El Peregrinaje de Claudia de 2013 travel blog

Here is a shot of the pretty camino to El Acebo.

Don´t know name of this plant, but it is ubiquitous (and very...

Typical homes in this area, although many are empty these days.

The roofs are black slate and walls are un-mortared stone in the...

Small roses growing over the churchyard wall in small town of Molinaseca,...

El Castillo de los Templarios, sadly closed to visitors on Sunday afternoon.

This is the Mozarabic church of Santo Tomás de las Ollas.

The church lady (in white) visiting with a friend in the plaza...

More roses!

In the yard of the albergue, pondering the remaining 202 km to...

Yesterday, Saturday, I walked 17 km to a tiny village, called El Acebo. Not a long day on the Camino, but since it included about 350 m (~1100 ft) of both ascent and descent, it was a challenging walk. I had my pack transported (a very handy sevice here on the Camino Francés), so I could enjoy the stage, and boy, it was worth every euro! The scenery was gorgeous, with heather and other flowering bushes everywhere, towering over my head. Mountains with spots of snow off to one horizon and pines and scrubby oaks and cherry trees along the mountainside.

We climbed up to the highest point along the Camino, about 1400 meters (~ 4300 ft) at pass on top of Monte Irago, a sacred mountain for the Celts. Just before the pass, and after the hamlet of Foncebadón, was the Cruz de Ferro. This cross was erected hundreds of years ago. Penitent pilgrims bring rocks from home with them, and carry them all the way to this cross. Here they leave them, and with them the burden of their sins and failures. Even those of us who are not especially penitent make our own offerings and seek blessings for the rest of our trip and for our lives and loved ones.

From El Acebo this morning, it was another 16 km walk, this time all downhill. Pretty rocky path at times, but flattened out by time we reached Ponferrada. I am trying to get on the road by 7 or so each morning since the sun really starts beating down on you about noon, and it is absolutely draining to walk under it for very long. Got here about 12:30, had lunch and checked into the albergue. Did a bit of laundry in the wash sink: it is a back-breaking task, leaning over to reach down and lift wet clothes out, scrub and wring them several times. I will never take a washing machine for granted again!

A short rest in the reading room, then headed out to call Dad for Father´s Day and to see whatever sights are open here on a Sunday afternoon. Not much it turns out, but did get to visit a quaint little 10th century Mozarabic church up on a hill just outside town. The lady who keeps the key was sitting out in the plaza when I arrived, luckily enough, so I didn´t even have to hunt her house down to ask! It wouldn´t have been hard: she lives next to the church. By the way, the flowers in this area are just fantastic. Huge roses and geraniums -- people´s gardens are so fragrant and colorful you just wish you could somehow transport it all back to Texas!

Hope all have a wonderful Father´s Day. ¡Siguen adelante!


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