Day 37- Cacabelos to Villafranca del Bierzo

Walked Today: 5 mi / Camino2022: 247 mi

We left in the dark again and crossed this bridge on the way out of town… the name of the river escaped us.

We walked on or slightly off the main road for the first couple of miles. We’re in the heart of the Bierzo region which specializes in very nice, smooth, flavorful wines made from mencía grapes. The fragrance of grape juice was ever present as vineyards are all around us and we’re in the middle of their harvest season.

Villafranca in the background
no path here at all
tight quarters along the road, but luckily, traffic was light
stopping to take in the view

About a mile out of Villafranca, we finally got off the road and began walking through the vineyards on a rather steep road. Cars and vans carrying grape pickers passed us and fanned out into different areas, followed by small tractors with carts full of empty, bushel-size containers for the grapes.

“Plantings for the future”… many of the producing grape vines are over 50 years old.
leaving the vineyards and walking the final half mile into Villafranca del Bierzo

Villafranca del Bierzo is one of the most beautiful towns on the Camino, retaining much of its medieval and Renaissance character in spite of an increase of modern hotels and buildings. This location drew merchants from all over, giving the city its names (literally “city of the Franks” but more accurately, of the “foreigners.”)

Iglesia de Santiago to the with its Puerto del Perdón, a doorway for pilgrims who were too sick to continue to Santiago. They could walk through the door in lieu of completing the pilgrimage and receive the same indulgences.
Puerto del Perdón
The 16th century castile, was actually more of a fortified palace for the Marquises of Villafranca.
Iglesia de San Nicolás el Real, houses an albergue where we stayed in 2019.
Viña Femita albergue, destroyed totally by fire in 2012, is evolving but currently has rooms for pilgrims, including us.
our very nice room with great shower

We had a pilgrim dinner in the town square for lunch. We talked with Elaina, from Fayetteville, Georgia, seated at an adjacent table. On the way back to our room, we picked up some snacks and a bottle of mencía wine.

Our mencía wine (5.45€) for afternoon/dinner

At 7:00 we had a one course dinner for “cena” in our albergue, to go with our remaining wine, prepared by the owner’s mother.

spaghetti for Linda
ensalada mixta for Jim

We spent the afternoon planning and reserving rooms for the next three weeks, booking rooms in Santiago and Madrid and changing our flight date for returning home to correspond with completing Camino2022.

It was a full and productive day and our tummies are full. Life is good!