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A day in Ponferrada & Villafranca

Shock horror I at to be woken up by Colin calling me at 8.42 this morning 🙁  I think the early start and travelling all day really shattered me and with the room in total darkness I just failed to wake up.

After the €4 hotel breakfast, we decided to drive over to Villafranca for some lunch and sightseeing, amusing to see busloads of pilgrims having a quick tour then quickly moving on. The town itself has a plethora of buildings looking for renovation and the prices seem very reasonable 🙂

Lunch was at the Don Nacho restaurant a great 3-course meal & wine for about £10 🙂

After a siesta at the hotel, I went on a walk around Ponferrada to see the castle I passed on 5th September 2004 on my first Camino interesting to see so many empty shops in the town like the UK.

Ponferrada Castle 2004 Taken with Treo

Ponferrada Castle 2019 Taken with iPhone7

Here is the Strava of the little stroll:

Tomorrow we start the main walk of the Camino Invierno, should be interesting 🙂

Today’s pics:
Ponferrada & Villafranca

Traveling to Ponferrada

A bit of a long and exhausting day starting at 05.50 leaving home and finishing at 23.26  arriving at the Hostal Nirvana in Ponferrada with a side trip to Porto for lunch.

According to the Pedometer app I managed 8.5 miles and 28 stairs.

It all went very smoothly apart from losing my hat at Stansted Airport necessitating a quick trip to Decathlon in Porto to buy a replacement and a set of walking poles. Could have been worse as I thought I had put my bag in the ‘secure’ lockers at the airport, however on my return the door was wide open 🙁 but very fortunately, the bag was still intact. 😉

I met up with my new found walking pals in the airport OK although the other Geoff is struggling with his Achilles so will he walk or not?

The restaurant Colin recommended in Porto,  A Grada,  was excellent and I chatted to a couple, an Irish lady and Greek man who had met when they were tour operators ages ago, a holiday romance that lasted.

I managed to sleep in due to the room being in total darkness with the shutters closed, others were moaning about the AC not working but I was zonked out all night!

Here are a few pics.
Invierno Day1



My Third Camino

Tomorrow I jet off to start my third Camino. This time rather than on my own or with Sally, but with two other guys Colin and another Geoff. Should be interesting as I’ve never met or spoke to either of them before 🙂  plus Colin has done all the organisation! another first for me.

This is the route and planned stopping points:

A total of 160 miles and 20,000 feet of climbing! Maybe more suitable for Nick to run it 🙂 but at least there are buses and trains to take the strain for my old legs if need be.

More to follow, hopefully.

Fishermans Trail – Zambujeira do Mar to Odeceixe on lifeday 25,435

Sally Kelly on the coas
Sally on The Fishermans Trail

We started the day at 8 am with a 15 minute €20 taxi ride up the coast to Zambujeira do Mar where we had a lovely breakfast at the Por do Sol cafe. Fortunately, the rain stopped just before we departed in the cab 🙂

After breakfast, we started on The Fishermans Trail all be it the final section. After some confusion, we finally found the trail on the other side of a huge empty car park. This place must be heaving in the summer with the vast car parks and large number of hotels/b&b etc

The trail is delightful with splendid views and very hilly, constantly dropping down to sea level and then straight back up. Very reminiscent for me of my walk on the South West Coast Path in Cornwall. However, one huge difference is the sand! how does all the sand get on top of the cliffs?  was my constant thought.

The eponymous Fisherman

Once again the trail was virtually devoid of people even though it was sunny today.

The last 4km into Odeceixe was a bit disappointing as it’s along on a flat surfaced road, at least it had no cars on it.

The trail itself was a fine end to our short walking holiday of just over 80 miles and 7,260 feet of ascent.

Today’s photos are here and Strava is here

Here’s my little spreadsheet:-

Trip to Portugal Km 128.5 2.2
Miles 80.3 7261.0
Day Date From To Walk Days Miles fromStrava Elevation (ft) min/mile % Gradient Hotel
Saturday 11 Mar 2017 Cambridge Sagres Mareta View
Sunday 12 Mar 2017 Sagres Vila do Bispo 1 14.4 1319 21.37 3.47% Pure Flor de Esteva
Monday 13 Mar 2017 Vila do Bispo Carrapateira 2 14.3 964 19.3 2.55% Carrapateira Guest House
Tuesday 14 Mar 2017 Carrapateira Arrifana 3 15.4 1746 19.34 4.29% Arrifana Destination Hostel
Wednesday 15 Mar 2017 Arrifana Aljezur 4 12.6 1361 21.3 4.09% Amazigh Hostel
Thursday 16 Mar 2017 Aljezur Odeceixe 5 11.5 444 18.57 1.46% Hospedaria Firmino Bernardino
Friday 17 Mar 2017 Zambujeira do Mar to Odeceixe Odeceixe 6 12.1 1427 22.1 4.47% Hospedaria Firmino Bernardino