October 16

Villafranca del Bierzo to Albergue La Escuela   27km

I woke up this morning and walked through the courtyard in the Albergue to the toilets. There was a smell of bonfires in the air and it was amazingly warm for 6.30am. It was 18°C. 

As I set off at 7.30 I could feel a few ash particles falling in the air and see a few in the beam of my torch when I switched it on – a thing I rarely do. People switch on their head torches not because they need to see but because they think they do. 

I learned an interesting lesson several years ago. I had estimated I had enough time to run up a hill in South Shropsire before the winters afternoon turned into night. Of course I was wrong and ended up running the last mile in the pitch black as I had no torch. I found it was quite easy once I relaxed and I could jog along at a slowish pace without any difficulties. After all, I thought, I have been practising walking for 60 years. It’s not surprising I can do it with my eyes shut!

Walking through town

The path lay along a road which was thankfully really quiet. All the traffic was on the main road above us!

The odd thing was that this morning it didn’t get light at the normal time. It was really gloomy and even at 11am the street lights were still on. 

It was very grey and dark. It reminded me of when Bilbo was approaching Mount Doom. There are cows in the field down there:

It did get a little brighter but not much
The cause of all this gloom was the forest fires raging nearer the coast – maybe 100 miles away to the South West. My route to Santiago heads West. 

I decided to walk a little further because if it’s going to rain tonight this dusty path will be very slippery and muddy tomorrow:
I am staying in an Albergue that is surrounded by fields, not forest, and half an inch of rain is forecast for tonight so I am not worried about any immediate danger. 

To lighten the gloom (pun) today I spotted these.

The Camino is also known as the Way. 
I chortled about this one I found under a bridge:

Outside an ‘alternative’ establishment was this clock that always shows the correct time:

The other day someone had written below the word ‘STOP’ on a road sign “in the name of love”. That had me humming for a while….

The graffiti along this Camino is certainly of a higher quality than in the U.K.  And it’s in a foreign language!

I love people’s optimism. On this wall was a ‘for sale’ sign! I wonder how much they are asking….

Only six walking days left to Santiago. 160km to go. 

Let’s hope the rain clears the air so I can get some better pictures tomorrow. 

Location 42.7014, -7.0220