Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Acebo to Ponferrada (Sep 29)

Acebo was only half way down the mountain range and after the previous day's experience we reassesed our management of the descent. We were not the only walkers feeling the stresses. A woman from Melbourne staying at the same hostal had a fall and another was nursing her injured knee at the bar. Expecting that the track down would be covered the same way with large loose stones, we decided to follow the asphalt road instead even though this was generally not recommended because the distance was greater and there were risks from passing traffic.

Nonetheless, we followed the LE241 that wound its way though the mountain valleys, carefully keeping to the narrow paths one side or the other, all the time with steep mountain face on one and deep valley on the other. Following the road we passed high above Riego de Ambros, a village in which all houses seemed to have a new slate roof. The view was breathtaking so was the thrill when cars come around the bend towards us. Fortunately it was a quiet road on a quiet Saturday.

Village of Riego de Ambros.

At the pretty town of Molinaseca we still had 8 km to go to reach our stopover town of Ponferrada where we also wanted to a walk around the well known Knight Templer medieval castle there. Something had to give, the walking did.

Medieval castle at Ponferrada.

Ponferrada did not have the same warm feeling as most other places we visited. Many walls around the old city was defaced with grafitis and the castle though massive, was no more impressive than others in Britain and Europe.

Perhaps worst of all the restaurant waiters at the main plaza were unfriendly even though the tapas dishes we had were among the best so far. We were told curtly by the waiter to speak Spainish even though the menu had an English version; we were supposed to look at the corresponding items in Spanish and order them that way. Fortunately by then, more than four weeks in the country, K had quite a repertoir in the language for ordering food and was able to revert promptly. If the waiter was impressed he did not show it!

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