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Virtual Camino Virtual walk on the VdlP (planning while in confinement)

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 18: Alcuéscar (or Cruce de Las Herrerías) to Aldea del Cano

Why is it that the Camino sometime bypasses villages? I would have expected that it would be beneficial to local businesses if pilgrims walked through? The reason I ask is that two of the villages on this stretch are off the VdlP. The first one is Casa de Don Antonio, of which Wise Pilgrim writes that the camino completely bypasses the small village. The second one, where we are going to stop tonight, is Aldea del Cano.
Gronze mentions Roman mile posts along this stretch.
We'll be sleeping at the Casa Rural Vía de La Plata: apparently, the local albergue in Aldea del Cano is right next to a noisy bar.

The question we'll be discussing tonight, is whether we walk the remaining 24km to Cáceres in one go, or whether we take it really easy and stop in Valdesalor before having a short day into Cáceres. We're going to stay two nights in Cáceres, so this short walk into the town would give us more sightseeing time. The satellite image of Valdesalor gives the impression that it is just a dormitory village.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
One other thing about your Aljucén to Alcuéscar stage — I think your best bet would be the off-camino Los Olivos in Alcuéscar. That puts you out of town and kind of isolated, but you will have the kind of room you need. The one little additional complication is that the detour from Santa Lucía will take you first into town, and then you will have to walk down the highway to get to Cruce de las Herrerrías. That’s because the split you see on Gronze is not the road you will be on from Santa Lucía, if this makes sense.

The stage out of Alcuéscar is all off road and dotted with a few Roman bridges that no longer cross water. And the occasional milario (milepost) thrown in for good measure. Wildflower heaven if you are lucky!

I have stayed in the albergue in Aldea de Cano and can highly recommend the bar across the street from the albergue as a great place to eat. You’re right that the albergue shares a wall with a bar, but I don’t remember any noise, and I had my own bedroom in the albergue so the ambient noise was nil!

Valdesalor is a village that was created out of whole cloth back in the 50s or 60s when Franco decided it was time to get the people out of the countryside. It has evolved a bit since then, but organic growth takes a long time, and it still bears the clear imprint of being a manufactured town. The municipal albergue looks quite nice, though I have never stayed there. I know many old timers from the Vdlp will remember the times when pilgrims slept in the town hall, with their balcony leading out to where the flags were flying. It was quite a sight to see the flags of Spain and Cáceres waving next to pilgrim clothing drying in the wind. The hostal in Valdesalor looks quite acceptable, so that would be a comfortable stop.

Ahhh, Cáceres is in your future, I will have to hunt up the name of the best place in the Plaza Mayor for eating — a jewel among the many touristy places, which I learned of from @SabineP — the pilgrim with the best nose for foodie food I have found on the forum!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Where did you sleep in those two places, @C clearly ?
In Aljucén I stayed in the Albergue Rio Aljucén in both 2017 and 2018.

In Alcuescar I stayed in the now-closed Casa Peregrina in 2017 and in the Albergue Casa de la Misericordia in 2018. I found the albergue Misericordia facility to be OK, but the albergue is secondary to their other functions and the communal meal was definitely basic.
 

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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Day 18: Alcuéscar (or Cruce de Las Herrerías) to Aldea del Cano
I did not stop in Aldea del Cano. Rather I walked on to Valdesalor - I quite liked that albergue and the restaurant Rincon de Julia.

There is a bus stop from Valdesalor to Caceres. In 2018, there was a music festival in Caceres that weekend, with accommodation difficulties both in Caceres and as far as Casar de Caceres. I took the morning bus from Valdesalor, had lunch in Caceres, and then walked on to Casar de Caceres so I would get to the municipal albergue there in time to get a bed.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
More pleasant walking from Alcuescar to Aldea del Cano. As Peregrina mentioned, there are several Roman bridges in addition to the Roman milestones, which makes this stage a treat. I think it was on this stretch of the Camino that I came across a lake with deer prints in the muddy shore and fish that came right up to the shallows to greet me, before flapping crazily back into the deeper water.

I stayed at the albergue in Aldea de Cano. It's half of a big barn of a building with a kitchen area at one end and a couple of bedrooms off the main area. I seem to recall that there's a big fireplace in one corner of the room and some electric heaters too, but I think it would be virtually impossible to warm this space up in winter. The noisy bar is "next door" but I think it's really just the other half of the same building. I don't remember loud music or anything - I think the noise is just loud voices that echo around. The dividing wall between albergue and bar might not go all the way up to the ceiling ... .But the bar closed at a reasonable hour (even on a day when there was a festival in town) and I got a decent night's sleep. Curiously, the keys are not kept at the bar next door but at the restaurant Las Vegas, a short walk away. I had a pilgrim menu there - typical pilgrim fare with a liter of wine included. (Not that I had more than a glass, but I expect that they would have brought another liter if I'd finished the first one).

Regarding Valdesador - I walked through but it left no impression on me at all. If you can handle 24km, I think it would be worth walking from Aldea de Cano to Caceres in a day. The scenery from Aldea de Cano is a step down from what you've been enjoying for the last couple of days. Lots of grasslands with long-horned cattle, which may or may not be the famous red hide “retinto” that is a speciality of the region.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Regarding Valdesador - I walked through but it left no impression on me at all. If you can handle 24km, I think it would be worth walking from Aldea de Cano to Caceres in a day. The scenery from Aldea de Cano is a step down from what you've been enjoying for the last couple of days. Lots of grasslands with long-horned cattle, which may or may not be the famous red hide “retinto” that is a speciality of the region.
In fact, taking Raggy’s impressions one step further, Valdesalor would be a smart and easy place to hop on a bus or in a taxi to get into Cáceres. About half of the walk is right next to the highway, I remember feeling a little boxed in. And the last five or 6 are off-road, but have none of the charm of the earlier part from Mérida. I know some shy away from the taxigrino option, but it would really open you up for two full days in Cáceres!

Lots of taxis in Cáceres that would come out to pick you up, and I’ll bet someone in that highway bar right at the exit from town would call one for you. Looks like the fare is around 15 €.

Bus schedule is on the website of the Ayuntamiento. Most recent bus fare I could find was 1€.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
One other thing about your Aljucén to Alcuéscar stage — I think your best bet would be the off-camino Los Olivos in Alcuéscar. That puts you out of town and kind of isolated, but you will have the kind of room you need. The one little additional complication is that the detour from Santa Lucía will take you first into town, and then you will have to walk down the highway to get to Cruce de las Herrerrías. That’s because the split you see on Gronze is not the road you will be on from Santa Lucía, if this makes sense.
Thank you Laurie!
In 2018, particularly for the Norte, I had downloaded a number of GPX tracks for all the alternatives. In a similar way here, I downloaded @alansykes 's Wikiloc tracks (thank you Alan!) to get to Santa Lucía. I then modified them to suit our staying at Los Olivos. Instead of continuing to Alcuéscar, we would backtrack to the turn off from the VdlP towards the basilica, and then continue to Los Olivos (which Rachel much prefers). One of the advantages here is that if she feels tired, the turn off is only about 15km from Aljucén, and she can go straight to Los Olivos.

I also had a thought, but need to check with the veterans of the VdlP: in a few instances in recent walks, where we would walk a spur off the main trail, coming back to it , we would drop our packs, and then walk to the sight without the weight. We would then come back to the turn off, pick up our packs and continue our walk. We have never had any issues with our packs disappearing (obviously we would keep our valuable with us), but I was wondering what you thought about this on the VdlP. Is it safe to leave a pack for a few hours? This would allow Rachel to walk without the weight of her pack.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I know some shy away from the taxigrino option, but it would really open you up for two full days in Cáceres!
We had planned to spend an extra day in Cáceres (i.e. two nights), but if I read this right, Laurie, should we plan 2 days, or three nights?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
We had planned to spend an extra day in Cáceres (i.e. two nights), but if I read this right, Laurie, should we plan 2 days, or three nights?
What I meant was that by taking in a taxi after walking from Aldea would open up more time on the arrival day for relaxing and enjoying Cáceres. Not exactly two full days, but close, since Aldea de Cano is only 11 from Valdesalor. Just my opinion, but I think one full day plus arrival afternoon is enough. But i don’t want to jump ahead into the “what to do in Cáceres” discussion, since you are still in Aldea de Cano. ;)
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
Sorry but I nipped off the trail to finish bringing in the walnut harvest like a Galician peasant, but I am back now while I wait for the nuts to dry.

In answer to your question about why the route by passes most of the small towns is that it was deliberately laid out that way to provide a more remote way. I have detoured into the towns from time to time looking for supplies and found them mostly closed, or without shops and bars, so it's best to stock up when you can.

Yes Valdasor is a bit bland, but the alburgue is good and it has a couple of OK places to eat. I kinda missed not sleeping in the council table last time.. If don't think it has any private accomodation, but you could hop the bus into Caseres as no one is going to judge you and Laurie is right that it's a bit road bound.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
I also had a thought, but need to check with the veterans of the VdlP: in a few instances in recent walks, where we would walk a spur off the main trail, coming back to it , we would drop our packs, and then walk to the sight without the weight. We would then come back to the turn off, pick up our packs and continue our walk. We have never had any issues with our packs disappearing (obviously we would keep our valuable with us), but I was wondering what you thought about this on the VdlP. Is it safe to leave a pack for a few hours? This would allow Rachel to walk without the weight of her pack.
I have not done this on VDLP. I can think of places where I left the trail, visited somewhere off the trail, then rejoined the trail further ahead. I'm struggling to recall a place where I walked a significant distance off trail and then walked back to that place.
In terms of security of property - If you take valuables with you, I assume that the most valuable items that you're leaving behind are the rucksack itself, your wet weather gear, a change of clothes, your washrag, and (perhaps) some medications and first aid bits. Chances are that anyone passing is a regular, law abiding person. You won't find professional thieves targeting this way because the numbers aren't attractive to them. But even ordinary people can sometimes be tempted when they see an unattended bag or purse. Some people will commit an "opportunistic" crime if you tempt them with an opportunity. I think it's better that you don't tempt them.
By the time you reach this stage of the Camino, you'll see business cards for taxi services and luggage delivery on the boards in albergues and restaurants. If you have a longish day of walking, and you think that you'd benefit from a lighter load, I would suggest using luggage delivery for the stage. (In fact, you might want to consider it after Caceres because there are a couple of longish stages).
 
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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Regarding Valdesador - I walked through but it left no impression on me at all. If you can handle 24km, I think it would be worth walking from Aldea de Cano to Caceres in a day. The scenery from Aldea de Cano is a step down from what you've been enjoying for the last couple of days. Lots of grasslands with long-horned cattle, which may or may not be the famous red hide “retinto” that is a speciality of the region.
In fact, taking Raggy’s impressions one step further, Valdesalor would be a smart and easy place to hop on a bus or in a taxi to get into Cáceres. About half of the walk is right next to the highway, I remember feeling a little boxed in. And the last five or 6 are off-road, but have none of the charm of the earlier part from Mérida. I know some shy away from the taxigrino option, but it would really open you up for two full days in Cáceres!
Lots of taxis in Cáceres that would come out to pick you up, and I’ll bet someone in that highway bar right at the exit from town would call one for you. Looks like the fare is around 15 €.
Bus schedule is on the website of the Ayuntamiento. Most recent bus fare I could find was 1€.
That's what I did - very easy.
Excellent advice!
I had researched the bus schedules through a different channel and found the bus operator's website.

Day 19: Aldea del Cano to Cáceres
Knowing that we can be taxigrinos from Valdesalor, makes it easy to plan this day. We can, as suggested above, take the bus, the only caveat being that we have to walk on a week day, as on a Saturday or a Sunday, we would have to wait in Valdesalor until the evening, as there are only two buses a day on weekends.
I quite like the idea of walking across an airstrip (Aeródromo de la Cervera): we'll have to make sure we scrutinise the sky to check for any incoming flights 😀
Virtual walking with Google Earth into Cáceres, it looks like it's typical walking into a large city, until we get to the old quarter: not very appealing. It's another reason to catch the bus to Cáceres or call for a taxi. Do we need another reason? More time in Cáceres! 😀

What I meant was that by taking in a taxi after walking from Aldea would open up more time on the arrival day for relaxing and enjoying Cáceres. Not exactly two full days, but close, since Aldea de Cano is only 11 from Valdesalor. Just my opinion, but I think one full day plus arrival afternoon is enough. But i don’t want to jump ahead into the “what to do in Cáceres” discussion, since you are still in Aldea de Cano. ;)
One of the exceptions to posting a stage every second day (see post #37 in this thread) is when we have a rest day. So after a short, uneventful, day from Aldea del Cano to Valdesalor, and having arrived early in Cáceres, we've headed to the Plaza Mayor and the Tourism office to get maps of the city.

Day 20: Cáceres, rest day
Now that we are in Cáceres, @peregrina2000 , armed with our maps, we're ready for suggestions 😀 The Ayuntamiento's website has information, but nothing beats personal recommendations, and the advice of veterans!
We have to make sure that we're not here on a Monday...
Oh, nearly forgot: we'll want to stay somewhere close to the historic center. That shouldn't be an issue, I assume.
 

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Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Well, I'm the worst person to advise you on Caceres. I passed through twice (because I got there on a Saturday and couldn't pick up my things at the post office, so I bussed back overnight from Jarilla). Anyway, I just didn't hit it off with Caceres and it's a disappointment to me. Clearly the city has some incredible medieval architecture. It also has Moorish defenses, and Roman remains. There's a former jewish quarter (now marked with stars of David on the pavement I think - since the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492). All fascinating and historic. But I got there under rain clouds. Found the albergue Las Veletas to be somewhat unwelcoming, less than clean. I got depressed by the graffiti and the evident economic depression of the city. The meal that I had in the Plaza Mayor gave me indigestion all night and I woke up the next day with insect bites on my arms. When I passed through the second time, I gave it another shot - stayed at an airbnb that was kind of meh. Asked for a dinner recommendation and walked a long way to find the place closed.

The route out of Caceres toward Casar de Caceres is a bit of a nightmare in the narrow shoulder of a busy road. But there is an alternative that you can follow. It adds a couple of kilometers for a very pleasant, trail. We will describe it when the time comes.

So yeah ... I recognize that Caceres is a special and beautiful city. I'm determined to give it another go one day. But for now, my experience serves only to emphasize the things to avoid:
Avoid Las Veletas
Avoid restaurants in the main square (except the one that Peregrina mentioned above)
Avoid the main road out of town
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Well, @Raggy, I know exactly what you mean. I have been to Évora in Portugal at least three or four times, going back each time trying to see what it is that makes everyone rave about it and it just doesn’t appeal to me at all. Chaque un and all that.

But my opinion of Cáceres is much more positive. The Renaissance core off the Plaza Mayor is beautiful — others have said, and I think they are right, that if this were in Italy, it would be another over-run Tuscan town. There is not a lot to see, in terms of museums, churches, etc, but the buildings are beautiful and it is fun to meander around the narrow streets. Not many people actually living in that quarter, though there are some, but most of the buildings are extremely well preserved and in use as government buildings or other foundations. The church is not exceptional, IMO. In terms of museums, the municipal museum is probably the most interesting, especially since it is built right over the Moorish cistern (aljibe) and you can walk down in the dark. Beautiful moorish arches. The museum also has some nice archaeological pieces. And if it’s sunny and not too hot, there are lots of nice places nearby (either for free on steps of churches or in cafés) to sit and soak up the architecture and watch the world go by.

And, here is Sabine’s recommendation of restaurants. After Raggy’s experience, who would try anything else?!


I was hungry when I was there and ordered a menú of a bunch of tapas. It was about 15 € and four or five choices. The waiter told me it would be too much, but I assured him I was hungry. Well, he was right, it was too much. But it was absolutely delicious. It is not often the case that you can sit in the main square of a Spanish city and eat really good food. On a Sunday afternoon, it was just perfect — I sat there for a couple of hours, and the whole square was buzzing with people. Highly recommended!

I’ve stayed in a bunch of places in Cáceres, including the somewhat gloomy Las Veletas that left Raggy so un-charmed. Last time through I got a last minute booking.com deal in a nice place right on the square. I asked for a room that didn’t look out on the square just in case the windows were not triple-glazed. Cáceres has lot of nice little hotels in old stone buildings in the old quarter, lots of charm. Unless things are really busy, you can probably snag something at the last minute that will be pretty cheap.
 

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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I quite like the idea of walking across an airstrip (Aeródromo de la Cervera)
Yes, I enjoyed that novelty, too, especially since I was not expecting it.
I think one full day [in Caceres] plus arrival afternoon is enough.
I think so, too, although I admit that I have never bothered to see any specific sights other than general wandering about.

In 2017 I walked through Caceres, with only a stop to eat. In 2018, accommodations were booked up for a music festival, so I took the bus from Valdesalor and walked straight on.

However, the first time (2016) in Caceres was memorable for those unpredictable and silly reasons that make travel so much fun. I was with my sister-in-law who was having some physical problems that required some major compromises. So, we were walking no more than 10-15 km/day and using taxis and buses as well. (A few days later, we moved over the Camino Frances for the better infrastructure.) Arriving in Caceres, we were quite depressed and needed a treat - the NH Collection Cáceres Palacio de Oquendo served that purpose perfectly! The nearby Plaza San Juan had some good eating spots and did not feel so hectic and touristy as the Plaza Mayor. We spent a few pleasant hours on the patio of the the Restaurante Taperia Iberico on the Plaza San Juan. It was very relaxing and the local entertainment included the delivery of a new refrigerator to an apartment above the restaurant. The delivery took a long time and was watched closely - in the Spanish way, with audience participation - by all the patrons enjoying their drinks and food. That afternoon cheered us up immensely.
 

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alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
I really love Cáceres, up there with Zamora and Soria as my favourite small (ish) Spanish cities). The new town is admittedly nondescript, but once you're within the 22 towers and (largely Almohad) walls of the central city, it's just jaw-droppingly beautiful. From the palace built for one of Montezuma's grandsons, with the spoils of the Aztecs, to the Torre de las Cigüeñas (the only tower allowed inside the old city by Isabel after her war of succession in 1478), celtiberian and Roman remains, and many other impressive, if austere, palaces and churches, it well repays some exploration.

As a bonus, it's the "foodie" capital of the region, with several highly regarded restaurants, including the Madruelo, in the old town near the Palacio de los Toledo-Moctezuma, which has a Michelin "bib gourmande" (good food at reasonable prices), specialising in local produce.

The parador, where I was lucky to stay on expenses, is fabulous, if somewhat lacking in natural light, and I also liked the Iberia, near the Plaza Mayor - simple but comfortable, relatively cheap and very friendly. The albergue turistico where I also stayed (2010) is, I think, closed down now, like several others in Extremadura.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18Norte
I too love Caceres. Enjoyed Hotel Iberia on my first visit but in 2017 we found Hostal Carretera,under the arches on Plaza Mayor . Friendly,clean and inexpensive . Exploring the old city was amazing.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I really love Cáceres, up there with Zamora and Soria as my favourite small (ish) Spanish cities). The new town is admittedly nondescript, but once you're within the 22 towers and (largely Almohad) walls of the central city, it's just jaw-droppingly beautiful. From the palace built for one of Montezuma's grandsons, with the spoils of the Aztecs, to the Torre de las Cigüeñas (the only tower allowed inside the old city by Isabel after her war of succession in 1478), celtiberian and Roman remains, and many other impressive, if austere, palaces and churches, it well repays some exploration.

As a bonus, it's the "foodie" capital of the region, with several highly regarded restaurants, including the Madruelo, in the old town near the Palacio de los Toledo-Moctezuma, which has a Michelin "bib gourmande" (good food at reasonable prices), specialising in local produce.

The parador, where I was lucky to stay on expenses, is fabulous, if somewhat lacking in natural light, and I also liked the Iberia, near the Plaza Mayor - simple but comfortable, relatively cheap and very friendly. The albergue turistico where I also stayed (2010) is, I think, closed down now, like several others in Extremadura.
AlanSykes, I hope you will agree to be my guide on my next camino. You always provide the best, most succinct, and most important historical factoids about all these places we walk through!
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
AlanSykes, I hope you will agree to be my guide on my next camino. You always provide the best, most succinct, and most important historical factoids about all these places we walk through!
We would love to have you all as our guides!! This is fabulous! Thank you for the photos!
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 21: Cáceres to Casar de Cáceres

Today is going to be a short day: 11km to Casar de Cáceres. The distance to Embalse de Alcántara is a bit too long for us. An added bonus is that we can also fit in a little bit more sightseeing in Cáceres before we head out.

The route out of Caceres toward Casar de Caceres is a bit of a nightmare in the narrow shoulder of a busy road. But there is an alternative that you can follow. It adds a couple of kilometers for a very pleasant, trail. We will describe it when the time comes.
@Raggy , now's the time for the tip on how to avoid the narrow shoulder on that busy road! ☺ We've had a look at a number of photos on Google, and we don't mind adding a few kilometres if it keeps us away from cars :oops:

The Albergue Turístico Vía de la Plata looks ok. Probably better than the Municipal albergue, for which Gerald Kelly comments: "Possibly also earplugs needed at weekends due to the town's riotous night-life."
Gerald Kelly also mentions the "Cheese Museum / Museo del Queso, showcases Casar's tradition cheese."
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Happy to find the thread in which these alternatives were discussed. Raggy is probably asleep now. :)

Early on a weekday morning, the walk from Cáceres north along the two lane highway is one of the three or four worst walking nightmares I’ve had on any camino. Of course, weekends would be fine,

The thread shows two different city exits, and I think that actually the second one might be safer. But first hand info would be great from any other forum members. (There is some discussion in the thread itself, but not from anyone who has walked).




I think you have chosen the better lodging option in Casar de Cáceres. The albergue has very awkwardly placed bathroom stalls, and the noise outside can be pretty loud. But do try the restaurant across the street from the albergue — Majuca, my notes tell me it is named. I had my first salad since Sevilla that did not use iceberg lettuce!

This little town is where a very pungent runny cheese is made. An acquired taste, I think, even for a cheese lover like me. The museum is mildly interesting, and the official story is that the cheese came out as a mistake — the shephards tried to make a traditional hardened cheese, but this runny gooey stuff was the result and they stuck with it. Back in 2010 when I visited, I learned that all production of this cheese was now industrial, and it seemed to me that it might be a good option for an artisanal effort. But maybe the smell would be overpowering at such close quarters.

There is a churrería in town, which opens at 4:30 in the morning (apparently that’s standard opening time for churrerías — when I asked why it opened so early, the response was — porque es churrería, claro). I know there are some, like @Kiwi-family, who love chocolate and churros for breakfast, but I remember that it made me feel like I had a lump of raw dough in my belly for hours that morning. But if you are going to have some, this would be a good place to try them, since it is very popular. And they serve coffee, not just chocolate, so if you need a caffeine fix early, that’s the place to go. (My google search led me to the realization that there are actually two churrerías in town, both highly rated, but the one most conveniently located is Churrería Borges, on the same street as the Cheese Museum, about a block or two north of the bus station).

Buen camino, AJ, Laurie
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
"Cheese Museum / Museo del Queso, showcases Casar's tradition cheese."
That would be the famous Torta del Casar. You can visit the museum if you wish but you'll find no shortage of shops and restaurants selling it along the main road in Casar. According to the internet, it's the best cheese in the world. And that's literally all I can tell you about Casar, because I didn't stop there:

Whoever did the signage in Caceres pulled out all the stops to make things clear to pilgrims. In addition to the usual arrows and shells, there are schematic diagrams on the approaches to junctions. They're not very pretty (yeah, I really soured on Caceres) but they do a good job of supporting the directionally-challenged pilgrim at every decision point - which in this case, means left at the bullring and along the Calle Lavanderas, with its worthy but ugly statue of washerwomen (there I go again). The little Aguas Vivas grocery store here is your last opportunity to buy groceries before you leave town. You won't need much if you're stopping in Casar. After the grocery store, the road slopes down and becomes Calle Calatayud, which takes you all the way to a big roundabout (traffic circle) ...

This roundabout is the point at which you will depart from the official route. It serves as a junction for the N-521, the CC-38 regional highway, and Calle Calatayud. You're going to walk around the left / west side of the roundabout and over a zebra / pedestrian crossing to cross the N-521. Ignore the arrows that direct you along the CC-38, which has a narrow shoulder, steep banks, fast-moving traffic. You need to look for a footpath before you get to the exit for the CC-38. The footpath will take you parallel to the road at first, but then turns sharp left and heads toward a viewing point "Cerro Otero"

Keep following the track past the viewing point - you'll zig a right turn and then zag a left at a T-junction to get around someone's field. And a little further up you'll come to a T-junction, where you can go right and follow that path / farm road until you almost bump into the CC-38 again. From here you are back on the official camino, which goes along a farm road, parallel to the CC-38.

Effectively, you will have walked two sides of a triangle to get you past the nasty bit of CC-38. I estimate that it adds about 2-3km to your walk, but it's safer and more pleasant.

[EDIT - The route that I have described is the second one that Peregrina2000 posted tracks for - "Casar de Cáceres Plaza de toros cáceres" ]

When you get to Casar, I recommend that you call ahead to the Embalse de Alcantara albergue to verify whether they are operating. There should be someone at the albergue in the afternoon (probably not in the morning). If you can't get through to the telephone numbers in the guidebooks, make inquiries at the town hall in Casar.

If they're not operating (or you can't verify), then take down the number of a taxi company in Casar. I can't find one on Google maps, but if you ask at a local restaurant, I'm sure you'll find a local taxi. If not, there are lots of taxi firms in Caceres that will happily drive out to pick you up and bring you back to Casar for a second night, then take you back the next day. (And if that's what you need to do then it would be nice to know so you can leave your bags in Casar). I think that the stages after Casar are too good to miss, so although it seems kind of decadent to take taxis back and forth, that may be your best option in the event of an albergue closure.

There used to be a fishing lodge at Embalse de Alcantara - on the same side road as the albergue - but it's not in the guide at the moment. It is unstaffed, so you need to arrange in advance if you're staying there.

You know they told you that the VDLP is a pain in the ass because of lack of facilities and huge distances to walk and so much complication and all that. Well, for the most part, it really isn't. But if you're unlucky, this next bit can be. So be prepared.

Screen Shot 2020-05-15 at 20.24.41.pngScreen Shot 2020-05-15 at 20.24.17.pngScreen Shot 2020-05-15 at 20.26.39.png
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
That would be the famous Torta del Casar. You can visit the museum if you wish but you'll find no shortage of shops and restaurants selling it along the main road in Casar. According to the internet, it's the best cheese in the world. And that's literally all I can tell you about Casar, because I didn't stop there:

Whoever did the signage in Caceres pulled out all the stops to make things clear to pilgrims. In addition to the usual arrows and shells, there are schematic diagrams on the approaches to junctions. They're not very pretty (yeah, I really soured on Caceres) but they do a good job of supporting the directionally-challenged pilgrim at every decision point - which in this case, means left at the bullring and along the Calle Lavanderas, with its worthy but ugly statue of washerwomen (there I go again). The little Aguas Vivas grocery store here is your last opportunity to buy groceries before you leave town. You won't need much if you're stopping in Casar. After the grocery store, the road slopes down and becomes Calle Calatayud, which takes you all the way to a big roundabout (traffic circle) ...

This roundabout is the point at which you will depart from the official route. It serves as a junction for the N-521, the CC-38 regional highway, and Calle Calatayud. You're going to walk around the left / west side of the roundabout and over a zebra / pedestrian crossing to cross the N-521. Ignore the arrows that direct you along the CC-38, which has a narrow shoulder, steep banks, fast-moving traffic. You need to look for a footpath before you get to the exit for the CC-38. The footpath will take you parallel to the road at first, but then turns sharp left and heads toward a viewing point "Cerro Otero"

Keep following the track past the viewing point - you'll zig a right turn and then zag a left at a T-junction to get around someone's field. And a little further up you'll come to a T-junction, where you can go right and follow that path / farm road until you almost bump into the CC-38 again. From here you are back on the official camino, which goes along a farm road, parallel to the CC-38.

Effectively, you will have walked two sides of a triangle to get you past the nasty bit of CC-38. I estimate that it adds about 2-3km to your walk, but it's safer and more pleasant.

[EDIT - The route that I have described is the second one that Peregrina2000 posted tracks for - "Casar de Cáceres Plaza de toros cáceres" ]

When you get to Casar, I recommend that you call ahead to the Embalse de Alcantara albergue to verify whether they are operating. There should be someone at the albergue in the afternoon (probably not in the morning). If you can't get through to the telephone numbers in the guidebooks, make inquiries at the town hall in Casar.

If they're not operating (or you can't verify), then take down the number of a taxi company in Casar. I can't find one on Google maps, but if you ask at a local restaurant, I'm sure you'll find a local taxi. If not, there are lots of taxi firms in Caceres that will happily drive out to pick you up and bring you back to Casar for a second night, then take you back the next day. (And if that's what you need to do then it would be nice to know so you can leave your bags in Casar). I think that the stages after Casar are too good to miss, so although it seems kind of decadent to take taxis back and forth, that may be your best option in the event of an albergue closure.

There used to be a fishing lodge at Embalse de Alcantara - on the same side road as the albergue - but it's not in the guide at the moment. It is unstaffed, so you need to arrange in advance if you're staying there.

You know they told you that the VDLP is a pain in the ass because of lack of facilities and huge distances to walk and so much complication and all that. Well, for the most part, it really isn't. But if you're unlucky, this next bit can be. So be prepared.

View attachment 75080View attachment 75081View attachment 75082

Great, @Raggy! I wasn’t sure from your comments on the original thread whether you had actually walked this route. So glad to have some first hand corroboration. I also thought the second set of tracks looked like a better option.

Is there anything about this off-road alternative to recommend it other than the obvious fact that it avoids the road? It looks from the wikiloc map that it might involve some slight ascent into a bowl-like formation.

And I have to say I totally agree with your comment about the fallacy of the “ask the locals” advice on that thread. In most of these places, the “locals” have never gotten from point A to point B in any other form of transportation but a car.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I also had a thought, but need to check with the veterans of the VdlP: in a few instances in recent walks, where we would walk a spur off the main trail, coming back to it , we would drop our packs, and then walk to the sight without the weight. We would then come back to the turn off, pick up our packs and continue our walk. We have never had any issues with our packs disappearing (obviously we would keep our valuable with us), but I was wondering what you thought about this on the VdlP. Is it safe to leave a pack for a few hours? This would allow Rachel to walk without the weight of her pack.
I originally missed this question, sorry. I do think that the Vdlp is extremely safe, but it just creates an opportunity for that one unscrupulous person who might happen by, so I wouldn’t chance it. I’d be shocked if someone jumped out of the bushes to steal your pack, but I wouldn’t be shocked to hear that it disappeared while lying unattended in essentiallly the middle of nowhere.

But as far as the tracks go, I am also wondering if there is a possible way to walk from Santa Lucía to Los Olivos without a total backtrack. I remember that this area was just filled with all sorts of agricultural tracks (which made a GPS essential). Though I have the fancy wikiloc version, I can’t use the map function easily on my ipad, but google maps shows a route that looks like it might be a bit shorter than going back to the Vdlp cut-off.
 

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OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Hi A.J.
I thought I’d add a little from my walk out of Cáceres (April 21 last year)..
Although I think the exit @Raggy explained sounds like the one for you and Rachel ., I’d like to say that my experience on the ‘usual ‘ exit was not too bad.
Admittedly, it was a Sunday ., so perhaps the traffic wasn’t too bad.
My pics show - my position just about at the roundabout at exit.
-the pic with the stop sign 🛑. Shows Cáceres in distance (looking back ). At this position I turned off onto a quiet track and was a nice walk all the way to Casar de Cásares.. final pic shows track I was on when entering Casar.
Time on that road in question (taken from time on my photographs ) was about 35 minutes. I don’t walk rapidly. You can see the amount of shoulder. I just made sure I leaned away from traffic and held my poles closer to the oncoming cars. The cars do travel rather fast along there but I didn’t feel frightened at any time.
I’ve added this info more for any others contemplating the walk along the road.
 

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OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Also meant to say that I’d walked previous day from Alcuéscar to Valdesalor (approx 25k) & stayed in the Albergue in entrance to town. Accommodation around there in April was tight around Easter and I was aware that nothing was available in Cáceres....and difficult to find a place at Casar. So I’d booked ahead for Casar; using booking dot com . accommodation - in Casar de Cáceres although showing on gronze as E50 for Apartamentos Andrada .+34 633770332. I paid E66. Maybe it was due to its size. It was very nice. (3 pics below - very spacious (lounge area ; kitchen and bedroom & bathroom )Although I had been walking alone for a few days then; so the Albergue would have provided some conversation and company. The place on left walking into Casar looked okay but was completo then ).
The apartment in Casar was good and restaurant close by .. very quiet area.

So it was a comfortable day having about 12k walk in the morning to Cáceres from Valdesalor - I had time to enjoy sightseeing around Cáceres. The main square was packed awaiting the Easter Sunday procession .. not sure of the name of the restaurant in main square but lunch was superb. I waited for a while for the procession to arrive and walked on. It is only about 11 or 12ks from there to Casar. Looking back as you walk you can see Cáceres almost until you get to Casar.
Another pic below shows the pretty gardens you walk through as you enter Casar..

Also If you love seeing storks nests and storks - you’ll be in heaven walking along this route at this time.
I took so many pics in Cáceres and picked up a brochure there (pic below) showing the sky full of storks!!
 

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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Happy to find the thread in which these alternatives were discussed. Raggy is probably asleep now. :)
After the grocery store, the road slopes down and becomes Calle Calatayud, which takes you all the way to a big roundabout (traffic circle) ...
This roundabout is the point at which you will depart from the official route. It serves as a junction for the N-521, the CC-38 regional highway, and Calle Calatayud. You're going to walk around the left / west side of the roundabout and over a zebra / pedestrian crossing to cross the N-521. Ignore the arrows that direct you along the CC-38, which has a narrow shoulder, steep banks, fast-moving traffic. You need to look for a footpath before you get to the exit for the CC-38. The footpath will take you parallel to the road at first, but then turns sharp left and heads toward a viewing point "Cerro Otero"
Keep following the track past the viewing point - you'll zig a right turn and then zag a left at a T-junction to get around someone's field. And a little further up you'll come to a T-junction, where you can go right and follow that path / farm road until you almost bump into the CC-38 again. From here you are back on the official camino, which goes along a farm road, parallel to the CC-38.
Effectively, you will have walked two sides of a triangle to get you past the nasty bit of CC-38. I estimate that it adds about 2-3km to your walk, but it's safer and more pleasant.
I thought I’d add a little from my walk out of Cáceres (April 21 last year)..
Although I think the exit @Raggy explained sounds like the one for you and Rachel ., I’d like to say that my experience on the ‘usual ‘ exit was not too bad.
Admittedly, it was a Sunday ., so perhaps the traffic wasn’t too bad.
At this position I turned off onto a quiet track and was a nice walk all the way to Casar de Cásares.. final pic shows track I was on when entering Casar.
Thank you all for these details and the photos. I'll download the wikiloc tracks. It doesn't look like a major detour.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
But as far as the tracks go, I am also wondering if there is a possible way to walk from Santa Lucía to Los Olivos without a total backtrack. I remember that this area was just filled with all sorts of agricultural tracks (which made a GPS essential).
I have been using the Spanish IGN maps online (https://www.ign.es/iberpix2/visor/), and I can see that there are a number of tracks that go over the Sierra del Centinela, so I'll study that in more details. And yes, GPS definitely required here!
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
When you get to Casar, I recommend that you call ahead to the Embalse de Alcantara albergue to verify whether they are operating. There should be someone at the albergue in the afternoon (probably not in the morning). If you can't get through to the telephone numbers in the guidebooks, make inquiries at the town hall in Casar.
If they're not operating (or you can't verify), then take down the number of a taxi company in Casar. I can't find one on Google maps, but if you ask at a local restaurant, I'm sure you'll find a local taxi. If not, there are lots of taxi firms in Caceres that will happily drive out to pick you up and bring you back to Casar for a second night, then take you back the next day. (And if that's what you need to do then it would be nice to know so you can leave your bags in Casar). I think that the stages after Casar are too good to miss, so although it seems kind of decadent to take taxis back and forth, that may be your best option in the event of an albergue closure.
There used to be a fishing lodge at Embalse de Alcantara - on the same side road as the albergue - but it's not in the guide at the moment. It is unstaffed, so you need to arrange in advance if you're staying there.
You know they told you that the VDLP is a pain in the ass because of lack of facilities and huge distances to walk and so much complication and all that. Well, for the most part, it really isn't. But if you're unlucky, this next bit can be. So be prepared.
Day 22: Casar de Cáceres to Embalse de Alcántara

@Raggy , I am very grateful for that information. I had looked at this stage, and I was putting together my options.
The first question I have is: can I call the Embalse de Alcantara albergue while I am in Cáceres? That would give me extra time to plan accommodation in Casar if we need to take the taxi option.
I also noticed that the website of the albergue (http://www.embalsedealcantara.com/index.html) had a link for reservations. It is currently not active, possibly because of Covid-19. Their FB page has a "Book Now" button, so I thought that I could also probably try to make a reservation earlier.
I have sent an email to the fishing lodge: they are French nationals, and they have a FB page, with their most recent post being on 18 April. I haven't heard back from them yet, again possibly because of the current situation.
So, today we are walking 22.2km to the Embalse de Alcantara albergue.
Option 1: if the albergue is open, and we can make a reservation, we'll sleep there.
Option 2: if it isn't, we're spending two nights in Casar, taking a taxi to the Embalse, and then walking back to Casar. We don't mind being taxigrinos ☺
As part of the preparation, we're looking at taking sleeping bags. I was hoping that we could get by with just a sleeping bag liner, but @OzAnnie has told us she had a few freezing nights in April 2019. I am now going to search the forum for threads on lightweight sleeping bags!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017
Primitivo 2018
Finisterre/Muxía 2018
Norte 2019
I am so happy to have found this virtual walk on the VdlP @AJGuillaume and all the helpful tips and advice. What a great idea. I had been planning to walk the VdlP this year and sadly am having to accept the reality that it probably won’t happen and for now all I can do is plan and wait.
Thank you for keeping me inspired and hopeful.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Oops. I am lagging in Casar de Caceres.
The albergue has very awkwardly placed bathroom stalls
Yes! One of my least favourite albergues ever! You can choose to be next to the toilets, or next to the showers.
the restaurant across the street from the albergue — Majuca
Very nice restaurant, and the owners are happy to have pilgrims spend a leisurely few hours sitting there.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
The first question I have is: can I call the Embalse de Alcantara albergue while I am in Cáceres?
I've caused some upsetment with my opinions on Embalse de Alcantara albergue in the past, so I'll try to keep my comments about it mostly factual:

Over the years, the albergue has had repeated problems that have forced shutdowns. These have sometimes been planned and publicized, and at other times sudden. I believe major remedial works took place in 2017, but it has also had closures since then. The reason cited is often "water issues." With its remote, lakeside location, it's easy to imagine that there might be water supply failure, flooding, or backed up foul water drains. For whatever reason, it has had to close without warning in the past.

The albergue is quite remote - satellite imagery shows a few houses by the lakeside nearby but I'm not sure if they're occupied. (The house closer to the lake might be. The French-owned fishing lodge is not). For sure, there is no shop or place to eat, apart from the albergue. The French-owned fishing lodge requires prior reservation if it is in operation.

It is more reliable to communicate by phone rather than to use an online form, since the albergue website and Facebook pages are not assiduously managed. For example, they provided an out-of-use phone number for quite a long time.

The idea to call one afternoon or evening from Cáceres (or even Merida) is fine. It will allow you to verify that the albergue is operating and the phone number is correct. In any event, it is a good idea to call again in the afternoon or evening when you are in Casar to confirm your plan for the next day and verify when they're planning to be on site (usually from lunch time).

The albergue is 600m off the road - hidden down a little path. Description and photos are in this thread:

The nearest settlement on the camino after this albergue is Cañaveral, which is 12km away, over windswept hills with little shelter or shade and no sources of water. You are likely to encounter only cows for the entire 12km. Be aware of this if you are tempted to continue walking after Embalse de Alcantara. A pilgrim died here when walking on a hot day some years ago. An alternative way to reach Cañaveral is to follow the main road where you might be able to flag down a car. You will not need to do that if you have a fully charged cell phone and the number of a taxi firm.

---

With the more factual commentary out of the way, permit me be a bit more opinionated about the walk to Embalse de Alcantara. It is really special. You're walking on the old Roman road through "dehesa” grasslands with some incredible rock formations. At one point you'll pass the Roman milestone "factory," (I have no idea if it was a production site or a storage site, or something else entirely, but there's a pile of five Roman milestones in one spot).

Really a great walk for almost all the way. The last bit by the lake ought to be pretty spectacular too - assuming that the pedestrian route has been improved around the road / railway that was under construction in 2017. You'll cross two bits of lake on two large road bridges with pedestrian walkways to one side. Shortly after the second bridge is the side road down to the lakeside and the albergue. The building is a modernist, concrete slab with a long low profile, directly overlooking the lake. It has four dorms for 18 guests, a huge dining room with large windows that overlook the lake and a nice patio area out front.

When I stayed there I was really impressed. I found the hospitalero on duty to be very friendly. He did my laundry and prepared a super meal for me. The accommodations very comfortable. I'm sure it had blankets. I was not carrying a sleeping bag in early November (I picked up my sleeping bag a couple of days later). You might want to verify the availability of blankets when you call ahead. If they don't provide them, you'll be able to buy cheap sleeping bags (or a couple of cheap blankets) in one of the shops in central Caceres. (Decathlon is a "Decathlon City" which might only have training shoes - but there are other stores in the compact city center).

Option 1: if the albergue is open, and we can make a reservation, we'll sleep there.
Option 2: if it isn't, we're spending two nights in Casar, taking a taxi to the Embalse, and then walking back to Casar. We don't mind being taxigrinos
I would prefer not to walk a section in reverse, but if you're happier doing things that way, I guess it's fine. If you want forward facing seats for the entire trip, I recommend discussing your plans with a taxi driver before you leave Casar. They should be able to identify the location of the side road to the albergue, which would be a fine place to wait for them to come and pick you up - should that be necessary. The address of the albergue is

Carretera Nacional 630, Km. 519,8, 10940 Garrovillas de Alconétar, Cáceres, Spain

Alternatively, you could ask him to meet you at the first of the large road bridges on the N630 - since the last bit of walking across those bridges and to the albergue is nothing special.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Day 22: Casar de Cáceres to Embalse de Alcántara

2016 - Here is a cautionary tale on the use of taxis to help with this stage. Just make sure you are perfectly understood, and that you have a precise map (maybe even printed) to show the driver. As said elsewhere, the locals are not always as familiar with pilgrim routes as we might expect.

The Embalse Albergue wasn't open and my companion couldn't walk 35 km, so we decided to take a taxi for the first part - from Caceres to the Embalse. We got a taxi at a stand near our luxurious hotel, and requested to be taken to the Albergue de Peregrinos at the Embalse de Alcantara. (My Spanish is not perfect, but it is quite serviceable.) The driver's cost estimate of €65 was higher than we expected for 35 km, and we questioned it, again stated our destination; he consulted someone else for confirmation, that is was much further than 35 km, and we said OK, thinking that we had miscalculated in some way. So we set off.

After awhile, my companion said we seemed to be going the wrong way. I discussed a bit with the driver, who insisted that he was 100% confident of where we were going - to the Embalse de Alcantara. Well, the drive went on and on and the metre got up to €60, the driver said we were very close. When we saw a road sign indicating XX km to Portugal, we were certain there was a problem. The driver said we were almost there, but he pulled over to look at our map. Turned out that he was taking us to the well known tourist site - the Roman Puente de Alcántara over the Tagus River, on the western end of the Embalse. We wanted to be on the eastern edge of the reservoir, about 50 km away!

The driver was a young man, very polite and apologetic, and he turned around and started in the other direction. As the meter headed up and up, I asked him how much it would cost. He said it would cost what he told us - €65 - since it was his mistake. (It was, and we had several times questioned the direction he was taking us, but I guess he wasn't familiar with the VDLP route.) In the end, the meter was over €100. We all felt bad about the misunderstanding and the driver was so chagrined that we gave him €100 anyway. He dropped us off on the highway close to a sign pointing pilgrims up into the hills towards Canaveral, we waved goodbye, and were relieved to be walking.

With that taxi-assistance story out of the way, I will talk about the walking version.

2017 - I really enjoyed the walk from Casar to the Embalse, as described by Raggy. The morning walk up the hills, past dairy farms, was beautiful in the morning light. I found the rock formations, views and even the AVE construction to be both interesting and scenic in different ways, in spite of the several km slog on asphalt at the end. The albergue wasn't open, so I walked the 35 km to Cañaveral with a companion - neither of us had walked that far before, but we were very pleased with ourselves when we arrived.

2018 - The albergue was open and I had reserved by telephone and follow-up by WhatsApp. It was a little farther off the highway that I expected - Raggy says 600 m. There is nothing else to do but relax and look at the view - the facilities are clean, spacious, modern, etc.

Regarding the plan for taxi assistance if the albergue isn't open... I agree that it is the second part (Embalse to Cañaveral) that should be skipped. A suggestion would be to make arrangements with the Albergue in Cañaveral to be picked up at the turnoff to the Embalse or earlier as Raggy suggested. The Cañaveral albergue is very nice, with excellent food too, and the owners are very familiar with pilgrims, so they would have suggestions to help you. I recall seeing somewhere that they would arrange taxis for this situation.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
For me, the highlight of the stage to the Embalse was that it gave me the opportunity to chat with and to thank two workers who were weed-whacking on the Via de la Plata. I have frequently seen people working along the side of the road when I passed by walking, but this was the first time I ran into people who were working exclusively for us peregrinos. They told me they were in charge of the entire way from Casar to Cañaveral, and they seemed glad that their work was appreciated. One had actually walked the Vdlp the previous year because of his exposure to it at work.

And I totally agree that the walk is just BEAUTIFUL!!! Except maybe for those last kms along the road around the reservoir.

I have sent a WhatsApp to the embalse albergue and will let you know what I hear, if anything.

One word of caution to anyone going to the Embalse albergue — the turn-off is not so obvious. At least two different small groups I met on this stage had planned to stop there and never showed up. Having to slog on to Cañaveral after a long stage would be hard.

Good directions from @laineylainey lifted from this thread.

To those who haven't walk this part be careful if you are staying at the now reopened Embalse Albergue, the signage (imo) is not great. From when you join the main road it's about 5 or 6 km. You go over 2 road bridges over the resevoire and then for about 1km climb up the road. There is then a sign for the Camino straight ahead but in the left there is a Casa Rural and also a small sign for the Albergue but I think you could miss it. I was only aware because I was using Google maps and she said "turn left"! The albergue is 500 meters down the lane past the Casa Rural, which by the way I tried to book but they told me they do not take 1 night bookings anymore?




1589739954599.jpeg

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Got a WhatsApp from the Albergue in the Embalse. He said they had been open prior to covid and plan to re-open in September. But he cautioned that there are still lots of unknowns.

I know you do not stay in albergues, AJ, but I remember that this one had sex-segregated sleeping rooms and bathrooms, so there will be a bit more privacy than in many of your normal albergues. And it’s usually the case that on the Vdlp, the men outnumber the women by a factor of 4 or 5, so that means even more privacy for the women!
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Given the time zone difference, I generally read your comments the next morning after I have posted. I share these comments with Rachel and we have a nice chat. We love the photos, the factual comments and the opinions, they're really helpful 👍, and these are the ones that will shape this stage:

- the Albergue at the Embalse de Alcántara could be closed suddenly, and making a reservation probably won't work if that was to happen at the last minute
- you all agree that the Albergue at the Embalse de Alcántara is clean and comfortable. @peregrina2000 , we do stay in albergues, in 2018, we enjoyed Izarbide! ☺ The only thing holding us back staying here is this:
You know they told you that the VDLP is a pain in the ass because of lack of facilities and huge distances to walk and so much complication and all that. Well, for the most part, it really isn't. But if you're unlucky, this next bit can be. So be prepared.
We have to be prepared in case we are unlucky!
- you all agree that the walk from Casar to the lake is really beautiful

So we have come up with two options, and I am trying not to jump too much ahead to the next day:

1) spend two nights in Casar. On arrival in Casar, find a taxi or someone willing to come and pick us up from the first bridge, and double check that they know where the meeting point is going to be. When we leave Casar, walk to the lake with the taxi number in hand, and call when we have arrived at the first bridge. The next day, get the same person to drive us to the same spot and continue from there.

2) we noted that @C clearly indicated we could skip the walk from the lake to Cañaveral, so this option would require a different preparation. We need to have the phone number of a taxi in Cañaveral (e.g. Taxis Serrano), or to organise for the albergue in Cañaveral to pick us up. So spend one night in Casar, walk to the turn off to the albergue at the Embalse de Alcántara, and then call either the taxi or the albergue.
 

peregrina2000

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Staff member
Given the time zone difference, I generally read your comments the next morning after I have posted. I share these comments with Rachel and we have a nice chat. We love the photos, the factual comments and the opinions, they're really helpful 👍, and these are the ones that will shape this stage:

- the Albergue at the Embalse de Alcántara could be closed suddenly, and making a reservation probably won't work if that was to happen at the last minute
- you all agree that the Albergue at the Embalse de Alcántara is clean and comfortable. @peregrina2000 , we do stay in albergues, in 2018, we enjoyed Izarbide! ☺ The only thing holding us back staying here is this:

We have to be prepared in case we are unlucky!
- you all agree that the walk from Casar to the lake is really beautiful

So we have come up with two options, and I am trying not to jump too much ahead to the next day:

1) spend two nights in Casar. On arrival in Casar, find a taxi or someone willing to come and pick us up from the first bridge, and double check that they know where the meeting point is going to be. When we leave Casar, walk to the lake with the taxi number in hand, and call when we have arrived at the first bridge. The next day, get the same person to drive us to the same spot and continue from there.

2) we noted that @C clearly indicated we could skip the walk from the lake to Cañaveral, so this option would require a different preparation. We need to have the phone number of a taxi in Cañaveral (e.g. Taxis Serrano), or to organise for the albergue in Cañaveral to pick us up. So spend one night in Casar, walk to the turn off to the albergue at the Embalse de Alcántara, and then call either the taxi or the albergue.
Hi, AJ,
Just to say I got another WhatsApp from the owner of the Embalse albergue, and he said that making reservations by WhatsApp will be possible any time the albergue is open. 34 664 26 27 42

I agree it’s always good to have a fallback plan, but I think this albergue’s hard times are behind it. It is true that after being closed for several years to fix the sewer issue, it re-opened only to have to close again because the problems had not been fixed. But I think there has now been a good track record of a couple of years of continuous operation. Commentary on Gronze is consistently very positive.

@Raggy’s memory of the ”neighborhood” is like mine — lots of unoccupied houses, but there are places to sit on logs right next to the water and watch the fish jump, all very peaceful. And the albergue has a very nice outdoor terrace with views over the water — it was there I met three Japanese peregrinos, none of whom had known each other previously and who had all just met that day at the albergue. That is surely an unusual occurrence — three Japanese pilgrims coming together on the Vdlp.

And one real plus of staying at the Embalse is that it’s just 20 kms from Grimaldo, which has a lovely casa rural, with a lovely owner César, good pilgrim prices, and a very good restaurant across the street. And that in turn puts you in a good position to walk the next day for 20 km to Galisteo, but I am jumping ahead, sorry!

(AHHHHH. Izarbide, another one of my favorites).
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
1) spend two nights in Casar. On arrival in Casar, find a taxi or someone willing to come and pick us up from the first bridge, and double check that they know where the meeting point is going to be. When we leave Casar, walk to the lake with the taxi number in hand, and call when we have arrived at the first bridge. The next day, get the same person to drive us to the same spot and continue from there.

2) we noted that @C clearly indicated we could skip the walk from the lake to Cañaveral, so this option would require a different preparation. We need to have the phone number of a taxi in Cañaveral (e.g. Taxis Serrano), or to organise for the albergue in Cañaveral to pick us up. So spend one night in Casar, walk to the turn off to the albergue at the Embalse de Alcántara, and then call either the taxi or the albergue.
I feel that you're going to find the albergue operating and you'll wonder what all the fuss was about. But preparation pays off when unexpected things happen.

I feel that both stages (Casar to Embalse de Alcántara and Embalse de Alcántara to Cañaveral) are too good to miss. I went through some foul weather on my way to Cañaveral (fortunately the storm passed and I was able to continue to Grimaldo), and even though I was out in open country under heavy rain, I thought it was one of the most beautiful walks.

With that in mind, my suggestion (in the event that you can't stay at Embalse de Alcántara) would be somewhat adapted from your two options. I think your best options are:

1) Spend two nights in Casar. - As per your plan.
The beauty of this idea is that you can can leave your heavy luggage in Casar and walk the 20+km stage with day packs. The downside is that you're paying for two quite long roundtrips - and what makes it worse is that I can't see a taxi in Casar. I'd be kicking myself if I had to pay the fare from Caceres,. If you're resourceful and you ask around, I expect you'll be able to make an informal arrangement in Casar.

2) Spend two nights in Cañaveral
You could make the arrangements with the albergue or hotel in Cañaveral in advance. Walk 20km and get picked up by taxi, then ferried to Cañaveral. Then have them bring you back to the same spot the next day for the lovely walk to Cañaveral. (Heck, if you walked the stretch to Cañaveral without rucksacks, you could probably continue to Grimaldo).

The folks in Cañaveral certainly won't make a mistake with the pickup location. The taxi fare is bound to be cheaper than what you'd pay from Caceres. There are taxis in Cañaveral. On the downside, you will have to carry your rucksacks to Embalse. Well, that's not so bad.

The albergue in Cañaveral is very stylish and looks well appointed. The owners were lovely to me when I entered like a drowned rat. I have heard from other sources that they are true camino angels. The people in the bar up the road, where I spent time waiting for the weather to clear, are also gems. I had such a good feeling about Cañaveral, I was kind of sorry not to spend a night there. Gronze doesn't show it, but Cañaveral is actually "off camino" by a few hundred meters. If you're walking from Embalse to Grimaldo, your shortest route will bypass the town.

Peregrina2000 is absolutely right to be mentioning the next stages because the decision at this point has a knock on effect. At this point of the Camino you need to be thinking one or two stages ahead. Fortunately, the spacing between albergues does not require ironman endurance - but you've got a few days where you can either go shorter than your ideal ... or longer than your ideal. My guess is that you aren't keen to do multiple 20km days in a row. So perhaps it makes sense for you to plan a 20, then a 10, then a 20. Or something like that. The advantage of being relaxed about planning is that you can make those decisions on the fly. It changed my life when I learned that. (Well, not my life, but certainly my Camino).
 
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Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
The way from Embalse de Alcántara to Cañaveral - and a couple of shots from Cañaveral to Grimaldo. Unfortunately, the site tells me that my panoramic photos are too large.
 

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peregrina2000

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So glad to hear @Raggy’s endorsement of the walk from the Embalse. I wouldn’t say it was a show-stopper, but I thought it was it was a very pleasant stage, all off road, some nice views. And when you get close to Cañaveral, pay attention — there are two alternatives marked and one goes into town while the other bypasses it. Even if you aren’t going to spend the night there, my vote would be to stop, because it has bars and shops, and is a good place for a rest and a quick shop.

This route takes you into town.

This route avoids the town completely.

This blog describes the route that skips Cañaveral. https://viadelaplataelcamino.blogspot.com/2010/11/embalse-alcantara-grimaldo.html

There is a little slog uphill right after Cañaveral, so if you prefer to tackle that in the morning, itwould be one reason to stop in this lively little town instead of Grimaldo.
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
I see the debate over the great albergue on the lake continues. But as this a vertual walk you can make the choice that the albergue is open and the lake has water in it. You shouldn't need a sleeping bag here as they have sheets and coverings. We spent a memorial late afternoon with a few bottles of beer soaking in the heat coming of the concrete by the giant iron shutters as we wrote in our diaries and watched the sun go down. Is a long walk to get there and once you hit the road you start to wonder where the hell you are and wher the alburgue is. We noticed more then a few fellow pilgrims were dropped off at the track down to the alburgue by taxi so only had to walk a km or so.

The next few days has more towns and is less isolated so you can have shorter stages, or just stop for coffee and a snack. But you will find you start thinking if the next long stretch around the Caprra arch. But that's ahead of you, meanwhile enjoy the walk and keep your eyes open for imperial Eagles.
 
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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I agree it’s always good to have a fallback plan, but I think this albergue’s hard times are behind it.
(AHHHHH. Izarbide, another one of my favorites).
I feel that you're going to find the albergue operating and you'll wonder what all the fuss was about. But preparation pays off when unexpected things happen.
I see the debate over the great alburgue on the lake continues. But as this a virtual walk you can make the choice that the albergue is open and the lake has water in it.
I recall, @peregrina2000 , when you posted about Izarbide being back to what it used to be. I could feel the passion you had about the albergue, and yes, it was a great experience!
So your comments about the albergue at the Embalse de Alcántara being over its hard times, as well as @Raggy confirming this, has convinced us that we should stay at that albergue. And as @hel&scott reminds us: it's just a virtual camino! 😄
So on Day 22, we'll walk from Casar de Cáceres to Embalse de Alcántara.

But that's ahead of you, meanwhile enjoy the walk and keep your eyes open for imperial Eagles.
Now that, @hel&scott , sounds fantastic! It reminds me of when we were on the Norte, looking for griffin vultures!
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
And one real plus of staying at the Embalse is that it’s just 20 kms from Grimaldo, which has a lovely casa rural, with a lovely owner César, good pilgrim prices, and a very good restaurant across the street. And that in turn puts you in a good position to walk the next day for 20 km to Galisteo, but I am jumping ahead, sorry!
Peregrina2000 is absolutely right to be mentioning the next stages because the decision at this point has a knock on effect. At this point of the Camino you need to be thinking one or two stages ahead. Fortunately, the spacing between albergues does not require ironman endurance - but you've got a few days where you can either go shorter than your ideal ... or longer than your ideal. My guess is that you aren't keen to do multiple 20km days in a row. So perhaps it makes sense for you to plan a 20, then a 10, then a 20.
There is a little slog uphill right after Cañaveral, so if you prefer to tackle that in the morning, it would be one reason to stop in this lively little town instead of Grimaldo.
Thank you for the advice about thinking one or two stages ahead, @Raggy . You are 100% right in assuming that we might not want to do multiple 20km days in a row, if we can avoid it. In fact, when I initially started planning our long walk from Switzerland to SdC in 2018, Rachel made it very clear: keep the daily average down, or she wasn't going to be able to walk with me. I ended up with an average of 16km per day over 2178km. And one lesson I learned from that long walk: add rest days often ☺

That puts my next request for comments in perspective: I can see that over the next few stages, we can keep our daily distance to - sometime very - comfortable manageable distances. Recommendations of albergues and casa rurales often come into the decision making, and a case in point, @peregrina2000 , is Izabide: had you not recommended it, we would have planned our stages differently.

Looking ahead, here are some of the places where we could stop:
- Cañaveral, because it makes it a nice 12km stage after a 20km stage, and we could tackle the uphill slog fresh in the morning. Rachel always wakes up with loads of energy, and like a battery, that energy drains down to a trickle towards the middle of the day. She would have plenty of energy to walk up that hill as we start the day.
- Grimaldo, because of the casa rural, and its owner, César, recommended by Laurie. Would that be La Posada de Grimaldo? Only 9km away from Cañaveral.
- Riolobos, if we weren't going to stop in Grimaldo, as that would make it a 21km stage from Cañaveral. Also because @C clearly mentions a possible stop here in one of her posts.
- Galisteo, because this is what the Spanish Tourism Office has to say about it:
"At present, Galisteo is a beautiful walled town, whose fortified enclosure dates back to Almohad times. It is one of the most emblematic and stunning in the whole of Extremadura. Its fronts are from the 13th century, erected with pebbles and cylindrical stones from the river, giving it its unique look.
In the interior, the traveller will find an interesting Mudejar element: an elegant apse. This stately medieval example is currently attached to the parish church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. The houses within the walled enclosure were arranged around this religious building. This town, located in the province of Caceres, was declared a Historic-Artistic Site, thanks to its rich cultural heritage.
"
Also because @amancio suggested that he would have gladly stayed longer there.
We were thinking of staying an extra day in Galisteo. If we would have walked from Riolobos, it would only be a 10km walk, so we would have time in the afternoon to do some sightseeing without having to spend an extra night. If we would have walked from Grimaldo, which is a 20km walk, we would definitely spend an extra night.

The options look like this from the Embalse de Alcántara:
- 12km to Cañaveral, 9km to Grimaldo, 20km to Galisteo
- 12km to Cañaveral, 21km to Riolobos, 10km to Galisteo
- 12km to Cañaveral, 9km to Grimaldo, 13km to Riolobos, 10km to Galisteo (now that would keep the average down! ;))

After a good night's sleep in the albergue at the Embalse de Alcántara, let's see what we decide tomorrow.
¡Buenas noches!
 

C clearly

Moderator
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I feel that both stages (Casar to Embalse de Alcántara and Embalse de Alcántara to Cañaveral) are too good to miss.
So glad to hear @Raggy’s endorsement of the walk from the Embalse. I wouldn’t say it was a show-stopper, but I thought it was it was a very pleasant stage, all off road, some nice views.
Off-road, maybe in theory, but it was easy to get temporarily lost among the highways under construction. See the photo. I think we should have stayed higher on the ridge to the right, until we got closer to Cañaveral. The Albergue in Cañaveral has private rooms.

In Riolobos, the Camping Las Catalinas had private hotel rooms and a restaurant. It is run by the very friendly Nacho, who is involved in the VDLP organization in the region and who also ran the albergue in Galisteo. When I arrived there in 2017, it was not clear to me if there was a room available, because they consulted someone by phone and then insisted on driving me ahead the 8 km onward to Galisteo. The Galisteo albergue is small with no private rooms.

In Galisteo, don't miss a walk on the old town walls!
 

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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 23: Embalse de Alcántara to Cañaveral

After a beautiful sunset, and a good night's sleep at the albergue, today we're walking 12km to Cañaveral.
Apart from the church of Santa Marina, the chapel of San Roque, we're not sure what there is to see in the town. But stopping here will give us a good start for climbing the hill out of town tomorrow.
We'll stay at the Hostel Cañaveral. Gerald Kelly recommends the Restaurante Asador for our evening meal. While we are enjoying our meal, we'll discuss where we will stop tomorrow.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Hi AJ
I'm late arriving as usual.. sorry AJ ...


just a few pics etc of previous day... Casar to Embalse de Alcántara .. extracts from maps me.
1st map..shows the 'green track' arriving at the turn off to the albergue.. (looping down) the continuation is the direction on departure... you virtually cross the main road (N630) and camino goes up.. onwards to Canaveral.
You can see on this map that the track to the Albergue is showing (to the left) but not highlighted.
2nd map ( without tracks) is more zoomed in..to show the position of the albergue in relation to Cerro de la Horca.. ( on previous map shows as the track before it...with shaded building).
3rd map...shows the two bridged areas before the Albergue... When I crossed the 1st bridge in 2019 I looked down into the lake and it was so full of fish....I could see them from the height of the bridge... I didn't take a photo thinking I'd do it later....however on the 2nd bridge across.... there weren't as many.. It may just have been the time of day or anything...but it was a real sight..
then 5 pics 'en route' to the Embalse.. The one with a boulder....is where I chose to stop in the shade and have a late snack..

I did not have any trouble finding the albergue myself... as I'd read about the problems that had been experienced by others (from threads here on the forum)… and made sure I called the night before to check that it was still open... Also took snacks as I wasn't sure that food would be available..
Food was available...also, breakfast was left out to serve ourselves in the morning....and there was nothing to complain about with that either.. So a happy peregrina.

I didn't take any pics during the day after arrival at the albergue., except a shot of the 2 (separate) pilgrims who both arrived with dogs..and had them settled outside...

The albergue is very spacious...and has a lot of glass ...so you can see outside from indoors if its too cold to sit outdoors..
Many staying there had their laundry done by the young chap (including me).... you just had to be patient though....he processed one basket at a time..
The food was good (from memory)... the young chap seemed to handle everything...and quietly prepared meals as ordered... This may be dependent on who is running the place at the time I suppose; as to how efficiently they appeared or how tasty they are...
I slept well there- as the rooms only had a few people in each 6 .... and the top bunk was accessed by stairs to the higher level..
 

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OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
We'll stay at the Hostel Cañaveral. Gerald Kelly recommends the Restaurante Asador for our evening meal. While we are enjoying our meal, we'll discuss where we will stop tomorrow.

At Canaveral I can't say much except it was a nice surprise.. if you review your stages again and decide to bypass albergue at the Embalse or it closes again.... this town/pueblo looks very pleasant.. On entry into town you soon come upon the Albergue Canaveral on the right. which looks very clean and nice.... it was early but I went inside to ask for a sello.…

I found a nice café not too far along same street as the albergue/ stopped to enjoy a break...and coffee etc..
(the first 4 pics are the route from the Embalse to Canaveral...with the café.. the hill after you exit the embalse and after crossing the N630 isn't too bad..

If you are wanting shorter stages...maybe a short day to Grimaldo from Canaveral. 8.5 klms approx.
Grimado was my destination for that day...as I didn't stop in Canaveral.. . Laurie had given me Cesar's number...I called the day before & he was fully booked but had an unfinished room available.... which could take 3 pilgrims.. .. I'm sure the completed section would be much nicer though..

the trail was pretty...... lots of 'Jara' bushes (rock roses) ... Trail outside of Canaveral...(see pic) shows a track to the left recommended for cyclists and right for walkers... It's hard to see in the pic...but it was a REAL uphill slog...
Looking at the map later... I wondered if sticking to the main road would have been allowed?... quicker and flatter.. however I followed the arrows....ugghhh..for that section..
After that it was easier and flowers were bursting everywhere... You come upon the famous hotel....which has a bit of a reputation for being something else...…...
After that I took a pic of the signboard with phone numbers etc...just in case...however . I never needed it./ but it may be worth recording if you think you may need the mochila service..

Final pic...is from maps me.... and shows me weaving across to Grimaldo from the trail that takes you directly to Galisteo… …
I think I followed the wrong arrows on this track and ended up weaving across to Grimaldo by looking at my app for maps.me I ended up coming into the far end of town and coming backwards to find Cesar's place.

I spoke to others I knew who were staying at the albergue in Grimaldo…. not highly recommended.... very cramped they said... but I didn't look... It was a very cold., rainy afternoon and I just scurried to the restaurant to eat.. Restaurant was down from Cesar's place and on the right.... Absolutely....YUM... I even went back a 2nd time later that evening with others... and had the 'entrée' again... ( for the americans ., that means 1st course.... not main meal to Aussies)..
 

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C clearly

Moderator
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Hostel Canaveral and Albergue Canaveral are the same place - "Hostel Albergue Cañaveral" - on the right after you enter town. Some photos might be confusing because the building is only 1 story from the street/front view, but there are 2 levels when viewed from the back. It is on the right as you enter the town.

We'll stay at the Hostel Cañaveral. Gerald Kelly recommends the Restaurante Asador for our evening meal.
I stayed at the albergue/hostel 2 times, and they offered excellent dinners both times. It is not a communal meal, but the dining room is another good place to interact with other pilgrims. (The Asador might also be good - I haven't tried it.)
 

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peregrina2000

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Stop the presses!!! Why didn’t I or anyone else mention the “miliario junkyard” in between Casar de Cáceres and the embalse? One of the most unusual sights of my whole Vdlp — I gather that the invading Visigoths didn’t read roman numerals and had no use for them.

1590008181120.jpeg
 

C clearly

Moderator
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Stop the presses!!! Why didn’t I or anyone else mention the “miliario junkyard”
Ah, but you are not paying close enough attention! ;)🤣:p See Raggy's post #136. But nice photo, and can anyone answer his question about the history?
permit me be a bit more opinionated about the walk to Embalse de Alcantara. It is really special. You're walking on the old Roman road through "dehesa” grasslands with some incredible rock formations. At one point you'll pass the Roman milestone "factory," (I have no idea if it was a production site or a storage site, or something else entirely, but there's a pile of five Roman milestones in one spot).
 

peregrina2000

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Feeling embarrassed that I had not remembered @Raggy’s mention of the milarios, I tried to atone for my lapse by googling to see what I could find about the history.

Seems there are two theories — one is that it was a warehouse for stones that were going to be placed out on the via. And the other is that it is where they dumped old ones either for storage or re-use. So pick the version you like best.

 

Raggy

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2017, 2018, 2019
I spoke to others I knew who were staying at the albergue in Grimaldo…. not highly recommended.... very cramped they said... but I didn't look... It was a very cold., rainy afternoon and I just scurried to the restaurant to eat.
I don't think that AJGuillaume will want to stay there, but here's my paean to the Grimaldo albergue:

Grimaldo albergue is compact and spartan, but it gets positive reviews on gronze from people who appreciate it as an old-school, donativo refuge. Beyond the tiny entrance hall with a dining table that seats two (possibly three) is a dorm with just enough room for two sets of steel-pipe bunks with blankets neatly folded on each bed and a two bar electric heater that's adequate to heat the small space. The roof is a barrel dome of corrugated metal, so I guess it's an extension off the back of the building. To the right of the entrance hall is a galley kitchen with a microwave and a washing machine (missing its door handle thanks to some impatient oaf), that leads to a second bedroom and the bathroom.

The bar next door, where you pick up the key, is friendly and serves a tasty evening meal but no breakfast. If you're not carrying any supplies, I recommend that you buy something to warm up in the microwave before you hit the road. On my way out, I was expecting to drop the key in the letterbox of the bar, but I was able to hand it to the lady who cleans it after pilgrims leave - allowing me to thank her for keeping the place so clean. It's wonderful that a little village like Grimaldo takes care of pilgrims with this facility that's available to pilgrims in exchange for a few coins.

Restaurant was down from Cesar's place and on the right.... Absolutely....YUM... I even went back a 2nd time later that evening with others... and had the 'entrée' again... ( for the americans ., that means 1st course.... not main meal to Aussies)..
Some interesting discussion about the names of courses and their history here:

Seems there are two theories — one is that it was a warehouse for stones that were going to be placed out on the via. And the other is that it is where they dumped old ones either for storage or re-use. So pick the version you like best.
Not to diminish the wow factor of the milestones, but on some Greek islands, you can find half-completed statues in the old quarries:
 
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OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
I don't think that AJGuillaume will want to stay there, but here's my paean to the Grimaldo albergue:

Grimaldo albergue is compact and spartan, but it gets positive reviews on gronze from people who appreciate it as an old-school, donativo refuge. Beyond the tiny entrance hall with a dining table that seats two (possibly three) is a dorm with just enough room for two sets of steel-pipe bunks with blankets neatly folded on each bed and a two bar electric heater that's adequate to heat the small space. The roof is a barrel dome of corrugated metal, so I guess it's an extension off the back of the building. To the right of the entrance hall is a galley kitchen with a microwave and a washing machine (missing its door handle thanks to some impatient oaf), that leads to a second bedroom and the bathroom.

The bar next door, where you pick up the key, is friendly and serves a tasty evening meal but no breakfast. If you're not carrying any supplies, I recommend that you buy something to warm up in the microwave before you hit the road. On my way out, I was expecting to drop the key in the letterbox of the bar, but I was able to hand it to the lady who cleans it after pilgrims leave - allowing me to thank her for keeping the place so clean. It's wonderful that a little village like Grimaldo takes care of pilgrims with this facility that's available to pilgrims in exchange for a few coins.


Some interesting discussion about the names of courses and their history here:
Thanks @Raggy
I added the note re meaning of a word as I often have to be careful visiting my son & family in USA.
Both English speaking countries., but quite a number of different words used.

@AJGuillaume This thread is becoming a great source of information .. it’s great to read the various posts .. also corrections to misunderstandings- thanks @C clearly for updating that info on Cañaveral hostel/Albergue.
I’ll go back and correct on my post in case it confuses future readers.

Re my beverage choice ... at breaks whilst walking- I switch between café con leche and a ‘Cervesa con limon’ if I’m hot.
With meals i switch too. Sometimes Vino Tinto and sometime Vino blanco.
But try to drink plenty of water ...
 
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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
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I did not have any trouble finding the albergue myself... as I'd read about the problems that had been experienced by others (from threads here on the forum)… and made sure I called the night before to check that it was still open... Also took snacks as I wasn't sure that food would be available..
Food was available...also, breakfast was left out to serve ourselves in the morning....and there was nothing to complain about with that either.. So a happy peregrina.
The albergue is very spacious...and has a lot of glass ...so you can see outside from indoors if its too cold to sit outdoors..
Many staying there had their laundry done by the young chap (including me).... you just had to be patient though....he processed one basket at a time..
The food was good (from memory)... the young chap seemed to handle everything...and quietly prepared meals as ordered... This may be dependent on who is running the place at the time I suppose; as to how efficiently they appeared or how tasty they are...
I slept well there- as the rooms only had a few people in each 6 .... and the top bunk was accessed by stairs to the higher level..
Thank you @OzAnnie , for confirming what we heard about the albergue at the Embalse. Hopefully, it will have continued its run of great operation when we walk our VdlP.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
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If you are wanting shorter stages...maybe a short day to Grimaldo from Canaveral. 8.5 klms approx.
That's what we're talking about eating our evening meal in Cañaveral... Tempting... In particular as @peregrina2000 spoke so highly of César...

It's hard to see in the pic...but it was a REAL uphill slog...
Looking at the map later... I wondered if sticking to the main road would have been allowed?... quicker and flatter.. however I followed the arrows....ugghhh..for that section..
Hence our staying in Cañaveral so Rachel can walk it fresh in the morning. Not sure we would want to walk along the road, though.

After that I took a pic of the signboard with phone numbers etc...just in case...however . I never needed it./ but it may be worth recording if you think you may need the mochila service..
That is a very useful photo, @OzAnnie . We're hoping we won't need it, but as it covers a fair stretch of the VdlP, and has taxi phone numbers for a number of places, it's a reference I am putting on my phone! Thank you!
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
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Seems there are two theories — one is that it was a warehouse for stones that were going to be placed out on the via. And the other is that it is where they dumped old ones either for storage or re-use. So pick the version you like best.

Your great photo of these miliarios, @peregrina2000 , shows no inscriptions on the stones. The author of the blog you quote indicates that they are "miliarios anepígrafos", miliarios without legible inscriptions. So I'll go with the theory that it was a warehouse for stones to be used on the Roman road. ☺ But that doesn't explain why the invading Visigoths didn't use them, as they didn't have to read roman numerals after all ;)
 

AJGuillaume

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Restaurant was down from Cesar's place and on the right.... Absolutely....YUM... I even went back a 2nd time later that evening with others... and had the 'entrée' again... ( for the americans ., that means 1st course.... not main meal to Aussies)..
Some interesting discussion about the names of courses and their history here:
That's why I like the Menú del día: you have a Primero, then a Segundo, followed by a Postre. There's definitely no confusion there! 😂;)
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
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Via Gebennensis (2018)
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Re my beverage choice ... at breaks whilst walking- I switch between café con leche and a ‘Cervesa con limon’ if I’m hot.
With meals i switch too. Sometimes Vino Tinto and sometime Vino blanco.
But try to drink plenty of water ...
As unusual as it may seem, we don't drink coffee, and unless we're celebrating with friends, we don't really partake in wine, in particular as when I was young I had a very bad case of hepatitis which to this day still stops me from enjoying alcohol. I get sick before I get drunk 😄
So on the Norte, we would walk in to a bar/pub/café and ask for "¡una manzanilla, y un ColaCao, por favor!"
We would always receive a litre of water (if not two sometimes) when we would sit for a menú del día at lunchtime, which gave us plenty of water for the road ahead. ¡Sin gas, por favor! ☺
 

peregrina2000

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Btw, I finally figured out where I stayed in Cañaveral in 2010, and it was Hostal Málaga. Right on the main drag. I don’t think anyone has mentioned it here, and it was a quite decent one star hotel. All the amenities a peregrina could want. It’s actually my favorite kind of camino place. Simple, cheap, clean, quiet, small private room with bath.

This was before the other places opened, and at the time there was just a reportedly very cramped dreary albergue.

A couple of good choices for a short day from Cañaveral — Grimaldo would be very short, though the walk is GORGEOUS and the Posada very nice (and there is no backtracking required, it’s well marked from Grimaldo back to Camino) or Riolobos (20 km) (another beautiful walk though I’ve never gone to Riolobos). I feel bad for the apparently very nice family who opened up a place when the Camino was blocked by a landowner, and the detour through Riolobos became the official way. Then an alternative was found, which doesn’t require the detour. The camino now takes you through a private finca whose owners agreed to having pilgrims cross. That finca has at least 300 cattle, which were all coming up the hill towards me when I walked through. I squished myself against the fence hoping for the best. After about 20 minutes, the farmer came up behind on his little moto keeping the stragglers in line. And of course he waved at me with the same expression that every animal owner gives me when I stand petrified as cows pass or dogs bark at me — !No hacen nada! I guess no pilgrim has been harmed on that route yet, so I would chance it AJ!
 
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Raggy

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But that doesn't explain why the invading Visigoths didn't use them, as they didn't have to read roman numerals after all
I understand that the Visigoths allowed the Roman roads to fall into disrepair. It takes something of a bureaucracy to maintain a network of national highways. You can imagine a series of correspondence between the middle-managers in the last years of the Roman Empire:

From: Salamantica Quarries Inc.
To: Purchasing Group V, Department of Public Works, Augusta Emerita
Attn: Mr. Marcus Varius,
Dear Mr. Varius,
With reference to your papyrus, dated XIXth Maius, I note that the proposed renovation works for section XXIVb of Via de la Plata have been postponed until the next budget cycle. In accordance with our contract, we enclose our invoice for WIP (REF: XX-MCMLXXXIX-V). Please note, as we discussed before, that we have revised our payment terms to XLV days, owing to the recent spate of delayed payments.
Please be advised that VIII of the milestones have already been delivered to the site, pending final instructions for engraving. Perhaps they could be repurposed as signage for the proposed services before Capara. If you want to do that, I'll ask Logisticus Inc. to provide a quotation for transportation. If not, we can mothball them until you're ready to move on section XXIVb.
Yours sincerely
Lucius Lucretius
(General Manager)
 
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Raggy

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Writing about the middle managers of Roman road building reminded me that you'll pass an interesting display of Roman road construction technique on the way to Cañaveral. Here are my notes:

The path also took me over a major new road project, where I found a couple of information panels that described the findings of the archeological study that had been conducted when the digging started. It seems that, back in Roman times, this point was a major intersection between the North-South Via de la Plata and the roads that went from east to west. The panels showed how brilliantly the romans had engineered drainage and supporting walls – but also provided some answers to the maintenance question that I had been mulling for the last few days.
 

C clearly

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Trail outside of Canaveral...(see pic) shows a track to the left recommended for cyclists and right for walkers... It's hard to see in the pic...but it was a REAL uphill slog...
I remember the hill and the somewhat confusing signage (it didn't seem to matter much as several different portions seemed to join up. I stayed in Canaveral and walked this in the morning - perhaps that is why I don't remember it as being particularly hard. If you were pushing on to Grimaldo at the end of a day, it would be different! I never stopped in Grimaldo, so am moving ahead here to Galisteo.

The stage from Canaveral to Galisteo is interesting for its variety of human activity -
  1. rifle range and pine forest
  2. brothel
  3. some of the most pleasant walking on the VDLP
  4. Finca Fence to protect you from cattle and ornery landowners
  5. approaching the walls of Galisteo.
I'm attaching photos in that order.

The camino now takes you through a private finca whose owners agreed to having pilgrims cross. That finca has at least 300 cattle, which were all coming up the hill towards me when I walked through. I squished myself against the fence hoping for the best.
No danger anymore - see the fence photo #4.
 

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peregrina2000

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I wondered if anyone was going to mention the brothel.

I will say that I have gone by it various times and have never had a problem — on at least one occasion, a truck driver going in gave me a big smile and shouted “buen camino.”.

No danger anymore - see the fence photo #4.
Wow, that was a major investment, and I wonder how they were able to split the finca in half. Are there crossing points that you remember?

But for those of you who are sorry to see the loss of a personal encounter with cattle, do not despair, there are several others in your future, unless @C clearly tells us they have been cut off as well.
 

peregrina2000

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No danger anymore - see the fence photo #4.
But wait! I think we both walked that route within days of each other. My phone tells me it was May 9, 2018, and this was the picture I took as the herd was just about all past me. Very different fencing! I am sure it was this finca, because my next shot was one of Galisteo in the distance. So this is a mystery now. @C clearly, was this the year you stayed in Riolobos? If so, you would not have walked through that finca, at least according to Gronze’s schematic map.

1590098206811.jpeg
1590098276478.jpeg
 

C clearly

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I think we both walked that route within days of each other. My phone tells me it was May 9, 2018
In 2018, I only walked as far as Cañaveral, where I got the bus to Salamanca to meet you - you were ahead of me. In 2017, I walked to Riolobos, where the camping people suggested driving me to Galisteo and I accepted.

My photo of the fence was taken March 11, 2016, about an hour before Galisteo came into view. We had stayed in Riolobos, but Nacho drove us in the morning a few kilometers along the highway (CC-29.3) and dropped us at the point where the VDLP crosses the highway, as shown in the Google Maps screenshot I've attached. That point is labelled "Unión" on the Gronze map. So my fence photo was taken about halfway between Unión and Galisteo. The whole walk was not along that new fencing - only a part. In the horse photo you can see other fencing, and that was a little before the new fence.

I guess that I missed the disputed finca by going to Riolobos, and my fence photo is of a slightly later section.
 

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OzAnnie

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I agree with @C clearly that around this area (some of the most pleasant walking on the VDLP)..

There had been rain overnight so the trail was muddy in places.... (pic 5750) walking the dirt road into town...the mud was caking very thickly...

April 2019 - I did not see the 'fenced' section that is shown in the pic of C Clearly... I walked from Grimaldo though....so maybe coming through direct it may be there.? ..
The first pic below shows a long ??? I didn't know what it was…(Pic 5742) does anyone know what it is?... This was between Grimaldo and Galisteo.

This was such a pleasant short day stopping in Galisteo.... It is nice sometimes to have some short days if you've got time and want to arrange the klms for the days ahead of you..
I had booked at the 'Parador'.... not really a parador.(.pic 5787/ 2nd last pic)
It's a lovely small place but also grand in its own way......called 'La Pension del Parador' +34 645 98 67 93 - through booking dot com... E34 for a twin room.. The bathrooms were separate but they were spacious and there was only one other couple staying there.... Frank and Patty.. who I hadn't met before but turned out to be @P Rat from the forum.. another Australian couple and were very interesting to spend time with / they had travelled a lot. They had been there for a couple of nights as Frank was recovering from foot problems and the treatment he needed was available in Galisteo.. Pic 5776 is of Frank & Patty at the gate of the wall. ( I did receive their permission to post this pic here)..
The 'Parador' is further 'uphill'.... from the albergue... ( I didn't check out the albergue..so can't comment).
Later for dinner, we (3) walked back down hill to the restaurant nearby the Albergue... They also gave me the tour of inside the wall and we climbed the wall on the inside. (pics 5781 & 5786)
Heading out the next day....the pic below is of the stork nest on the bridge exiting Galisteo..
 

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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
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Day 24: Cañaveral to Grimaldo

Having a nice meal at the Restaurante Asador in Cañaveral, we discussed our three choices for the next few days:
- 9km to Grimaldo, 20km to Galisteo
- 21km to Riolobos, 10km to Galisteo
- 9km to Grimaldo, 13km to Riolobos, 10km to Galisteo
Two things made us choose to stop in Grimaldo: César and the Posada de Grimaldo, and the hill leaving Cañaveral. It will be a short day, and we're not complaining ☺
We read the blog about the transformation of the building of the Posada, and it is amazing to see the work that has been done!
Gerald Kelly recommends the Bar Grimaldo for an evening meal (is that the Asador de Grimaldo on Google maps?). The Posada has a kitchen, which would enable us to possibly meet other pilgrims, but we would need to carry food from Cañaveral, as I can't see a shop in Grimaldo.
I got excited when I saw that there was a castle in Grimaldo, but it's a private property. The church looks nice.
Over dinner, we'll make a decision about tomorrow: do we walk all the way to Galisteo, or do we stop in Riolobos. We can't find any compelling reason to stop in Riolobos.
¡Buenas noches!
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
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April 2019 - I did not see the 'fenced' section that is shown in the pic of C Clearly... I walked from Grimaldo though....so maybe coming through direct it may be there.? ..
The first pic below shows a long ??? I didn't know what it was…(Pic 5742) does anyone know what it is?... This was between Grimaldo and Galisteo.
Could that be an aqueduct? I tried to see if I could spot it on satellite photos, but no luck.
 

peregrina2000

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Gerald Kelly recommends the Bar Grimaldo for an evening meal (is that the Asador de Grimaldo on Google maps?). The Posada has a kitchen, which would enable us to possibly meet other pilgrims, but we would need to carry food from Cañaveral, as I can't see a shop in Grimaldo.
There are actually two places to eat in Grimaldo. That Bar (which has the albergue keys and is right next door) and the Asador (which is across the street and is a proper restaurant). My memory is that the Bar will serve up food at any time, but the restaurant is on Spanish time. I got there early enough for a real lunch, so I went to the restaurant. And as others have said, it was great. I sat at the bar outside later that day with others and may have even had a salad there. Really nice people, but I think the asador is the place for a “real deal meal.”

The Posada is César’s ancestral family home turned Casa Rural. He was an architect, lost his job in the recession, and is renovating the house slowly. @OzAnnie had the misfortune of arriving there when the finished rooms were full and he put her up in the place under construction. If you catch him when he has some free time, he will take you on a tour of his little garden and explain the fascinating way in which water for irrigation is allocated. There is a key that opens the channel, and everyone has designated hours of water access. They take the key from neighbor to neighbor to make sure no one cheats. And this system seems to be ancient, like Roman ancient.

Totally agree that this is a gorgeous walk, at least in springtime.

1590155074630.jpeg

This is César’s place. He leaves out ample breakfast food and coffee for guests.

1590155132255.jpeg
 

Raggy

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The first pic below shows a long ??? I didn't know what it was…(Pic 5742) does anyone know what it is?... This was between Grimaldo and Galisteo.
I agree that this looks like an aqueduct. I don't recall seeing it between Grimaldo and Galisteo, but I took a very off-camino route, which I'll describe below. I found that there's an aqueduct in Coria, which is nearby. Did you travel through there somehow?

I took the wrong way out of Grimaldo and ended up charting my own course as far as Galisteo - I went through a place called Holgueria, then turned left shortly after the TV mast, to join up with the road from Riolobos to Galisteo - So I just skirted to the west of Riolobos and walked alongside the Rio Alagón into Galisteo. This is what happens when you abandon any kind of planning and fall into daydreaming.

Looking at Google street view, Riolobos appears to be much the same kind of town as Holgueria - a basic, modern, farming community. Some bars and restaurants. Lots of big agricultural facilities. Nothing in the way of monuments or tourist attractions. I would skip it if I were you.

The area between Grimaldo and Carcaboso is tobacco country. The big-leafed plants in the fields are harvested and cured in huge sheds with gaps between the bricks to allow just the right airflow. These sheds typically have green doors that stand out against the neat geometric patterns of the red bricks. They exist to "cure" the tobacco - gradually drying it but allowing it to ferment first. The airflow must be optimized to achieve this balance. In modern tobacco curing sheds this is a precisely controlled and automated process with lots of IoT technology. Around here it appears to be an old-school art still. Quite fascinating if you can ignore the miserable outcome of the ingenuity.

Galisteo is a pretty town, I had a good lunch in the first restaurant that I came across (looking at the map, it must have been Las Picotas) and then I walked into the walled city for a brief exploration. I missed the chance to walk the ramparts, but I spotted some nice looking bar terraces in the town center, where I could happily spend an afternoon writing postcards. Depending on the time of year, you might be able to take a dip in the river - On the way out of town is a nice riverside park with a swimming area and picnic tables. I think there might be a bar there during the summer months. So, although I hadn't thought of Galisteo as a place to linger, I'm sure you'll have a pleasant stay there.

After Galisteo you have an 11km or so walk to Carcaboso - and then some tricky decisions. Essentially, all the accommodation between Galisteo and Aldeanueva del Camino is miles off the Camino. It makes it a bit awkward for people who don't want to walk 38km in one day. But there are taxigrino ways to deal with this, which I'm sure we'll get into soon ...
 
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OzAnnie

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Could that be an aqueduct? I tried to see if I could spot it on satellite photos, but no luck.
I agree that this looks like an aqueduct. I don't recall seeing it between Grimaldo and Galisteo, but I took a very off-camino route, which I'll describe below. I found that there's an aqueduct in Coria, which is nearby. Did you travel through there somehow?
Agreed - It looks like an aquaduct..but I can’t see any mention of one. Could it be ‘a part/section’ of a long since dismantled one ....
On the photo location info on my iPhone - it says Galisteo. The time I took the photo looks to be approx 1 hr (maybe slightly more) before my arrival there. (My walking pace tho ).
Not sure how far the place you’ve linked is from there @Raggy The pic in the link may be archive material ? There was nothing else around ..
I was following the camino trail (arrows etc) from Grimaldo - Thanks for looking..
 

Raggy

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Not sure how far the place you’ve linked is from there @Raggy The pic in the link may be archive material ? There was nothing else around ..
Coria is miles away. I think we can discount that idea.

A German pilgrim (L. Zinner) identifies a reservoir (Riolobos reservoir) at about 2 minutes into this fascinating video - It's kind of Velvet Underground meets Camino. (Well his narration reminds me of John Cale. His contrapuntal sounds might be more like The Stranglers than the Underground, but in any case it's quite a nice way to see the Camino through someone else's eyes):

I found an intriguing reference to an aqueduct quite close to that reservoir in this Wikiloc trail:
06BAF16B-286B-4579-B4D5-AC698D49CCD7.jpeg

With a bit of Googling, I found references to ACUEDUCTO DE LA CALERA

Looking at Google maps, I see a man made irrigation channel nearby (Canal margen izq. del Jerte) which appears to connect to the Rio Alagón. So perhaps the aqueduct connects those reservoirs to the irrigation channel? I haven't found it on Google Earth, but perhaps if I had more time ...

The structure in your photo and the one above don't look ancient. My guess is that it might date from a hundred years ago? Today I expect we'd use pipes and pumps. With this and the story about the water key that Peregrina2000 mentioned earlier, you can see how much effort goes into getting water to the places where it's wanted, even in a region with all these streams and rivers.

I see a big circular field outside Galisteo too ... On Google maps, I can see the center pivot and the long sprinklers on wheels, but the circle appears to be interrupted by roads and other obstacles, so I'm wondering how they get around that.
 

P Rat

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I really love Cáceres, up there with Zamora and Soria as my favourite small (ish) Spanish cities). The new town is admittedly nondescript, but once you're within the 22 towers and (largely Almohad) walls of the central city, it's just jaw-droppingly beautiful. From the palace built for one of Montezuma's grandsons, with the spoils of the Aztecs, to the Torre de las Cigüeñas (the only tower allowed inside the old city by Isabel after her war of succession in 1478), celtiberian and Roman remains, and many other impressive, if austere, palaces and churches, it well repays some exploration.

As a bonus, it's the "foodie" capital of the region, with several highly regarded restaurants, including the Madruelo, in the old town near the Palacio de los Toledo-Moctezuma, which has a Michelin "bib gourmande" (good food at reasonable prices), specialising in local produce.

The parador, where I was lucky to stay on expenses, is fabulous, if somewhat lacking in natural light, and I also liked the Iberia, near the Plaza Mayor - simple but comfortable, relatively cheap and very friendly. The albergue turistico where I also stayed (2010) is, I think, closed down now, like several others in Extremadura.
Alan, we also loved Caceres when we visited in 2019. Albeit Easter time and hard to find accommodation, but we had a really wonderful time. The walk over the town walls was fantastic. (see photo) For anyone wanting to spend a bit of effort in finding out about the history of this town, there is enough to see and do for an extra night!
 

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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
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@Raggy and @OzAnnie , I think the aqueduct is part of the Canal Principal de la Marjen Izquierda del Rio Alagón. As it crosses over a number of arroyos, the canal goes over an aqueduct, in a number of instances. There are a few places that I have spotted, one of which I have shown here. It might not be the one you photographed, @OzAnnie .
The coordinates of this one are: 39°56'17.7"N 6°16'48.4"W (or 39.938250, -6.280111)
It's about 5km away from Galisteo.
The first screen capture is from Google maps, the second one is from Google Earth, showing the VdlP in yellow.
I'll make sure I take a photo when I walk along that stretch to confirm the GPS coordinates ☺

Aqueduct before Galisteo.jpgAqueduct before Galisteo GE.jpg
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
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Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Looking at Google street view, Riolobos appears to be much the same kind of town as Holgueria - a basic, modern, farming community. Some bars and restaurants. Lots of big agricultural facilities. Nothing in the way of monuments or tourist attractions. I would skip it if I were you.
Day 25: Grimaldo to Galisteo

After two short days (Embalse to Cañaveral, 12km, and Cañaveral to Grimaldo, 9km), we are refreshed and ready to walk all the way to Galisteo. It will be a 20km day, overall undulating downhill.
Footage we have seen of the VdlP in this stage, and photos above, show a very nice walk today. We are looking forward to it.
There doesn't seem to be any stops along the way, unless we walk via Riolobos. Grimaldo doesn't have any shops, so we (must) have planned to have bought something to eat for our lunch today in Cañaveral. We could also ask the Bar in Grimaldo if we can buy a couple of bocadillos.
We can't wait to see the walled town of Galisteo as we approach, and we are looking forward to exploring it.
There have been a number of positive comments about La Pensión del Parador, so we'll stay there.

Day 26: rest day in Galisteo
@amancio suggested that this place was worthy of an extra day. As we walk slowly, we would arrive mid to late afternoon in Galisteo, so we need this day to explore this Historic-Artistic Site.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
We could also ask the Bar in Grimaldo if we can buy a couple of bocadillos.
The bar would wrap a couple of sandwiches in foil, for sure. You could also ask the Asador if you eat there, or at the Posada if you stay there. I expect the Posada does breakfast too.

Enjoy your day in Galisteo. While you're there you might make inquiries about the route through San Gil. There's nothing special about San Gil (a modern grid of terraced houses) but that route is the old Roman road. Starting from Galisteo, it would wind up being a couple of kilometers further than going via Aldehuela del Jerte. But from the satellite imagery, it looks like the route via San Gil might have footpaths to the side of the asphalted road for at least some of the time. (And it's a smaller road). L. Zinner's video reminded me that the route via Aldehuela del Jerte is 11km of walking on asphalt. Perhaps, it's not so bad if you're doing it as a short day after a good rest in Galisteo. But it might be worth asking whether the old Roman route via San Gil has some merit.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
You will have time to explore every nook and cranny of Galisteo, so make sure to find the old stone chair near the walls where judgments were meted out. I was told that the Moorish ruler sat facing forward, while heads were chopped off behind. And those chinks in the stone you see are evidence of the hatchets coming down, so they say. Lovely views in spite of the gruesome history.

I think that all that remains of the mozarabic church is one apse, but it is beautiful.

There are several cafés in the plaza for cool drinks — it can get quite hot in this place as I recall. But as @Raggy mentioned earlier, there is a nice riverside park on the way out of town, lots of local activity in summer months.

And yes, that walk to Carcaboso is all on the asphalt. I had tried to find the San Gil route on my last way through but failed. Like Raggy, I would love to hear any first hand reports!
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
I liked the octagonal tower of the church at Galisteo, La Picota, visible for a good hour or two before arriving. Somebody in town told me that it had originally been the minaret of the local mosque, but it seems a little unlikely architecturally - although the town went back and forth several times between Christians and Moors when it was on the front line of the reconquista.

Almanzor may have stayed here (then possibly called Medina Galisyah) on his way to burn most of Santiago and nick the cathedral bells (which he made Christians carry back to Córdoba for him). Which makes him a pioneer of the VdlP. As he also sacked Astorga I assume he went that way rather than by the Sanabrés. Either way, I don't suppose the pilgrim office of 997AD gave him a "pietatis causa" compostela, even though, by not destroying the apostle's tomb, he enabled the continuation of the camino.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Somebody in town told me that it had originally been the minaret of the local mosque, but it seems a little unlikely architecturally
Could it be that there's a towner build around a minaret - like at the mosque-cathedral in Cordoba?
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Enjoy your day in Galisteo. While you're there you might make inquiries about the route through San Gil. There's nothing special about San Gil (a modern grid of terraced houses) but that route is the old Roman road. Starting from Galisteo, it would wind up being a couple of kilometers further than going via Aldehuela del Jerte. But from the satellite imagery, it looks like the route via San Gil might have footpaths to the side of the asphalted road for at least some of the time. (And it's a smaller road). L. Zinner's video reminded me that the route via Aldehuela del Jerte is 11km of walking on asphalt. Perhaps, it's not so bad if you're doing it as a short day after a good rest in Galisteo. But it might be worth asking whether the old Roman route via San Gil has some merit.
We're always open to alternatives, as we experienced on the Norte. As long as we have GPX tracks, we're happy to wander away from the yellow arrows.
I have found a track that goes from Galisteo via San Gil to Oliva de Plasencia, and bypasses Carcaboso. It was walked by a German pilgrim, and he comments leaving San Gil that the next 10km is all road walking.
Not sure the road from San Gil is of lesser importance: the IGN map (see attachment) shows both roads with the same colour.
Going via Aldehuela de Jerte might have an advantage: places to stop for a rest.
Our next day will be a short one, so we'll definitely enquire in Galisteo, as the detour via San Gil is not likely to add too much to our day's walking.
Through photos on Google Earth, I have also found a pilgrim who lives in Barcelona, who has documented his walk on the VdlP: Pedro Maza Gomez has a YouTube channel, but unfortunately for me, the one video that would show the walk from Cañaveral to Carcaboso via San Gil is blocked from viewing in Australia...
 

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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Could it be that there's a towner build around a minaret - like at the mosque-cathedral in Cordoba?
It could be, but let us not forget that minarets are not always built in the Turkish style. Wikipedia shows examples of other minarets which would be similar to the one in Galisteo.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
We're always open to alternatives, as we experienced on the Norte. As long as we have GPX tracks, we're happy to wander away from the yellow arrows.
I have found a track that goes from Galisteo via San Gil to Oliva de Plasencia, and bypasses Carcaboso. It was walked by a German pilgrim, and he comments leaving San Gil that the next 10km is all road walking.
Not sure the road from San Gil is of lesser importance: the IGN map (see attachment) shows both roads with the same colour.
Going via Aldehuela de Jerte might have an advantage: places to stop for a rest.
Our next day will be a short one, so we'll definitely enquire in Galisteo, as the detour via San Gil is not likely to add too much to our day's walking.
Through photos on Google Earth, I have also found a pilgrim who lives in Barcelona, who has documented his walk on the VdlP: Pedro Maza Gomez has a YouTube channel, but unfortunately for me, the one video that would show the walk from Cañaveral to Carcaboso via San Gil is blocked from viewing in Australia...
I think that whether you want to spend time visiting the Arco de Cáparra and the excavation site plus small museum will have an effect on how you want to walk from Galisteo.

Carcaboso isn’t a hugely interesting place, though it does have a pretty and well-inscribed miliario in its church courtyard. And a decent 1star hotel. Don’t get me started about Señora Elena, though.

So some choices —

— take the San Gil route from Galisteo direct to Oliva de Plasencia. Then the next day, walk to Arco de Cáparra and visit the site, and then continue on to Hostal Asturias. (Oliva to Hostal Asturias is 17 km). But that will put you at the Arch very early and you will probably have to wait till opening at 10 am if you want to see the site. The arch is definitely the high point, and the rest of the site is in ruins, but there are maps and guides to show you around the baths, residential areas, forum, necropolis, etc. A little museum with a short video if I remember correctly. I think most peregrinos are happy to spend some time at the arch, and if the rest of the site is open, to take a quick look. But if it’s closed, no big loss. And I will say that Arch in the early morning sunlight is beautiful.

— take the regular route into Carcaboso and stay there. Then the next day walk to Arco, visit the site and either walk on to Hostal Asturias (30 km) or have them come pick you up (means a walk of 19 km).

— spend the night in Carcaboso and the next day walk to the Arco de Cáparra and visit the site. 19 km. Then take the 7 km off-road route up to Oliva de Plasencia. I know that many people recommend taking the road from Finca Venta Quemada, which gives you a 19.5 km day from Carcaboso. This is a good option if you just want to see the Arch, always open, on your way out of Oliva the next day. Oliva de Plasencia to Hostal Asturias is about 18.

Post number 8 in this thread is very clear and has a schematic map of some of these options.

Oliva de Plasencia is small and has a bar or two with a small shop. I have stayed in the albergue, but the Casa Rural looks quite nice. It wasn’t yet open when I went through.

No shortae of options for the planning peregrino! Buen camino, Laurie
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Don’t get me started about Señora Elena, though.
I was fortunate to meet the famous Señora, although she was frail and confined to her house at that time. ;-)
The restaurant at the 1 start hotel - very odd. I was the only person dining in the rather formal space - with brief snippets of conversation with the waitress when she entered and left. They wouldn't hear of me eating in the bar. Oh well.
The ruins at Capara are just wonderful and the walk through the farmlands before it is also great. My route was rather weird - I headed to Jarilla where I caught a bus back to Caceres, where I picked up some things at the post office and stayed a night (catching an early bus to Jarilla in the morning). Needless to say, it's not an approach that I recommend.
It's a shame that the accommodations between Carcaboso and Aldeanueva del Camino are all "off camino" by several kilometers. It's the time when I most envy the folks who can manage huge daily distances, since they don't have to break up the pleasant walk on the roman road with the less pleasant tracks that lead toward the modern highway. It would be awesome if there were a refuge near the arch. In his video, L. Zinner mentions that some pilgrims just sleep outside. That would be pretty cool in the right weather. Well, at least hotels all around do a great job of advertising the fact that they'll pick up from near the arch.
 
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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 27: Galisteo to Carcaboso

There is a reason why we are walking to Carcaboso today, and stopping there. Distances above 25km are not really an option in our case, so walking the 29km from Galisteo to Oliva de Placencia bypassing Carcaboso in one day won't work.
We're going to enquire about the alternative to Carcaboso via San Gil in Galisteo. Our study of both trails (via Aldehuela del Jerte or via San Gil) shows that we are going to walk along roads on bitumen for most of the time in both cases. The advantage of following the yellow arrows is that we go through Aldehuela, and we found out that the bread at the local bakery is baked in a wood oven and is delicious.
In Carcaboso, we might stay at the Hostal Ciudad de Cáparra.
I am not sure what the comments below refer to:
Don’t get me started about Señora Elena, though.
I was fortunate to meet the famous Señora, although she was frail and confined to her house at that time. ;-)
Gronze tells me that "La señora Elena (fallecida en junio de 2019) acogía peregrinos desde el año 1991". If she passed away, does that mean that staying at her albergue has lost a touch of something?
Gerald Kelly recommends Café Vía de la Plata for evening meals and breakfast, as well as the Restaurante Cáparra for an excellent menú del día, and meals in the evening.

Wherever we eat tonight, our subject of discussion is where we are walking to tomorrow.
We see two options:
a) walk to Oliva de Placencia, but not via the Arco, so that we keep the distance to a manageable 20km. The big question here is: will there be accommodation open? @OzAnnie reports that she met pilgrims that went to Oliva and found no accommodation. I believe that this was in 2019. Gerald Kelly, in his 2020 edition of his guide, states: "Since the pilgrim hostel in Oliva de Placencia closed we are left with a 39km stretch with no pilgrim accommodation." We don't want to take the risk of getting to Oliva and not being able to find a bed.
b) walk to the Arco (19km), enjoy the visit, and then, as @OzAnnie did, get the Hostal Asturias to come and pick us up.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I am so sorry to hear of Señora Elena’s passing. When I was through in 2018, she was very active and engaged. I don’t think her rooms ever received high praise though.

I’ve stayed in the one star hotel/hostal in Carcaboso twice — it is one of those charm-less, functional, modern places. It occurs to me that places like this will be much easier to keep clean and germ-free than places with stuffed furniture, heavy window draperies, lots of decorator pillows, etc.

Oliva is one of those places whose albergue turístico (owned by the government) has opened and shut, opened and shut, but Gronze reports it open again. This is the fate of a lot of these albergue turísticos on the Vdlp, their government licenses change with election results. I remember that people going through Oliva during Semana Santa one year found it full with tourists, but that‘s all kosher under their license. The people who run it also have a Casa Rural, which also looks very nice. The municipal pool is open to guests in the summer, a nice touch. If you want to stay in this town, you would be able to have reservations assured. It appeals to me a little more than a highway hotel like the Asturias, but I have never been to the Asturias and have not heard anything bad about it.

And as far as visiting the arch/excavation, the pick-up at Cáparra by the Hostal Asturias works like a charm. And it gives you a 13-14 km day the next day to Aldeanueva, not an irrelevant factoid!

If you don’t mind, I will indulge in a sweet memory. In Carcaboso, I once again came across one of the Japanese pilgrims I had met in the embalse. He was the one who spoke the least English, so we managed only a minimal conversation. But we went to visit the miliario together, and he did manage to let me know that he was from Hiroshima. He had been there when Obama visited, which was obviously a very emotional time. One of those instances where some real communication would have been great, but our hug said a lot.

1590497614543.jpeg
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Hi @AJGuillaume
am so sorry to hear of Señora Elena’s passing. When I was through in 2018, she was very active and engaged. I don’t think her rooms ever received high praise though.
Yes - I stayed at Albergue Sr. Elena’s in late April 2019... she was sick then and her son who has a shop next door ..was looking after the Albergue.
I did not meet her either but as you’ve pointed out - she sadly passed away a few months later .

When things are back to normal - we do not know which of these albergues will re-open. So you may need to book the hotel mentioned by @peregrina2000
The albergue did have several rooms though.. I booked a single room but it turned out there were 2 single beds in it and I had a roomie after all. Who turned out to be good company for a couple of days .. There were couples in private rooms as well as rooms for a few. Nothing grand about the place but clean. There were a few bathrooms.

Coming to Galisteo from Grimaldo though ., the map on gronze shows the exit to San Gill from the camino before Galisteo. So if you want to visit Galisteo.... I’d recommend continuing on the camino. Exiting looks like it would be a quicker way to Carcaboso but you’d miss Galisteo as I just said. It would be great to have lots of time to walk all the alternatives... I suppose that’s where guides like Gerald Kelly’s come in.

So leaving from Galisteo it would seem you’d be going backwards to go to Carcaboso Via San Gill

The road to Carcaboso is so dead quiet... there was no problem .. no cars.
Walking through Aldehuela Del Jerte is quiet.
Carcaboso is smallish too but does have decent place to eat. A cafe just up from Albergue (same side )...was friendly for coffee etc. but we (pilgrims staying the Albergue) ate dinner later, together at a restaurant up further and across the other side. (Sorry I didn’t note names).

From Carcaboso to the arch. I continued on along the camino (and as recommended by Cesar at Grimaldo - who made the bookings for me and the 2 Dutchman I shared with)..to walk to the place marked (on gronze as Arch of Caparra). This is the site that you’ll want to have a look at. The arch itself is the main thing. The excavations are interesting but not covering a huge area like Mérida .. well worth a good look though. The people in the office phoned the Asturias for me and I was collected from the arch car park. Easy ..(I’m sure it would be just as easy to be picked up and taken back to Olivas if you’d booked there though. ) . the others who’d stayed at the Albergue the night before were stronger walkers and stayed together to walk across the scrub in places to the hotel Asturias.
As I mentioned before (somewhere)... food was good here. Rooms (i was in a single/so smaller ) )..but comfortable. And even my single room had its own private bathroom.

Next day I found walking from Asturias remaining on the N630 to Aldeneuva Del camino was pretty quick .. nice little place. I bumped into the others there having a snack and coffee and I stayed for a rest break and snack too. If you’d stayed at Olivas the previous night it would be a much longer walk to this point ..

I found that walking on further to Baños de Montemayor was quite doable because I’d stopped the previous night at Hotel Asturias. Baños is an Interesting place and attracts many tourists (for spas) but they hold no interest for me..
Accommodation there wasn’t the easiest to find on that occasion - I stayed in Hotel Allegria but would have welcomed a more pilgrim filled Albergue if it had been available. My day following this one was a short one.

Annie
 
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Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Since AJGuillaume is happy to take motorized transport where it makes a difference to the quality of the walk, I think that arranging a pick up with a hotel (Asturias, I guess) would be a no-brainer for this stage. Al of the convoluted ways to get to and from Oliva and whatnot are just a faff for purists. (Not that there's anything wrong with purists). [Edited in light of Peregrina2000's comment].

I won't argue against the route via Oliva. It just offends my sensibilities that pilgrims who don't want to walk long stages should walk two sides of this triangle. First a 6.6km "off camino" walk to Oliva. Then (next day) a 6.9km walk from Oliva back to the Camino - a total of 13.5km, when the third side of the triangle is 6.1km... What's more, the distance from Oliva to Aldeanueva del Camino is still over 26km, which is more than a comfortable distance for AJGuillaume... all because there isn't an albergue on the Camino (or within a short walk) for this 38km stage.
Now, I realize that's an irrational reaction when I consider that (1) we do this thing because we enjoy walking and (2) Peregrina200 says it's a pleasant walk (which is not how I would describe the walk off the camino to Jarilla).

By "faff" I meant a fiddly waste of time. But, of course, that makes the error of thinking about this as an exercise in trying to reach Santiago. If that were the case, we'd take a train or a plane, and we would consider the Camino to be a faff.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
All of the convoluted ways to get to and from Oliva and whatnot are just a faff for purists.
Now, now, Raggy, the route to Oliva is not any more convoluted than a lot of the routes we take on many different caminos. For me, it was a leisurely way to break up a long stage without having to take on much asphalt. And with a couple hours to visit the site before the last few kms out to Oliva, checking out all the wild bull farms along the way, it was a pretty perfect day.

Not saying anyone has to do it by any means, or even that I recommend it, but it is one easy option that has no asphalt, nice lodging and a swimming pool to boot.


p.s. which of these meanings did you intend — I had to look up faff. :p

Noun. faff (plural faffs) (Britain, slang) An overcomplicated task, especially one perceived as a waste of time. Adjusting this television is a bit of a faff. (typically in the phrase 'in a faff') a state of confused or frantic activity; a flap.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Cáparra is great. The first three times I walked past it, I had the triumphal arch entirely to myself, after the long, lonely, lovely walk from Carcaboso. Shelley's words always seem appropriate: "Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck ..."

The little museum near the arch is worth a look. The Spanish saying "y así se despobló Cáparra" is used when people start leaving a gathering and fewer and fewer remain, although sometimes as a variant of "sic transit gloria mundi". Why such a once prosperous town, in its strategic position on the main road, became a ghost town is disputed - as recently as the 18th century there were apparently still two arches standing, the other one assumed to have been one of the entrance gates.

On my most recent visit, in 2017, there were two pilgrims already there, who had asked for the Hostal Asturías to send the mini-bus to pick them up, so I hopped in as well. It is a basic but perfectly pleasant truck stop, and quite decent food, also a washing machine (relatively rare at the time on the Plata - I still carry the laundry bag they gave me). They'll drop you back at the arch in the morning. The other times I stayed at the albergue in Aldeanueva del Camino - some have complained about bedbugs there, but I've never been bitten.

caparra.jpg
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I guess the question I should ask is: is the detour to Oliva de Placencia really worth it, because Oliva is worth a visit? In other words, is Oliva de Placencia a destination in its own right, not just because it is a good way of breaking this otherwise long stage?

If it is, then it wouldn't be a problem for us to walk from Carcaboso to Oliva, but without going to the Arco, and taking the road from Finca Ventequemada, so that we would walk about 20km that day. Then the next day, we would walk from Oliva down to the Arco (trying to time our walk to get there when it is open), and continue on foot to the Hostal Asturias, which would be an 18km day.

If Oliva is not worth the detour per se, then we'll walk from Carcaboso to the Arco, and get the shuttle to the Hostal Asturias.
One way or the other, we are going to end up in Hostal Asturias.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I guess the question I should ask is: is the detour to Oliva de Placencia really worth it, because Oliva is worth a visit? In other words, is Oliva de Placencia a destination in its own right, not just because it is a good way of breaking this otherwise long stage?

If it is, then it wouldn't be a problem for us to walk from Carcaboso to Oliva, but without going to the Arco, and taking the road from Finca Ventequemada, so that we would walk about 20km that day. Then the next day, we would walk from Oliva down to the Arco (trying to time our walk to get there when it is open), and continue on foot to the Hostal Asturias, which would be an 18km day.

If Oliva is not worth the detour per se, then we'll walk from Carcaboso to the Arco, and get the shuttle to the Hostal Asturias.
One way or the other, we are going to end up in Hostal Asturias.
Easy question, IMO (and we know @Raggy will agree ;) ). Oliva is not in any way a destination, take the Hostal Asturias option.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Day 28: Carcaboso to Arco de Cáparra (Hostal Asturias)

The verdict is simple: Oliva de Placencia has no special appeal, but spending extra time around the Arco de Cáparra sounds like a great idea (@Raggy is not the only one who likes all things Roman ;) )
So today we are leaving Carcaboso to walk 19km uphill, so it seems, to the Roman arch. Once we have finished exploring, we will call the Hostal Asturias and ask them to come and pick us up. Now, one thing I should have checked: do we need to pre-arrange this pick-up, or can we call on the day?
We will dine and sleep tonight at the Hostal Asturias, of course.

As it has become the custom, while dining, we will talk about the next few days.
The topic tonight is beyond Aldeanueva del Camino, which could be the goal of the next day. Are both Baños de Montemayor and La Calzada de Béjar worth an overnight stop? It would give us two comfortable days. We're very probably (let's say definitely) going to stay overnight in La Calzada de Béjar.
An argument for stopping at Baños de Montemayor would be the hike up to Puerto de Béjar.
 

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