Channelling Willie

On the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again
– Willie Nelson, 1979

Camino Day 26, Domingo 4th Octubre. 619 klms. Las Herrerías, León, Castilla y León, España

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This is a true story …

Mid-morning, about 10 minutes before the town of Trabadelo, Janet burst into impromptu song. Nothing all the unusual about that. The song, On The Road Again by Willie Nelson. Given what we are currently doing, nothing all that unusual about that either. But then, less than 10 minutes later, we came across the sign above, suitably graffitied.

It seems like a particularly fitting start to this post.

Our hotel last night was very nice, and as luck/fate/circumstance would have it we were staying in the room next door to Jim and Donna from California. So we dined together last night, and because we had a relatively easy day today Janet and I had a late breakfast before hitting the road around 9 am.

The weather people had got it right – they had said it was going to rain and so it was. It wasn’t a cold rain, just a persistent drizzle to heavy shower, which came and went all day, accompanied by a generally light wind, which served to help keep us cool under our waterproof layers.

Almost all day we walked alongside the Rio Valcarce. There are three routes out of Villafranca del Bierzo, and last night I had chosen the “middle” path, a hill climb route through the village of Pradela which would be challenging, and very pretty, but not as challenging as the remote Dragonte route. That plan got amended first thing when we saw the rain – not much point to heading off to a scenic hill climb walk when the only scenery would be the inside of the clouds.

So the “low path” along the Rio Valcarce sort of chose itself. The path is almost solely along the side of a local inter-village road which has been specially baracaded for much of it’s distance to give walkers safe passage. The road also zigzagged the larger N-VI and the very big and busy A-6, but neither of these were a distraction, and indeed as I walked under I was able to marvel at the incredible engineering of the pylons and spans of A-6 as it traversed from hilltop to hilltop some of the deepest parts of the river valley.

Anyway, the walk alongside the river was lovely, notwithstanding the rain. The river babbled quietly to itself as it made its way down the valley, with the babble sometimes increasing took a dull roar as it made its way down a steep bit or across some rocks. And for much of the way the roadside/riverside is lined with either lovely chestnut or walnut trees. At one stage, during one slight windstorm it started to rain walnuts. Fabulous. We just stopped in our full wet suits and ate fresh walnuts picked up from the road. Delicious.

Unfortunately not so much of this was captured in photo, as it was too wet to use the big camera, and even the phone camera had just small excursions from its waterproof jacket pocket. But here’s a few:
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At one level it wasn’t the most pleasant of walks, but the sheer beauty well and truly made up for a bit of discomfort. There’s almost every chance that our clothes won’t be dry by the morning, and it’s forecast to rain all day tomorrow, so there’s every chance of wet clothes now until our next rest day in Sarria.

A couple of photos of the entry into Las Herrerías follow, plus just a couple from my late afternoon walk around town.
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The top photo is from the village before Las Herrerías (Ruitelan), and the last one shows two baskets of walnuts drying. I like this because the elderly señor who had been arranging them is out of shot – he’s in the garage with his almost brand new Audi A3. Las Herrerías has an official population of 29. It’s just another in my dichotomies of Spain perspectives.

I’m finishing this in the bar of Casa Polin, our digs for the night. Next to me are another four senior señors playing cards pensively, quietly, loudly, passionately. Sometimes they quietly bid and play their cards, other times they all yell at each other. And a moment ago, the young woman behind the bar was singing to the two other patrons, who’ve just left.

Love this place.

Another big day tomorrow. On the road again ….

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