Day 41 – Ponferrada to Cacabelos

Walked today: 8.2 miles

Walked Camino 2019: 300.2 miles

There are two Camino routes through Ponferrada, the one which is “recomnended” that goes around the city, which we walked in 2015 and 2017 and the route through the city, which we took today.

We thoroughly enjoyed the walk through the city.

It seemed like Christmas with the Festival lights as we left our hotel

We made a left turn a few blocks from the hotel and began walking in none other than, Calle (street) Camino de Santiago.

Calle Camino de Santiago was straight, no turns, until it merged with the other Camino route some 5 miles later.

The walk was very pleasant with wide sidewalks on both sides of the road. We passed attractive, architecturally diverse, residential communities unlike we have seen anywhere in Spain, on or off the Camino.

We stopped in the suburb of Fuentes Nuevas in a very nice bar next to a children’s park, Parque de Pablo Picasso, and had breakfast.

Up to this point we had seen very few pilgrims on the “non-recommended” route.

We continued into the town of Camponaraya, where the two Camino routes merged and stopped for a second CCL. We then walked through the older part of the village and the pilgrim traffic increased dramatically.

A group of a dozen or so students from Genoa, Italy joined the Camino in Ponferrada.

This morning we became more aware of the Bierzo region with its temperate microclimate, ideal for viticulture. The scenery is green with vineyards. The mountains of Galicia loom ahead.

Located in the northwest corner of Castile and León, bordering Galicia, Bierzo is known especially for it’s unique Mencía grapes, a relatively new variety and the resulting wines that have been gaining in importance in the wine world.

The soil/rocks reminded us of Cháteauneuf du Pape

We walked among the vineyards for a few miles before entering the town of Cacabelos (pop. 5,495).

approaching the older part of Cacabelos
in old Cacabelos near our hotel

This is our third visit to this charming Camino town, that in Roman times served as an administration center for gold mining.

We staying in Hostal La Gallega (46€).

our Hostal

We had our meal for the day at lunch. It was delicious. First course was gazpacho for Jim and Lacón con Pimientos for Linda.

gazpacho for Jim
pork shoulder and roasted peppers for Linda

2nd course for Linda was Pollo al curry al con arroz and for Jim, Lubina con salsa de piquillo y ensalada.

curry chicken with rice for Linda
sea bass for Jim

We also had a chocolate tarta and tasted a glass of wine of two difference Bierzo Mencía crianza red wines of the region.

Linda preferred this one
Jim preferred this one

We made a visit to the Iglesia Parroquial de Nuestra Señora de la Plaza, consecrated in 1108, which has seen many renovations over the centuries since, was beautiful inside

inside Nuestra Señora de la Plaza

with an impressive collection of religious statues and icons.

striking version of the Virgin
St James (Santiago)
Last Supper in gold and silver

With a good morning walk behind us, a sampling of Camino history and art, a tasty lunch in our tummies complemented by a sampling of two good wines, there was nothing left to do, but retire to our hotel and savor the day into the night.

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