After dinner I limped the 20 metres to the parish church for evening prayers. There were about 20 people there and I was the only man. The women included two religious sisters from Waikanae and the young Spanish hospitalera who led the service. After a fairly simple little liturgy a candle was passed and everyone who held it offered a prayer. When it was Clemency´s turn she asked everyone present to come and gather around me, which they did. Clemency prayed a simple prayer for healing and the other women present laid their hands on me. I can´t say that I felt anything at the time, but I did notice that my ears were ringing. I also noticed that I walked a little easier back to the albergue. At 1.00 am I woke and my leg felt a lot better. At 8.00 we packed up, resolving to spend the day in this beautiful town and found a cafe which sold NZ style coffee and muffins in which to pass a little time until we could go and see the famous castle at 11.00 am. I felt so good we started walking, thinking that with luck I might make it to the next albergue 2.5 km away.
We stopped for the night at Cacabelos, in an albergue consisting of tiny 2 bed cells built around the back of a church. We found a supermercato and bought food and had a great night´s sleep. This morning we set out for the most pleasant day of the Camino so far.
We walked gently uphill through a cool morning to the stunningly beautiful town of Villafranca. Set on a river, with a cathedral and a castle, Villafranca outshines all the other Spanish cities we have seen. Imagine a place with the quaint charm of a pristine English village, the sophistication of a Paris boulevard, and the historic interest that comes from being sited there for more centuries than anyone can tell and you will just about have it. It´s a place I would love to return to for a holiday sometime. We walked through it and into the mountains.
Mountain scenery has a certain quality to it, no matter where in the world it is found. There is clear air and winding roads. Here there were forests and vineyards and delightful villages every 2 or 3 km. The figs were fewer, replaced by edible chestnuts and oaks and poplars. We strolled on, stopping for lunch at a cafe which sold us a wonderful tomato and capsicum soup and fairtrade coffee. We walked about 25 km before I began to feel my achilles again, and stopped here, in one of the picture postcard villages perched on the opposite side of the valley to the Saracen castle.