Monday, September 8, 2014

Molinaseca to Ponferrada, 18 May (by taxi)

I asked the Señora in the hotel to call me a taxi, which took me 7.5 kms into Ponferrada and dropped me in the centre of town, deserted on a Sunday morning.  We passed the amazing edifice of Castillo de los Temparios.  I should have got him to drop me there, as I had to walk back to it in search of El Castillo Hotel.  They told me I could have a room at 10.30 a.m., which was fine with me.

Having checked in, I wanted to spend the morning looking round the Castillo de los Templarios.  It was a most interesting medieval castle, complete with a moat on one side and a deep river gorge on the other.  There was a drawbridge and remains of a portcullis, turrets and defensive walkways on the battlements between them, with slits for arrows and holes for boiling oil, I imagine.  There were bits of the building dating from various historical periods, and much had been restored.  The audio guide was not available and the small leaflet not up to explaining everything.

There was a small section on the different building styles, concentrating mainly on the types and colours of the stones used, with a reference to coats of arms, but not all of these were visible.  The Knights Templars themselves were outlawed in 1312 and disbanded by a Church "fearful of their increasing power and esoteric tradition."  I must research this more when I get back home!

After walking all around the grounds of the Keep, noting the well and the secret tunnel, which allowed the castle under siege to draw water from the river down below without the enemy knowing about it.

It was now getting very hot for this part of the world. I later saw a chemist's sign reading 32 degrees.  I followed the Camino signs through the Street of the Clock, through the arch of the Torre del Reloj (16th century) into the Plaza Mayor.  It was International Museums Day, with free entry to all museums, but I had run out of energy for the Museo del Bierzo.  So I went instead for a gazpacho and vino tinto in the square at the Violet Restaurant.  After a siesta, I returned there later in the day for a Broken Eggs Dish, served in the pan, with chips and local ham and young garlic shoots.

I shouldn't have eaten all this: more stomach problems in the night!

Castillo de los Templarios

Drawbridge

Bridge over the moat

Portcullis and turrets

Castillo from the riverside
Street of the Clock

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