Camino de Santiago Day 9: Ponferrada to Pedrafita, Spain

Fellow pilgrim outside the albergue in Pedrafita.
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Camino de Santiago Day 9: Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela

Day 9: Ponferrada to Pedrafita, 56 kms.

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I must have slept soundly for I woke up past 9:00AM with the sun shining through the terrace window. Though my creaking joints were still aching, I felt good surprisingly after yesterday’s bad experience which now seemed like a distant nightmare.

This is where the slow climb begins at Villafranca. Ponferrada to Pedrafita, Spain
This is where the slow climb begins at Villafranca. Ponferrada to Pedrafita, Spain

Brewed coffee and a hearty breakfast put me further in a better mood and I felt I could get used to the luxurious surroundings and tarry around for another day perhaps. The thought crossed my mind briefly but then the road called……so I saddled up and left close to noontime.

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The view became lovelier as you got higher.
The view became lovelier as you got higher.

Ponferrada to Pedrafita, 56 kms.

Greenery above Ruitelan.
Greenery above Ruitelan.
Fellow pilgrim outside the albergue in Pedrafita.
Fellow pilgrim outside the albergue in Pedrafita.
Outside the town of Cacabelos, the road was undulating through low hills.
Outside the town of Cacabelos, the road was undulating through low hills.

Cacabelos was 10 kms. away and it was a prosperous-looking town known for its El Bierzo wine. I kept away from it – the wine I mean – and pedaled onward to Villafranca where the longest climb in the whole Compostela began. All 36 kms. of it to O Cebreiro through heavily-wooded countryside. Although it was not exceedingly steep, somehow, I psyched myself up for the expected difficulty. This time I put on my headphones to distract my mind from the weariness of it all. The Stones were belting out “I can’t get no, satisfaction!”. Well, that’s exactly how I felt at that moment. No satisfaction in what I was doing. But I had to do it for reasons that were far more spiritually compelling.

Passing by an old cemetery.
Passing by an old cemetery.


Small restaurants like this abounds along the way.
Small restaurants like this abounds along the way.

When I got to Pedrafita, about 10 kms. short of my goal, I decided to called it quits. My body was telling me enough and so it had to be. I had biked hard for about 56 kilometers and it was no mean feat for someone who, just 6 months ago, was a couch potato, too lazy to do any exercise.

The weather was gloomy all throughout my ride.
The weather was gloomy all throughout my ride.
I took shelter outside this stone fence that had a huge tree in front during a brief shower.
I took shelter outside this stone fence that had a huge tree in front during a brief shower.

And now I was almost 1400 meters above sea level – all achieved through sweat and hard work. Sometimes, even I am surprised about myself and what compels me, I think, is to prove that I can still do stuff once I set the bar up high.

Note: This was my daily journal throughout the pilgrimage route which took all of 12 days from Pamplona to Santiago de Compostela.

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