Distance: 14.3km, Steps: 21,121, Time total: 4.5hrs
Last night, that Irish man Brian was a devil. He paid for a 4th jug of wine & filled my glass to the top! We all protested as our glasses were filled. Gonzale was going on in Spanish, it sounded like he was talking about the next days walk. Brian looked to Mr D to translate. I don’t know why, but Mr D always gets stuck as the translater! He pulled out his phone app that translates English to Spanish or Spanish to English but it didn’t work well yet again. It couldn’t translate what Gonzale said as he spoke too fast & too much! Well it was all pretty funny & it was pass 10pm – our bedroom curfew. The man there wanted to lock up so he hurried us along to finish our drinks & sent us up to bed like naughty children! surprisedly, the other night, the Albergue was totally full & last night only 4 of us! I’m glad we weren’t with the big group of people.
So I slept through to almost 7am again! Mr D was not in good spirits when he got up. His lumps had spread. Now he had 4 big red lumps running across his shoulders & back making it itchy & uncomfortable with a backpack on. We packed & had a pretty simple breakfast downstairs. Cuppa tea wasn’t the best. Then we had to get moving – it was 8.15am & the sun was starting to rise. I took off in front watching the beautiful sunrise unfolding over the mountains & valleys. The towns cats had all congregated for a kitty meeting in the middle of the walkway & I had disturb them as they quickly fled in all different directions. I arrived at the Cruz de Ferro which was only 2 kms away, but it was behind trees & no sunrise came through so I trooped back down the path where I watched the sun rise over the horizon just in time.
So the Cruz de Ferro is a well known monument on the Camino. A tall wooden pole with a cross at the top, on top of a big pile of rocks, pebbles & stones. Well it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. It was a lot smaller on a little hill of rocks with a road right beside it so people can just drive up to it. People leave a stone or token they have bought from home on the growing pile already there. It can represent a burden or pain that one wants to leave behind. We had our stones. It wasn’t very private as 20+ people were there taking photos & such. But we left our stones, hopefully parting a burden away. As I walked off the pile of stones, I did feel a bit emotional & sad. The French pair was there at the same time as I photographed them next to the pole so I can remember their faces.
We continued slowly on, the early morning wasn’t that cold & we were blessed with great weather again. Clear skies, fantastic views out over the valleys & mountains. We decided to put in a short day to enjoy the mountains more instead of rushing up, over and down in a day that most people do. We arrived at an abandoned mountain village called Manjarin. Population: 1! Amongst the crumbled remains of houses that once stood long ago was one house, one man that runs a donativo Albergue in his home. No electricity, runs off solar panels & fireplace for warmth. Limited water supply. Here is someone living on very basic means – like going back to the old, old days when there was nothing, but with the views of mountains everyday. The village so peaceful & quiet in between his cows mooing loudly to each other.
Not wanting to hang around in that strange little crumbling house, we moved on. Back to the scenic views & pleasant temperature. We were looking for Punto Alto – the highest point side track that we couldn’t see. I spotted a track going up to a group of rock cairns & walked through bush to the track. It doesn’t look like many people go up there – probably because they can’t find it. It’s not signposted. But at the top we got 360 degrees view all around. I could see Ponferrada a large town, in the distance. Feeling happy about finding a nice spot, we again moved on. It was getting close to midday & we hadn’t made much progress. I was getting hungry!
It was all downhill from there to El Acebo. Steep in places. Full of loose rocks & slippery gravel. We carefully made our way down. It was a real workout for the calf muscles. They were starting to burn. The sun was getting hotter. My long pants kept slipping down & I had to keep pulling them back up. The mountain village of El Acebo looked real nice coming into it. A simple village with everything running off the one Main Street. We spotted the French pair having their lunch & waved as we passed through. The Albergues looked nice but I was looking for the Albergue on the advertisement poster – brand new, swimming pool, beaut views. It was right at the other end, going out of town – so worth it!
La Casa del Peregrino – a fancy smancy new hotel, restaurant, bar, Albergue rolled into one overlooking the valleys & mountains. So we booked in & decided to treat ourselves to a luxury double bed room with our own ensuite bathroom. It costed 30€ more. A rather delightful room to spread our gear out in & organise ourselves. A fair amount of dust went in the air as I pulled my socks off my feet. This walk so far had been predominantly dry & dusty. Then we had a nice simple lunch with beer. Mr D’s lumps were feeling worse afterwards so now he thinks it’s the beer. Could be the bread. Could be the tons of dirt & dust out here. Still could be bed bug bites. So now he won’t eat bread or drink beer.
When we decided on a Baileys drink later, Mr D confused the Spanish bar women asking for Baileys ice cream – no! Baileys Irish cream. Confused looks. Baileys ice cream – no! Baileys Irish Cream. Sometimes you are just too tired to communicate properly! We got there in the end & enjoyed the views. I couldn’t believe even at 3pm the Pilgrims still went marching by on the hot road under the hot sun. They pass this beautiful spot! They don’t know what they are missing! Shhhhhhh – must not tell everyone this hidden little gem! We also checked out the swimming pool. Was it the blue colour as in the poster? No it was green tinted, bit dirty not recently maintained as is not the season for swimming. Shame, it was warm enough for a swim!
We had a simple but nice peregrino meal at peregrino hour of 6.30pm at a table with 9 of us. Mr D & I only chatted to one bloke from Italy that walked 35kms today – Crazy! And one woman from Alaska. I know everyone’s Camino is different but there’s no way I want to do 35kms in a day – I wouldn’t stop until dark at the rate I walk taking so many photos! And we didn’t get carried away on the red wine either. Mr D even confessed he drank too much last night. So an early night, rest up & see what tomorrow brings us……