Stage 2 – Tres Cantos to Manzanares el Real, 27 km

We were up and out by 7 am – that is Paul, Eli, Marilyn and I. Carsten and Ralf made a more leasurely start.

It was a lovely walk right from the beginning. As soon as we left town (an extremely clean and well-maintained town) the walk was delightful. It reminded me of stages on the camino Sanabres. Lots of granite boulders strewn amongst rolling green countryside. There was a variety of narrow paths and wide tracks, with sandy, gravel or stony surfaces. Some large rocks to be negotiated and a few shallow river crossings. An absolute delight. Not far from town I saw a huge, black wild boar running across the track and out into the pastures. Paul also reported seeing a fox, which I missed.

I also came upon a herd of sheep being lackadaisically tended by a couple of mastins (rather large and soppy dogs). I made my customary dog communication overtures and they both came up to say hello, totally forgetting about their job of work and vying for attention. They followed me closely, nudging for an extra scratch and pat. When I reached the shepherd I told him that his dogs were delightful, and he replied that indeed they were very good with people, but pretty useless with sheep!

We turned onto a wide dirt track running between farmland that was still pleasant, but slightly less charming and eventually reached the outskirts of Colmenar Viejo, and walked through an industrial area before entering the town. I had long-lost sight of Paul and walked through the streets until I came across a park where I found myself a bench and took a boots-off / snack break.

Paul and I walk faster than Eli and Marilyn, but Paul walks faster than me, and I am constantly stopping to take photos, so we tend to fall in and out of each-other’s company. I found Paul on the outskirts of Colmenar Viejo and we continued together on and off through more stunning, rugged countryside.

The route is steadily making its way towards the big hills (mountains) that we need to cross in a couple of days and the whole stage has been along a Via Pecuaria, an ancient drover’s path.

At a point in the early afternoon I spied a couple of walkers ahead of me, and thought there were more pilgrims on the route. But as I got closer I thought I recognised their outlines and when one raised an umbrella I realised that they were Eli and Marilyn. How on earth had they got ahead of us? It took me a while to catch up and we worked out that they had somehow taken a shorter route, probably cutting around four km from the track. We had all followed the arrows, but they had come up trumps! The four of us continued to Manzanares el Real and stopped for lunch and were joined some time later by Carsten and Ralf.

The day started at 14 C but soon became very warm and then quite hot. Our original plan of a long stage of 32+ km seemed less enticing as the day progressed. Paul was burning, I developed a bit of a hot spot on my heel, and Carsten and Ralf reported they were flagging in the heat. I came up with a cunning plan. We could take a bus from Manzanares to Mataelpino where I had reserved beds at the albergue (there is no albergue in Manzanares) and we could return in the morning to walk the missing kms. In the end, Eli decided to walk on the additional 7 km as planned, Ralf decided to stay put and find some single accommodation to catch up on sleep, and Carsten, Marilyn, Paul and I caught the bus. This is the first time in all my Caminos that I have done this, and I feel a little sad that I didn’t continue to walk. But we will go back in the morning to complete our walk and I won’t beat myself up about it.

Rain is forecast for tomorrow.

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue
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28 Responses to Stage 2 – Tres Cantos to Manzanares el Real, 27 km

  1. Lisa says:

    I’m interested in what your customary dog communication overtures are-

    I’m enjoying your photos and descriptions. Thanks!


    • magwood says:

      Aha, I talk to all the animals I pass, with a bit of tongue clicking and appropriate animal impersonation. They usually look at me as though I am mad, but the dogs understand me!


    • Judy says:

      Hi, This has been a very interesting blog. You are doing the same Caminos as I plan to do in May 2018.
      I have two questions for ya. (1) What guide were you referring to on the Camino de Madrid? (2) In one of your great photos there is a sweet picture of you. (That’s not the question!) It appeared you had some sort of water carriers/containers attached to you or your pack. Did ya? If so, would you please tell me about them.
      Thank you for this and for all the effort, time, photos, and interesting pieces of info you have shared re: Madrid camino.
      As soon as I finish researching the Madrid I’ll move on to your postings for the San Salvador and then to the Primitivo.
      What a great time you have been having despite lousy weather.


      • magwood says:

        Hi Judy. I used the guide written by the Confraternity of St James (CSJ). I think their guides are now available on Amazon, or alternatively directly from their website. You can find out more about the water carriers on my ‘assessment of clothes and gear


      • Judy says:

        I hope this attempt doesn’t flake out on me again…

        I am trying to let you know that I have just ordered two of the RaidLights. Thank you so much for the info! What a clever idea and so helpful. Like you, the packs hydration system isn’t to my liking. You have a terrific blog about soooo much. I shall be reading a lot of it.
        May your travels be unencumbered; may the sun be just at the right angle; and, may you always remember…


      • magwood says:

        Judy, you are most welcome. I love your last sentence – and I will always remember, that was the whole purpose of starting my blog…I can revisit whenever I want!


  2. Sally says:

    Lovely to hear how it’s going. Sounds an amazing adventure x


  3. Peter says:

    There you go, there is always a “first time” on every Camino, this time it is the bus and sometimes alternative transport has to be part of the experience!


  4. Pleased to hear you were sensible. Love the photos of the storks. Our weather would be ideal for your Camino. x


  5. Janice Tyler says:

    I know you must have posted a map ages ago but I can’t visualise your route. If you still have access to the map online, can you repost it. Ps love the storks x


  6. JoAl says:

    You have us remembering every step of the way Maggie. Do you have time to stay in Segovia? It is worth a rest day there. Well not so much a rest day because I recommend a city tour with entry to the castle. After Segovia it becomes a bit same old,same old for a few days. Be prepared with food and water as there can be nothing ,not even a rest spot all day.x


  7. cathyformanplatin says:

    I got the other photos to load…LOVELY pics. Would have loved to have seen those sheep dogs!


  8. Alan says:

    “Caminante no hay Camino, se hace Camino al andar”. I hadn´t heard this line in a good 15 or 16 years, since I played this song at a school festival (in middle school), hahaha. It’s from Joan Manuel Serrat:

    Thanks for sharing, Maggie! and ¡Buen Camino! Greetings as well for Carsten!!


  9. Mary Lynch says:

    oh Maggie I’m loving your blog. Beautiful photos as ever. Enjoy your gorgeous group. Love your honesty in returning to where you got the bus and walking the route. Buen camino and much love xx


  10. Darlene MacDonald says:

    I enjoy your blogs and the pictures are stunning. Tomorrow I will present at the local chapter of the Canadian Confraternity of Pilgrims in Saskatoon, Sask. Canada. ( I have walked the Camino Frances and the Camino Portugues.) You are an inspiration to one who wishes to do another one. I will recommend that the people at the meeting wanting to do a pilgrimage and want to learn of alternative routes check out your blog. Buen Camino……


  11. Grace says:

    HI Maggie, thanks for your lovely descriptions of the route. I was wondering what guide you are using – the CSJ one? Is there another? Cheers, G


  12. Jenny Heesh says:

    Hi Maggie – a terrific post and gorgeous photos … something us followers of your blog have come to expect!
    I’m interested to hear what sort of snacks you’re carrying with you … would you be able to share what sort when you have time? Thanks.
    Camino hugs xoxo.


  13. Prosper Egan says:

    Great post and I love the photos.


  14. CLB says:

    My husband and I will be doing the Madrid starting in May 2018, can’t wait. Thank you for your blog. Cyndi


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