Madrid Camino Day 24 – Villafranca to Vega de Valcarce

May 29, 2017

Very short day today. I was expecting to walk 18 kms uphill, but it was not remotely as tough as I had been led to believe to get to Vega de Valcarce. Also, I grabbed a shortcut and shaved 4 kms off the walk. It almost felt like a day off.

Some of the now constant reminders that one is indeed walking the Camino.

More highway walking – much of it alongside a river which made up for the tedium a little – but very hard on the feet of often a little scary with fast, oncoming transport trucks. For this reason, and quite a few others, I missed the Camino Madrid and its quiet trails.

More tarmac, more pilgrims, less solitude.

The weather was cool and cloudy. I walked for a while with an Irish fellow on his third back-to-back Camino as he tries to kick a heroin habit. Evidently he lost his brother, his brother’s wife, and their autistic son all to drugs. He was struggling, poor man. But I was impressed by his determination and wished him well.

At the end of the day, as I sat enjoying a hot chocolate, I saw many people pass by that I have met and spoken with. The Camino Frances is a very social Camino and I feel myself very slowly getting into the spirit of it – though I still treasure my solo time above all else. 

A balcony with flowers – a common sight.

This evening, from my room near the river, I can hear the rushing river and birdsong and nothing more – very peaceful. Planning to get a very early start tomorrow for what I am told is a gruelling 24 kms.