Camino de Santiago (Camino de Invierno) Etapa 2: Las Médulas-O Barco de Valdeorras. 27.2 km.

The village of Las Médulas, population 101, was completely dark when I awoke that Saturday morning, and it felt completely deserted as I left the hotel. What little was there was closed and abandoned. The woman at the Oficina de Turismo had said everything would be closed until 10 as “no madrugamos en este pueblo” (in a way that meant we’re not morning people here but literally translates to: “We don’t wake up early in this village”), and it was true. El pueblo de Las Médulas, población 101, estaba en oscuridad completa cuando me desperté ese sábado por la maana, y tenía una sensasion de aislación cuando salí del hotel. Lo poco que tenía de servicios estaba cerrado y abandonado. La chica de la Oficina de Turismo me explicó que todo estaba cerrado hasta las 10 porque “no madrugamos en este pueblo”, y era la verdad.

I made a mental note to myself that I should start leaving a bit later on this Camino as it was still dark at 7:30. I took a detour to a Mirador where I saw the sun rise over Las Médulas land formations. Me pensé que iba a tener que salir un poco más tarde en este Camino como era tan oscuro a las 7.30. Hice un desavío a un mirador donde vi la alba por las formaciones de Las Médulas.

The Camino had a lot of ups and downs that day. I reached the town of Puente de Domingo Florez, population 1421, about 9:30 and had two cafés con leche. As I was leaving the town, an older man stopped me. It turned out he was the guy who painted all the yellow arrows, a Camino hero! He explained to me his process of where to paint (I have since forgotten) and gave me some advice for the day. Como siempre, habia muchas cuestas por arriba y por abajo. Llegúe al pueblo de Puente de Domingo Florez, población 1421, sobre las 9.30 y me tomé dos cafés con leche. Estaba saliendo del pueblo cuando un señor me paró en la calle. Fue el pintador de las flechas amarillas por esta parte del Camino, ¡un heroe para los peregrinos! Me explicó su proceso de elegir la ruta (ya no me acuerdo) y me aconsejó sobre la etapa.

I later crossed one of the bridges that gives the town its name into Galicia and passed a pueblo without any services. Luego, crucé uno de los puentes que dan nombre al pueblo para llegar a las tierras gallegas, y pasé por un pueblo sin servicios.

I was already running into evidence of the Galician wildfires just a kilometre into the autonomous community. The Camino also went by a beautiful reservoir and river. Ya vi la evidencia de los incendios gallegos a solo uno kilómetro después de entrar la comunidad autónoma. El Camino también pasó por un embalse y río bonito.

In Sobrelado, I had a third café con leche. The townsfolk advised me not to go to Pension Mar, which had been recommended by several pilgrims on the Gronze forums. I wondered why. En Sobrelado, me tomé un tercer café con leche. La gente del pueblo me avisaron no ir a la Pensión Mar, aunque muchos peregrinos en los foros de Gronze lo recomendieron. No sé porque.

I continued on my way, climbing the hill out of town on the sidewalks. The last two hours seemed to stretch on forever, and the approach to O Barco de Valdeorras, population 13,350, even more. It was a long town, and I swear it felt like I was adding another five kilometres, even if it was only about 2 at the most. It had been a long 27.2 kilometres! Seguí caminando, subiendo el monte para salir del pueblo por las aceras. Las últimos días parecían durar una eternidad, y la entrada a O Barco de Valdeorras, población 13.350, aún más. Fue un pueblo largo, y parecía unos 5 kilómetros más, aunque solo eran 2 como máximo. ¡El día tocaba unos 27.2 km largisimos!

I went to a restaurant recommended by Gronze, where they gave me a free chupito (shot), and it lived up to expectations, despite being a bit on the high side of around 18€, before checking into Pensión Mayo. It was decent, but nothing out of the world. Fui a un restaurante cerca, recomendado por Gronze, donde me invitaron a un chupito. Merecía la pena, aunque era un poco caro (unos 18€ si recuerdo bien), antes de entrar la Pensión La Mar. Era decente pero nada del otro mundo.

I explored town in the afternoon and wrote by the river as I watched ducks play. A waitress spoke to me in Gallego, and I more or less understood. Exploré el pueblo por la tarde, y escribí a lado del río y miré a los patos jugando. Una camarera me habló en gallego, y le entendí, más o menos.

I went to bed early though, despite it being a Saturday, as I was tired from walking a total of over 30 kilometres with all the town exploration I did. The next day would be a short one though. Me fuí a la cama pronto aunque era sábado, porque estaba cansado después de caminar más de 30 kilómetros, incluyendo la exploración del pueblo. Pero el próximo día tocaba una etapa cortita.

A continuación…


5 thoughts on “Camino de Santiago (Camino de Invierno) Etapa 2: Las Médulas-O Barco de Valdeorras. 27.2 km.

    • Thanks for the info on Pensión Mar! I had already booked ahead to Mayo in O Barco, but they were like “don’t even go there for coffee!”

      As much as I love el Camino de Invierno, it does need a lot in terms of infrastructure. But then that also helps keep it somewhat secret too. Thanks for reading and commenting!


  1. Because I don’t have a geographical knowledge of the Iberian peninsula. I looked up O Barco de Valdeorras, and I see that you were very close to Portugal. Are there any similarities between the Galician language and the Portuguese language (I mean, more so than Gallego might resemble any other Romance language in the peninsula)?

    Also, I gather there are remnants of the Roman or pre-Roman era in the town?



    Liked by 1 person

    • Portuguese is descended from Gallego (Galician), and I have textbooks from the early 2000s that still refer to it as “gallego-portugués”. Some Portuguese will argue it’s a dialect of Portuguese, but it’s not (unlike Valenciano, which *is* a dialect of the same language Catalán is a dialect of). In general, Galicians and Portuguese don’t have a problem understanding each other, but they are different enough to be distinct languages and not just dialects.

      There are almost always Roman elements to any Spanish town 😉


  2. Pingback: Camino de Santiago (Camino del Invierno). Etapa 4. A Rúa de Valdeorras-Montefurado-A Ponte (32 km + 10 in train) | setmeravelles

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