We opted for a short day today since we all still felt like burnt toast from yesterday's heat. Yes, I know, that sounds pathetic to Spaniards and southerners...but we're snowbunnies and anything over 70 degrees is just too dang hot for hiking. We would never survive El Camino in verano. We operate best in the cool and the cold.
The sun came out bright and early as we left Cacabelos. We soon stripped to our short-sleeves and broke out the sunblock.
An old fashioned wine press...
To and through the little town of Pieros...
The Camino splits after Pieros. One can walk along the road all the way to Villafranca or one can take the slightly longer, scenic country route. You can probably guess which way we traveled.
The country route provided cool breezes, intermittent shade, and natural beauty. I highly recommend going this route (yellow path in the Brierley guidebook).
This route leads the pilgrim through the small and charming village of Valtuille de Arriba.
Since Hugh and I regretted not staying at the Parador in Leon, we wanted to check out the prices for the Parador in Villafranca. This is the last Parador on The Way until we get to Santiago. We therefore walked past the albergues and past the Castillo Palacio de Los Marqueses, and past a man and a woman leading two donkeys...they had three small children with them and they were heading from Santiago into the middle of France...we thought we had stumbled into a different century for a moment...very cool and I wish I had asked their permission to take a photo. We walked past an intersection and turned to the left, to the Parador.
Cost for a triple - sixty Euros. Our room is huge and gorgeous.
Here's a strong piece of advice - don't assume you can't afford a private room at a nice hotel. Many hotels, including Paradors, have discount prices certain times of the year and many offer great deals to peregrinos. There's no reason a solitary pilgrim can't team up with two others and splurge on this kind of room (only twenty Euros a person...it's a four star hotel with a pool). So always ask when you're curious about the nice hotels you see along the Camino. Yes, albergues are great and we will definitely use them for most of the remainder of our trip, but you deserve the occasional break from the crowds and the snorers.
We checked in, cleaned up, and sat in the Plaza Mayor for three hours (eating, of course).
Tomorrow we begin the climb to O'Cebreiro. The distance from here to there is 18.7 miles and there's a typical White Mountain's worth of elevation gain. We'll probably break up the trek into two days and stop in Herrerias or La Faba tomorrow afternoon and then go past O'Cebreiro to Fonfria the next day.
Thanks again for all the kind emails and the nice comments on my blog, Facebook page, and Trail Journals Guest Book, folks. The well-wishes mean a lot to me and the girls. I think I've answered everyone's questions to date, but if I've made a mistake and overlooked a message, then please post your question/comment again.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad