We are now in Ponferrada after some long days traveling. We didn’t have any connection problems just some long hours underway. But, all in all, everything went well. The usual jet lag that has consigned us to a slightly altered universe for the last couple of days is starting to slacken its grip. We are now sleeping much better and enjoying some normal meals. We had a fun overnight in Bilbao enjoying some fine pintxos, vino, and a late stroll along the river up to the Guggenheim and back. A splendid welcome back to Spain.
The next morning we walked to the train station and caught the daily train to Ponferrada where we arrived 6.5 hours later. To our great surprise we were met at the station by an old friend from Portland, Kathy Kennerly. Kathy has been living in Spain (Ponferrada) for a few years now. We had planned to get together, but she had a little surprise ready for us and met us at the station to spring it on us. We taxied to our nearby hotel and upon checking in we were told by Kathy that she had the staff put some food and wine in our room. We all went up and sure enough a large salad with goat cheese, a platter of cured meat, and two bottles of wine sat there awaiting us. What a thoughtful gift, especially when you understand something of restaurant hours in Spain. So we all tucked in and enjoyed all that was set before us. What a fine meal it was. But, the day was not yet done. A Facebook friend of Robin’s, Lee Tolman, was just finishing up two weeks as hospitalera, at the San Nicolás de Flüe albergue, so we all went over and joined her and her co-worker, Javier, for more food and wine. It was a great party and it was nice to finally get to meet Lee.
We eventually made our goodbyes and set off uphill back to our hotel, but a copa de cava seemed in order before we called it a night. We huddled in the warmth of the hotel bar and enjoyed catching up with Kathy’s life in Spain. Yes, we did finally call it a night. Robin went up and I walked Kathy back to her apartment which is located just behind the hotel only a few minutes walk. So that was yesterday. Today, Tuesday, we ran a couple of errands which included shipping a suitcase to Santiago, and picking up a couple of SIM cards from the Vodafone store. It was in the upper 20’s (F) as we set out. I had on everything I will be wearing tomorrow when we set off on the Camino Invierno. I was okay, but just. With a backpack on and a few climbs thrown in my winter kit will be just fine. We are now back at the hotel getting our thoughts together for tomorrow’s walk. We will be meeting Kathy for lunch in about an hour. The feasting continues. What fun. Spain honestly feels like home to us.