Gahhhh – Ponferrada to Portela de Valcarce

Remember that happy floaty post from yesterday? Forget it!

Awoke this morning at around 5.30 and hurriedly got myself together and rushed down to check out of the cheap hotel I was staying at in Ponferrada. The receptionist checked me out and ran around to let me out of the locked doors. Upon stepping out the door I saw very quickly it was pouring down with rain, ‘oh shiii’ *slam* – the woman had decided there was no way I was coming back in despite being dressed for a summers day hike! Running for cover I hurriedly prepped my bag with rainproof cover and began to struggle with the sealskinz I’d bought two weeks ago just for this very occasion! How very clever I was to repurpose what are supposed to be water proof shoe covers for bikers… for hikers! Or so I thought!



By now I was pretty annoyed at the morning I was having – not taking even a quick glance out of the window before leaving my cosy hotel room, scratching the lining of my throat with an anti-inflammatory tablet (the irony is not lost of me!) and now I was becoming acutely aware that these sealskinz were not going to work for three reasons. Reason 1 – They are impermeable (to everything but rain water so it seems) but that also means nothing can get out – my feet were trapped in their sweaty prison. Reason 2 – they’re not actually waterproof. Reason 3 – I could feel my feet were absolutely sodden and I trusted that squelching noise more than I trusted their marketing slogan. Somewhere outside Cacabelos I knew for certain my feet were in trouble. On removing my trainers I found toes that you’d find on a cadaver who had drowned at sea some years ago. Plus new blisters. Merde!



Remember the holy shoes? Yeah, they’re gone. They hit the bin in the central square in Villafranca. They did not deserve to be burned on the beach at Finisterre. There was no way I was making it to Villafranca del Bierzo in soaking wet socks and shoes and I’m lucky the feet are not worse. So I hopped a cab to the next town with a shoe shop, Villafranca itself. Unfortunately this town appears to have one hiking shop and that hiking shop has only 3 pairs of hiking footwear, 2 pairs of boots (no thanks) and 1 pair of hiking shoes. I’ve had an aversion to hiking boots from hiking at school when I accidentally stood on the headmasters hand almost causing him to plummet to his death at Scafell as I was wearing boots at the time I have decided the boots were the cause of this childhood trauma, so, plumping for the shoes, I purchased these electric blue monstrosities and got walking.


Ask any Camino aficionado on which point of the camino they’d like to break in new hiking shoes and I guarantee you’d get a ‘pointless’ answer for ‘the 15k of motorway side tarmac between Villafranca and Portela de Valcarce’. This is where I obtained blister 3 and blister 4 sitting nicely on the outside of my little toes! Currently I am laid on the bed of the motorway side Albergue in Portela bored to tears but I do have one room mate, a young Australian peregrina called Kate who has walked the Dragonte today (and I’m complaining!)



I’ve only walked around 20k today and already I’ve eaten a bar of chocolate from Astorga, tortilla and a plate of jamon y queso. There’s nothing to doooooooo. I could play chicken on the motorway in my sandals.

Tomorrow, is supposed to be O Cebreiro… it’s only 15k away but may as well be 50k with how painful my blisters are ATM.

There are some good things about this place! There’s a Bierzo deli opposite and the beer is €1.30! Did I mention I was bored? I think Kate might sock me one if I don’t get in the now pronto tonto.


The perfect end to the perfect Camino day… it’s not a bar of orange chocolate… it’s a bar of orange.


One thought on “Gahhhh – Ponferrada to Portela de Valcarce

  1. i was so moved by yesterdays blog, now i can,t stop laughing, sorry but those shoes looked awful so no surprise they turned out to be awful. Hope the blisters heal ok.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s