Camino Diary Entry #26
#26 Emails home from the Camino
Leon to Molinaseca by bus and taxi
Again it was little short of luxury to be lulled by the rumble of sitting on a bus! Donald and I got the window seat and there he sat with his little nose pressed hard to the window for the whole journey!
We knew we were ‘skipping’ a bit of a mountain around Astorga, but none the less we were stunned by the heights the bus climbed to! We wound round and round mountains, looking down on some sort of toy trainset landscape. There were rail tracks far below, little towns perched on top of mountains, towns tucked into sunless valleys, it was fascinating – and so good to see it through a bus window!
Ponferrada was a pleasant surprise where the designated driver collecting our bags was a taxi who presumed we were part of the cargo! Yay! We were more than happy to share with our suitcases as we passed several plodding pilgrims. We were due in Molinaseca for a rest day before starting our next stage.
Molinaseca is not large! We walked all 4 streets of it yesterday which explains why the receptionist looked startled when we asked for a map! Hence, our rest day,(which is questionable that we deserve, but none the less it’s in the schedule so will take it!) will be spent catching up on communications and coffees!
We have a delightful room with two sets of shuttered windows looking out to tree covered hills almost within touching distance. The town has a very ‘alpine’ look and feel to it.
We also enjoy a shuttered pair of French doors, these open above the very narrow street onto a balcony too small to step on. You possibly could however, lean across and nearly touch the balcony of the opposite apartment building. From the moment of our arrival we have watched with intrigue the daily routine of the occupants there. It would seem that the gentleman residing there has sadly had health issues and his walking is much compromised, to say nothing of the fact that his right eye is missing and well patched up. At the end of their balcony, just past the door is an alcove about the same width as the door. In this little recess, along with the mops, the lady of the house has parked a chair for his use. And there, he sits. Day in and day out – we can also observe from our favourite cafe below us! Every once in a while it’s ‘there he goes, he’s off’, and just like the little Dutch man who swings out of the door on a cuckoo clock, ‘he’ steps forward, and immediately ‘she’ pops out the adjacent doorway!I think we are probably growing quite fond of him in a neighbourly sort of way! – not that we are certain he can see us even out of his remaining eye.
Our rest day so far has been an exhausting round of exploration. All 4 streets, and then some 5 times return journeys before we finally located the post box. We asked a number of people for directions, but our Spanish still with a way to go, did not enable us to find it easily.
We walked around clutching the postcards ‘home to our mothers’, as we retraced our steps again and again.With much relief we found it hiding on a wall instead of standing like the usual pillar box on a corner. We wondered about the chances of them ever reaching their destination from such an isolated spot – a box with a handwritten ‘cleared daily at 12’ sign on it. A little surprised, as we rounded the corner at 11.59 am, here indeed was the ‘postie’ not only delivering on foot, but also clearing the outgoing mail! I am sure he was even more surprised than us, when he scored a whole 3 items.