Distance to go: 193.2 Kms
We had a lovely dinner last night in the cafe Aitor. We were the only 2 when we arrived. The waiter was gracious and the service was impeccable. Debbie said I should ask him whether he wanted to join Seabourn.
We had Vino Tinto and tapas to start. The local red wine is called Bierzo which is new to me. It was wonderful and mellow and reminded me of a not so heavy rioja. Main course was a seafood paella which was outstanding. Then came creme caramel and more vino tinto. Finally the waiter brought us a nice Muscadet to finish off. I reckoned the bill would come to around €50. It was worth that much. It was €26. I was staggered. We paid, left a tip and returned to our nest for a great nights sleep.
The alarm went off at 05:45. We were on the road by 06:35. It was a slow start.
We both really enjoyed today and although we took the easiest of the 3 options on offer we both really loved the experience.
First stop was in Villafranca del Bierzo. This is a delightful town. I adored the place.
Built along the Rio Cúa it oozed charm, antiquity and warmth. We went to the central plaza, Plaza Major and had tea and toast and jam for breakfast. What else. Invigorated we moved on.
There were three route choices to choose from. The stupidly hairy mountaineer route, the moderately up and down route or the chicken valley route. The valley route followed the road and did not sound appealing but we took it to nurse a twangy knee of mine. It was heavenly. Although it was along tarmac it followed the river, was shady and was really lovely. We arrived at the tiny hamlet of Pereje. The sound of the river was present all the way.
Tea time again. This was a little hidden gem of a place bypassed by the masses. The cafe/bar stamped our pilgrim passport with a lovely stamp and refreshed we moved on to Trabadelo.
This was supposed to be our original stop but both Debbie and I felt good enough to move on to the next place 3.8 Kms away, La Portela de Valcarce.
The albergue was not appealing at all. More bar than albergue so we continued to Ambas Mestas. By this time we were getting hot and tired. The albergues looked run down and again not appealing.
We moved on again to Vega de Valcarce. It was lovely and we chose Albergue Sarracin. It looked well presented and had a riverside bunk house with 11 bunk beds. We entered the bar area. The woman was arrogant. No hello. No welcome. Nothing. We liked it and thought she would warm so we paid €20 for the two of us. We went into the bunk house and were showed and top and bottom bunk. I asked for two bottom bunks and was told the other beds are all reserved. 2 more people arrived later and asked us if we thought the owner was arrogant. It is a real shame for the place itself is heavenly but the people that run the place seem as though they dont want us here. I would love to recommend this place simply because it is so clean and has a fantastic location. But the owners seem to know it and show no warmth to pilgrims. We will spend no more money here and will eat out in the village instead. There are still 6 empty beds. So much for the others all reserved.
There is a fantastic bakery just down the road from us that bakes all of its own cakes and bread. We just had to sample their wares. With Twinings English Breakfast tea. Debbie was in heaven. I enjoyed it too. Tea and a walnut muffin. Whats not to like?
Report of the dining experience in the village will follow tomorrow.
Distance walked today: 26.4 Kms