We’re walking the Camino de Santiago in June 2022. Come along with us!

Day 4: Adventures and Misadventures

It’s 7:30 pm and we’re in our private room at the Hostel Virgen de la Encina, Ponferrada, French doors open to the balcony and church bells ringing constantly. Earlier an accordion duo was serenading the square. Before this, I washed the day’s socks and underwear in the sink and laid them on our small balcony on top of my quick-drying pack towel. A small bird landed on the balcony, and I watched, first amazed and then horrified, as it grabbed the edge of the green towel in its beak. I’m convinced that only my sudden shrieking and movement prevented my underwear from fluttering down into the square.

Each day is full of little surprises like this, quick workarounds and temporary solutions. More after dinner.

Our room in Ponferrada. It honestly looks more “convent” than the convent we stayed in yesterday. Also, this didn’t become clear until we pulled back the covers, but we’ll be sharing one long skinny pillow tonight. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll still love each other.
The bathroom. It turns out this contraption was the gateway to me flooding the bathroom, as the sprayer when hooked to the wall sent water everywhere. 🙃

Dinner starts at roughly 8 in Spain and may last a couple of hours, which is lovely, but not quite ideal for people who have walked all day and need to wake by 6. So, we’re chilling. Literally—it’s drafty within these stone walls.

Now it’s 9 pm and we’re waiting for our dessert order, sitting in a square near our hotel. This is the thing about the Camino—you really don’t have the motivation to do a lot of sightseeing after logging 15+ miles. We walked the grounds of the Castillo Temple de Ponferrada, a medieval Knights Templar castle right outside our hostel, and we were both shocked to see how many stairs medieval folks thought were necessary.

The view from our room.
A better view. Will read us the Wiki entry for the Knights Templar, and it turns out that the sum total of our prior knowledge came from Indiana Jones and Dan Brown, and thus may not have been accurate.

Spain at night: the whole town comes out in these small villages to gather in the pedestrian squares and walk their dogs. So many dogs! It’s part promenade, part neighborlinesses, and it’s lovely. We saw Kate and Anika from dinner last night, and a few other familiar faces. (The accordionist is now playing “I Just Called to Say I Love You”.)

People (and perro) watching.

Now it’s 10 and we’re back in our room, doors open to the music, exhausted but happy. Today was an ascent from Foncebadón to Cruz de Ferro (the iron cross), then more ascent to Manjarín and steep rocky descent through El Acebo, Molinaseca and Ponferrada. Tomorrow is a flatter and shorter trek, which should feel good.

Pilgrims bring stones to represent their burdens and lay them at the foot of the iron cross.
Recognize this handsome traveler?
This was the grand sum of Majardín—a snack stand, no homes, no services.
Lots of gorgeous countryside from the road, with fog burning off by noon. And no rain today 🙂
On the way to El Acebo, I had a full bladder and a worry that I’d be using my emergency tp kit. And then suddenly, the town was there, one steep descent away.
The street(s) of El Acebo.
Warning: pic of my foot. I know some of you are wondering how my blister is doing, and the answer is fine. It’s wrapped in Compeed (see big toe), which is basically a hydrocolloid patch that sucks out the moisture. And I guess takes away the pain. 🙌

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