Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The mountains approaching Ponferrada

Originally uploaded by johnpigott0820
It has been a wild mix of weather since leaving Astorga. We walked outof Astorga Monday morning in good weather. It was greart to start to see more of the mountainous terrain starting to emerge after days of moving along the N-120. Our plan was to head for Foncebadon and then make another stage into Ponferrada the following day (about 26 kms each). On the first days walk we could see the mountains off in the distance from our vantage point near Santa Catalina. We were in fine weather but you could see the mountain flanks and valleys off in the distance shrouded in clouds. It was stunning scenery after the senda march up from Carrion de los Condes. As the day wore on and we gained in elevation the mists started to gather and thicken around us finally enveloping us in cloud, mists and fog as we left Rabanal behind us. We pushed on for Foncebadon still walking the Camino and making several detours for flooded sections. The day drew on the daylight started to fade in the darkening clouds, but Foncebadon couldn´t be that far ahead. Suddenly out of the gloom I spotted the village sign and then wondering where the village was I spotted the vaguest bit of a roof line. We had arrived. A pleasant night was spent at the Albergue Monte Irago. There were four of us there that night (a Spaniard, a German, and Robin and I). The village could offer only the comfort of this albergue and it was great. They offer breakfast, dinner, and a bunk for 16 euros per person. You can just have the bunk for 5 euros. We settled in to paella, salad, desert and wine while the weather worsened. No worries for us as the heat was on (sort of) and the fireplace was crackling and snapping as more wood was added.

The next morning we set off for Ponferadda in the same weather we had the day before. Rain, fog, walking through the clouds heading up to Cruz de Ferro (the highest point on the Camino so I am told). The only difference today was a gusty wind (30-35 MPH) that chilled us most of the morning. We couldn´t see Cruz de Ferro until we almost walked into it. It wasn´t until we made it down below the cloud deck (near Acebo) that life started to improve. Robin was being careful with her ankle and I was being mindful of my knees during this long descent. In short it was a hard day. Accordingly it wasn´t until about 4:45 that we arrived at the new albergue (San Nicholas) in Ponferrada, a very nice facility. We were done in. We had been walking since 8:45 and with the weather challenges it made for a very long day. But we made it. Robin and I are both looking forward to a double ration of wine tonight, and a good night´s rest. Tomorrow we are off to Villafranca Del Bierzo. Cheers for now.



  1. There can't be a greater adventure told than the one you are sharing. Joan and I await each posting as you walk through the pages of the Mystical Manual. You are our heroes. bien camino

  2. Your pictures are just beautiful! I suppose a journey like this really makes you grateful for simple comforts (food and heat). Hope your bodies hold out for the long haul. How much longer? Do you have plans to relax in Santiago or somewhere else for awhile before returning home?