Day 31, 2016 - Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo


Vineyards here produce

indigenous Mencía, 

free for the asking.

On the way to Villafranca del Bierzo is the village of Cacabelos. Located in the region of El Bierzo it is well known for its wine, produced from the Mencía grape, said to have been carried there by a French Pilgrim. The region is influenced by two weather climates, Atlantic and continental and in part because of this, wines are produced that rival Rioja, Priorat and Ribera del Duero.

Just at the beginning of town there is a restaurant/shop not to be missed. If one enters and asks, "¿Tiene un vaso de vino por un/a peregrino/a que esta muriendo de sed?", which means, "Do you have a glass of wine for a pilgrim dying of thirst?", a free glass of wine and a tapa will be given. 

Well, anyone who knows me won't be shocked to hear this is exactly what I did...poor Spanish pronunciation and all. It was comical yet rewarding. The wine was wonderful; the tapa just enough to whet the appetite for pulpo, a traditional delicacy of seasoned octopus. People seem to either love or hate pulpo and by looking at it, I had a preconceived notion in which group I would align. But, since I hadn't tried it and people raved about it, I tentatively placed an order. It was the last time I did so. I much preferred the free wine and tapa and the thought that by merely asking, albeit in Spanish, a tired and hungry pilgrim could be nourished.