Before setting out Doreen, Chris and I walked from our hostel to the corner panaderia for cafe con leche and a pan o chocolate. We had just entered the shop and a boisterous group of guys came in. They were loud and it was obvious that they had been up all night. Chris found out that they were celebrating a stag.
It was a delightful walk thru wine country. Everywhere you looked you could see vineyards with the rows of grapes. Today as we walked along we were able to see the workers in the fields picking mainly purple grapes although there was a few white. I was able to sample the varieties along the path and the ones I picked were juicy and sweet. I will just post some pictures to show just how beautiful it was.
We arrived in Villafranca del Bierzo at 2:40 pm. In the Middle Ages, the town is first mentioned in 791. The origin of the modern town are connected to the Way of St. James, as a rest place for the pilgrims which started to reach Santiago de Compostela from the 9th century. In the Codix Calixtinus Villafranca is mentioned as an intermediate stage between Rabornal and Triacastela. In 1070, during the reign of Alfonso VI of León, a Cluniac monastery was founded here to cultivate vine, and a borough of French pilgrim rose around it, from which the town’s name (meaning “French Town”) stems. The town later received numerous hotels and hospitals for the pilgrims.
Since it is Sunday, none of the attractions were open. I just walked around looking at different coat of arms, the various churches, the narrow streets, and the castle which is privately owned and was not open to the public.