Quintanilla del Monte to Villa Franca Montes de Oca – 16.7 K

This entry is part 12 of 29 in the series Part 3: Puente la Reina to Astorga

Hotel San Anton Abad (70€)

Anna has set out a thermos of coffee, croissants and toast.  We are out at 7:20 AM and it is still dark.  We take a shortcut over the open fields with the full moon setting before us… breathtaking.  We rejoin the Camino next to the highway.  It is a beautiful day, clear and blue.  We stop for C and CC.   It’s market day in this town, and the atmosphere quite festive.  We walk through four towns this morning, all old and charming.  We stop again at 12:30 PM for another C and CC, plus ice cream.  We pass caves that appear to have been lived in.  Hermits?  We pass the ruins of a sixth century monastery, and arrive in Villa Franca at 2:00.  We are staying at a restored monastery, with our room modest but just fine.  Down to lunch in the main dining room… Bonnie:  ensalada mista, beefsteak with fries / Nick: garlic soup, beef stew and helado.  We enjoy a nap, then out we go to explore the town.  It is bisected by a major highway and huge trucks roll through this squeezed-down route, one after another… scary.  In the plaza by the church, we are entertained by a group of women bowling the ancient game of ten-pins.  Great fun, for them and for us.   We wander back to our hotel and have a very poor salad outside on the patio.  Two kittens cavort underfoot.

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