The road to (more) wine country

Day 26 (35 KM)
El Acebo – Cacabelos

We awake after a decent nights sleep, yet the water is still not on. So off we go into the dark brisk morning air and we continue our descent…a steep descent.

We pass through a small town (Riego de Ambrós) that upon entrance looks like something out of Pirates of the Caribbean,

and then work our way through a forest of sorts to another picturesque town where we cross the Rio Maruelo via a medieval bridge into Molinaseca.

Out of Molinaseca, we road walk for quite awhile and eventually reach Ponferrada, home of a Knight Templar Castle (Castillo de los Templarios) which has been refurbished and is a National monument site.

We considered going in, but are semi tired of trying to read interpretive panels in Spanish and figured we could get more info via the internet. In the plaza adjacent the castle and the Basílica de la Encina we find Dave asleep on a bench with his shoes off. Paul being the ever practical joker, sneak over to Dave’s shoes and ties them together. From a café nearby we have lunch and wait for him to wake up. After awhile he rouses slowly and reaches for his shoes. He examines them perplexed and looks around. Paul yells to him and waves. Dave starts to laugh, “It figures it was you guys.” We talk for a bit about our days plans and head over to the Basílica to take a peak. It is a classic Templar design but on steroids. The interior is benign compared to other Basilicas we have visited. We exit Ponferrada and enter wine country. El Bierzo wine country that is. But first we must walk through an ” industrial” area and sparsely populated towns with gigantic gardens. We stop for the day in Cacabelos at the municiple albergue (Las Angustias) where we catch of with Dave once more. He had wondered what had happened to us. We ducked into a winery and did a little wine tasting before finishing our last 2 miles (3.7km). This albergue literally surrounds the outside of the church and has two bes berths with storage and your own light that you get to control yourself (which was a treat). The skies above turned menacing and just prior to heading out to eat opened up with a vengeance, announcing its arrival with a flash of lightning and a clap of thunder near simultaneously.

Sheets of rain came down negating any drying that had occurred from freshly laundered peregrino hiking wear. Feeling the air temperature change and having noticed the darkening sky, I had moved our laundered clothes under the eeves which kept them from becoming soaked, but not completely dry either as the rain was that violent. The deluge continued for 20 minutes and dropped probably 2-3 inches of rain, then stopped as quickly as it started and moved on. Thinking it safe to head out for dinner we wandered out with umbrellas in hand…just in case. We dine with Dave and share a bottle of wine…actually Dave buys the bottle of wine (he says he “owes” me), and I drink it…most of it. The rest I carry back to the albergue… for later.

Buen Camino!
Be Strong! Austin Strong!

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