Sunday, April 22, 2012

Villafranca de los Barros - Day 8

Sun and warm temperatures made today a very pleasant day for walking. We did our 18 km in about 5 hours, which included several stops by the roadside to eat our bocadillas and tend to our feet.

 It is peak season right now on the VDLP as summer is generally too hot for trekking. The albergues all book up each tight and turn away one or two Peregrinos who must seek out hotels. A bunch of us have settled into a group of merry travelers each reaching our destination in our own speed but banding together in smaller groups at the end of the day to drink wine or eat a meal together or just chat. We are the only 3 Canadians in the group.

This is Villafranca from the distance. The last distance, when you have your destination in sight seems to take the longest .

This is Eileen and Dick, who have traveled from Australia to walk the Via de la Plata.

The albergue is quite nice but there were not enough beds for us all and so today I have the couch. Given my two friends are here I was allowed this option. It was either that or a hotel in town for about 50 EU. Not a bad price but 5 times more than the albergue and no kitchen nor laundry facilities and certainly not the company of the 30 or so Peregrinos who have become my friends. So I will settle for the couch.
The clock just struck 5pm. At 5:30 siesta ends and the shops will open. Well maybe no shops today because it is Sunday. At 2:00 all shops close and everyone goes home for a nice meal and a siesta until 5:30 . I think that is a wonderful idea, but it takes a bit of getting used to realizing you can't even buy a coffee between 2:00 and 5:30.

Today marks the start of our 2nd week, day 8 of 46 days before I have a flight from Santigo de Compostela to Barcelona. We have done 172 of the 1,000 km, so unless we get faster at walking we will need to skip some of the distance. Particularly since we will need to take some rest days. We shall see - I am not fussed. The first rest day will be in Merida, in just a couple of days. We reached a peak altitude today of 550 m and Merida is at 220, so it is a welcome downhill trek until after that point.
So off I go to find a supermercado and see if I can get some food for our dinner.
Hasta luego!

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