Ponferrada to Villafranca

It’s only out of commitment that I am writing this😉. It’s been a wonderful day, but some navigational errors were made & our 15 mile journey became 20. 

I’m getting ahead of myself. Yesterday, upon arrival in Ponferrada, we napped briefly and then traveled across the street to visit the Knight’s Templar Castle. It is so impressive. I loved touring around and wondering what it would have been like in that time. There was one spot when you could look through a narrow slit in an upper window and shoot down at enemies that might come to the gate. I love the display of period clothing & especially loved the pilgrim discount, because I’m thrifty like that.

We had a lovely dinner in the plaza. It was so fun to see the local families walking around & the children running and playing. We turned in around 10:30, but the life of the city kept going late into the night.

This morning feels like days ago. Ponferrada is beautiful! The journey was stunning as we watched the terrain change from rivers and hills to beautiful vineyard covered mountains. On our accidental excursion to Monasterio de Carracedo one of us may or may not have grabbed a cluster of Concord grapes off a vine. So delicious, as were the wild blackberries growing beside the path.

We especially loved Cacabelos, and would most likely have stopped there if we hadn’t sent our bags to Villafranca (thank the Lord for that opportunity). 

We ended the trek exhausted, barely able to walk. But we stopped by Iglesias de Santiago, which holds the door of pardon. If you make it this far in the pilgrimage, your sins are forgiven. We almost didn’t stop, but I am so thankful we did.  As I was walking the last 5 kilometers, I was thinking how I came on the trip to search the heart of God, but I haven’t really noticed him yet. Upon entering the church, cool air hit your face, candles glowed, and understated beauty that is so different from the ornate decor of the cathedrals we visited, and a bench is there to rest your weary and beaten body.  The relief was overwhelming, to the point of tears. Isn’t that what forgiveness is like, isn’t that what God is like? Overwhelming us with his love, providence, and lighting our load by his presence. Buen Camino, Amigos

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