The last two days have provided many great sights on The Way, great people and lots of walking. Yesterday I walked from Astorga to Rabanal which was about 21kms of fairly flat ground. Along the way I met Dr Ruth from London, a few cheeky older guys from Majorca, Eve from Byron Bay, Bill and Claire from Coorparoo and I walked with Mariana from Luxembourg (a lovely lady on her 4th and last instalment of the Camino, this year she is finally finishing it) for most of the day. Everyone, it seems, has a story to tell about what has brought them here.
Upon arriving in Rabanal, a few of us decided to try the local red wine spritzer (can't spell the word for it) at the hostel, which is basically a light red wine with lemon and traditional lemonade, delicious! We also met a trio of gents from Liverpool who were madly looking for internet service to find out the soccer results, a guy from the Carnary Islands, a well travelled retiree from LA and a few more Germans. Dinner at the hostel was the Peregrino Menu which was vege soup, braised veal and a light curd with honey
with wine for €11. It was a noisy one with Ruth and I, the soccer fans and a few ring-ins that weren't able to get a table of their own as it was so busy. I retired at 8:30pm as I knew today was going to be long and hard, much to my new mate Ruth's disappointment (she was hoping we would go to the town pilgrim benediction later that night). Rabanal is a beautiful old village, filled with stone buildings and a cobblestone street and the hostel was very comfortable.
I started today's 27km walk at 7:30am in the cold as the sun was rising. The higher up the mountain, the colder it got and I left Mariana early on as she was tired and wanted to walk slower than I. No matter, I met Peter from England (a retired surveyor who spends most of his time treking around the globe) and Carl from China (not his real name but he said it was easier to call him that, a lawyer keen to get away from the hustle and bustle). We walked together most of the day and they set a steady pace for me so I wasn't
tempted to give up on the steep incline to the top. Along the way I laid a stone at the problem cross, which is piled high with stones people have carried with them signifying a problem they are ready to let go of / wanting to unburden. Had a great lunch of a pork sandwich with peppers and then we began the steep decline. I understand how so many people get injured on this section, it's hard rock and petrified wood a lot of the way down and therefore can be very unstable to walk along. We were blessed today though as it was overcast so not as hot as yesterday and no rain so not as slippery.
There seems to be a lot of injured people, but they soldier on. There's an Italian chap who has damaged his achilles tendon, a lady with a broken arm, lots of people with sore knees and many many blisters! I guess if you started in St Jean in France and have walked this far there's bound to be some damage. One of the Liverpool trio has the worst feet I've seen, blisters and nails off, perhaps though it's because he bought
his hiking shoes from eBay just before starting The Camino! We dined out on that yesterday, it's rather funny, even he thinks so. I saw him getting a taxi to his next destination today and I really feel sorry for him as he may not finish.
I've taken lots of photos of today as the scenery through the mountains was breathtaking, but I do not think the pics have in anyway captured what I truly saw. This trip is a fantastic way to see real Spain and spring seems to be the time to do it.
Arrived in Molinaseca around 2pm, have showered and massaged my tired feet and now type this in a cafe next to a beautiful old bridge listening to the water streaming through whilst drinking a glass of rosado. Early to bed tonight, feeling weary and have 30kms ahead of me tomorrow so an early start, lucky it's mostly flat.
Absolutely loving this so far, hope it stays that way and I remain fit and keen for what lies ahead.
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