Day 4 … Wednesday, 5th August 2015
The climb from Foncebadon to the highest point was quick and easy. I reached Cruz de Ferro as the sun was rising, still energetic and raring to go.
The descent however was rather tricky, felt like I’m walking a marble mountain. The ground is filled with broken slabs of smooth rock. Was thinking if only I could bring these slabs home. They cost a fortune in Singapore but before the next crazy thought, I reminded myself of the first thing about the Camino – take only what you need and you don’t need much to be happy.
So I looked up at the amazing view and took a deep breathe of the clean invigorating air, feeling happy to enjoy the simple pleasures of health and nature.
Just as I arrived at Molinaseca, a cyclist fell into the thorny slope. All bloody and whining, several men formed a body chain and tried to heave him back up the track. But he kept slipping further into the bushes each time he tried to stand up. After several minutes watching and unable to help physically, I passed him my hiking pole as a support while the others pulled him. It worked! Wheels and legs back on track and all of us continued our way.
At Molinaseca, I was half-hearted about staying, pondering over my coffee and tortilla in an alley cafe. Along came Mairead, a friendly Irish lady whom I met earlier who convinced me that if we walked together, the next 6km will not be so bad. The sun was high and harsh but I’m a real sucker for good company so we went chatting away towards the next town.
Glad I took her advice. Ponderrada not only has Roman history but a Templar Castle, I mean a real castle with real history and all. This is too much for someone like me who only read about such things in all my 50 odd years. I was simply awed.
Albergue San Nicolas de Flue where I stayed did not have Wifi so I went across the road to a bar that advertised free Wifi and started (or rather attempted) to write my blog. Here I met a retired chef and his friend Manuel, who were more than happy to share a bit of local history. Later when I explored the old town on my own, I was surprised to hear someone calling for me. It was Manuel who insisted I join him and his family for the best pizza in town. What a treat! I’m so touched and humbled by the Spanish hospitality.
Almost 11pm by the time I returned to the albergue. It’s a sweet place with its own chapel and dormitories that accommodate over 200 pilgrims and will not turn anyone away even in the middle of the night. This is where I experienced my first massive sleep together filled with snoring, whisperings and dreaming aloud. Was interesting and annoying at the same time but it didn’t take too long for everyone to fall asleep and the next thing I know it’s morning and another beautiful day of walking.