October 8, 2002

10/8/02 Villafranca del Bierzo

24 km

Woke up to cloudy skies and cool temperatures. It was a long walk out of the city. So much new construction everywhere. But in the rain and gloom, the city just wasn't that attractive at all.

This morning, once we were out of the city, the Camino led us through quiet country roads that seemed asleep under a blanket of mist. Saw a lot of small pumpkin patches.

Beware old men in black

Just a long walk today and I'm not feeling well. Plus I keep having pain in the toes of my left foot. After Cacabelos, we had to literally walk the highway for five kilometers. It was a relief to finally get off the busy pavement and onto a gravel farm road. Lots of vineyards ripe for picking but the weather seemed to keep the work to a minimum. But once off the highway as we climbed the final hill to Villafranca, it started to rain. My jacket was too hot, so once again, the umbrella came in handy.

Hillsides were covered with vineyards

Passed by the city alburgue to head directly to Ave Fenix, a private refugio run by Jesús Jato and his family. Another place with character. The refugio had been destroyed in a fire, so they still have some more work to finish the rebuilding. A very nice touch was the star-shaped skylights.

But I feel terrible. My throat hurts and I have that all-over-body ache like the flu. Just great. Got cleaned up and went to bed for a couple of hours. I felt better but worried about tomorrow. It's a long 31-km with the most single-day climbing of the whole trip. And with it pouring rain outside, I'm not happy.

But with my friends, anything is possible. Had a cheeseburger tonight for dinner with Max. And Josué says Benedetta is very close behind. I would love to see my Italian angel again.