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Camino de Santiago, Day 37: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo

The one-day depression has lifted.  I think it may have been exhaustion.  My website has been repaired.  My feet are mostly healed again.  I’m grateful for all of this.

The walk was quite spectacular all the way today; loaded with vineyards, wild pink and ivory roses that offered their fragrance in waves of sweetness and ripe cherries still on the trees and being peddled by elderly locals.  I overheard several pilgrims complaining of stomach pain due to cherry consumption.  It’s hard to pass up a pound of red, organic cherries for one euro.  Especially when it’s so hot.

We met Paul, a dreadlocked older Englishman from Perth, Australia.  Small talk for now but he seems like an interesting character.

The Camino ran through many small villages.  These were more lively than the ruined, decaying and dying towns that have become the norm.  The effect of the poor Spanish economy and the exodus of younger people to the cities shows itself clearly in Northern Spain.  There are more homes in ruin than in shape.  Ancient homes are left to crumble.

We arrived in Villafranca del Bierzo by 2 pm and checked into the municipal alburgue.   It’s a stunning little village with no less than four massive churches, cobblestone streets and a lovely plaza where we enjoyed mushroom pizza.  I was intrigued by the second menu item, but too hungry to experiment.  I still wonder though…

Troubled waters of mushrooms

I was troubled by the second item on the menu.

We walked 22.5 kilometers or 14 miles.

Photos of the Day:



  1. I like how you organized your blog. Very easy to follow. I started putting one together last weekend so I can too write about my experiences that ate about to begin in June 9th

    • Thank you, Rossana. I look forward to following your Camino on your blog. Buen Camino!

  2. I start at this point on June 7th, 2017. At this stage, one month out!, I am excited and worried whether I can make it. I am a 70 year old who has trained a little but as happens so life issues have deterred some daily walks … thanks for the daily walk, the pictures and comments. I can not wait to finish the next 10 days of your journey!

    • Lila, Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I would suggest that you do what you can do on the Camino and try not to get attached to any specific outcome — that will make it more enjoyable. There were many people 70+ on the trail. You will have lots of company no matter what your situation. I wish you the best. Buen Camino!

  3. This post brings back memories: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo was the first stage on my walk to Santiago in 1998. At the end of the day I had no idea how I would endure and survive the rest of it (it did get worse for a few days but I made it). Thanks for sharing and enjoy the rest of the journey!

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