Day 11 – walking across the mountains

Day 11 on the Camino was a day of several highlights. The Cruz de Ferro – THE landmark on the way. Walking through lovely Molinaseca with its river on the way down. And poppy fields seeming the way to Ponferrada. Finally ending the day with music after I had already taken out my little guitalele at the Cruz de Ferro a few hours before…

The day before John had arrived at the same albergue. Means we were walking together again this day.

We set off quite late, at about 6.30 am and I allowed myself a breakfast at the albergue this time. It simply wasn’t likely to find anything so soon in the mountains.

As we were walking in a mountaneous region this meant walking up and down through the whole day. This was a strain to the feet but gave us great views on the valley from above.

Emotional scenes at the Cruz the Ferro
We soon reached the Cruz the Ferro which is one of the most important landmarks on the Camino. There’s a tradition to take a stone from your home and carry it all the way to the Cruz the Ferro. There you put it down, make a wish or unload a burden. Thousands and thousands of pilgrims have done so since the existence of the Camino.

People say there are three parts of the Camino. The first part is the “way of the body”. It is in the Pyrenees and after that you get the first problems with body and feet which may make you suffer for quite a bit. Then comes the second part in the Meseta starting from Burgos – the “way of the soul”. In the meantime your body has gotten used to walking 30km a day and you start thinking and philosophizing about important things of your life. The landscape gives you the best environment for that: barely trees, no hills, just plain, bare land. Then at the end of this part you put down your burden at the Cruz de Ferro and enter lovely Galicia shortly after. Galicia is famous for its kitchen, great landscapes and culture. Thus making you enjoy the Camino at its best.

I had had the idea to play a song at the Cruz the Ferro instead of just uttering a wish and unloading a burden. So I sat myself on the top and sang “Dancing in the Rain”. This was such an emotional scene! I had difficulties singing because it moved me so much and the other pilgrims around me were sobbing and taking loads of pictures. I believe this will definitely be one of the moments I will remember forever. Unfortunately I don’t have a good pic from that scene but I will be sent some by fellow pilgrims.
Edit 25.06.2012: Received a nice photo from a fellow pilgrim. Thanks Advies!

On the way down towards Ponferrada people kept on thanking me for singing. Things like this really keep me going with my music. I was deeply moved the whole way down and once again realised how great it is to be able to move people with my music. This simply had been a magic scene 🙂

Entering a different world
We had now entered a new world again. A world where nature was becoming greener and greener and the buildings were built differently than before. They were now constructed out of stone and wood and made a much more stable impression than the ones from the meseta.

On the way down towards Ponferrada we came across a pilgrim we had met many times before. Marc is from Spain and joined us on our walk to the albergue. It is actually thanks to him and John that I have pics of myself on this blog, as I am quite bad in taking photos from myself with the scenery visible in the background 😉
Maybe you have been asking yourself, how I am transporting my guitalele as I can’t put it into the backpack. Well it’s very simple. I just bind it on its back and in case of rain the rainponcho is not covering it entirely but it’s ok thus far. Anyway – I didn’t buy an expensive instrument for the Camino and there’s a reason why. It may have to go through weather changes including hot sun and heavy rain and on a 6 hour walk this can harm an instrument a lot.

We all took a short break in Molinaseca around lunchtime as the weather was really hot and thus we were enjoying having a little something in the shadows of a village we were passing. There I also took a huge amount of photos because I really liked the balconies of these houses. Miya paparazzi 🙂

The end of the walk into Ponferrada then seemed endless. You have to walk around it nearly once before the Camino is finally entering it. Phew, but we arrived and the albergue was actually huge but really nice.
Edit 25.06.2012: Actually this albergue has had bedbugs multiple times. They closed down in 2011 for 3 weeks in order to fight against these bugs. But I set off from Ponferrada with 7 stitches in a line – which can only mean they were in my bed. I will write another post to inform about what you can do if you had bedbugs somewhere. You certainly don’t want to take them home!

Ending the day in the park, with music and little surprises
We were ending the day hanging around in the park of the city like dead flies. It was soooo hot and we weren’t used to it because temperatures had been pretty low the days before. When coming back to the albergue I walked into some fellow pilgrims making music and joined them. Somehow reactions sometimes even freak me out a little. There are people hugging and kissing me after I finished the songs. Phew. But well…I knew after all that my music somehow seems to stir up emotions in people.

Unfortunately our little music circle had an abrupt end at 22pm because other pilgrims wanted to sleep. When I came back into our room I found a little surprise. Both of our roommates lying in bed together. Well there’s barely room for intimacy on the Camino, but oh lala (lala lala..) 🙂
As certain pilgrims seemingly lack the money to take a pension, we learn to turn a blind eye on things like this and stay quite relaxed. Once an elderly couple even asked a fellow pilgrim if he wanted to join them in the bed because it was so cold. Haha…we get used to quite some things. (Only in case you wondered if he joined – of course he didn’t!)


About Miriam

I am a traveller. Not in the fast sense. I am travelling on foot, as a pilgrim. And I love writing and playing music. Since I found back to singing and writing while walking the Way of St. James in Spain, I started mingling the two. Means I am walking with my little guitalele and playing whenever the situation seems right for it :-)
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