Day 25 Molinaseca to Cacabelos - 23 km
Did you wonder if it is possible to get lost on the Camino? Well, it happened to us today.
Usually the Camino is well marked. There are many yellow arrows pointing the way, plus more official signs of different sorts. But the styles and the frequency seem to vary with the terrain and the province and municipality that you are in. Right now we are in Castille y Leon, and the provice of El Bierzo - for just one more day, and the signs in El Bierzo and Ponferrada, where we got lost, are abysmal.
El Bierzo is famous as a garden, and yesterday we had fresh cherries and strawberries, picked in the neighbourhood. Stores were handing them out for tasting, and they were delicious. The roses are massive, and everything, including the hedges, are giant. There are grape vines growing everywhere, including the ditches. So I guess they are focused on a different kind of tourism, and we pilgrims don´t get the signage we need.
Getting lost - that is, no yellow arrows or signs - worried us, but I thought we were headed in the right direction. We went north then west out of Ponferrada, instead of west then north, and after asking about 6 locals and trying to puzzle out their answers, we found ourselves once more surrounded by pilgrims.
We also took the wrong exit out of another town, and walked on the road for a while, but at that time we had not yet lost our Brierly guide, so we puzzled it out sooner.
Last night we photographed the maps for the rest of the way from a borrowed Brierly guide, so we shouldn´t go too far off track in the future.
So, usually you can trust the signs.
Other pilgrims can help.
Locals want to help.
Keep the sun at your back.
Keep checking your guidebook.
We can recommend the John Brierly guidebook http://www.caminoguides.com/guide.html
and the Confraternity of St James book
Meanwhile, here is what today´s walk looked like much of the time we weren´t wandering the roads.