Route: Foncebadón – Ponferrada
Distance: 27+2 km (Total: 534 km)
Yesterday’s wedding anniversary I also celebrated after reaching the albergue Foncebadón. The three guys you can see in the picture below were already waiting for me there. Starting from my left Henry, whom you already know, Jun, a sports teacher and official from South Korea and my singing buddy from Italy, Paolo. There were many toasts that night. I think we must have depleted all the wine reserves at the albergue.
This morning I admired through the hostel window a breathtaking sunset over the meseta from almost 1600 m a.s.l. In a distance I could still see the city lights of Astorga and barely those of León. As I was contemplating the view I was also wondering how on earth Russian hockey team almost lost to Germany in the Olympic final match.
This morning was special for me in a different way as well. Two kilometers after leaving the hostel I was to reach one of the most important places for me on this journey. For this very moment I prepared a certain thing I had found while searching around my garden at home before leaving for Spain. I have been carrying it in my backpack for 21 days. More on that in the movies below.
I sensed during during the dinner last night that Paolo was also carrying something in his backpack for the occassion. The feeling of casting the stone being the symbol of my sins, though symbolic, was strong. I was not planning to be at this place on this particular day. Today’s Sunday Gospel is about Transfiguration on Mount Tabor. This Word was particularly meant for me today.
After this deep experience on the stony hill at the Foncebadon Cross I resumed my walked feeling lighter. I was also helped by the fact that the remaining 25 km was mostly going downhill.
Thank God the weather continues to be great. On a rainy day today’s descent could be tricky. Here and there I could still see some icy stones though. With every kilometer a sizeable city of Ponferrada would become more and more visible in the valley. This is the last city of larger size before we reach Santiago de Compostela.
As for Ponferrada I have a pretty good association with the place. In 2014 a Polish cyclist, Michal Kwiatkowski, became World Cycling Champion here after a spectacular long finish.
After a long non-stop walk in the sun we finally reach Ponferrada. Right next to our hotel there is another restaurant that belongs to my company, a brand called Trastevere. Since the place is packed with guests I take a seat at the bar and decide to eat there. Soon enough Henry joins me and we have another wonderful feast.
In the evening I go to the local Basilica Santa Maria de la Encina for the Eucharist. After the Mass I talk to the priest who explains me the story of Mary’s apperance on the site of the church in the tree canopy to the templar knight who was about to fell it.
Mediation XX. Sin.
I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness
Rom 6, 19
My visit today at the Atonement Cross of Foncebadón and leaving of my stone/sin there may give me strength to convert. This is my Tabor.
May the second half of my life be better. May my body become the tool of doing good.