Actually slept through the night last night, and slept in a bit this morning.Note: I am actually curious as to what time I “slept in” until, since I can’t remember at this point. I have a picture (taken as I am leaving Astorga) that is time stamped for 7:00 am. Which means, I had to be up by 6:00 am, because I had breakfast that morning and it took me an hour to get out pretty much every morning, so…… I MUST have awoken earlier than 6:00 am. And how that constitutes for sleeping in, I do not know. OR the time stamp on my camera was lying. OR I must have been really tired when I was writing in my journal in Rabanal. End note.
Breakfast was great! Toast, fruit, little packaged pastries, cereal, juice, coffee, and all for only €3! I ate my fill and grabbed a pastry and a piece of fruit for the road.
The morning was cool and a little overcast, but no rain. Lots of us pilgrims started out together, and we were spread out along the road out of Astorga. I also saw a lot of runners out for their morning run. I missed running. I made a mental note to try and start up again once I recovered from my Camino.
Today’s goal was to try for Foncebadon. Last night Alison and Marishka talked about adjusting the stopping points to even out the daily distances a bit better. Some days would be longer and some shorter, but the goal was to try and eliminate some of the 18 and 19 mile days. This sounded wonderful to me, so I thought I would give it a try. Even if it meant that today’s distance would be a bit longer.
The towns with cafe’s were a little further apart, so I made a point of stopping to grab a quick snack to try and keep the energy up and to give the feet a little rest.
As the day progressed, this routine certainly helped with the energy, but only a little with the feet, and I did not make it to Foncebadon.
Today’s walk was quite nice. The weather was sunny and warm with a light breeze. The breeze was nice, since there was very little cover for shade. The elevation chart in the guidebook shows that the walk was all uphill, but the incline was so gradual, it was hardly noticeable. The pathways were mostly dirt, which was nice for my feet. One section was rough with a lot of rocks, but it was short. I was grateful for my walking poles.
As I came upon Rabanal, my feet were begging me to stop. The town looked cute and quaint, and I read that there was an albergue run by English speakers. How could I not stop?
I ran in to Cody (one of the Missouri kids) on my way in to town, and was very confused how he could have beat me there. I remembered pretty clearly leaving Astorga before them, and was pretty sure I would have seen them pass me.
“We took a taxi,” he told me. Becca’s foot was still giving her problems, so he joined her on the taxi ride to Rabanal.
The group was also (and again) staying in the same albergue I was, and Becca and I chatted as we waited in line for the albergue worker to check us in.
The albergue Gaucelmo, run by the London based Confraternity of St. James, offered basic amenities, but they had a huge beautiful backyard and an herb garden. One of the workers was even a woman from Portland, OR! She, too, chatted with Becca and I while we waited in line. Another gentleman was the albergue blister doctor, and helped a long line of folks with their blisters. A third guy led a group of us in some stretching exercises, which felt delicious. Those of us who attended swore we would do this every morning for the rest of our Camino.Note: hahahahahahahahahahaha! yeah…that didn’t happen. End note.
In the afternoon, tapas and wine were provided and everyone in the albergue snacked and chatted with each other. Sharing stories and enjoying each others company. I actually somehow missed this. I don’t know why I did, and I don’t know where I was. Rabanal is a bit of a fog. I think I remember being really tired.
I can’t remember when I met them, but I did meet the nicest couple from New Jersey. They were walking the Camino to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary. They were adorable. It was wonderful to see a couple enjoy each other the way they did. While they were walking the Camino, their son was also hiking the Appelachian trail, and they were looking forward to comparing stories with him when they got home. Sadly, I never saw them again after Rabanal. I would have loved to see them again once more, though, to chat with them again.
The Missouri kids enfolded me in to their group, and I was grateful for their friendliness and company. I liked these kids. They invited me to join them for dinner again, which was going to be pizza at one of the town’s small bars. However, when we arrived we discovered that the pizza was basically a frozen store bought pizza cooked in the microwave.
This would not do.
I was starving, and needed some real sustenance. I graciously thanked the group for the invite, but stated that I would look for another place for dinner.
Frozen microwave cooked pizza, apparently wasn’t appetizing for Chris, the group’s leader, so he asked if he could join me for dinner. I was exhausted and let him know up front that I was not going to be good for much conversation, but he was welcome to join me.
Thankfully he was fine with that.
We found a restaurant across from the albergue, and wrote in our journals while waiting for our food. We did some light chatting during dinner though.
After dinner, while walking back to the albergue, I could see that the weather was starting to cool and change. The sky was cloudy and showing signs of rain. I hoped it wouldn’t rain the following day. I was enjoying the sunny weather.
The next day was a 26 km/16 mi day. I seriously considered not walking the full way. The feet had spoken, and they seemed to prefer the 13 mile distance.