Wednesday, September 10, 2008


This leg of The Camino, although of only 18 Kms., appeared to be longer due to the fact that it was quite a climb up to La Cruz de Ferro (The iron Cross) at 1,510 mt. We had left Rabanal past 9:30 am under clear skies and a very hot sun. Our first stop was in Foncebadon, a semi-abandoned little town, with a newly rebuilt Refugio where lots of people stop for a breather before the last climb. There, we had something to eat and drink and continued up to the highest point. The Cruz de Ferro has been for hundreds of years the point in The Camino where people leave a rock, a personal belonging or a message they have carried from the start of their journey. The cross itself is small, made of iron, but it is set upon a very tall wooden pole, so that in the winter months, it can still stick out from beneath the snow and can be seen by all passers by. All around the cross, a large mound of stones and debris has been created over the years. It is very interesting to see some of the personal items people leave such as photographs, shoes, scarves, and even food. At this point in the Camino, the landscape begins to change, and the mountains turn green with pine trees and ferns. At Manjarin we started a descent, a rather steep one where the path seemed to be a dried up brook, rocky and unstable. Luckily we had our walking poles which proved to be most useful in this situation. At the edge of a high ridge we could see in the distance, in the valley below, the city of Ponferrada and a nearby nuclear plant. From there the descent was very long to El Acebo which we new had to be nearby, but could not see until the last tight turn in the path. It is the most beautiful town, totally medieval, with narrow cobblestone streets, stone buildings, slate roofs and wooden balconies coverded with colurful flowers. To our surprise, our B&B, La Rosa del Agua, was the first building as we arrived. What a beautiful place! It belongs to a young couple from Mallorca who bought it and remodeled it with all the comforts. Cintia showed us to our room, a beautiful and comfortable space with a big window overlooking the yard and the mountains behind, and a great bathroom with a spa type shower. As usual, we washed our clothes hung them to dry, and while Libia got ready, I went to take pictures of this beautiful little village. It had one little store where everything could be bought, a small church and only one restaurant, El Meson Del Acebo, where later we had a fabulous dinner. I had a trout soup, a specialty of the region, a veal steak, perfectly done, and lemon mousse for dessert. Wine and coffee were also included. We returned to our B&B, made reservations for the next day in Ponferrada, and retired for the night.

Filling up our water bottles

High plains

Beautiful country flowers

Palloza--Celtic dwelling

Popular stop at Foncebadon

La Cruz de Ferro at 1, 510 mt.

A beautiful path

Down below, Ponferrada

Downhill to El Acebo

Finally, El Acebo

La Rosa del Agua, our B&B

Lovely house. El Acebo

Little church, El Acebo

Old house at El Acebo

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