Leaving town I looked at a large model of an ancient wine press. I took the scenic route through all the vineyards of the Bierzo. Many had touristic signs advertising the grapes they produced and giving a history of that type of grape. It was much cooler en route, with clouds on all sides and showers threatening. As I was coming down into Villafranca it seemed about to rain, but this didn't come to much till the afternoon when it poured down.
|Diagram of winepress|
I passed the Church of Santiago (11th century), where it was possible in medieval times to obtain your pardon if you were too old or infirm to reach Santiago itself. I felt that my tendonitis might qualify me! The layout of the town was rather confusing, and I had to ask the way to the Parador. When I finally arrived, it was a haven of peace and luxury! It had a full range of toiletries to replenish my dwindling supplies. I ran a big hot bath and lazed in it for a long time with a bottle of beer in my hand! I also spent some time looking out of the window at the view across the valley. I could see the entrances to the tunnels into the mountain, one for the normal road and two for the freeway. There was also a very tall chimney in the middle of town with a stork's nest on top.
|Entering Villafranca, albergue in front|
Best of all, the Parador had 3 computer terminals for the Internet, so I was able to read and send emails at my leisure, and then research a few ideas about where to go from here in view of my tendonitis problem. Hotels in Mallorca seemed twice as expensive as I had been paying over here, and the good ones in Illetas were filling up fast.
I talked to the friendly guys in Reception, and discovered that there was one bus in the morning going up to Pedrafita, 4 kms from O'Cebreiro, with a return at 6.30 p.m. The only problem on the horizon was the worsening weather, with rain solid forecast for the next 5 days at least!
I walked into town to check the info about the buses at the Turismo, and got caught in a gusty downpour which threatened to turn my umbrella inside out. I had dinner in the Parador: c.€30, with grilled mixed veggies for starter, then a skewer of fish and scallops on a bed of rice. Not bad at all, but I couldn't manage dessert!.
|Church of Santiago|
|Castillo Palacio de los Marquesas|
|Transport of baggage for pilgrims|
|Bedroom at the Parador|
|View from my window of the tunnels|