We were all woken earlier than usual at 6:00 am – one of our fellow pilgrims just decided that for them, it was ‘lights on’ time.
Today we planned to climb the mountain peak and arrive at sunrise – we had heard the views at the 1550m summit were breathtaking.

The heavy early morning mist and inky black sky made navigating the route along the narrow stone path quite challenging – Richard and John had sensibly attached flashing red lights to the their rucksacks , presumably so they would be spotted easily when they tripped and fell over the precipice!
Arriving at the peak 45 minutes later
we found the Iron cross shrouded in mist. Those of us that felt the need, had a quiet moment of reflection and left a small ‘symbolic’ stone, traditionally carried from ones original journey starting point – in
my case home in Margate.

Over the next hour or so the mist lifted to uncover some spectacular scenery. With the soft chime of cowbells in our ears we followed a pathway lined with heather which made the first 5 Km trek through the valley most agreeable.

Then came the long..and it must be said, quite treacherous decent. For what seemed like hours we picked our way down through a gulley of loose shale, a very slippery and uneven path.
Dr John had taken the so called ‘safe’ route down the mountain via the road – but as it was littered with hair pin bends, with the speedy Spanish drivers I am not so sure it was safer.

Having survived the decent, we all met up for lunch at a ‘Ham and Eggery’ in the picturesque town of Molenisca.

We were bathed in sunshine for the final 7 Km as we followed the road to our resting place for the night Ponferrada

In the spirit of Camino, we shared a few beers at a local bar overlooking the Castle with our new Peligrino friends Jim (from Ireland) and Christina (from Germany)

On an empty stomach and with two large beers downed in quick succession we were soon all very comfortable debating various ‘Knotty’ topics and building on our strong German – Anglo – Irish alliance.

Geoff (our groups diplomatic leader) chose to kick things off by covering the merits of gas chambers …was it AEG who built them?
……Hmmmmmm ‘Awkward’

Richard shouted “Pause button , Pause button” and kept poking his finger on the table, strangely he thought this would have some effect , but by this time Geoff was in full flow and had progressed on to the exploits of German fighter pilots and how they might have recorded the number of British planes shot down in World War Two.

This ‘discussion’ turned out to be one of the funniest moments of our Camino. Thankfully it did not result in a diplomatic ‘incident’ but in fact knocked down any cultural barriers that may have remained…..with a sledge hammer !

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