Day 31 26th day walking

We hoped to reach Ponferrada today, 29Ks, but all downhill. How difficult can that be?
As usual we just grabbed everything and got out of the albergue, glad to get away from “the zoo” as Viv calls it.
I had had a good day yesterday, I never used my sticks until the last steep 6Ks. Today though, we would be climbing the minute we came out of the albergue. I think that the whole of Foncebadon is built on a goat track, and the goats still rule.
The scenery as we climb is simply stunning as we get nearer to those snow covered mountains.
The high point of today is the Cruz de Ferro or Iron Cross, made famous by Martin Sheen. I suppose the pile of rocks from all around the world impresses somewhat, but the measely cross on he top of a big stick left us cold.
We were also left cold by the area descansado. It was still too cold to linger and the seats were all wet, so we set off down the hill.
The vista from this side was no less stunning. The sun illuminated the slopes of the Picos and created a piece of watercolour magic for us.
We found a wooden bench and ate some of our chocolate croissants before moving on again.
Coming down now through mixed wood and scrub we passed Manjarin. The guide book describes it thus “A medieval albergue rich in caracter but low in facilities”. For Character, read tumbledown. For low in facilites, read None. Not the sort of place we would stop.
The beautiful scenery continued, but we were now heading serously downhill. We stopped at a caravan and had coffee by the side of the road. From here we witnessed untold confusion, as there was now three ways to go, The main road, another road to the right, and somewhere in the middle, the Camino.
Viv worried all the way to El Acebo that she had sent someone the wrong way. he was OK though, we saw him later.
In El Acebo we finally got our comfort break after 12 K along with the best Zumno we have had yet (for best read biggest).
More down hill accompanied by the road down to Riego de Ambros where I made my second mistake of the day (The first being to underestimate the path to Ponferrada).
We passed a bar which was not on the path, “there would be another”. But there was not.
At first it was gentle downhill through woodlands, but gradually it got more rocky. I am not built for this constant pounding down hill or for hopping between rocks. Gradually I was holding Viv back.
For a while I found an alternative tractor path and I could keep up but when that ended I was struggling again.
This section of the camino is described as “One of the lovliest stretches of the Camino” I would not want to argue. My eyes may have enjoyed it but my legs did not.
Eventually my left calf muscle tightenend up and I was having trouble just moving. We stopped on a rock and finished the chocolate croissants. I rubbed my leg a little, but when we restarted there was little improvement.
A short uphill stretch helped a little but we were not going much further. Fortunately we soon came upon Molinaseca, a pretty little place full of bars.
I sat outside a bar while Viv got the coffees. As I saw it, we had three choices, Continue and risk injury, make Ponferrada but use the shorter and safer road route, or stay here.
Well, the place was full of hostals and just across the road was a guy looking very hopeful. It was 40e for a double room with bathroom and a balcony, it would be mad to pass. We could always make Ponferrada tomorrow.
We went for a beer and when I asked for the bill discovered that niether of us had any money with us. Fortunately the barman was quite ammused and waited while Viv went back to the room.
Afterwards we went down into town and sat eating some yogurt on the base of a stone cross.It was like the finishing line of a marathon. first through was Spoty pants asking about an albergue. Next was the French couple who always walk seperately. Finally the Danish girl from Orison, she is the only one who seems to have stayed with us. She looked quite exhausted though. I know that was a hard day, but I wonder if the albergue life is also telling on her.
Our hostel is wonderful, but has the same problems we have found all over Spain, no band width. Everytime I log on I lose the signal. Already I am three days behind with my posts, who knows when I will be able to post again.
We ate at a shop. We had hamburger with crisps and a can of beer. Well it was a change from all the pilgrim menus and platos combinados.
We found our way back to the bar we had been at earlier, they had excellent Wifi so I took advantage and posted two blogs. Of course who should come in but the flute playing Bretton guy. I think he is following me.
It will be a short walk tomorrow into Ponferada so we can relax tonight..


1 Comment

Filed under Camino de Santiago

One response to “Day 31 26th day walking

  1. Irene

    Brilliant Rob. You paint such a wonderfully vivid picture of your surroundings and the colourful characters that you are meeting along the way. I hope that the pain in your leg eases and that you can continue your journey without further problems. This hostel sounds great – enjoy, you both deserve it.

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