El Castillo (52€)
Up at 6:45 AM for a do-it-yourself breakfast. Out at 8:15. FREEZING!!! We walk DOWN and DOWN and DOWN, through beautiful country. We level out in a vast valley. At 8.5 kilometers in Molinaseca we have C&CC and split a chocolate croissant. We hike another 8 kilometers and finally drag into Ponferrada at 1:40 PM. Up the street from a famous Knights Templar castle, we locate our hotel, and then seek a restaurant for lunch. It’s down a side street and excellent. We share an ensalada mista and each have bacon and eggs. Back to our mildly depressing hotel for B+N, then out at 5 to explore. BAD NEWS… It is raining and it is Monday and EVERYTHING IS CLOSED!!! The castle, the churches, the museums, the restaurants, everything! Did I mention it is raining? Drag back to our room at 6:30. Nick and I are both “out of sorts” and not fit for dinner, but, then again, not into staying in our dreary room. We march to the town’s central plazas for a drink and, lo and behold, we get complimentary tapas! WOW! So now we have an alternate to dinner… drinks with free tapas! Bonnie has a gin and tonic; Nick has a margarita. On the house, we share a potato tortilla and an empanada. The total bill is 12€, not bad. Back to our room feeling good and clever.