17/05/12. Day 28. Villafranca del Bierzo – Las Herrerias. 21.7 Km

We slept a little late this morning but after breakfast we were away by 08.55. Its much cooler and windy this morning so the jackets and rain pants went on.

Todays walk is mostly beside the main road for about 20 Kms to Vega de Valcarce, not the most pleasant walking but it is what it is. The day warmed up as we walked so we could take the rain gear off again.

When we reached La Portala de Valcarce I knew I had been here before in the camper with Jane. We had stopped here for a meal on our way back from Santiago a few years before.

We arrived in Vega at about 11.30 but decided to keep walking as it was still early. We would walk another 6 Km to Las Herrerias, this would take us to the base of O’Cebrerio and shorten the climb for tomorrow.

As we left Vega we saw Analise sitting at a café with her boots off, she was having a problem with blisters, we told her our plans and she asked me to try and keep a bed for her in the albergue in Las Herrerias, which I did, she never showed and this was the last time we saw her, she had a great sense of humour and was a great laugh.

We got into Las Herrerias early afternoon and waited at the albergue, which did not open until 14.00. The place is run by a guy from Chicago and his Spanish partner. It is pretty basic but clean.

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We did our usual shower and laundry and hung the washing out to try on the albergue clothes line, it was sunny and windy so they should be dry in no time. We went for a walk up through the village and had lunch and a few beers at a local bar.

When we returned I found that my clothes had been moved from the line to a bad position and were not dry so I moved the other clothes and moved mine back, after a few minutes a German woman came out of the albergue and went to move them again but I told her to leave them, she was not happy and went off and obviously told her husband and the other couple that they travelled with so they all came out to have a look at the grumpy pilgrim and give me the stink eye but the clothes stayed put.

The albergue only served a vegetarian meal in the evening so Iggy any I decided to eat out further up the village in a café recommended by the albergue as we needed meat. The meal was home cooked by the lady who owned the café and most of the ingredients except for the trout were probably from her own garden.

There were only three of us at the meal, the other guy was from St. Emilion, near Bordeaux, and he told us he had his own vineyard.  It was an excellent meal.

We met an Irish pilgrim from Kerry in the albergue who started walking from St. Jean a good week after us, he walked long distances every day. He also did hill running in Kerry. Needless to say we didn’t meet him again after that …….

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