Camino day 24 Ponferrada to Villafranca

by Kim on October 14, 2013 · 18 comments

You know those days when you wonder if they even happened? Today was one of them. Nothing stands out. For the life of me I can’t even remember the first few hours of the morning.

The day dawned gray and threatened rain. I wrapped my things in plastic bags and put my raincoat on. I walked. Two hours later I stopped for coffee in a tiny village. I sat down at a table with a woman from Maryland. “Are you losing weight?” she asked me. I like people that cut the crap and get to the important questions. “Yes,” I said. “I love it!”

“Me too,” she squealed.

We drank our coffee and ate chocolate croissants. Why not?

I walked and walked through small towns and on the brim of country roads. Eventually the yellow arrows pointed me onto a dirt path through acres of vineyards. It is harvest time and groups of men combed the fields picking grapes.

I fell in step with Sabine and she said that someone told her that there are three stages of the Camino.

“The first,” she said, “is the adjustment period. You have blisters and your body aches. Everything hurts.”

I’d definitely experienced that stage.

“The second is the meditative stage. This happens on the meseta when you can’t tell the ground from the sky. You walk and you think.”

I’d experienced that stage as well.

“The third and final stage is exhilaration,” said Sabina.

“Exhilaration?” I asked.

“Yes. Exhilaration.”

I wanted to say seriously? but by the glint in her eye I could tell that she was fully submerged in stage three.

“I don’t quite think I’ve reached that stage yet,” I said instead.

Hours later I walked into Villafranca. There’s a famous hostel here, Ave Fenix, run by an eccentric man who’s a bit of a Camino legend. I walked right past that place. I don’t need eccentric. I need a clean bed and a warm shower.

I’ve found both in a lovely little place at the edge of town. Hopefully all of the snorers and farters have decided to retire to Ave Fenix. That would be exhilarating.

Today I walked 15 miles (24.2 km).

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