CF21 Day 15 – Acebo to Ponferrada

The weather was much better when I woke up, promising a blue sky and a fabulous walk down the still tricky trail towards Molinaseca. I had breakfast with other late pilgrims, including the Musicians from the night before, who were also taking it easy and in no hurry to get to Santiago.

Then I slathered Gehwol on my feet, put on socks and shoes and went off into the brilliant and chilly mountain morning.

After Riego de Ambros the real fun/tricky stuff starts. The trail resembles a dry brook or river, which is probably what it is, at least in parts. It is only dry because it is so steep. In between the steep and rocky bits there are flatter, easier parts that let you relax and enjoy the views.

That last pic is where Tricky Trail #2 begins, and it lasts pretty much all the way down to Molinaseca. Incredibly I met two people going UP the trail, and they asked how much longer it would be like this. I don’t think they liked my honest answer. As I approached the end, a French young man who had been walking behind me caught up to me, so I told him I was grateful that he had been there, right behind me – it made me feel a bit safer knowing that I would be found if I fell. I offered to buy him a drink for being my unwitting Camino Angel, and he accepted. Then we sat down by the river, watching other pilgrims cross the bridge into town, and my Camino Angel got his clothes line out to play with a kitten.

In Molinaseca I bumped into an Italian girl and a Ukrainian lady who had stayed at Acebo too, and we walked together towards Molinaseca.

If you have ever wondered why there are so many bottles of water standing outside people’s doors, it is supposedly to stop dogs from urinating on doors and corners. Not sure the logic is water tight but that’s what the people we asked said.

The Italian, the Ukranian and I sat down outside the Competencia in Ponferrada to have some proper pizza, which was sooo delicious! Then the Italian girl went to do another 15 kms, and the Ukranian got a room 7 kms away. I just sauntered around the corner and booked into my hotel…

Love how this ancient tree has been given a massive brace or iron support so it won’t break and die.

Just as I was going out for a glass of vino after having my clothes washed, the heavens opened and all the rain that had been forecast for days finally fell. I went back to my room to wait it out, hoping that more places would be open after seven. Some were – I discovered a new (to me) fun bar near the hotel with great tapas and music, so I sat down by the window to people watch.

The Musicians were staying in my hotel, and when the rain stopped they strolled past my window. They joined me for a drink and in turn invited me to join them for a lovely Italian meal in the evening. They even provided a beautiful rainbow above the outside seats! I really had intended to visit the Templar castle this time, but there is only so much you can do when there are so many nice people everywhere. No regrets – the castle isn’t going anywhere.

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