Day 48- Foncebadón to El Acebo

  • Distance Today                      6.8 mi
  • Distance Camino 2017      351.8 mi

Today was all about scenery and a spiritually significant location on the pilgrimage of Camino Frances.

The taxi dropped us off at Foncebadón where we concluded our walk yesterday afternoon and we climbed the remaining 1.2 miles to the Cruz de Ferro, 4934 ft, the highest point on the Camino Frances.

Where the cross is now located is thought to have originally been an altar built to the Roman god Mercury, whereas some stories say that it is where the Celts worshiped, either way the origins were pagan. The cross is believed to have been placed here in the 11th century by Gaucelmo.

Traditionally pilgrims have left a rock here, whether picked up along their journey or brought all the way from their homeland. Some of the rocks that have been left here contain little messages to loved ones or the name of the pilgrim’s home town.

The tradition of pilgrims leaving a stone at the Cruz de Ferro was originally a very religious one and the purpose was to say a prayer at the Iron Cross and leaving the stone behind was very symbolic in that you were really leaving behind all your sins.

More recently, the tradition has been built on the recognition of leaving behind not only the sins that pilgrims carry but also other burdens in their life or the burdens of a loved one.

Linda placed a hand painted chestnut inscribed “Ed + Jo” for our friend Joselle, in memory of her beloved husband, Ed.

From the Cross, we walked another 5 miles, nearly every few steps an incredible new breathtaking view from the top of the world,

walking down Monte Irago, passing Manjarin and continuing down a very steep, loose stone laden path into El Acebo (elevation 3770 ft).

El Acebo (pop.37) is a picturesque village typical of mountain villages of upper Bierzo with houses built from and covered in slate, the typical building material of the region. The slate laden paths add to the difficulty of the steep descent into the village. Another characteristic of the homes are the street-facing wooden balconies, that sometimes reach outside of an outdoor staircase. After finally breathing a a sigh of relief upon reaching the cobble stone street through the village, even it is built on a 30 degree slope.

We stopped at Hostel La Rosa del Agua (57€) and had lunch at 1:00pm until our room was ready.

Today has been chilly and windy beginning at 31 degrees in Foncebadón at 10:00 am and still a cool, windy sunny afternoon in the low 60’s, so we pretty much camped out in our room, washed clothes and rested from the morning hike,

took a brief walk and finished the day viewing a dramatic sunset.

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