Day 23 – Acebo to Componyara 25.7km

We got up and ready to go pretty quickly knowing we had a pretty big day ahead of us. We had planned to skip breakfast after finding out that it was €4 but just as we were about to walk out the door we saw the darkness and the rain and decided breakfast was probably going to be vital in us getting through today. Thankfully we did, as it was a huge breakfast and we certainly got our money’s worth by sneaking in some muffins and fruit into our bags for later consumption.

After overindulging a little bit too much at breakfast we set off at our latest time ever, 7.45am. Thankfully the sun had risen which was fortunate as the road was very slippery and being able to see where we were going was vital. The first few hours were downhill which sounds easy right? Wrong. When its wet, steep and stony, this creates a mini waterfall along the path which meant we were going at a much slower pace than usual. Luckily only a few near misses but we managed quite well overall.

Luckily the rain subsided as it got closer to midday which made it a much more comfortable walk. We passed through many little towns, all of which I have already forgotten and enjoyed some spectacular views of the the autumn vineyards. The overcast weather made it much easier, but this didn’t stop us from getting lost twice.

We arrived in the city of Ponferrada by 12pm and expected a huge and beautiful city, especially because one of the first things you see entering the town is an old castle. But we were disappointed to find that once you’d entered the city, all the buildings were quite ugly and modern with plenty of graffiti everywhere. There was also an unusually high amount of teenagers everywhere trying to sneakily smoke their cigarettes. Initially I was tempted to convince Jason to stop here for the night, but I was very happy to leave the place. Knowing that we had another 10km, we quickly stopped by at the supermarket at stocked up on some bread buns and hot dogs and ate these on a street bench with plenty of locals giving us very confused looks.

Surprisingly the next 10km went very quickly. The guidebook made it seem like we’d be walking through a vast amount of emptiness, but in fact we ended up passing a small village every 2km which definitely broke up the journey. When we finally arrived in Componyara, we were relieved to find that both our Albergue and the supermarket were at the entrance of town. We practically skipped to the Albergue only to find that it was closed for the season. Shit. Knowing that there were no other Albergues mentioned in our guidebook or the list we were given at the start of our Camino, we knew our only option was to walk 6km till the next town which meant we would be arriving close to 6pm. We sat down, regained our composure, ate some chocolate and resigned ourselves to the fact that we had to keep walking. We followed the yellow arrow along the trail until low and behold, an advertisement for a new Albergue appeared, and it was only 700 metres away! We quickly followed the directions and found the miracle we were hoping for! We checked in and found the most spacious room with the biggest bunks we have ever seen. It was amazing!

We found our fellow pilgrim Albert in the room alone. He’s been staying at the same place as us for the last 3 nights and has also crossed paths with us many times of the trail. He is a friendly Frenchman in his mid sixties and unfortunately he had a nasty fall today injuring his knee and his fingers. Jason has a look at his knee and unfortunately it’s likely he’s done some damage to his meniscus, which whilst not bad enough to end his pilgrimage, will definitely slow him down.

Ended up enjoying a pilgrim’s dinner downstairs with Albert and a German guy. It was great to enjoy the company of other pilgrim’s again, especially after a few days of not seeing too many people.

Total cost for today:
– Breakfast: €4
– Lunch: €2 hot dogs
– Dinner: €10.50 pilgrim’s menu
– Snacks: Free (taken from hotel breakfast)
– Accommodation: €10

Total cost for today: €26.50

Til next time
Ann & Jason xo

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