Hola from La Portela de Valcarce – Donna

Published on Behalf of Donna Blackstock – Donna is walking the Camino Frances – a 5 weeks and 800 km journey that attracts over 250,000 participants.

 

Hola from La Portela de Valcarce!

Tomorrow I will walk up and over Ocebreiro. It is a significant “effort” along the way and I will move into Galicia, the western part of northern Spain. I still have a good distance to travel but I should hit the 100k marker (left to go) on Sunday.

I have been through Astorga, the chocolate capital of Spain with the magnificent Astorga Cathedral and the Gaudi Palacio which is now a museum dedicated to all the Camino routes in Spain.

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Then in Santa Catalina where the albergue had an inner garden for Pilgrims to enjoy, I met 2 women from Toronto who were walking from Pamplona to Sarria which is approximately the first 3 days and the last 4 days of my walk as they had done other walks previously and wanted to fill in the big bit of the Camino Frances that they had yet to complete!

In the last couple of days I have also done the climb through Rabanal de Camino and Foncebon to the Cruz de Ferro (the iron cross). The tradition is to lay a rock at the cross either in memory of someone or to leave behind the burdens of your life. I did take a rock with me from Victoria, blue in fact, and it is now resting on the massive pile.

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The walk down from the Cruz de Ferro was long and steep. I was very glad of 3 things: my poles, the view and the fact that I had booked in El Acebo at La Casa del Peregrino. It was the second albergue that I have stayed at that is part of a hotel. The rooms, washrooms and restaurant were very modern, we had a sun deck and a view toward Ponferrada that was spectacular and the same albergue price. Score!

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Yes, the bottom half of the walk down was still as bad as the top half but when I walked into Molinaesca most of the pain was quickly forgotten. This is one of the most memorable Pilgrim towns on the Camino.

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This morning I left Camponaraya with my headlight on at about 7:10. It is not really light enough to see without it until just after 8:00 but I soon walked into Villafranca de Bierzo which is a well-known wine producing area.

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It was the midpoint of my day so I spent a bit of time there in the Plaza de Mayor. So many people say Buen Camino to me every day and I must have collected 10 good wishes sitting on the bench eating my banana and watching the people.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Donna