Sarria – Beginning of the final leg

Sarria The next significant place was Sarria – 110kms to the end-point. We missed the arrows when coming into Sarria – fortunately, the GPS and map component of the TrekRight app soon saw us back on the path. It is a largish town, and we climbed the hill and steep …

Villafranca del Bierzo – and a Camino angel

Once we reached the outer suburbs of Ponferrada we were soon walking past market gardens. We stopped at Columbrianos for coffee, enroute to Villafranca del Bierzo. Then on to Fuentes Nueva (New Fountain) where there was an amazing small church with frescoes painted in the dome and a wonderful altarpiece. …

The descent, then on to Ponferrada

We came down from the Cruz de Ferro. Manjarin – associated since the C12th with the Knights Templar – came slowly into view. We had Ponferrada in mind. I must confess that at first I thought it was a vagrant’s camp with random tattered flags and half-ruined rubble piles with …

Burgos – A Cathedral, a Prince and a Toy Train

The toy train This morning turned out to be Spain’s National Day and everything was closed for the public holiday. It rained for much of the day, so we took the toy train ride to take in the tourist experience. It was a delightfully absurd way to see the city. …

Atapuerca and on to Burgos

Up at sunrise, we set off in fog – and our first frost! Our lack of gloves meant that we were quickly walking with both sticks clipped together and alternating one hand in the coat pocket to keep the hands thawed. We were heading to Atapuerca and then on to …

Camino Frances: Haven’t seen you in Agés…

Our destination today is the town of Agés. From Villafranca Montes de Oca the road climbed steeply straight out of the town. Steeply. Towns called Villafranca – are towns that were settled by the Franks – French pilgrims who settled in Spain from around the C9th. Villafranca Montes de Oca also …

On to Villamayor del Rio – and some thoughts on the Camino

The air was thick, stuffy and heavy with humanity as I woke around 0230am. 26 bunks, all full, and only two small windows slightly ajar. There was no air movement. I forced myself to settle in a bid to conform to the 07.00am rule. Several people snored, making for quite …

Abbey of Eskirotz and Ilarratz – a hidden gem

Leaving Zubiri, we passed a noisy, dusty manganese processing plant, which supplies to the steel industry, including the arms factory down the road. Some people feel the sights and sounds of industry to be incompatible with the Camino. In reality, industry has sat alongside the spiritual path for millennia. The Romans …

Espinal to Zubiri: A sketch and a close call

After a sparse breakfast, (I’m beginning to wonder if the Spanish DO breakfasts!) we had a delightful walk through light woodlands, with a few short steep climbs. The light through the trees is wonderful. Welcome to Basque country We walked to Viscarret/Guerendiain (the latter being the Basque name) for lunch …