Towns Along The Way – “H”

Onwards and upwards in the Camino alphabet we go. We must be near the end! The next letter we meet is H and there are a few. There are a number of towns under this letter; one in France, four in Castilla y Leon, and two in Galicia. Again, please comment if you have stayed in any of these towns. For more in this series, check out my Archive.

Honto / Huntto (map)

7494-134823I have seen many variations in the spelling of this place name, however, this is not so much a town but an area in the Saint Michel region of France. You will pass it within an hour of leaving St. Jean Pied de Port if you choose to walk the Napoleon route. While there are bars and accommodation in Honto (gronze.com), it’s probably best to keep focused on the climb ahead and celebrate when you reach Orrison a further 3km up the road. The road up to Honto is entirely on asphalt but it leaves the road shortly after and gets a lot steeper to Orrison. Enjoy the scenery also as the road gets higher!

Hornillos del Camino (map)

Hornillos is situated 20km from Burgos and is in the meseta region of 800px-Hornillos_del_CaminoSpain. The meseta is known for being flat, with roads lasting long into the distance. The towns are few and far between and often are unremarkable. Hornillos would be one of these unremarkable towns; it seems as if history left it behind. It has plenty of accommodation (gronze.com) however I prefer to stay in Hontanas, a further 10km up the road. The photo gives you an idea of how flat the landscape is, with Hornillos in the background. The picture was taken from Alto del Meseta some 2km away.

Hontanas (map)

2266053Hontanas is also situated in Castilla y Leon and a further 11km from Hornillos del Camino. The name is derived from a number of natural springs (fontanas) that can be found in the locality. If you choose to walk the 31km from Burgos (like I have), don’t let the flat landscape deter you but keep on walking. Hontanas is built in a depression so it is very difficult to spot the town until you are close up. Once you see the church spire pop up in the distance, you can think about your first cerveza! I have stayed in the Municipal albergue at the edge of town on both occasions that I have been here, but there are other albergues (gronze.com). El Puntido is a favourite of many.

Hospital de Órbigo (map)

There are number of towns that I passed through but wished to have stayed for longer. La Faba is one, Estella is two and Hospital de Orbigo is another. Situated between Leon and 2015-05-16 07.12.53Astorga, it is a major stopping point for many pilgrims. The town is home to the Puente de Orbigo, a long stone medieval bridge. There is also so much history behind the bridge and the town. There are just over 1000 people living in Hospital de Orbigo. You have quite a good selection of albergues here also (gronze.com) with Albergue Verde being one I would recommend. On leaving the town, the road splits in two. One takes you along the main road, while the other takes you off road through Villares de Orbigo.

Hospital da Cruz (map)

Hospital da Cruz (or O Hospital in Galician) is a rural hamlet located between Portomarin and Palas de Rei in Galicia. It is just over 80km from Santiago and has just under 50 people living there. The town has a municipal albergue (gronze.com) and a number of bars for a mid morning cerveza or cafe con leche!

Hospital da Condesa (map)

3060_hospital-da-condesaYet another town named Hospital. It’s getting difficult to distinguish between the three! Condesa is located just 6km from O Cebreiro. It has a population of just under 50 and again is a rural based hamlet. There is a municipal albergue (gronze.com) and bars with good reviews. While you pass through, you will notice the Church of San Xoan (Saint Joan in English). From here on, you have a steady ascent to Alto do Poio.

Las Herrerías de Valcarce (map)

And the final town starting with H is Las Herrerias de Valcarce. Las Herrerias is situated las Herreriasbetween Villafranca del Bierzo and O Cebriero. The placename means The Blacksmiths in English. Interesting. The town is right beside the Valcarce river and is the last stop before the road climbs to La Faba. There are about 39 people living here at present. Myself, I haven’t stayed here, preferring to pass through quickly in 2012. On my return in August, I may choose to stay here after walking from Villafranca. The next day I will have the climb plus an amazing sunrise to look forward to. There is an albergue here along with a number of pensions (gronze.com). Shortly after you leave Las Herrerias, you leave the asphalt road to La Faba. It’s a tough climb but it is well well worth it. Enjoy it!

My next post in this series will focus on Itero de la Vega, Linzoáin, Larrasoaña, Lorca, Los Arcos, Logroño, Lédigos and León. See you then!

6 thoughts on “Towns Along The Way – “H”

  1. I just realised that I have my Hospitals mixed up … I was hoping to stay in Hospital de Cruz in April, thinking it was Condesa! Oh well. Seems I need to walk it a few times more to get the hang of this!

  2. Hola David,

    Just thought I’d leave a comment about the Albergues I stayed at in Hornillos and Hospital de Orbigo in May 2015. First up was the Albergue El Alfar de Hornillos (www.elalfardehornillos.es) . It was a well run,homely place with a nice communal paella dinner in the evening.Good facilities ,clean and a nice back garden to relax in after your first experience of the Meseta. I would stay here again (sorry I should have said I WILL stay here again when I return to the Camino !!)

    In Hospital de Orbigo I stayed in the Albergue San Miguel ( http://www.alberguesanmiguel.com) .Run by a lovely Venezuelan couple it was one of the nicest albergues I stayed in on the entire CF. Some lovely art work by peregrinos line the walls and for €10 you get an excellent bunk and terrific breakfast to send you on your way.I would HIGHLY recommend this Albergue and will definitely stay here again.To cap it off approx 100 metres from the Albergue is a fantastic bar and restaurant called La Encomienda ( http://www.laencomienda.net )where for the princely sum of €12 I had the most fantastic 3 course menu del dia AND a bottle of wine !!!! Again I would highly recommend this restaurant and the waiter treated me like I was spending €100 . Make sure to order the menu del dia for €12. So in summary for €22 in Hospital de Orbigo you can get bed and breakfast in a lovely Albergue and a eat like a Lord just a few doors down !!!!!
    No wonder we love the Camino so much !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Hope this is of help to all Peregrinos.
    Rgds,
    Peadar

  3. Hi there Peadar! Keep the recommendations coming in as not only are the helpful for myself, but they are helpful for the readers of this blog. I didn’t know what to make of Hornillos when I arrived there. I left Burgos very early in May and arrived just before midday. So I felt it was the right thing to move on. I had some lunch of course, but I’m not even sure any of the albergues were open by the time I arrived. I have enjoyed my times in Hontanas but you I will stop by Hornillos the next time I pass through. It just seems like a town that civilization left behind, with old buildings but I suppose that’s the standard in the meseta!! 🙂
    I loved Orbigo but stopped only for breakfast. I had stayed in Villavante, 6km prior to it. Again, I’ve taken note of Albergue San Miguel.

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