Today was different. For the first time on the Camino I woke up to rain!
Setting off to walk in the rain means packing things differently, because while you know you’ll get wet on the way, you want to do your very best to avoid your sleeping bag and spare clothes getting wet! So those plastic bags I’ve accumulated came in very useful.
My rucksack has an inbuilt waterproof cover (tested way back in Roncesvalles) butthis morning it was time to get out my friend Jolanta’s rain poncho (untested up until now!) it’s huge (even though size XS) and covered almost all of me, including my packback, and apart from my boots and socks I kept nice and dry!
When I say it was raining, I really do mean raining heavily, cats and dogs kind of rain, while not actually torrential, it was so heavy that the road and pavements in Camponaraya were teeming with water and the gutters were full to overflowing!
There was a new learning toowhen I stopped for coffee in Cacabelos: the polished floors of cafes are extremely slippery when you have wet boots.
I took the route to Villafranca over the hill (rather than along the road as I disliked both the traffic and the spray the vehicles created) and it was fantastic! The rain eased off and I found myself walking through the loveliest vineyards I’ve seen yet. Some of the vines have just started to turn into the most vibrant of autumnal reds, but the grapes are still waiting to be harvested in this area. I picked one grape just to taste it. The skin is much more robust than the grapes we buy to eat in Finland, but oh my goodness, it was bursting with juice and full of flavour!
Villafranca del Bierzo is only 13 or so km from Camponaraya, so this was another half day walk! Tomorrow I begin the ascent into Galacia … it’s a whole day of climbing, (from 500m to 1300m) and about 30km to cover! Since I have time I’ll probably take it over two days… depending on the weather conditions.
Right now the sun is trying to shine and the wind has picked up a bit (good news for drying my socks!) and I’m of course hoping for dry sunny weather to cross the mountains!
I walked down into Villafranca after checking into the albergue Ave Fenix, as I needed to find an ATM. It’s a lovely small town (population 3500) with a bit of a holiday feel with a lovely main square and a very picturesque bridge (which I’ll be walking across tomorrow!)