Day 36- Ponferrada to Cacabelos

Walked Today: 8.2 mi / Camino2022: 242 mi

Street lights made it easy to find the way ftom Hotel Los Templarios back to the Camino. Our plan today is to walk straight out of Ponferrada on the Calle Camino de Santiago and merge with the “traditional” version of the Camino at about the half way point to Cacabelos.

Having gone the traditional route our first two times out of Ponferrada, we tried today’s route in 2019 and found it preferable for several reasons: (1) it was two miles shorter (2) it gave us a broader perspective of the environs of Ponferrada (3) it was more upbeat and interesting than the tired, run down environs of the “traditional” route (4) it is mostly flat, easier walking (5) there are more services along the way

Odd shaped skyscraper, not in center city with other tall buildings, silhouetted against the early morning sky as we walked out of Ponferrada on the Calle Camino de Santiago.
our walking environment for the first 3 miles

After walking for about 2 miles, just before 8 a.m., we found a bar open and stopped for a break and a light breakfast.

Breakfast #1

We continued our walk which was along this main conduit into the city from what appeared to be high-density residential communities and a “motor-mile” or two in between. But the experience was still quite pleasant as the sidewalks were well maintained and very wide creating a safe, non-intimidating environment for walking.

a suburb of Ponferrada… sidewalks on both sides wider than the road

For the next hour we observed parents carpooling kids to school, groups of older kids catching city buses to school all adorned with backpacks like any other town/city one might observe this time of year.

The streets and sidewalks gradually narrowed as we neared our merge point with the “ traditional” Camino, but still were interesting as the houses became more traditional of the region with slate roofs and brick and stone exteriors that made each structure somewhat unique in appearance. And colorful flowers were common in window boxes and front yards and gardens,

colorful garden in front of a residence, just before breakfast number 2, caught our attention

Near the end of our “non-traditional” Camino walk, we stopped for a more traditional breakfast #2 and break before rejoining the Camino in Camponayara.

Breakfast #2
… back on the official Camino as we walked through Camponaraya
Wine collective as we exited Camponaraya.
nice section of path on the way out of Camponaraya
entering the vineyards with Cacabelos in the background
Mencia grapes on both sides of the path, most of these had already been harvested
harvesting grapes the old fashion way
a little shade and some trees amid the vineyards
leaving the dirt path and walking on pavement the final half-mile into Cacabelos
almost in Cacabelos
Suspected wine baron home on outskirts of Cacabelos
walking toward our albergue in Cacabelos

When we checked-in at 11:00, our transported knapsacks had not arrived, so our routine chores came to a screeching halt. We decided to stop by the Iglesia de Santa Maria to get our credential stamped then get some lunch.

Iglesia de Santa María
inside Iglesia de Santa María

In 2019 on our way out of Cacabelos, we stopped for breakfast at Hostal Restaurante Siglo XIX. Our waiter performed some impressive art on our cafe con leches.

Today, when we ordered lunch at the same place, we were pleasantly surprised to recognize the same young man as our waiter. We showed him a photo we took of his creation and he was surprised that we remembered.

Our lunch was delicious: ensalada mixta for Linda, ensalada rusa for Jim and Solomillo de cerdo con salsa pimienta (pork tenderloin with a wonderful brown sauce) for both of us.

pork tenderloin with frites and green salad
our lunch wine: very nice

After a delicious cheesecake dessert our waiter asked if we’d like coffee and Jim ordered 1 cafe con leche, which arrived with a smiling waiter and some new art to remember.

2019 art (top left), Today’s art (bottom left)

Our backpacks finally arrived at 2:30 and we washed clothes in the albergue machine for 4€, hung them out to dry (took about 2 hrs), then got a snack supper, blogged and read until bedtime.

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