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Horses To Galicia

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by Dennis White, Mar 10, 2018.

  1. Dennis White

    Dennis White Donating Member Donating Member

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    My wife and I are commencing C/F from Leon in June. There is a reference in the Brierley Guide between Herrerias and O'Cebreiro to hire horses from Al Paso stables for the climb up. Has anyone chosen to do this and/or is the option still available as sounds interesting for something a bit different to experience?
     
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  2. Galloglaigh

    Galloglaigh Active Member

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  3. Dennis White

    Dennis White Donating Member Donating Member

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    Thanks for that, will certainly check it out.
     
  4. Lirsy

    Lirsy Member

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  5. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Dennis, during our camino last fall, we stayed in Herrerias at Casa Polin - very nice place. As we walked towards the albergue, we saw several pastures with horses, and signs regarding trip up to O'Cebreiro via horse. We didn't see anyone taking the steep climb via horse, but we saw lots of evidence (horse poop on trail) that this is being done. Bob
     
  6. oldman

    oldman Oldman Donating Member

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    Please do not in courage these people to , as they walk there horse's over the same trail Pilgrims walk ,all they do is leave what is a difficult narrow part of the trail covered in Horse Shit. It is the single worst part of the whole Camino stinking of Horse Dung and infested with fly's .they should be made exercise their animals before taking them out or stay on the road.
     
  7. Dennis White

    Dennis White Donating Member Donating Member

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    Thanks for your thoughts. Using the horses seems a bit like forming an opinion on contemporary art! A broad range of subjective views which is understandable.
     
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  8. anniem

    anniem Active Member

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    Oh dear, I am sorry you had such an experience with horse shit.
    As for me, I could also say the worst part of my Camino was from Herrerias to O'Cebreiro but that was because it was raining and blowing so bloody hard we could hardly stand up and were cold to boot. I must say I felt a bit like Richard the 3rd when he said"A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse" I would have given anything for a horse to pick me up that day.
    My suggestion is, go get a horse and to hell with what other people think about the horse shit! Buen Camino
     
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  9. Dennis White

    Dennis White Donating Member Donating Member

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    Even Richard the 3rd has a subjective view. The votes are tracking in favour of the horses.
     
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  10. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the climb from Herrerias to O'Cebreiro is quite a challenge. Fortunately, after a strenuous climb, you can stop and rest in La Faba. There is a delightful vegetarian restaurant to warm your bones with a hot cup of cafe con leche and tostada with tomato and garlic spread. Then onward and upward to O'Cebreiro.

    A surprise for us was thinking we had reached the "summit" at O'Cebreiro, only to find ourselves walking up steep hills again at San Roque and Alto do Poio - which is 5 meters higher than O'Cebreiro. We were bone tired by the time we arrived at our destination at the wonderful albergue A Reboleira in Fonfria. Next camino we plan to spend the night in O'Cebreiro. Bob
     
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  11. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    There’s no doubt that that stage of the CF is one of the tougher ones! The elevation change from Villafranca to O Cebreiro is around 800 meters with most of it coming after La Herrerías on what I think of as a typical rocky mountain path. I, too, enjoyed refreshment at the veggie cafe that Bob mentioned in La Faba. You’ll have already started your climb, so a break here will be most welcomed. There are also a couple of albergues in La Faba so it’s another possible place to stay if you don’t want to go all the way to O Cebreiro in one day. As I had reached Villafranca earlier than I wanted to stop the day before, I trekked on another 10 km to Trabadelo. The Albergue Cripeta was quite nice with a restaurant offering a very good pilgrim’s dinner. However, unknown to me that evening, we were locked in the building until there opened in the morning. As I liked to leave by 6:30 or so, I was able to find my exit through a bathroom window (a la Joe Cocker). Ah, it was just part of the adventure! But, leaving early allowed me to reach O Ciebreio before mid-day. Folks were already lining up outside the municiple albergue. I ran into plenty of Camino friends that day and we enjoyed sitting outside in the sunshine sharing beer and wine. O Cebreiro is a pleasant town, although one that gets plenty of tour buses stopping there, so getting in early and relaxing was great! Buen Camino!
     
  12. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Wily, during our first CF, we spent the night in La Faba at the Albergue de La Faba. It is a small German-run albergue. The hospitaleras were very friendly, the showers / toilets were few, but clean and nice. There is a very large kitchen / community room as you enter the building. Next door there is a small chapel and we attended a pilgrim's mass.

    The town is small, but we found a grocery store that was open. We were nervous about finding a bar / restaurant, but found one with a nice fire roaring in the fireplace and a delicious pilgrim's meal. We went back to the same place in the morning for breakfast, but it was not yet open. Next time we'll not spent the night in La Faba, but will stop at the veggie bar. Bob
     
  13. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Bob - Experiences like that is what the Camino is all about! A roaring fire, a tasty meal, a glass of wine, and good friends! Maybe that’s why you and I keep going back! Buen Camino!
     
  14. anniem

    anniem Active Member

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    Common sense prevails!!
     
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  15. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    If anyone wants to break this day up, Vega de Valcarce (before Ruitelan and Las Herrerias) has some really nice rooms at Casa Rural El Recanto. They looked kind of country style from the images on Booking.com, but what I got was a sleek, contemporary suite. They own the bakery across the street and there's a full restaurant about a block. away. Then, one of my favorite albergues of the whole Camino Frances was Bar/Albergue La Escuela at La Laguna de Castilla, about 2.5K below O Cebreiro on the way up (so you get to stop and rest overnight before tackling the rest). Great food, nice family.
     
  16. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Dennis, you didn't ask for an alternative, I know, and maybe the appeal was to have fun riding horses up, but in case you're concerned about the strenuousness, there's another way to accomplish this particularly strenuous day. I bunked in a room with a very fit Danish woman who arrived completely wrecked. I don't know where she started her day. But as is often the case, she had a hot shower, rested, and felt much better in a short time.

    I had a bad foot issue that day and had for once sent my pack ahead to La Laguna de Castilla because of it. I live in gorgeous mountains, had already seen gorgeous mountains in the Pyrenees and between Rabanal and Molinaseca, and so decided at the very last minute to push the easy button. When I got to Ruitelan, instead of making the left up to La Faba, I continued on the N-VI. It's a very quiet, no-stress, very easy-incline road, and passes under the highest road bridge I've ever seen (the A-6 superhighway, which you'll essentially follow alongside right up to Pedrafita. When I looked to the left and saw the usual route, I wondered how anyone made it up that mountain). I walked the road right into Pedrafita (Pedrafita do Cebreiro, but not "THE" do Cebreiro) and when in town, made a left toward the LU-633 (which you can walk straight in to THE O Cebreiro. That road is not terribly busy either).

    Since my pack was at La Laguna de Castilla, I stopped in at the tienda where the LU-633 starts out of Pedrafita and called Ana Rodriguez. Her number is on the front of the tienda, but I'd heard of her taxi service before. She's very prompt and conscientious, and although neither of us spoke the other's language, we did fine. She drove me down some goat paths (not really, but it seemed like it) to get to La Laguna de Castilla. Then the next day's walk up the last 2.5K to O Cebreiro at sunrise was beautiful. Just as an alternative.
     
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  17. anniem

    anniem Active Member

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    Dennis, one more thing I have remembered. The horse hiring people seem to hire out in groups of 5, presumably for reasons of economy with a guide for each group. There may well be other hirers who do it differently and no doubt there are ways around it eg $$$ but the norm seemed to be a group of 5. Buen camino
     
  18. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    My wife reminded me that the horses that take pilgrims to O Cebreiro have made the trip so many times, that after they drop their passengers off at the small town, the horses walk themselves back down the trail to Herrerias. Pretty neat. Bob
     
  19. Dennis White

    Dennis White Donating Member Donating Member

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    Thanks Suzette for the info, I will print your suggestion and pop in my Brierley book at that stage and 1: see if the horses are available? 2: see how we are feeling? 3: if feeling a bit lethargic , take up your suggested route. All being well will keep you posted.
    Cheers Dennis.
     
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