Camino – Day 29
Here at the start of week 5 I have about 200 kilometers before I reach Santiago, and then another 190 kilometers or so to do the Santiago/Moxia/Finisterra/Santiago loop. And as I set out this morning I was aware that it is enough to know that I am alive, strong, capable, awake, and feeling good. How do you walk across a country? One step at a time!
At this point in my journey I am choosing to walk less each day (about 15km), and simply do my best to savor every moment. Today I spent about the first half of the morning walking through towns, and the second half walking through vineyards. Most of that time involve up and down over hills, with an overall gain in elevation. It felt good to be back in wine country again. There is a peacefulness that I easily settle into. For most of the walk I was the only person (perigrino or otherwise) anywhere in sight. I walked much slower than is often my pace. It felt lovely to just take the day as it came.
The final couple of kilometers took me gently downhill, where eventually the town of Villafranca del Bierzo began to unfold before me. It has the feel of a lovely mountain town, in this case including a castle. The community has been here since the 11th century. It is built on a hill that runs down to the river, so some of the cobblestone streets are quite steep. The Iglesias de San Francisco is an impressive edifice, as is the Castillo – Palacio de los Marqueses. Several other buildings in town are also imposing structures.
There is something about sauntering through the streets of a town that has been here for 800 years, with peregrinos passing through for that entire time, that leaves me feeling both connected to something larger and more ancient than myself, and a deep sense of awe-filled humility. It is a remarkable experience to be on this journey.
My albergue is lovely and it unique. Albergue de la Piedra (the Albergue of the Rock) is literally built into the rock cliff which rises behind it. In several places the rock finds its way into the interior of the building. The proprietors are lovely. And I get real sheets and a bed that is not a bunk bed! All for 13 euros. There is something quite appealing about this journey, and it continues to show up in wonderfully surprising ways. All the days are good, each in their own ways. And this has been one of them.
Here is a link to today’s photos – https://photos.app.goo.gl/CSbjWCrboxuY87LK8