedilla to Segovia.
 
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jenny@zen

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Via De la Plata
Thank you @C clearly For us, this day began with Ray n Rosa dropping us back on the Way and, from there, it was a peaceful, enjoyable and uneventful walk - though with three unexpected sharp climbs. I say unexpected as I don’t recall checking elevations for this or previous stages, knowing that the climbing would come on the morning of Day 4 for us - Cercedila to Segovia.

I wrote at the time that it seemed to take us much longer than you’d expect for 19 km. I do think this can be a bit of a ‘phenomenon’, at least for us. When you know you have not far to walk, you naturally slow to a gentler place? As well, we had a leisurely lunch stop and our accommodation, Hostal Longinos el Aribel, was at the far end of Cercedila - a good starting point for the next morning

As @C clearly recommends, it’s best to stock up on provisions. I recall on the afternoon / night we were in Cercedilla, there was nowhere open for dinner. But there was a grocery store not far from our Hostal so we bought provisions for dinner (eaten in our room) and for the next day’s breakfast and path to Segovia. Excitement mounting.
 
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Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
As @C clearly recommends, it’s best to stock up on provisions. I recall on the afternoon / night we were in Cercedilla, there was nowhere open for dinner. But there was a grocery store not far from our Hostal so we bought provisions for dinner (eaten in our room) and for the next day’s breakfast and path to Segovia. Excitement mounting.
The drumbeat of the Approaching Next Big Day Effect. I'm feeling it at home, just walking virtually. :cool:
  • Lodging in Cercedilla – Hostal Aribel Longinos, and Hostal La Maya
  • Large youth hostel Albergue Villa Castora, about 2 or 3 km past the town
  • Also, about 2-3 km along the route to Segovia are two hotel-restaurants.
I would likely chose the latter, wanting to make the next day a bit less of a scary challenge. Not that it would be necessarily, but that's what this mind does. So compassion says be nice and whack off a few kms right off the bat. Besides, @Bad Pilgrim is right. Sometimes sharing space with many teens is no fun, even though they are having a ball.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
My favourite stretch of this day was walking among the boulders between Mataelpino and Navacerrada.

We stayed at the same hostal as Jenny, 'very cute and cosy' (says Wendy). Regarding the accommodation options in Cercedilla, these are my April 2019 notes:

With the youth hostel in Dehesas (2.5 km further along the Camino from Cercedilla) being closed, that meant we had to stay in town and have a bit more walking to do tomorrow. We considered the polideportivo at the (eastern) entrance to town, but it was closed for siesta when we walked past and staying there would have added even more walking to our day tomorrow. There is another youth hostel at the western end of town, but we’d heard it was €18 for a bed, which didn’t make sense when we could have a double room for €30 at the nearby Hostal Aribel Longinos, so that’s what we did.

For veggie food options, we were fairly amazed to find a vegan store ('My Vegan Land') in Navacerrada but I believe it's closed now. In Cercedilla, we ate at a kebab/falafel place on the main road. An Italian restaurant, Cambalache de la Sierra, was recommended to us for veg options but we decided it was too far to walk back to it. The hostal also has a microwave you can use.

And finally, I have always thought the name of Cercedilla should be Cerdecilla. It just rolls off the tongue more naturally, doesn't it?
 

dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
We started walking in September and discovered that after the holiday rush in August, a lot of hospitality and retail businesses like to take their break in September. Both of the youth hostels were closed in Cercedilla, but we stayed at one of the hotels at the end of town near the station. Mataelpino seems to be a weekender colony. The albergue there is very nice, very new. The restaurants close midday and during the week may not open for dinner, but there is a shop and a microwave in the albergue. After Cercedilla and the ascent over the Purte de Fuenfría, a diversion to San Ildefonso is a possibility. It adds a day, but there is an albergue, lots of services and a palace to look round.
 
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Next up 2022?
With the youth hostel in Dehesas
Wait, that's a youth hostel? Noisy teens en masse transform me into a misanthrope, the Wicked Which of the West. Hmmm. Revising spreadsheet.

[Moderator's note: In a later post @NualaOC replied with the following. It has been moved here to keep the stages in sequence.]
nualaoc said:
I stayed in the youth hostel and enjoyed the young people! I had my own en-suite room which was (I think) on a different floor to the groups. I didn't specifically request this - but I know others have had the same experience when making an individual booking. The accommodation and location were great - the food was passable and I was grateful for the picnic breakfast. If I were staying there again, I'd have a nice menu del dia in Cercidilla and stroll to the hostel later in the afternoon.

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Past OR future Camino
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18Norte
Left early ,had a lovely walk next to a national Park with much more shade than yesterday. Coffee and tortilla in the plaza at Mataelpino, sello from the office across the road. Watched hundreds of goats passing along the main road. After 7kms through pleasant paths reached Navacerrada ,quite a few tourists here and busy around the Plaza, cool drink and a rest before the climb out of town. Onwards and upwards to Cercedilla and all the way through town . Think it must have been the weekend as everywhere was booked out. Las Dehesas Juvenil , 3kms out of town was where I was booked which as it turned out was very good with meals provided. I met up with some of the other forum members there. Although it was hot and I was exhausted getting there Las Dehesas was ideal for starting next morning.
 
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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
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Slow walkers often look ahead when planning their next stages, in particular if there are rising inclines...
The drumbeat of the Approaching Next Big Day Effect.
And that too!!! 😲
For us, this day began with Ray n Rosa dropping us back on the Way and, from there, it was a peaceful, enjoyable and uneventful walk - though with three unexpected sharp climbs. I say unexpected as I don’t recall checking elevations for this or previous stages, knowing that the climbing would come on the morning of Day 4 for us - Cercedila to Segovia.
Well, we checked the profile of this stage, and we noticed that it goes up and up. This stage with its 20 km is just within the range that we could walk without my having to carry someone by the end of the day ;) But not if said range is a continuous ascent.

Taking into account the Approaching Next Big Day (without jumping the gun) we thought we might break up this stage (and part of the next...) by walking to Navacerrada. That would give us a 14.5 km day (or 14.8 km according to Gronze).

Then, knowing that after Cercedilla we have a choice of accommodation:
Also, about 2-3 km along the route to Segovia are two hotel-restaurants. They give you a head start on the 31 km walk to Segovia, but might get rather expensive.
we would stop in Cercedilla to stock up on provisions, and then continue to Las Dehesas, which would give us an 8.7 km day. Or actually a 9.7 km day, if we stay at the Hotel Casa Cirilo, which Gronze tells us is 4.1 km away from Cercedilla's town centre.

I would likely chose the latter, wanting to make the next day a bit less of a scary challenge. Not that it would be necessarily, but that's what this mind does. So compassion says be nice and whack off a few kms right off the bat.
Our thinking, too, @VNwalking .
 
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Past OR future Camino
Many and many more.
The 19k from Manzenares to Cercedilla, via a desperately needed beer in Navecerrada, was lovely - but I was starting with a significant recurrence of plantar fasciitis, so it was remarkably painful. My mood was not lightened by a set of ‘cafe arrows’* in the wooded areas just before Cercedilla, which added another 2k of pain to the day.

It being November when peregrinos are thin on the ground and the ski season for which the Madrillenos visit not having started, there was not much accommodation and I found myself in my preferred lodgings - a room above a pub. The Hostal La Maya in this case. Very good.

Through the mist of pain I recall a handy Día supermercado on the way into Cercedilla.

*we don’t hear much of cafe-arrows these days - informal diversions set up by ‘enterprising’ establishments to route walkers to them. Often in not-quite-the-right-shade-of-yellow. As well as adding to my day, this particular set took me to a long-closed building in the woods. If it wasn’t raining I would have been sorely tempted to leave a smoking ruin behind me.
 

Ian L

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances summer 2017 (SJPP to Fromista)
Camino Frances summer 2019 (Fromista to Santiago)
According to Gronze, the Polideportivo de Cercedilla is not open on weekends, and mats are provided to sleep on. Also according to the comments, you cannot sleep there until the sports center is no longer being used at 21:30 and must leave early when it opens.

 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
  • Lodging in Cercedilla – Hostal Aribel Longinos, and Hostal La Maya
  • Large youth hostel Albergue Villa Castora, about 2 or 3 km past the town
  • Also, about 2-3 km along the route to Segovia are two hotel-restaurants. They give you a head start on the 31 km walk to Segovia, but might get rather expensive.
I have stayed in Hostal Aribel Longinos. As Jenny has said, it is right at the Camino exit from town, not far from the train station.

This hostal has an interesting history. In the early 40s it was a clinic for recovering Nazis in WWII. I remember that the hostal had some pictures on display. But what I vaguely remembered learning from the receptionist (confirmed by this fascinating article) when I asked about it was that no one in the town had ever heard of it till some pictures were discovered about 20 years ago. One of them clearly showed the Nazi flag flying from what is now the hostal. The national newspaper ABC did have an article from the era showing a Nazi official at a ceremony welcoming some wounded prisoners.

Townspeople were adamant that the pictures were fake because no one in the town remembered hearing anything from their parents or grandparents about the facility. That’s pretty weird, because you would have expected some information about this to have passed down over the generations. There’s nothing about it in the town archives, and amateur “local historians” had never heard anything about it. The article explains that the repression of the Franco years was probably responsible, but there are usually secret murmurings passed down from generation to generation. Interesting tidbit for those who stay there.

I also have stayed in the youth albergue Villa Castora, and though it was filled with jubilant young teens, there was a wing off to the left with private rooms. We never heard anything after they were done romping around outside till about 9 or 10.

I don’t remember seeing those hotels, but they are both on the road right out of town so they won’t be far off the camino. Both are pretty snazzy, Las Rozuelas and Los Frutales. If they were on the OTHER side of the pass it would seem less extravagant and more like a reward for a long hard day. :D

FYI, the Cercanías train runs as far as Cercedilla, but it is a different route than the one that goes to Fuencarral, El Goloso, Tres Cantos and Colmenar.
 

peregrina2000

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There are several hostales, possibly serving the ski development that only recently closed down.
Wow, that was the first I had heard of this, but it has been coming for a long time. When I lived in Madrid in the 70s it was the go-to weekend winter fun place.

El País has an interesting article about the closure, with one good explanation being a nearly 2 degree rise in temperature and a 25% decrease in snowfall since the the 70s. Climate change on the Camino de Madrid.
 
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jenny@zen

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Via De la Plata
Interesting post about the Aribel Longinos @peregrina2000 - thank you. Next day I recall seeing at least one of the swanky hotels on the left and the youth hostel later, though not a soul in sight. Good to know the hostel has private rooms - will bear in mind if ever back on the Madrid Way, in real life. I’d happily walk this path again.
 

jenny@zen

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Via De la Plata
After Cercedilla and the ascent over the Purte de Fuenfría, a diversion to San Ildefonso is a possibility. It adds a day, but there is an albergue, lots of services and a palace to look round.
That looks like a good option too. Then a shortish morning walk to Segovia rather than in the afternoon heat at end of a long day. Hhmmm
 

dick bird

Veteran Member
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Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
I have stayed in Hostal Aribel Longinos.
We stayed there too, nice hotel. I was impressed with how well the photographer matched the new photos with the original and how little the place has actually changed, at least in appearance. The polideprotivo is for emergency only. We arrived during fiesta and were informed that after 6 pm there'd be no-one to let us in or out, plus it is as you come into town thus adding to the next day's walk. I seem to remember there is a narrow gauge railway that heads up into the hills from a different station. One for the train nuts.
 
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C clearly

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Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Day 4 – Cercedilla to Segovia (31 km)

This is a day we have been anticipating! Through forest, recreation areas, along Roman roads, over the mountains (possibly with snow) and on to dramatic Segovia, which you can see from 10 km away! The first 8 km from Cercedilla are uphill to the Puerto de la FuenfrIa at 1796 m. Then it is downhill - but there are no facilities, so come prepared

If 31 km is too far for you, there is an alternative. A slight detour about 10 km before Segovia will take you to Valsaín where there is a hostal and a casa rural, for a total of 18 km for the day. From there, it is only 13 km to Segovia, or you can go another 4 km from Valsaín to La Granja de Ildefonso, and stay at the Hostal Camino de Lis [Edited to add that as of October 2021, Google says it is "permanently closed"]. La Granja is quite a touristic town, where you can witness the “monarchic splendour of the 18th century.” That should occupy half a day and then it will be about a 13 km walk to Segovia.

This could be a good time for a rest day or two half-days - in La Granja and/or Segovia. What do you think?

Here I will quote @Undermanager, who posted this elsewhere in the thread about walking from Real Sitio de San Ildefonso - Segovia - Zamarramala - Valseca - Los Huertos - Ana - 33kms:

From my notes on April 27th 2017, be prepeared for snow at the end of April :)

If you are coming to the Camino in the next day or two, pack some woolies - woke up to snow on the mountains where we have just come from and a snow shower in La Granja! It's about 13 kms from the albergue to the middle of Segovia, walking on a dirt track alongside a busy road all the way. If that doesn't appeal, there were plenty of busses to Segovia."

The San Ildefonso was worth a visit. There are loads of famous fountains in the grounds of this palace and tours that go round at certain times of the day as they turn each fabulous fountain on in turn - surely worth seeing? It costs, but vaguely remember it being free on the day I was there for some reason, maybe a Wednesday? There is (was?) an excellent albergue in the town but there were quite a few hostels here.
 
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This could be a good time for a rest day or two half-days - in La Granja and/or Segovia. What do you think?
I think...marvelous! And that applies to any of those options. Though I'd be more likely to take a half day in La Granja, and a full day in Segovia.

In the first half of April, what are the chances of being snowed out? At that elevation, I imagine pretty good?

Before walking this way, I'm re-reading Chapter 11 in this beautiful book by Robert Macfarlane, which describes this place:
 
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