Doug and Dave walk the Camino de Santiago
Day 5, Monday, April 16, 2007
Villafranca del Bierzo -to- La Portela de Valcarce
Distance travelled today: 14.2 km, 8.8 mi Total distance walked: 92.8 km, 57.7 mi Distance to Santiago: 178.2 km, 110.7 mi
This was an interesting morning. Doug discovered his ten year old boots were disintegrating,
as can be seen in these photos. Dave's blisters had reached their maximum discomfort level.
Doug proposed that he go back to the larger town of Ponferrada by bus and buy new boots
while Dave gave his blisters a rest.
Someone, probably St. James, was looking over our sholders! Doug met a Romanian student
at the bus stop in Villafranca who was going back to the University in Ponferrada.
He told Doug to get off at the same stop since he knew of a good sports store very
near the University. Doug went to the store and found a better pair of boots than his
old ones! And, he returned back to the albergue in Villafranca about noon.
Meanwhile, the rest helped Dave a lot. He also talked to a professional
walker who told him to wear three pair of socks; two, thin, non-cotton socks and a thick
pair of wool or synthetic socks. Then, sliding occurs between the two thin socks
instead of between foot and sock. The thick sock holds the foot in place in the boot.
After following these instructions, Dave's blisters quickly healed.
By 12:30 PM we were walking again. We paused on the bridge over the Río Burbia
in Villafranca. Doug is showing off his new boots which turned out to be great
for the rest of the trip in spite of no break-in period!
Views of the Río Burbia in Villafranca from the bridge.
On the left, Dave stops to make sure his taped feet are OK.
On the right, a hoop askew on the Calle Camino Santiago.
Near La Portella there is a very nice pilgrim statue wishing pilgrims,
"Buen Camino, Peregrino", a phrase used often between pilgrims;
"Have a good trip, pilgrim!"
(Maybe John Wayne would have said, "Howdy Pilgrim")
A welcome sign at the end of a short day shows the way through La Portella where
Dave found the private albergue, "El Peregrino", and toasted it with a beer.
We had a nice bottle of red wine (Vino tinto) from León with dinner. Table wine,
or house wine, is labeled "Vino de la Casa". We had great wines along the Camino,
many of which were cheaper than bottled water! On the right, Dave's three pair of
socks hang to dry from the bunk slats, looking like stalactites in a cave.
Their bouquet was not quite as fragrant as the wine's.