There are some decisions I have made on this trip that were good choices. Seeing Drs. Felix and Sara in Burgos was an excellent decision. Switching to runners was an excellent decision (but Bunny was not supposed to let my boots fall off my pack). Staying in Zubiri instead of taking the chance with the washed out trail was an excellent decision. Switching to private rooms so people don’t hate me anymore was an excellent decision. Ordering straight espresso now instead of café con leches was an excellent decision (my tummy has been much happier the last few days).
And yesterday, my very spur of the moment, very impulsive choice to stay in Ponferrada an extra night was an excellent decision. Yes, I had to move the schedule around again, and yes, I will have two days of walking greater distances than what Dr Felix ordered for my left ankle… but my goodness! I needed today!
After I scarfed down that huge plate of vegetables for breakfast, I started to walk towards the castle and came across a very large Saturday Street market where I managed to acquire two more necessary tools.
A sewing kit to repair my knee brace that is falling apart and my heavy gloves in which I accidentally cut too large of a hole for index finger phone access:
And this guy. It’s probably made of a very cheap metal so I will not be sleeping or showering with it on. If you don’t understand why I needed to buy this, you clearly identify as male. #metooevenonthecamino
Now… the castle! What an incredible structure! The last time I visited a castle that was intact this much was probably in Wales when Elliot was a young child (he got to plan his own castle tour). I really wish he had been here with me today.
The view east, looking at what I’ve already walked:
The view west over the city… and to what I must start walking over tomorrow.
There is a Knights Templar library and research center here. Mikeling, have you been here?
Gorgeous manuscripts on display! Most of these pics are for me to note what I want to look into once home:
A manuscript on black? Have any of my old colleagues seen this before?
And I’m sure my friend Molly has sung in this space in one of the castle towers:
The castle was fantastic and I was there for a couple of hours. That’s saying something: usually castles are in such ruins you can spend 30-45 minutes tops inspecting wall outlines. (Burgos was mostly ruins.)
The priest at the basilica offered to stamp my credential… which was the last one to fit. Tomorrow I start the second credential! It’s so clean and new right now:
Random pics from around old town:
Hey Lowell! It’s a museum dedicated to radios!
Found a fantastic pinchos place. This plate plus two glasses of wine was 4€.
I went back to the hotel for siesta since everything closed at 2:00, as usual. When I emerged onto the street again (after soaking my feet in salts in the tub while watching this week’s RuPaul on my iPad — The Vixen needs to go!), I saw this being set up. My Seafair spidey senses were tingling: something is going down.
Yep. Something is definitely up.
I wasn’t finding any answers that made sense, only that something started at 7:00 pm. Alrighty!
I ducked into a cafe to work on arrangements for after Sarria. The word on the street is that Santiago has been having May record-breaking days and it’s almost all pilgrims who started in Sarria (the bare minimum distance to receive a compestela). For almost a week now, locals working the Camino have been warning me to make reservations ahead of time and that even albergues are full by 1:00 or 2:00. Yikes! I definitely don’t want a repeat of the El Burgo day (thanks a LOT, Australia Anthony!).
So look who came right up to me at the cafe?
The cafe closed early because of the street fair, but Tobi hopped on a chair to tell me goodbye (in my mind that’s what he was doing).
So here is what started at 7:00 on the same street but down one block from my hotel —
Thank you, Ponferrada, for feeding my soul today!