Madrid Camino Day 23 – Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo

May 28, 2017

An early start after a solid 8 hours sleep ensured that I walked alone all morning.

So the throngs along the Camino Frances don’t get lost. Note the pilgrim is depicted in the act of emptying their pocket.

I was concerned I wouldn’t do well today. This morning, the simple act of walking from my bed to the bathroom proved to be a challenge due to my painful calf muscles. But after a second hot bath and some Voltaren cream, I hobbled out and enjoyed a beautiful day. 24 kms along a river valley, through rolling vineyards, surrounded by mountains.

Endless vineyards

Breathtaking scenery, though some of the climbs and descents were startlingly steep. I paced myself, stopping for hot chocolate twice. Hour six into the walk, I fell into step with a very pleasant young Irish couple who regaled me with tales of their adventures in Spain. The final hours passed quickly and I found myself in the lovely mountain town of Villafranca. It is Sunday, so not much is open except a few bars and restaurants in the main Plaza where locals and pilgrims are mingling over early dinners. I had no choice but sit in a restaurant and was pleased to get a four course meal for 10€  which consisted of a huge salad, a big steak with fries, a bottle of wine (which I exchanged for water and got a surprised look from the waiter) and dessert. A real treat and terrific value for money. Looking forward to another big sleep tonight because tomorrow is all uphill.

A great day!