As those of you who follow know, I got as far as Cigñuela in 2014, then ran out of time and had to get to Pamplona to pick up my group. This year I've given myself plenty of time to walk the entire route.
I put a note up on Facebook asking if anyone would like to walk with me, and got a response from a gal named Claudette, who has never walked the Camino. We will meet up in Madrid and start walking on the 18th.
I'll blog as I go, whenever I have wifi. I'll add photos when I can, but will probably have to flesh out the posts once I'm home, as I'm not taking a tablet, only my iPhone.
Here is our tentative schedule with notes, in case you'd like to follow along. The lodging prices are what we expect. I will post actual lodging costs as we walk.
The first few stages to Segovia, we have booked lodging in hotels where I have been able to email ahead and ask for fragrance free rooms. Though it's expensive on these first few days, once we leave Segovia, there are albergues available that are all under €10. In fact, there is an albergue in Segovia, but we preferred to split the cost of a room and take a 2 day rest here.
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TENTATIVE SCHEDULE CAMINO MADRID
14 April : Leave Portland
15 May: Arrive Madrid
15- 17-Apr: Madrid
I've booked at Hostal Alonso. Rooms here, if booked well in advance, run around €30 per night for a private room with shared bathroom.
Claudette flies in on the 16th, I believe. I may walk the section directly out of Madrid before she arrives, if I'm not too zonkered.
I usually give myself a few days when I arrive in Spain, because I'm usually very sick from the exposure to perfumes and chemicals on the flight. It generally takes me 2-4 days to recover. So whether or not I start walking early depends on how I feel.
The Cercanius train is easy to catch on the first couple of stages, and the trail runs nearby. A good plan is to walk, then catch the train back to Madrid, where you can book inexpensive lodging. To break it up and "train" a bit, I would walk to Golosco, then train back. Next day I'd take the train to Golosco and walk to Tres Cantos, then train back.
18-Apr Train to Tres Cantos and walk to Colmenar Viejo. 12k
18-Apr Train to Tres Cantos and walk to Colmenar Viejo. 12k
We will begin our walk by taking the train to Tres Cantos and walking to Colmenar Viejo.
I have booked lodging in Colmenar at Gran Hostal El Chiscon. Rooms here are not inexpensive, €60 for a doble.
19-Apr Walk to Manzanares el Real 14.2k
Here, we are taking a chance with lodging and trusting the Camino to provide. We understand there is a Sra. Elena who has beds in Manzanares. We will look for her. There is also supposedly an elderly man who rents beds for €10, Someone else said though the hotel is closed, if you call the number on the door, they will rent you a room. And lastly, if all fails, I will go back to El Yelmo Hotel. It is more expensive, but we stayed there last time and it was lovely. Claudette and I could share a doble there.
20-Apr Walk to Cercedilla 22k
As you can see, I'm gradually increasing our distances each day, mostly because this is my training. Like others, I have the best of intentions regarding training, but the truth is, I generally train on the Camino. In Cercedilla, we have booked private rooms at Hostal Aribel Longinos (€30-35) However, we have also written Villa Castora, a youth hostel, to see about getting beds there. I stayed at Aribel last time, and it is nice, but makes for a long trek over the mountain the next day. Staying at Villa Castora will give us a 3-4 kilometer break, and if we cannot get lodging there, I may just taxi up to that point next morning. This time I will NOT take the detour to Navacerrada.
21-Apr Next day walk to Valsain and bus to La Granja Ildefonso 26k
I well remember this walk to Valsain as the longest day of the route. Even though we were walking downhill, it seemed we would never reach Valsain. This time, we will catch a bus the last few kilometers to La Granja and I have booked lodging for us in THE PARADOR! Ta-da! At €85 for a doble, it will be a god time to pamper ourselves. I want to see the Royal Palace there.
22-Apr Walk to Segovia 13k
We believe we will be entering Segovia during a food festival. We have booked an apartment for 2 nights, Apartamentos Trinidad, for €80 each. This will give us the opportunity to see the Alcazare, the Cathedral, and the Aquaduct, as well as to rest up, get a hot soak, and eat some great food.
24-Apr Bus to Los Huertos then walk to Sta Maria del Nieva 19k
I don't really care to walk in the city, so we will take a 15 minute bus ride to Los Huertos and begin walking there. We will stay at the Albergue. €6. Bar has "jarras" of cervesa.
25-Apr Walk to Nava de la Asuncion 15k
Here, we will again stay in the Albergue (€7) after we stop to see Margarita at the Pasteleria. We'll have dinner again at Cocina de la Abuela! It is important to buy food here for the next 2 days, as there is always a chance the bar at Vilaguillo, the ONLY place for food, will not be open.
26-Apr Vilaguillo 15k
Here we stop to pay the mayor and stay in the little Albergue (€7). If the bar is open, it has good food. No tienda.
27-Apr Alcazaran - 19k
Here, be sure to see Iglesia de Santiago Apostól where frescoes were found hidden behind the old retablo. Good albergue here for €8. Alcazaran has a tienda and a bar, but they close for siesta.
28-Apr Puente Duero 26k
Lat time, we made the mistake of following the yellow arrows into the forest after the bridge at Valdestillas. This time, we'll turn left after the bridge and follow the highway to the Albergue €6. I remember this town as having two tiny markets AFTER the albergue.
29-Apr Ciguñuela 26k
Sweet little village that you can see for miles in the distance before you arrive. Eat at Meson Mielga. Stay at the cool albergue with the schoolmaster's hand handle for €6. There was a great kitchen here, but no gas to run the stove. This was my last night in 2014 so I'm anxious to continue. The rest of the notes are from Joe, who finished the route.
30-Apr Castromonte 24k
After taking a tourist stop in Wamba (about an hour up the trail) we will walk to Castromonte, where there was an albergue in an old schoolhouse. If it is not open, get key at bar. Big with lots of beds. €6 Two bars, a restaurant, carneceria where you can get bocadillo meat. If it is closed, you can ring the bell and they'll come. Kitchen but no gas.
1-May Medina de RioSeco HOLIDAY 16k
At Medina, we'll stay at the convent €7. Good clean simple. The town has everything you need. Lots of restaurants, bars, supermercados.
2-May Cuenca 22k
Cuenca has a good albergue €5. You must call the hospitalero. Number on the door. Lots of beds. Kitchen but no gas. Bars, restaurants, mercado in main square on the right as you walk into town on the dirt track that goes off to the left (not the main road).
3-May Santervas de Campos 22k
Follow Camino to church, where you will see the Santer Bar to get key €7. Bar has tienda, eat in bar.
4-May Sahagun 20k
Here, I'll stay at my favorite, Pension Pacho for €15-20. This is a modest place, but clean and the owners are precious.
Here, Claudette and I will say adios, and I will go by train the next day to Pamplona to rest a few days and meet up with my pilgrims.
I hope you'll follow along!
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