193 km to Santiago

Very glad to have made it as far as Cacabelos tonight, 23 km closer to Santiago (193 km to go). The blisters were not good this morning, particularly Rosie’s, and we had a very slow start. I wasn’t sure we’d get further than Ponferrada. However churros in a cafe oposite the Templar Castle proved reviving and we were cheered to find an open pharmacy with a very helpful, English-speaking pharmacist to replenish our supply of Compeeds and provide us with some antiseptic spray to keep the blisters clean. Reassuringly, despite a slow and painful day’s walking, they don’t really look any worse this evening than they did this morning. No pictures though – it might spoil your dinner ;-).

Today’s walk was across the plateau around Ponferrada – much less interesting scenery than yesterday and would have been a relatively easy walk without the foot problems. Molinaseca was defintely warmer than Rabanal and Cacabelos will be the same – our sleeping bags were quite superfluous last night. It took us till 3 pm to reach Cacabelos at our sedate pace, with frequent rest stops, so we were very glad of the hazy, high-level cloud which kept the temperatures down a bit this afternoon. It is a pretty town, with lots of non-pilgrim tourists, well into wine country. Sampling the Vinos de Beirzo will come later as they have bottles for sale in the Albergue :-). Five Euros each has tonight bought us a compact, twin bedded ‘cabin’ (yahoo for no bunk beds and a modicum of privacy after several nights in large dorms!) in the municipal Albergue, Las Augustius. The rooms are arranged in a semicircle in the shady courtyard around a church – lovely.

Everyone we’ve met so far has walked further than us – Leon seems a popular starting point, but many have walked much further. The French pilgrims we met yesterday have walked all the way from the border and are lean as sticks and very brown. They now seem to be walking regular 30 km days with few ill effects. Wonder how long it takes to get into the swing of things to that extent? Pleased that we managed to cover as much ground as we did today, all things considered.

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