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Camino de Santiago 2018

Day 26 Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo

SPAIN | Thursday, 28 June 2018 | Views [182]

After a great rest in Ponferrada we are off to Villafranca today. In 2016 we walked from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela on our first pilgrimage, so we are excited to see what looks familiar. 

Cool pilgrimage sign as we leave Ponferrada at 6 a.m. to avoid some of today's heat. Expected to be 90 degrees and humid. No big deal for a couple Phoenicians, right?!


These spry ladies heard there was a cherry theft in progress and they are after the scounderal who is boosting the Bings! The valleys outside Ponferrada are covered with cherries, vineyards, wildflowers and vegetable gardens. We've left the spanish wheat lands behind.


Acres and acres of vineyards line the hills of our pilgrimage today.


We watched this local gardner selecting her vegetable plants for her garden in Cacadelos. It was a long and contemplative process, but we enjoyed watching it! We were sitting outside enjoying a delicious bag of Bing cherries we bought from a street vendor as we entered town. A yummy treat and no Policia or local vigilantes chasing us down the street. 


This amazing stone structure abuts a museum in Cacabelos.

 Donna chased this bread truck through the streets of Valtuille de Arriba where the driver would blow his horn and ladies would literally run out of their houses to purchase their daily bread. Jeff was able to pry her fingers off the bumper after a few blocks. That's good bread!

We had a sunny climb leaving town and poor Jeff was HOT so we stopped at this interesting place to cool down and hydrate. Eric, from San Diego, provides cold drinks and snacks in exchange for donations...Karma will take care of him he says. He's a character, definitely a throwback to the 60s!

Jeff passes the Iglesia de Santiago as we enter the beautiful, historic city of Villafranca, population about 3,500 (Dintaman & Landes, 2017). Pilgrims rest here in Villafranca for the very steep climb to O'Cebriero the following day. 


Ancient pilgrims who were too ill to continue up the hill could walk through the Puerta del Perdon doorway of the church and receive the same "indulgences" as they would have if completing the pilgramage in Santiago de Compostela (Dintaman & Landes, 2017). Modern pilgrims who can't make it from Villafranca to O'Cebriero take a taxi or hire a horse to take them up the hill! It's about 20-25 Euros to hire a horse from Las Herrerias to O Cebriero.   

We stopped in town for a quick jamon and queso bocadillo (ham and cheese sandwich on that heavenly bread) before hiking to our very comfortable hotel on the edge of town. These pilgrims believe in a cool bath after a hot day of pilgrimaging and a comfy bed to rest in before tackling the next day's challenges!

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