I has a bit of a lie in until 7 am. Breakfast in the albergue and then began the climb towards Cruz de Hierro. This is a very special place in the Camino de Santiago. It is a landmark of special significance. The cross stands at one of the highest points of the Camino at 1500 metres. It is the tradition at this landmark that a pilgrim traveller leaves a momento representing themselves and a symbol of any burden they may have been carrying. I arrived early and in the sun the cross glistened with significance. It was littered with piles and piles of symbols people had left behind. Photos or loved ones who had died, pieces of jewellery, even bits Of clothing. I did leave something behind ,planting it into the pole supporting the cross.
The route carried on up into the mountains, high above the clouds. Looking down, the clouds below were so thick you could almost believe they were there to be walked on. The views were truly breathtaking, the colours intense and the scents in the air held a clarity for me beyond description. The mountains were covered with the deepest purple and yellow alpine flowers. In fact the whole area has a distinct alpine feel about it. I took the opportunity to sit down for a while and enjoy the atmosphere. Buildings began to appear more frequently and as I passed and the light grew more intense the towns began to look more and more like ski centre resorts.
After about 1 hour of uphill climb, the route began to descend steeply towards Mollina Seca, a small very pretty town built around a lake. The temptation to jump in and cool off was imense but I thought better of it!!
A quick pit stop here with a Camino friend and then on to Ponferrada.
Arrived in Pomferrada at around 4 in the afternoon. The albergue was big and the facilities very good , all for a mere donation of whatever you liked. I had a 3 course pilgrims supper which include fajitas and wine, in a nearby cafe for the immense 10 euros .
Beautiful piazzas were in abundance as well as a very interesting medieval castle.