Thursday, June 7, 2007

Villafranca del Bierzo

Exiting Ponferrada was one of the most confusing stretches of the camino, since we wandered through the mini-urban sprawl of Ponferrada in about 270 degrees until we finally figured out the right way out of a traffic circle (bewildering invention!). Once we tracked down the right route we passed through a longish hot day of cherry trees and then vineyards. A nice old lady flagged us down and sold us sandwiches and drinks (albeit at a steep price) and a handful of free cherries.
The albergue at Villafranca itself was right at the outskirts of the city. It seemed clean but uninteresting at first, but at night thanks to Paul´s inventiveness we passed the time playing wallsies and stretched the game into hours of entertainment. We also bought cheese, bread, sausage, and local cherries for a cheap communal dinner -- and best of all we tried our first tarta Santiago. The unexpected treat of the day was the view from our albergue terrace, which looked out on the convent, perched on a small hill in the center of the city, sillhoueted against the setting sun and framed between two hills.
-- Mike

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