Day 24: Ferro Cross (Foncebadon to Ponferrada)
Whilst furiously researching how to rid bed bugs from my life we marched up the last of the mountain with our head torches provided pools of light for our feet. We reached the famous Ferro Cross (the highest point in the Camino) at roughly 7 o'clock, just in time to catch the sunrise. We all sat quietly with a few other keen ramblers and watched the sunrise unfold, I tucked my shell around the cross with a bit of twine where it stood quite proudly the only Welsh shell there I'm sure as everyone else brings stones as a symbol of leaving a burden behind. I feel quite lucky and don't have much in the way of burdens (except ones which are my own doing) so thought I'd leave a shell instead.
With a lengthy 28km walk down the very steep Altar mountain, with its lose stones and baking heat, we made a stop at the beautiful town of Molinaseca which has a large stone bridge over the calm river Meruelo. A section of the river is dammed off and very deep, with the sun beating down on us and our tortilla and pop me and Khalid decided to go for a dip. It was so refreshing a cool but chrisy it was hard getting out! The cobbled walkway out of the water was thick with slippery slime as well as being hard in the feet. We left with much less dignity and sex appeal than when we entered the water. My tiny weathered yellow knickers didn't help the situation either.
On reaching our final destination Ponferrada, I went to explore the Castle of the Knights Templars. In the 12th century the castle held away and protected Pilgrims through much of the province and was further improved in the 15th century when the knights had abandoned it. For a €4 euro kick you could wander around the castle and walk along the parapets, it was an impressive building which in sure had a few legends to tell.
I'm absolutely shattered today and on my top bunk and ready for bed by 8:30. Another 5:30 start tomorrow and the eighth day on the count down will be behind me!