Day 22 // Villafranca del Bierzo – Alto do Poio// 40.5 km

As I put the bag on my shoulders and am about to leave, a woman calls for me and asks - are these yours? Oh no, I almost left my slippers here. My favorite shoes of the journey. Thanks God. 

The path of the day is mostly taking me right by the highway. Now I have to search for something that'll make this day better. One good thing - the highway is in between the mountains, the sun won't get to me.

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I stop after 10 kilometers to have a cup of tea, because it's quite chilly this morning. Outside of the cafe I saw a lot of cats going about their day. I fed them the sausage I had in my bag. The little twin cats got in a little fight while fighting for a piece of sausage.

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You can call this day 'farm day'. All day I've been interacting with animals. As I walk further I hear a well known bell sound - there are goats in the mountains. 

I went into a grocery store and finally bought a marker, because since I am on my own now I don't have anyone to borrow one from. Now I can leave notes on my way. 

Walking by the highway feels like I'm at a motoGP competition. No wonder, this road is perfect for motorbikes - great surface and lots of curves. A lot of bikes pass me but even more bikes are parked outside the cafe. I day dream about my bike. 

As I'm leaving the village, I sat down on a curb. I noticed geese. They put their heads through the fence and watch me.

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They cuss off all of the by passers. They we're so dumb and funny. 

I stopped at one of the next villages for lunch. I saw a super cute place.

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I am in no rush and I'm enjoying the moments. In addition to the food I bought another bracelet. 

I also saw a headband that I wanted. After lunch I am still thinking about it, I have to go try it on. I love it. I buy it. My Italian friends bought a similar one for 15 euros, but I got mine for 8 euros. A great and useful purchase. As women do - I feel great about the little shopping spree and get back on my way.

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I entered the next village and the trees I saw were full of little notes with motivation. And a bit further I saw a dream rest stop.

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I wrote down my dreams and hung them up on the tree.

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There was a sign on the way out of the village that said there's a horse rental place. You can rent a horse for 20 euros to get to the next village. 

I took a little break before in one of the final villages of the day by the water fountain. And a herd of cows and a funny looking donkey is coming down the road. It reminded me the one from Winnie the Pooh. Everyone drinks for a bit and then leave to go to the barn. The donkey follows them with his head down.

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The last couple of kilometers until the city on a steep mountain. As I reach my destination for the day, multiple people are walking around with bags saying there's no free spots to stay in this city. I went to the municipal auberge and church, I asked if I could sleep on the floor - they wouldn't let me. 

I still have energy and my legs are not hurting so I'm not too worried. But other people had a bit of confusion and worry on their faces. I got the information that there's no beds in the next village as well. Because the next villages are so small and they each have only one auberge. Oh well! I'll walk as long as I find a spot to stay at. I'm fine with sleeping on the floor too, since I have my mattress. 

I walked 3 kilometers until the next village and the information I heard before just got confirmed - there are no spots there. But the owner of the auberge made a call and got me a bed in an auberge 2 villages from here. 5.5 more kilometers. Of course I would rather be in a pool or at least a shadow in this heat. 

A herd of cows and a shepherd with a dog is approach me. I realize I should cross the road since I don't trust animals with horns. 

The last 5 kilometers we're like a roller-coaster. Up and down. And the last 300 meters were such a steep hill that the bag was pulling me backwards and the legs were slipping. It felt as if Camino was saying “Let's see, Agnes, how strong you are!” When I reached the auberge I said “Here you go! This is how strong I am!” 

Of course, the views up on the hill take my breath away. As always, to get to the beauty - you have to work hard.

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Auberge greets me with two big dogs. And since I had too much meat on my plate at the dinner, I gave it to them. Everyone's happy.

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The evening in auberge was amazing. I joined the little crew that met each other here. I made friends with an older couple from the Netherlands - Carin and Guido. They're not doing the Camino, but they're here for a trip to Spain and they listen to all the pilgrims stories to maybe do it next year. And actually, their main goal was to find a church that was on a painting they owned. They only had a photo of the church. Amazing. Guido had looked trough thousands of photos of churches in Spain on the internet just to find it. 

Great conversations about traveling and the Camino. After a couple hours we said our goodbyes just like old friends do. So quick and so simple a new bond has been formed. 

For inspiration:

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Good night!

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