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alansykes

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
San Ildefonso to Segovia

A short day, at first going round a reservoir and then on down the river Eresma, very pretty. And then a slightly tedious slog beside a road and into the lengthy suburbs of Segovia. But eventually there was the aqueduct, where the Camino Complutense flows in to the Camino de Madrid. A memorable six day camino, especially the three from Torrelaguna to San Ildefonso. A slightly surprising advantage of slogging through knee high snow for a while yesterday was that it had completely cleaned off the thick mud I'd acquired on my shoes and trousers the previous few days down on the Madrid meseta.

Heading under the aqueduct for the cathedral, you pass the statue of Juan Bravo on Calle Juan Bravo, before passing the Teatro Juan Bravo. I'd first met him in Atienza, his birthplace, a couple of weeks ago. They have a "casa donde nació Juan Bravo", clearly dating from at least a couple of centuries after his 1483 birth. There was apparently a big row when his beheaded body was returned to Segovia in 1521, and it was thought politic to bury him quietly with his wife in a village 20km to the north. I've never understood whether the Comuneros were genuine proto-democrats or just self-interested.

Some time tomorrow or early the next day I'll have to decide which route to continue on. There is a temptation to slip over to the Levante and continue on the lovely Sanabrés which, other than the sections from Verín, I've not walked for several years. Or carry on north. The original plan to take the Teresiana from Gotarrendura to Salamanca and then the Torres seems problematic, not least in terms of time. Decisions, decisions.

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very glad that you had a more fortunate ending.
A couple of km before San Ildefonso I bumped into a couple with a huge friendly St Bernard, but I'd already spoiled his chances of being "the faithful hound" finding me "half buried in the snow", and certainly not clutching anything with or without a strange device in my hands of ice.
 
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huge friendly St Bernard
With brandy? I would hope so, icy clutching hands or no.

Some time tomorrow or early the next day I'll have to decide which route to continue on
Or carry on north.
You can also cross over on the GR14, roughly 58km along the Duero between Simcanas and Castronuno on the Levante. Besides following the Duero through amazing Tordecillas where Portugal and Spain divided their New World empires, and not far from where Juan Bravo met his grisly end in Villalar de los Comuneros, it's migration time, so there'll be lots of birds.
Screenshot_20211108-094839_OsmAnd.jpg
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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You can also cross over on the GR14, roughly 58km along the Duero between Simcana and Castronuno on the Levante. Besides following the Duero through amazing Tordecillas where Portugal and Spain parted company, and not far from where Juan Bravo met his grisly end, it's migration time, so there'll be lots of birds.
View attachment 112843
This is still an option on my own current Camino, which in any case passes through Tordesillas, but if I chose to head South directly from Sahagún, that would take me to Simancas.

It would certainly be shorter than my current projected route ...
 
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alansykes

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
Segovia to Santa María la Real de Nieva

After being buffeted by the extraordinary number of people in Segovia for the weekend, it was rather bliss to get out into open empty countryside again. Even if it was fairly flat, partly on the Vía Verde del Eresme - which I don't remember from last time, but things change in the eight years since I last did this stretch. Moving into fifth gear after a few days mostly in first or second was a change.

The countryside is really very pleasant, from fields of winter wheat with farmers out with the fertiliser, to pine wood, and several rivers. I was joined by some hen harriers at various points, my favourite companions. Also fantastic views. At a rise shortly before Santa María la Real de Nieva I could see what looked like a very large part of the sistema central. From the snow capped peaks of the Sierra Norte de Guadalajara to the east, through the Guadarrama Sierra due south, to a hazy (snowless) blob to the far west that I think must have been to Pico de las Dueñas, on the Vía de la Plata just south of Salamanca. And once I'd topped the rise and could see north, there was a strange white man-made bulk in a sun patch a long way off. When I got my camera's 10x zoom to focus on it, I saw it was Coca's unmistakable castle, tomorrow's destination.

At Añe I had thought about sleeping in the acogida provided, but it was only 1pm when I got there, and the thought of spending 19 hours in the dying village didn't appeal. Extraordinary that fewer than 20km from bustling cosmopolitan Segovia, you're already back in la España vacía, with falling down houses and partly abandoned villages.

I rang both of Santa María's hotels from Añe. The Real, in town, where I'd hoped to stay, didn't answer, and the Avanto a couple of km from town on the road, did, so here I am. The new moon set into the impressive sunset, with Venus appearing bright close by, and Saturn and Jupiter soon afterwards. As truck stops go the Avanto is a very nice one, with a decent menú. The only downside is that there seems to be no option other than walking on the hard shoulder into town tomorrow morning. So it goes.

IMG_20211108_132116.jpg

You can also cross over on the GR14, roughly 58km along the Duero between Simcanas and Castronuno on the Levante. Besides following the Duero through amazing Tordesillas

I've decided to keep to the Madrid for a bit more - having seen Coca a few hours ago, I feel I have to visit it now. I liked Tordesillas very much when I walked through it on the Sureste a few years ago. Outstanding albergue, with the local police chief the very welcoming hospitalero. The treaty signed there dividing up the new world was remarkable in that the division line was moved several 100 miles west at the last minute, accidently giving Brazil (then, 1494, completely tierra incognita) to Portugal.
 
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I was joined by some hen harriers at various points,
The males are so elegant, with their grey head and wings and black wingtips.
. Also fantastic views
They're back. España vacia comes with better air quality. A trade-off.

I was looking for a website I'd found a while ago without success. In the process I found these, perhaps of interest for the stop after Tordesillas. It looks wonderful. The second link has some very good photos.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
As I was going through Santa María la Real de Nieva at first light I detoured to have a look at the town's albergue. It did look very shut - only the carved scallop shell over the door, not even a "cerrado" sign. If I hadn't remember the little chapel over the way, with is fuente santa, I probably wouldn't have recognised it. A pity, it was a comfortable little albergue.

Shortly afterwards the countryside turns briefly to vineyards, and Nieva is part of the Rueda DO, with its delicious refreshing verdejo grapes. And then the Vía Verde plunges the camino back into deep pine forests, some still being tapped for the last of this year's resin. With the cloudless sky and the dazzling sun making the deep green of the pines even more intense it was really peacock beautiful - a perfect mix of emerald and sapphire.

Sadly, Coca's albergue is still shut, as is all its other accommodation, so my plans for a leisurely afternoon enjoying the castle and perhaps a glass of Rueda went phut, and I was soon back in the woods on my way to Villeguillo. Which, fortunately, is only 7km further on, and there were occasional views back on to Coca's impressive torre de San Nicolás, possibly based on a moorish atalaya.

Villeguillo has an excellent albergue, 5€, and I was soon enjoying another spectacular sunset, with Venus now well ahead of the waxing moon. My first albergue in nearly a fortnight since leaving the Lana; rather an expensive couple of weeks.

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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
So the world will end in ice? (Goes off chuckling, but also wondering who named these places - devil-obsessed Carthusians at Rascafria?)
 
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@alexwalker, I was thinking of Robert Frost - who had a much more succinct answer.

Sadly, Coca's albergue is still shut, as is all its other accommodation, so my plans for a leisurely afternoon enjoying the castle and perhaps a glass of Rueda went phut
Well that was inconvenient. What a pity. The combination of winter and Covid closures seems to be a continuing theme on less travelled caminos right now.
 
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alansykes

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
Villeguillo to Alcazarén

A chatty old bloke turned up at the albergue last night, surprised to see lights on. Sadly, I couldn't offer him a drink as the village bar/tienda is closed on Tuesdays. He explained to me how the resin capture works - one cut into the bark a year, starting from higher up then down for another four annual cuts, and repeating on each point of the compass in a 20 year cycle. Quite lucrative, he said, with people earning 1600€ a month cutting and collecting, but only for four months a year, then they have to find other work, mostly only at 900€ a month.

A bright frosty morning, sadly without coffee. Anywhere, as there are no villages between Villeguillo and Alcazarén. I was tempted to detour to Olmedo, which didn't look far off, but its bar might have been closed too. A few km and there was a big sign saying "La Deputación de Segovia les desea Buen Camino" and I was making my first steps in Valladolid in seven years. And then the now usual mix of cereal, pine and vine, punctuated by a pretty crossing of the Eresma river, otherwise mostly flat.

Alcazarén is a pretty village, partly falling down, partly prosperous looking. The 13th century mudéjar apse of San Pedro is well worth a look. Near the (donativo) albergue is the barrio de las bodeguillas, with distinctive entrances to the cellars where they've made wine for centuries. Including one where they make wine from some vines (very rare vines) that survived phylloxera. I finally got my glass of Rueda in one of the village bars.

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alansykes

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
Alcazarén to Puente Duero

Another morning with no coffee, sigh. And with 17km to the next village, sigh again. But it was yet another glorious crisp clear still morning. Pines and vines, vines and pines and cereals. All very pleasant. And the last crossing of the Eresma before it flows into the Adaja. Eight times I've been over it since leaving La Granja on Sunday. Over one of the empty cereal fields I briefly saw a kestrel out hunting - I caught this morning morning's minion, king-
dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air,

Valdestillas, the only village between Alcazarén and Puente Duero, was not a pleasure. A single street 2.5km long. On mapy.cz it is described as the Ruta de Carlos V, presumably on the way to visit his mum in Tordesillas. The ayuntamiento signs call it "la ruta del Vino de Rueda". It was gone noon when I passed the last bar in the village, so I felt I ought to go in and sample the local offering. One of my favourites, up there with Rías Baixas.

At Puente Duero I made my eigth crossing of the river. Not the most exciting of the eight places between Soria and Peso da Régua, but still. If I ever do the Camino Portugués, I will add Porto to the list. The albergue in Puente Duero is a curious Canadian-style log cabin. Donativo.

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alansykes

Veteran Member
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Except the Francés
Puente Duero to Tordesillas

It seems that most of the Camino de Madrid albergues between here and Sahagún are closed for covid or the season, and any bars in the villages en route that might have accommodation also might not. So, slightly sadly, I decided to detour down the Duero to Tordesillas.

It was a morning of thick fog, and mostly in thick pine forest, so quite atmospheric. Leaving the woods, some of the fields were shrouded in plastic, presumably to force the asparagus for the eponymous Puente Duero Esparragal.

The Duero crossing at Tordesillas is infinitely more impressive than at Puente Duero. 10 arches of the bridge, with the river wider and faster. And the albergue is one of the best on any camino in all of Spain, even if only 150-odd of us (probably mostly quite odd) stay here every year. A beautifully restored 19th century bodega 50 yards from the Plaza Mayor, with an amazing kitchen, a washing machine, drier, exposed beams, comfy sitting room, beds not bunks: a real pilgrim palace, all for 5€. 10 minutes after I arrived Antonio, the hugely hospitable hospitalero, had arranged for a class from the local school to visit and learn about the camino. So a chance to see and talk to a "real pilgrim" was not to be missed. Embarrassing. But they were a nice bunch.

In the morning I have three choices: downstream to Zamora, up to Benavente and on to the Sanabrés or up to Benavente and on to Astorga. I love Zamora and would love to see it for the 6th time, but it would be nice not to have to walk along Tábara's many illegally named streets; the crossing from Benavente to the Sanabrés is not very easy, and I'm worried about the volume of people from Astorga to Ponferrada. All routes have their pluses and their minuses. On verra, as they say in France.

IMG_20211112_162822.jpg
 
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So a chance to see and talk to a "real pilgrim" was not to be missed. Embarrassing. But they were a nice bunch.
You are the best possible example of a pilgrim, real or otherwise: content with little; cheerful (or at least pragmatic) in the face of unexpected difficulties; interested in and respectful of others; and knowledgeable about the history, culture, and landscapes of the places you pass through.
Not to mention a stellar storyteller.
Those kids hit the jackpot.

And no doubt you more than earned your keep.

Meanwhile decisions, decisions. Wherever you go, we here will be enjoying the vicarious journey.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
Tordesillas to Mota del Marqués

Thick freezing fog greeted me on looking out first thing, so I decided to head north to Benavente, on the grounds that there's not much to see on that route, so not being able to see it is less frustrating than not seeing something interesting. Last time I did the Levante, in 2013, I had continuous freezing fog all the way from Arévalo to the outskirts of Zamora, and the water in my bottle froze while I was walking past Castronuño. Nothing like that today, and the sun broke through shortly after noon.

I got to the Botafumeiro restaurant on the outskirts of Mota del Marqués at about three, just in time for a really excellent menú del fin de semana. The village was celebrating its patron, San Martín, so the menú was more elaborate than usual, starting with an aperitivo of seriously tasty patatas revolcanas: garlicy mashed potatoes, smokey with paprika and topped off with torreznos. A castillian speciality that somehow I've never had before. Yum. And the main course was one of the best bits of bacalao I've ever eaten, in a creamy sauce with asparagus and clams. Yum again.

Rebeca from the town hall appeared with the albergue key almost before I'd stopped talking to her on my mobile. The albergue is at the rear of the town hall building, and Rebeca soon had the heating and hot water on - I was the first pilgrim in three weeks. 2 bunks, donativo. Rebeca's neice, aged about three, was helping out, and stamped my credencial most efficiently. She wants to be a pilgrim herself. I see from the albergue visitors' book that I was last here on 20 November 2014, and that my Spanish grammar has improved enough for me to be able to correct my younger self's mistakes.

The ruins of the castle dominate the village. Badly bashed about by Napoleon's troops - when Napoleon bashed something about it generally stayed bashed. Sunset from up there was spectacular, with the waxing half moon already prominent to the south.

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alansykes

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
Mota del Marqués to San Pedro de Latarce

A quiet uneventful day, almost entirely spent in fog, but only 20km long. At one point the fog partly lifted and I was greeted with the beautiful spectacle of what I call a mistbow - an arc like a rainbow, but entirely white. I expect there's a proper name for it, but I've only ever seen it once before, near Almansa on the Levante. Very beautiful and virtually impossible to photograph.

San Pedro de Latarce was in the fiesta, delayed by covid since the usual March, of los quintos, young people just coming of age. And the streets and bars were packed with them and their proud parents and everybody else determined on having a good time. To my surprise I was able to get a table in the only restaurant and have another good menú del día - starting with a really excellent sopa de ajo. Definite improvement on three days in a row on the Madrid north of Segovia with no proper hot food at all.

The albergue is, like at Mota del Marqués, at the side of the ayuntamiento. Also 2 bunks, also very comfortable, although I suspect I may not get to sleep for a bit as the bar de jubilados in the town hall is packed and the music belting out.

IMG_20211114_094608.jpg
 
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another good menú del día - starting with a really excellent sopa de ajo. Definite improvement on three days in a row on the Madrid north of Segovia with no proper hot food at all
That definitely counts as eventful. The Sureste sounds much more alive than the Madrid - did you get the sense that the lack of food north of Segovia was a temporary result of covid+winter, or is that part of España vacia simply becoming even more empty?

I expect there's a proper name for it
Magical photo! I've heard them called fogbows or cloudbows - they're not so uncommon in high elevations in Hawai'i when the clouds roll in and you're above them.
 
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alansykes

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
San Pedro de Latarce to Villalpando

San Pedro really knows how to party. The noise was almost painful in my little annexe, the thought of what it must have been like close up to the 130 beats per minute cacophony made my ears hurt. They carried on until nearly 6am, with a complete lack of masks and social distancing. I suppose it is one of the most highly vaccinated places on the planet. When I ventured out soon after 8 the place looked as if a small bomb made of half empty plastic glasses and fag packets had gone off.

The freezing fog continued, and there are no villages, no coffee, before you reach Villalpando. Just the occasional sound of the motorway to reassure you that you haven't missed an arrow and headed towards Toro.

Villalpando has a new albergue since my last visit. An outstanding one: 3 double bedrooms, a lovely kitchen and a nice sitting room, in a ground floor flat next door to the Guardia Civil Just at the entrance to the town, donativo. Definite improvement on the previous one. And I was again able to correct my younger self's comment in the visitors' book (hadn't got the hang of matching genders back then).

did you get the sense that the lack of food north of Segovia was a temporary result of covid+winter, or is that part of España vacia simply becoming even more empty?
Bit of both. I was unlucky hitting Alcazarén on the one day its one bar was closed, and got no coffee for three days because many bars don't open until 9 or 10am, when I'm usually long gone. The stretch up towards Sahagún did look a bit bleak in terms of bars and tiendas, which is why I headed west from Puente Duero. But it's probably fine most of the year/not in a plague year.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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the beautiful spectacle of what I call a mistbow - an arc like a rainbow, but entirely white. I expect there's a proper name for it, but I've only ever seen it once before, near Almansa on the Levante. Very beautiful and virtually impossible to photograph.
Huh, gorgeous, and the white ones are usually moonbows (seen one only once, and they're quite beautiful)-- and the one you saw is known as a fog bow rather than mistbow.

The only weird meteorological phenomenon I've ever managed to get a photo of is a double sunset (setting here on the ridge between Villefranche and Nice, Saint-Jean - Cap Ferrat in the midground) :


WP_20171231_17_01_53_Pro.jpg

BTW, this phenomenon appears to be incredibly rare, and is almost always provoked by light refraction through ice crystals in the Arctic or Antarctic regions. Here, unusually, it's through other atmospheric water, most likely droplets, and MUCH further South than the Arctic. I only barely managed to capture the image, the sight of it was so literally stunning that I failed to act quickly enough to capture the better view of "both" suns I had earlier when "they" were clearly above the horizon.
 
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Past OR future Camino
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Freezing fog punctuated by fiestas. At least the albergue tonight has been good. But after all that - not to mention the various coffeeless days in the last weeks - I hope you're considering the Parador at Benavente.

I just found that among all its other points of interest, the town has a river museum; it looks very well done.

I'd be equally tempted to grab my binoculars and cut across to Granja de Moruela via the reserva natural in Villafafila.

Buen camino - may the sun come out today!
 
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alansykes

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Villalpando to Benavente

A chatty old gadgie turned up last night on seeing the albergue light on. This time I was able to offer a glass of cold Rueda, courtesy of the fridge. One of the (many) pleasant things about the roads less travelled - I can't imagine this would happen in Fromista. He'd walked once from Pamplona, but found it too crowded, so is planning on going from home next time. And we agreed that Juana la Loca was probably a bit odd but the unpleasant men in her life - father, husband and sons - exaggerated it to shut her up in Tordesillas and steal her kingdom.

The fog has finally lifted. On a rise in the ground shortly before noon I got a spectacular view of the curtain of hills far to the west that will take me into Galicia - from the Bierzo to the north to the mountains above Puebla de Sanabria, four days away. I've decided on the Sanabrés, as I can't seem to find a way up the Manzanal to Bembibre from Astorga, at least not without hugging the motorway - and 100km almost entirely within earshot of it from Tordesillas is enough.

IMG_20211116_181226.jpg
 

Stephan the Painter

Active Member
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Frances 2022
I am glad to learn that the museo at the Monastery is open-- I highly recommend it. IIRC it has one of Picasso's earliest works (The Altar Boy, 1896) and some fine Ramon Casas. Perhaps it's one of the best small museums I have ever seen.
I'm so glad there is someone on this forum who knows who Ramon Casas is!
 
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And we agreed that Juana la Loca was probably a bit odd but the unpleasant men in her life - father, husband and sons - exaggerated it to shut her up in Tordesillas and steal her kingdom.
Thanks for your reports Alan. I really like your writing. I had to add to your post though with some writing in my style. That style is "include lots of links". Here I go.


Ah, poor Juana. [Wikipedia]

In Burgos in 2015 we whiled away an hour or so watching a movie being filmed in the plaza outside the cathedral before moving on to other things. I put some pictures and commentary into a forum album. The album is here:

Later I found a copy of the film on YouTube and the filming resulted in about 30 seconds of screen time. The YouTube film has since been moved but I found the 30 seconds of Burgos filming at the end of one of the 27 segments here (although this should bring you immediately to the Burgos scenes if it doesn't go to minute 4:00)

The links to the 27 segments of La Corona Partida (The split Crown) with English subtitles are here:

There are more videos online, including some showing the whole film, but I haven't checked to see if they are subtitled.

The Broken Crown at IMDB:
 
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A chatty old gadgie turned up last night on seeing the albergue light on.
The old gadgie joins the kids in Tordesillas in hitting the jackpot. As far as Juana is concerned, she wouldn't be the first smart woman to be safely shut away from public life by insecure and ambitious people. I've always wondered what she was really like, held prisoner in a fog-bound monastery all those years. She succeeded in the long run, though, if you consider her many descendents.
 
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alansykes

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Past OR future Camino
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Benavente to Santa Marta de Tera

The terrace at Benavente looked lovely at dawn, but no long views to the Bierzo. The Sureste signage carries on, mostly very efficiently all the way to the Sanabrés, with granite hitos. It was lovely, after 100km since Tordesillas of permanent cereal and mostly freezing fog, to have lots of trees and streams and bright clear light. Although seeing the passes into Galicia from so far off and looking so tame and knowing they aren't was sobering. As was the fact that the bar in Santa Marta isn't that nice, and the restaurant only opens at weekends. The tienda, officially closed for jubilados, opens to sell the remainder of their stock to passing pilgrims, so that made for a decent hot supper in the albergue's excellent kitchen. Remembering the delicious smell of recently frozen juniper that punctuated the day. And the glorious 12th century statue of Santiago as pilgrim outside the church - although I've never worked out why he would be a pilgrim to his own grave, but then why not?

IMG_20211117_171939.jpg

She succeeded in the long run, though, if you consider her many descendents.
Including me, as I claim her as my 12xgreat-grannie.
 
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Including me, as I claim her as my 12xgreat-grannie.
There you go. QED.

I've never worked out why he would be a pilgrim to his own grave, but then why not?
Or how he could reappear 10 centuries in the future to bash the Moors around. Or even that he might approve of such bloodletting. But being long gone meant he couldn't object to being a projection screen for everyone's fantasies. A bit like JFK these days.

Now that you're on the Sanabres, is there any sign of more pilgrims having passed that way? Not that you'll have company, I imagine, it being well into November by now.
 
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alansykes

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Santa Marta de Tera to Mombuey

A glorious day, from the bright frosty dawn start under Sirius to the almost full moon with still bright Venus rising over Sanabria. Much of it along the blue black lustrous slow flowing Tera, rich with ducks and trout. This is the sixth time I've done this stretch, but I think it's always previously been rainy, dull or foggy. To see it in almost uncomfortably dazzling autumn sun was a real treat.

I had been planning to stay in the excellent albergue in Rionegro del Puente, but decided to carry on to Mombuey. Mainly because I shared the albergue in Sta Marta with an utterly charming Gaditano who will certainly make the Spanish team if snoring ever becomes an Olympic sport. So when he said he couldn't manage 36km, I thought, "if I want a decent night's sleep, I probably can". The first coffee wasn't for 10km, but I was rewarded by the barman calling me "valiente", certainly the first time that word has ever been applied to me.

But I did keep to my plan of eating in Rionegro's "Me Gusta Comer". Even better than last time - a pastel of tuna with a basil sauce and amuse bouche of foie gras on fig, a warming pote gallego (not quite the same as caldo, as it has alubias as well, Teo the charming the chef said), pork with a zesty sauce of orange and apple, and a nice pudding, all washed down with a half litre of a very nice Toro, followed by an orujo and coffee. A lot more than I usually eat (and drink) with 8km still to walk, but such a treat, and all for only 12€. Michelin quality.

And then the glorious uplands, with bright views towards Padornelo, looking a bit less tame. The albergue in Mombuey is sadly closed (a lovely stone barn, which I've enjoyed 4 times in blissful solitude with its excellent heater and blankets) but the truck stop is no longer overwhelmed with AVE construction workers, so I stayed rather more comfortably there.

IMG_20211118_134929.jpg
Not that you'll have company, I imagine, it being well into November by now.
Checked with the albergue in Zamora and still people every day. We were 6 in Santa Marta last night, two bicigrinos we'll never see again, my snorer from Cádiz and two delightful Norwegians I'm with in Mombuey. More pilgrims in one night than I've seen since leaving Montserrat in late September (unless you count the 15 jesuits doing the trail to Manresa mostly in a bus, which I don't).
 
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Frances Portuguese Finisterre Muxia Ingles Mozarabe VldP Sanabres Serrana Salvador Norte Espiritual
Santa Marta de Tera to Mombuey

A glorious day, from the bright frosty dawn start under Sirius to the almost full moon with still bright Venus rising over Sanabria. Much of it along the blue black lustrous slow flowing Tera, rich with ducks and trout. This is the sixth time I've done this stretch, but I think it's always previously been rainy, dull or foggy. To see it in almost uncomfortably dazzling autumn sun was a real treat.

I had been planning to stay in the excellent albergue in Rionegro del Puente, but decided to carry on to Mombuey. Mainly because I shared the albergue in Sta Marta with an utterly charming Gaditano who will certainly make the Spanish team if snoring ever becomes an Olympic sport. So when he said he couldn't manage 36km, I thought, "if I want a decent night's sleep, I probably can". The first coffee wasn't for 10km, but I was rewarded by the barman calling me "valiente", certainly the first time that word has ever been applied to me.

But I did keep to my plan of eating in Rionegro's "Me Gusta Comer". Even better than last time - a pastel of tuna with a basil sauce and amuse bouche of foie gras on fig, a warming pote gallego (not quite the same as caldo, as it has alubias as well, Teo the charming the chef said), pork with a zesty sauce of orange and apple, and a nice pudding, all washed down with a half litre of a very nice Toro, followed by an orujo and coffee. A lot more than I usually eat (and drink) with 8km still to walk, but such a treat, and all for only 12€. Michelin quality.

And then the glorious uplands, with bright views towards Padornelo, looking a bit less tame. The albergue in Mombuey is sadly closed (a lovely stone barn, which I've enjoyed 4 times in blissful solitude with its excellent heater and blankets) but the truck stop is no longer overwhelmed with AVE construction workers, so I stayed rather more comfortably there.

View attachment 113554

Checked with the albergue in Zamora and still people every day. We were 6 in Santa Marta last night, two bicigrinos we'll never see again, my snorer from Cádiz and two delightful Norwegians I'm with in Mombuey. More pilgrims in one night than I've seen since leaving Montserrat in late September (unless you count the 15 jesuits doing the trail to Manresa mostly in a bus, which I don't).
Thank-you and thanks for all your posts,, but especially for letting us all know that Teo is still at me gusta comer!!And that his food and everything is still amazing!!
 

JabbaPapa

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an utterly charming Gaditano who will certainly make the Spanish team if snoring ever becomes an Olympic sport
FWIW my dad would easily have won gold.

Does mean though, from learning how to sleep amidst that horrendous house-shaking racket, that the amateurs I encounter on the Camino cannot bother me ... 😜
 
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To see it in almost uncomfortably dazzling autumn sun was a real treat
May the clear weather follow you into Galicia!
And I'm so pleased that Me Gusta Comer was still there as an break from the many days you've had of subsistence nutrition.

More pilgrims in one night than I've seen since leaving Montserrat in late September (unless you count the 15 jesuits doing the trail to Manresa mostly in a bus, which I don't).
I'm surprised, but probably shouldn't be. People coming off the VdlP may have been walking since September (as you have been).
 
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alansykes

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Mombuey to Puebla de Sanabria

One of those great days that will stay in the memory. Leaving at first light, the fat pink moon was just setting to the west. Mombuey's church's (possibly templar) tower was swiftly past and the walk through woods and the first sun, with several deer passing nervously over the path, and an eagle overhead to remind you that the highlands are getting closer. As did the intoxicating indefinable smell of autumn in the uplands. No wind, no clouds, a light frost soon burnt off, a couple of deserted villages, occasional distant views of the high passes into Galicia, an AVE suddenly breaking the peace, golden tunnels, open empty vegas, the seven sinners busily burning in Otero de Sanabria, eventually the first view of Peubla's forbidding castle guarding the passes. On one house somebody had neatly painted a translation of Stevenson "nada más pido: el ciel sobre mi, y el camino sobre mis pies": I got that, in spades, today. One of those days when, to adapt "bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be walking the camino was very heaven". Almost too good to be true, but it was.

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Leaving at first light, the fat pink moon was just setting to the west.
Ha! You saw the tail end of the eclipse. Wonderful.

Such a beginning to what sounds like one of those perfect camino days. It is as we like it! “This our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything. I would not change it."
 

alansykes

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Puebla de Sanabria to Lubián

The first time I went this way, in the last holy year, it was a delight, almost all off road, up to the high pass and on through glorious narrow paths. The following four times were much less pleasant, with many deviations as they crashed the Ave line through, with much tunnelling and much walking on the hard shoulder, even through a km long tunnel. Now, finally, the works are completed and it's virtually back to 2010 standards. Very high standards, including a last look back over Castille from the puerto de Padornelo, at 1360m the highest point of the Sanabrés/VdlP, and a snack at the pleasant hotel at Padornelo. I once looked longingly at the idea of staying there when 10cms of snow was lying on the ground, but foolishly carried on. No such temptation today: another almost perfect autumn day, and thoroughly warmed up by 500m of ascent. Then off the road again to Aciberos in its secret valley of golden tunnels, a few old gadgies out picking chestnuts, water courses everywhere, and occasional openings to give views up to the heights or down to the stream, all with the melodious sound of water in a hurry to get to a river. Earlier on, the sound of cow bells - my two favourite noises.

I had the top floor of Lubián's excellent albergue to myself, with my two Norwegian friends downstairs. Since last time they've built a loo and shower downstairs as well, so we each had our own "en suite", but all still for 3€. We had a convivial dinner at the Estrella, having seen the bright line of Venus, Saturn and Jupiter, followed later by the moon still looking full. My first non solitary dinner in almost 2 months, very pleasant - especially as the company was excellent and the caldo gallego first rate as well.

IMG_20211120_133401.jpg

IMG_20211120_170951.jpg

IMG_20211120_151835.jpg
 
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Now, finally, the works are completed and it's virtually back to 2010 standards. Very high standards, including a last look back over Castille from the puerto de Padornelo, at 1360m the highest point of the Sanabrés/VdlP
This is so good to know - the Sanabres has been off my list for years because of the AVE (de-)construction. The down side is that my list just got longer, with a ticking clock and no way of spending the amount of time in the EU needed to make much of a dent.

It's also reassuring that last half of November can still be a fine time to walk up there in the Sanabres passes. It sounds beautiful: views, cowbells, and rushing water - on top of good food, good company, a good albergue, and good weather. Life on the road doesn't get a whole lot better. And I for one am hugely enjoying your account of all of that.

Buen camino peregrino - may the good weather hold for a while yet!
 
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2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I love these daily posts and crank up my computer to google-earth the path and follow the route.
 
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I have been playing with ideas of how to detour from the Sanabres to the Invierno via Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil. It's all off piste, so there are infinite options. If anyone out there has 30km+ legs under them, here are two possible days:
1. Xunqueria de Ambia - San Estevo 30.9 km
(Stay at the parador)
2. San Estevo - Chantada 39.1km

1. 20211121_100905.jpg 2. 20211121_100944.jpg

The second day is admittedly a monster, long in distance with the dual challenge/opportunity of going via the confluence of the Rios Miño and Sil, the two mighty rivers joining at Os Pearas near where the route crosses. But for the valiente, an adventure. Anyway, that's what Parador breakfasts are there to fuel.

I hope when/if I ever manage to walk this way, I will still be capable of acting out such lunatic fancies. In a pinch one could chicken out and duck back to Ourense. It's 21km from the river crossing (but all on tarmac). Or direct from San Estevan, more pleasantly, it's 22 km.
 
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peregrina2000

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Then off the road again to Aciberos in its secret valley of golden tunnels, a few old gadgies out picking chestnuts, water courses everywhere, and occasional openings to give views up to the heights or down to the stream, all with the melodious sound of water in a hurry to get to a river.
!!!No me digas!!!! Back to Aciberos, how wonderful. One of my favorite stretches on the Sanabrés.

Can you see or hear the trains?
 

alansykes

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Except the Francés
Lubián to A Gudiña

Yet another virtually perfect day. This can't carry on, and it won't, but it's great while it lasts. The kind Bulgarian bar person in the Estrella de Lubián agreed to open at 8 for us, and, fortified by tostadas and coffee, we headed off into the beautiful tunnels again, past a rather smart triple wolf head fountain, which I don't remember seeing five years ago. Up and down, and up again, and then the final golden stairway to heaven up to A Canda and the border with Galicia. Where the xunta has put in new hitos with the precise distance countdown to Santiago - just under a quarter of a million metres to go.

The upland vega from O Pereiro to O Cañizo is almost as beautiful as the stretch between the high passes - occasional brooks, huge boulders, glorious views, almost cloudless skies and no wind. The new albergue is A Gudiña is a great improvement on the old one, with a charming and helpful hospitalera - not inevitably the case in xunta albergues. Another convivial meal with my Norwegian friends - rarely does an English person get to act as translator for other Europeans - and sadly we will part in the morning, they heading for Laza and I making for Verín. We may possibly overlap in Santiago, which would be nice.

IMG_20211121_133154.jpg

have been playing with ideas of how to detour from the Sanabres to the Invierno
Saw a road sign in A Gudiña for Viana do Bolo and A Rúa, which might make a two day join.
Can you see or hear the trains?
Aciberos looked positively thriving. You pass under the Ave bridge but barely see it until 100m off, the trees are so dense, and I didn't hear a train at all.
 
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Saw a road sign in A Gudiña for Viana do Bolo and A Rúa, which might make a two day join.
I should have been more specific. Any crossover I'm interested in needs to go through San Estevo. But that looks interesting as well, through spme wild countryside.
Up and down, and up again, and then the final golden stairway to heaven up to A Canda and the border with Galicia
This sounds better and better. My only exposure to this landscape has been seeing it from the train, and it looks bleak and forbidding from that vantage point. Not helped by rainy weather every time I've gone that way.
just under a quarter of a million metres to go
Very good for us that you are stringing it out a little by going via Verin. (I think that I speak for a more than a few others who have been very much enjoying this journey.)

And this is way too late to be any use to you, Alan, But did you by any chance see this? (For future reference):

From Astorga to Ponferada via Bembibre, Brazuelo, Congosto, Torre del Bierzo, and Villagaton-Brañuelas. The wikipedia entry has a number of variants.
 
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Saw a road sign in A Gudiña for Viana do Bolo and A Rúa, which might make a two day join.
Even though I wouldn't do this, I did get curious.
Roughly 49km, with an albergue at 20 km, and a hotel in Os Ermidas, 1+ km off the route at about 30 km. It's all on tarmac, unfortunately.

Os Ermidas is known for Santuario de Nosa Senora das Ermidas. A huge and important Baroque edifice, here in the middle of nowhere. It's not San Estevan, but it's not nothing, either. And in a beautiful setting. Who knew?
 
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I should have been more specific. Any crossover I'm interested in needs to go through San Estevo. But that looks interesting as well, through spme wild countryside.

This sounds better and better. My only exposure to this landscape has been seeing it from the train, and it looks bleak and forbidding from that vantage point. Not helped by rainy weather every time I've gone that way.

Very good for us that you are stringing it out a little by going via Verin. (I think that I speak for a more than a few others who have been very much enjoying this journey.)

And this is way too late to be any use to you, Alan, But did you by any chance see this? (For future reference):

From Astorga to Ponferada via Bembibre, Brazuelo, Congosto, Torre del Bierzo, and Villagaton-Brañuelas. The wikipedia entry has a number of variants.
If only I were younger... and braver... if only I had no other considerations than my own... if only... but it is not to be! No harm in looking on, though!
 

mspath

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Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
If only I were younger... and braver... if only I had no other considerations than my own... if only... but it is not to be! No harm in looking on, though!
Kirkie,
Indeed. "Looking on" is one way that some of us keep on keeping on!
 

alansykes

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A Gudiña to Verín

Sirius was still visible in the dawn as Nils and Per headed right and I carried straight on. I don't suppose an upland Galician albergue is the usual site for a discussion about whether the claustrophobic intensity of "Ghosts" or "A Doll's House" might paradoxically work in the open space of the Roman theatre in Mérida, but we all agreed we'd like to see somebody try.

Not as spectacular a day as the previous ones, but still outstanding by any marginally lower standards. Well spaced bars for coffee for the first half of the day, culminating in the hostal restaurant Bayona, which Gronze recommends as the stopping point. And perhaps he's right, and my old knees would have certainly insisted on it. But my knew ones thought it looked a bit of a dump and said it was absurd to stop at 1pm. So we carried on, with wonderful long views over northern Portugal and the lovely mountains I remembered from the Camino Zamorano-Portugués. The xunta's new countdown hitos provide welcome proof that Santiago is, slowly, getting nearer. And only one of the metre markers has so far been chiselled off and stolen - early days, early days. At some point the number dipped below 200,000 metres. Not far from that you first see Verín: a long way below, but looking quite close, and with the grim bulk of Monterrei castle invisible in a sudden temporary patch of bad light. It's 11 years since I came this way, and I was thinking "Verín's much closer than I expected". It wasn't. Two long hours of descent, partly through fire damaged woods, with nearby self-sown eucalyptus providing a clue as to who helped spread the flames. And when you finally get to ground level and the outskirts of town, the albergue is still 2km off, on the other side of the river under the castle. It will make for a shorter day tomorrow. The albergue is excellent, with another charming, helpful and efficient hospitalera. Perhaps the xunta has realised that its former policy of employing grumpy, smoke-smelling curmudgeons for whom any distraction from their video-game was an imposition, wasn't a good one. Ourense was the gold standard for unpleasant hospitaleros, to the extent that I stopped staying there about 4 caminos ago, preferring a flea-pit by the station, a km or so closer to Cea.

IMG_20211122_085814.jpg
 

filly

Active Member
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2022 Mid-May Almería to Córdoba
Lubián to A Gudiña

Yet another virtually perfect day. This can't carry on, and it won't, but it's great while it lasts. The kind Bulgarian bar person in the Estrella de Lubián agreed to open at 8 for us, and, fortified by tostadas and coffee, we headed off into the beautiful tunnels again, past a rather smart triple wolf head fountain, which I don't remember seeing five years ago. Up and down, and up again, and then the final golden stairway to heaven up to A Canda and the border with Galicia. Where the xunta has put in new hitos with the precise distance countdown to Santiago - just under a quarter of a million metres to go.

The upland vega from O Pereiro to O Cañizo is almost as beautiful as the stretch between the high passes - occasional brooks, huge boulders, glorious views, almost cloudless skies and no wind. The new albergue is A Gudiña is a great improvement on the old one, with a charming and helpful hospitalera - not inevitably the case in xunta albergues. Another convivial meal with my Norwegian friends - rarely does an English person get to act as translator for other Europeans - and sadly we will part in the morning, they heading for Laza and I making for Verín. We may possibly overlap in Santiago, which would be nice.

View attachment 113696


Saw a road sign in A Gudiña for Viana do Bolo and A Rúa, which might make a two day join.

Aciberos looked positively thriving. You pass under the Ave bridge but barely see it until 100m off, the trees are so dense, and I didn't hear a train at all.
The old Albergue in A Gudiña was in the school. Last time I hiked through it was closed due to the dreaded bedbugs! A friend joined me having taken the train from Santiago (yes.... there is a stop though no discernible station). I stayed in one of the two hotels. Freezing room but good food and atmosphere in the Comedor.
 

filly

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2022 Mid-May Almería to Córdoba
A Gudiña to Verín

Sirius was still visible in the dawn as Nils and Per headed right and I carried straight on. I don't suppose an upland Galician albergue is the usual site for a discussion about whether the claustrophobic intensity of "Ghosts" or "A Doll's House" might paradoxically work in the open space of the Roman theatre in Mérida, but we all agreed we'd like to see somebody try.

Not as spectacular a day as the previous ones, but still outstanding by any marginally lower standards. Well spaced bars for coffee for the first half of the day, culminating in the hostal restaurant Bayona, which Gronze recommends as the stopping point. And perhaps he's right, and my old knees would have certainly insisted on it. But my knew ones thought it looked a bit of a dump and said it was absurd to stop at 1pm. So we carried on, with wonderful long views over northern Portugal and the lovely mountains I remembered from the Camino Zamorano-Portugués. The xunta's new countdown hitos provide welcome proof that Santiago is, slowly, getting nearer. And only one of the metre markers has so far been chiselled off and stolen - early days, early days. At some point the number dipped below 200,000 metres. Not far from that you first see Verín: a long way below, but looking quite close, and with the grim bulk of Monterrei castle invisible in a sudden temporary patch of bad light. It's 11 years since I came this way, and I was thinking "Verín's much closer than I expected". It wasn't. Two long hours of descent, partly through fire damaged woods, with nearby self-sown eucalyptus providing a clue as to who helped spread the flames. And when you finally get to ground level and the outskirts of town, the albergue is still 2km off, on the other side of the river under the castle. It will make for a shorter day tomorrow. The albergue is excellent, with another charming, helpful and efficient hospitalera. Perhaps the xunta has realised that its former policy of employing grumpy, smoke-smelling curmudgeons for whom any distraction from their video-game was an imposition, wasn't a good one. Ourense was the gold standard for unpleasant hospitaleros, to the extent that I stopped staying there about 4 caminos ago, preferring a flea-pit by the station, a km or so closer to Cea.

View attachment 113739
Touché about the hospitalero of yore in Ourense. He was so unpleasant that I refused to take the bunk he offered next to a 6 cylinder known snorer, in a fairly empty dorm. He retaliated by calling in the Guardia Civil, no less, who thought it was a hoot! All ended well as we all moved around once he had gone for the night.
 
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filly

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Dear Alan,

I simply adore your reportage! Takes me back but I feel I am also present...

Anyway, you are taking the Verin variant which I have always meant to do, specifically to visit Allariz, which a Spaniard recommended some years ago. So may I humbly ask that you post some photos, please.

Gracias - Felipe Peregrino
 
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I love it when I learn things here:

specifically to visit Allariz
First, it's near a biosphere preserve - these are globally special places and often critical habitat for someone endangered:
Among the most significant animal species here are birds of prey, wolves, otters and numerous Iberian amphibians.
Sign me up!!
May one of that fanciful trio of lupos at the fuente manifest in the flesh for you, Alan. And otters are always fun.

Then the town itself is a place full of old stuff:
The 1119 Church of Santiago! Wow.
And that's late by Allariz standards.


A pity Nils and Per went the other way - they're missing out. I would be seriously tempted to linger here.
 

anamcara

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2022 Chemin du Piémont Pyrénéen; Camino Baztan 😎
Hello, I am an interloper to this thread but seeing that it’s in the Cami Catalan / Cami St Jaume category - I thought I might ask about the attached photo I took when we were walking some years ago on the Cami de Ronda (Costa Brava).

We knew there was a Camino path from Montserrat but had not expected to see this map at Cap de San Sebastiá - on the stunning coastal path between Tamariu to Callela de Palafrugell. It was a delightful surprise.

Is this a variant of the Catalane or St Jaume? I see it links up with Jaca (what a great town) and therefore the Aragones which we love. Very appealing.

Any information appreciated.
 

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anamcara

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Oh thank you! That’s v interesting. And, as it happens, Girona is one of my favourite towns in Spain. Though I do seem to have quite a long list of ‘favourites’. I recall we saw some shells / arrows in Girona and also in Figueres. 🙏
 
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filly

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Oh thank you! That’s v interesting. And, as it happens, Girona is one of my favourite towns in Spain. Though I do seem to have quite a long list of ‘favourites’. I recall we saw some shells / arrows in Girona and also in Figueres. 🙏
.... I share your opinion on Girona. The cathedral and museum are very special. The Tapestry of Creation is unique.


I am surprised, Jenny at your surprise at finding Camino arrows in Figueres et al... After discovering a marked Camino on the Ile de la Réunion, no less, I am never phased, especially in Spain. A case of ‘all roads lead to Rome’ perhaps!
 

anamcara

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I am surprised, Jenny at your surprise at finding Camino arrows in Figueres et al...
I wasn’t surprised at shells etc in Girona and Figueres … but i wasn’t t expecting that beautiful Camino map on the coast near Callela de Palafrugell … we might go back one day and follow that path through to Jaca and beyond … 😎
 

JabbaPapa

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Is this a variant of the Catalane or St Jaume?
In a word, yes.

The Camí Catalàn is a complex beast, as it is both a Camino de Santiago and a Via Romea and the Camino Ignaciano -- so that it is a spaghetti-like complex of pathways leading up from various places in Catalonia and French Catalonia and Languedoc towards Compostela or Manresa ; but also from various places in Catalonia and beyond in Spain towards Rome.

Indeed the longest version of that Via Romea through Catalonia is from Cádiz to Rome (with two major variants from Arles).

The area around Barcelona is particularly complex in this respect, as there are easily a dozen or so pilgrim routes weaving through and around the city, made only more spaghetti-like by the potential of foot pilgrimages towards Fátima or Lourdes.
 

alansykes

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Except the Francés
Verín to Viladerrei

A happy hour or so spent ratching around Monterrei castle in the early light. I think it's an almost perfect border castle - dour and slightly menacing. The camino passes right under its walls - after a swift 150m of ascent from the albergue, to work off the tostadas. At the castle there is yet another fork encouraging you to take the Laza route (179,324 metres to Santiago, rather than 186,319 vía Allariz).

Anybody who thinks the Verín variant is flat is mistaken - 700m of ascent and 1250 of descent yesterday, and 600 more of ascent today. One of the toughest stretches was 7km of continuous ascent from the pretty, if partly falling down, village of Infesta, down in the valley, then up, up and more up, to Peña Verde, right at the day's high point. Very lovely, mostly on woodland trails, and passing "many a lonely hamlet, which hid by beech and pine, like an eagle's nest, clings on the crest of" green and gold Galicia. Well, chestnut and oak and pine. Fabulous views from the top - back over Portugal, and on towards Ourense, and up to the Laza uplands.

Then down again, back into a golden tunnel, and on to Viladerrei, past its own miniature version of the Pico Sacro. A shorter day than I'd planned, but it has an excellent xunta albergue - complete with another helpful efficient hospitalera - and where the machine washed my clothes while I had a restoring potaje as part of the menú del día in the village's bustling restaurant. They kindly laid a table for me in the bar area, as the comedor was full when I arrived: always a good sign, especially midweek.

IMG_20211123_142059.jpg
 
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JabbaPapa

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Ummm. . .
What a name!
One wonders what with...

They kindly laid a table for me in the bar area, as the comedor was full when I arrived: always a good sign, especially midweek
This route seems like the best of both worlds. Close enough to the main arterial to have decent services, but not hugging the main drag.

Looking unsuccessfully for some historical information about this route, I rediscovered this. I wonder if these folks are still living in Allariz?
(Edit - yes. Here's their website.)
Thanks to @BrienC and his very enticing report of some exploration around Ourense, https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/not-exactly-live-vdlp-fall-2016.44669/#post-475473 I recently spent a few days in this area of Spain, near the Sil River Gorge. If you like romanesque, visigothic, pre-roman hill forts and saunas, stunning river views, etc, you should take some time here. You can do it from Ourense, but you can also do it from Allariz, which is on the Verín alternative of the Sanabrés.

In Allariz, three young historians/archaeologists have formed a little "Cultural Patrimony" company. Their goal is to keep people connected to their Galician cultural, natural, historical, archaeological, etc. heritage. The tourist office put me in touch with this company, Xeitura, http://xeitura.com, so that I could arrange to visit Santa Mariña das Augas Santas. This is a little village with many sites, starting with pre-Roman saunas, with an unfinished romanesque church built over them, some Roman ruins, and a larger pretty stunning Romanesque church towering over this little hamlet of 30 people. All of the sites are tied up with the story of Santa Mariña, the local saint/martyr. I had a three hour visit, and it was really a highlight. So, if you are going to be in the vicinity, I most highly recommend Xeitura. They have some established itineraries, but will also make a trip to correspond to your interests. It is an amazing part of Spain and I hope these guys have a lot of success with their venture.

Buen camino, Laurie
 
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alansykes

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
Viladerrei to Sandiás

A drizzly morning. The first water not from a shower to fall on me while walking this November. Not even enough to be worth getting out the waterproof. And a fairly dull flat day to go with the dull flat weather. Yesterday, up the top, there were two Roman milestones, and this morning I walked along an arrow straight farm track that might once have been the roman road it led down to. At Zos, an apparently deserted village half way on, a van arrived and started sounding its horn manically. Suddenly half the hamlet's doors opened and a dozen old people emerged to buy their fish and chat loudly to each other - and, a bit, to me: "mal tiempo para caminar". Useless to say that this would be seen as quite nice weather back home in Cumbria. One asked me where I'd walked from and raised both hands in what looked like genuine horror when I answered: "¿Montserrat? - ¡ay caramba!". I think only the second time I've heard the phrase other than on a TV show.

Shortly before Sandiás the camino passes by the former massive wetland Lagoa de Antela, largely drained under Franco, with a canal taking the remains of its waters away. There are plans to restore it, but much damage has clearly been largely irreversible - sand extraction and so on. Sadly the clouds dropped as I was walking that section and visibility was 50m or less, or I might have been able to work out a detour through the centre rather than skirting it on the official camino. The marshy sections of the Limía near Xinzo de Limía were quite rich with birdlife - a heron lazily took off as I was nearing the town, and many ducks and various egrets ignored me. I imagine the former lagoon must once have been teeming with birds.

At some point today, or possibly late yesterday, the rising km markers on the ubiquitous N525 from Benavente became higher than the metre markers on the xunta hitos descending to Santiago.
 
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At Zos, an apparently deserted village half way on, a van arrived and started sounding its horn manically. Suddenly half the hamlet's doors opened and a dozen old people emerged to buy their fish and chat loudly to each other - and, a bit, to me: "mal tiempo para caminar". Useless to say that this would be seen as quite nice weather back home in Cumbria. One asked me where I'd walked from and raised both hands in what looked like genuine horror when I answered: "¿Montserrat? - ¡ay caramba!". I think only the second time I've heard the phrase other than on a TV show.
Brilliant. A delicious short story in 100 words or less. They won't stop talking about you for a while.
🤣🤣🤣

(A friend who grew up in NYC uses "Oy vay caramba" under similar circumstances, doubling down on the expressiveness from two sides, especially delightful. But like you I've not heard the basic expression in Spain before.)

the former massive wetland Lagoa de Antela, largely drained under Franco
Sad.
But it's interesting to read the opinions of elderly locals, most thinking the drainage was a good thing a few not. The people for it often came from far away, places like Salamanca.
“A desecación da Lagoa foi moi beneficiosa para moita xente. Ahora protestan que foi unha perda porque marcharon os páxaros, é os páxaros non dan de comer a ninguén ¿Qué ganas mirando pos páxaros?
May a better balance be struck, even though much of what was there before has been lost forever. Human arrogance over all creation is the saddest thing.

At some point today, or possibly late yesterday, the rising km markers on the ubiquitous N525 from Benavente became higher than the metre markers on the xunta hitos descending to Santiago.
Am I right in assuming (thinking about those miliaria) the route you're walking has been the primary one linking Orense with the Puebla de Sanabria side well into the distant pass? If so, I'm surprised it's only a variant of the Sanabres, rather than the main route.
Edit. Answered my own question - es complicado. Herewith from the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire (Aureum is of course Ourense. Forum Limicorum is said to be Ponte de Lima, and if so it's in the wrong place on the map!):
20211125_132223.jpg
 
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alansykes

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
Sandiás to Ourense

Murky start, with Sandiás' atalaya barely visible in an almost Cumbrian grey damp dank mist - very different from the bright crisp white clouds of the mists of Valladolid ten days ago.

But it mostly cleared by Allariz, the third of the "pueblos más bonitos de España" that I've passed on this camino. Very pretty it is too, but a lot bigger than most. An hour or so later, after mostly quite pleasant woodland trails, with a surprising number of autumn crocuses, you arrive at Santa Mariña de Aguas Santas. The fuente has three outlets, one for each of the places where the head of the virgin martyr bounced after being cut off. There are wonderful views from up there down over the fertile Miño valley and Ourense's sprawling suburbs. Also further on, in this camino of the astonishing long views, to what I think must be the Alto do Faro on the Invierno, a bump on the horizon fringing the western sky.

The descent partly continues on a Roman road past various sites connected with poor Mariña's protracted martyrdom, including a celtiberian sauna. The suburbs of Ourense are not lovely and are very long, but @peregrina2000 discovered a way of avoiding at least some of the worst - turn left at Seixalbo at the signpost saying "paseo fluvial", and simply follow a pretty river path along the río Barbaña all the way into central town - to within 300m of the new xunta albergue. Huge improvement: can't think why the official camino insists on following the tarmac of the parallel interminable, and interminably dull, Rúa do Progreso.

I had been planning to stay at the hotel San Marcos, at Cudeiro 2-3km on from Ourense, and over 100m higher up on the way to Cea. But I decided that I really ought to try the new albergue, if only to prove that not staying at the San Francisco one the last 3 times I've been through Ourense was the right decision. It's a beautiful albergue, right by the cathedral and bang in the middle of the Casco Vello in a lovely stone building. But I hit another of Ourense's hospitaleros from hell. Where do they find them? Is the rudeness trained or inate? Why? Mine desperately tried to find something wrong with my covid vaccine certificate (accepted immediately by all four previous xunta hospitaleras) before grudgingly letting me in through a fug of stale tobacco smoke, while gleefully telling me I couldn't use the kitchen (the first albergue kitchen I've found closed since Catalunya). Hey ho, it's otherwise a very nice albergue and I've got it all to myself, having pushed ahead to get here on a Thursday to avoid a possible weekend "bubble".

IMG_20211125_094619.jpg


Am I right in assuming (thinking about those miliaria) the route you're walking has been the primary one linking Orense with the Puebla de Sanabria side well into the distant pass? If so, I'm surprised it's only a variant of the Sanabres, rather than the main route.
I think the "main" road clearly went by Verín, with pilgrim hospitals in Verín and Allariz, but Laza must also have been used quite heavily, as the village name A Alberguería witnesses.
 
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Next up 2022?
Those new knees seem to be doing very well - you're moving right along! I will be the first to suggest you walk home, because your posts have been a daily delight. (Joking. But I'm not looking forward to the void that they'll leave when you finish.)

Oy vay caramba! These Ourense hospitaleros must all be from the same miserable clan.
Where do they find them? Is the rudeness trained or inate? Why?
Jealous resentment? Well you will soon be out of the gravity field of Sr. Gruñón McGrumpface, and getting ever closer to Santiago.
Buen camino peregrino!
 

filly

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2022 Mid-May Almería to Córdoba
Sandiás to Ourense

Murky start, with Sandiás' atalaya barely visible in an almost Cumbrian grey damp dank mist - very different from the bright crisp white clouds of the mists of Valladolid ten days ago.

But it mostly cleared by Allariz, the third of the "pueblos más bonitos de España" that I've passed on this camino. Very pretty it is too, but a lot bigger than most. An hour or so later, after mostly quite pleasant woodland trails, with a surprising number of autumn crocuses, you arrive at Santa Mariña de Aguas Santas. The fuente has three outlets, one for each of the places where the head of the virgin martyr bounced after being cut off. There are wonderful views from up there down over the fertile Miño valley and Ourense's sprawling suburbs. Also further on, in this camino of the astonishing long views, to what I think must be the Alto do Faro on the Invierno, a bump on the horizon fringing the western sky.

The descent partly continues on a Roman road past various sites connected with poor Mariña's protracted martyrdom, including a celtiberian sauna. The suburbs of Ourense are not lovely and are very long, but @peregrina2000 discovered a way of avoiding at least some of the worst - turn left at Seixalbo at the signpost saying "paseo fluvial", and simply follow a pretty river path along the río Barbaña all the way into central town - to within 300m of the new xunta albergue. Huge improvement: can't think why the official camino insists on following the tarmac of the parallel interminable, and interminably dull, Rúa do Progreso.

I had been planning to stay at the hotel San Marcos, at Cudeiro 2-3km on from Ourense, and over 100m higher up on the way to Cea. But I decided that I really ought to try the new albergue, if only to prove that not staying at the San Francisco one the last 3 times I've been through Ourense was the right decision. It's a beautiful albergue, right by the cathedral and bang in the middle of the Casco Vello in a lovely stone building. But I hit another of Ourense's hospitaleros from hell. Where do they find them? Is the rudeness trained or inate? Why? Mine desperately tried to find something wrong with my covid vaccine certificate (accepted immediately by all four previous xunta hospitaleras) before grudgingly letting me in through a fug of stale tobacco smoke, while gleefully telling me I couldn't use the kitchen (the first albergue kitchen I've found closed since Catalunya). Hey ho, it's otherwise a very nice albergue and I've got it all to myself, having pushed ahead to get here on a Thursday to avoid a possible weekend "bubble".

View attachment 113895



I think the "main" road clearly went by Verín, with pilgrim hospitals in Verín and Allariz, but Laza must also have been used quite heavily, as the village name A Alberguería witnesses.
Hola Alan.

You have cheerfully ignored my post of several days before Allariz.... Any chance of further commentary/possible photos....

Much appreciated if possible. Cheers and continued ‘Buen camino’!
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
Ourense to Piñor

The duty hospitalero in the morning was a delightful surprise: chatty, smiling, not stinking of stale tobacco. We agreed the present albergue was a great improvement on the one up the hill, especially for the lack of the booming echo in the previous place. And he sped me on my way with a friendly wave and a "buen camino". So some of Ourense's hospitaleros can have charm, which was a relief after four in a row who didn't.

As always now, I took the right hand option vía Tamallancos. Slightly longer, but much less tarmac, and avoiding the steep narrow fast dangerous road on the left hand way. Still very steep. I was just sitting on one of the concello's smart new yellow arrow benches when an old bloke came past to walk his three pet sheep to a bit of tasty grass. He was a member of the local choir and had been on an extensive singing tour, passing Amsterdam and several places in Germany before finishing up in Prague, whose beers he liked. I got some undeserved respect when I told him I bred pedigree tups: "ah, los machos de Suffolk, los mejores de todos". Shortly afterwards I was told off by an abuela for walking alone, and clearly didn't convince her when I told her I preferred solitude, although she looked a bit wistful when I argued that I could start when I wanted to start and stop when I felt like it, horribly garbling Frost with "en cumplir promesas no tengo empeño, y millas debo andar antes de dormir".

The pulpería in Cea, where I've had a plate of pulpo on 8 visits to the village, is no longer serving pulpo or any meals, at the moment, anyway. The barman clearly wasn't in a mood to discuss it, and suggested I go to the Sol y Luna, where I got a huge bowl of potaje. Osiera monastery, where I usually sleep, is closed for covid, as is Castro Dozón's albergue, so I ended up in the Ateneo truck stop a bit beyond Piñor. I wanted to get a few km on from Cea, as the forecast for tomorrow is pretty grim, so reducing the time spent walking underneath storm Arwen seemed sensible. Otherwise Cea's warm empty (when I looked in at 2pm) albergue would have been very tempting.

IMG_20211126_094254.jpg
 
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Another gem of a short story...
I was just sitting on one of the concello's smart new yellow arrow benches when an old bloke came past to walk his three pet sheep to a bit of tasty grass. He was a member of the local choir and had been on an extensive singing tour, passing Amsterdam and several places in Germany before finishing up in Prague, whose beers he liked. I got some undeserved respect when I told him I bred pedigree tups: "ah, los machos de Suffolk, los mejores de todos".
So, an old musical guy with pet sheep? Just what one expects to see on a normal morning. And in Ourense?? The mind boggles, wondering where they live.

May your day be comfortable, in the end, even if dry is impossible. Since you seem to have had more than your share of glorious 100km view days, maybe now it's payback time. And Galicia is so good at offering her best crummy weather, as a welcome.
 
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alansykes

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
Judging by the new waterfalls gushing out of the hillsides, it must have been chucking it down all night. Soon after I reluctantly left my breakfast, it more or less stopped raining, and an hour or so later there were brief interludes of watery sunshine. Wet underfoot, of course, as the altos got steadily less alto - a brisk climb up San Martiño at about 850m, then Santo Domingo at a mere 700. Still quite energetic, but lovely to see gorse already flowering. By the time I got to Lalín station at about 2pm I was ready to eat. Despite the restaurant clearly being packed with weekend customers, they kindly made me up a table in the bar. With delicious fried anchovies and a generous tasty chunk of bacalao, washed down by a nice albariño, I assume it was an expensive menú del fin de semana, but it was only 10€, outstanding price/quality ratio.

At Donsión they're building a new commercial albergue and restaurant. I bumped into a lovely old gadgie nearby (this has been the camino of lovely old gadgies and astonishing long views). He was determined to try out his rusty French on me, having worked in the vines in the Midi in the late 60s - only about 40km from where I worked in them in the early 80s. If you had happened to be passing, you would have seen an Englishman talking poor Spanish to a Galician talking poor French about methods of pruning vines and why the wine from up here wasn't as good as that from the land lower down. I think he was a little stir crazy, as I understood him to say he'd been self-isolating since March last year, with just three bread deliveries a week, and one each of other essentials (meat, fish and veg, most of which he grows himself).

At A Laxe's albergue Esus (?sp, pronounced Jésus) had just arrived from the Invierno, and was raving about the beauty of As Médulas, and had stayed in the new albergue in Montforte de Lemos, which he recommended. The forecast for tomorrow is no rain until the afternoon, so I'll probably stop in Ponte Ulla. It started pouring really hard shortly after I arrived at A Laxe, so taking the extra couple of hours yesterday afternoon probably helped me dodge a(nother) bullet.

IMG_20211127_123140.jpg
 
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Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
an hour or so later there were brief interludes of watery sunshine
taking the extra couple of hours yesterday afternoon probably helped me dodge a(nother) bullet.
You are one lucky peregrino.
What you're somehow managing to dodge is dropping snow all sorts of places:
20211128_095501.jpg
There'd be no walking into Segovia or La Pradera today!
I'll probably stop in Ponte Ulla
The clock is ticking. One more sleep. So quickly it's (almost) done. Buen camino! May your magical rain shield hold today.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
A Laxe to Ponte Ulla

Shortly after dawn and the ancient Puente Taboada, a huge guard mastín somehow loosed his chain and came bounding up to me. Fortunately he was a big softie and was more interested in walking with me to Silleda than having me for breakfast. I'm looking forward to walking with my own dog next week, but thought I'd better not take this one. He was dragging about 8m of quite heavy chain and I was trying to fasten this in place without jeopardising our new friendship when his apologetic owner emerged from her farmhouse wearing not many clothes and reclaimed him.

At Silleda the local bar was preparing huge vats for the promised "pulpo: Martes y Domingo" but sadly it wasn't even 9.30, so I had to settle for my first coffee and tostada - the bar near the albergue is closed on Sundays.

By Bandeira, the cloud had come down and stayed low, so I wasn't able to get the beautiful view of the Pico Sacro from near the new bridge at Castro. I hadn't seen it from the heights above Dozón yesterday either, so it will be first seen from very close tomorrow - unless I claim it was one of the distant little bumps on the horizon from Santa Mariña on Thursday, which it might have been.

Crossing the bridge at Ponte Ulla in the cloud I entered A Coruña, my 14th and last province of this camino. I'd seen a couple of pilgrims struggling into huge rucksack-covering ponchos at Bandeira, but couldn't see why as it was barely drizzling - my trousers weren't even damp when I got to my room at the truckstop at Ponte Ulla, although it did start raining properly soon afterwards. The ponchos are hanging up in the passage here, so perhaps I'll meet the contents again at breakfast.
 
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alansykes

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
Alan, what is the albergue in A Laxe like these days? I had heard there were renovations or a change of management or some improvements in the works.
I think it's fine. Other than the new washing machine and drier, I'd say it was pretty much the same as when I first stayed there in 2010, and most of the 7-8 times since, including complete lack of kitchen equipment. I think the hospitalera is the same. She kindly organised María José from the bar on the 525 to deliver food to my fellow guest, as it was pouring with rain: I didn't need any as I'd had a very good meal at Lalín Estación. The infuriating movement activated light system is still in operation,.

If it wasn't that A Laxe is nearly 5km closer to Santiago, I'd stay in central Lalín - the Palacio hostal was very pleasant when I stayed there after doing the Invierno. Or if the new albergue/restaurant they're building at Donsión comes off that might be worth a look - judging by the crane on site, it's going to be quite a big development.
 
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Shortly after dawn and the ancient Puente Taboada, a huge guard mastín somehow loosed his chain and came bounding up to me. Fortunately he was a big softie and was more interested in walking with me to Silleda than having me for breakfast. I'm looking forward to walking with my own dog next week, but thought I'd better not take this one. He was dragging about 8m of quite heavy chain and I was trying to fasten this in place without jeopardising our new friendship when his apologetic owner emerged from her farmhouse wearing not many clothes and reclaimed him.
This is the best short story yet.
Well done, Alan! You got an early morning guffaw, not easily accomplished.😄

so I wasn't able to get the beautiful view of the Pico Sacro from near the new bridge at Castro.
Ah, a pity. That's an incredible view.

Well, buen camino for the morrow. I hope Pico Sacro is not hiding her head in the mist!
 
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alansykes

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
Ponte Ulla to Santiago

The last few times I've found the stage from Ponte Ulla or O Outeiro really hard. This time my knew knees clearly knew they were knearing their first compostela, so they ate up the kms. Low cloud meant that I still didn't see the Pico Sacro, pausing only for a glass of godello at Los Cruces in O Eixo, just by the 337km mark of the N525. I first crossed the 525 at about 4km from Benavente, quite a long time ago now.

Bruckmansia's slightly sinister trumpets seems to be the suburban shrub of choice, as the xunta's hitos countdown numbers slowly descended. At Angrois, shortly after the crossing where the rail accident happened, I finally got my first view of the twin towers, and nearby the last hito - 1790 metres to go. The pilgrim office was deserted when I arrived, other than the three staff waiting to hand out compostelas. And sunshine on the cathedral.

IMG_20211129_160828.jpg
 

SabineP

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
Oh Alan! What an achievement ! It has been such a joy following your journey.
I think I speak for alot of people here that we immensely enjoyed your reports.

Congrats!
I can only hope that you have ( or will ) treat yourself to a good dinner ( or at least a decent drink ) !

Thank you so much for giving us the chance to be part of your Camino.

Safe trip home!
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Alan,

Thank you for sharing these memories and photos with all your digital friends and readers; each post has been most informative and personal.
I wish you continued future Buen caminos and in the truest sense, as always, Ultreia!
 
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Congratulations, Alan. And a heartfelt thank you. What a camino.
Uno del Reino Unido, desde Montserrat.
The pilgrim office was deserted when I arrived, other than the three staff waiting to hand out compostelas.
I hope you got three sets of eyebrows raised in surprise~
Besides the many kilometres, you walked -
parts of 9(?) caminos;
through 14 provinces;
a desert;
over I long since lost count of how many rivers;
three sizeable mountain crossings;
and three of the "pueblos más bonitos de España."
Not to mention having 100 km views with almost no crummy weather, and meeting several interesting old gadgies, but only a handful of other peregrinos...
And sunshine on the cathedral.
Charmed life. Amazing.

To say I have enjoyed your account along the way would be an understatement. The best yet.

I hope you had a suitable celebration and wishing you a safe and hassle-free journey home.

Bruckmansia's slightly sinister trumpets seems to be the suburban shrub of choice.
In Galicia (as in Ireland) I notice the Phormium, far from its native home in Aotearoa - no doubt missing the Tui and Bellbirds who would normally pollinate the flowers.
20190616_115423 (3).jpg IMG_5358.JPG
 
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TaraWalks

Peregrina without a skateboard
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2016 & 2018, planning for Le Puy 2019/2020ish and for some shorter Caminos stacked
Congratulations! I have really enjoyed reading your posts :)
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
Sandiás to Ourense

Murky start, with Sandiás' atalaya barely visible in an almost Cumbrian grey damp dank mist - very different from the bright crisp white clouds of the mists of Valladolid ten days ago.

But it mostly cleared by Allariz, the third of the "pueblos más bonitos de España" that I've passed on this camino. Very pretty it is too, but a lot bigger than most. An hour or so later, after mostly quite pleasant woodland trails, with a surprising number of autumn crocuses, you arrive at Santa Mariña de Aguas Santas. The fuente has three outlets, one for each of the places where the head of the virgin martyr bounced after being cut off. There are wonderful views from up there down over the fertile Miño valley and Ourense's sprawling suburbs. Also further on, in this camino of the astonishing long views, to what I think must be the Alto do Faro on the Invierno, a bump on the horizon fringing the western sky.

The descent partly continues on a Roman road past various sites connected with poor Mariña's protracted martyrdom, including a celtiberian sauna. The suburbs of Ourense are not lovely and are very long, but @peregrina2000 discovered a way of avoiding at least some of the worst - turn left at Seixalbo at the signpost saying "paseo fluvial", and simply follow a pretty river path along the río Barbaña all the way into central town - to within 300m of the new xunta albergue. Huge improvement: can't think why the official camino insists on following the tarmac of the parallel interminable, and interminably dull, Rúa do Progreso.

I had been planning to stay at the hotel San Marcos, at Cudeiro 2-3km on from Ourense, and over 100m higher up on the way to Cea. But I decided that I really ought to try the new albergue, if only to prove that not staying at the San Francisco one the last 3 times I've been through Ourense was the right decision. It's a beautiful albergue, right by the cathedral and bang in the middle of the Casco Vello in a lovely stone building. But I hit another of Ourense's hospitaleros from hell. Where do they find them? Is the rudeness trained or inate? Why? Mine desperately tried to find something wrong with my covid vaccine certificate (accepted immediately by all four previous xunta hospitaleras) before grudgingly letting me in through a fug of stale tobacco smoke, while gleefully telling me I couldn't use the kitchen (the first albergue kitchen I've found closed since Catalunya). Hey ho, it's otherwise a very nice albergue and I've got it all to myself, having pushed ahead to get here on a Thursday to avoid a possible weekend "bubble".

View attachment 113895



I think the "main" road clearly went by Verín, with pilgrim hospitals in Verín and Allariz, but Laza must also have been used quite heavily, as the village name A Alberguería witnesses.

November 2019, stayed two nights. Both hospies of few words but gave me no hassle. Especially upon second night’s request.
Ourense to Piñor

The duty hospitalero in the morning was a delightful surprise: chatty, smiling, not stinking of stale tobacco. We agreed the present albergue was a great improvement on the one up the hill, especially for the lack of the booming echo in the previous place. And he sped me on my way with a friendly wave and a "buen camino". So some of Ourense's hospitaleros can have charm, which was a relief after four in a row who didn't.

As always now, I took the right hand option vía Tamallancos. Slightly longer, but much less tarmac, and avoiding the steep narrow fast dangerous road on the left hand way. Still very steep. I was just sitting on one of the concello's smart new yellow arrow benches when an old bloke came past to walk his three pet sheep to a bit of tasty grass. He was a member of the local choir and had been on an extensive singing tour, passing Amsterdam and several places in Germany before finishing up in Prague, whose beers he liked. I got some undeserved respect when I told him I bred pedigree tups: "ah, los machos de Suffolk, los mejores de todos". Shortly afterwards I was told off by an abuela for walking alone, and clearly didn't convince her when I told her I preferred solitude, although she looked a bit wistful when I argued that I could start when I wanted to start and stop when I felt like it, horribly garbling Frost with "en cumplir promesas no tengo empeño, y millas debo andar antes de dormir".

The pulpería in Cea, where I've had a plate of pulpo on 8 visits to the village, is no longer serving pulpo or any meals, at the moment, anyway. The barman clearly wasn't in a mood to discuss it, and suggested I go to the Sol y Luna, where I got a huge bowl of potaje. Osiera monastery, where I usually sleep, is closed for covid, as is Castro Dozón's albergue, so I ended up in the Ateneo truck stop a bit beyond Piñor. I wanted to get a few km on from Cea, as the forecast for tomorrow is pretty grim, so reducing the time spent walking underneath storm Arwen seemed sensible. Otherwise Cea's warm empty (when I looked in at 2pm) albergue would have been very tempting.

View attachment 113935
11/2019.

Mistakenly took no guidebook. Ergo, ended up gasping up Spain’s tarmac mini Everest. Never again.

Castro Dozón albergue one of my best meals on all caminos.
Ponte Ulla to Santiago

The last few times I've found the stage from Ponte Ulla or O Outeiro really hard. This time my knew knees clearly knew they were knearing their first compostela, so they ate up the kms. Low cloud meant that I still didn't see the Pico Sacro, pausing only for a glass of godello at Los Cruces in O Eixo, just by the 337km mark of the N525. I first crossed the 525 at about 4km from Benavente, quite a long time ago now.

Bruckmansia's slightly sinister trumpets seems to be the suburban shrub of choice, as the xunta's hitos countdown numbers slowly descended. At Angrois, shortly after the crossing where the rail accident happened, I finally got my first view of the twin towers, and nearby the last hito - 1790 metres to go. The pilgrim office was deserted when I arrived, other than the three staff waiting to hand out compostelas. And sunshine on the cathedral.

View attachment 114119

Many congratulations.

Thank you much for sharing the way in such vivid and passionate telling.

Congratulations!
 
Past OR future Camino
06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
Safe home, after your marathon outing with your new knees!
It was a daily treat to follow you, and you added to my vocabulary before it is too late... though it is never too late to learn new things.
The good thing is that we can now expect some contributions on the walking locally thread! 👣👣👣
 

lindam

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, VDLP, Invierno, Portuguese, Madrid, Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan/Aragones/Loyola Norte
10 minutes after I arrived Antonio, the hugely hospitable hospitalero, had arranged for a class from the local school to visit and learn about the camino. So a chance to see and talk to a "real pilgrim" was not to be missed. Embarrassing. But they were a nice bunch.
My husband and I once experienced the same embarrassment while staying in Jorba (on the Catalan Camino) when a group of students arrived from the local school. Questioning and photo sessions with the "actual pilgrims" ensued. One for the memory books.
 
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A thought-provoking Camino memoir. This day-by-day account will inspire you.

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
If you look at Alan’s findpenguins page, the entire journey is traced out at the top. Talk about one spectacular camino. An absolutely amazing journey, one that fills me with envidia sana.

Though I am not a big fan of the phrase “thanks for sharing,” in this case there are no better words, unless we change the “thanks” to “a million heartfelt thanks.”
 

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