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Published: October 20th 2014
Today we rose early, skipped breakfast and headed to Ponferrada, in the dark, with headlamps glowing. It was a suburban walk through housing ranging from fairly urban to very upmarket. Ponferrada is known for its gold, silver and coal assets, as well as being the location of a large nuclear power plant. Walking through town was quiet and the only people around were fellow travellers or locals out early with their little dogs, encouraging them to do what they can't do in the appartment.
We saw the ancient castle with the remains of a moat and the cathedral but decided to just pass through to get a few kilometres up before it became too hot. We met an Australian couple, Ray and Lynn from Port Macquarie, who were doing the Camino from Pamplona. Lynn was having some pain problems and after a while Ray suggested we move on as their pace was slow. They were not going far today and we took up his offer or we wouldn't either. They were great people and it would be nice to cross paths again.
Upping the pace, we crossed two rivers and made good time to reach Camponaraya where we had
a light lunch and rang Sue a taxi. The road ahead was quite hilly and we have decided that to meet our timeframe it's pretty inexpensive to catch a taxi to the next destination.
Tim and I walked and passed through endless vineyards in the Bierzo region. Legend has it that a French pilgrim dropped a Cabernet blanc grape and over the years it morphed into the local prized variety, Mercia. True or not, this area has it's own microclimate and it it is a renowned wine grower.
After Cacabelos, the last village before Villafranca, most people continued up the road as it is a shorter route, but Tim and I, accompanied by Doug and Libby who we saw on the edge of town, took the traditional, longer path past Valtuille. It rewarded us with total peace from the traffic and amazing views towards Villafranca.
Footsore and weary, we finally located our alburgue on the edge of town and settled into our room. It had a double bed with a bunk overhead and was run by a young couple would renovated this medieval building themselves.we had dinner in the main square that night and prepared for another
long day tomorrow.
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