Villadangos del Paramo
Having left Leon the journey continues on to Villadangos del Paramo. The journey out of Leon is dirty and filled with rubbish bins.The day’s journey is along the highway and is generally uneventful. If you need to skip a day this is one day to consider skipping.
- Puente de San Marcos – 16th Century bridge leading out of Leon (can be easily seen even if you are skipping and hopping a bus)
- Sanctuary of the Virgen del Camino
- Church of Santiago – Villadangos (is easily seen if taking a bus from Leon)
- Puente de Orbigo – bridge into Hospital de Orbigo
- Astorga Cathedral
- Bishop’s Palace – opposite the cathedral – Gaudi’s amazing neo Gothic construction
- Museum of the Ways – inside the Bishop’s Palace
Rabanal del Camino
A beautiful but uphill walk as you walk into the Leon Mountains.
This is a beautiful rout through the mountains and ends in a city steeped in history. I personally have a great respect and curiosity for the Knight Templar. I think this would be a great place to spend an extra day if I had it. Walkers should be cautious along this part of the walk as a large portion the walk happens along major roadways.
- Castillo de los Templarios – Templar castle which covers 16000 sp. meters
- Basilica de la Encina – a castle built in the Renaissance style with a baroque tower
- Hermitage of Santo Tomas de las Ollas – built in the 10th century
Villafranca del Bierzo
Divided by sheltered micro-climates and vineyards, the local bars and pubs along this part of the walk can make the day a lot of fun, if a little long.
- Church of Santiago the Apostle
- Castle of teh Counts of Peña Ramiro
- Palace of the Marquisses of Villafrance
- Palace of Torquemada
The steepest part of the route after the hike out of Pied de Port. At this point however, one would hope that your legs are much stronger than they were nearly 30 days before.
The views however are spectacular.
- Menson Las Rocas in Vego de Valcarce
- Iglesia de Santa Maria
- Summer snow storm, OK so maybe this one is all about me
There are two routs to use to get to Sarria, the southern, via Samos, or the northern and more traditional route, via San Xil. San Xil is said to be shorter but steeper. Your choice. Also a strating point for people short on time to walk the Camino.
- one of the 7 pilgrim hospitals
- Monastery at Samos
- Mosterio de Madalena
The walk is filled with the ruins of old churches and pilgrams hospitals, which have given way to newer ones. This is an “easy” day of walking and will most likely be busier than before due to people who began in either Portomarin or Sarria and are just walking the last portion of the Camino. Also, in the spring this portion of the rout is prone to flooding so make sure you dry your feet or you can get nasty reactions.
- Church of San Nicolas
- Ruined churches. ( I have a personal love of these)
- calamari, a regional specialty
Palas de Rei
A largely forested part of the journey, this begins to look more like a fairy tale Europe from the story books of my childhood and less like the plains of southern Europe from my dreams of wine country.
- cows (seriously, I’m in a cow mood right now 😉 )
- This is a walk for the scenery
- Church of Santiago de Alba