Day 27: Villafranca del Bierzo – Las Herreriás

Mondays are…well, they’re just Mondays. I had a Monday. 
As did everyone, I suppose.

Though my intention was always to get going early – I actually got up at 05:00 – I gave up on the idea, got back into bed, and had another two hours’ sleep. 
Why the hell not, I say.

So, I finally – after first stopping for my usual café con leche and zumo de naranja (pronounced naranga – the ‘g’, like in an Afrikaans one) – only left Villafranca del Bierzo at 08:30. In my book it’s still an early start for a Monday morning!

Today I had to conquer a 700m ascent, but I’ll admit: whoever the Roman (or whatever) was who mapped this part of the route, he bloody well knew his shit! He could have been as spiteful as some of the middle age clowns who, earlier on the route, mapped the route straight over the mountains, but not this chap! He carefully planned this route so that you basically walk ‘through’ the mountains – the gradient being more than managable!
Only thing is: you climb for 22km’s.

Anyway, having left at 08:30, my first stop was the village of Pereje. I stopped for coffee – I really battled to get going today – and that’s where my path first crossed with a group of American women.

Now, I’m all for everyone doing the Camino in whatever way suits them, but this group of yanks just talked too much for my liking – particularly on a Monday morning. Had it not been that one of them was very attractive, I’d have murdered them all with my trekking pole – in fact, later in the day, I started to doubt if the pretty one’s beauty was enough reason to let them live!

I crossed paths with them numerous times today, and their constant chatter, in the most annoying American twang, irritated me endlessly. If only the ugly ones realised – had it not been for their pretty friend – how close they came to their end today.

I literally stopped at every village (even if there was only a shed, I stopped) today. I really battled to get going. After Pereje, there were Trabadelo, La Portela de Valcarce, Ambasmestas, Vega de Valcarce, Ruitelán, and, finally, Las Herreriás.

Just before Ambasmestas my right hip started to pain – I’m sure it was the bloody Americans – and I battled with the pain until I reached Las Herreriás. In Ruitelán I took two Myprodol’s – and a beer, for good measure – but I really struggled with the darn hip. I have, however, up to this point, walked 652km’s, and I suppose I can’t complain – I’ve had very few issues. The hip today was probably just the light going on to notify me that I’m nearing the end of my ‘service interval’.

Anyway, besides the annoying Yanks and the hip, I’ve had a fairly good day – for a Monday.

When I arrived I nursed my hip with a wonder cure I discovered here. It’s called ‘Fisiocrem’, and I reckon it’s a natural product (all I understand from the ingredients is that they are mostly ‘extracts’ from some stuff I don’t know), but it does its job. After taking a shower, I rubbed my hip with it, and it feels as good as new. Maybe it was just the freakin’ Yanks who gave me the pain!

I have a 34km day tomorrow – my longest remaining day on the Camino Frances (this time next week, I’ll be in Santiago) – so I anticipate going to bed early.

Lesson for today: they’re annoying on most days, but Yanks and Mondays don’t go down well together.

Buen Camino!

Ps. Don’t ever tell an American about the marvel of Vaseline. Let the buggers suffer!

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