11. Waiting for the Sunrise

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise, fear and surprise; two chief weapons, fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency! Er, among our chief weapons are: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, and near fanatical devotion to the Pope!

Last night we stayed at the Albergue El Carmen in Villefranca de los Barros. The Albergue was lovely as was the hospitalero.  She suggested were we should stay next and she also recommended last night’s restaurant… which I have to say was one of the worst we’ve had… sadly I would suggest you go somewhere other than Purple if you’re in town.

However, what our meal may have lacked, our pilgrim friends made up for with laughter and mirth.  We met the elusive Danish guy… who everyone has mentioned but who we had never met. Sadly though Lars has terribly swollen feet… he says he’s done walking on the baked earth and is going to Barcelona tomorrow instead.

We also met Brendon… the funniest man you could wish to meet.  He’s an Australian Scot and he had us all crying with laughter with his stories of life down under.  He is also a man walking with purpose; his wife died 4 years ago from breast cancer.  He is raising funds for the Australian Breast  Cancer Research charity.  He is raising money per kilometre so he keeps walking even though his feet hurt him.  A lovely man and we hope to meet him again on the trail.


This morning we shared breakfast with the usual suspects in our albergue.  Coffee and toast and cakes and pork pate?  Not an obvious combination… and I stuck to marmalade with my toast.

We left town in the steely grey of morning… the moon was still up but just a slither of it remains now and I’m looking forward to walking under a new full moon soon.

We’re back in the flat lands but these are full of vines.  As far as the eye can see there are vines.  In every direction you look there are vines. Kilometre after kilometre of vines and on every new horizon there are even more.

The fields are busy.  It’s harvest time. Tractor after tractor passed us with a huge trailers full of grapes… red, green and pale ruby.  This is wine country.

To our right the sun was rising.  I’m not sure if you’re bored already with the sunrise photos but really I can’t put in words how magical it is to watch. We walk and watch and wait.  And then it’s there… the first orange flash of light. The world changes colour and the vines are bathed in the beautiful glow of an autumn sun.

We stop for a shoe stop… we’re  still very conscious of Maggie’s blistered feet.  As we’re leaving our French-Dutch friends, Guy and his wife greet us.  I’ve no idea why but we started quoting Monty Python lines and singing Always Look On The Bright Side of Life.  We chuckled and giggled for a few more kilometres and as they left I took one of Maggies walking poles and we each clip-clopped our way along the path… just as they did in The Holy Grail… and we laughed so hard salty years rolled down our cheeks… lord only knows what the grape pickers thought of us.

The sun rose and Molly and Bruce were called for.  And still we walked through vines.

I spy with my little eye something beginning with G… grape.  I spy with my little eye something beginning with MG… more grapes.  I spy with my little eye something beginning  with WG… white grapes… you get the idea.  We were a little bored by midday.

We saw Hilda and Anna and Steff and we walked and walked our way out of the vines and into Torremejia.

We’re in a really lovely albergue called … a room for three with ensuite. .. breakfast and dinner included for 26 euro.  I’ve showered and done my chores and I can hear the other pilgrims chatting downstairs… I think I might join them… and take some photos of the beautiful building.

My feet hurt but not as bad as they did. Tomorrow we’re in Merida and we will decide if we want a rest day or if we just want to keep walking.  Either way our family changes… so tonight is the perhaps the last meal we’ll all have together.

Thanks for your messages of encouragement… it means a lot and I’m glad you’re enjoying the journey.

5 thoughts on “11. Waiting for the Sunrise

  1. I had read somewhere the VdlP, in certain parts, was ‘wall to wall’ grape vines. Prior to…I had thought that La Rioja was THE wine region. I’m happy with this as walking through wine country, on the Frances, was a highlight for us. The autumnal colours were quite amazing (as were the sunrises…which you’ve done well to capture).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gosh Colleen you bring back memories of that stage! I also remember the searing heat and interminable grapes. It’s fun chatting to the farmers and even more fun when they offer you some ‘young wine’ from their big drink bottles. It will be fun having a rest day in Merida. A great spot to mooch around and enjoy the Roman ruins. You may be lucky enough to experience a ‘show’ in the gorgeous amphitheatre. I hope Maggie’s blisters are diminishing daily. Merida will be a great rest.

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