Leaving Rabanal was difficult for me. I loved the feel of this village and its people but today will be a milestone – Cruz de Ferro (the Iron Cross). It is such a beautiful day and today I will ceremoniously release the rocks I’ve been carrying since the beginning of the Camino to represent my burdens.
Before I left Rabanel, I had a pleasant chat with the Davis family from BC (parents and 3 young girls) where we had a group picture taken. They are so sweet and inspiring. I hope to see them down the line. I met the 3 Italians who rescued golden Labrador puppies. Here is Santiago with his owner.
You would think after carrying all those burdens for 100’s of km and releasing them at Cruz de Ferro would mean the walk would get easier. NOT!!! It was a horrific downhill ascent over rock. My knees when I arrived in Acebo were jelly. Yordie video chatted me as I was going downhill so she saw the terrain and effort it took. Adding to the difficulty was the heat, 31 degrees.
I was grateful to have sent my backpack forward or I would still be on that mountain!
Once safe and sound at the albergue, I had a grande San Miguel beer, a shower and dinner. I met 4 Norwegian friends and I spent the next hour practicing their names: Dragrun, Walkon, Viglis and Torbjörg. What a laugh we had. They are all in their 70s and hike like they are in their teens. I call them the Norwegian mountain goats! They passed me twice during the day. I like this group, they have such a zest for life.
The albergue was high in the mountains and the wind just howled that night. I tossed and turned listening to the snoring, the screeching wind and the screaming pain of my knees.
I felt bad for the Frenchman in the bottom bunk. I apologized for tossing and turning but apparently he didn’t hear a thing. Leaving Acebo, we were told to take the road to save our knees. For the first 5 km I was on the road but then this German couple told me to follow them. I did and boy did I regret that!!!! 9.4 km of rocky descent. By the time I made it to the bottom, I was toast!!!
At this point there had not been a café con leche in sight but there were a couple of entrepreneurial Spaniards selling fresh fruit for donativo (a donation). My favorite was the cherry seller. I hit Molinaseca around 10:30 am and guess who were sitting there enjoying their breakfast – the Norwegians! They certainly didn’t look worse for wear and they were so concerned for me because my face gets very red. I told them I was fine and they left me as they were going an additional 5 km past where I was going to stop. I still shake my head. One thing you shouldn’t do on the Camino is compare yourself to others. You would drive yourself crazy!
I was going to Ponferrada today but first the farmacia (pharmacy) for Naproxen for my arthritis. They sell it over the counter (50 tablets = 4.20 euro). I pay a heck of a lot more in Canada. The pharmacist reminded me to hydrate because of the heat (31C) and suggested I stay in Molinaseca.
Once showered and set for tomorrow I went in search for food. I found this awesome bistro across from the Knights of Templar castle and enjoyed a spectacular ensalada mixta while enjoying the view and imagining soldiers defending their city. I wanted my grandson Nixon to see this and Skyped him on his way to school. It was nice touching base with him as it had been quite a while.