last night was quite an interesting evening. a couple of guys with us had some injuries that had to get taken care of while we went around ponferrada. We had a good time in a more urban (sketchy) spanish city. there were definitely some loud pollos in the street that were turning some heads and even scaring dogs. we had a great dinner last night and I have a new favorite dish- arroz a la cubana- this is rice (arroz) covered in two fried eggs (huevos fritos) and a red sauce (salsa roja). It was an incredible first dish. In Spain they typically serve you the menú del día which consists of two courses (separate from each other) and a dessert. Last night we were lucky enough to try the famous honey from the region (el bierzo). It was incredible.So far the best desserts have been fresh fruit (somehow it tastes better here) and arroz con leche (a type of tapioca that is great. The most interesting desert we have tried is called cuajada (sometimes guajada). It is a basque favorite that is pretty much cottage cheese (It didn´t bode to well for me so I refer to it as leche vieja (old milk)).
We all crashed last night after doing some good ol´laundry in the sink and woke up this morning to hit the road again. We took the scenic route around town and ended up following the highway for the first few hours accidentally (Rather than following the camino through the countryside). It ended up being a blessing because it knocked off 3 or 4 kilometers off our day. We stopped in several small towns to enjoy the coffee, juice, or just to rest our feet. We met up for our mid-day meal near Rieros which was about an hour or two from our destination. The last several miles were through vineyards and cool rain. It was a nice change from the musty overcast days that we have been experiencing the last day or two. By the time we reached the valley and quaint village that is villafranca the sun was beating down on us and we were incredibly thankful for anyplace to sit. Luckily for us we were able to visit the puerta del perdon when we arrived which was used in the middle ages for pilgrims who wouldn´t be able to finish the trip to santiago (sins forgiven as you pass through).
I haven´t had much of a chance to take pictures since yesterday and this computer will not accept my converter, so that will have to wait. This is a great little town that was historically settled by the French (villa de Francs- villafranca). We are staying in an old church that was once inhabited by monks. It is called hospedería de san nicolas. We have a crazy and infamous day tomorrow as we will go about 34 kilometers through mountains and valleys. I hope things are going well for everyone, and I will be sure to keep the trip details coming. feel free to pop me an email if you have any questions or anything... firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks and gig ´em