June 8, 2015
Well today certainly made sure I didn’t forget that the Camino is, after all, a long walk. Today I left Rabanal at about 7:15 to try to get an early start. In about 2 hours I did make it to a very important part of the Camino, La Cruz de Ferro, or Iron Cross. This is the highest point on the Camino Frances. Tradition holds that placing a stone brought from home at the foot of the cross represents your sins and burdens and atones for those sins. I had stones from Kathy and me from HHI and home and, in a rather solemn moment, said a prayer and deposited the stones at the foot of the pole holding the iron cross. I can only hope and pray that the tradition is true.
Well you think it would be all down hill from here, right? Well it was but it was through some of the rockiest, most treacherous pathways I’ve been on for any extended part. I stopped for a quick sandwich in Acebo and finally made it to Ponferrada at 4:00 PM. So today I walked for 8 and ¾ hours, the longest yet, and covered about 20 miles, the furthest yet. It was the longest day so I wore the T-shirt the Alzheimer’s folks were so nice to provide. I set a personal record of 44,772 steps today. Sorry if I’m gloatting but this was one of those days that was just hard and I’m glad it’s over and I finished it. The Camino is a loooong walk. Did I mention that?
I did have some more outstanding conversations with some simple beautiful people who seem well on their way to making some big decisions so today wasn’t all drudgery, and I did get some great views along the way and the weather was a little warm but beautiful. My arrival in Ponferrada was welcomed by The Castle of the Templars. I have two nights here in Ponferrada – I need it after today’s walk – so I hope to get some time and energy to explore the castle and other interesting things in this city. I’m a Dan Brown fan so this should be fun.
Know that the prayer I said at the foot of the Iron Cross included asking for God’s blessing on each of you and your families and friends. Please keep me in your prayers too.