Today the Albergue woke up in a typical Albergue way that called back memories of my previous Camino. Somewhere between 5am and 5:30am the rustling starts. People are waking up and plan to leave early. In gesture kindly meant to not wake up other pilgrims, people won’t turn on the lights in the room, but use their headlights or flashlights instead. This good meant action might very well have the opposite effect. Many people in the room wake up due to the rustling of people packing their stuff and the lights that go back and forth.

It is common practice in the Albergues to get up between 6am and 7am and this morning when the lights went on, it showed that more than half of the room had already left. The other half seemed to take the light as a signal to get up and get moving as well.
We packed our stuff together and started to walk, first from Molinaseca to Ponferrada, then on to Cacabelos. In Ponferrada, we enjoyed our breakfast at the foot of the old Knights Templars castle and Laurens ran into some old Camino friends. That is typical when you walk the whole way like Laurens did so far. You meet people along the way, say goodbye to them when one of you moves on, and then you can unexpectedly meet again in a different place on the Camino.

In Ponferrada, we said goodbye to Joakim who is traveling back to Sweden, and also to the girls we walked with during the last two days. The girls plan to go for long stretches as they are on a tight schedule to reach Santiago de Compostela on time. Laurens chose not to follow that schedule and keep his own, non-schedule based, walking pace and I’m happily joining him in this. My only scheduled event is that I need to travel back to the Netherlands in the coming weekend. I’ll see where we are by then, that place will be my starting point for my travels back home.

The walk Today was relatively flat with some small ascents and descents. We walked for 22km with some stops to Cacabelos, where we booked the Municipal Albergue for the night. The weather was good walking weather with some threats of rain that forced us into our rain jackets. However, the rain did not push through. So after a few kilometers of walking the rain gear became unnecessary and too warm, so we had to put the backpack down and get rid of the rain jackets again.

Tomorrow we go on to Villafranca del Bierzo and beyond. Villafranca is one of the last places before crossing the mountains into Galicia. Back in history those pilgrims that could not make it over the mountain for health reasons, could obtain their indulgence in Villafranca instead of in Santiago. Like the cathedral in Santiago, also the church of Villafranca seems to have a door that only opens in a holy year. Now, as the pope declared 2016 a special holy year, these doors should be open when we pass them. Curious to see and learn what this means!