Here I go...

Finding magic under the stars of the Camino Santiago de Compostela

Monday, June 20, 2011

Camino Frances Part 2: Albergues Pamplona to Sahagun




From Ciraqui we continued on to Estella. Many pilgrims stop here, but the albergue is quite large. If you get there early, just put your pack in line and find shade and wait. There is a very nice albergue here which we enjoyed very much. They have a nice garden in the back where you can eat your dinner or soak your tired feet after you do your laundry. I don't recall if they have a kitchen, but I think they do. If not, you can bet there are places to eat or buy food here.

Once you finish your daily chores (food and laundry and shower) please take some time to visit the village church at the top of a long set of stairs. It is full of wonderful art and sculpture. Be sure to go out into the cloisters.

From Estella, the next photos I have are of Viana.  Don't 'miss stopping at Irache, where you can fill your bottles with wine or water, your choice!  We stayed at the parochial (church) albergue at Viana and loved it! We slept on mats on the floor, but it was worth it. The priest gave us a special Mass and took us below to see the treasures of the little church, which were fantastic. We had a free dinner of soup, bread, salad and the next morning were awakened by a beautiful choir singing outside our window. A very special place. There is also a municipal albergue here.
From Viana we walked to Logrono to the HUGE albergue there. It is a fine place to stay and a good rest day if you want to tourist about. I've stayed there twice. There is a large pool for soaking your feet, plenty of showers, and you'll sleep in rooms with boatloads of snoring pilgrims!  If you're like me you'll have a tug of war to keep the windows open with those who believe fresh air at night is harmful.

Be sure to visit all the churches along the Way - most are filled with art that rivals what you will see in the Louvre or British Museum, tucked away in little corners. It's part of the richness of the experience, whether you're Catholic or not.

From Logrono, we walked to Ventosa. We stayed at the San Saturnino Albergue, a wonderful place again! If it is full, ask the hospitalera if you can shower and cook there, then sleep out under the stars in the churchyard at the top of the hill above the albergue!


Pilgrims doing laundry. The Albergue is to the right.
NOTE:  Anne reminded me that Albergue San Saturnino in Ventosa has moved. So I got on the internet and found some photos and remembered staying at this new albergue also. It must have been in 2009. I do not have my journals here, so I'm sorry for the mistake.  Anyway.. here are some photos I found online of the new albergue. As I look at the photos, I remember it well. A lovely, peaceful place with a nice patio for drinking tea, coffee, and writing. So my question now is.. is the old place closed for good?


From here we walked to Azofra, where in 2006 we ran into a large fiesta! That year I stayed at the Parochial, which I really liked. Small and with a kitchen and tiny shower, I preferred it to the larger municipal where I stayed in 2009. Both are nice, however. Both put you in a room with only one other pilgrim. The larger municipal also has a large kitchen and there is a little tienda in the village where you can buy food to cook.
Cooking Lamb Stew for Fiesta

Serving wheelbarrowsfull (literally) of paella!

We danced until Midnight!
In 2006, we then walked to Sto. Domingo del Calzada I was chilled, wet, and cold. The albergue was not open until 4 pm, so I got a room at the Parador! When I got my credit card bill back in the United States, that night cost me over $300!! KOWABUNGA!  But it was worth it. I took three baths in a real bathtub that night, slept in a bed with clean white sheets and had a FEAST in bed for breakfast!
In 2009, we stayed in the Municipal Albergue there, and it is a wonderful place. Be sure to visit the church where they keep chickens inside!

In 2006, we then walked to Redicilla del Camino. There are several albergues there. Honestly, I can't recall where we stayed, but there are choices. Here, I had a funny experience standing in line for a shower. I was talking to the peregrina next to me when I noticed her holding something in her hands. It was a pair of white pajama bottoms, cut off to make short. I laughed as I pulled the tops to the pajamas out of my pack. We had both picked up the pieces in the FREE box some stages back. She got the bottoms, cut them off, and used them as shorts for walking. I nabbed the shirt to protect me from the blazing sun.

From there, we walked to Espinosa del Camino where we found "Pepe" in his house where he takes in a few pilgrims. This is highly recommended. At first, he told Joe he was closed, but when I asked to "por favor" let us stay, he agreed. He was apparently still working on the place. He had about 3 rooms with twin beds and served us a nice dinner of paella. He has collections on his wall of miniature army men and other interesting items.
Nice small rooms with 2-3 beds

Price included dinner - paella!

Saying goodbye to Pepe
From here we walked to Ages, where I do not have a photo of the albergue. I want to say this one was very noisy with the freeway running behind it, but honestly, I don't recall. By this time, you'll be an old hand and can find your own lodging.  It seems we passed by San Juan de Ortega in 2006 and there is a very interesting church there with snakes on the ceiling. Be sure to go inside. There is also an albergue there, but when I stopped there in 2009, there were signs of bedbugs everywhere, so we passed it by.

Next we walked to Burgos, through a dump. The city itself was great, but the walk wasn't so nice. I understand they have a new albergue there. We stayed in a parochial, but without my notes, I'm sorry, I can't tell you the name. They had a "silence" rule which was nice. If I can get the name from Joe, I'll post it for you.  Burgos is a nice place to tourist around and take a rest day if you want.

From Burgos we walked to Hornillos. Although I highly recommend LOOKING at the church there, and even going up to the Bell Tower, I cannot recommend you sleeping there. It was here we first encountered huge numbers of bedbugs in 2006 and in 2009 I heard it was also a problem. The elderly priest does not keep the place clean and I saw many pilgrims eaten alive by bedbugs. It was horrible! If you can avoid Hornillos, you'll be smart.

From here we walked to San Anton. This is a treasure! Be sure to stay here. It is an old ruined church and you sleep partially outdoors.. you'll see. Beautiful place and if Marina is your hospitalera, you'll be a lucky pilgrim!
I loved the bathrooms here in the ruins


Dinner is included
Next, we walked a very short stage in order to stay at San Nicholas. This was my favorite albergue on the entire Camino, so I've added many photos. Great memories here! Small and intimate, you will need to get here early and wait in line because it is a popular place to stay. That's ok. Do it. Just put down your pack to hold your place in line, and lay in the shade for a siesta until they open. Or go do your laundry at the hand pump and hang it on the line. Or perhaps the showers out back will be unlocked. Just be sure to have someone hold your place! It is small. You will sleep in the church itself on bunks. A wonderful dinner is included. And there is a special ritual also. Don't miss this one!

Waiting for the albergue to open

A photo of inside

Walking up to the albergue you will see pilgrims waiting

The table took up the entire interior!

We made good use of the guitar!

Washing clothes with a hand pump

What a great salad and pasta dinner!
Approaching in the Springtime looks different!

Leaving by morning light
From here we walked to Poblacion where we stayed in the tiny albergue right inside town. It was good - not many pilgrims there - and there is a nice restaurant at the end of town where you can buy a Pilgrim's Platter for dinner. The pork is excellent here!

The next few days are a blur. We stopped in Villasirga, then  Caldadilla de la Cueza, where I was locked in a room with a woman who had the flu and a high temperature. They were keeping the room warm for her - which meant blazing hot for the rest of us - and I ended up with her flu and was sick for the next 2 weeks. That is one night I should have slept outside instead of being exposed to the flu. Keep that in mind - it's better to sleep outdoors one night than to be sick as heck for the next 14 nights! From there we walked to Moratinos, then Sahagun. These are probably very short stages because I was so ill.

In Sahagun the first night we stayed at the municipal albergue where 4 drunk boys kept us up most of the night being obnoxious, and then barfed all over the floors in the bathrooms, leaving us to tiptoe around it in the morning. NOT a good experience at all and NOT a good memory. I threatened one with death if he didn't settle down, and next morning, we booked a hotel for 2 nights so I could recover from the flu. I'm fairly sure that Rebecca has an albergue between Moratinos and Sahagun and that is where I'd plan on staying - at the Peaceable Kingdom. I stayed with her in 2009 and it was lovely.

This is getting long. I will continue another day. Time to eat breakfast and start my morning!

* * * 
If you'd like to walk the Camino
but aren't quite ready to do it alone,
see my website:
for more information about
Guided Walks on the Camino Santiago 
and on other Pilgrimage Trails of Europe

7 comments:

  1. I think the albergue you named "San Miguel" is really "San Nicolas", run by a fraternal order from Italy. I've stopped there twice on my way through. And I love the albergue in the ruins! If I go by that way again, I want to stay there!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are SO RIGHT! Thank you so much. I've got the flu and my brain is addled. This was my favorite stop too... thanks for catching that!

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Albergue San Saturnino in Ventosa changed location (same owner), so the photo you published is of the old albergue just under the church grounds. The new albergue is in the main street. It's as well appointed as the old one (I've stayed in both).

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anne, is the old one no longer open? It was such a lovely place!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Annie,

    I walked Franc├Ęs this year and in Redecilla del Camino there is only a municipal left.
    http://caminodesantiago.consumer.es/albergue-municipal-san-lazaro
    I did like it very much, one of the few municipals I encountered with a donativo. Dinner also a donativo. The ladies of the village who manage it are so incredibly friendly.
    The tiny village has one bar/ little shop and fresh bakery in one. The guy serves wonderful calamari. The hopsitalero also has the key of the church ( opposite the albergue ).

    From what I gather from your pics the people of the albergue in Ventosa also restyled their beds and put some nice colours on the walls.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey Annie, here's my post on the Forum about the (now not-so new) albergue in Rabe that's ticking off that French lady: Just a quick note to let folks know that there is a brand spanking new albergue in Rabe de las Calzadas, which opened in August 8, 2009. Liberanos Domine (I think) It is a nice, clean, comfy albergue, 8 euro for bed, 8 for a home-made dinner, & 2 for breakfast. Holds about 24 people. The hospitalera is Anita. It opens at 12 & you can get more info about it from the bar (very friendly owner) in town. Anita doesn´t live in the albergue, but does live close by & her number is posted in the albergue.

    So if you just can´t get excited about walking to Hornillos, you can stop at this new albergue in Rabe.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks! It's nice to have an alternative place to sleep in that area.

    ReplyDelete

All comments are moderated.