Villafranca del Bierza to Las Herrerias – 21kms
I was dead asleep this morning after a Spanish party nearby last night meant a very late sleep and weird Camino dreams involving Jean and Bill and cats. There are a LOT of cats on the Camino.
Still, I managed to get moving far quicker than yesterday because the final destination for me has the wonderful benefit of Riley arriving.
I had decided to take the low route as there were more villages and as has already been established… I hate the inclines.
I am so glad I did! Yes, it followed the old road and there was sometimes noise from the road above, but for a lot of the journey, it was quiet apart from the sounds of the river, which I was also following. I love the sound of a babbling river.
Without breakfast at Villafranca, it was a welcome stop at Pereje for cafe con leche and the remainder of my chocolate croissant from the day before (it was a HUGE croissant).
It was a nice stop, but when I was standing up, everything was stiff and achy. My body feels worse than it did at the halfway mark! Once I start moving though, it’s fine.
Back on the way, I started chatting with a fellow Camiga, Denise from Colorado. We walked for another 4.5kms and stopped at Trabedelo for second breakfast of freshly squeezed orange juice and fresh fruit. This freshly squeezed juice on tap is something else I will greatly miss when I finish.
The villages from this point were every few kms, each with the beautiful Spanish charm, churches and houses with a slate roof.
The other impressive scenery was the enormous bridges that carried the major highway through the valleys. No picture did it justice on the sheer scale of them. There was no winding roads, just tunnels and enormous bridges to take the cars straight across from one mountain to the next.
We stopped briefly for a drink at a village just under 5kms from the final destination to help recharge the batteries, which did for a little, but we could tell our feet were dragging.
Finally, Las Herrerias appeared and Denise had the benefit of stopping at the first Albergue, while I had another 300mtrs to walk.
I gratefully stumbled into Casa Lixa, my accommodation for the next two nights and the host sympathised with me as I hobbled up the stairs. Gorgeous rooms and bathroom, so a bit spoilt right now.
After a shower and having my feet up for 40mins, I was able to walk back to the Dream tree. A wonderful Camiga who has been providing me with some fabulous insights, told me about it as a place where people leave tokens of love and dreams.
It was a lovely place by the river and she was right, a beautiful spot to leave a heart.
One thing that I had wanted to do on this journey was to sit somewhere peaceful with my feet in a river. Up until now, I still hadn’t done it, but this was the perfect place.
I put my feet in the water…and yanked them out again pretty quickly! The water was like ice. It was so cold it actually hurt my feet.
I kept dropping them in and out before laughing and telling myself, dream complete and drying them in the sun.
After a quick wander through town, I made my way back to the hotel, ordered a Sangria and went to sit outside and wait for Riley. There was a lady sitting on the bench and when she looked up, I nearly dropped my Sangria. It was Linda, one of the Alaskan ladies from Orisson! I hadn’t seen them since before Logrono, so many weeks ago.
We were laughing and hugging and when I told her I was waiting for Riley, she was so excited for me. When Randi arrived, she was as shocked as I had been to see me.
By this point, it was painful watching car after car arrive with no sign of Riley, but finally, up rolled the taxi and I ran to the car. He barely made it out of the car before I was hugging him tightly.
I hugged and thanked Luis the taxi driver for bringing him safely to me and he looked so pleased. It was a fabulous moment. Now I am on this journey with all my children.
He met the Alaskans who all hugged him, which is probably a bit overwhelming for someone who has just been dropped in on the Camino to be hugged by what is essentially complete strangers, but he will need to get used to it as there will be more to come.
Once he had settled, we went for a small wander around town and as we did, I heard a voice call out “Hello Riley.” I laughed and went over to Sara and Evan who were sitting out the front of one of the cafes. Again, Riley was hugged.
We sat down with Sara and Evan and was soon joined by a New Zealand couple and another Australian and had a hilarious evening. The Australian said we were a legend up the road. When I looked at him blankly, he said he’d heard about a son from Australia arriving to his mother so he wanted to come down and meet us. The Camino grapevine in action!
The New Zealand couple thought Las Herrerias translated as Hairy Ass and for a moment, I believed that was the actual translation.
While we were sitting there, a car pulled up with a trailer that had a VERY unhappy bull in it. His bellowes got the attention of the cows in the far corner of the field, who all lifted their heads and then ran right over to where we were, calling out to him. Needless to say, that bull really started kicking his trailer and we were casually moving our seats to be out of the path if the door didn’t hold and we needed to make a quick run for it. I think there was a bit of nervous relief when they drove off. Sara laughed and told Riley this is what constituted entertainment on the Camino!
Soon though, everyone (except Riley) started making noises about bed. I think I actually saw Riley look at his watch and I could almost hear the thought, “It’s not even 8:30pm!” Oh I remember having those thoughts. 🤣🤣