Day 32 27th day walking

It was supposed to be a rest day today, but because we had stopped early yesterday, we needed to press on.
According to the map it was only 8K to Ponferrada, so it should not take us too long.
The early morning village of Molinaseca is a sleepy affair, nothing is open. Even though we had a lie in and did not get out until seven, there was not a chance of breakfast.
About a kilometer out, still stuck to the main road, we thought we saw an opportunity, but it was the albergue Santa Anna. So we carried on.
We turned off the road to the pleasant sight of a dog defecating and blowing snot all over the fence. The path passed between two fences and the only real stimulus for our senses was the sound of shotguns going off. At least we were spared the sight of little furry animals getting blasted away.
We passed through the pretty village of Campo with out seeing any signs of life. On the camino at eight in the morning there are hundreds of hungry pilgrims, a fortune to be made by someone with a bit of nouse.
Not until we reached the outskirts did we see a bar open. We managed a coffee and zumo, but only one croissant between us. That was all they had.
As I stood at the bar there was an unattended coffee next to me, I thought nothing of it. Then the flute playing Breton guy sat down and started drinking it. We exchanged greetings again. He seems less amazed by the coincidence of it all than I am. I can understand that we see each other as we are on the same path, but the same bar, at the same time, so often? makes you wonder.
I wondered why the camino took this circuitous route into Ponferrada. Well, there is a medieval bridge here. You simply cannot enter a town on the camino without crossing a medieval bridge, even if it means a 2K detour.
Ponferrada is dominated by a castle. Built by the templars, it is the biggest I have seen. Like Cardiff, it has been restored and they are clear in the guide about what is original and what is not.
We found a hostel and booked in, leaving our bags downstairs. It was still far too early to go to our room.
We found a shop where Viv could get some postcards. I could not resist the camino tee shirt either. Then we went off to find the post office.
Now post offices here are a strange affair. First you have to get a numbered ticket. Not just any ticket, you must get either enviar or recogida. For those who do not speak Spanish, I did not know either. It is send or collect. Once your number is called you meet a teller who does not know how much the stamps are and does not have any stamps anyway. She can, though, sell you a card to get a stamp from every town you visit. I tried to tell her we already had a stamp from every town between here and St Jean Pied de Port.
Her only solution to our problem was to offer to frank our postcards, but as they have not yet been written, that was not an option.
We found our way back to the main square, funnily enough, not Plaza Mayor. Visited the Basilica de la Encina and then went for a coffee. Well I had a coffee but Viv wanted to try the chocolate. So we sat there in the sun, letting the heat get into our bones, when along came Wyn again walking across the square. We are haunted it seems by the same people.
I did the castle tour while Viv rested on the wall outside. Niether of us realised how long it would take. We were ready for the market and another beer by the time I was finished.
We wandererd around the market but nothing grabbed us. So we came back for an Ice cream.
We spent the rest of the day in search of food. In the end settling for menu del dia in Hotel Templos, where it was so cold I had to return for more clothes – clothes I had to take off again to cross the blistering Plaza Mayor.

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