La Rosa del Agua (63€)*
Today we have a big walk ahead… Up a 300 meter/1000 foot elevation gain – through the mountains and then down to Ponferrada. The weather is COLD and WINDY but not raining. We immediately start our ascent… through country with heather and broom blooming, and snow-capped mountains all around us. Snow flurries. We stop for C&CC plus chips at 6 kilometers, gratefully warm up, and meet an interesting American woman, Suzanne from Virginia. We push off, and 2 kilometers later we are at La Cruza de Ferra (“the Iron Cross”), and its huge rock pile where pilgrims deposit rocks carried from their homes. We leave the rocks we’ve toted from our town’s “ventrifact hill,” and again meet Suzanne who has brought a bottle of wine to celebrate… We drink to the Camino. This is the highest point of our entire walk, over 1500 meters, almost 5000 feet. The views are stunning… my favorite day of walking yet! From the cross we have another 9 kilometers to Acebo. Muddy, cold, windy but beautiful! Down, then up for a while, then a steep descent, VERY STEEP, and finally we spy Acebo below us. Arrive at 3 PM. Our Casa Rural is the first hostelry in town, rustic and charming. We freshen up and walk across the street to La Posada del Peregrino for ensalada mista and a bocadillo of queso and jamon. Excellent! With wine, of course, and wonderful chocolate ice cream for Nick. We plan to eat dinner here too… soooooo good. Back in our room I fiddle with the TV and great movies are on, but all in Spanish… Lawrence of Arabia, Rebecca, Wallace and Grommet… Jeezle-beezle! We read. Across the street again for dinner. Suzanne and some friends are there. We swap stories. Nick: onion soup, grilled steak, and chocolate ice cream / Bonnie: spaghetti carbonara and toast, with cheese and ham on side, and for dessert, a pear poached in wine.