ASTORGA – RABANAL DEL CAMINO
We were sad to say goodbye to our new pilgrim friends this morning. It was not necessary for them to get up so early, but they walked with us to the front door of the albergue to see us off. We hope to see them again one day and wish them all the best.
According to Brierley’s guide, we are now heading for the mountains, which means we are officially done with the Meseta (the flat landscapes of the past week).
In retrospect, the Meseta was perfect to walk with our Camino friends. Because there were not much to see, we had the opportunity to have great conversations with our fellow pilgrims. I will always remember the Meseta as a stage of the Camino where we formed new friendships.
Early morning in Astorga with the Astorga Cathedral 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.
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 the past week.
The landscape changed as we approach the mountains
In Murias de Rechivaldo we enjoyed a big breakfast to keep us going until we reach Rabanal del Camino where we would spend the night.
On our way to Murias de Rechivaldo
A proper breakfast
About 2km before reaching 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 stopped briefly to take a few photos and then swiftly moved on.
Wooden crosses on a fence – artwork done by pilgrims
Near Rabanal we could see the mountains ahead, with the higher peaks covered in snow. We just can’t get over the fact that the scenery is now so different than we’ve seen for the past week … it’s amazing how the landscape has changed in just about 20km.
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.
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 over 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.
Albergue La Senda
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!
The main street going 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.