I woke up at Casa Las Aguedas thinking, ‘Was this only our 3rd day on the Camino?’ It felt like we had been walking for ages. Yesterday, my sister noticed a large bruise on my right foot. I had no idea where it came from. I felt like I was falling apart. The first Camino didn’t feel like this. I had put some arnica cream on it the previous night and it looked better today. But once I stepped onto the floor, I felt shooting pain from my foot. Today I would be walking in the style of the grandma shuffle, all 20 km from Murias de Rechivaldo to the small town of Foncebadon.
We opted for breakfast at the albergue. Our fellow Canadians had already started by the time we got there. We shared delicious toast and homemade yogurt. Afterwards, we packed up and headed back on the Camino. The older gentleman from Korea quickly passed us and I decided it was time to take some aspirin and use hiking poles. Two things that I never had to do on the first Camino.
I felt the effects of the aspirin quickly and made it through the first 10 km to El Ganso. We stopped at the cowboy bar and had fresh orange juice. It would help power us to the next town, Rabanal, just 7 km away.
We were walking in the middle of nowhere when we happened upon a man dressed as a knight with a bird. He was raising money for a children’s foundation, and for a donation you could get a picture with Julie the bird. We decided that this was an opportunity not to be missed. Why was this man not mentioned in the guide book? Whilst enjoying our photo op with Julie, we ran into our fellow pilgrim, Gerrit from Germany. He too was a bird enthusiast and we had a laugh under the blazing hot sun.
All together, we made the slow uphill climb to Rabanal, arriving in town, just in time for lunch. We shared a pitcher of Sangria and I was surprised to find out that it wasn’t even 12 o’clock yet.
Our original plan was to stop at Rabanal, but it was still early, so we decided to push forward another 5 km to Foncebadon. By this time, the heat of the sun felt crushing. We ran into our fellow Canadians as we reached Foncebadon. They were stopping there for the day on account of some knee pain. This would also be our stop. It wasn’t 4 pm yet, but we were tired and Foncebadon placed us in a great spot to see the sunrise at Cruz de Ferro. Gerrit walked on saying that he would check out the next town, Manjarin.
It was nice to stop into town early. We found a room with a gorgeous view of the mountains at Convento de Foncebadon. We took our time resting before washing our clothes. It was a breezy sunny day, perfect for doing laundry. I think this was the most beautiful place I’ve ever hung my laundry in.
We had a delicious dinner at the Convento. They served lentil soup and a meat stew that was very similar to a Filipino dish called ‘Asado’. We stayed up till our laundry dried and rejoiced at the smell of our fresh clothes.
I studied our guide book to see what tomorrow had in store for us. It would be a long day, just over 25 km. to reach Ponferrada. We were eager to have more time to check out the Templar’s Castle, but also nervous. The guidebook and YouTube warned us about the difficult descent to Ponferrada. We took the hint and decided to treat ourselves. We made arrangements with El Camino Con Correos to have our bags shipped to Ponferrada. Sine we were having our bags shipped, we also booked an albergue in Ponferrada. Satisfied with our excellent planning skills, we passed out for the day.
Convento de Foncebadon : Address: C/ Real s/n, 24722 Foncebadón, León, Spain; Price: 50 Euros for a triple room with a private bathroom; Website: no site available
El Camino Con Correos:
Service : ships your baggage from one albergue to another
Contact: +34 683 44 00 22 (we used Whatsapp to message them)
Price: 5 euros/bag for one stage, 4 euros/bag for more than 5 stages
Tip: There are multiple companies that offer baggage transport. Each albergue can choose which transport company to support. The albergue host will provide you with a baggage tag and an envelope to deposit your money into. If you are unsure about which albergue you will be staying in at the next town, you can try to have your bag shipped to the municipal albergue.