This was our version of “Feris Beuler’s Day Off”. After the downhill into Molinaseca, we made a call to walk the 6km into Ponferrado and stop there for the day. It was such a good decision. The downhill stretch had left some very tired legs and even the short distance for the day felt quite long. It was a beautiful stretch to walk slowly and enjoy as all the new leaves were coming through on the vineyards and the flowers along the way were in full bloom. It was lovely to have time to literally stop and smell the flowers. We found a great coffee shop.
It was a wonderful feeling to know that we were already at our final destination and it was only about 11h00. Made a quick hotel selection and what followed can only be described as one of the best power naps of all time. This, combined with a hot bath ensured that my sense of humour was completely restored! The rest of the day was spent exploring the Castillo de los Templarios, a 12th Century templar castle, the Inglesia San Andres XVIIthC and having a relaxed meal in the plaza. It was a fantastic day spent with very special people and in terms of recovery it was incredibly important. I started walking the next day feeling so much stronger and more relaxed.
The Sisters decided to take a bus to catch up with the rest of the “tribe”. Philipp and I decided to walk on and catch up with them over the next few days. As we were leaving we met up with Alma, a Mexican lady who I had met on the very first day walking into Roncavalles and not seen since. After this meeting, I would only see her again on the on the way to the lighthouse at Finisterre.
The day went perfectly until we reached Cacabelos. Philipp’s tendonitis came back with a vengeance and he made a tough decision to take a taxi to O’Cebreiro to meet up with the Sisters and possibly rest for a day or two. So, I found myself walking alone again. I have to say that I have seldom felt quite as lonely as when I saw him drive off. I knew I would have to put in some long days to catch up with the the people I had gotten to know and like so much.
The scenery from Cacabelos to Pereje, where I stopped for the night, was incredible and it was wonderful to be getting back into the mountains.
Pereje, or Mordor, as I preferred to call it was not a good stop. I wanted to get to Trabadelo but it was just to far, so Pareje it was. It was freezing cold, there was no hot water, no heating in the albergue and I didn’t know one single person there. My bed was next to a window and the gap between the window and the wall was stuffed with newspaper to keep the cold out. Needless to say, I slept in every piece of clothing I was carrying and I was not sad to move on in the morning.
I was privileged to spend a lot of time exploring wilderness areas in southern Africa from a very young age. I got my first camera when I was 6 years old and I have been passionate about wildlife and landscape photography ever since.