Day 34 – Camponaraya to Trabadelo

We left Camponaraya around 6.30, planning to get breakfast at Cacabelos, around 7km down the road. A pleasant walk through villages with pretty houses, we soon found ourselves outside Cacabelos. We see the ruins of a monastery and then look out for the yellow arrow! Can’t find any! There’s a French trio also lost like us. We walk in front of the old Iglesia, but nothing there. Finally in a park, there’s a stone with a pale yellow arrow, pointed in a direction which has no road or path. Taking a gamble, we head down the main road, west! We find a human finally who affirms we’re on the right path!

Then the Camino left Cacabelos along the highway. We hadn’t noticed as the stone markers in this area seemed to be hidden or hard to see. The French trio calls out to us and we turn of the highway and follow them.

Family picking pears
The berry tree being raided by the French and Indians

We followed the track through beautiful vineyards around Camino Viego. The walk is now through fruit gardens and vineyards with berry trees on road. Along with our French friends we pick the tree for a few. This is wine country again. There are many bodegas on the way to our next town – Villafranca del Bierzo,

This town reminds us of Ooty or Kodai! The Iglesia de Santiago was a church dedicated to Santiago pilgrims, too ill to reach Santiago. The church provided absolution to the pilgrims at the Puerta del Perdón; the door of forgiveness was located on the church’s side. The Castillo-Palacio de Los Marqueses was near the Iglesia de Santiago. It was a part-time home of the Marquis of Villafranca.

French monks of the Cluny Order founded Villafranca del Bierzo. They built the monastery, El Monasterio de Santa María de Cluniaco, following the discovery of Santiago’s body in 813 A.D. The monastery served the needs of many pilgrims who passed this way. The village became known as Villafranca, or “town of the French,” as the monks were French. It is a national tourist destination. Saint Francis of Assissi established the Iglesia de San Francisco while on a pilgrimage to Santiago.

After a delicious lunch of pasta in this pretty town, we head towards Trabadelo. Just as we leave the town we run into an English lady we’d shared a dorm with, in Villamayor. She had news on the others there. It seemed like we weren’t the only ones who got Covid there. Most of the others too had coughs and colds and were forced to take rest days! So it looks like we’ll be seeing many of them in Santiago!

The walk to Trabadelo was around mountains, by the highway with the river Valcarce by our side. It began to rain as we drew close to the village. We pulled on our rain gear and trudged to the hotel in a steady heavy drizzle. Chris is sitting outside! So happy to see him there. It had been a long day and a long walk – 30km almost!!

The phone card seemed to be out of charge and we needed to top up. Fortunately there was a gas station opposite the hotel where we could do this! A very helpful attendant there assisted us with the recharge. Every encounter with the locals is so overwhelmingly positive and such to lesson and reminder to be the same, when we get back home!!

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