Sunday, October 01, 2023

1/6 Left to Go

 Day 59 - Rabanal del Camino

     By the time we got out of bed, half of our room of twenty pilgrims had snuck out in the darkness.  Using our headlamps, we packed up and were on the way by 7:30.  There was no breakfast at the albergue, so we stopped at a shop and had a spicy tortilla and coffee.  The full moon added some atmosphere to our sunrise exit of Astorga.  

     It wasn’t long before Wayne and Donal caught up to us. We had met Wayne the night before. Or I should say Esther met Wayne in the bathroom while he was shaving. (Albergue life brings some awkward scenes)  Wayne is from Newfoundland, but lives in Vancouver.  He had the unfortunate experience of getting an infection in his blister and developed cellulitis, spending two days in the hospital with IVs. He was told to stop the Camino, but after a week’s rest, he is at it again.  Donal is a young man from Ireland, living in Australia.  He is only on his third day of the Camino, having started in Leon. The two of them kept us company for the rest of the day’s walk.

   It is so good to be off the Meseta and traveling through forests and hills.  The small towns are very charming, with great pilgrim services. It almost makes us feel guilty, stopping at a cafe twice a day.  We are a little nostalgic of the days in France when lunch was a baguette and cheese in a cow pasture.  Some of the churches were open today and it was good to take a break for a few minutes.  Unfortunately, I have the habit of bumping into kneeling boards in the dark sanctuaries and I have two sore bridges on the top of my feet.

     Our accommodations for tonight are outstanding.  A private room and bathroom in a quiet two room facility.  The building is newly renovated and very comfortable. The really odd thing is that tonight is only twenty dollars more than last night.  We were able to find dinner served early (6:00) so we could attend the evening prayers at the monastery church in town.  Fortunately, we could follow along with an English program as they chanted on in Latin.  There were about seventy pilgrims joining the prayer.  At one point the gospel was clearly read in English, German and French. Tomorrow is a big day, a mountain and the famous Cruz de Ferro.

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