Foncebadon -> Molinaseca = 21K (212.4K remaining on the way to Santiago!)
I have climbed mountains since I saw you last;
You will not find me where you left me,
I have scaled pinnacles and seen the vast Horizon of a higher point of view.
The lines above run through my mind as I stride along the mountain paths. I do not know who wrote these words nor do I remember more of the poem, but these lines resonate with me. They are powerful in their imagery.
I walked alone and arrived at the Cruz de Ferro while mists still shrouded the mountaintop. Beneath the cross, the ground is littered with offerings. There are photographs and notes, a mountain of stones and other offerings left by pilgrims. I look for a while, but feel overcome with a sense that I am a voyeur, observing the sorrows and pains each offering represents.
With the cross behind me, the fog dissipates. Sunlight spills over the mountains. It is peaceful o be out walking when the world comes alive.
As I reached Monjarin I hear Thomas ring the pilgrim bell, announcing my arrival. A bevy of friendly dogs trot out to greet me; tails wagging, tongues lolling.
This “hippie warren” is a delight.
I see the 3-year old boy who travels with his entourage of admirers and family. He is playing with kittens and singing songs. I sip the coffee Thomas thrusts into my hands. On the hillside, the sheep and beautiful brown cows are grazing. I want to linger longer, but the road calls and I leave behind this serene mountain compound to begin my descent down the mountain.
I pass through an enchanted forest and continue my walk down the mountain. I walk for miles seeing no other pilgrims, sharing the beautiful scenery with no one. My heart grows full.
I stop in Molinaseca (instead of Ponferrada). The new albergue is so inviting, I cannot walk on.
I am immediately befriended by an older Danish woman who wants to/needs to talk. We buy picnic supplies and linger on the banks of the river as the sun sinks lower in the sky. We drink cheap wine out of our water bottles and relax.
When I arrive back to the albergue and walk into my room, I am literally swept into the arms of a Spanish man who dramatically danced me around the floor and ended the routine with a dip. He is pilgrim I had met earlier on. It is always wonderful to see familiar faces. And when there is dancing involved, so much the better!
Tomorrow I will be below the 200K mark and in just two weeks I will be back home in the USA. This will all be just a pleasant memory.
Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Belorado
2 days ago