Sightseeing in Villafranca

(From our winter camino, late February to early March 2020)

Oh, the bed was lovely and the day outside was so, so grey and miserable. The ankle was no better, and we were now bandaging it and the Scouse Spouse was taking anti-inflammatory painkillers. Sad, but it is what it is. There would be no up-and-over the hill today.

So we decided to take a gentle stroll around the tiny city centre and found unknown treasure hidden in its narrow alleyways! Like this house, decorated with plaques of poems front and sides.

And a wealth of statues and stonemasonry stacked up behind one house.

There was a fruit and veg market too, though most of the vendors had left by the time we got there, and what can only be described as a pop-up pulperia under a tarpaulin. People seemed to enjoy it.

Later on there would be a carnaval, and we would have loved to stay for it, but we had a non-refundable booking at the motel up the valley, of all places, as it was the only place anywhere near Ambasmestas or Vega that was open so early in the season. The Scouse Spouse was annoyed that he couldn’t walk up the Donkey Killer again, but with his ankle even walking along the road would be a challenge – and not worth damaging it further for. The carnaval wouldn’t start until the early evening, and it was raining, so we agreed to get on to our next stop.

So we got another taxi from one pilgrim to another. The driver spoke very good English and kept us entertained with stories of previous carnavals, so we kind of got to experience it.

The motel was fine – the room was clean and warm, the bar awful and loud and strongly lit, and people came and went for us to look at if we wanted. It wasn’t a place I would have normally chosen, but I wouldn’t avoid it in future either. We were hoping to have a meal somewhere else though, and made it across the busy road and over to the other bar on the camino side, but yet again it was closed.

So we watched some Spanish football, had our laundry done and went to bed early hoping to be able to walk up to O Cebreiro the next day.


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