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Hitting the high point

P1000493We climbed to just below 5000ft this morning, all the way up to the simple iron cross, the Cruz de Ferro, and the last 500ft or so took forever as I kept turning round to watch the sun rising behind and below the highest point of the whole camino.

Thousands of pilgrims have left stones or tokens here so we clambered over the rough rocky track to the base of the cross for photographs then lingered on this glorious early morning as the sun grew higher in the sky. It was downhill then for the next 20km and having climbed so far and so high I was reluctant to leave the mountains.

Suzanne and I took the steep path together down through the bushes and trees and paused to look in at the settlement at Manjarin, a romantic, hippy mountain hut of wind chimes, water and organic teas.

The plan had been to walk to Ponferrada but after so long on such wonderful (but blistering P1000496hot) sheltered tracks through the valley we didn’t want to spend a night in a city so turned in instead to the Santa Marina albergue on the outskirts of Molinaseca. Proper single beds and a (not very efficient) washing machine were our reward and later we enjoyed a quiet dinner with lots of wine and laughter at a balmy outside table by the old stone bridge.

But then ensued the “war of the windows”, with the Dutch, Scots and Canadians opting for fresh air and the French contingent desiring no draughts. How we conform to our national stereotypes!

I fell asleep before it was resolved. I could still walk and nothing else mattered.

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