Day 33, Villafranca del Bierzo to Las Herrerias

Our spot to stay last night was really cute, we were treated with a bottle of lemon water on arrival, which was so refreshing and unusual. The only disappointment was that the kitchen was shut and the food at this place was supposed to be great. Still the 5 of us headed to the Plaza Mayor and shared a load of Raciones (sharing platters) which made a good change. It is clear that we are also into Galicia as the seafood is increasing which is great.

We have the 3 rooms at the top of the house which is fun although a little snug. There is a separate door and then our 3 rooms, so we can leaves our doors open. We might as well as I can hear everything Andy and Clive are saying through the wall anyway!! This place is another of these places with the bathroom light on a sensor so I had another shower with the light going out every 30 seconds. Have I mentioned how irritating this is!

After dinner I had to say goodbye to Dawn and Jim, they have another night in Villafranca before heading to Bilbao for a couple of nights and then home to Scotland. They have already planned to return next year and to walk from Burgos where Dawn started to have trouble. Jim only had one day of walking but caught the bug and now wants to join Dawn next year so that is great.

Breakfast today was not served until 8am which meant a lovely lie in. I decided to walk with Andy and Clive today since we all want to do the alternative route which is up and down a mountain rather than along the road and I don’t want to miss the turning or get lost and today is also the last time I will see them as I am stopping before the final hill climb of the day and they are going on. Clive goes home on Saturday and Andy carries on but will be a day ahead of me by then.

Andy and Clive striding up the hill

The walk started as expected with a huge hill climb. It was a good solid hour of climbing up 500m then back down again! The scenery was once again absolutely stunning. Taking the scenic route also meant that we pretty much had the mountain to ourselves only seeing 2 other people. 

We found a great spot for a coffee after 10km and then pushed on with the downhill, it was very steep, and I am very glad that my knee seems to be holding up, I felt totally able to head straight downhill again and I need to go at almost a run to keep up with Andy and Clive, good job I have a shorter day! We passed a shepherd with his dog moving a few sheep today, always fun to watch.

Once back down the next 10km was pretty much flat at the bottom of the valley. I am staying in the last village before another climb of 800m over 9km. We stopped for lunch in the village just before where I am staying after we spotted John and Anne, who had just stopped there for coffee. Turns out they are staying in the same spot as me.

…and the way down

After lunch Andy and Clive dropped me at my hotel for the night. It is stunning, right under the hills with cows outside the windows and a lovely veranda and patio area. I think the guys were regretting not stopping here. After 24km already and the ascent and decent to have another 9km and 800m to go I don’t think was that appealing.

After dropping off my things I went for a wander round the rest of town since I am staying just outside. It is a very small town, not even a church! Just a few albergue and bars. There is however a stable for horses. It is possible for pilgrims to book horses and ride up the hill to O’Cebreiro tomorrow. I won’t be doing that!!

I now have a nice short day tomorrow and then a rest day before the final push into Santiago. I am getting closer every day. Instead of feeling excited though, I am disappointed!! Very pleased that I am booked to walk onto Finesterre and then Muxia, so I have a few more weeks to enjoy before I have to think about returning to the real world. I will be returning with a 2 coffees, morning cake, 2 beers and 3 glasses of wine a day habit, that is going to require some work!!

I am still loving the weather, but I am a bit concerned that this is about to change and I might have to pull out my raincoat on Sunday. That will be the first time since day 1. I have been totally spoilt with the weather, but I am not ready for this to change either, never mind, hopefully it will just be short showers!

The one downside of this hotel is the bath. My joy at seeing a bath was reduced when I realised that it is one of the half baths. I have only ever seen these on the Camino, essentially it is half the length of a normal bath so you have to sit with year knees up around your ears, it might as well be a big bidet, never mind!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *