We left Ponferrada in time to arrive in Villafranco de Bierzo by mid morning. After a quick tortilla de patata and coffee, we hit the streets for an abridged walking tour conducted by an overly caffeinated Mikey for the benefit of a shivering Frank. It’s a little hard to lose the Camino in this town!
The 11th century romanesque Iglesia de Santiago is known for its Puerta de Perdon (Door of Forgiveness). Medieval pilgrims who could not continue to Santiago received absolution by passing through this church’s doors. We tried the door, but it was locked. Guess it’s on to Santiago, then.
Today’s path through the mountains was very beautiful. Although we walked alongside the highway for quite some time, between the infrequent Sunday morning drivers, we were serenaded by a nearby river, various birds, and other peaceful nature sounds.
But, here’s the crazy part: it was Mother’s Day in Spain and the place was packed. We wondered how American mothers would react to dinner at a truckstop on this special day!
After a very long day, we arrived in the small hamlet of La Faba. Frank posed with a fellow pilgrim outside of an albergue run by a German Confraternity. As Helmut the hospitaller explained, volunteers like himself comit to a two week stint working in albergues along the Camino. They have normally walked at least some of the Camino and/or are involved with a religous order that supports the act of pilgrimage.
We’d better wrap this up for now as the Germans will most likely lock the albergue doors PROMPTLY at 10pm. Buenas noches.