Thursday, February 2, 2012
Pilgrimage Day 23: Astorga - Rabanal del Camino
Today's journey 20 km long. This means I can take it easy all day and enjoy the surroundings. It has been amazing to see Astorga, but I must continue my journey. The day begins on the main road, but there is no traffic so early in the morning. It does not take long before the trail goes off to the left and into the countryside. Here are beautiful hollyhocks along path.
Murian de Rechivaldo is the first village I come to after a few km. There are many shops and unusually many tourist shops. Obviously people have found out that one can make some money off of the pilgrims. The weather is beautiful, the sun is shining, there are flowers to see and smell, and the road is good to walk on. I come eventually to the next village: Santa Catalina de Somoza. This village is just to walk right through. Noting here makes me want to stop up. The road goes slightly uphill now.
After 12-13 km I come to El Ganso. Like many other villages, there are many churches here. The largest church has a giant tower. It is said that it has been built so high so that the Pilgrim founders previously could have a marker in the landscape to walk after. It is a beautiful little village. Looks peaceful and pleasant. Out of town, the road starts to go uphill again before I get to the last village of the day: Rabanal del Camino. This village was almost extinct for some decards ago, but have recovered. I want to spend the night where English monks live here at Alberque Gaucelmo. The monks belong to the order "Confraternity of Saint James". I have to sit under a tree in front of the church and wait for a few hours before they open. During these hours we have become a small queue of 20 people who want to enter the monestary enter and get a bed.
Inside I am greeted by a very nice couple from England. They do just everything to make it nice for you to stay here. I ask if I can take a picture of them and they are proud of hosts here. They do not earn anything working here. They do this to help the monks and the church at home in England. They eat dinner together with all of the pilgrims later in the evening out in the garden, and then the lady of the house has made a big cake for us. It cost nothing to stay here. It is up to eask individual to pay according to ability. I put 5 euros in a box and believe that this is one of the best accommodation so far on the trip.