13 May: Zafra to Villafranca de los Barros

One of the still-in-NZ-kids sent a particularly thoughtful message yesterday:

mum i just caught up on the blog, question, are you enjoying the trip so far? coz it looks miserable with all the rain and cold weather…. would totally understand if you weren’t… but just wondering

My answer: “It IS miserable and demanding and challenging. No denying that. But it is also great. Fun people, yummy food, relaxing-ish, exercise, kids getting on well, lots of Polish and German speaking, beautiful vistas, amazing wild flowers and birds. Yeah, it’s good.”



Today we got all our walking in before the rain, and it has to be said that it is much more pleasant walking in non-rain! But at the same time, things are not bad or even necessarily unenjoyable simply because they are hard. There is satisfaction that can come only from achieving something challenging, and that is positive. We have now had a week of such moments!

Mixed in with the difficulty have been a whole lot of lovely sights and experiences too: 


 (The church whose bells play the opening bars of Beethoven’s ninth symphony at nine in the morning – I wondered if there’s a different tune for every hour, but we couldn’t hang around to find out)


Last night we wandered around Zafra, bumping into fellow pilgrims, enjoying the architecture of the town, looking for a place that would serve food before 8:30, having a few laughs with Bruce and Jenny, who we were going to have dinner with. It was simply pleasant and we eventually (at nine o’clock) had a tasty dinner together including the best olives ever (and chicken giblets for Ella-Rose, who was told only the first word – chicken! No-one tried Bruce’s oxtail).

We all set out at the same time this morning, and although it was not planned that way, Jenny and I (somewhat unusually) strode out ahead and (not unusually if the past couple of days are anything to go by) shared stimulating inspirational conversation until 17km later! Bruce, meanwhile, walked with his companions, who he challenged with questions as he urged them to think about their surroundings.

Yes, we’re having a good time! 

Except when we passed this pig farm… There were more pigs than we could count; some eating, some wallowing in the mud, some sheltering in a shed, some climbing over others,some lying on top of each other. All of them S.T.I.N.K.I.N.G. The smell was not unlike a rubbish dump with a chemistry experiment gone wrong aftertaste to it. It’s not often you taste a smell, but this was one of those times and it was not pleasant. Neither was it the first time we have passed one of these farms. 

But apart from the smell of the piggy farms, we’re having a great time.

Distance: 20.2km Total distance: 195km

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2 thoughts on “13 May: Zafra to Villafranca de los Barros

  1. Hi Rachael, thanks for the great blog posts. Each morning I look forward to checking out your latest post while munching my breakfast. You give us a really good insight into what your adventure is like – and I can almost imagine being there (but some days VERY glad I’m not!!!) Glad you had a dry walk today and hope the weather continues to be kinder to you than it has been. Lots of love from C + J + J + J

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