Day 26 – Cacebelo to Trabadelo — 18 km

Home / Roncesvalles To Santiago / Day 26 – Cacebelo to Trabadelo — 18 km

A restless night even though only two in a room the prefab offered no noise barrier whatsoever and every turn, spoken word, whisper, snoring, fart and cough was heard loud and clear.   Cafe con leche was desperately needed and I hit the road before Shereez, Jess and Kristen were up.  3 km later in a small village Pieros was a quaint coffee shop that had only been open for one week.  What a stunning little place and only one other pilgrim –  he was cycling the Camino and asked me to join him for coffee.  He noticed the South African flag on my back pack and was keen to hear about life in SA.  I don’t think he got a chance to ask me any questions as I was more interested in how the cyclists (loads of mountain bikers on the Camino) cope on the Camino.  Cyclists complete between 50 and 70 km per day.  They are last to get a bed in the Albergues.  They too suffer from blisters just in a different place.  I think I am happy with my blisters being on my feet (Bwahahaha can you imagine draining those blisters on your own – just not possible, oh no what a dilemma if you need to ask a stranger to assist you!!) I am definitely never cycling the Camino!!   They also only carry their water (camel pack), their back packs or suitcases with fancy clothes and luxury toiletries are couriered to the village they plan to stop in for the night.  There is a very good and reliable back pack service along the Camino, they will collect your back pack and deliver it to the Albergue you are planning to stop at for the night for +- 7 euro’s, with  my budget – I will continue to carry my  10 kg back pack which for some unknown reason just gets heavier by the day and not lighter!!


Enjoying breakfast in Pieros at Cafe Coffee, 3 km from Cacabelos

Villafranca del Bierzo

Villafranca del Bierzo

The walk from Pieros to Villafranca del Bierzo was up hill all the way and along the highway.  It was noisy and walking alongside a busy road drove me mad as the constant trucks driving by would hoot  so loud and so unexpected that jumping 10 feet high became the norm every few minutes.  Villafranca is a beautiful village however the yellow arrows were not that visible and I battled to find my way.  Leaving Villafranca there were two routes to the next village, one taking you over the mountain – 12 km’s and one that took you around the mountain but continued along the highway and also only 8.5 km’s versus the 12 km’s – hmmmm decisions decisions – I opted for the shorter route around the mountain and put my iPod on full blast to drown out the constant hooting that was causing me heart failure.   What I did not know at the time of opting for this route is that the entire route was also alongside the Pereje river.  It was not long and the iPod was off and I tuned into the rivers whispers and its gentle flow made me feel so peaceful that I eventually did not hear the trucks or the hooting.  I managed to find a few rest spots along the river right at the water edge which was soothing to the soul as well as the soles of my feet.

Pereje River leaving Villafranca

The Pereje river alongside the highway

The scenery on my left was incredible and on my right  a dull tarred highway leading to who knows where, the contrasts were so diverse and brought to light that you cannot experience the good without the bad, love without the disappointment, peace without the anger , safety without the danger, positive without the negative – everything in life balances.   Soaking up the beauty and enjoying the left side of the road, suddenly Trabadelo was there – these huge trees welcomed me into the village and I decided to stay for the night.   I stopped at the first Albergue it was a private one for only 6 euros (privates normally cost between 10 and 12 euros) – bargain so I checked in for the night.


OH MY GOODNESS – duvets on the beds, only 8 beds per room, shower gel in the showers, crisp clean sheets, a pillow case – this place is heaven!!  The only “issue” was you had to walk past the shower to get to the toilet – so if showering and someone needed the toilet they would see you washing dem bits and pieces!

Melissa, Zac, Claire and Shaan were also booked into the Albergue and we agreed to catch up over dinner in the little bar up the road.  I regret not taking photos (I was obviously way too busy chatting and catching up with everyone)!  A Dutch couple own the bar and not in need of an afternoon nap I decided to go sit outside the bar, enjoy a few cokes (I am drinking way too many cokes but my body is craving the sweetness) and jot down a few notes.  I got no writing done as the owners were inquistive to hear about my Camino.  We chatted from early afternoon until dinner was served at 20h00.  NO SIESTA – finally someone is capitalizing of the much needed business from the pilgrims.  The Dutch couple walked the Camino four years ago and decided they wanted to open a Pension for pilgrims in one of the smaller villages and they chose Trabadelo.  When talking to people on the Camino most of them dream about wanting to return and open a private Albergue offering the best of the best for the pilgrims (must admit it even crossed my mind).  However I think very few actually do, but this Dutch couple made their dream come true.  They sold up everything in Holland and returned to Spain, bought a property, revamped it, and have what I think is a very successful little pension.  They have a few clothing items for pilgrims, toiletries, fruit, snacks, souvenirs galore, compeed, iodine, bandages, ankle guards, post cards and other much needed odds and ends that a pilgrim could potentially need for the walk.  They have a winning recipe going here and I decided to support them by buying a bright orange neon t-shirt.  Yippee something different to wear tomorrow, so exciting!!!

My tummy was growling and it was thankfully time for dinner and the G+T’s started flowing as the locals came into the bar to join in the fun.  The food was great, the best thus far on the Camino, the pancake with nutella was the best.  We were all in high spirits and the great hosts added to the fun energy.  Margarita’s were served.  They were addictive.  Two down and I knew I had to get to bed before I over indulged – a 12 km steep climb was waiting for me in the morning.  I had been led to believe that the climb is the most hectic climb on the Camino (besides St Jean) and every other climb thus far was difficult for me, so I knew I was in for a tough day.  Just before I was about to leave in walked Antonio.  Antonio was the pilgrim I helped out by giving him my antibiotic back in Terradillos, for his throat infection.  We have landed up next to each other in about 5 Albergues – either next to each other or he lands up getting the top bunk and I land up getting the bottom bunk.  We have hardly chatted (except a friendly smile and the odd word he knows in English) however a very caring Antonio always asking about my feet and once helped me out with iodine for my blisters.  He is always alone – walks alone, eats alone, never chats to anyone and tonight when he walked into the bar I decided I am going to “break” him in – after a few beers, Antonio was speaking almost fluent English, he is a lawyer, running his own business, lives an hours drive from Madrid, is walking the Camino for the 5th time, is not married, has no kids, and is about to be ordained a judge!! Finally the ice was broken and maybe a good thing that he was staying at the municipal Albergue (only bluffing)!!!

All in all the day presented a great walk, great scenery, loads of shade along the river, a few 10 meter high jumps, interesting thoughts, a comfortable 5 star Albergue, catch up with great people, the best dinner ever, the yummiest margarita’s and I learnt that Antonio does speak English (limited but one can get by) and that he is just VERY VERY shy!!

On I walk…………… and I have no idea what tomorrow holds with a 12 km climb (OMW)!!

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Showing 2 comments
  • Mike

    Hi. Very sad to hear about friends passing. A heavier burden for the brother to carry. Its amazing he is continuing. Maybe its therapy for him, if that be any comfort. Thank you for your effort to put down on paper what you going through. Here I am complaining about walking 8kms on a golf course. Admire you. Your photies are great

  • Mike

    Hi. Very sad to hear about friends passing. A heavier burden for the brother to carry. Its amazing he is continuing. Maybe its therapy for him, if that be any comfort. Thank you for your effort to put down on paper what you going through. Here I am complaining about walking 8kms on a golf course. Admire you. Your photies are great. Remember the more you take and send the lighter your camera. So please send more. Youre doing good light and love Mike N

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