CAMINO FRANCES – DAY 19

ASTORGA – RABANAL DEL CAMINO

15 APRIL

21.4km

We were sad to say goodbye to our new pilgrim friends this morning. Although they didn’t have to get up early, they were awake to wish us well. We hope to see them again one day and wish them all the best.

According to Brierley’s guidebook, we were now heading towards the mountains, which mean we were officially done with the Meseta.

In retrospect, the Meseta was perfect to walk with our Camino friends. Because there were not much to see, we could spend more time chatting to our fellow pilgrims. I will always remember the Meseta as a stage of the Camino where we formed new friendships.

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Early morning in Astorga with the Catedral St Marta in front of us

The first few kilometers were alongside a busy main road, but fortunately it was not long before we reached the pilgrim track.

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Berto filling his water bottle outside Astorga

It was interesting to see how the landscape suddenly changed from the previous days on the Camino … there were now trees, grass and bushes – something we have not seen for a week.

The landscape changed as we have approached the mountains

In Murias de Rechivaldo we enjoyed a big breakfast to keep us going untill we reach Rabanal del Camino where we want to spend the night.

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On our way to Murias de Rechivaldo

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A proper breakfast

About 2km before we got to Rabanal, we walked through a dry woodland. We were amazed to see the self-made wooden crosses for almost a kilometer that were stuck on a fence. This was probably made by pilgrims that had some time on their hands … we only stopped to take a few photo’s and then swiftly moved along.

Wooden crosses on a fence – artwork done by pilgrims

Close to Rabanal, we could see the mountains ahead with its higher peaks covered in snow. The scenery is now much different than what we saw the past week.

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Snow covered mountains in the distance

Just before we walked into Rabanal, I saw two horses in a camp. As previously mentioned, I always find it difficult to walk pass any animal, without stroking them or giving them something to eat. Since there was an electric fence, I opted not to stroke them, but rather gave them my last apple 🙂.

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Two horses & one apple … but we made a plan! (In Afrikaans there is a saying: “‘n Boer maak ‘n plan!”)

It was just after lunch, when we arrived in Rabanal del Camino. Our albergue, Albergue La Senda is on the outskirts of the town. After we made our beds and enjoyed a refreshing shower, we walked to the café next to the albergue for a couple of beers. It was also time to do our laundry and while the clothes were on the washing line, we relaxed in the garden opposite the albergue.

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Albergue La Senda

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The best way to wait for clothes to dry

There is a steep uphill into the village which we walked half way before turning around – we will have to walk this uphill again tomorrow!

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The main street through Rabanal

At a small shop we bought snacks for tomorrow and the rest of the afternoon we were just chilling.

It was also here that we met our first fellow South African pilgrim, Pieter. It was nice to have a conversation in our home language, Afrikaans – with someone else other than to each other!

We enjoyed a nice dinner at the café next to the albergue and went to bed with a feeling of anticipation to walk to La Cruz de Ferro tomorrow.

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