We all have our cross to bear – Mark.
Yesterday morning’s walk out of Granon was mostly on the flat and it was only until reaching Belorado that you receive a respite from the heat and in a town with a bank, numerous cafes, and a wonderful main plaza:
If you are wanting to sleep over in Belorado then there are lots of albergue options, also a donativo Parroquial:
A parroquial is accommodation in a church building.
Yesterday I met up with some pilgrims I had first encountered on my first day’s walk on the Camino Frances out of Saint Jean Pied de Port, meaning my pace has been quite slow in recent days:
We had an excellent local beer together:
On the path to Villafranca Montes de Oca I was pleasantly surprised to meet an old friend, driving at conservative speed in his pickup. It was Alfonso; the manager at the albergue in Villafranca where I had stayed the previous summer and where I intended to again stay this year (post photo). It turned out that he was handing out flyers on the path to pilgrims for his albergue. A lovely guy and an excellent bartender too.
The walk remains beautiful, but becoming progressively hotter and arid the further from the mountains the path takes the pilgrim:
Within a few hours I arrived to Villafranca; a beautiful little village on the way and home to perhaps the best albergue on the Camino Frances:
In Villafranca there are two albergue options. The first is the Albergue Municipal, which is 5 Euro, and which is on the left as you enter the village. The one I recommend though can be found on the right as you head up the hill and is part of the hotel San Anton Abad. The price for this albergue is 10 Euro (or 5 if you stay in their overspill dorm) and it is definitely worth investing the extra 5 Euro to stay in this very tranquil and tastefully designed albergue. Originally there was just the hotel, but the owner walked the Camino and after returning added the albergue to the hotel grounds.
First sight of the albergue entrance as you come up the hill:
The albergue entrance:
The bar where they serve an awesome sangria:
Comfortable and clean rooms, with many plug socket options:
The showers are excellent and there is also a communal kitchen. Wifi is also available.
I took my first pilgrim menu of this trip here and the quality of the food was excellent, albeit slightly more expensive than the standard at 12 Euro. One point worth noting here is that wine is always served with a pilgrim menu – the wine served at this albergue was of decent quality – it is usually of course cheap table wine and I’m not sure if it would always be palatable.
A lovely night’s sleep and after speaking with my children this morning I will continue onwards in the direction of the next main town on the path: Burgos.