From Villafranca del Bierzo to La Faba
Day 21, Friday 13 September 2013
Distance to Santiago: 180,5 km
We slept the previous night in Albergue Ave Fenix in Villafranca del Bierzo for €5 each. With a bonus included in the price, bed bugs. Actually the place was a shack, not well maintained. At 05:45, to my amazement, Marinda switched on the lights demanding that we leave as quickly as possible because she was bitten by bed bugs. While packing, we heard an argument between Jesus Jato, the hospitalero and one of the pilgrims, arguing in Spanish, and we guessed that it was about the sleepless night because of the bedbug infestation in this albergue.
We left the Albergue at 06:45 for La Faba, when it was still dark and we were guided by the streetlights, since Villafranca del Bierzo was a big town we walked for about 3 km before we reached the outskirts. We had to use the headlamp to guide us. There were also a few other pilgrims on the road confirming that we were on the right track to La Faba.
The road we followed was next to the N-VI national road winding through a narrow valley with pine and chestnut trees next to a river. Even though it was still dark we could not see the environment clearly but was all the time aware of the big trees, the sound of the river, the birds chirping, the smell of pine. I enjoyed this early morning walk tremendously because of the crisp freshness. After sunrise we walked for about 10 km through this beautiful scenery before we had breakfast at a small village.
We walked mostly on tar road and I felt the soles of my feet started to burn. This part of the Camino was very beautiful. We walked uphill for most of the time surrounded by awesome scenery through, forests, small villages.
I think that it is the ideal place to open an Albergue, it is so beautiful and peaceful here up in the hills with the green meadowlands. It must be beautiful in the winter with snow. The road from Herrerias to La Faba was very steep, narrow, rocky and hot. The last 2 km felt like 200 km.
We reached La Faba and this time we were very careful regarding our choice of accommodation. We booked in at Albergue La Faba, again for €5 each. The other option was Refugio Vegetariano where Marinda had a nice vegetarian meal later the evening. The La Faba Albergue was a parish house renovated and managed by the German Confraternity. When the Germans noticed on our Pilgrim Passports that we had slept at Albergue Ave Fenix, the previous night they separate us from the rest. Apparently Fenix was known for the bed bug problem. They sent us to the gas chamber with our backpacks to terminate the bed bugs. (Ha Ha apologies for the sick joke.)
They sent us to the back of the church to unpack our backpacks, shake out our sleeping bags and the content of our bags, inspecting it for any visible signs of bed bugs, and then when they were satisfied we had to take only the necessary things to shower, etc and leave the backpacks in the church. The group of German pilgrims who also stayed at Fenix, arrived later and were treated likewise.
We walked 26,5 km for the day.