|Prepared for rain|
|Knights Templar castle in Pontferat|
|Stork preparing to take flight|
Today was a gorgeous hiking day, if a bit rainy. We were in the mountains, and climbed to 5,000 feet, the highest point of the trip,but since we started from a fairly high elevation, there wasn´t a lot of climbing. There is a cross at the top, and the tradition is for pilgrims to place a rock from their home at the base of the cross. As you can imagine, there is a huge pile of rocks, and we contributed 2 small stones from Seattle today.
The wildflowers were spectacular- purple heather and lavender, yellow and white scotch broom, a shrub that looked like wild rose, and various other plants. It was quite colorful. We went through several mountain villages, some of which are pretty run down, but showing some new life thanks to the Camino. Last night we stayed in an albergue in the first of the mountain towns, and one of the volunteers happened to be from Portland, Oregon. She walked the Camino in November and December of last year and got stuck in a snow storm for several days in this village. She liked it so much that she returned to volunteer at the albergue. We had quite possibly the best meal of the trip there- paella and a good salad. It was a welcome change from the standard pilgrim menu that seems to vary little from place to place.
We are getting to know quite a few of the other pilgrims as we encounter them frequently along the way. Tonight we are staying at quite a large (200 bed) albergue, so we expect to see lots of familiar faces. Already, our roommates are 2 guys from Finland that we talked to earlier today on the trail and the folks across the hall are a couple from California (although Korean born and raised) and another man from Korea. Down the hall are our 4 French friends (2 middle aged couples who are completing a 3 stage Camino adventure that started from their home in the Alsace near Germany) and a 30-something couple from new Hampshire that we have spent quite a bit of time with are also on our floor.
Today we reconstructed our experience thus far- where we stayed, where we ate, who we met etc. It was a real strain trying to remember 24 nights in 24 places! Some of it seems to have happened so long ago. Not much happens, when you consider that all we do is walk, eat and sleep- yet it seems that so much has happened.
That´s all for now, folks. 135 miles to go.....