Yesterday morning, as there was no water at the albergue in Acebo with which to brush teeth, wash up, or do much of anything else one usually does in the morning, we were back out on the Camino before 7 am. In this part of Spain at this time of the year the sun doesn't rise until 8 am, and then the sky brightens up quickly, click by click.
But at 7 o,clock it was still pitch dark outside, and as we were deep in the mountains and far from any city lights the sky was black and filled with the most and brightest stars I ever remember seeing.
But walking on the Camino in the dark by the light of one's flashlight is dangerous. Luckily during the darkest time we were walking along a road and it wasn't until well after sun up that we encountered for the first time on this trip my old nemesis, the Wretched Stones.
But these were far from the worst Wretched Stones we'll encounter on the Caminio; the worst are yet to come when we reach the mountains of Galicia.
We spent about 3 1/2 hours descending the mountain and negotiating the stones until we reached the pretty valley town of Molinaseca,
...where we finally stopped for breakfast.
In the bar where we stopped we met two young pilgrims, a German boy and an Israeli girl, who'd also spent the evening before in Acebo but at an albergue in a room in the town church. When we told them our alberge in Acebo had no water during the night or early morning they said that their albergue had had no water during that time either and that there was a sign in their albergue explaining that the water was turned off in the town from 11 pm every night until, well whatever time they turn it back on.
So I guess the Albergue Meson El Acebo is off the hook for turning off the water.
But at least they could have let us know
After breakfast we walked along the highway and through small towns,
,..a total of 17 kilometers for the day, to the city of Ponferrada,
...where we stayed at the Albergue San Nicolas de Flüe, a big, lovely albergue sponsored by a religious order and run by a group of devoted Italian volunteer hospitalieros.
The albergue had a nice big kitchen and dining room so at dinner time many of the young pilgrims bought food and cooked and ate dinner together.
We were put into a nice but crowded room with 2 bunk beds that we shared with a Canadian girl who'd taken a vow of silence while on the Camino and a friendly middle-aged Spaniard with a loud, booming voice who was so portly and tall that he took up most of the space in our small room.
After we were settled in, showered, and had given our clothes to the laundry service we were craving some nourishment so we walked to a bar in town where we ordered salads to tide us over and whiled away a couple of hours. Then it was time for dinner so we left the bar to go search out a restaurant.
Now, I've come to a conclusion about the Spanish people: they're not so much into chowing down as they are into snacking on tapas -little snacks - which may be why thery're so slim and trim. I think this must be especially true of the Ponferradans, as we walked up one block and down another in search of a restaurant and all we could find was one tapas bar after another.
We were on the verge of giving up our quest for a hearty meal when we finally came upon a restaurant which turned out to be sort of a Spanish version of Chuck E. Cheese, with a big play room full of toys, art supplies, cartoons, one of those cages full of little plastic balls, and, of course, children. It delightful being around all these little ones and we found ourselves thinking of our two little grand daughters and how much they would love this place.
I don't think Chuck E. Cheese serves wine, though.
After dinner we walked through the city back to the albergue.
Though Ponferrada is famous for its magnificent castle built during the Middle Ages by the Knights Templar,
.....this city has a serious graffiti problem. It's everywhere, and there's hardly a building, structure, or wall that isn't marred by spray paint, which gives what would otherwise be a beautiful city a run-down look and a sinister feel.
Of course, as s true of any city infected with spray-paint graffiti, Ponferrasa's defacement can only be a symptom of some deep and serious social problems.
A romantic comedy of errors.
Lots and lots of errors.
"Equal And Opposite Reactions"
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Kindle:
or in print:
The Book Loft
of German Village,
Or check it out at the Columbus Metropolitan Library