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Walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo

Approaching Villafranca del Bierzo walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.comThose of you who follow me on Instagram will know that this summer (2019) I’m walking 200km along the Camino de Santiago, from Léon to Sarría in Spain. This is the fourth leg of the Camino which I started in 2016 (if you’re interested, I wrote a Q&A post in response to some of the questions people had asked me along the way that year), I’m completing a leg each summer until 2020. This is Day 31 (other posts linked at the end of this post).

Camino Frances Day 31: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo (approx 22 km)

Starting Day 31 walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.comA bit of a longer day today after the past couple of  “well under 20km” days so I started the day nice and early. I knew the landscape would be changing a bit today – moving into “the sheltered microclimate” of the Bierzo and its vineyards. I was happy for a bit of relief from the scorchingly hot landscapes of the previous few days!

Leaving Ponferrada was lovely and calm first thing in the morning…

Leaving Ponferrada walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.comAlthough there were the usual Camino “always choose the high road” scenarios…

Uphill all the way walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.comBut for the most part, this was a fairly easy morning with some gentle hills but lots of calm, quiet roads to follow…

OUtskirts of Ponferrada walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.com Camino signage walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe weather today was super overcast and continued to threaten rain the entire day (fortunately it didn’t but it made for some stunning pictures!).

Cloudy skies walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.com Ominous skies walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.comThere were tempting signs along the way…

Pilgrim wine tasting sign walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.com(I never did find this place 🙁 )

I stopped for coffee in Camponaraya and got a bonus juice and cake!

Coffee in Camponaraya walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.comBut didn’t stay long… The landscape this afternoon was very lush but there were a lot of hills too…

About to rain walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.com Vineyards and cloudy skies walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.comAs well as the usual random pop up café!

La Siesta café walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.comThis one was just outside Cacabelos and they were serving another woman the best looking burger I’ve ever seen. Sadly it wasn’t meal time for me so I just stopped for a brief rest and headed on…

Leaving La Siesta walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.comPassed through Cacabelos…

Headed out of Camponaraya walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.com Pilgrim signage in town walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.comThis afternoon brought beautiful views…

Vineyards of Bierzo walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.com Approaching Villafranca del Bierzo walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.comBut the terrain was HARD with a climb up to the town of Villafranca del Bierzo at the end of the day…

Vineyards and ominous skies walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.com Downhill through the vineyards walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.comFinally made it!

Arriving in Villafrance del Bierzo walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd headed straight to the shower then here for a few hours…

Hotel reoom in Villafranca del Bierzo walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.comTook a wander in the charming town post-siesta…

Pretty buildings in Villafrance del Bierzo walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.comGave another pharmacy all my money…

Pharmacy in Villafrance del Bierzo walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.com(more cream for my mosquito bites and meds for what I thought was a head cold – two weeks later in France was diagnosed by a doctor as an ear, nose and throat infection!).

And enjoyed a quiet meal on the main square…

Pilgrim meal gazpacho in Villafranca del Bierzo walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.com Pilgrim meal chicken in Villafranca del Bierzo walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.com Pilgrim meal melon in Villafranca del Bierzo walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo with Camino Travel Center on eatlivetravelwrite.comFabulous gazpacho, chicken with a lovely garlicky marinade and fresh melon. Washed down with some of the local wine, of course!

Verdict: Definitely not an easy day just because of the length after the relatively shorter days before this but absolutely GORGEOUS scenery that I wouldn’t have missed for the world. SO pretty and SO different from what I’d been walking in prior.

Stay tuned for the next leg which takes us to the tiny town of Las Herrerías where I’ll rest up for my climb to O’Cebreiro…

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Disclosure: I researched Camino trips independently and chose the Camino Travel Center based on a number of features such as flexibility to accommodate a couple of “splits” in some of the longer days, price and customer service. They were, in fact the first company I came across in my very first Google search and the one I ended up booking with. From the initial inquiry to the actual trips, they have been a pleasure to deal with and we have been very impressed with the service provided (bag transportation) and the accommodation choices. I was not compensated to write about this trip in any way but I love sharing companies and products I believe in with my readers. I couldn’t recommend the Camino Travel Center more and, in fact, am booking my last Camino walk with them for next summer (the summer I will finally reach Santiago!).

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2 Responses to Walking the Camino de Santiago: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo

  1. Geoff July 29, 2019 at 00:25 #

    Again, very nice post Mardi. Well done.

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