Starting out in drizzle today we set off at 7:30 am – destination Villafranca.
We soon settled into our comfortable 2-1-1 walking formation; Richard and Geoff leading the way…nattering constantly about who knows what, then Mark half a mile behind (enjoying the peace) and finally Dr John leaving a respectable gap as usual, bringing up the rear.

As we get closer to Santiago each day local villagers become more commercially savvy, with some of the sharpest souls finding clever ways to extract a few small coins from passing Pilgrims.
Spotting two Americans speaking with a local in her doorway, they explained to me that this sweet little old lady ( see photo below ) scraped a living cracking walnuts and selling fruit to passing Pilgrims. Taking pity, I picked up a blackened banana and popped a Euro into here wrinkled palm…the American translated her quite animated response for me – “…1 euro , 1 Banana not enough – must be 2 euros, two Bananas! ”

Reflecting on this experience as I picked up the trail again ( 2 euros lighter and two over ripened bananas heavier ) it dawned me that my Walnuts had been well and truly cracked – Buen Camino!

Arriving at our Villafranca 27 Km later we bumped into our good friend Jim and said our goodbyes as he was heading for the next village to shorten tomorrows challenging 30Km up hill climb.

We chose to stop and have a hot meal, an early night and a 6:00am start in the morning.

Our well appointed resting place was the recently converted St Nicholas nunnery – proper single beds set up in small dorms – a real treat compared to our usual bunk beds.

With Richard head Chef and John and Geoff chopping and peeling ( I was excused as no one as wanted to catch my cold) we enjoyed a fabulous Spainish Chicken dinner cooked with Chorizo, Garlic and Chickpeas.

In bed early by 9:30pm as usual – ready for the big climb tomorrow.