Cecilia & I bounce out of bed around 7am and quickly get ready to go down for our 8:00am breakfast.
Today is one of those incredible blue sky days and although the morning is a bit chilly, the forecast is for the high 20’s today. We chose the prefect week as last week it apparently was cloudy and quite cool.
Departure time was 9:00am and we drove to Castrillo de los Polvazares – an historic typical ‘Maragato’ village whose architecture has remained unchanged since the 16th century. The stone buildings and paving stones are gorgeous. The morning sun gave the buildings a special glow for great photos.
From here we continue on to Foncebadon where we will start our journey. Here we can purchase a Camino shell, water and receive our first sello (stamp) in our Credencial. Let the walk begin!
It was a continuous gentle 2km climb up to the Cruce de Ferro (the iron cross) where peregrinos (pilgrims) leave a rock, shell or any symbolic item at the foot of the cross. Along with these items you leave your worries and problems behind, or a dedication to a family member or friend. This is a very integral part of the Camino and many leave something behind; a rock, a shell, or a photo, along with our worries and prayers for loved ones.
Paul & I continue along the undulating ridge to Manjarin, a simple refuge run by an eccentric fellow, Tomas, who believes he is still part of the Knights Templar and has devoted his life to caring for peregrinos. Out front are directional signs giving the distance for points all over the world. Here Paul Sr. picks up Paul as he is happy to finish for the day.
Shortly after, I meet up with Leslie, Annie & Cecilia. Leslie & Annie are driving with Paul Jr. to the lunch spot, and Cecilia & I decide to walk the 5km down to Acebo. It was a fairly steepish downhill and once we saw the village our knees were very happy to be stopping!
Acebo is a glimpse of a vanishing world, old stone houses with balconies that overhang and a central gutter in the road. The restaurant Meson El Acebo is a popular spot and rightfully so as the food was delicious! It was served family style with a large variety and quantity of food, oh yes, and plenty of wine! No wonder they need a siesta after a huge meal with wine! The group was very animated and jovial and we seem to have so much laughter (even without the wine) – what fun.
Some of us choose to ride back to the village of Molinaseca and the majority tackled the downhill 5km trail. The temperature was now about 24C and the trail is in a valley so a bit of a heat trap. Before long though, the hardy ones cross at the Romanesque bridge of Molinaseca and made their way through the gorgeous narrow street to our hotel.
First thing was to shower and then do a wee bit of laundry – hope it stays warm enough to dry!
Decision making on what to do for dinner was a slow process, but we finally decided on Paul’s suggestion of the Capricho de Josana. I was still overstuffed from lunch, so only had a glass of wine. Two of the ladies wanted to eat light and ordered a salad – when they arrived we almost fell off our chairs. They were the largest salads and would have fed at least two or three people. Tammy ordered a burger and it was equally ginormous! They are certainly not chintzy with the food portions.
After much chatter and laughter we made our way back to the hotel – a mere block. Cecilia and I chattered on whilst updated Facebook with photos and answering emails and finally went to sleep!