Day 28. The day started in the normal fashion with both of us wearing our headlamps and as many layers of clothing as we had except for our rain jackets. The prediction for the start of the morning hike was for 36 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind was quite strong. We were so grateful that we had purchased wool hats and gloves in Leon. We were also anticipating some rather steep ascents and equally steep descents after looking at the elevation profiles in my guide. We were pleasantly surprised to find that those difficult terrains were limited to an alternative Camino route.
The path we chose was pretty much uphill for the entire 17.5 kilometer walk but at a more gentle incline. The walk proved to be quite delightful as we walked along side some quiet roads and through some heavily wooded areas filled with enormous chestnut trees.
By 9:00 am we were ready for breakfast and stopped at one of the many bars found along the way and asked for dos huevos con bacon and dos cafe con leche, our go to breakfast. The fresh eggs and Spanish bacon are a gustatorial delight. Even though this was on the menu, the woman taking orders said that it was not available today as she was working alone and the only food was pre-packaged sweets and croissants. When she saw the rather crestfallen look on our faces she very carefully gave us directions to another restaurant that might be able to help. So off we went in search and eventually found the restaurant only to be told that eggs and bacon were not on the menu but that she would ask if the kitchen could make it for us – the answer was YES!! We have been so impressed with the warm greetings and hospitality of the Spanish and their willingness to meet pilgrim needs and desires.
After the meal we continued on our way stopping by one of the small chapels you find all along the Camino to remember all of our friends and supporters. This particular chapel seemed to have no name but was one of the nicest and most inviting we had visited. It was quite small but felt very warm and prayerful. It made for a wonderful mid morning respite from the cold and wind.
Eventually we reached our destination, the albergue El Paso in Vega de Valcarces, with one of the warmest hostesses we have yet encountered. She only speaks Spanish and French but my French came through in a pinch and we communicated quite well.
The rest of the day will be spent relaxing and letting our bodies recuperate for tomorrow’s leg of the pulgrimage.