We were up and away early before it got too hot. We had breakfast in Ponferrada which is about eight Kms away. We met Ana again as we came into town and she was not a happy camper, she had followed the arrows on a detour off the main road which she thought was to bypass the city but it led to a church and back to the main road again. She said if I see another fu****g church I’ll fu****g scream.
She joined us for breakfast and we started the walk out of the city but then Anna was suddenly gone.
Shortly after this we met Mary from Texas, Iggys admirer, and walked with her for a while but she stopped for a break and we kept going.
The day kept getting and hotter but we soldiered on. Villafranca del Bierzo is our planned destination today which is 31Km away.
We got in about 15.30, the the temperature was showing 29C, our hottest day so far. We found that most places in town were booked up so we walked through and almost out the other side before we found an albergue. As it was a private one, we booked a double room for €12.00 each.
John from Arizona, Mary from Canada and Analise were there when we booked in.
The albergue is run by a young couple from Barcelona and they were really nice and helpful.
After all the usual daily routine we headed out to dinner with the whole gang. We had a great laugh at dinner swapping stories about the various incidents that had befallen us on the way. John told the story of Suzy going into the woods to pee but left her rucksack on to save time, this caused her to overbalance and fall back mid stream, this is not a tactic to be repeated. Analise had met a pilgrim from Cairo who really needed to go but most places were closed as it was near lunchtime, he saw one place opened but there was no one on the reception desk so he looked around and found the loo. When he came out he found the place locked up so he started looking for a way out, when he entered one of the rooms he found several open coffins with bodies in them, he panicked and ran, then found an emergency exit and burst out setting of the alarms, he didn’t stop running until he was out of town, it seems he had wandered into a crematorium.
Just as we finished dinner Jim from NY strolled past, he too could not get accommodation in the town so we brought him back with us and he got sorted with a bed.
John got some bad news when we returned to the albergue, Suzy, who I mentioned before, had taken ill with pneumonia and was in hospital further back the trail. John decided to get a taxi back and keep her company for a while and contact her family.
Sadly this was the last time we saw John and to my great regret I forgot to get his contact details. He was a nice man.
Tomorrow we plan to walk to Vega de Valcarce about 18 Km away.