Today we had the choice of three routes. We’re on our way to O Cebreiro. One of the highest points of the camino Francis and a climb I’ve been dreading for a while! Tonight we’re planning on staying overnight in the foothills so that we can tackle the steep ascent with fresh legs.
So leaving Villafranca I choose to follow the old road out of town but my intrepid Colorado grims decided they were going to tackle the harder path. Up into the hills above and a steep descent into Trabadelo, where we agreed to meet up for lunch… They apparently build them tough in Colorado!
I climbed up out of town, over a bridge and followed a small track beside the road. All around me the hills rose up, the summits shrouded in mist… I think of my new friends and hope the weather is being kind to them up there.
It was raining when I left town but cleared up after about 30 minutes. The sun tried hard to break through but it was never going to happen.
My road was quiet… Maybe a dozen cars in a couple of hours. It follows the route of the river and for the most part it was actually very pretty. Every now and then I had to walk under the motorway bridges and the passing traffic rumbled overhead… Not like cars but more like a distant rumble of thunder or an explosion… Not at all what I was expecting.
The path diverted into a tiny village and all around are chestnut trees, walnut trees and blackberries. There may be no such thing as a free lunch but today there was certainly a free breakfast.
Trabedelo was kind of closed… There was just one bar open selling baguettes… So that was lunch. We spoke with a lady that had taken a tumble on the 2 hours of horrible path. He face was very badly injured, swollen and bruised, and she had a broken nose. How she’s managing to carry on walking I don’t know!
We walked on in the drizzle, slowly climbing higher and higher. We bumped into Chris and John… Brothers in law who’ve been walking together. I dont think I’ve seen them since Fromistra?
The landscape has changed again, gone are the grapes and vines and we are back in the high hills were the sheep and the cows tinkle and clunk as they move around as do to the different size bells strung around their necks.
We had planned to stop in an Albergue but instead we stopped for the night at Las Herrerías in a rather grandly named Centro de Turismo Rural Paraiso del Bierzo. We managed to bag 2 rooms in the local hotel for just 21 euro each. And luxury of luxury, we have a radiator in the room so we will have dry clothes in the morning! We met two ladies from Holland and shared a lovely meal in their company… they were travelling on a kind of camino package for a week and their accommodation was pre-arranged and their luggage transported each day… and they had a GREAT guide book!
I was hoping to answer some of your questions but time has got the better of me… Maybe tomorrow? But there’s a huge hill to climb tomorrow so don’t build your hopes up… And we only have 163 kilometres to go!
7 thoughts on “Free breakfast”
Thanks for mentioning us (Chris and John). Found your blog and I’m enjoying it; you have a wonderful way with words
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John HELLO! Happy New Year! I’m glad you like the blog… I loved writing this at the end of every day. It was a great way to wind down and just reflect on each day… also an easy way to keep in touch with friends and family 🙂
Yes as above. Not sure November is wise – too much rain in Gallicia and can be cold in Northern Spain because of the bay of Biscay and the Atlantic coast. 40 days at 20 km a day unless you are young and very fit and in training to avoid the blisters and sprains and foot sores.
Money – depends on food and lodging but a hostel at 8 € and pilgrim's menu at 10 € is a minimum plus at least 12 € for lunch and snacks and fruit so the above estimate looks right but load a euro debit card so you don't run out of cash.
Planning is fine but flexibility is essential so you can change plans when things go wrong and up or down your estimates according to weather and terrain/profile and any personal niggles that can stop you or slow you down. Good luck anyway and Buon Camino.
I think a ball park figure of 25 to 35 euros a day is realistic. That means a mixture of donations-only alberques as well as municipal ones at mostly 5 euros a night, religious ones at say 5 to 10 euros a night and the odd hotel or private place for say 25 euros, breakfast, snack bought from a shop and a main meal (lunch or dinner) and an alcoholic pick-me-up or two. Doesn't include any parador stay though!!!
That figure is, of course, an average. You'd spend more some days and less others. However, do always donate as generously as possible to the “free” alberques because that's how they can afford to stay open. You can spend a lot more than that of course and I dare say some people spend less by, for example, buying and cooking their own food.
There will be some extras like clothes washing and drying at this late time in the year, maybe internet connection and pain killers and sterile dressings from the chemists.
If you are really going to enjoy it, then you are talking of round about 6 weeks to walk and at least 2 or 3 nights in Santiago to meet up with people you make friends with en route.
If your friend is starting from St Jean PP and is not planning on walking at a rate of knots, then I would say that end of October is definitely a bit late. Don't forget that the days are getting shorter, your clothes will increasingly be difficult to get dry and some of the alberques will be closed so that they might have to walk for longer stretches than ideal.
Hey, it's a BIG adventure, no need to rush it; the Camino will still be there next year and the waiting will make it all even more appealing!
Oh Colleen what an amazing journey you have traveled. So many miles and people and places.. What memories you will have….
And for all those wanting to also walk the advice you too can give will be a tremendous help I'm sure.
The photos as I've said before are fantastic and beautiful..
Colleen – it's incredible how much you have walked. Such an achievement. I love reading the blog.
Thank you Bill and Sweet for your answers to one of my questions about a guide. I am asking on behalf of a close friend who wants to start soon. Can I ask two more questions of those reading the blog? What is roughly the daily budget needed? Is it too late to start (south of Bordeaux) at the end of October?
Colleen, I love your “Pilgrim face”: it's so full of joy and somehow of expectation.
And I truly believe that, if you approach the Camino with a sense of fun but also of humility and a willingness to learn all the lessons that are there for you everyday, then you cannot help but come away with contentment and a feeling of blessedness.
Galicia is the most challenging of all the regions, in my opinion. All the hustle and bustle, the noise, the pushing past, as you have already noticed. Galicia is beautifu but, oh, it was a real trial to me!
I don't know your friend, Bill, but he has echoed my thoughts so often in his comments. Don't forget, it's YOUR camino and you do what you wish and go at a pace that truly suits you.
Sorry, Gerry, I am NOT going to suggest that she hurries home! You know, a day or two more, in the context of a lifetime of togetherness is nothing very much, is it? There are just some things and some time in life when you allow yourself to be caught in the moment.
For Cathy, I actually do not recommend any guides. Go and walk, the route is well-marked, you will find all that you could possilbly need to get to Santiago. Best not to have too many pre-conceived ideas and plans. JUST DO IT as the Nike advert goes.
Go with great care, Colleen, and don't take your attention off the target!
lots of love