SARRIA (Spain) … and food
We have noticed something that totally surprised us when we wanted to put this post together. Two (no, three) things were noticeable:
- At this stage in our Camino Frances, we opted to overnight in the smaller villages and just quickly walked through the bigger towns/cities,
- We have started to take less photos (and especially so in big cities),
- For the first time, we actually made a point of taking photos of our food.
And the reason? I think we got tired! By the time we reached Sarria, we have walked for 24 days continuously and covered more than 600km.
Therefore, for the purpose of this post, to show cast our 6th big city on the Camino Frances, we will concentrate more on the beautiful landscapes on our way to the next big city, Sarria. And then we will conclude with a whole bunch of food pictures (after all, this is one of the features of our blog). Thus, brace yourself (or grab something from the fridge before you start to read)!
Just a reminder, in case you have missed the other five cities, you can find the posts here:
- Pamplona – after more than three weeks of walking, it now feels like a lifetime ago that we started our Camino Frances in this beautiful city. You can read about our first big city on the Camino here.
- Logroño – the city that is synonymous for parties, because of all those tapas bars in one street! You can read about Logroño here.
- Burgos – we will have to go back to give justice to this city. We only saw its beautiful cathedral and then moved on. You can read about Burgos here.
- León – we had enough energy to explore this city thoroughly (well, at least the old part of the city). And we ended the day by watching the Easter processions. You can read about León here.
- Astorga – we arrived here on Good Friday, which was perfect for the grand finale of Easter processions. And to our dismay we missed the Chocolate Museum! You can read about Astorga here.
Walking from Astorga to Sarria took us 6 days and 148 km. Get your hiking shoes, because we’re going to walk on some beautiful pathways:
Day 19: Rabanal del Camino (21.4km):
As mentioned in our previous post, we are now done with the Meseta (the flat plains of the Camino Frances) and on our way to the mountains. On this day, we could see the snow-covered mountains in the distance. The early mornings were extremely cold, but we had lovely warm days.
(You can read about the hiking of Day 19 here)
Day 20: Molinaseca (26.5km):
This was (yet another) favourite day on the Camino Frances. It was a mountainous hike full of challenges, but so beautiful. We also reached the highest point on the Camino Frances, La Cruz de Ferro with a symbolic meaning.
Leaving Rabanal del Camino early morning – beautiful sunrise colours, but very cold
At La Cruz de Ferro
(You can read about the hiking of Day 20 here)
Day 21: Villafranca (30.9km):
On this day, we have actually walked through a city. Ponferrada is the second most populated municipality of the Province of León and can technically be our 6th big city on the Camino. But we passed through quickly and only saw the castle (Knights Templar’s Grand Master of Castille) for a brief moment.
Walking through the medieval city gates of Ponferrada
What we did see for almost the entire day, was the one vineyard after the other! You could taste wine in almost every little town … but with a heavy heart, we decided not to be tempted. Today was one of the longest stages – we had to cover 30km and we knew if we started to taste wine, we might not reach Villafranca!
Vineyards on our way to Villafranca
We were hot and bothered when we reached Villafranca. It was a long day on our feet … but Villafranca had something special in store for us. Opposite our albergue was a river and we did not waste any time to dip our feet into the cold water!
Medicine for tired feet
(You can read about the hiking of Day 21 here)
Day 22: O Cebreiro (30.1km):
Is it possible to enjoy a day where you will walk 30km, of which the last 7km are all uphill? I thought I’d never say it, but walking up the mountain to O Cebreiro was just magical! The scenery on the uphill was beautiful and the views on top of the mountain spectacular!
Berto on a very steep part of the mountain
Here I am, trying to find my way between rocks on the mountain pathway
The view – from the top of the mountain
(You can read about the hiking of Day 22 here)
Day 23: Triacastela (21.3km):
After the previous day of walking uphill, this day was pure tranquility. We enjoyed natural pathways, miles away from traffic or people … although we did encounter a very persistent old lady that wanted to sell her pancakes to us!
(You can read about the hiking of Day 23 here)
Day 24: Sarria (18.7km):
The good news was that the road to Sarria was uphill for only a couple of kilometers and from there it was all downhill to the city. Once again, we had lovely views and walked alone without seeing any pilgrims … sometimes this was needed on a day when all you wanted to do was to enjoy the scenery.
Crossing a small stream
Such a beautiful hiking trail
(You can read about the hiking of Day 24 here)
Sarria is the most populous town on the Camino Frances in the province of Galicia. What makes this city so popular on the Camino Frances is the fact that if you choose to start your Camino here, you will cover the necessary kilometres (100km) to receive a Compostela (pilgrim certificate).
Reaching the city of Sarria
There was a hustle and bustle in the city on our arrival. The city was filled with pilgrims that just arrived to start their Camino. From here it is only 5 days of walking in order to reach the ultimate place, namely Santiago de Compostela. This might be the reason why we don’t really have photos of Sarria … it was just so busy! We were fortunate to find a really nice albergue with a lovely terrace. It was much better and quieter here than in the city streets.
The terrace of the albergue
We were ready for lunch, but it was quite a search for an open table at one of the many restaurants. After walking up and down the streets a couple of times, we finally managed to find a spot. After lunch, we walked to a viewpoint from where we could see part of Sarria. We then found some back streets which took us back to our albergue where we spent the rest of the afternoon.
Viewpoint in Sarria
A (quiet) back street in Sarria
For the last 6 days, we have only seen our fellow pilgrim friends on a few occasions. And we were really surprised (and happy) to find the group of three men from the USA/Korea at our albergue. We spent the evening with them on the terrace, drinking a few glasses of wine with a spectacular view over the Church of Saint Marina.
Church of Saint Marina
As promised, here is a gallery of (some) of the food we enjoyed on the stretch from Astorga to Sarria. Let’s just say, we did not go hungry (or thirsty)!
A proper breakfast in Murias de Rechivaldo, on the morning that we left Astorga
Ham & cheese toastie for Berto and I’m with my favourite, Spanish lemon cake … just before we started to walk up the mountain to O Cebreiro
Berto preferred pasta in O Cebreiro
Warm apple pie and café con leche – on our way to Triacastela
On the way to Sarria it was once again time for Spanish lemon cake and Empanada pie
And lastly, a bottle of Spanish wine on the terrace of our albergue in Sarria
We hope you have enjoyed this ‘unusual’ edition of big cities on the Camino Frances. Hiking trails through beautiful landscapes and delicious Spanish food … you can’t ask for much more!
Our next big city, is the grand finale on the Camino Frances … Santiago de Compostela. We are looking forward to share this city with you!