Camino Diary Entry #28
#28 Emails home from the Camino
Molinaseca to Villafranca del Bierzo 31 killer kms
Gwyn can’t get her shorts done up and has developed a lump on her knee- she says it’s all fluid retention! I am agreeing because if we stop her eating, then I might not be allowed to eat either! When it comes to that, I’m not allowed to look after reservation vouchers, room keys or shutting of blinds! But that’s all ok, I’m getting really good at taking the photos as instructed (except her camera is now out of battery so we won’t be doing any more of that!). Lucky I still have 2 cameras on the go and I suspect that is infuriating the hell out of her !
We have lingered over Pilgrims dinner again tonight because the wifi only works downstairs yet again! We dragged ourselves back up the marble staircase to our room – Gwyn going ahead being the keeper of the keys – and has to do the unlocking because , she is better at locks!. Gwyn turns the key, pushes the door, I step in, then a side step into the bathroom and that enables Gwyneth to get in too and then close the door! It’s a real team effort when you have a room as small as this!
We were out the door of our very spacious room in Molinaseca with a record-breaking 8 am start. Breakfast was meagre, but at least it didn’t take too long!
The surrounding hills were shrouded in mist and there was a decided dampness in the air as we launched forth on our 31 km killer day.
The trails were mostly ok to start with. Little villages, Ponferrada town, castles and churches. Lots of local activity. We enjoyed hearing one old chap singing away to himself as he rotary hoed his front garden. The Spanish men can spend hours studying a row of vegetables and as the day warmed up we saw a gentleman ahead on the road. Arms clasped firmly behind his back we saw, he was clearly engrossed in the art of watching the furrows dry out. As we closed in on him, we were highly amused to see he was in fact transfixed watching his wife being thrown about behind the rotary hoe at the other end of the garden plot. No wonder Spanish men outlive their wives!
We enjoyed a lunch break at a small village cafe. Sitting roadside, the cars passing single lane behind us were scarcely avoiding clipping the back of our chairs!
Re- invigorated we soldiered on to Villafranca del Bierzo.
We had no choice, this is where our room was booked! By early afternoon the temperatures again soared past 30 degrees. Worse still (and you would think by now we would have it sussed!) it was a steady, steep uphill climb!
The vineyards were a nice change to walk through and the cherry trees are laden if not quite ripe yet! For a donation of €0.45 I accepted a newspaper cone full of ripe ones from some fairly suspect looking blokes who had a little stand under some shady trees,. They were just delicious and I still don’t know why Gwyneth didn’t want to try one! Maybe it was in the same frame as ‘ if you think you’re going to walk across that patch of grass, you’ll be leaving your shoes outside the room tonight! We know what goes on in the grass here!!!)
As we continued to climb we became new best friends with a young man from Hungary. For some reason he seemed to want to walk with us. We’d stop, he’d stop, I’d take a photo, so would he, we would offer to let him pass, but no thank you. We stop for a sip of water, he stops…… The only thing we can think of was that there wasn’t another pilgrim in sight and there is safety in numbers when exhaustion and dehydration are looming!
Our new friend turned out to be an electrical engineer and works for a company specializing in microscopic something. I think he may have lost us (mentally) when we got to the detail in broken English of the plastic chip in the ??? And the recording of the nuclear output from the earth core ??? He had his ponytail nicely folded back under his hat and we could forgive him the socks and sandals routine – this is the Camino and let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Our own fashion challenges have been nothing to write home about! Spain is such a great place to meet like-minded people!
We struggled hugely with the last 8 kms. Just when we thought we had 4kms to go, it turned out it was still 7.3kms! It was hot, hot, hot! The wind came up, our feet while still not broken, were well over it and I was down to my last 50 mls of water!
At one stage we were stopped and Gwyneth told me the our Hungarian friend wanted to take a photo of us. I was mildly surprised as his camera was well tucked away. With a little more eyebrow raising and smiling inanely for the non-photo, he repeated ” are you oout of water?”. – which clearly had nothing to do with taking our photo!
He seemed quite sad to leave us (having had so much in common), as he headed off for an Albergue to share with 150 other pilgrims! We waved wearily and walked on the next couple of kms and eventually located our hotel. The Casa Mencez is just fine, it’s just the room is kind of small and the neighboring room seems to have a plumbing issue – about every 15 minutes!