de Santiago / French Way : 22. León - Villadangos del Páramo (21.8 km)
or León - Villar de Mazarife 21,0 km)
best way to leave León is from the cathedral
following the scallop shells that pass by the Real
Colegiata de San Isidoro and towards the Parador
of San Marcos. By the hotel is a bridge over the
Rio Bernesga, cross this and walk through the Parque
Quevado and then take a left turn at a fork in the
road. There is a crossing here over the railway
line via a footbridge, take this and keep going
straight passing la Iglesia Capilla de Santiago.
The road begins to go uphill from this point. At
some traffic lights, about half way up the hill,
take a right onto the Camino de la Cruz through
some bodegas and an industrial estate. Keep straight
on walking past the factories and rejoin the main
road that heads into the large village of La
Virgen del Camino.
of the stories attributed to this village comes
from the 16th century. It is said that during the
festival of the visitation in July 1505, the Virgin
Mary appeared to a local shepherd called Alvar Simón
Fernández while he was tending his flock. She asked
him to go to the city and get the Bishop and bring
him to this place to build a shrine in her honour.
He asked the Virgin Mary how was the Bishop to know
that it was she that sent him. The Virgin Mary seeing
that he had a slingshot in his hand asked him to
pass it to her. She picked up a small stone and
put it into the slingshot. She told the shepherd
that wherever this stone landed that is where she
wanted her shrine to be built. The shepherd set
off to speak to the Bishop in Leon and told him
of his vision. He was unconvinced until the shepherd,
using his slingshot, hurled a stone which promptly
became a boulder when it struck the ground. Now
convinced of this miracle the Bishop went away to
speak to the other ecclesiastics and people of the
village about the apparition and they eventually
built an Ermita to the Virgin Mary.
very modern church that stands in the place where
the original Ermita had been is la Iglesia de la
Virgen del Camino which was built in 1961 and is
managed by a Dominican Order. Another story attributed
to this shrine is that of a merchant being held
captive, chained inside a strong box, by the Moors
in North Africa in around 1522. The Virgin hearing
of his plight and knowing of his desire to visit
her shrine transported the merchant, chains and
all, to the village of la Virgen del Camino. Inside
the sacristy of the new church can be found the
merchant’s box and chains.
Accommodation in the
village can be found either at the municipal albergue
across the road from the church or at a couple of
hostals and a hotel.
Camino continues across the road from the church
down a minor road towards the cemetery. After about
100 metres you have a choice of routes towards
Hospital de Órbigo. Like before we will give
you details of both options. One route follows the
Roman road and is considered the original Camino
de Santiago. It does however follow the main road.
The other route takes you through the countryside.
Both routes are clearly marked. Both routes meet
in Hospital de Órbigo.
route to Villadangos
first route takes us to the village of Villadangos
del Páramo which will be our stop on this section.
up the hill, passing the cemetery on your left,
to rejoin the main road. Unfortunately this is the
main Madrid to Astorga road so be careful as you
walk along the hard shoulder. After about 3 kilometres
you come to the small village of Valverde de
la Virgen where there is a private hostal and
a café that does food.
through the village and in about 1 kilometre you
come to the small village of San Miguel del Camino
where a local man leaves sweets, nuts and other
such treats for the passing pilgrim.
after coming through San Miguel del Camino fork
left off the road onto a path that runs parallel
to it and follow the track over open land running
more or less parallel to the road. At some point
it will look like you are about to rejoin the road,
don’t, keep walking straight until after about 5
kilometres you come to the Urbanización de Santiago
where you will find 2 hostals. 1.5 kilometres further
on you come to the end of this particular stage
of the Camino de Santiago, the village of Villadangos
Villadangos del Páramo it is worth visiting
the at the entrance of the church depicting the
legendary battle at Clavijo in 844 between Ramiro
I de Asturias and Abderramán II, the Emir of Córdoba.
It is at this battle that Santiago in his guise
as Santiago Matamoros is reputed to have helped
the vastly outnumbered Christian army. Inside the
church are some impressive statues of Santiago both
as Santiago Peregrino and as Santiago Matamoros.
village’s other claim to fame is that it was here
that the battle between the armies of Alfonso I
of Aragon and Queen Urraca of León took place. Now
this is a tale of marital strife gone a little crazy,
yes the two monarchs were married to each other
at the time. The marriage between the two had originally
started out as a plan to unify the two powerful
kingdoms, unfortunately it led to years of civil
war. Eventually they had their marriage annulled
and the wars ceased.
here can be found at the municipal albergue at the
entrance to the village or at the hostal.
alternative route to Villar
alternative route is slightly longer and only
has one village between La Virgen del Camino and
Hospital de Órbigo. It is however, a lot quieter
and takes you along minor country roads and farm
tracks. Be aware that at times there are not many
La Virgen del Camino take a left turn off
the main road and walk uphill past a wall. After
a short while you will join a minor road, follow
this road for 2 kilometres until you reach Fresno
del Camino where there is a fountain and a café.
Fresno del Camino keep walking uphill and after
about 2 kilometres the road descends into the village
of Oncina de la Valdoncina. There are no
services here other than a fountain where you can
replenish your water supply.
the end of the village veer right then left taking
a track at a sign that says Chozas de Abajo 5 km.
Up here the area is as flat as a pancake, continue
more or less forward until you reach Chozas de
Abajo where you can get a meal at the bar as
well as pitch your tent, if you have one, at the
down the Calle Real, which is signposted Villar
de Mazarife 4km, taking a left turn, then a right,
crossing a bridge which brings you to another track
which leads you to Villar de Mazarife.
de Mazarife is the largest village on this section
and has accommodation in the form of 3 private albergues.
Two of them provide an evening meal and breakfast,
the other has a vending machine and a kitchen where
you can prepare your own food. Also in the village
are a couple of cafés and a bakery as well as a
à CF description
at wanadoo.fr - 07/01/2014