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Published: October 22nd 2017
Geo: 42.7558, -7.24069
Saturday October 1, Foncebadon to Ponferrada
Last night was the most quiet of the entire Camino, none of the eight of us snores!!! At dinner we had all agreed that there was no need to head out until after 7:00. Cruz Ferro was only two kilometers.
The night before, we had brought our 1/2 dry laundry in and put it on a drying rack; we woke up to find that the proprietors had moved the drying rack to the front of the pot-bellied stove and everything was dry. It really is the small things that make such a big difference! We loved our fellow pilgrims here and the amazing hosts.
After breakfast of coffee, juice, toast, and jam, we headed out about 7:30 (sunrise wouldn't be until 8:22). The timeline becomes important when you think of Cruz Ferro, one of the highest points on Camino Frances. We wanted to be there around sunrise for the 360 degree views.
There has been a monument here since the ancient Celts, followed by the Romans and since the 9th century there has been the Christian monument of a pole with a crucifix at the top. For centuries, pilgrims have left a stone at the base of
the cross which represents their burdens. We left our stones brought from Glacier NP.
We arrived at a perfect time except there were no views; we were socked in with a pretty good fog. It was still a cool experience and we all took turns taking each other's photos.
This was NOT the highest point; there were lots more ups and downs. As the fog burned off the mountain views were spectacular. Once we did start the descent, it was some of the steepest, rockiest terrain we have had.
At El Acbo we met up with Lisa from Portland, OR who we first met on our third day in Pamplona, and had not seen since Leon. She had been having some serious foot problems but found that using hiking sticks really helped her. However, last night, someone took her hiking sticks (probably by mistake)! Dave gave her one of his and told her we would meet at the first bar/restaurant in the next town.
Antoine from Paris had told us that the most common things left behind by pilgrims were walking sticks and towels. When we arrived in Riego de Ambros, for a coffee, we checked with the albergue to see if
they had any abandoned walking sticks and they had three to choose from. When Lisa arrived, she had a replacement walking stick - the Camino provides.
Our overnight would be Ponferrada. There was a long industrial approach and we found Albergue Alea easily because they had a sign every 100 feet, kind of like Wall Drug! We were in a four person dorm that they fitted for five. Thanks to Sue emailing ahead, we had reservations for us, Landon, Cecelia and Lisa - two bunks and a roll-a-way for Lisa.
The city center focuses on the Cathedral and the Templar Castle, built it the 13th century, over a Visigoth fort, built over a Roman fortification, built over a pre-Roman structure - this place has some serious history!
After sightseeing, we ended up having cocktails with Carlos, Amparo, Landon and Cecelia in the city hall/Cathedral plaza at a sidewalk table. We ended up having dinner at a pizzeria with Carlos (Brazil) and Amparo (Spain). We shared three personal pizzas, a salad and bottle of wine. The great meal was only exceeded by the great company.
At 9:30, we were the last to return to the albergue and we did not know that if
you planned to be out after 9:00, you needed to take a key. Luckily, Landon was our Night Watchman and let us in when we rang the buzzer!
Tot: 0.652s; Tpl: 0.051s; cc: 11; qc: 57; dbt: 0.0305s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
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