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.
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.
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.”)
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.
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.
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!