Day 26. After a light continental breakfast we left the albergue Casa del Peregrinos while still dark and were lucky enough that we were on asphalt roadway until the sun broke the horizon because when we finally left the road and moved onto the pilgrim path the descent was quite difficult and could have been pdisastrous in the dark. There were however delightful small treasures along the way. As we approached the village of Riego de Ambros we were greeted by a flock of very friendly, or at least curious goats who came running over to the fence perhaps to see if these peregrinos might have some treats. Alas we did not but they were good enough to pose for a few pictures.

    After passing through this beautiful village we encountered one of the more difficult descents we had yet seen which took its toll on both of our feet.
    When we finally reached level ground we were approaching Molinaseca a town which we simply passed through after a brief stop for coffee and a chat with a new Camino friend from Brazil,  Betina.

    From Molinaseca we eventually made our way into Ponferrada, by which time it had become obvious to us that my surgical skills had been for naught! Ed’s feet were still in extreme pain. We decided that as soon as we arrived in the town we would search out a sporting goods store and buy new boots.

    After checking in at our albergue and heading out to find the sporting goods store with directions from the lady at registration, we found this Knights Templar castle a block from the albergue.

    Needless to say I have about 50 or 60 pictures of this castle but this should give you a good idea of what it is like. (See me after I get home if you’d like to be bored with all of the photos).

    Following the directions we had been given we arrived about 25 minutes later at this store where we bought new boots for Ed.

    We were very hopeful that the new boots with more room for his feet to expand would cure the pain he had been suffering. By the time we got back to the albergue Ed was quite tired and sore and decided to take a nap. I decided to go back to the castle to explore more and to take in a special exhibit of medieval manuscript facsimiles. 

    Eventually I made it back to the albergue,  picked up Ed and we headed out to dinner. 

    Bar 4 Bocas where we had supper. It’s a great tapas restaurant.

    Time to call it a night.

    Day 27. From Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo.  As usual it was dark when we left but the city lights were well lit and the waymarkers were well placed and easy to find. We walked until sunrise with little need for our headlamps. Today would be a test of the new boots for Ed. It was a 25+ kilometer day and although everything started out fine, the pain in Ed’s feet returned off and on to make this a very long and tiring day.

    Because his feet had been crammed into his first boots for so long it will probably be some time before they are healed enough for the pain to be healed. However the new boots do seem to be making a real difference. 

    The first village we came across today was Columbrianos  where we found this tiny chapel to Saints Blaise and Saint Roque.

    The next stop was for brunch in Cacabelos.

    The rest of the day was pretty uneventful until we arrived at our destination.

    Albergue La Piedras.

    Tomorrow’s challenge.