Day #30: Villafranca del Bierzo to Las Herrerías, 21.8km

05.16.2010

Today was a fun day.  It was a hard day, but it was a good day for so many reasons.

One, the Albergue had breakfast featuring not just toast and coffee but also cereal!  I had a nice bowl of muesli with my toast and coffee.

Two, I stopped in Trabadelos, 10.3km from Villafranca del Bierzo for breakfast #2 and had a lovely cafe con leche made with fair trade coffee, plus a bowl of muesli with yogurt and honey.  I might as well have been back in Portland!  There was also a gaggle of peregrinos I keep running across, playing guitar, singing songs and having a good time.  It was a lot of fun to just sit in the sun for a bit and relax for a while.

Three, finally the sun and heat is back.  It was clear, blue skies the WHOLE day.  Until Trabadelo, it was a little bit chilly, but after it was warm and beautiful.

The terrain was fairly level, with gradual uphills, but nothing too exhausting.  I found an artesanal panaderia for a lunch break.  I had a cafe con leche and a meat/cheese empanada.  I met a woman from Washington, DC.  Her name is Robin and she is a retired school counselor.  She was in a hurry to get to La Faba, about 5km from where we were, so we didn't chat for too long.

I was hoping the Albergue in Las Herrerías had an opening because I didn't really want to walk another 3.1km to La Faba.  Well, it was my lucky day!  I was the only pilgrim in the Albergue.  It was very basic, with two showers, two toilets, bunk beds to sleep about 18 and a small dining area.  Richard, the hospitalero and Miriam (his girlfriend and owner of Albergue) have done a great job at providing basic accomodations for the pilgrim.  I felt instantly at ease and very welcome.  It helped that Richard is from Chicago!  We chatted for a bit, then I took a shower and did some laundry.  It was a perfect day to hang out clothes to dry--warm and windy.

While I was outside soaking in the sun, I saw Dominic, a German man I met back in Acebo, looking at the "Refugio" sign.  I yelled to him that he should stay here for the night.  He walked up and ended up staying.  We were the only two pilgrims in the whole place!

Richard made us a delicious vegetarian meal for dinner.  We had bread, water, salad and lentils with spinach.  He even served it to us while we were sitting outside.  Dessert was a slice of cake with coffee.

After dinner, Richard left to go eat dinner with Miriam.  He locked things up and left us to chill out for the rest of the evening.  I found a copy of "Three Cups of Tea" and read it for a bit before getting sleepy.  I was asleep soon after I put it down.  It was probably one of the most quiet nights of sleep I have had the entire Camino!