Oftentimes, an image of something forms in your mind, based on a limited amount of information, and takes on almost mythical proportions.
When you actually see it, however, it’s a bit of a letdown.
So it was with Cruz de Ferro, a couple of kilometres further on from Foncebadón, where we’d laboured up to the previous afternoon to place us in range for sunrise over this milestone location.
Cruz de Ferro is pretty much at the highest point on the Camino and around the base of this simple iron cross, thousands of Peregrinos have laid a stone of significance to them – it’s up to each pilgrim to invest their marker with their own emotions and then to leave it behind.
Intending to see the sunrise over this legendary point, we’d risen early and stomped up the rest of the path, only to find Cruz de Ferro to be both quite small and also positioned amongst a forest, which rather reduced its visual impact, for me at least.
It’s important to comment that I did not carry a Stone Of Significance, as I didn’t really feel I needed to.
But I did leave a small peace sign and made a wish for peace throughout the world.
Beyond the pile of rocks were some picnic tables and a slight cut in the forest and I could see that the sun was rising in this dip, so I beckoned my friends over to witness yet another stunning dawn take shape.
As we returned to our rucksacks, I noticed a couple of people under a tree and mentioned to them that the sunrise could be seen if they wanted a look.
Then Cruz de Ferro took on its own significance for me.
One of those two was Martin, the young man who’d been struck down by an allergic reaction several days ago at the Civil War memorial outside Villafranca Montes de Oca.
This happy reunion was perhaps almost inevitable, given how things are going for me on this Camino, and it was so good to see how well he was looking.
He said that his body temperature had dropped to 35 degrees and the doctors still don’t quite know what had caused the problem.
But it didn’t really matter.
He was back on his Camino, and Cruz de Ferro had firmly planted itself in my memory too.
The rest of the day was pleasingly downhill, descending quite steeply at times towards the gorgeous village of Molinaseca.
Along the way were a number of little places to rest and drink green tea.
Yes, green tea.
How I’ve changed.
Blackberries were ripening all along the path, and I cheerfully pulled quite a few as I went along the path – I haven’t done that for a while.
I also fed a horse.
He then wanted to follow me down the road.
Molinaseca is one of the loveliest of all the villages on the route, and a sizeable gathering of us enjoyed an excellent Friday night feast at the restaurant adjacent to its medieval stone bridge.
We just about managed to stay up past 9.30, given that it was a Friday night.
My, how I’ve changed.
Decent place close to the bridge and the church, with about 30 bunk beds in segmented areas. No blankets available and the bathrooms could do with a slightly better design.
Blisters: 0 (9)
All departments AOK.
Trips, Slips and Falls: 0 (3)
Pineapple Solero Consumption: 0 (3)
I have developed an addictive requirement for this item. Not good.
Applications of Factor 50: 4 (98)
Filling of Water Bottles: 1 (49)
Wrong turns taken: 0 (3)
Number of times “Buen Camino” was said: Higher again, about 50
Song Of The Day: Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me) by Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel