I left the Rabanal albergue, once again thankful that the hospitaleros there had allowed me to stay without any payment and hoping dearly that I would find an ATM soon.
After Rabanal it is a climb, up and up to Foncebadon. This is the town remembered in Paulo Coelho‘s book, The Pilgrimage, which years ago had inspired me to plan a future camino pilgrimage. In the book the central character fights a wild dog in an abandoned house of this mountain village. It’s easy in non-fiction Foncebadon to see how the imagination could lead a person to a story like that. Though there were no wild dogs to be seen it was clear this was a spooky and deserted village.
After Focebadon I came finally to Cruce de Ferro, a mound of stones with a tall wooden pole on which was mounted an iron cross, hence the site’s name. Here at Cruce de Ferro pilgrims leave a rock or memento of their life at home or of a sin for which they ask forgiveness. I watched as a friend from England and another from Quebec left their stones and we took turns taking photos of each other at this famous camino site.
Standing at Cruce de Ferro reminded me of the pilgrims I’d missed over the last days. I realized that Danni, Trevor and Tim now were ahead of me and I was lonely and sad as I thought of their friendship. If I could walk far enough each day I had a good chance of catching them, perhaps at Molinaseca or Ponferrada. With each turn of the trail I looked ahead, trying to see if the pilgrims in the distance were perhaps my pilgrim family.
I passed Manjardin, stopped for a break at El Acebo, and then on tired feet made the final kilometers down to the beautiful, riverside town of Molinaseca. I searched the town for an ATM, to no avail, and instead used my credit card for a cash-free stay at La Posada de Muriel, a delightful inn with fine views to the south from my pleasant and sunny room. No Trevor, Danni or Tim in town, but at least a nice room and hope of an ATM at Ponferrada the next day.