Day 22 – El Camino – Molinaseca to Villafranca del Bierzo

Molinaseca to Villafranca del Bierzo, today was a big day, thirty one kilometers. The path winded through Ponferrada, for me it just made the walk unnecessarily longer. However, there are villages that would rely on pilgrims passing through to make enough income to live.

~7.5 hours
camping cutlery; 3X water purification tablets
overcast and chilled all morning; sunny and super hot all afternoon
– Albergue: 8€

The sun was high and hot, it felt dry and very muggy. This made the walk tough. Here I am in front of a museum, absorbing culture through the walls.

We got about three quarters of the way to our destination town and I heard someone call out my name from the rest area. It was the Australian guys we met on Day 1, they had pushed through so much on the trek. Where we bussed through the Meseta Desert, they walked and still were at the same distance as us.

It was really quite amazing to see them again after nearly 600km. They planned to go past the town we were staying in, Villafranca del Bierzo, but they later decided to stay there and have a night out with us.

As we neared the town, there was a Welcome sign that indicated the city limits. It really must have been some kind of practical joke, as the town didn’t even start for another two kilometers down the road.

Aaron reserved us beds in a hostel, but it was on the far side. We had to walk another kilometer. At this point we were beaten and had zero desire to go any further than necessary.

Anyway, we got there in the end. Here is a pic of Matt and I at the bridge.

I showered and came back to the room shirtless. Sam noticed that I had bites all over my back, neck and right arm. I had bed bugs!!

I washed all my clothes and aired my bag in the sun. Thankfully, the bed sheets at this dorm are cleaned and replaced daily. It was nice to have fresh sheets that also smell really nice.

We walked back into town for a beer with the Australian guys. I could not stop at just one beer, it became four beers and I was served half a bottle of wine at dinner.

I left just after dinner to head back to the albergue, too drunk. As I stepped through the door, the host was standing there with a disapproving look on his face. He asked me in Spanish about the other three and I said they were still out drinking, oops.

Luckily, someone had thought about the albergue closing time and not thirty seconds later, Sam, Matt and Aaron came racing through the door. We were but 7 minutes late.

Apparently, Matt was on Skype in the kitchen and the host gave him a look and turned off the light without saying a word. Rude!

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