Day #26: Astorga to Rabanal del Camino, 21.4km

05.12.2010

Today was my first full day of walking in 5 days.  Since my luck has been crap with the weather lately, I was not entirely surprised that it rained the whole day.  Luckily, there were places to stop about every 5km.

My first stop was in Murias de Rechivaldo for Breakfast #2 as I like to call it.  Usually, there is breakfast at the Albergue in the morning, or I stop at a bar in the town I'm in.  I had breakfast in Astorga before I left, but by mid-morning, I need another cafe con leche and a bathroom break.  There was a decent bar in this town and I needed to dry out for a bit.  I took an hour break.

My second stop was in El Ganso, about 10km further, at the Cowboy Bar.  Yep.  A bar, in the middle of Spain with an American Western Cowboy theme.  I had to stop.  The owner was very nice and had a fireplace with a warm fire in it where we could sit and try to dry off a bit.

The last 6km took me a while because it started going uphill.  Oh, and half the time the trail was more like a river or a lake or a stream instead of an actual trail.

I rolled into Rabanal del Camino and was trying to find the Confraternity of St. James Albergue.  They are a pilgrim organization from the UK and I had heard good things about this Albergue.  Well, I knew I had missed a turn somewhere when it appeared I was on my way out of town!  I turned around and asked an elderly gentleman, "¿Dondé esta Albergue Gaucelmo?" He gave me great directions and I found it quickly.

I arrived shortly after it had opened and saw Hazel & Christopher from the UK.  I had walked with them earlier in the day and had taken their picture at the 1000km mark for them.  They were waiting to check in.  Our hospitaleros were Jim and Martha from Seattle, WA!  They were wonderful and made us feel very welcome at the Albergue.  I am still amazed at how many people from the West Coast I keep running into.

While getting settled into the Albergue I saw more familiar faces.  I decided to hold off on the shower and focus on cleaning the pair of pants I was wearing.  They were covered in mud and soaking wet.  The outdoor laundry area was awesome!  There were brushes and bars of soap to clean clothes with.  They also had a spinner to get more of the water out of the clothes so they would dry faster on the line.

After laundry, I went into the salon area and sat in front of the fire to get warm.  Eventually, I went to take a shower and get cleaned up.  At 5p, Jim and Martha brought out afternoon tea and cookies.  It was awesome!

Once tea was complete, some of us moved to the kitchen and cooked our dinners.  I ate some of the food I have been packing around.

Another reason I was excited about this Albergue is they are located next door to a Benedictine missionary group of monks who have a small monastery there.  The monks invited the peregrinos to Vespers at 7p.  I was pretty happy to be able to go to Vespers.  The Liturgy of the Hours is one of my favorite prayers of the church.  They provided copies for us in Latin and four other languages, including English, so we could follow along.  The place was packed and it was really nice.

They had a small gift shop and I found something in English to buy.  It's small and lightweight.  I also showed the monk my tattoo of St. Benedict.  He liked it.  I talked in very broken Spanish about why I like St. Benedict so much.  I was pretty tired after that and went to bed pretty quickly after that.