Day 16 – Foncebadón > Ponferrada (~23km)

We survived some pretty horrible weather ascending to the iron cross (1504m) before a long 19km descent into Ponferrada. We left at 7:40am in 0°C temperatures and an unrelenting wind gusting to 60km/hr. We left our stones at the Cruz de fierro before arriving in Manjarin where the now infamous Tomas (the last Templar knight) hosts pilgrims. I first met Tomas on my first Camino in 2001 and although he’s aged he still warmly welcomes pilgrims who take the time to say hello (rather than just drop in to take pictures of his shack). Despite the rain and freezing temperatures the kids stayed positive and enjoyed being in the mountains. Kai especially enjoyed racing ahead on the steep descents despite our warnings to slow down. We arrived in Molineseca with a fellow Canadian named Betty Hope. She is 80 years old and walking the Camino to raise money for charity. She will donate $10K to each of the 14 not for profit long term care homes in Ottawa, Ontario and one in her home country of Barbados. She lost her husband 5 years ago and this fall, they would have been married for 60 years. You can read more about her story at: We are now cleaning up at our albergue in Ponderrada. Kai has already found a chess set and an opponent, another fellow Canadian from Toronto named Alex.We have walked over 300kms in 14 days and we are grateful to be in good health and even better spirits.

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