I have gorgeous terrain because of climbing higher and higher into the mountains prior to Foncebadon and a bit more this morning leaving. Within an hour I am at the famous Cruz de Ferro (Iron Cross) which is where pilgrims are to place a stone representing their leaving a burden on the trail. Reminded me of doing work in Peru with the Andean priest and the stone ceremonies I was taught – blow your worries, fears into the stones and return them back to Pachhu Mama – Mother Earth to be absorbed and neautralized back into the nothingness from whence they came.

I felt I had much to leave in my stone this morning – thoughts of inadequacy, physical limitations I was currently feeling with the tendinitis but much deeper soul questions as to concerns regarding my next phase of life. Seems that turning 50 has brought about much reflection as to the what and where of the next part of my journey.

It was cool and you could see the mountain mist hanging at eye level all around.

What followed was a descent of gigantic proportion. Down and down and down and down for hours through rocks and dirt and the pressure on my right shin sent shooting pain all the way through my leg. Somewhere around hour 3 of this, Heinrich and Richard from Germany passed me and saw I was struggling. Heinrich pulled out an Ibuprofin that was in some sort of large milogram dosage and said you better take this or you won´t be able to walk tomorrow.

So there we were, on the Camino trail in Spain having a drug exchange. Ha.

The ibuprofen would not kick in for another hour and I continued to wince with every step until I could see a leveling of the terrain about to take place and the makings of Molinaseca below. Nirvana. I limped my way into the town and immediately thought how gorgeous it was. I passed across a picturesque bridge situated over a river and for one of the first times observing in all these towns, I could actually see locals out and about in mass (not the church kind) – most enjoying themselves around the river.

The alburgue was all the way through the town and located next to an old cathedral. It was a semi-circle structure that went around the church and then it had these mini prison-like cells that slept two. I was sharing a cell with Giuseppe, an older gentleman from Italy with a bright red sunburned face and what I predicted to be a generous snore.

After the usual showering and washing, I could feel the effects of the ibuprofin and the pain was slowly dissolving away. I found a farmacia in town and bought myself a box of what many now call hiker´s candy.

Tracing my steps back to that river at the entrance, I went and put both legs into the ice cold water – best thing for the tendons- and sat for a very long time watching kids play futbol (soccer), couples stretched out on blankets, mothers with babies. It was a great reward for today´s painful journey.

Dinner with the guys from Germany then back to the “cell” where my prediction was right on. Giuseppe had a snore that could peel paint off walls. Gotta love those earplugs.