Bierzo country

First of all, welcome to Mark and Nina Menghini who are well into the start of the Camino. Ultreia!

I am having my breakfast in the town of Cacabelos, having gotten through Ponferrada and back into the countryside. I am in Bierzo region and Cacabelos reflects a good local economy: nice homes, prosperous shops, busy streets and nice coffee shops, like the one I am in. Usually, pilgrims will stop at the first coffee bar they come across when entering a village, as I did coming into Cacabelos. But one look at the wilted croissant, and I moved on – and found the place I am sitting in, filled mostly with locals chatting about all the local news.

Explanatory note: I am going to stop using the term “coffee shop”. I am referring to bars that happen to serve coffee and croissants, or beer or herbal orujo, or whatever you happen to want for breakfast.

The terrain and flora continues to change as we march towards Galicia. We are in the region of Bierzo. surrounded on all sides by mountains. The economy, once driven by mining, is now based on agriculture. Bierzo wine, made with the locally grown mencia grape, is becoming popular – but I still prefer Rioja wines!
Old house or new, their love their balconies in Bierzo.
This is the Puerta del Perdon, where pilgrims long ago could be forgiven their sins if they could not make it all the way to Santiago. It is closed on Mondays, but you can be forgiven on the other days of the week by passing through this door.

The puerta above marked my arrival in Villafranca del Bierzo, the ancient capital of the region. I found my hostal on the opposite side of town. It is called Las Doñas del Portazgo and is a warm and welcoming place. Do you remember how, long after you had left home, and you went back and your Mom made you feel so good and comfortable? That’s how this place is.

I finally caught up with Lisa again. We had our “arrival beer”, then met later for dinner. We talked about our adventures and the people we had met and discussed plans for the next day.

3 thoughts on “Bierzo country

  1. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos!, and so nice to know you are finding good food and cozy and welcoming dwellings for sleep.


  2. Thank you Jim. We stayed the night last night at the hotel in Akerreta and the inn keeper Josef remembers you and said to give you his regards. Tonight we stay in Pamplona. We found a laundromat and did some laundry before dinner. We will hit the trail again early in the morning. Buen Camino.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: