Day 61 - Camponaraya
No breakfast, just coffee as we left the Hostal this morning. It was a pleasant two hour walk down the hill to the city of Ponferrada. We had a late breakfast of tortillas and bagels. We met James from Jersey, who packs a ukulele, and spent the morning with him touring the impressive Castle of the Knights of Templar. The knights of Templar mission was to protect pilgrims traveling to Rome, Jerusalem and Santiago. The castle and walls are constructed from local stone which included a lot of slate-the stuff we have been scrambling down the last two days.
The city of Ponferrada sits at the foot of the surrounding mountains and is very picturesque. We spent a fair amount of time walking through the city as we headed west. We passed a couple of elementary schools, which gave us a twinge of retirement guilt; but not for long!
The buildings in this valley almost all have slate roofing, from the ancient to the modern. We saw the same thing in a region of France. Once again, I am reminded of how the craftsman used what is available. Some of the more modern homes even use slate for siding.
We had sort of a strange evening as we had booked a room at an albergue, but it was locked up tight when we got here. After a couple of phone calls and an hour later, the owner arrived saying it was a day off, but he was honoring the reservations, but not taking walk-ins. There are only three other guests and the place is locked up. Fortunately, there is a nice courtyard to enjoy as it is on a busy street. Then when we tried to find dinner, everything was closed. We ended up buying some empanadas and dorito chips at a little store.