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Sunday, June 05, 2011

Sarria to Santiago

A couple of new friends asked me today, "Where did you stay on your walk from Sarria to Santiago?"

Before I say anything else, I want to say that the walking from Sarria to Santiago is some of the most spectacular scenery along the Camino Frances, in my opinion. I love ALL of the Camino, but this section is special. It is the last 100 or so kilometers, and is the required minimum walking if one expects to receive a Compostela (which is a Certificate saying you completed your Pilgrimage.) Here is a Compostela I found on the internet since I do not have a photo of my own.

So here are a few notes from our walk. Remember, make the walk your OWN. Don't be afraid to stop if the mood hits you, or to take a different route, or stay in a different place. Just ride the wave and let the Camino take care of you - you'll have a wonderful time!

SARRIA

I understand you are starting your walk in Sarria. I've walked this section twice, once in 2006 and once in 2009. The last time, I stayed at the Municipal Albergue.

I'm sorry to start off on a negative note, but the Municipal Albergue at Sarria was one of my LEAST favorites on the entire Camino. It was crowded, dirty, and dark. So I can not suggest you stay there.

Instead, try to get into Hostal Don Alvaro! I just LOVED this place!  I'm not sure if they take reservations, but I believe they do! So you might call or email ahead and tell them you are beginning your walk there, and see if they will allow you to book a bed.  Here are some photos. Don't let the starkness of the outside put you off. Inside it is very inviting and warm!



Here is what the review says about Don Alvaro:


Albergue Don Alvaro, Sarria Apr 13, 2010
In the middle of old town Sarria, a beautiful private albergue on the Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela. Several rooms with bunk beds and the bathroom right nextdoor, clean and tidy, with extra wool blankets for the beds. A sunny terrace with deck chairs, a garden with a fountain and a living room with an open fire place are a perfect hang out places. There's also a fully equipped kitchen. Internet access for 1,50 € per hour (April 2010). The house dog is shy and named Dana. No curfew for morning check-out. Costs 9 € per night.
 
And there is a special treat for many pilgrims here. They have a wonderful outdoor firepit, where weary pilgrims can gather, play music and have a relaxing drink before bedtime. It is quite magical!

I'm not sure what time you arrive in Sarria, but if you want to begin walking that day, you could walk to Ferreiros, where there is a nice small albergue. The walking in this section is just lovely.


From Sarria to Portomarin is about 22 km.  I will tell you about the albergues I've stayed in or know about, and let you choose.

Albergue at Ferreiros is behind a bar and near a park

Ferreiros is small, but nice. When we stayed in 2006, it was clean and tidy. There was a small kitchen there, but not a lot of utensils. The showers were not so clean, but "ok." I would have loved to sleep out in the park. There was a place to wash clothes and hang them on a line outside.
The only caution I have to give you here is to be VERY careful if you eat at the inn here, because the lady at that time was not very honest. A Portuguese man we had begun walking with in SJPP happened to come by while we were there. He invited us to all have a drink with him. He bought a bottle of wine (I watched him pay for it) and we all had a glass. Then he left. THEN, when we tried to leave, she insisted we pay AGAIN for the wine! I told her no, but an English gentleman didn't want to argue so he just paid... but boy it made me mad as a wet hen!  Anyway.. the albergue is nice, but watch out for the lady... get a receipt for your dinner!  lol

For me, if you want to stay somewhere BETWEEN Sarria and Portomarin, and if you are lucky to get there early enough, or to BOOK ahead, a wonderful choice is Casa Morgade Pension! You can't miss it because many pilgrims stop there for food, which is very good.
Pilgrims stop here for lunch because it is halfway between Sarria and Portomarin

The dinner they served us was lucious! And the Casa is beautiful!

This is one of the many patios


A sitting room with a warm fire for evenings

Beautiful sunset

4 twin beds in our shared room - hostal style
There were two shared baths which were VERY clean. We paid a woman 3 euro to do all of our laundry while we were there. I can't recommend this place highly enough. It was a wonderful place to stay! If you wanted to walk " between stages" it is perfect as it is right in the middle between Sarria and Portomarin:

The walking from Casa Morgade to Portomarin is full of wonderful sights to see. Old Celtic artwork, and green everywhere!

Last Camino in 2009 we ran across this sweet little place, which I believe is fairly new. It looked very clean and well-kept and we stopped here for coffee. It is called La Bodaquina de Mercadoiro.  Some curious cows being driven to the fields thought we were an interesting sight!



I would love to try this place. If you stay there, please do a review on the forum!

Once we arrived near Portomarin, we saw many signs saying there was a NEW albergue there!  We followed the signs up the hell and to the left to the new place and found it to be very clean and equipped with a large kitchen and a TELEVISION! We hadn't seen the news since we left so it was quite a treat. There were rows and rows of beds, so no privacy. But the showers were very clean and I have no complaints at all. I would stay there again any time. We cooked up a huge meal of pasta. There was a very well-equipped grocery store in town where we bought all the food we needed for the next few days.

Portomarin's New Albergue Has a Nice Sitting Room

A beautiful  new kitchen with a wonderful view!
In Brierley's guidebook, the next stage is Portomarin to Palas de Rei. We stayed at Ligonde instead at the tiny albergue as you leave the town. (17 k) Small and sweet, I loved this place! They had a tiny kitchen, but it wasn't really equipped well. Instead, we walked a very short (1 km?) distance up the road to Eirexe, where we found a great bar with good food. I saw other pilgrims sleeping here, so I think they also have an albergue here. If you are on a schedule, however, you may want to continue on to Palas de Rei... or take a taxi there next morning :) There's no law against doing that, you know? It's about 6 miles up the road.. shouldn't cost much.
I was soooo cold when I arrived... getting warm with a hot foot bath!
At this point you are 3 stages away from Santiago. From Ligende we walked to Casanova. The albergue there was nice and very clean, but hot as heck, as they had heated floors and some of the pilgs wanted the windows closed.. I thought I'd have a heatstroke! There was a restaurant by taxi, a tiny kitchen for sandwich making, good showers... but hot. This was in November so I'm assuming they will not have the heat going in the summer?
Old Roman Road
From Casanova we walked to Ribadiso. There is a very nice albergue there with a good restaurant. The showers were good. It is very large, and there are a LOT of pilgrims, but it was clean and we enjoyed our stay there.

The next day we walked to Santa Irene but found bedbugs in the albergue, so we walked to Arco do Pino and found a lovely place to stay at Casada Gallega, Rua N 22 along the path. The owner is next door across the street (you pass her as you walk to the Casada).. It was 30 euro for a double, had a nice kitchen, was very clean... a great place to stay.
This is where local women used to do their laundry

The walking was gorgeous

Next day you walk into Santiago. On the way we passed two albergues. One was a hotel with a restaurant near the airport and I think I will stay there next time I pass through. There were many people stopped here for bocadillos and toilets.

Once we arrived back in Santiago, we stayed at our "regular" place. It is a little secret that I hope others will keep.
Joe was able to put his fingers into the spaces on the Tree of Jesse. I understand this is no longer possible.
Well, that's it. It is one of the most beautiful parts of the Camino and I know you're going to love it!

Since you asked me for advice, here is the best advice I can give you or anyone walking the Camino Santiago.

"Don't worry, you'll get a bed... just go...and trust the Camino to take care of your needs!"

Buen Camino!

* * *
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

10 comments:

  1. Hello Annie,
    My 14 year old daughter and me are walking from Sarria to Santiago in April. Having just read your blog, I'd like to say how informative and enjoyable it was to read, with lovely photos to boot (especially the one where you're wrapped in the blanket with your feet in the water)!!
    Best wishes,
    john.

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  2. Thanks John!
    I'm glad you're enjoying the blog.
    What a wonderful trip to do with your daughter...I hope you both have a Buen Camino!

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  3. Hi Annie! I just came across your blog and it is amazing and very helpful.Thanks so much for sharing it with us all. I am going to book my flights this weekend to Spain and was so unsure of where to start on the camino as I only have about a week. I was also getting a bit nervous as I will do it on my own. I would think after reading your blog that Sarria would be a great place to begin. I was also considering walking the 3 more days from Santiago to Finisterre....would you recommend that?

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  4. I have never walked to Finisterre but I would love to some day. I have a friend who has a wonderful place in Muxia called Little Fox House. It's a nice place to decompress from the Camino.

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  5. Hi Annie
    I love your Blog - you should read mine - Ashleysmeanttobe.
    Annie, I am leaving for The Camino on the 26th August and would like to walk from Sarria to Santiago. I am landing in Madrid, please can you give advice as to the best way to get to Sarria from Madrid? I land at 13.45 in the afternoon in Madrid.
    I hope to hear from you.

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  6. I love Casa Morgade.
    It's great if you want to walk a "slow" camino

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  7. Hi!
    So this might be crazy, but I am studying in Sevilla this semester and I only have 3.5 days to do the Camino. Is there any chance I can start in Sarria or is there a better spot? I suppose it's okay if I can't get a certificate, I just really want to do part of it :/

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mackenzie. It is possible, of course! But it will be about a 12 hour bus ride. Why not just begin in Sevilla and start the Via de la Plata? That way you can return someday to finish it! It's very well marked and there should be a lot of pilgrims beginning there. You can find that route on my blog beginning here:

      http://caminosantiago2.blogspot.com/2011/10/8-days-on-via-de-la-plata-sevilla-to.html

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  8. Hi Annie:
    I'm reading everything I can on the Sarria-Santiago leg of the camino (I arrive in Spain on May 17!). Do you think this is realistic?:
    5/17-5/22 Sarria to Santiago
    5/23-5/26 Santiago to Finisterre
    5/27 - Return to Santiago for flight to Madrid

    Your blog is great!

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    Replies
    1. Yes!
      That sounds like a great schedule!
      Be sure to arrive in Madrid on time - I'd go the day before and spend the night in a hotel near the Atocha station.

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