Columbrianos, Spain - July 25, 2016

Sleeping on the top bunk near the rafters in a packed parish albergue in high summer is an experience to remember. Climbing in my bed at ten o'clock, a fever-like sweat ensued. Around midnight, my hand found my water bottle. Dumping its contents over my face and back of my shirt was startling, but helped cut the heat. For the remaining hours, I drifted in and out of a troubled sleep.

I came to consciousness at the parish table, staring down at the warm milk and pieces of ancient baguette offered for breakfast. After nearly cracking my canines, I realized that the Camino teaches acceptance. I made a donation, and we left the premises with a simple "Adios."

Supplementing breakfast with fruit from a local store, we made our way down through a lush valley to the outskirts of Ponferrada. A medieval castle presented itself in the city center. Spending over an hour there, I reflected back on my childhood forts in the woods of Alaska. There is an endearing attraction that humans have toward strongholds. Henceforth, this experience will enhance my historical and fantasy readings.

Finishing 20.9 kilometers (13 miles), we took a private room in Columbrianos. A Californian family invited us to dinner at the place they were staying. We had an engaging time sharing stories about the Camino. Angelica made a delicious fruit salad and a pasta dish. Christina offered a lovely boxed wine (1,25 euros).

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