CAMINO FRANCES – DAY 20


RABANAL – MOLINASECA

16 APRIL

26.5km

Today is my dear mom’s birthday … I trust she will be spoiled by her sister and her family back in South Africa. I miss her today – I’m sure she would have enjoyed walking the Camino with us.

We’ve left our albergue just after 7:00 in chilly weather. The wind was coming from the snow covered mountains and we’ve wasted no time to get our gloves, buffs and jackets out.

The landscape reminded us of back home where you find the well-known “fynbos” bushes in mountains near Cape Town

It was quiet in Foncebadon when we’ve walked through this town – many pilgrims overnight here to be at La Cruz de Ferro before sunrise. There were a few steep up hills, but fortunately, while still early morning, we had enough energy to walk this with ease.

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An uphill towards La Cruz de Ferro

As we’ve got to Cruz de Ferro, there were a small group of pilgrims busy taking photo’s.

Time to reflect:

While we were waiting for the other pilgrims to finish, we’ve taken this moment to be quiet and thought about everyone that is important to us … those we love and is still with us, but also our loved-ones that passed away. Me and Berto also took each others’ hands and remembered our miscarriages over the last few years … and we still felt blessed to have each other.

What is Cruz de Ferro?

The Cruz de Ferro is, according to Brierley’s guide, 1505m above sea level and the highest point of the Camino. The pole, standing high on a pile of rocks with an iron cross on top, is a well known symbol of the Pilgrim Way of St James.

Time to reflect at Cruz de Ferro

We brought small stones from South Africa to place here to remember our loved ones. I’ve also brought a stone in remembrance of the Healing Hearts support group that I coordinate at the hospital, Mediclinic Panorama, back in Cape Town where I work.

We’ve also seen this as a gesture of celebration to be on this journey – right here on this Camino.

Me and Berto at Cruz de Ferro

Although the main road is not far from the track where we were walking, it was quiet with beautiful surroundings. This was a very special moment for us on the Camino.

And then, to add to this special day, we’ve came across a “donativo” stall – standing on its own next to the walking track, filled with fruit, water and juice. After donating a few Euro’s, we’ve each taken a banana and juice to enjoy after all the up hills we’ve encountered on our way thus far. The Camino keep on surprising us …

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“Donativo” next to the road

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Serene beauty on our way to Molinaseca

On our way to Acebo, it was down hill all the way! The road descends sharply and we had to choose our steps careful between the loose rocks on the dirt track. We’ve seen many pilgrims on this down hill – each one walking with extra care down to Acebo.

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Loose rocks on the down hill to Acebo

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Acebo in the valley

In Acebo we’ve found a small restaurant where we had a well deserved “café con leche”. From here it is less than 10km to Molinaseca where we will overnight.

It was still down hill after Acebo, but not as steep as earlier. We’ve encountered nice smelling bushes and tiny little flowers on our way to Molinaseca. It was great walking the Camino in Spring time!

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Beautiful paths on our way to Molinaseca

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Yes, we are still heading in the right direction 😊

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Choose your steps very carefully here

At around 13:00 we’ve walked into Molinaseca. It was a really beautiful walk today and I’ve enjoyed the scenery and tranquility on this road.

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In Molinaseca, where we’ve spent the night

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Medieval bridge over the river Meruelo that leads us into the village of Molinaseca

We’ve stayed at Albergue Santa Marina. This albergue is at the end of the town, but definitely worth staying there. The facility was squeaky clean and, in our dorm, there were no bunk beds – yippee!! We’ve also had a breathtaking view from our beds!

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Albergue Santa Marina

After we’ve made our beds, we’ve head back into town to have lunch and ice-cold “cervezas” next to the river at a beautiful restaurant.

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Cheers to a day of up- and down hills!

We could not find an ATM to draw cash and, for the first time, we’ve had to wash our clothes by hand. We’ve seen many pilgrims washing their clothes by hand, but the washing machine was the one luxury item we’ve allowed ourselves on this journey 😊

Berto however did not shy away from this and washed our clothes, while I’ve hanged them on the line. We’ve now almost felt like real ancient pilgrims 😋

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Laundry time – as it was done in the earlier years – by hand

This was a great day on the Camino – the scenery was breathtaking beautiful and our visit to Cruz de Ferro was a real special moment.

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed today’s walk and it was with a feeling of satisfaction that we’ve went to bed later that evening.

Categories: Camino Frances (April 2017)

3 comments

  1. I still cannot get over the quality of those abergues, every one of them looks stunning and the views from there must have been spectacular.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I must admit, the albergues were really nice (and it’s not that we’ve researched any of them before to decide which one was the best) … and this one, I remember the view was indeed spectacular!

      Liked by 1 person

      • This was one pf the many things that amazed me about your Camino, you never booked ahead. OK, it was “off-season” but heading off for 30K. with only a few ideas as to albergues that may be shut is a big leap of faith, which is a commodity you both seem to have in abundance.

        Liked by 1 person

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