After the challenges Camino de Santiago Day 3 threw at me, I supposed Day 4 would provide some pleasurable difference. You know, I expected balance and so on. Different is was. It was more difficult, more steep, and demanded more from my not-so-happy-after-the-25th-km feet. But, you know what, I came to realize that putting yourself to the test and striving to go on only transforms the rest afterwards into vigorous enjoyment and at least doubles the luxury of a hot shower, clean clothes, feet up and something Galician to eat.
Walking traditionally started at dark and probably for this reason we failed to take the right turn (there are two alternatives to chose from after Villafranca del Bierzo – a mountainous route and the “highway” route). So instead we found ourselves walking along the road, for most of the time the highway was high above our heads, but overall, surprisingly, I found the way quite peaceful, probably because it was too early. There was a divider to separate pilgrims from the road. Level walking on flat surface early in the morning was not a bad idea. Some lovely small villages for an occasional cafe con leche were quite welcome as well.
This day of walking the Camino was not only long (more than 30 km), but it also started extremely early! Snoring in the room was unbearable during the night and when I felt the vibrations of the alarm I felt so relieved! I was ready in no time (something I usually do not do in normal life) and we were out (of course after breakfast). We started following the road in front of the albergue in the opposite direction of the village and after a while I seriously got worried that we had taken the wrong direction. It was completely dark, we saw no yellow arrows and there were no pilgrims walking the Camino after us. So we walked in silence, hoping.
Luckily, finally it turned out we are on the right track.
Before we realized it, we were in Ponferrada.