Our friendly shadows have returned. The sun is out, the mornings brisk and the afternoons pleasant. The Ponferrada valley reminds us of the Bozeman area in southern Montana, a plain of several miles with snow on the peaks in the distance. Villafranca is on the western edge, just where the hills meet the mountains. It is our favorite town in Spain, and we just discovered a wonderful rose garden near the Plaza Mayor. Ruth says in two more weeks the blooms would be amazing.
Because we slowed our pace, we've lost most of the familiar faces. There will be new folks to meet tonight, hopefully over a shared bottle of local wine.
We've stayed in a few places that were rundown or dirty. Tonight's stay, Albergue de la Piedra is wonderful. The Rio Valcarce is tumbling down the narrow canyon, and the building is literally built partly into the mountain bedrock. The only problem is the beds are on the 4th floor, the "banos" on the third, the kitchen on the second, and the exit on the first. Too many stairs for tired pilgrims. The hosts Urai and Libbia are great.
Quote from RA's journal: The reasons for walking this pilgrimage are as varied as the pilgrims themselves.