Awoke to cold Foncebadon parochial albergue chapel and hurried to get dressed in the chill air. Breakfast with Sebastian and woman from Quebec and young man from Belgium. Off to walk, mostly uphill until Cruce de Ferro.
At Cruce de Ferro watched Sebastian, Bea and others have their private, quiet time.
Long and grueling downhill to Manjarin where man kicked dog and everything smells of cat/dog piss/poop. Very disturbing scene and can’t imagine ever wanting to spend any time there, much less an overnight.
Further downhill to delightful town of El Acebo where met Daniel of U.S. on his eighth camino. Daniel had been with Danish man who died outside Estella. Told him I would connect him with family of man who died.
Onward downhill to Molinaseca and cervesa on grass near river. Continued out of town with pilgrim family as Ponferrada gradually began to appear. We all put our things in the giant, municipal albergue and went to see the Templar castle which was open but unfortunately too expensive at 6€ each. No pilgrim discount. Along with others decided to bag castle and instead went grocery shopping for dinner — my first pilgrim-cooked albergue meal. Glorious meal of spaghetti with goat cheese/vegetable sauce — three helpings. Had to shoo four women out of the men’s bathroom where they were doing their laundry. They didn’t seem to mind the idea of us showering while they washed clothes, but somehow it seemed like the women should use their own ample bathroom or the outdoor laundry sinks like everyone else. Another pilgrim party with group games under patio arbor. Bed at 22:00 in vast, basement dormitory with no windows.