Day 31 – Cacabelos – walking into Tradition and Culture

Had a hard start this morning knowing that we had to do some more walking, and that we have already had quite a lot of. Therefore we decided to be sure that we also enjoy this day! And that we have!

Have you heard if Mencia wine and the Bierzo area? We haven’t and little did we know until we realised that there where a lot of wine plants around us while walking. So to cut the story short. First in middle of nowhere and exactly along the Camino we found a very fine wine museum.

It looked like some kind of administrative state building and really closed, but it wasn’t! We where the only visitors and we had a great chance to learn something that’s called Mencia wine district and machines used in wine making.

Then walking around in the city Cacabelos we found a Bodega Cuatro Pasos and had a very, very fine guided tour in English by a girl called Shiela. She had some wine yards by herself and explained everything about the process, the village and the people in a very engaging and understandable way.

It’s no point to repeat everything here, but as in every production there is so much knowledge, thoughts and engagement. And that’s creates such an energy as listener and beholder(?).

Lessons learned, don’t run the Camino in express speed only focusing on the road. There is plenty of time to look around and learn! And if you wonder what these “cuatro pasos” comes from, I know it now!

Day 30 – Molinaseca – Cruz de Ferro

As usual we are on our way before the sun, the birds and the rooster. And we are completely alone – no one starts walking at five in the morning (besides us). Going in the light of our lamp we try to be as observant as possible. Therefore we often spots all these graves along the Camino – hopefully(?) they all died of other reasons than accidents walking in the dark.

Today was also a cold, windy day. Normally the early mornings are refreshing and energetic, today was no exception just much more. Standing outside in an ice cold shower describe it quite well I think.

Walking, cold and hungry in heavy fog and semi darkness we reached Foncebadon. And what should I say? If you have seen movies like “Mad Max” or other movies showing the life after civilisation has collapsed you know what kind of places we are talking about. So reaching this town we saw a door, could it be some kind of coffee bar? We pushed an old, heavy wooden door …

.. having some issues opening the door we more or less felt inside. AND it was full of young pilgrims around 25(?) eating breakfast at three or four very long tables. A true Albergue breakfast and full of activity, eating and talking! So we got a very fine cup of coffee and toast for a very descent price. Next time when we are 20 or 25 again, we will absolutely go there and join in!

Then walking an hour or two it was time to “plant the stone”. The stone I picked months ago at home. A stone that I have carried with me all along the Camino without loosing it!! Now was the time to leave it to live it’s own life among the other stones.

And it will not be alone – so many stones are gathered here ! Biggest of them all was a stone from South Tyrol, WHO carry such a stone?

Then we walked for another four hours and since we are having a pic collage orgy here; these are all the trails, roads or whatever path we walked. All of them killing your feet, knees and legs. But I must say that the look good as pictures, or?

Day 29 – Rabanal del Camino – Moving upwards

Walking flat in the Meseta the landscape is now changing. Instead of fields with crops the wood is coming back and it’s starting to be a bit hilly.

There is also much more pilgrims out walking. We are so used to closed coffee bars in the morning and if there is one open we are almost the only ones there. Now’s the opposite, they are open but filled with people. This morning it took 35 minutes just to order and get a coffee and a bocadillo! It was people all over the place!

There is also a lot more places to stay – and shops are even open on Sundays! In Pamplona, Logroño and Burgos it was really hard to buy fruits and water on a Sunday. Here in the pre-mountain area it’s not a big issue to get this even though it’s Sunday!

In addition to our weakness for a cold KAS Naranja we may have got a new one – chocolate!

Astorga has a chocolate factory and the city is full of shops selling different kinds of chocolate. But you need to eat it fast before it melts! Walking for such a long time without candy we got hooked up only after just a few chocolate bars. So today we bought some chocolate made in León when stopping for a break. Lets see how this turns out – perhaps our weight curve as the elevation profile will turn upwards too!

Day 28 – Astorga – Go with a smile

Getting up at four in the morning, then walking trough high, wet gras and cobwebs doesn’t make you utterly happy. But hearing the birds, seeing the sun rise makes you absolutely much happier.

In our after-life (after doing the walking), we try to visit a museum, a monastery or so. Here in Astorga there are plenty of them. And Astorga as such is a very sweet and happy town, reminds me a bit of southern Germany and the romantic cities along Mosel or Rein.

However I have recently tried to study the faces of statues or in paintings. Of course I don’t want to be rude, blasphemous(?) or negative – but I can’t see any happy people!

Yes – In some situations you can’t and shouldn’t absolutely not put up a smile!! But if you going to be represented by a statue for the rest of your life – can’t you at least look a bit happy, it’s not everyday you are recreated in stone or? And for hours and hours looking at all the gloomy people doesn’t make you happier either.

So why is it like this? Is it so that people looking happy are seen as dumber, more stupid or complete morons? I don’t now, I’m just about curious why all people need to look so gloomy.

Then I have found my favourite picture here in Astorga. Again, please no offence, but I would like to call this picture; “Another day at work”. And the question is if course, who are you in this picture…

Day 27 – San Martín del Camino – Bulls and Hens

Ohhh, back to the Camino walk after some nice days being able to sleep to seven or eight in the morning. So up early at four, packing and fixing the feet and then out in the night around five together with the late party people. However compared to Burgos, people in León are definitely not that hot on partying!

Then at eight, finding a nice breakfast place – this week it’s Bull run in Pamplona so you can guess what’s on the morning program?!

We think we have figured it out, despite not knowing any Spanish. So in the studio the commenters(?) talks about the run, the support staff (doctors and others) show how they will take care of the injured ones and then highlights from the run are shown. It’s absolutely like a big sport event!

I’m a bit moderate so I run with the hens…

The hotel for today is more than rural so they hens are running around in the hotel garden with the guests. The roosters have their own fenced place – and there’s a lot of fighting going on there!

Well that’s about it this Camino day. Some days you walk amongst the Gothic Cathedrals and some days you walk with Spanish chicks!

PS

In our after-life we had a very nice pilgrim menu at this place. Of course a very tasteful home made hen paella and guess where that hen came from? … Well that’s life and perhaps how it should be!