Onwards we go to the next letter in the ‘Towns Along The Way’ alphabet. There are 3 towns beginning with G; one in Castilla y Leon, another in La Rioja and the last in Galicia. Again, please comment if you have stayed in any of these towns.
Roughly 8 days into your Camino, you will meet Grañón. It is situated between Santo Domingo de la Calzada and Belorado in the La Rioja province of northern Spain. It has a population of just over 300 people. On entering the village, it seems like it doesn’t have much to offer but one of its highlights is Iglesia de San Juan Bautista. The church offers basic accommodation to pilgrims, and you can sleep in its bell tower and look at the stars if you wish (gronze.com). I have passed through Grañón on 2 occasions, preferring to walk to Belorado. In 2013, I passed through in minutes as the weather was poor; however, in May 2015, I stopped for over an hour for a few cervezas. So if you are passing through, my advice is to stop here and stay in San Juan Bautista.
El Ganso (map)
Calling El Ganso a village is a stretch as it consists of a number of derelict buildings, a cowboy bar and is home to 36 people. Nevertheless, the Way passes through it and I will mention it. El Ganso is Spanish for “The Goose” and it is based in Castilla y Leon. On reaching this town, you will notice that the terrain starts to gradually ascend until you reach the highest point in Spain – the Cruz de Ferro. As mentioned above, the Cowboy Bar is one of the oddities of the Camino. I stopped by in May 2015 and again in 2017 for a second breakfast and was treated very well by the owner. There is an albergue here and I know of people who have stayed here (gronze.com). It is advisable to pit-stop either here or at the town previous (Santa Catalina) as you have a nice climb ahead of you.
Gonzar is one of many small hamlets in Galicia. It is 8 kms from Portmarin and you have approximately 90km to walk before reaching Santiago. I have little memory of this town since walking through Galicia in 2011. Some pilgrims choose to stay here instead of the usually busy Portomarin (gronze.com).
My next post in this series will move on up the alphabet and focus on Honto, Hornillos del Camino, Hontanas, Hospital de Órbigo, Hospital da Condesa, Hospital da Cruz and Las Herrerías. See you then!