Day 20: Santa Catalina to Ponferrada (200km to go to Santiago!)

Day 20 already on the camino. Almost three weeks and so many memories (thanks god I have a blog … It’s too many places, faces and emotions over the days and weeks).

The night in the hostel was pretty average though we appreciated the breakfast option downstairs and started our day with a cafe con leche (which are very good in Spain in stark contrast to their expresso equivalent cafe solo).

Guelane’s leg was still not fine and swelling looked only marginally better despite the night-long rest.

Our first target of the day was Cruz de ferro. The highest point of our pilgrimage requiring about 500m climb and with quite some significance. We would arrive there separately after a second joint breakfast.

Pilgrims traditionally bring a stone from their home and lay it down at the cross asking God to put it into the side of scales weighing the good things of a person on judgement day. It is also considered that people lay down troubles with that stone.

After Cruz de ferro one reaches a hippy like auberge (manjarin) counting one full inhabitant according to my guide book ;o) from there is again a little uphill before one starts the decent towards El acebo and ultimately beautiful molinaseca. The views were stunning all the way.

I felt fit on the day and continued to ponferrada (for a record 44km distance on the day, same 36km for guelane despite leg) while Guelane remained in molinaseca owing to longer resting stops. Everyone needs its own pace on the camino.

The last bit of the way into ponferrada was not very pretty and often roadside. The city center itself did offer yet another great cathedral and the castle of Templar Knights. Very impressive stuff!

I didnt meet anyone I knew and the four Italians in my room didn’t speak English. Good time to rest.

Overall update: from here it’s 200km to Santiago (208km for Guelane), which we should reach either Tuesday or Wednesday. So 580km or so behind me on the camino. Let’s see how crowded it will get over the coming days. Since cyclists need a minimum of 200km and Walking pilgrims 100km there will be a lot of guys just doing the last by of the camino to qualify.

Apparently, it is not uncommon in Spain to put the attribute ‘I have done the camino’ on your CV. So could be the vastly ruling class of Italians gets some Latin competition soon from the so far seemingly absent domestics ;o)




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