Day 27 (June 6) Molinaseca to Villafranca del Bierzos (19.5 Miles)
Before I get rolling, I want to take a moment to thank YOU, my many supporters on this trek. I love knowing that my friends are cheering me on as I move toward Santiago. I also want to offer an explanation.
I receive many comments on my blog and love reading them all. They give me the strength and courage to face the next day, so please keep them coming. But, as you may have noticed, I do not respond to blog comments. That’s because, though I enjoy writing the posts each day, I am trying to limit my social media usage while on this trip. I want to give myself every opportunity to soak in the experience while I am here. When I return to the US, I plan to do a post where I invite questions and I promise to answer every one.
Now, about today. It was a good one, but a long one. A 19 1/2 mile walk really makes you appreciate the 15 milers. Before leaving my B&B this morning, I made my host promise that the trail would not be rocky. After yesterday, I could not face more rocks. He was 85% correct. I started off on a sidewalk, all the way into Ponferrada, where I had coffee and took a look at the Castle of the Knights Templar. I’ll say it looked exactly as I thought such a castle would look, with turrets, crenellated walls, drawbridge, etc.
From there, I set off into the countryside, with small towns and kitchen gardens lining the route.
I stopped at a tiny restored church in Fuentes Nuevas to pray and light a candle for a dear friend, who lost her father, Jacques, while I was walking the Camino. It was especially important to me that I honor his memory here, as he too walked the Camino years ago. Bea cared for Henry and Sam when they were small children. She will always be an important part of our lives. My prayers and love go out to her, Robert, Alexandre and Clementine.
Along the way, I started chatting with a young woman who had suffered a serious knee injury from walking down the mountain yesterday. We decided to stop for lunch together. While in a cafe, another woman she had met earlier offered to tape her knee. She gladly accepted, though it was soon learned that she would have to shed her long pants to accomplish that. No problem, we were in a side room of the cafe. Zip, the pants came down, right there, no modesty involved. The tape was applied and all was well. Another one of those things that just seem normal on the Camino, but could get you arrested elsewhere.
After the cafe taping incident, I walked through the vineyards of the Bierzo region, known for its wine and regional foods. The land is beautiful. Vineyards and roses in the foreground, with mountains behind.
The last hour of the walk was extremely painful; my feet were screaming as I came downhill into Villafranca del Bierzo. The congratulatory beer tasted good. At my hotel, I was greeted by a stunning woman dressed in red sweater, red pants and red shoes. Such effort in dressing seems so foreign, given my two sets of hiking clothes. She offered to do my laundry and I almost cried.
Tomorrow is another long one, up the last mountain of the trek, so I had a big dinner with Ann and Isabel from Belgium to stoke my furnace.