The day started in the dark and moved most of the day in clouds. We had our first 6 k in high winds and light rain and cold. It seemed to go on forever. Chris and Mary are fast walkers and were way ahead of us. I kept thinking this has to be it soon. At the same time there was such beauty I stopped to snap a pic. Big mistake. I sweat so heavily I immediately felt the chill down to my bones. I kept moving. I came to a ridge and the wind was whipping harder and I started to feel a bit of fear. Kept going. Finally there was a town of 5 people and a place to stop. A fire was burning to our relief. I had an orange, and a protein bar and trail mix but still felt off. I added a banana and that did it. My clothes were still wet but my inner heat returned and we were able to keep going. We kept going up. We finally came to a town of one after another 6k. Enough to stop and rest for a few moments and relieve ourselves but he had not much to offer and we kept going. After more climb we finally came to the descent where the prayers started, you can see in the photos. Continually moving and trying to slow down as we try to find purchase and not break an ankle. This went on for about most of the last 6k. Our longest and hardest day. We arrived at ACEBO and again no room at the inn. Tour buses kept passing dropping off and picking up people who are here for a few miles of the Camino. That is where all the rooms went. We found beds at an albergue. One with three to a room and Chris in another. At dinner we compared notes on when the prayers started for all of us. We were very hungry realizing we had gone the day on juice and bread and nuts. The good news was Di’s knee was much better at the start of the day. Now, not so good. Blisters are getting better. And, we are all so proud of what we accomplished and amazed at ourselves. We all agreed we could not do that again the next day. Chris re read her notes from her Camino in 2014 and realized the next stretch out of ACEBO was more of the same down the mountain. We called a taxi and are taking a ride tomorrow to Molinaseca and then will walk into Ponferrada. We are getting the best hotel we can find and washing everything and regrouping for the rest of the journey.
The comic relief was when at one point the trail down crossed a road and we decided to stop for a moment for some chocolate and water. I looked back at the path of our descent and saw a man emerge carrying a shopping bag with a painting of a woman with a parasol. I got the giggles as he seemed so out of place. Mary looked and said, ” what in this picture does not belong?” We kept returning to the image as we struggled our way down. He offered us the comic relief we needed to keep our spirits up.
Hugs to all of you out there.