I am pre-booked at all my hotels on the Camino, so this day was preordained as a rest day. Perfect. After the “big day” yesterday, I was ready to let my knees recover (downhill is worse than uphill for them, I’m afraid — there is no winning on either side of the mountain!!) and get some laundry done. I realized I haven’t had the time to read a book or catch up on the news.
I wandered Ponferrada. The Templar Castle is quite striking – like having the Tower of London right smack dab in the middle of a small town. Stocked up on more ibuprofen (those knees – luckily the Spanish word is very similar) and tried the local delicacy botillo. Can’t say I recommend it but it was fine. Lots of rain today. Uh oh. Looks like my luck may be running out on the weather. That poncho from REI will get used after all!
The towns along the way have been charming, lively, full of history. I catch what I can but I must say that I don’t feel like a sightseer right now. It is good to see what I can see, but if I miss something I am not at all concerned. Saving my energy for these next nine days without a rest I guess. And bracing myself for rain. This trip isn’t about seeing sights. But I am definitely absorbing everything around me.
One thing that I have noticed quite a bit that struck me today is the conversations the locals have on the street. This may happen in smaller towns in the States, but where I live you rarely see people stopped on the street just talking and visiting. Too much time in cars, too rushed to take the time, not knowing our neighbors very well? I don’t know the reason, but it seems a shame. I don’t understand what they are saying, but whatever it is, the conversations seem to be lively, animated and full of interesting information. A nice way to make errands a bit more fun and interesting, and keep up with your neighbors. Another thing I can try to do at home…