Day 25: Acebo to Ponferrada aka Two Paths

Our breakfast this morning made up for yesterday’s mediocre dinner, and it was included in our stay. The skater boy setting it up gave me an entire loaf of the gluten-free bread to-go (the one I really like here). We thought by 9:30 AM we would be the last to leave our albergue, but rather the family from Delaware was right ahead of us, finishing up their bfast upon our arrival. With only 13 miles to complete today, we figured there was time to spare. The descent down the mountain was steeper than expected, and we saw absolutely no pilgrims on the trail. There were times when we were questioning whether we were on the right path, then a yellow arrow would show up out of no where. There were also a couple of moments where we could hear gunshots from a distance.. Most likely hunters, we figured.

In the lovely town of Molinaseca is where my mom and I had our first big argument on the Camino. Pretty impressive considering we’ve been on this trek for over a month. Anyway, she decided to take the path through the towns, and I decided to take the outskirt shortcut. I arrived a half-hour earlier to our hostel (Hostel Rabel) in Ponferrada, and apparently missed the street food in one of the towns featuring grilled octopus. Our room (€49) smelled malodorous due to all of the synthetic sprays and oils they had sprayed and placed in it. Airing it out would make a freezing cold room. But not airing it out would mean a migraine. I elected to freeze.

My mother and I soon made up, and decided to find something to eat. It’s slim pickings during siesta (lunch), so we sat at this greasy bar for salad and ‘fries’ (semi fried cubes of potato). Within a half-hour our bar had turned into 'the spot’ for the futbol game. This being our cue to leave, I persuaded my mom to get her hair done at a nearby hair salon. The end result was lovely and she was back in good spirits. I was happy to see that.

Back at the hostel’s bar, we ran into Thomas, who looked skinnier than ever. We discussed his Camino, and how over-romanticized the Camino is in general. We came to the consensus that it isn’t supposed to be easy. We also thought about the fact that the Renaissance pilgrims would have to walk the Camino, and then walk all of the way back home. Therefore, we can’t complain too much. Later, we also ran into David and Ashley from New Jersey, who apparently had been camping out the past three days, which I thought was nuts considering how cold it’s been.

We decided to go back out to both visit the cathedral and find some food to eat. We found a couple of cute stores (with super cute clothes) on the way, and the cathedral was aight. We couldn’t find anything that looked appetizing until we stumbled upon a shawarma spot owned by Indians. I was ecstatic. Not only because it was something different, but because they also had a delicious and spicy chili sauce. Oh, how I had missed spicy food. This is a beautiful town and has a castle and old Roman ruins. Not to mention, a gorgeous river that runs through it. I also liked that I saw so many people out and about, when usually these towns seem empty at night.

Airing out our window turned out to be a good idea, and the previously thought broken heater began to work. Anyway, the tempurpedic bed is calling my slumber’s name.