July 17, 2008

Day 71: 23 June: Astorga to Rabanal

I woke early: there had been a very dramatic storm with thunder and lightning since about 4am. But I was happy to know that the flat country was behind me, and I was going to be heading up into the mountains again. But as we began heading out of town, the thunderstorm was still around, though distant.Along this route we were joined by an elderly Spanish man out for a walk, and Denis was able to have quite a conversation with him. His opening remarks were about how very precious nature was. As we reached a village, the old man told us which was his favourite one of the two bars in the main street, and we found friendly service for breakfast there.
The 'ascent' began, but it was oh so very gentle.
I was glad I managed to take a photo of this group of young ones along the route today. I had seen them quite often lately, and I had met the young women way back in Ages, before Burgos, but this was to be the last time I would see any of them. The Camino was like that, and you often wondered how people were, and if they had reached the end....
This was a day with an abundance of beautiful wildflowers close to the path.
Closer to Rabanal the path became a little more rugged. I was too early for the albergue, so stopped with L& D for some lunch for a while, before they carried on a little higher to Foncebadon. I was very much looking forward to staying in the albergue at Rabanal run by the British Confraternity of St James. And I knew that among the hospitaleros would be Brendan from the internet forum, together with his wife. There was also a lovely Irish couple there.
This is the view from the balcony at the albergue in Rabanal. It was such a very welcoming place to stay, with a large back garden, as well as a place to sit outside and chat near the building itself. And it was right next door to a 'missionary' monastery. The two priestly monks there led vespers in the church that evening, which they sang. I was asked to do a short reading in English, one of four languages used for the reading- the others being Spanish, French and German.

A storm threatened again in the afternoon in Rabanal, but it never came to anything. Next day when we reached Molinaseca, we heard that they had endured severe hail damage from a storm...

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