Friday, October 5, 2018

Day 5 - Santa Catalina to Casabelos, España, October 5, 2018

Today was a tiring day: 63.08 km with a big climb and a huge descent of 15 km!

We started out earlier than usual and the first thing I saw a man making and selling Saint James walking sticks.  I haven't seen anyone walking with one-

The light is so much nicer early in the morning-

The highway was sort of rough, not with potholes but sways and not a smooth surface so it was slow going.  The walkers were to the right of the highway-

Every village has a church-

with similar bell towers

The country side is beautiful and we climbed up quite a way-

It is only recently, and thanks to the pilgrims, that Foncebedon has become inhabited again.  The buildings are made of field stone and the street is a rough mess-

Finally we reached the highest point called la Cruz de Ferro-

where you're supposed to place a stone that you've brought from home.  Mine is from a vase that we got when Nico died.   It's the brown polished one in the middle.  People leave all kinds of things around the Cruz-

Pretty flowers, sort of like crocuses grow nearby-

The views were pretty nice after the long trek up-

The towns are ancient and have covered, wooden balconies on the outsides-

We were warned that the descent to Molinaseca was going to be a fast 15 km and it was.  I had my brakes on all the way-

We had lunch in Molinaseca, a pretty little medieval town-

Finally we made it to Ponferrada where there is a castle from the Knights of the Templar, built in the 14th century.  The Knights of the Templar were a Catholic military order, begun in 1119 and around until 1312.  Their job was to protect the Christian pilgrims along the many pilgrimage trails.  

The entrance had a drawbridge over the moat-

There's a walking tour inside which is pretty much a waste of time if you've been to other castles because it's almost like once you've seen one, you've seen them all.  I'm starting to think like that about quite a few things.  This is one of the towers-

Another wall-

A tower and a wall-

A lookout-

Saint Andrew's Church is across the way and was built in the 18th century-

Upstairs there's a model to scale of what the castle looked like-

We carried on and finally made it to Cacabelos where we had paella.  I'm not a big rice fan but it's a Spanish dish so thought I should have it once-

We're staying in an albergue that is built around a church.  Each room has two beds with storage-

There are about 65 rooms and they're never full - usually around 70% since there are so many albergues these days.

There are also washing facilities which is something very necessary for hot sweaty pilgrims-

Tomorrow we're going to ship our panniers to Triacastela where we hope to be spending the night.  We have a huge climb tomorrow so it will be much easier without the extra weight.  I'm exhausted so hoping for a great sleep!

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