Solo Traveler


Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Ponferrada to Villafranca
Day 36

Author’s Note: From this point forward, the entries come from my travel journal rather than my blog. I was getting too frustrated with trying to post daily updates and upload photos when the WiFi wouldn’t cooperate. I thought perhaps I would catch up on posts when I got to a town with good connectivity, but, in the end, I didn’t want to spend the time.

Today I arranged to split up from James for the day. I wanted to walk, but he couldn’t. I booked a taxi to take James to the bus station. From there, he could take a bus to Villafranca, while I walked the Camino.

The path was so-so, with lots of rocks and gravel and some hills, but overall not too bad. The morning was very hot, then after lunch it began threatening rain with lots of thunder and lightning. Sprinkles of rain began, sometimes quite heavy sprinkles. Before it started pouring, I thought it prudent to make the necessary adjustments. I pulled out my waterproof Ziplock pouch and stored my phone and tablet in it.

Then I put on my rain poncho. Since I was by myself, it didn’t go so well. My poncho kept snagging on my backpack, and I couldn’t tug it free. Nor could I figure out what the poncho was catching on. I took off my poncho several times and put it back on, trying to fluff it out over my backpack, but each time I had the same problem.

This was the first time I had had to get my rain gear out of my backpack, and of course it was the day James wasn’t with me. He could have fixed the problem in ten seconds, but I spent several minutes in the drizzle before giving up. If my backpack and the things in it got wet, so be it. My phone and tablet were safe, and that’s all that really mattered.

I started off again with a still-snagged poncho. Eventually the wind freed the poncho. Despite all the menacing signs, the light rain never developed into a pouring deluge, as I had feared. My backpack and I survived quite nicely.

Along the way I saw some interesting folk art and stopped to look at it. A husband and wife offered me beer or water. Yet more kindness offered by strangers.

I ducked into an open church I saw for a quick peek and finally staggered into Villafranca at 6:45 pm. I had left Ponferrada at 9:00 am, so that was about nine hours of walking to reach my destination.

I met James at the hotel. I quickly showered, then rushed down, famished, to dinner at 7:15 pm. Over dinner we talked with a Scottish couple who were bicycling the Camino with their seven-year-old son. He was managing quite well, they said, and keeping up with them. We spoke about Brexit, Harry Potter, my visit to Scotland way back when, and many other topics.

The WiFi is very poor here. I struggled with it for a while, then turned in by 10:00 pm. I didn’t sleep well, and was awake by 3:00 am. As usual when I can’t sleep, I read until I could nod off.

43,176 steps today

Please go to this site for some more photos: July 6: Ponferrada to Villafranca

Author: Camino for Boomers

I am the owner and editor of Bayou City Press in Houston, Texas. As a Foreign Service Officer, I lived and traveled all over the world for 33 years. My new book is "Savoring the Camino de Santiago: It's the Pilgrimage, Not the Hike."

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