Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 26

Tuesday October 12, 2010
Day 26 on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela
Ponferrada to Villafranca
Dear Blog Readers, 

I am up early to have breakfast and get a taxi back the 8 kms. to Ponferrada to start today’s walk.  The weather forecast is for a little sun and clouds, but no rain.  Taxi drives to the other side of Ponferrada and we begin to walk.  A little chilly so I wear my mitts and a fleece top.  The guide book says flat, however it is up and down hills all the way.  Track is rocky, but it is not too hard, as there is still no rain.  The two lovely things today are - the birds, who are out and singing.  They sit without fear low in the trees and I can see they look like red breasted finches.  They sing a  lovely song.  I stop and tell them they are lovely singers - the other thing is that on either side of the trail are rolling vineyards growing the old fashioned way, not trellises.  There are markers saying the fields grow Cab Franc - so Rioja is not the only region growing Spain´s grapes!
Just pass a village, I have to stop to take a photo of a house built right across a river - just bizarre!  As the Camino travels along a secondary road, there is honking from behind and a parade of tiny cars come up the hill, drivers and passengers wave at the pilgrims on foot - seems the cars are also on their way from St. Jean to Santiago - must be a car club - look like small box type European cars! Rain spits for a few minutes but no downpour.
At the top of the hill before descending into Villafranca, we visit a lovely old church (Iglesia de Santiago) with a wonderful statue of St. James dressed as an ancient pilgrim.  Lots of pilgrims are in the church, lighting candles in tribute to St. James - I do too, getting a bit emotional about the fact I have less than 200 kms. to walk to Santiago.
Trek 23 kms today - off to Vega de Valcarce tomorrow, only 16.5 kms.

Blessings from Santiago,
My personal thoughts for today - At the Romanesque Iglesia de Santiago there is a Puerto del Perdon (a door of pardon) for any pilgrim unable to make it Santiago, due to injury or illness.  This is heart warming, as I can just imagine the disappointment of any pilgrim unable to make it all the way.

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