Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Paul on the Road from Molinaseca

Author: Paulo Coelho

Paul on Cruz de Hierro

I slept extremely well in the attic of the French operated Alberge, much needed for the next day climb. After best breakfast since departing from SJPP, I headed up towards the Cruz de Hierro. It is traditional to lay a stone brought with you from home, but as I didn’t bring one, I prayed and made a gesture, symbolizing the wish to leave negative character traits and inhibitions behind on the mountain, setting me free for my life ahead and for the good of all those near and dear to me. The scene was quite emotional, with others doing the same.

Continuing on to Monjarin, a tiny Refugio just below the Cruz, with its endless tape of Hallelujah, souvenir stand and where the bell tolls for everyone who comes and goes, even for the horses. Descending down towards the quaint mountain villages of Acebo & Diego de Ambros, I arrived at a wonderfully quiet place, with only the sound of a herd of goats to add to the tranquility of the scene. As I turned the corner, who was sitting there smoking self rolled cigarette, but Denise from Slovakia. She said, “how come we always meet in places like this?»… “Because the path wants it that way” I chuckled, and we just enjoyed the moment until Denise’s cigarette was finished before moving on down to Molinaseca.

Once there we bought ourselves large beer and dipped our sore feet in the ice cold waters of the river… Heaven ;-)
Intending to reach Ponferrada that evening, we headed out of town. Just prior to the end of the town, we passed the two Alberges, but at the last one the friendly Hospitaliero, who was busy checking Nuria in for the night, told us that because it is holiday time in Spain, buses with loads of people will be probably making beds short in the city, so we decided to call it a day in Molinaseca. Maximillian and Kirsten trundled in, and shortly after we headed out for the proverbial Pilgrims Menu ;-)

A football match between Madrid & Barcelona on TV had filled the Taberna to the brim and the sound of lively bantering filled the room and added to the holiday atmosphere.

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