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Day 29, Vega Del Valcarce


View Deb's Camino de Santiago de Compostela on Deb Godley's travel map.

8:06 am in Villafraca del Bierzo It was very stormy last night. It appeared to be lessening to a drizzle and the thunder/lightning was moving farther away based on the widening seconds between the two. So, I set off, walking in the dark and drizzle at 6:30. The rain turned heavier and the storm (or a 2nd storm) moved closer, but the thunder was never less than 7 seconds after the lightning. Rain gear seem to hold up well, but I was sweating in the jacket so my shirt is soaked anyway. By 7:15, the rain event was over. I'm stopped for a breakfast of tostada y jamon (toast & ham) and agua caliente (hot water).

There are three route options leaving Villafranca. One is labeled "for experienced hikers only...with a good sense of direction... In good weather only" (ah, no); the second option is "scenic...allow an extra hour or two for the steep ascent and descent...discouraged by locals...very beautiful in the early morning sun" (of which there is none). The main route is shorter, but follows the road the whole way and is less scenic. If the weather were nicer, I might consider the scenic route, but with more rain threatening, I will stick to the road.

While I have the jacket off, I'll keep the pack rain cover on and hope I and the pack cover all dry out.

Stopped for a shoes-off break in Trabadelo for a tarts de Santiago and agua caliente. Still cool and overcast, bit not raining yet. Walking by the road, nothing much to see. The road widened enough to put seats outside the bar and albergue on both sides of the street with a sign that says Trabadela. I don't think there's anything else here. I'm stopping for a few, then 7.5 km to Vega del Valcarce, which is the name of the river.

The pictures of Villcovernca - show a seldom seen grey sky. I took a few pics through the towns. The big highway is a really high overpass. Its always hard to know exactly how far it is to Santiago because the distance signs are so contradictory. This one shows 200k, but 20k earlier one showed 204k. My app now shows 167k to go.

In Vega del Valcarce now at 1:15 pm, just arrived and waiting to check in...

There are 7 days of walking to go. I'm alternating between anticipation of seeing you and arriving in Santiago and the sadness of felling like my great adventure is almost over.

I have one big challenge left - O Cebreiro, which some say is the toughest hill in terms of up and down. I will tackle that tomorrow. I was tempted by a sign advertising horses to take you up. If I'd done it before I would really enjoy that, but for now I want to finish under my own power. Besides, it's the down that's hard, not so much the up.

I'll take a look at this little town there's a supermarcado so I might have a repeat of yesterday's fruta nirvana (my own term for it, not the Spanish for fruit, yogurt and granola).

The municipal albergue is nice - solid, comfortable bunk beds, not very busy yet (I'm the only one on this room so far), good shower, new washing machine, 5€. Can't beat that deal.

My waist pouch buckle broke this morning, so I have it safety-pinned together. Those big diaper-sized pins were a great buy. I have them all in use now. Of the 5 pins I bought, Esther and I each used one for holding a water bottle in place. Two of them are attaching a small Canadian flag to my pack and the last one is now holding my buckle together. I'll find a fix or replacement in Sarria, if not before. Sarria is a common starting place for the pilgrimage because it is the minimum distance from which to earn a Compostela. Off to finish the laundry and then take a look around...

I had my huge helping of fruit, yogurt and assorted nuts (no granola) at 3, then wasn't hungry enough at 7 for more than some peanuts at the bar along with my agua con gas.

Some of the others went to the river to soak their feet, but it looked too buggy for me as I still have 20 or so bites, each red, itchy, and the size of a quarter. I'm using the cream and taking the calcium, but they seem to be staying. Or else I'm getting a new crop every night. Still, it doesn't stop me walking, although I have to tape up a couple on my feet because the swollen bites chafe in my boot.

I've just realized I didn't pay for my second drink. I'm going to walk over and remedy that before bed...

I paid my bill. It's not the first time. I try to pay when I order, but they don't always let me and then I forget later. I think only once did I forget after leaving town.

Getting ready for bed. It's cooler tonight; I might actually need the sleeping bag. Most places have blankets so I could have used that, but I like to sleep on top of it except in the few places that have had sheets and a proper bed made up. Generally, I prefer it to being directly on top of what everyone else has slept on. I've needed it at least 5 or so times for warmth. And sometimes I just put my feet in the end. I use the silk liner every day, though. It covers the pillow as well.

Time for sleep. I've taken pills and have the ear plugs in and the alarm is set for 6.

Grey sky

Grey sky

Nice tile work

Nice tile work

Highway overpass

Highway overpass

Cute figures

Cute figures

Statue

Statue

Nice park

Nice park

Posted by Deb Godley 17:33 Archived in Spain

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