After crossing the A-6 freeway, the Camino joined a gravel path at a rest area. As clouds grew darker, I climbed to a rolling landscape dominated by vineyards, with red poppies and yellow mustard lining the path. I had no idea how to determine the age of vineyards, but these ones looked like they had been there for centuries. They were vast, and at times, a kilometer long. A wooden sign stated that Santiago was 195 kilometers, although I was sure it wasn’t accurate. It was more like 195 kilometers from Villafranca del Bierzo, but whatever the case, I was getting closer… From Page 155, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days.
Now, I’ll continue with my journey on the Camino de Santiago in Camponaraya, Castilla y León. Even if you don’t have my book, you can still enjoy this post, and learn more about walking the French Way or Camino Francés (map from Wikipedia Commons). On my last post, On The Camino De Santiago in Spain, Ponferrada to Camponaraya, I took you through the outskirts of Ponferrada on a sunny spring afternoon. If you’re planning to walk, the ground is fairly flat to Camponaraya, and food and supplies can be purchased in the towns, depending on your time of arrival. When I walked, most of the stores were closed for siesta, but I had no trouble getting a drink and something to eat.
Modern sculptures decorated the Camino in Camponaraya. This fountain featured a “Thinking Woman.”
Let’s take a closer look.
An interesting site: A clock tower in the middle of the roundabout.
Sorry about the cross on top being cut-off. This is the Ermita de la Virgen de la Soledad.
A monument to Woman, Man, and Wine (at least, that’s my interpretation). We’ll soon see why the grapes are present.
This rest area represents the end of the of the relatively flat terrain since Ponferrada. Hopefully, you have picked up some food and refreshments… and maybe some wine too.
The gentle climb along this road takes you to…
a plateau with a rolling landscape of vineyards, small forests, and flowers flanking the path.
I didn’t think this sign was accurate. It was more like 205 kilometers to Santiago from this point. Anyway, we are getting closer.
Did I mention vineyards? Often, they were vast. In Spain, regions that produce wine are classified into Denominación de Origen, similar to appellations in France. Right now, we are in the Bierzo DO, considered as one of the best in Spain, as it becomes more well-known. Currently, there are 55 wineries or Bodegas that produce about 11 millon liters of wine every year. In fact, some wineries produce less than 1000 bottles of wine per year. Growing of grapes here predates Roman times and some of the vines looked ancient to me. The main grape grown in Bierzo is Mencía, with others including Negra, Garnacha Tintorera, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Doña Blanca, Palomino, Malvasia, and Godello. For an excellent article on Bierzo Denominación de Origen, please read Profile of Wine Region, Bierzo from Cellar Tours.
I really admired benches and signs along the Camino. This was a good spot for a much-needed break.
A very peaceful walk through the forest.
Adorned by a pink rose, this sign pointed the way to Santiago.
I hope you enjoyed this post as I took you on one of my favourite walks along the French Way. On my next post, On The Camino De Santiago in Cacabelos Spain, I continued through the picturesque Bierzo Valley toward the mountains and Galicia. Please join me.
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