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Camino Invierno – Ponferrada to Borrenes

An excellent days walk on the Camino Invierno with Colin, alas poor Geoff’s Achilles tendon prevented him from joining us except for a brief encounter en route in the car and at the end. Sally will be pleased to know I really enjoyed the walking and Graham will be pleased that with Colin’s help I’m slowing down ๐Ÿ™‚

Contrails heading to Santiago airport

We started walking to the famous castle in Ponferrada, meeting a constant stream of pilgrims on the over popular Camino Frances, including aircraft flying to Santiago airport, showing them the way, instead of the old fashioned Milky Way,ย  I stopped to correct the OSM where the original Camino is prevented from crossing the railway line.

What a joy once over the river that we turned right whereas all the pilgrims where coming from the left ๐Ÿ™‚ We didn’t see another pilgrim all day.

View of Castillo de Cornatel from our ascent

The walking was superb if a little bit hilly all on very quiet roads & tracks we found a shop where the lady kindly helped us make sandwiches on her deli counter ready for us to eat at the top of the major climb. The castle looks impossible to get too, stuck very high up on a rocky promontory, but the path gracefully curves up to Villvieja where we ate our sandwiches, the track is then flanked by really ancient chestnut trees before arriving at the previously commanding Castillo de Cornatel (closed of course). We then dropped down to Borrenes to be met by Geoff with his duff Achilles tendon to finally reach the excellent looking Hotel Cornatel Medulas – the only place open since we left the shop inโ€Žโจ Toral de Merayo! fortunately, they offer evening dinner too with the excellent local Roandi wine ๐Ÿ™‚

We covered the 23km (14.5 miles) with 547m (1,777 feet) of climbing at an overall average speed of 3.3km/hr ~2mph

Strava is here:

All the pictures are on Flickr here:
Camino Invierno - Ponferrada to Borrenos

A day in Ponferrada & Villafranca

Shock horror I at to be woken up by Colin calling me at 8.42 this morning ๐Ÿ™ย  I think the early start and travelling all day really shattered me and with the room in total darkness I just failed to wake up.

After the โ‚ฌ4 hotel breakfast, we decided to drive over to Villafranca for some lunch and sightseeing, amusing to see busloads of pilgrims having a quick tour then quickly moving on. The town itself has a plethora of buildings looking for renovation and the prices seem very reasonable ๐Ÿ™‚

Lunch was at the Don Nacho restaurant a great 3-course meal & wine for about ยฃ10 ๐Ÿ™‚

After a siesta at the hotel, I went on a walk around Ponferrada to see the castle I passed on 5th September 2004 on my first Camino interesting to see so many empty shops in the town like the UK.

Ponferrada Castle 2004 Taken with Treo

Ponferrada Castle 2019 Taken with iPhone7

Here is the Strava of the little stroll:

Tomorrow we start the main walk of the Camino Invierno, should be interesting ๐Ÿ™‚

Today’s pics:
Ponferrada & Villafranca

Traveling to Ponferrada

A bit of a long and exhausting day starting at 05.50 leaving home and finishing at 23.26ย  arriving at the Hostal Nirvana in Ponferrada with a side trip to Porto for lunch.

According to the Pedometer app I managed 8.5 miles and 28 stairs.

It all went very smoothly apart from losing my hat at Stansted Airport necessitating a quick trip to Decathlon in Porto to buy a replacement and a set of walking poles. Could have been worse as I thought I had put my bag in the ‘secure’ lockers at the airport, however on my return the door was wide open ๐Ÿ™ but very fortunately, the bag was still intact. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I met up with my new found walking pals in the airport OK although the other Geoff is struggling with his Achilles so will he walk or not?

The restaurant Colin recommended in Porto,ย  A Grada,ย  was excellent and I chatted to a couple, an Irish lady and Greek man who had met when they were tour operators ages ago, a holiday romance that lasted.

I managed to sleep in due to the room being in total darkness with the shutters closed, others were moaning about the AC not working but I was zonked out all night!

Here are a few pics.
Invierno Day1



My Third Camino

Tomorrow I jet off to start my third Camino. This time rather than on my own or with Sally, but with two other guys Colin and another Geoff. Should be interesting as I’ve never met or spoke to either of them before ๐Ÿ™‚ย  plus Colin has done all the organisation! another first for me.

This is the route and planned stopping points:

A total of 160 miles and 20,000 feet of climbing! Maybe more suitable for Nick to run it ๐Ÿ™‚ but at least there are buses and trains to take the strain for my old legs if need be.

More to follow, hopefully.