Day 35 of the Camino Wander – Fast Forwarding to Villafranca del Bierzo

May 19th, 2018.  El Acebo to Villafranca del Bierzo, Spain. Camino de Santiago.

I joined the Kiwis and Irish girls and ‘fast forwarded’ today. We descended the mountain via hairpin turns, and because the front windows were open a little, my ears blocked and my throat constricted. Ah yes, wild lavender. I popped an antihistamine in the car as we made our way down to Ponferrada. 

We drove through a few villages before stopping briefly to drop off our Irish girl, MaryKate in Ponferrada (she wanted to keep walking), before continuing on to Villafranca del Bierzo. Our taxi driver was great –  he doubled as tour guy and Spanish teacher.  

Since we were early into town than most pilgrims and too early to check into our respective Albergues, the Kiwis and the Irish and I settled in for coffees and a good long chat.

It was a nice change to just sit and talk.  Such a change from trying to have a conversation while not worrying about tripping over rocks or having to pause to say ‘Buen Camino’ to someone ploughing past.

I am truly enjoying getting to know these ladies. 

Jerry and Sharon, my Camino Angels, arrived as planned (we are walking the remainder of the way together) and with welcoming hugs, chairs were pulled up and they joined in the chatter. It was so nice to see their smiling faces!

We later found our Albergue (see below), bought snacks at the local supermarket for the coming days before stopping for a beer with my new U.K. friends who’d saved me a few days before on the way to Cruz de Ferro.

But, seems my crud is not completely gone.  I guess I expected too much too soon. With Amanda’s advice (the American retired doctor I walked with, who now lives in Spain), I was able to get an inhaler that would help clear my passages and finally clear the crud once and for all. Fingers crossed!

I bowed out of dinner with Jerry and Sharon, deciding to go to bed early to be ready to continue tomorrow.

It’s a short walking day tomorrow, with an option to go through the valley rather than up and over. (Good thing as I hear there is more wild lavender on the upper trail!). I’ve learned its 177km to Santiago. So, with the ‘slow and steady’ mindset, we are determined to make it all the way.  I WILL do this thing!

Where I Stayed: San Nicolas El Real

Would I Recommend it?  I’m on the fence.  I had a private room and the room was huge.  It was painted a Pepto Bismol Pink colour.  But the shower broke while using it and the management was insistent on fixing it, running up and down stairs four-five times, despite the fact that I didn’t need the shower again and it could have been fixed after I’d checked out.  I had the impression that it was new ownership and they the ‘jack of all trades’ trying to run it.

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