Today was not supposed to be a very hard day, about 22 kms. There were a few hills to climb, but nothing serious. Our early morning weather check in Ponferrada revealed damp, but not wet streets. Rain was in the forecast, but none was falling. We enjoyed our hotel stay and set off for Villafranca about 8:30. The morning temps were around 40F (and never got above 45F). Robin and I both had hard shell jackets on over t shirts, and mid weight base layers. Once we had walked a few blocks I shed my jacket. I had my poncho at the ready, but the mist never quite got heavy enough for me to put it on. Robin swapped out her hard shell for her poncho and wore it all day. I have found that unless it is actually raining, by that I mean steady rain not occasional sprinkles, I prefer having air flow and walk without my poncho. Exertion in the poncho (at least in the Altus poncho) causes as much dampness as a good bit of mist without it. So that’s my take on that. Our packs have waterproof liners so the mist doesn’t cause a problem with our gear. The t shirts and base layers both dry very quickly so I never felt chilled. So from Ponferrada we plugged along stopping for coffee at Fuentes Nuevas, a snack at Componaraya, and another coffee and pincho at Cacabelos.
We kept a steady pace, but walked a little more slowly as our legs kept reminding us of yesterday’s long descent from Cruz de Ferro. Our sore legs seemed to have added another 10 kms today’s walk. On the plus side, the rain held off until we were walking through the streets of Villafranca, at about 3:00. Perfect timing. We have opted for another hotel stay, and have found a room at the Hotel Las Donas del Portazgo, which is on the Camino, quite close to the bridge leading out of town. Very nice. Tomorrow we will stay in Ruitelan, and O’Cebreiro after that. We took two days to do this stage on our previous Camino, and found that worked quite well. Aside from sore legs, no other issues. We are doing fine, and are looking forward to entering Galicia on Sunday. I am not sure of available WiFi for the next couple of days, but we will update our blog asap. Bye for now.