The Camino De Madrid

(The Madrid Route)


Introduction

Welcome to a web site for the Camino De Madrid route of the Camino Santiago de Compostela Pilgrimage. This route goes from Madrid to Sahagún on the Camino Frances and from there to Santiago De Compostela. The Camino De Madrid is 320KM long and takes just under 2 weeks to walk. This route should not be attempted unless you are a very experienced pilgrim and have walked other routes in the past. The accommodation situation, in particular, is a little difficult. In many of the places we walked through, there was no obvious accommodation at all and we relied on our Spanish companions to find something from the locals. Having said that there were only a few days when we were forced to go ahead by bus, train or taxi to sleep that night. We always tried to retrace our route or at least walked the equivalent distance the next morning to compensate. I would recommend that you bring a sleeping mat to cover for all cases since that will allow you to stay in the frequent Roof and Floor accommodation offered. You will also need to be a very fluent Spanish speaker as the regional accents used north of Madrid can be difficult to understand.

I walked this route with a group of 7 other experienced walkers in April and May 2004. We tried using the Confraternity Of St James and Amigos De Madrid guides. Unfortunately both of these guides proved to be very out of date despite one being a 2001 edition and actually misleading in parts.

The comments in the place descriptions below are my own personal and subjective impressions of the places I visited. They reflect my own likes and dislikes and they should be treated accordingly when read.



The Route

The figure before the place name is the distance from the previous place.

Distance Name Comment
0 Madrid

The walk from the center of Madrid to Colmenar is not recommended. It will take you all day just to get there through endless industrial estates. I would recommend starting in Colmenar instead. There is a frequent bus service to it.

If you are looking for a Hotel to stay in Madrid then I can recommend the Hotel Santander which is in the Calle Echegaray. The telephone number there is 914296644. I paid 64 Euros for a single room which is cheapish for Madrid prices.

34 Colmenar Viejo

We took a bus from Madrid to get to here. Near the center is a sort of sculpture garden. Nearby is the Ayuntamiento where you can get the first stamp of the walk. Also nearby is the church with storks already in residence.

The path out of town is fairly easy to find and is typical of the paths over the whole route. The view of Colmenar south from here looks like this.

The route follows a dirt track which first of all goes under a railway line and then under the main road to Segovia. We encountered these warning signs and I was amused by the cartoon character like symbols of the animals concerned.

The path now crosses over a very old bridge and in the distance you can see the side of a very large dam. Behind this is the large reservoir which the town of Manzanares lies beside.

15 Manzanares El Real

A large town but not much accommodation. We stayed in the Hotel Parque Real in the Padre Damian. The telephone number there is 918539912 and the FAX number is 918539960. We paid 61.20 Euros for a double room.

There is a very nice inhabited castle here. I took two photographs of it. One from a very long distance and this closer shot.

The church here was rather unusual looking. On the way out of town on a wall next to a shop was this modern mural.

7 Mataelpino

There were a lot of unusual statues on the route but is one of the most unusual ones.

The path after here goes up and over a pass. The soil here is very sandy and it was clear that there had been very strong rains recently as the little stream we were walking beside had eaten away a deep channel for itself. However it must also have carried away a lot of seeds from further up as all whole stream and these ponds were full of what one of my companions said were wild orchids.

7 Navacerrada

If you want a meal here, I can recommend this restaurant.

5 Cerdedilla

Both guides were very confusing here. There is a restaurant with the same name as the hotel mentioned in the guide. To reach the hotel itself you have to walk all the way through town until just before reaching the train station. Then on the hill beside it is the Hostal.

8 Puerto De La Fuenfria

During the night we were supposed to be walking to here, there was a big storm. It was still very windy the next day and we were advised not to attempt the climb over the Sierra Guadalramma for safety reasons as there was a lot of snow there and also the winds were gusting to over 60KPH. So we took the train to Segovia from Cedilla.

23 Segovia

We all stayed in Hostal Taray. To book a room either go to the Bar Correos which is on the Calle San Fecundo or the telephone number is 921463041. The mobile number is 666704828. The hostal itself is in a nearby street, and not above the bar as I first thought so don`t be put off by the state of the bar itself. I paid 22 Euros for a single room. For the evening meal I can recommend the Meson Mayor which is on the Plaza Major. The telephone number there is 921460915 and the FAX number is 921461819.

Segovia was a very impressive city with an old section and a new one. During roman times, the city was supplied with water from an aqueduct. It's extremely impressive and I used the chance to experiment with all the features of my new camera and its extra lenses, taking pictures of it. Here is a picture of the aqueduct from the west and a closer shot from the east. The city is likened to a ship with the aqueduct at the stern, the cathedral as the bridge and the Alcazar at the bow.

5 Zamarramala

We stopped for a coffee here at Bar La Alcaldesa and all over the walls of the bar were pictures of a woman in an important looking dress. It turns out in Segovia and other towns in the region, for one week a year, the women take over and there is a female mayor. The woman behind the bar had this honour in years past and she was very proud of the fact, hence all the photographs.

4 Valseca

There is an interesting cross by the side of the road after here. The road from here takes you onto the remains of an old railway line. The tracks have been removed but the stones remain and it can be very difficult to walk on. Please be careful.

9 Los Huertos
6 Añe

The water situation is difficult on this section of the route and we had to ask a local household for water as the fountains were not working. The path after here winds down over a bridge. The path takes two different ways here. The road off to the left winds its way up over a range of hills. If you look closely you see some telecommunications center on the hill. That is the path to take and its takes you to the village of Añe.

There is a very small, 5 bed refuge here. We were a group of 6 at that point so could not stay there.

5 Pinilla

Again the guide books say there is a bar here but it was closed and the locals said it was because they could not find a camarero.

There is a brand new railway line being build just before you get to the town of Santa Maria La Real De Nieva. It's obviously to be a high speed line and they are being very careful not to let people near the line as there are barriers and high fences everywhere.

2 Santa Maria La Real De Nieva

When we reached this place, we were all dismayed to learn that the only hotel was now closed due to the building of a new one 5KM back down the main road to Segovia. By the time we had reached Santa Maria the hotel was full so we were forced to take taxis to Nava De La Asuncion.

10 Nieva

We did not walk through here but travelled through it by taxi.

10 Nava De La Asuncion

We stayed in the Hotel Fray Sebastian. The telephone numbers there are 921580108 and 921580721 and the FAX number is also 921580108. We paid 40.66 Euros for a double room there.

The plaza mayors in Spanish towns are usually the center of activity, especially in the evenings. The one in Nava De La Asuncion contains the church and also the Ayuntamiento. The route out of here is initially over a very flat plain which then reaches the river valley of the Rio Eresma.

8 Coca

This was the most interesting place on the whole route for me due to the fantastic river valley route you must walk through to get there and for the castle and the remains of a modern amphitheatre. There is no accommodation here except for a rented flat. There were posters up near all the bars for it. The owner, Fonci, who owns the flat works on the furniture store nearby. Her sister in law owns the restaurant, La Muralla, where we had an excellent lunch. Unfortunately I didn't write down the telephone numbers.

They are careful gardeners here and the also take great care of the plane trees on the streets. One particular street had a very impressive row of trees. The church was interesting too.

18 Villeguillo

There is no bar here now. It looked like it had been closed for a long time. We all stopped at a very large corral sometime afterwards for a picnic. The guide books mention a difficulty after this point. The path used to go through a farm where the owners did not like the pilgrims and they would put up spurious arrows to misdirect them. The path now takes the route of an other path, as described on this large information board. The path now bypasses the difficult farm and takes you through more pine forest. I thought the view here was fantastic and took this shot which is now my desktop background. If you also want to use it then get in touch using the email address below and I will send you the high resolution original.

16 Alcazarén

There was accommodation her, in a small refugio but it only had 5 beds and we were a group of 8. To get the key, go to the office just in front of the church. Luckily our Spanish companions made contact with the "Granuja" there, a very nice chap called Jose Luis Vicente. He allowed us to stay in rooms in the building above his office which is in the Calle Calera. His telephone number is 983609025 and his mobile number is 610530025.

There are at least two churches here, on old one and a new one. The old one is just a shell now and you see the daylight through the windows and gaps in the walls.

9 Valdestillas

The path through here is on very flat land again. When we reached the place there was a very unusual church. This town has one of the longest main streets I have ever walked on.

I can recommend the restaurant Teodoro, which is in the Plaza Cristo del Amporo, for a lunch stop. The food was of a very high quality. The telephone number there is 983551329. I paid less than 20 euros for a very generous three course meal there.

6 Puenta Duero

Both guide books mention that the walk to here is through, and I quote, "the mother and father of all rubbish dumps" so we all took a train into Valladolid from Valdestillas. We didn`t actually stay in Valladolid itself but instead in an extremely nice place called Simancas which is 6KM outside Valladolid. The camino actually goes through there and bypasses Valladolid completely.

6 Simancas

We stayed here for two nights to rest in Hostal Las Tercias. The telephone number there is 983590363. I can thoroughly recommend it. There are only three double rooms there but one of the rooms has an annex with another two beds. Valladolid is a short bus journey away so I took the opportunity to do some internet emailing. In the plaza mayor there was a sand sculpture competition. These were the most interesting ones, One, Two, Three, Four and Five.

7 Cigüeñuela

There is a funny little stone building just off the path. Although it had no bed, I think you easily stay for the night except that there was no door. We started to see these specially constructed signs for the camino after this point.

The path after here takes the main carraterra past the airport (but at a good distance) all the way to Wamba. This becomes a more frequent occurrence from now on.

7 Wamba

Named after a visigothic king. The path into town was rather nice. The church here apparently has a room full of skulls but we were unable to see it as there was a mass going on while we were there.

10 Peñaflor De Hornija

The gods of the camino play a little trick on you here as you can see Peñaflor the whole way there but it is not at all obvious that there is a deep canyon just before it and in fact the town is on a promontory. So you have a stiff climb up after walking down into the bottom of the canyon.

I found the people here a little cold and we had some difficulty finding accommodation. However the excellent Mayor came to our rescue and we were offered a room with no beds and as several of us had no sleeping mats, we turned it down. Then the mayor offered us another room with mattresses which we could have stayed at but for some reason he then offered to take us to a proper hotel on the main road in his car and his sister's car. We took his offer and stayed at Hostal Maria Victoria in the village of La Mudarra which is on the N601 south of Medina. We walked back the carretera towards Castromonte the next morning so we walked the right distance, just not the right path.

9 Castromonte

The road after here winds its way towards Medina De Rioseco, which you see in the far distance. I liked the path here and there was a strange collection of trees and possibly a cave which reminded my of a painting, "The island of the dead" by Arnold Böcklin, which is hanging in the main art gallery in Leipzig.

5 Valverde De Campos

No bars or places to sit here.

8 Medina De Rioseco

This is a sort of Spa town where you can go to recover from illness. I liked the place a lot. We stayed at the convent which is on the road route into town but a short detour from the camino. I was pleasantly surprised by the accommodation here as reading various other pilgrims accounts of convents led me to believe it would be a cold unfriendly place with no hot water etc...... How wrong can you be? I could not have been nicer! I paid 18 Euros for a very good room.

It seems that the nuns here are not allowed contact with the outside world and there is only one nun who is designated as the contact. I found her very approachable and friendly. The roof of the church attached to the convent was very interesting to me because of its geometric patterns. Here is one of the roof over the aisle and this one of the roof over the apse.

There were also a number of unusual sculptures in the town itself. Here is the first one you encounter on the way into town from the convent. The plaza mayor is also interesting for the huge plant pots they used. Here is a picture of the main church.

6 Berrueces

There were a number of options on which path to take after Medina. We took the path towards Berrueces but it is also possible to go directly to Moral De La Riena.

8 Moral De La Reina

Not much here except a bar which opens at 13:00.

5 Cuenca De Campos

There is a real, honest to goodness refuge here, whoopee!!

9 Villalón De Campos

This town seemed to belong to another part of Spain completely somehow. I liked the place and the church. There were also more unusual statues. Here is one which reminds me of a statue here in Aachen near the Luisberg which depicts the devil and a woman also holding a basket.

One of the bars here had a weird version of Da Vinci's last supper with holywood characters replacing the apostles and God forbid! Marylin Monroe in the place of Jesus!

8 Fontihoyuelo

Although initially disappointing, we ended up staying at this private house and having a whale of a time! The owners have converted the upstairs part into a rentable flat. The view out of the kitchen window is of the barnyard and some of us spent long hours watching the goings on of the dogs, horse, donkey and sheep here.

The church here is a little neglected but it has some unusual carved wooden columns around the side. Here is the detail of one of the columns.

8 Santervás

Like many towns on this route, the mayor seems to always be waiting for us and catches us on the way into the place! This time the mayor allowed us into the church which was closed. I found both the inside and the outside fascinating.

Here is the detail of the side altar .And of course there was a strange statue here too!

6 Arenillas De Valderaduey

The path follows close by the Rio Sequillo but at 100M or so distance away. There is also a path right next to the river which is unmarked.

There was also a canal system just before reaching the village. Here is the view left and right from the bridge before the town. There was no bar here anymore, it was closed and deserted.

8 Grajal De Campos

The path eventually comes to a junction. There is a bridge on the left and the road to Grajal on the right. We had already booked accommodation at the convent in San Pedro which is off to the left and over a hill. The camino itself turns off right shortly before the hill.

2
(detour)
San Pedro De Las Dueñas

This was another wonderful place to stay and the head nun here was extremely pleasant and chatty. An evening meal and breakfast is included in the 30 Euro price. Here is a picture of a typical room. The inner courtyard here was particularly interesting and they have special signs around the convent asking visitors to be very careful of the plants.

6 Sahagún

Our goal! We had a goodbye meal here and these two funny characters were in the restaurant foyer.



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This page was last edited on Tuesday 10th February 2009 at 15.01 PM.

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