Sunday, September 19, 2010


Final thoughts from a Saturday night in Rabanal del Camino, population 50. . .

Today was my 200th consecutive day living in Europe.

In the afternoon, it was great to share a bottle of red wine with Jaime, Jillian and our new English friend from a couple of days ago, Tiggy. Julie, who does not drink alcohol, and another new friend, Charles from Quebec also shared our afternoon table, great fun indeed!

We are up in the mountains and it is definitly getting colder.

Strange phenomenom again today. As you walk, you just suddenly appear in a city that pops up out of nowhere. Except for your goal city, it always appears in the distance but like a mirage never seems to get any closer. It is the same every day!

We had butter served with our bread at dinner tonight, a very strange occurence in Spain but did it ever taste good with our typically incredible bread!

Trine was sick all day today and never left the albergue after checking in at about noon. Jaime looked quite ill as well at dinner, not good!

At 8:30 p.m., three girls riding mountain bikes tried to check into the albergue. They got the last three overflow matresses that were thrown on the floor. Nice planning on their part.

Rabanal del Camino to Molinaseca
26.5 km/16.4 miles
Time Walked, 6:50

Total Distance Walked, 573.1 km/356.1 miles
Total Time Walked, 137:18
24 Nights in Albergues, 134 Euros

Distance to Santiago de Compostela
225.5 km/140.1 miles

I started my ordeal at 7:00 a.m. but it was strange. Normally, when I leave, only a few people are still in bed but today, almost everybody was still in the sack.

We thought that today would be a moderate day before two straight Stages of 30+ km days, WERE WE EVER WRONG! This would turn into the hardest day physically since we crossed the Pyrenees Mountains back on Stage 1!

It started out with a 300 meter climb to the highest point on the entire Camino, the 1,505 meter La Cruz de Ferro. It was a good start with the joy of doing the traditional dropping of rocks at this Cruz, in my case to honor Abuelo, Abuela and Dad. We are in the mountains now and the scenery is delightful!

Although the panoramic vistas coming down from La Cruz de Ferro were spectacular, the walk was very, very hard. We would experience a drop in altitude of over 900 meters in the last 18 km of our walk. This would take place entirely on paths that were rock infested and quite treacherous. I slipped once but fortunately fell on my butt. Charles from Quebec took a header onto his shoulder and cut his lip, it could have been much worse.

Because of the care you have to take to survive these final 18 km, it took a long time to get to Molinaseca but we all made it in one piece except for Jaime and Trine who took a taxi to the next big town, Ponferrada. Hopefully, they will be healthy tomorrow.

Along the trail we met two sisters from the Seattle area, Federal Way to be exact. They both attended Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma. Jana just got her Masters degree in Spanish from the University of Washington while Katie just graduated from Western Washington University. They are spending the next two months touring Spain and just hopped on the Camino in Astorga. They look so fresh and seem so peppy. . .

Molinaseca, population 800, is a very cool little city with lots of shops, bars and restaurants. This is definitely NOT the Meseta anymore! The ice cold caña when we got into town might be the best thing I've ever tasted!

We got in really nice private albergue that is brand new. We will sleep well tonight!

Vamos Bien!


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