Wed 14 Oct - Day 30: Ponferrada to Villafranca Del Bierzo 25km

600km walked. 185km left to walk. 

A somewhat slow start to the day due to self inflicted brain damage from last night. 

After regrouping downstairs in Ponferrada hostel Rio Selmo's bar / cafeteria at 7.30am and after a cup of coffee and a croissant for me, the pack was on the move. Ben, Deb, Aaron, Sophie and me. 

A bit of Ponferrada suburbia in the morning. 
The Camino markers after Ponferrada were very stylish and attractive. At least for a while. 
The Camino initially passed through many veggie and fruit gardens. Some of the local pumpkins were massive. Perhaps they were getting beefed up
an ready for Halloween by the end of this month. 
There were again plenty of these enormous birds nests. They seem to only house smaller birds now as I haven't seen any big birds in any of them. Very impressive nevertheless. 
The first half of today was noted for its fog / mist. The area west of Ponferrada must be in a valley as the fog / mist was also noticeable from a distance yesterday as I descended down towards Ponferrada. I liked the different colors below. 
The fog / mist also made the first half of the day quite cold. 3 layers of clothing and gloves and still shivering at times. A thermometer along the say around 10am said 6 degrees Celsius. 
Power lines disappearing into the fog. 
The Camino today also passed through numerous vineyards, particularly in the area around Camponaraya. Apparently predominantly white wine is produced in this region of Castilla y Leon. 
This is what happens when somebody mechanically translates one language to another (2nd line). Of course, the word tapa correctly translates to lid, but nobody would eat a lid or lids. 
Black cat on a tin roof. 

I saw the cat below walking unsteadily on the roof and it looked like there was only a question of time before the inevitable happened. 

Unfortunately, I took the photo a fraction too early. Yes, the cat fell down but it didn't look like the fall caused it any damage to it as it was then gone in an instant. 
Interesting mural on a wall in Cavabelos. I didn't particularly like the top part but the bottom half was very nice. Unfortunately, the mural was in a narrow lane, hence the camera angle and the mural being half in the shade. 
By this time around midday, the fog / mist was gone and it was now warm and pleasant. Much nicer. 

Water was running underneath this house in Cacabelos. Interesting. 
The last 5 or so kilometers before today's destination Villafranca Del Bierzo was noted for rolling hills and therefore beautiful landscape. A few pics. 

Dog warning signs can be found everywhere but this one sign was particularly funny. 
Ben, Deb and I arrived in Villafranca Del Bierzo around 1.30pm. Aaron and Sophie were somewhere behind us. 

As opposed to Ponferrada, Villafranca Del Bierzo is definitely a Camino town. Even this roundabout had a Camino theme. And I don't mean me. 
After organizing a bed for the night at Albergue de la Piedra across Rio Burbia at the other side of Villafranca Del Bierzo, Ben, Deb and I walked out again to find somewhere to eat. Our best bet would
be back across the bridge to the other side. 

Here are a few photos along the way. 

The bridge. Ben and Deb to the left. 
Looking north from the bridge. 
Looking south from the bridge. 
Another very alpine looking environment. 
Another Peregrino looking out for you. 
For a late lunch, we settled on a "menú del día" on the terraza of a restaurant at Plaza Mayor. 

I have meant to include a photo on this before and here it is finally. Salads in Spain do always contain tuna. In other words, tuna is "vegetable" in Spain. See below the contents of my Ensalada Mixta. 
After lunch, made a stop at the supermercado on the way back to the hostel. Then chilling there for the rest of the day. 

No alcohol today. 
Not so much a hangover as I was very tired and a more strenuous day tomorrow (it can be a climb of up to 700 meters depending on how far I walk). 

Ha, Ben was tired as well. As I write this at 6.30pm, he is sleeping in a bed behind me. 

Post note: I walked without my knee guards today. Some distance out of Ponferrada I realized that i didn't have them on. Of course, I thought that I had forgot them in last nights hostel, particularly since they had the same color as the desk and also given my less than optimal state this morning. 

After organizing the clean washing that Albergue de la Piedra had done for me and Ben, I opened my "clean" dry bag and... There they were. 

I have never kept the knee guards in any of my 4 dry bags and regardless, clean they are not. 

Relief of course. But I was also kicking myself for my post drinking state this morning.  

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