Every day is different on the Camino and today I was all about embracing the differences; starting with breakfast and ending with dinner.
I started the morning with breakfast at the amazing Brazilian Hostel I stayed at last night. I don’t always take advantage of the cheap breakfasts offered where I am staying, but I did this morning because it felt right.
Instead of the usual €3-4 price, today’s was €5, but I went for it. It was super sweet to watch the Hostel owners work together to put out breakfast for 8 of us, all expecting breakfast at different times. Unlike most Camino breakfasts that are just juice, toast and church-urn style coffee, this one also included scrambled eggs, yogurt and a variety of beverage options.
It was also a chance to talk with fellow pilgrims. Two (a very young couple) were from Denmark, there were two women Aussies, and two 20-something girls from Minnesota. Breakfast was delicious and a great start to day. I normally start walking before eating, but this worked out well.
The big difference with eating first is that by the time I got my act together after breakfast, I didn’t leave until 8:15, a full hour past my normal start time. That’s ok. I had about 24km ahead of me and it was mostly flat.
A large part of the day was walking on sidewalks and roads so it was easy, but not a trek that forces you to stop every few minutes to take a picture as was the case yesterday.
I love meeting and talking with people along the way. Today I met Dave who is walking the Camino with his wife, but she has been bussing ahead some days leaving him to walk on his own at his own pace which is very fast! But, when he got ahead of me, he stopped to shed a clothing layer and there I was; caught up with him! Dave and I probably walked together for 8-9km. We walked in and out of Ponferrada together which was great to have two of us watching out for arrows.
I know I call a lot of places on the Camino sweet, but that word doesn’t work with Ponferrada. It is a larger city with a population of 65k residents. Perhaps it is a place to go back to next Camino?? But I wasn’t feeling the love when I was there today.
Dave and I moved through the town quickly snapping just a few photos. I was sorry to learn later that today it was free for pilgrims to tour the Templar castle. I guess that will be on my next visit.
Castillo de los Templarios
There is a nice history of the castle here, which I am going to let you read on your own. This pilgrim is racing to finish this post before she finishes a bottle of wine! Unlike our programmer Peter who does his finest work between the first and second bottle, I rarely have more than a couple of glasses of wine so this is an exception and could prove a problem for my nightly blog!
I guess I should also confess that I stopped at a winery around 12:30 for a little wine tasting. I NEVER drink alcohol during the day on the Camino, but I figured…when in Spain.
I walked the remaining 6 or so km with Janet of team Burlington.
When I arrived at my reserved hostel for the night I was thrilled to see that I had a private “terrace.” I am on the second floor (in the US add a 1 to that number as the ground level floor is 0) overlooking the church in the center of town. The setting told me that I would be having a wine and cheese dinner right there, washing it down with a bottle of local wine.
After my shower, I found the grocery store (the best so far on the Camino) and stocked up with local cheese, sausage, Iberico jamon, almonds roasted in the shell, bread, clementine oranges and a bottle of Albariño wine from this region (Berios). Oh, and I also got a corkscrew!
And, here is the result.
I told a little white lie in the bar downstairs from my room that I needed ice for my knee and was able to chill the wine.
Please don’t be at all concerned about my knee; it is doing GREAT!!! Now I am feeling guilty about that white lie!
Before I headed back up to my room, I popped into the church which was really…yep, sweet.
Tile half-cylinder roofs in Spain are the norm here,but I haven’t seen many slate roofs. Yet they seem to be the standard in this upscale town of Cacabelos. You just can’t appreciate them unless you see them with your own eyes
I was an extrovert before I met Ray. I got my energy from interacting with lots of other people. But in the past 10-15 years I have become more of a recluse and introvert. I don’t just enjoy my private time, I need it to rest and recharge. After an great day on the Camino connecting with other pilgrims, I often crave solitude. Tonight gave me just what I needed. I had my wine and cheese dinner, wrote my blog post which I love doing and will get to bed early thanks to all the wine I have enjoyed.
I know I will probably wake up in the middle of the night unable to go back to sleep but that’s ok rvery now and then :-). It has been a wonderful evening.
Buen Camino and Ultreia!!!