Distance: 16.9kms, Steps: 24,347, Time total: 4.45hrs
We had an extra hour sleep in as Spain winds back their clock an hour today. Mr D had another two big welt lumps come up overnight – one on his ankle causing him concern hoping it won’t blister in his boot while walking. He worries that he may have to resort to having his backpack transported or that he will have to stop walking – but he is pretty determined to keep walking if he can. We had a simple continental breakfast with the Italy guy planning on a 30km day. We are happy with our short day thank you!
We were on our way just after 8am, now the sun had already come up as we left the lovely hostal. Such a nice sparkling new place compared to the ‘older’ places we have stayed in. Not to mention they have good taste in music & play all of Michael Buble’s songs. Mr D was Rocket Man as he shot off downwards on the asphalt road to the next little mountain village called Riego de Ambros 3.6kms away. It took us under an hour with our speed skates on, through the quiet village where no one could be seen or heard. Only us two stomping through the peaceful streets. Heading out the other end, we had to manage a tricky steep rock defile descent, that if it was wet, would make it more treacherous & slippery. Through more lovely bush tracking up & more down till we reached Molinaseca.
We chose morning tea by the river & bridge, very nice spot that some other Pilgrims also had the same idea stopping there. The two Alaskian ladies we have met before were there. I don’t know their names & we haven’t spoken much. But they seem nice enough. The town looked inviting as Mr D said he could easily stay a night there. Well if we had 6 months, we could stay at all the nice towns we liked! As it was, we had to continue hoping to reach Ponferrada by lunchtime. Mr D was worried about his lumps, at least the day was pleasant & a cool 18 degrees. Rocket Man had run out of fuel & was shuffling along now.
As we arrived through Campo, an outer suburb, their church bells rang out. But not the usual harsh sound they make. These ones chimed out a sweet melody song as I walked along, now on road again through to Ponferrada, a city with a population of 69,000. We passed one couple walking along, their little kid screaming away because he chose to be naughty & the parents ignoring him still talking to each other. I was glad to soon be out of earshot of the kids undesirable noise level.
We got into the centre hub at 12.45pm & couldn’t find the Albergue as it’s location wasn’t correct on the map in our guide book. Feeling annoyed, we stopped for lunch first at a medieval restaurant & had a HUGE serve of grilled steak with chips & salad. Mr D even succumbed to a glass of vino. Then he rang the Albergue & found its location so we headed over & booked another private room. This one called Guiana was the closest Albergue to the centre. And quite a nice building & rooms. They even cater for cyclists & have a bike cleaning station downstairs with the laundry & a games room. The shower is very interesting, it sprays water 4 different ways as Mr D had fun playing with the buttons to see which shower comes on, hilarious! Mr D needed more cream for his allergies asap. As it was a Sunday, most Farmacia’s were closed. But he googled & found a 24 hour Farmacia close by, imagine that?! I didn’t think it possible in Spain. I went to visit the Castle, but it was closed! It had been opened when we were eating lunch. With a heavy heart I went for a stroll around the plaza. It being a Sunday, a lot of places were shut.
But the Camino provides as they say & as I walked back, I noticed the castle had just opened again. So in I went to pay for a look around. Mr D wanted to rest back in the hotel room due to his welt lumps with a bottle of vino. Ponferrada’s Castillo de Los Templarios is now a national monument. Built in the 12th century as a Templar Castle, it is still in good condition after restoration works have allowed it to be re-opened to the public. And what a good opportunity to look back into some Spanish history. After I had enjoyed my look around that took over 90 minutes, & spotting the two Canadian ladies from earlier also there, I headed back to our hostel room. Mr D had already consumed 3 quarters of the bottle of wine!
We went looking for a light dinner. The earliest for dinner that we could find was at an Italian restaurant at 8pm. The dinner wasn’t light but! There was bruschetta, beef & chips for Mr D. I had a yummy lamb & thyme in pasta with bolognese sauce. Then I squeezed in a panna cotta for dessert! Yum! Our bellies are growing ever bigger! Mr D has said he has had enough of the walk & wished we were finishing in Santiago tomorrow! I’m still excited, each day is different, new towns to go through, different people you meet. And this stage is great, we have flat roads, mountains, lush greenery & more yet to come. And what will tomorrow bring – I wait to find out!