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  • Day23

    Back to Ponferrada

    June 25, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    I had a really tough but almost always enjoyable walk today up to Peñalba De Santiago, one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. It’s tucked way up in the mountains and has been inhabited since the tenth century when the hermit saint Genadio set up some caves for hermits. The walk was very remote and I even walked in some of the channels made by the Romans to get water over to the hills with gold nearby. I got there just in time for a very interesting visit to the 10th century church. After walking around, I pondered my situation.

    My plans were to stay in Peñalba tonight and then take a more remote path tomorrow to connect to the Camino Invierno.

    But three things made me change my mind. First I had had no cell service almost the whole way and tomorrow would be no better. Second, I had inexplicably forgotten to download tracks for tomorrow on my GPS. And third, even though I was able to get offline tracks onto my phone, the battery would have died about half way through.

    Now I love a challenge as much as the next guy, but this seemed stupid. So a very nice couple from Madrid drove me back to Ponferrada. And I will start the Invierno tomorrow from the proper place.
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  • Day22

    Into Ponferrada

    June 24, 2019 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 15 °C

    This walk turned out to be a lot longer than I thought —another 30 km somehow. It must have been the tracks I followed, since I was taking a “cheating walk” rather than following the official Camino Olvidado to the end.

    The first cheating was when the arrows pointed me up to a sanctuary high above the reservoir. Since I was walking in pea soup and since the church is relatively modern, (why walk an extra km or two to see a modern church?!) I just shaved a km or two of ascent off the day. The rest of the day was foggy and humid but good walking weather. No particularly stunning scenery —over and around a dam/reservoir and through a couple of pine forests.

    At one point my GPS was taking me through some really overgrown mess and I saw a track going up and heard voices up there. So I thought that was the better option. Sure enough there was a group of cyclists with diabetes doing a Spain-Germany cycle. They pointed me in the right direction and within a few hours I was in Ponferrada.

    Soon after I arrived, it started to rain —lucky me to have missed it all on the walk. Doing a little legal work this afternoon, and I’ll then meet up with some others who are going to walk the Camino Invierno too.
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  • Day24

    Leon to Ponferrada

    May 13, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 10 °C

    Hello from Ponferrada, Spain. First off, Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom...thank you for all of your support! I took it easy today and got myself to Ponferrada. I stayed in a small hotel last night so, unlike an albergue, check out time was not until noon. That enabled me to sleep in and take my time this morning. I also got my flight booked to come home this morning. I have an 8:30 am flight on Friday the 25th out of Porto, Portugal landing in Boston at 1:20 pm. An 11 hour flight but I lose 6 hours with the time difference. I will take the train or bus to Portland and Connor is picking me up there. I met up with two older gentlemen from London last night in Leon. They had just arrived and begin walking to Santiago today. They are taking the easier method of walking the Camino....they walk until they are tired and call someone from their booking agency to drive them to the next town. We met up at a cafe and when they learned I had been walking for almost three weeks, they wanted to here some of my stories. As it turned out, we had dinner together and had a great political discussion among other topics. The really great part?...they bought the wine!...which was the really good stuff! I arrived at the bus depot in Ponferrada at around 3pm. I had a 2mile or so walk to find the Camino path and a place to stay around 4:30. I ended up in a small albergue. I had dinner tonight with an engineer from Frankfort, Germany and a physician from Barcelona, Spain. Again, great discussion and food. Tomorrow, I am on the trail again...15 miles to the next town. I will enter the province of Galicia in the next couple of days. Galacia is very mountainous and the scenery is stunning I have been told so the photos from here on in to Santiago should be great. Galacia also has a huge Celtic influence so that should be interesting to see. It is also known for its seafood...especially octopus and I will be trying that out for sure. It is also very mountainous, so I will be grinding up and down huge hills once again. That’s it from here...I hope this finds everyone well!Read more

  • Day14

    Molinaseca to Ponferrada

    October 4, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    As I write this, I am sitting next to the Knights Templar Castle in Ponferrada which is my end point. This phase of the Camino is over after 150 or so miles. I will spend the night here and travel to Madrid in the morning. So, a small hotel in Madrid tomorrow night and catch a plane home Saturday morning is all that is left. It has been a great trip and I met great people along the way. I managed this trip much better as far as keeping my feet healthy and the whole planning part of things. There are a lot of people from the United States, Western Canada, Australia and Germany out here...I saw more of these nationalities then any other this trip. I really only met two people that I didn’t care for and both were obnoxious entitled women from Cape Cod. The French people that I met this time along the way were great! As always thank you for checking in and I will see you all soon. Thanks!Read more

  • Day138

    Cruz de Ferro and Ponferrada

    July 17, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    We began the morning by hiking up to Cruz de Ferro. When we arrived, I could see this huge mound of rocks with a wooden pole topped with an iron cross set in the center. There were a few people up on the mound. Since the pilgrims’ path is to actually cross over the mound, Alan and I began climbing and, as I'm looking down to place my feet, I see prayers and messages handwritten on these rocks; pictures drawn, letters, and names. It hit me like a wall, these rocks I was treading upon were thousands of people's inner and most private thoughts. I can’t even explain how powerful it was.

    When we reached the top, I bent down and spread dad’s ashes near a rock that said “Free” and one that said “I Love You” in German. I also left my rock there, and Alan placed his agate next to my rock. So...on this highest point of the Camino, I was able to leave a piece of my dad❤️It was very moving.

    The rest of our hike had us following a path that reminded us of The Sound of Music...beautiful. Then we went down, down, and down some more through cute villages and towns until we finally arrived in Ponferrada. Tomorrow, we head to Villafranca. Only 126 miles left to go.

    Blister and Achilles update: My blister is healed and my Achilles pain was gone this morning. I am hoping it stays gone. 🙂
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  • Day25

    Rabanal del Camino-Ponferrada

    May 13, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    32 km de marche. Ce matin, Martin a décidé d’aller rejoindre sa famille pour la mort de son beau père. J’ai décidé de poursuivre l’aventure pour lui et pour moi. De retour dans les paysages à couper le souffle.

  • Day42

    In Ponferrada, down in the valley

    October 3, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    Before describing today I want to say a few more things about yesterday that I forgot to mention. So many little things happen, that I forget when writing...first, I have to say that when we left in the very cold morning, the frost everywhere on the grasses, ferns...white everywhere was quite amazing. But the one funny thing that Amr wants me to say is about a Spanish woman, a peregrino, middle-aged, who was just ahead of us when a cyclist came hooning along our track, which was rather narrow at the time...well she was furious (as we were too - they should use the road at those times) but she yelled at him, then delivered a tirade in very rapid Spanish to Amr about the rudeness of cyclists etc etc...glad it was Amr, but he only caught the gist of course...when she finally stopped and found we were Australian she still spoke rapidly in Spanish, but then asked for English lessons about phrases...”a wonderful day”, “a difficult Camino”...quite funny...but we struck her again this morning, and this time we were on the downhill climb to Molinaseca and she passed us and turned and held her finger to her lips and indicated how peaceful the silence was, just birds....then she said “las mujeres...” yak yak...meaning the women we had all passed were chatting constantly and being irritating to her! Thank goodness we were OK! People yakking a lot can disturb the peace, but that is all part of it...they are having a good time, and you are never near people for long. Also, must mention dinner last night. We went to the little restaurant near our place and had a great meal...just a peregrino menu, but for the meat course Amr and I both had rabbit with almond sauce and it was delicious. Today in Ponferrada we saw a fish dish with almond sauce, so it must be the thing round here.

    Anyway, to get to today - we left at about 8.10, and walked 16 kms to Ponferrada. We thought it would be fairly easy and not too long, but the first 8 kms to Molinaseca were quite demanding downhill...we had forgotten how long that was (and were very glad we hadn’t had to do it yesterday afternoon) we stopped for refreshment, and set off for the last 8 kms and also forgot how long and undulating that was - you can see the city, but have to walk a couple of hours to reach it....

    We are now down in the Bierzo valley, and the climate has changed drastically! It is HOT again...we found our very nice modern hotel, showered and went out to explore a bit, but after a bite to keep us going till dinner (again chiperones a la plancha!) we have retired back to our room to escape the afternoon heat! And it will only cool off to about 12° no jackets tomorrow. Ponferrada is a lovely city...a Templar castle (which we toured last time), and great old town with narrow streets and squares. We will probably meet Brigitte, Janette and Jessica for dinner, as we are all staying at the same hotel, El Castillo.

    Tomorrow’s walk is about 24 kms through the valley, and is the day last time when we saw the grape harvesting. Today on a hill we saw some picking going on, so who knows, maybe we’ll see it again. We will check the vines to see if they are still laden with grapes.
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  • Day19

    Sixteenth stop - Ponferrada

    May 17, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Villares de Óbrigo -> 15km (+52km by train) -> Ponferrada
    After yesterday's beautiful diner, which was a real melting pot of nationalities, today we walked to Astorga, where we visited the beautiful Cathedral and walked around town. From there we took a train (and skipped a huge storm it seems) to Ponferrada from which we will continue the road tomorrow!Read more

  • Day25


    August 26, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Wie immer tauchen natürlich auch heute wieder einige bekannte Gesichter (Alessio, Carla, Martin, Cecile,...) in der Unterkunft auf, ohne das man sich irgendwie verabredet hätte. (Und es gibt unzählige Herbergen in Ponferrada) Aber das ist hier halt so. 😂

    Nach Dusche und Waschen besichtige ich mit Martin gemeinsam die Tempelritter Burg und gehen anschließend gemeinsam mit Cecile zum Abendessen.Read more

  • Day8


    October 9, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

    WAUW, ik had deze hele tekst bijna volledig geschreven en dan word heel mijn tekst gewist. FBI are you watching?

    Dus nogmaal dag iedereen!

    Vandaag hebben we veel gewandeld en leuke dingen gedaan.

    The end.

    Nu de FBI niet meer meeleest kan ik weer even opnieuw beginnen. Va daag was het voor mij wel een hoogdag (allee toch in de voormiddag) want we gingen in de bergen klimmen! Het enigste probleem dat we onderweg ondervonden was de snijdende kou. Gelukkig zijn wij niet in stukjes gesneden *badam ptsss*. Okee ik zal al weg gaan.

    Neen maar dus als je klimt kom je op een zeker punt helemaal op de top e. Wel ze hadden ons gezegt dat er een "cruz ferro" op de spits zou staan. Het was helaas een ijzeren kruis van 50 cm hoog en bleek te lijden aan een minderwaardigheidscomplex aangezien hij op een lange houten paal stond. Wat een teleurstelling!

    Het begon erna wat middag te worden en waren mijn goude uren geslagen. De reden hierom is dat ik het haat om af te dalen. Pijnlijke knieen broken enkels, het hoort er allemaal bij zeker (gelukkig heb ik het laatste niet). Na de afdaling kwamen we toe in een prachtig dorpje! Echt daar zou ik heel graag eens mijn vakantie willen doorbrengen! 😲

    Uiteindelijk is onze laatste stop Ponferrada. Doordat we echter een pijl hadden gemist hadden we een 4 km lange omtour gemaakt! Alzof 41 kilometer nog niet genoeg was! (kijk maar op de traveltracker van papa). Het parkoer naar santiago is al lang genoeg. Ze moeten het echt niet labger maken. Maar ja we zijn er zekers?

    In iedergeval ga ik jullie het slaapwel opleggen want ik ben best doodmoe en onhumoristisch. Ik schrijf bijna even saai als mijn oude leerboeken.

    Slaapwel iedereen en tot morgen!
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