Today’s challenge was to get up the hill to Villafranca del Bierzo and cut tomorrow’s climb down to a manageable challenge. The climb to O’Cebreiro may not be the highest point of the Camino but it is the toughest (a 700 meter rise in 15km) so breaking it up is the strategy. Had my latest start on the trip this morning hitting the road about 10 til 7. Always interesting walking in the dark and I enjoy walking past the people just starting out from the next town around 8:30. There was a full steady climb of 4km coming of Cacabelos. One of those climbs I hated most as a runner. The kind that winds up the hill and each time you get to a curve and think it is over there is more hill to climb. At the top you look for someone to give a high 5 but must keep it to yourself.
Villafranca del Bierzo is a gorgeous mountain town filled with tourists as this was a Sunday AM. Some of the tourists were taking pictures of the crazy pilgrims walking through town. They in their winter jackets at 48 degrees and me sweating bullets for the climb I just described. Many important historical buildings there including the Iglesia Colegiata formerly the church of our Cluniac lady (Nuestra Señora de Cluniaco) as the Cluny monks from France were early patrons of the Camino.