Day 18: A dangerous track: wolves and bandits
I stayed in Rabanal del Camino last night. The last stop before the pass over the mountains at Foncebadón. In the earlier times Rabanal del Camino was also the last safe place: it was a place protected by the Templars who’s mission was to protect the Pilgrims on their Pilgrimage, here to Santiago, elsewhere to Jerusalem or Rome. After Rabanal the Pilgrims in the middle ages entered a dangerous route, were they were threatened by wolves and bandits. Times have changed a lot. Wolves are no longer there, the closest that comes to it was a very friendly, a bit slow even, dog at the Cruz de Ferro. The only danger that threatens a Pilgrim nowadays is the danger of slipping and falling along the route.
Non of that happened and I safely crossed the pass at Foncebadón to continue to the Cruz the Ferro. As I have written before this is a place where pilgrims leave a stone they should have brought from home. With this stone they leave behind their sins, or things they regret to have done during their live so far. Early on last years I already picked my stone from our garden and it has been on my desk since then and in my pack since my departure until today, and today I left my stone at the Cruz de Ferro.
After a quiet Cruz de Ferro I continued my Camino, which today was more or less completely in the light of descending. From 1518 meters altitude to 541 where I am now. A descend enlightened by beautiful sights on distant mountains and it seems that with crossing the mountain nature is changing too. Spring looks to be further in its development and flowers blossom more than the days before.
After the descent I continue my journey through Ponferrada. I decide to cross also this big city quickly and look for place to stay on the other side of the city. The albergues are not widely spread, but I more or less already decided that it is time to threat myself to a personal hotel room again. But I don’t know where yet, so I continue the route. Again “the Camino provides” as directly next to the route suddenly Hotel Novo shows up, with special rates for Pilgrims. Only 23 euro for a private room with a private bathroom and clean sheets is a no-brainer today for this pilgrim, sleep well!