Distance to go: 236.9 Kms
We had a great dinner last night in the albergue. We had a selection of local sausages and cheeses to start with and then the best paella I have had in many a day from a huge pan with 30 servings in it. The hospitalero, Manuel then sang a local song that was actually quite good. We both had a really good nights sleep. It started raining quite heavily about 5 in the morning for around an hour.
We had a really good breakfast and set off around 7 for the climb up to La Cruz de Ferro. It was not as cool as I had thought it may be. The path was fairly easy going for the first 2 Kms to the cross. We had both been carrying a small stone with us to add to the huge pile deposited by pilgrims over the many years. I had a piece of marble from a much larger stone kept at my parents front door of their house ever since I can remember. Debbie had a stone from the grave of Somebodies Darling which we visited when in New Zealand and brought back with us.
The first glimpse of the cross was quite emotional. I had read about it and what it came to symbolise. Pilgrims were there hugging each other. Some were weeping. Others just stood in complete silence and watched others deposit their stones. I said a small poem taught to me by my mother years ago.
See the patter O’ the watter, see the baggie minnows scatter, some are thin and some are fatter, thats the patter O’ the watter.
I had my mums bible with me and together Debbie and I left our stones and a set of rosary beads we had brought from Jerusalem. It was quite a moment for everybody around.
We then set off for Manjarin and then for a cup of tea in Acebo village. The going was slow. It was up then down and up and down on quite rugged paths of loose rocks and stones. It rained on and off but the views up among the clouds was spectacular. We had to use the road on a number of occasions when the actual path had become overgrown with gorse and broom.
We passed a military lookout post at the highest point of 1515 metres above sea level or 4,970 feet. The air was thin and made breathing a bit of a challenge. This made for slow going. Just before we got into Acebo there was a nasty steep descent on a very loose and rocky path. It made my knees sore and the cafe at the bottom was most welcome.
The amazing healing powers of a hot cup of tea and a bun were once more well proven.
From Acebo it was only 3.8 Kms to Riego de Ambros. This was another tiring walk due to the state of the path. These mountain villages are clinging on to their traditional structures and ways of life. The Camino provides income for them to do so and with the increase in pilgrim numbers more places are being renovated.
Riego de Ambros was a delightful little place. The path from here to our final destination of Molinaseca was at times very rough and rocky and at others a wonderful walk along a valley bottom. However the last bit into Molinaseca itself was horrible and seemed to never end. At least the clouds had started to clear.
Molinaseca itself was nothing like I thought it would be. It is a delightful and bustling town retaining much of its historical features. The main street is entered by crossing a beautiful medieval stone bridge.
Our albergue lies just outside the main town about 300 metres along the road to Ponferrada. It is very clean and tidy. Santa Marina is its name and we are again in the attic as last night but of a different class altogether.
This was a much tougher day than we expected due to the rough terrain. It was not that strenuous but it was hard going underfoot. The guide book does not really make this clear. However it is over and it is time to relax with a glass of ‘oh be joyful’.
Distance walked today: 20.7 Kms