Category Archives: camino de santiago

Camino de Santiago day 9-12

Day Nine: Santo Domingo de la Calzada-Villafranca Montes de Oca,
34,75 km, asc/desc 582/288m, 9:10h
September 20th, 2016

  • Slept in the communal albergue in Villafranca as everything else was sold out. Got the last spot when I arrive at 8 pm.
  • This is where I found out I had forgotten my Pilgrim´s Passport in the Parador in Santo Domingo.
  • Since free wifi as well as electricity is available everywhere I decided not to carry any physical books – I have the Brierley guidebook on my iPhone.
  • I quickly started to listen to podcasts or music during the day: The walk is so straightforward and the trails are so wide that people can pass you without you having to give way.
  • I finally listened to the entire Serial podcast.

    On the way to Villafrance
    On the way to Villafranca

The complete photogallery of this day is available on flickr.

Day Ten: Villafranca Montes de Oca-Burgos,
37,32 km, asc/desc 392/415m, 10:44h
September 21th, 2016

  • As I stayed in a communal albergue, I was forced to leave at 8 am. At 7:30 everyone else had left.
  • As the sun was not yet up, I went to the wonderful new San Anton Abad hotel, a renovated pilgrim´s hospital, at the top of the hill for breakfast.
  • The Cathedral of Burgos is stunning.
  • many people say they took the buses into the big cities such as Burgos and Léon. First of all, for me, this would completely undermine my intention to walk all the way to Santiago. Secondly, I fail to see the point: The approach to Burgos is max. 5 km, and if you walk by the river it is quite pleasant.
  • Got a new Pilgrim´s Passport at the albergue in Burgos to replace the lost one.

    House before Burgos
    Note the shells symbolizing the Camino on this house

The complete photogallery of this day is available on flickr.

Day Eleven: Burgos-Castrojeriz,
40,92 km, asc/desc 293/312m, 11:13h
September 22nd, 2016

  • The beginning of the Meseta. Some skip this section and take a bus to Léon. For me, it was probably the most beautiful part of the Camino.
  • In Hornillos del Camino, 20 km from Burgos, all albergues were sold out before lunch-time.
  • Hontanas is a wonderful, atmospheric place, with a outdoor café on the main square.
  • I beat my personal walking record with 40,92 km.
  • As usual, I was completely alone on the trail after 3 pm, arrived in Castrojeriz at 8 and had dinner at a small bar where a crazy Irishman bought me four glasses of wine.

    Coffee in Hornillos
    Coffee in Hontana

The complete photogallery of this day is available on flickr.

Day Twelve: Castrojeriz-Villamentero de Campos
33,93 km, asc/desc 220/268m, 10:08h
September 23th, 2016

  • A tough day – I tired after the 41k and the four glasses o wine.
  • The scenery is wonderful and desertlike with expansive views.
  • For the first time, I took sort of a wrong turn – there are several alternative trails also marked as the camino. It cost me only one kilometer and I could have avoided it had I looked at my map.
  • I slept at La Casona de Dona Petra in Villamentero de Campos – an atmospheric casa rural. I thought I had booked via booking.com, turned out my booking was for one week later. Luckily they had space.
  • I try to book accommodation 2-3 days in advance – to maintain the flexible schedule, allowing for breaks if needed and at the same time not having to participate in the “race to the next albergue”.

    The road to Villarmentero
    The road to Villarmentero

The complete photogallery of this day is available on flickr
This post is part of the Camino de Santiago in 24 days series.

Camino de Santiago day 5-8

Day Five: Estella-Torres del Rio,
28,26 km, asc/desc 528/526m, 8:48h
September 16th, 2016

  • Started the day with a couple of shells of free Wine at the Fountain of Irache.
  • In Los Arcos I saw a man walking the entire Camino carrying a cross the size Jesus carried.
  • Torres del Rio is an atmospheric, small village.
  • Again, I was completely alone on the trail after 3 pm.
  • I have now established a walking rhythm: Aim >30 km. I walk from 9 am-7 pm. Three breaks: After 10 km (coffee), 20 km (lunch) and around 28-30 (Coca-Cola).
  • I prefer booking cheap hotels/private hostels to communal refuges: Arriving late, the only spaces left are upper bunks next to the entrance.

    The Wine Fountain of Irache
    The Wine Fountain of Irache

The complete photogallery of this day is available on flickr.

Day Six: Torres del Rio-Logrono,
18,64 km, asc/desc 318/440m, 6:42h
September 17th, 2016

  • Great tapas places can be found in all villages on the road, I stopped for lunch in Viana.
  • I tasted some grapes at one of the numerous Riojas wine fields and they tasted surprisingly well.
  • In Logrono, it was the first day of the annual Rioja Wine Festival.
  • I have decided to wait doing long stages (35+ km) until after Burgos, to be sure I will not be exhausted too early on.

    Mobile coffee shop on the way to Logrono
    Mobile coffee shop on the way to Logrono

The complete photogallery of this day is available on flickr.

Day Seven: Logrono-Ventosa,
22,48km, asc/desc 343/133m, 9:24h
September 18th, 2016

  • Ventosa is a beautiful little hilltop village, where I stayed in the wonderful casa rural Las Aguedas.
  • Tried a Pilgrim´s Menu for the first (and last) time: The menu generally consist of soup/salad + pasta + dessert. Filling, but I´d rather order only one dish for dinner.
  • The church in Navarette is stunning, as well as huge, considering how small this village was.
  • Trying to book accommodation for the next days, avoiding the communal albergues if possible. Not so easy, but not impossible either. I wish I had brought my tent. There are places to camp everywhere.

    Church of Navarrete
    The Church of Navarrete

The complete photogallery of this day is available on flickr.

Day Eight: Ventosa-Santo Domingo de la Calzada,
31,07 km, asc/desc 435/443m, 7:57h
September 19th, 2016

  • The Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada is exceptional and include two live chicken.
  • I participated in the Pilgrim´s mass, during which a funeral also took place.
  • I stayed in the famous Parador, which was slightly disappointing, more like a basic hotel and very dark
  • Najera has a great location and is the a common overnight stop
  • Met several people, who had arranged their accommodation via Caminoways – the downside being the lack of flexibility when walking, it nevertheless makes sense to have the accommodation arranged in advance to avoid the race-to-the-next-refuge:
  • In order to secure a spot at the next communal refuge, many people get up around 6 am, then walk very fast to arrive at a refuge around 1 pm. Glad I never participated in that race, it would have ruined my trip.

    The chicken inside the Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada
    The chicken inside the Cathedral of Santo                        Domingo de la Calzada

The complete photogallery of this day is available on flickr.

This post is part of the Camino de Santiago in 24 days series.

Camino de Santiago day 1-4

Day One: St Jean Pied de Port-Espinal,
32,36 km, asc 1630 m, 9:59h
September 12th, 2016

    • Glorious crossing of the Pyrenées in 35 degrees C.
    • The 1500m+ ascent is very gradual on fine roads.
    • The Roncesvalles albergue was packed. I was number 192 in the queue, so chose to move on to Espinal at 5 pm.
    • I was completely alone on the trail after 5 pm.

      Crossing of the Pyrenees. Camino de Santiago
      Crossing of the Pyrenees

The complete photogallery of this day is available on flickr.

Day Two: Espinal-Pamplona
35,6 km, asc/desc 723/1116m, 11:48h
September 13th, 2016

  • A long day, walked through a thunder stom before checking in at a hotel in Pamplona completely exhausted at 9 pm.
  • The receptionist had apparently left, had to call via booking.com for him to arrive.
  • The road into Pamplona comes close to major highways and is not very attractive.
  • Again I was alone on the trail after 3 pm.
  • The riverside Café in Irotz was r a great place to relax.

    On the way to Pamplone
    On the way to Pamplona

The complete photogallery of this day is available on flickr.

Day Three: Pamplona-Uterga
17,29 km, asc/desc 422/379, 5:50h
September 14th, 2016

  • 99% of pilgrims leave before 8 am and finish walking at around 3 pm, thus the way to avoid the crowds is: Leave late-arrive late
  • Arriving late means risk of no space in communal albergues. However private albergues may be booked in advance, though they normally ask you to arrive before 4 pm.
  • Best way to book hotels on the Camino: booking.com. Many private albergues also use this service.
  • Left Pamplona at 11 am and was alone on the trail as the crowd had already lef
  • I only walked 17,29 km as I was exhausted after the two previous days

    Out of Pamplona
    Out of Pamplona

The complete photogallery of this day is available on flickr.

Day Four: Uterga-Estella
31,44 km, asc/desc 549/576m, 12:44h
September 15th, 2016

  • 90% of pilgrims follow the stages described in the Brierly guide book.
  • Thus, accomodation is a lot easier to find outside these places, though apparently mid-September is still high season
  • I have discovered the “Camino Police” or rather they have discovred me: Fellow pilgrims, complete strangers coming up telling me that I am walking the Camino the “wrong way” – ie. not using hiking poles, walking too late in the afternoon, using wrong boots. Curiously, those people have no hiking/long-distance walking experience themselves, basing their advice on 4-5 days walk on the Camino.
  • Both Punte de la Reina and Estella are beautiful medieval cities with remarkable bridges
  • The albergues in Lorca make great Paella.

    The famous bridge at Punte de la Reina
    The famous bridge at Punte de la Reina

The complete photogallery of this day is available on flickr.

This post is part of the Camino de Santiago in 24 days series.