After a short but wonderful stay in Villafranca del Bierzo we set off by car on a sunny, clear day to follow the Camino de Santiago as far as possible to Monforte de Lemos.
The Camino follows the main road from Villafranca to Lugo and climbs steadily up to the pass at Piedrafita do Cebreiro, a small village at c.1,300m which is just over the border between Leon and Galicia. Today I think this is mainly important because it is a stop, with plenty of accommodation, on the Camino de Santiago.
We followed the NVI, the quieter main road which is beautiful, with villages in the valleys below us and several pilgrims on the road. What was surprising was the huge, high viaducts which carried the motorway, the A6.
At Piedrafito the Camino de Santiago, and our road, crossed the border into Galicia and continued to rise. It must be very hard walking! We stopped for coffee at another pass where a roadside cafe was serving a constant stream of pilgrims. The views are wonderful!
I was driving so photographs are scarce after this! We skirted round Sarria where we left the Camino de Santiago which continued in a ‘straight’ line to Santiago. We took the rather dull main road to eventually arrive at the Parador in Monforte de Lemos. However, there is a Winter Route for the Camino which is low level and goes through Monforte so we only abandoned the route temporarily!
This magnificent castle is on top of a hill which dominates the town and it was our base for a few days.