OVER MY SHOULDER
Looking behind me,
a burst of color appears
where once there was gray.
Departed at 7:20am
(From my journal notes):
Out of Acebo, a rainbow shaft of light grows on the mountain to my left, still with snow. There is beauty in the looking back.
It's muddy and treacherous, down steep bedrock.
Birds sing and water flows.
Breakfast is eggs and bacon.
Roses, lavender and white lilacs are in bloom.
Saturday is market day.
An Italian girl sings Oh Solo Mio with GUSTO!
I walked the steep, rocky decline into Molinaseca, a valley between mountains. I felt grateful I had out-walked the rain, since, if wet, this particular stretch would have been treacherous. I walked for most of the day with Noel from the Isle of Jersey. He was the second person I’d met from this small island between England and France...it’s such a small world.
We walked into Molineseca. He walked on. Famished, I stopped at a place I remembered from last year which served an English breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast AND beans. It did not disappoint! I'd forgotten how photographic this quaint town was and decided that if ever again on this path, I would rest here at least for most of a day...maybe even the night. This time though, after my breakfast, I walked on alone to Ponferrada.
Ponferrada is a big town (comparatively). The 16,000 square meter Castle of the Templars sits high upon a hill. From Roman times, this position was a valuable place of defense. The castle was built in 1178 AD by Ferdinand II to protect pilgrims traveling to Santiago de Compostela and was owned by the Knights of the Templar Order. Up close, it was massive and conjured up stories of those who passed centuries before.
I stayed on the edge of town, away from the "plaza major", but later met in the old town with my friend, Jacqueline and two Italian girls. One of the Italians was outgoing, boisterous and I'm certain had some karaoke experience. She serenaded us, and any others within earshot, with "O sole mio". I won't forget the volume nor her inhibition. We were quick friends!
Afterwards, I walked back to my hostel, gathered my laundry, and eventually found a lavanderia. That's where I met two fellow peregrinas from California, Sarah and Mitra. We chatted and had a drink together in the bar next-door while waiting for our clothes to wash and dry. I don't believe we were in the safest part of town, and we were glad for each other's company.
With clean clothes and a full stomach, sleep came quickly with dreams of tomorrow.