Day 25. Ponferrada to Villafranca

Not a good start today. When I turned the light on the two top bunks had gone. I didn’t hear them go.
When I got to packing I can’t find my silk sheet.
I was out the door a little after 8 and only stopped to pick up my washing.
It was still pretty dark and I began following the way marks but something was wrong. I re-checked the map and discovered I was heading the wrong way. By 9 I had backtracked to a point I could have reached in 5 minutes if I’d known where I was going. It’s unbelievable how dark it is here at 8 in the morning.
Given the double disappointment it was a miserable start to a rainy day. I adjusted the pack when the rain came and pushed everything under the rain cover but once I got going I was OK.
The road climbed out and seemed to climb for a while. Eventually it flattened out and I was pacing with a couple that had passed me in town.
The Camino entered a village and then went through a building and back to the street. It looked a little like an old military barracks.
At Columbrianos I decide to stop for a tortilla and black coffee as it’s 10.
Straight after I’m on rural tar and it’s a flat 100 minutes to Caponaraya where I stop for a rest. The restuurent doesn’t open till 12 so I have a coke.
I order vegetable soup and it’s salty but has some rice in it. A few calls to Ali go missing. I pack up and head off. As I’m crossing the road I check the phone and there’s a message so I call. The girls are out whishing Ali “Bon voyage”.
Before I get out of town I bump into Zdanke again and after being asked he says he’s having the time of his life.
It’s all uphill to Cacabelos and when I get there I’m going to have a beer.
As the village appears, an old man in a tiny car turns on the road and then stops me. He asks if I’m on the Camino and then opens the boot and offers me some figs.
When I’m nearly finished my beer, the waiter ticks me off for sitting at the wrong bar’s table. I go.
It’s 3.30 and I push on for Villafranca. On the way out there’s a weird guy a bit like a hobo and a dead ringer for Moriarty from the Cumberbatch series who gives me a nod about plonking his feet in the stream. He has a big cardboard sign offering massages for donation.
I follow him for most of the way on the verge of the slightly undulating paved road.
At some point he’s gone and I think he took the other route.
I’m really slow now as my feet really ache. Just at the town border there’s a bench so I stop for a rest. It’s near 5.
I shuffle into town and go down some winding step-filled streets with the intention of crossing the bridge but a sign catches my eye and I’m lined up at new Albergue Leo run by two sisters.
It’s a part-hotel and part-Albergue. I have a top bunk but it comes with real sheets and blankets and I’ve got my hospital corners done in no time. Brother Paul would be proud.
I shower, change and pay an extra 6 for the sister to do my laundry then
head out for dinner bumping into Texan Matt.
I find the recommended restaurant and it’s soup, chicken and chips and flan with water. Matt turns up with his group and I work out he’s with his family, wife Kerry and son Keegan. We chat about Australiana for a bit. Keegan started in Le Puy while Matt joined him in St Jean and now mum Kerry has turned up today.
It’s getting dark at 9 so I head back to the hotel. Boy, what a big day and I covered a good 27 k today. I’m now in a good position for the remaining days to get to Sarria.
No rain forecast tomorrow but there will be Sunday and Monday.
Buen Camino.

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6 responses to “Day 25. Ponferrada to Villafranca

  1. you go johnny very proud sister xx

  2. 27kms! Who’d have thunk?

  3. I am so impressed. Cheers Pattie

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