Where we stay:
Our accommodation is in three
and four-star hotels, elegant Paradors, comfortable inns and
old monasteries that have been converted to first class
hotels. All have old-world, Spanish atmosphere
yet with modern comforts.
All rooms in the hotels
which we use have a private
Roncesvalles We stay in the Posada
Roncesvalles located near the "Collegiata". The Posada is a charming
mountain inn with beamed ceilings, tiled floors, a huge fireplace
in the bar and
antique furniture. Stunning views can be seen
in all directions - the Pyrenees mountains, the ancient Collegiata and
miles of wooded countryside.
Rooms are comfortable and attractive and at night the only sound is
of the wind in the mountains.
Puenta La Reina The charming Hotel Bidean is located
on a narrow cobblestoned street which is the original
"Camino de Santiago" through the old village. The street
looks much like it did 1000 years ago in the days of the
pilgrims and here we truly get the feeling of going back in
time with the medieval bridge at the end of the street
leading to the continuation of the Camino. The
historic inn has recently been restored with wooden beams
and many antiques. Rooms are small but comfortable with
bathroom and TV. The dining room is in an old wine cellar
that has been cleverly converted in a mixture of ultra
modern and medieval architecture.
San Millan South of Santo Domingo de la Calzada in a
spectacular setting is the historic Hosteria Monasterio San Millan
de la Cogolla. Today
this former monastery is a
beautiful 4 star hotel with all the modern comforts. It is a highlight of our 15
night walk. The Monastery is a UNESCO Heritage Site and preserves
some of Spain's oldest manuscripts in Spanish and Basque.
The gourmet restaurant serves local specialties accompanied by
renowned Rioja wines. Large atmospheric rooms have TV, Wifi
and bathrooms with hairdryer.
Burgos The 3 star Meson del Cid is ideally located facing across
the historic plaza to the
front of Burgos' magnificent Cathedral in the heart of the city's historic quarter.
A former convent, the hotel has small but comfortable rooms and great views of the old section of town.
Rooms have TVR, Wifi and bathroom with hairdryer.
Carrion de Los Condes We stay at the wonderful old
Real Monasterio de San
Zoilo in a quiet location outside the town of Carrion de los Condes and right on the Camino de Santiago path.
The hotel is beautiful with its original 12th century cloister and a dining room
the original stone-walled refectory. Rooms are large and
old-fashioned with the original shutters opening onto the
cloister and courtyard. The only sound is the birds in the trees
in the courtyard and an occasional creaking floor. Rooms have
some of the original monastery furniture but the beds are comfortable and
the bathrooms are modern. Soft Gregorian chants mix with the
clink of glasses in the bar.
Leon The 3 star Posada Regia is located just a block from the
Cathedral and in the heart of the historic quarter. The hotel has
antique furniture, beamed ceilings and lots of atmosphere. It has been
completely renovated and is very comfortable without losing its old
world charm. Rooms have TV and bathroom with hairdryer.
Astorga The 3 star Hotel Gaudi is a very comfortable
hotel located on the main square facing the Cathedral and
the fanciful Bishop's Palace which was designed by the famous Spanish
architect Anton Gaudi. The bar is a gathering spot for locals and
serves a joltingly strong cup of espresso. Just down the street one finds an array of chocolate shops
- Astorga was one of the first places in Spain to use chocolate
brought back by the Conquistadores from South America and it is
famous for its delicious chocolate confections. Air conditioned
rooms have TV and bathroom with hairdryer.
Villafranca del Bierzo The lovely Parador
Villafranca del Bierzo is located at the
edge of the historic town. This is part of the Parador Hotels of Spain -
comfortable and atmospheric with excellent food including the sumptuous
buffet breakfast for which all Paradors are famous. Rooms are large,
comfortable and quiet. There is a lovely outdoor patio
surrounded by roses where once can have a quiet drink before
dinner or perhaps you would like to swim in the heated indoor pool.
Air conditioned rooms have Wifi, TV and bathroom with
Parador Monforte de Lemos This 4 star Parador is situated at
the highest point of the town of Monforte de Lemos. The origins of the
monastery date back to the 9th century, although the current building,
erected on the site of an earlier one, is Neo-classical and dates to the
17th century. The original doorway, with the shields of noble families has been conserved. The
Benedictine monastery has been restored and converted into a
spectacular Parador with
rooms distributed around the central cloister. There are
pretty gardens and an outdoor pool and hot-tub. Air
conditioned rooms have Wifi, TV and bathroom with
Portomarin The 3 star Pousada de Portomorin is a
lovely, two-story inn set on a hill at the edge of
town with wonderful views over a lake and the hills beyond. It was
built in the 1960's by the dictator Franco to encourage tourism
to his native area of Spain and no expense was spared in the
construction. There is a sauna and outdoor pool. Rooms are
quiet, spacious and well-appointed with TV, Wifi and huge
marble bathrooms with hairdryer. The highlight here is
the flaming quemada drinks. There is a traditional story
that accompanies the drink whose origins come from the
ghostly folk-lore of the area.
Lugo We stay at the 4 star Hotel Mendez Nunez
which is located within the Roman walls of this historic
town. It is just a short walk to fascinating Roman Museum
and the main square.
Padron - we stay at the lovely Pazo de Lestrove. A "pazo"
was the country estate of the Spanish nobility and usually consisted of
a stately manor house or castle surrounded by gardens. Once the country
escape for the Bishops of Santiago, the Pazo de Lestrove is now an
atmospheric country hotel complete with swimming pool. Air
conditioned rooms have private bathroom, TV, minibar.
In Santiago we stay at the Hotel Virxe de Cerca. The 4 star
hotel is an 18th
century former Jesuit residence located in the old quarter near the Cathedral. It is an
atmospheric hotel that still has the stone
walls of the former monastery but now is a comfortable hotel
surrounding a pretty garden courtyard. Rooms are equipped with hairdryer, safe, satellite TV, minibar, phone and air conditioning.
Meals: Breakfast is always included (usually a buffet). Most dinners are
included. The dinners are in a variety of
hotel and Parador dining rooms plus local restaurants allowing everyone to sample regional
cuisine. The food is excellent and
plentiful. Picnic lunches are included on the days when
restaurants are not available at mid-day. Walkers who have been on the
tour in the past agree that our picnics are wonderful with fresh gazpacho soup, crusty bread, local cheeses
and a variety of local ingredients for
sandwiches. Spain is
famous for its fruit and vegetables. The avocados are superb,
the white asparagus memorable. Along the route there is often a chance to stop in a local bar
for a drink or for a steaming cup of Spanish coffee along with a
fresh pastry and there are ice-cream sellers tempting you on
warm days. Our walks traverse the famous La Rioja wine
region and there is plenty of opportunity for sampling.