Friday, 28 June 2013

Day 27: Foncebadón - Ponferrada

An 11km walk (or so we thought) until the next eating opportunity meant we had to have breakfast before leaving our albergue to finish the climb to the Spanish Camino's summit, which at 1504 metres is higher than the pass in the Pyrenees. The point is marked by a large mound with a cross on top - a period to reflect on the journey so far, and everyone passing climbed to the foot of the cross and spent a few moments in silence. 

After that Rupert and I had a few glorious kilometres of walking along the high road, helped on our way by a cherry seller - as we progressed down the path we could see the stones spat out by her previous customers. We stopped for breakfast #2 at Acebo, where the cafe had immaculate lavatories - a bit of a treat really, given that many of the Albergues and cafés have facilities that are bearable at best. 

Acebo cafe lavatory
And so the long drag into Ponferrada. It was hot, hard graft, but the municipal albergue was modern with welcoming staff and a vending machine that sold 'Kaz', the lemon drink that seems to hit the spot when waiting in line to have my credential stamped. We staggered down to the cool dormitory, and unpacked, washed clothes, showered and put our feet up.  

Dear reader, so far I've tried to shield you from some of the more basic elements of life on the Camino. But last night, as I lay in my bed in Foncebadón, I was in particularly flatulent form - something that we've all experienced so far. As soon as the lights were off I let a fairly decent one rip, to immediate howls of protest from the grumpy Italian women at the other end of the dormitory, and with sniggers coming from Kim, Kurt et al. 20 minutes later and I posted an encore (a double hit to ensure the bedbugs were kept at bay), and this prompted one of the women to storm out of bed and start manning the door in a ridiculously over-dramatic manner. 

I mention this merely because as I was laid out in my bed in Ponferrada tonight, feeling the effects of half a kilo of cherries and a large bowl of lentil soup, who should walk in and claim the bunk next to me, but the same two Italian women. Clearly they didn't recognise me from last night, but something tells me that by tomorrow morning I'll be one of their vivid Camino memories!