This morning we slept in. Til 7:00 am that is. But we’ve had some long and hot days so we thought we would just take it easy. Our laundry was clean, we had a good sleep and had a good breakfast before heading out.
For the most part, the Camino is well marked and easy to find your way out of the towns and cities. Ponferrada is no different and we rejoined the Camino just 2 blocks from where we were staying. It followed through parks, then outskirts of the city and then in to small villages. We breaked for a bit in Camponaraya before continuing on. There was a small church that was very pretty.
Shortly after the church we caught up to two ladies from Regina who we had been walking near most of the day (the ladies in the church in the above picture). Betty and Margy are best friends. This is their third Camino together and you would never know they were 70 yrs old. Ally and I both had lovely conversations with them, and when they stopped to rest, we wished them well on their journey.
All along this part we saw roses, bright pinks, yellows, white and reds. Some tamed and some not. It reminded me of my grandmother, my fathers mother. I was quite close with her, and one thing she always had in summer was fresh flowers on the buffet in the house. Outside the kitchen window there was this great rose bush and all kinds of other flowers, that on summer evenings would perfume the yard. I believe she is watching us from above, and I am grateful my parents and grandparents taught me about Christ and that so much of my time here can be spent in prayer and reflection. And remembrance.
The trail continued through a few more small villages, Cacabelos and Pieros, and through hilly vineyards on the way to Villafranca del Bierzo.
There was thunder rumbling from above and around us, and we had not stopped for lunch so we were trying to hurry to find our hostal, stay out of the rain, and get something to eat. Once we located the hostal, got straightened away, we found a bar to eat at. The food and atmosphere was warm and welcoming and we needed both. The rain came and went, and the town was busy. Interesting to see these small places shut down for siesta at 1 or 2 in the afternoon, then re-open with a buzz at 4-5 pm. Cafes and bars are usually full of locals as well as pilgrims.
We visited the old monastery and the church and then the tourist information office to get our credentials stamped. Now for some rest after another 24 km walked. It looks like we may need additional credentials for the last bit!