I don’t think my brother will buy in Molinaseca after all but perhaps Cacabelos or Vega de Valcarce can persuade? (And maybe not!).
Saturdays walk began abruptly as I woke up at 8am to an empty Albergue at Senor Oso! I was the last out of the Albergue and probably the last out of Molinaseca that morning but I guess my body must have needed that ten hour sleep.
Fortunately on the 7km trek to Ponferrada a kindly local pointed me in the direction of a shortcut that cuts out Campos, a needless detour that saves a good 3km around the houses before getting into Ponferrada proper that saved me some time.
The city of Ponferrada was dressed up in its finery and off to church as I walked thru the centre at 10am, coming to the park above I found what looked to be a dazed and confused shitzu wandering around shaking, I stood with it for a few minutes when to my relief and old Spanish lady came running over with a blanket. The dog had been hit by a car she told me but I was at least glad the owner was around as I had thought I was going to need to take the dog to the vets in Ponferrada myself and abandon that days walk.
The walk from Ponferrada to Cacabelos takes you through small Bierzo villages and vineyards and is usually very pleasant although the 41c heat yesterday meant I was ducking my head into every running fountain and water source I could find just to stop from overheating. Sampling some of the grapes along the way it was clear vintage was close and indeed the next day we saw pickers bringing in the harvest. A hot days work!
In Cacabelos I was lucky to get a room to myself despite paying only for the bed once again. The Camino certainly dries up in September with the race for beds over and some great room rates can be found. I paid 15€ for my own attic room en suite!
That evening I met an Italian couple when I went out for dinner who invited me to dine with them. I politely accepted as I always do on camino and they told me an exceptional amount about their personal life over dinner. On Camino people really do share quickly and it’s refreshing but my English sensibilities sometimes leave me not knowing where to look! In any case, my listening ear was obviously exactly what they needed as the kindly gentleman paid for my dinner that evening! The Camino provides! For them a therapist and for me a free dinner with wine.
The next day I set off at 7.30am for Vega de Valcarce. This walk from Cacabelos to Vega is 26km almost exclusively on tough tarmac. It took its toll on some of my fellow pilgrims with one lady I walked with having developed a problem with her shin from the constant pounding. It happens to us all!
Fortunately I made it today to Vega de Valcarce without too many problems. My feet are tired but no new blisters despite the tarmac drubbing. Vega de Valcarce is a pretty town. I am sharing a pod in the Albergue with a retired English gentleman this evening so I’m hoping he’s not a snorer. Earplugs are ready just incase. I have been spoilt with the last two nights of solitude.
I am staying in the El Paso Albergue at the end of town. Tomorrow is 11kms up O Cebreiro, the big mountain into Galicia. If I make it up there and still have legs I may go to Fonfria which has an Albergue I enjoy with a good communal meal. This cat ate my dinner this evening so I fear I’ll be very hungry tomorrow!