Yesterday evening we went to the Vespers service at the local Church and the monks from the local monastery chanted. There was a reading about not judging each other and a sermon about how the camino is a chance to practice tolerance and love, both for each other and yourself. It was a very special service translated into 4 languages.
We had received a recommendation for the food at the place I was staying to the four of us had dinner there, it was great. We ordered a la carte, which is rarely offered but when it is it is nice to move away from the traditional options of the set menus. I had a tomato and orange salad followed by lamb and then chocolate mousse. The food did live up to the recommendation, and after dinner I only had to walk upstairs which was even better.
This morning I headed out at about 7.55am. I have decided that this is the perfect time to leave almost in daylight and also experience the full sunrise.
Today’s walk was the most stunning yet. It is hard to describe the day actually, I have so many pictures and they just don’t do the scenery justice. The walking was 26km today but we climbed over 500m from Rabanal to the highest peak of the camino (higher than the Pyrenees).
At the peak is La Cruz de Ferro marked by a simple iron cross on top of a weathered pole. This has become one of the main symbols of the Camino and the place to offer a stone as a symbol of the journey. I left my stones in the hope that they help me to focus on the purpose of this trip.
I have to say that I found the high point a little disappointing, I think it is all about expectations. At the summit, it feels a little contrived and there is no view at all. After the peak though the path climbs and drops for about another hour of the most spectacular views. This is what made the day. I had met Andy and Clive at the peak but let them go ahead and I had a picnic second breakfast with some of the most amazing views, I just wanted to prolong my time on the way down. The first 300m decent was just amazing.
Having descended about 500m I stopped for a coffee and met Andy and Clive again. We walked the rest of the descent together.
However the day did require a decent of over 1000m some of which was very steep, however my knee held up and I just lived the day. I would happily repeat today!!
Arriving into the small town of Molinaseca, it is absolutely beautiful too. We were very pleased that we were not booked to walk into the next main town like many others as this spot is so beautiful.
We stopped for our obligatory finishing beer and Dawn and Jim joined us. They had guessed that this is where we would stop being the first bar into town! Clearly the routine is now totally predictable!! George had struggled today and called a cab after the first 500km descent, he still walked 16km of climb and descent though, but he leg is sore. This doesn’t bode well for the next few days as we have two 30km days next.
The guidebook thought of the day today is: On all the peaks lies peace. This feels very appropriate. Today has been really peaceful surrounded by just stunning scenery.
Can’t wait for tomorrow.