Ok I am falling behind on this series so I better catch up 🙂 Here is the end of the 3rd section of “Towns Along the Way” series. I will then bring you town that start with “e”, as there are no “d” towns. Again, as always, if you have any feedback about these places, please feel free to comment.
Cacabelos is a village in the El Bierzo region of Leon. You will pass it as you walk to Villafranca del Bierzo, usually within your last 10 days. It is a moderate size town with good facilities and a good selection of accomodation (www.gronze.com). There are over 5000 people living in Cacabelos. Many choose to by-pass here and stay in Villafranca, including myself, this is one for the future. The refugio (pictured) has been renovated from an old church and is a bit special, I hear.
Calzadilla de la Cueza (map)
A light at the end of a very long tunnel and possibly the best thing you will see all day? This little town may not be much but after walking 17km from Carrion de los Condes, it will take on a whole new meaning once you get there. The Roman road, or the Via Aquitana, is tough, but there are plenty of refreshments to be had in Calzadilla. I have walked the road twice and stopped here for refreshments and then chose to walk on. There is accommodation also should you choose to stay (www.gronze.com) but my advice is to walk on as Calzadilla offers little but a place for refreshment.
Calzadilla de los Hermanillos (map)
On leaving Sahagun, there are 2 options to take; the tradational French route or the old Roman way. The French route leads you to El Burgo Ranero and to Mansilla de las Mulas, while the old Roman way is much more solitary. The only town on this route is Calzadilla de los Hermanillos before you reach Mansilla de las Mulas. Quite a lot of people choose the first option. Calzadilla is small town with not a lot of facilities, and it has a population of just over 80. Being a Camino town, there are albergues (www.gronze.com).
Carrión de los Condes (map)
Carrion de los Condes (or Carrion as many peregrinos prefer to call it) is a large town prior to Calzadilla, mentioned above. It is a little over half way to Santiago (410km) and by all means is one of the major Camino towns. It has a population of over 2,000 people and has a wealth of accommodation (www.gronze.com). I stayed in Carrion during the feast of Corpus Christi and it is a tradition throughout Spain to layer their roads with flowers of all different colours during this time. It looks great and is vibrant. All the albergues are in this town are run by religious orders, so there can be a tendency to get swept into their routine. I chose to stay in Villalcazar de Sirga, the town proceeding Carrion, in May 2015, but there is no doubt I will return to Carrion in the future.
O Cebreiro (map)
Not quite the highest point on the Camino, but it is not far off. O Cebreiro is the first village in Galicia and a welcome relief after a 1300m high climb from Villafranca. I just about made it in 2012. Seeing it for the first time reminded me of home…the music, the food, the buildings, it had a real Celtic feel to it and it just didn’t look like anything else on the Camino. The views are amazing. There are plenty of accommodation (www.gronze.com) with the main albergue holding up over 100 beds. I stayed in the fabolous Hotel Celta Venta back in 2012. On leaving this village you have 165km left and are on the homeward stretch.