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 and knew that she would have enjoyed to walk 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, jackets and buffs 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 the town – this is where many pilgrims overnight to be at La Cruz de Ferro early in the morning. There were a few steep up hills, but fortunately we still had 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. While we were waiting for them to finish, we’ve taken this moment to be quiet and thought about everyone that is important to us.

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

Me and Berto brought small stones from South Africa to place here to remember our family and friends. 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 gesture as a celebration to be on this journey – here on the 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. We were enjoying every moment. We’ve even came across a “donativo” – standing on its own next to the walking track. After donating a few Euro’s, we’ve each taken a banana and fruit juice to enjoy after all the up hills we’ve encountered on our way thus far.

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

I do apologize for the many photo’s on today’s journal … the scenery was just so breathtaking beautiful that it was difficult for me to choose from all of our photo’s to share with you 🙃

Categories: Camino Frances (April 2017)

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