Day33 28th day walking

Yesterday had been a glorious day, and we awoke this morning to what looked like being another.
The early morning view from our balcony showed just how pretty Ponferrada is. I could see over the castle and down the square. Nobody was moving except a solitary street cleaner. Best to get back inside though. I had no intention of recreating a scene from The Life Of Brian.
Downstairs, and unusually there was staff on, so we stopped for some coffee and croissants before setting off.
More stunning views as we crossed th bridge out of town. We could see a line of bridges one after the other until the river turned. Then we were off through the shopping district, fortunately no shops were yet open so we made good progress.
There was a split in the camino here that was not shown in my book. So, thinking that the right way would be a diversion we set off to the left.
There are some very nicely designed buildings in this direction, they look like large appartment blocks. Probably owned by the church, we decided.
Soon though, we were out in industrial landscape again and it just stretched on. The only thing lacking was the fleches amarrillos (yellow arrows). Normally there are yellow arrows everywhere, on the kerbstones, on the walls and even on signposts. At first there were shells in the flagstones, but soon these dried up as well.
Viv was starting to doubt my navigation skills, so I asked a workman “Esta El Camino?” “Si si” he replied pointing us up the road.
We carried on endlessly, still no signs. “All I want is a sign and it does not have to be from God” said Viv.
I was starting to worry as well by now. We saw a woman sweeping her doorway, “Esta es El Camino?” I asked “Si si” she said, also pointing up the road.
After interminable distance we saw an albergue, so we stopped for a zumo. We walked in through what I thought was the front, and on the other side we could see a trail of pilgrims who had taken the other route. This was where they joined again. According to my map we had come 10K without a single direction sign.
We elected to stop at Cacabelos and were amazed when we arrived. It was littered with Hotels, hostels and albergues. We stopped at the first one we arrived at and walked in through a courtyard surrounded by wood. There were wooden bike racks and stairs to maisonette type rooms, wooden benches all lined up on the left and a shop on the right.
At the back of the courtyard was a doorway through to what can best be described as a lean-to. It had the appearance of a large room but in fact it was not actually closed in.
We parked our bags and ordered coffee. What we got was a very nice coffee and a slice of lemon madiera cake.
After we had visited the shop (and bought nothing), and used the facilities we carried on.
On the way through the village we bought some yoghurt and biscuts for later. It was not much later though. Just as we were leaving Cacabelos we crossed a bridge as we always do, and there we saw a nice green area by the river.
After our feast I could not resist soaking my feet in the river. My, but it was cold, oh! but so nice.
On the way out of the village we passed several albergues, they had lines of people waiting for a bed. As we get nearer Santiago the race for beds gets more intense, I think we will stick to hostels whenever we can.
We have been complaining of the cold up until now. Today things changed, now it was getting too hot. We started looking for shade along the way, I like a bit of heat, but now it was Viv’s time to complain.
We approached the top of a hill and there was a bar. Inside it stank of urine, as the door to the toilet was right by the bar and open. That did not stop us though, we had two cokes and unusually for us we had ice in them. After a struggle the remaining ice went into our water bottles.
It was long, hot and dry walking along that road, so that it was with relief we finally left the road behind.after about 6k.
Just along the road we saw statues, wagnerian statues. What they were doing here in the middle of nowhere I can only guess. I presume that a sculptor lives out here and sells his wares from home.
Soon we were on the downhill into Villafranca and the scenery took on a whole new perspective. It became almost low alpine with hillsides covered in little farms and cattle.
We also saw many adverts for hostels and one in particular took my eye.
On entering the village this hostel was the first one we passed, so I went in and enquired.
Yes, they had a room, it will be 76e a night. I told them I would pass.
We continued into town where hostels became more numerous. We saw one called Ultreia and so I enquired, this one was only 45e, after the price of the first I thought I had better give it a try.
It is an old building that has a completely new interior. Our room has a modern (functioning) bathroom and very modern furniture. Tonight we will be very comfortable here.
After our ablutions we set out to see a little of Villafranca, but it was just too hot. In Plaza Mayor we decided to stop for an Ice cream at the cafe where Wyn was sitting. We met another new lady as well, Ineka from Holland.
Later we walked down to the bottom and at seven o’clock saw that the temperature was now 36 degrees.
So we decided to retire to our hostel, have some pasta and just relax and enjoy our room.

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