Blogs from Ponferrada, Castile & León, Spain, Europe

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Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ponferrada October 15th 2018

I ate pizza with Greg last night. He is straight forward and doesn’t want to mix with women on the Camino. They complicate his life. He values his independence. He never married, no children. Happy days. I’m sharing a room with Greg, 2 Germans, and 2 Koreans. Guess who I was drawn to; Greg. For starters, he’s the only one I can talk to, and he has led an interesting life, changed direction work wise, many times, and is interested in similar things as I am. Except Hawthorn Football Club; he doesn’t follow footy. We went to the local pizza place, had vegetarian, chock full of asparagus, artichokes, and the usual fillings you expect, and chatted for hours about the Camino, our lives, families, in a way that indicates that in a day or so, we’ll ... read more
The Knights Templar Castle, Ponferrada
Basilica de la Encine, Ponferrada
A Moonlight Stroll In Dull, Downtown Ponferrada

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ponferrada October 14th 2018

Late yesterday I wandered the village of Foncebadón, and caught up with people I hadn’t seen for a few days. The German woman I walked to Fromista reappeared, and we considered a trip to the Cross that afternoon in order to avoid the rain tomorrow. Four kilometres round trip and it would be done. In hindsight it was a good plan, never executed. Dinner was at 7pm and I was seated with a young German named Michael, and Darryl from London. Darryl had that unique London accent that was a bit Arthur Dailey , if you know wot I mean like. His mother passed away a year ago, and his dad wanted to walk the Camino in her honour. He became ill, was never going to walk it, so Darryl offered to walk in his place; ... read more
The Storm Clouds Are Rolling In
Late Afternoon On Main Street
What A Difference 12Hours Makes.

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ponferrada October 3rd 2018

We are sleeping in later this holiday. There is no rush to get off to swim or to go to work. We can set the alarm, switch it off and ignore it. There is no overriding need to be anywhere. It is more a holiday of tootling about from place to place with no particular place to be. We can change plans by the day, by the hour and even by the minute. We dont worry if we miss things. It is not the end of the world. We can take our time . Astorga our destination today is just two hours away and we should be there for lunchtime . In time for a menu del dia - perhaps the first paella of the trip. Why Astorga? We are heading to see a different type ... read more
Another closed church
The castle
Sion got excited when he spied this

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ponferrada May 15th 2017

Today was extraordinary , we left Leon at daybreak from the San Francisco auberge owned and run by monks, an excellent place to stay. We cycled west with a slight following wind and made the first 50 Km to Astorga (what a beautiful city!) in good time. I had further puncture issues so decided to buy a replacement inner tube on very close inspection of my tyre I found a tiny slither of sharp rock had embedded itself in the tyre (the reason I kept getting punctures in the same back tyre!), removed it and replaced the tube. This cost us time but we still manged a relaxing lunch in the town square. We began to notice the flora and forna change as we headed into the hills, it had been a cool start but beginning ... read more

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ponferrada October 16th 2016

It's early and I'm listening to the 3 Tenors; John above, Rollo, a spanish guy to my left, and Toby, a young German above him. It's 6am, alarm is set for 6.30, but I'd get up now except it's a bit early. I've been awake for a while. I say if you don't like the noise, get a private room. It's all part of the 'experience '. Today is about 24 kms and pretty flat from memory. A bit of breakfast here first would be good, otherwise I will attack my little stash in my pack. I'm going to reset the alarm and see if I can get another 1/2 hours sleep in. This is live folks ! OMG, Today we left Ponferrada in the dark, nothing new there, and followed the rio Sil until we ... read more
The Path
The High Country Just Before Villafranca

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ponferrada October 15th 2016

We arrived at 2.30pm and are settled into a very nice Alburgue . We have 6 beds in our room so that's less snoring, hopefully. I walked out of Foncebadón into the darkness at about 7.40, after a nice breakfast of coffee, mini croissant , and toast. I enjoyed the rocky ascent to the Cruz de Ferro and there was a steady stream of torch or headlights winding their way to the peak. It's the highest part of the Camino and appropriately so. When I arrived there was just a couple of Koreans, they're everywhere, so I placed my stones and continued on my way. It started to rain a little,( or was it moisture from the clouds we were passing through), so I waited until Manjarin, where I ponchoed up. It didn't last long and ... read more
Steve Climbing The Cruz de Ferro
My stones this year.
Paths OK But Clouds Look Threatening

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ponferrada May 28th 2016

A friend and I day-tripped to Ponferrada last weekend. It’s over the border from Galicia in Castilla y Leon, but only around a 2-hour train ride from Ourense. The small city itself is along the most popular Camino de Santiago route, the French Route, and when we were there, I was surprised by the numbers of pilgrims. When I say ‘pilgrims’, you might imagine dirty people dressed in rags and leathery, almost-disintegrated shoes, but today’s pilgrims tend to be a cleaner-looking set, generally white, middle-aged people with traveling backpacks and walking sticks. Ponferrada seems to be heavily-reliant on the pilgrim-tourist trade, but not overly so. What was concerning is that we encountered more locals who seemed to be down-and-out. Ponferrada’s main attraction is a castle built by the Knights Templar. I’m still not entirely clear on ... read more
Ponferrada Castle
Ponferrada Castle
Ponferrada Castle

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ponferrada April 2nd 2016

We are really ‘coast’ people having lived all our lives close to the seaside. But today we are off into the great interior of Spain, a vast country where in the middle you would be hundreds of kilometres from the coast. Well perhaps the ‘great interior’ is a bit of an over exaggeration but we will be a good 150 kilometres as the crow flies when we get to our overnight accommodation in Cubillos de Sil. Our accommodation for the last 2 nights had lived up to its 9.8 rating on booking.com, until this morning that is. We are leaving our apartment unshowered as’ the hot water system broke down in the night’ as the pleasant man on the reception desk informed Gretchen when she went looking for the reason why the shower only ran cold ... read more
There is snow ahead
Entering the Rio Narcea gorge
Dancing and music in the street,Cangas del Narcea

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ponferrada September 30th 2015

We had a lovely nights sleep and woke up refreshed and ready for the off. Before the other campers were awake we had hit the road . We had loved this site and would use it again. Some of these aires/sostas and stellplatz are wonderful. They can be free or charge a small charge to put your van on them. They have space around you although technically you should not take your chairs out nor your table as that is seen as camping. What we are doing is overnight sleeping in a van. Some have amenities like water and electricity. Most of the time free but again possibly a nominal charge. Some we have found have WiFi and even showers and washrooms. They are hit and miss but they are there if you are happy to ... read more
Somewhere in the hills
and yet another bridge funded by Europe

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ponferrada September 29th 2015

September 29, 2015 It is hard to believe it has been a month since starting our adventure. We are now less than 200km to Santiago and from my calculations we will be there on October 7. It will be 37 days with a extra days in Burgos and Leon. I think for our first adventure on this Way, we have done it as it should be keeping a pace that has been very comfortable. The next time, if, I think I would spend more time in the smaller villages and the smaller Abergues. Today was a much more pleasant trip as we were more country and less roadside. The country roads provided us with figs and grapes from the vineyards which were great to sample along the way. In Ponferrada we were too early to get ... read more
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