Puente de Orbigo/Santibanez de Valdeiglesias/Astorga/Rabanal del Camino/Riego de Ambros

Puente de Orbigo/Santibanez de Valdeiglesias/Astorga/
We proceeded with our walk. Arriving in Santibanez de Valdeiglesias on time. The bread is being delivered in a van, beeping along for the customers to come and get it.
The Parish Refuge is next to a cafe, it is very hot and we have to wait before it opens. So, it is a good excuse to get a drink.

Went to have my Credenciale stamped in the Trinidad Church. There are some statues of St Jacques Matamore and Saint Roch as a pilgrim. Saint Roch was born in Montpellier. After the death of his parents he gave everything to the poors and went as a beggar pilgrim in Rome. He performed miracles during the plague epidemic and became ill , went to the forest and legend said that he was saved by a dog who licked his wounds. When he returned to Montpellier, he was sent to prison for several years and died on the 16.08.1327. A church was built in his name, the railway station in Montpellier is called Gare Saint Roch. Many other churches around the world are named after St Roch (in South America, Italy, Spain, Scotland, Poland, Croatia, US, etc,
During the Medieval period,after the mariage of Peter II of Aragon in 1213, with Marie de Montpellier, the city was in the hands of the Kings of Aragon.
There were people singing inside the church and I listened to it for a little while.

In the afternoon, I noticed Jane was drawing. I really admired the way she occupied her time. She told me she had a degree in Arts.
Had my shower and had a talk with Hildegarde an Australian woman who was teaching English in the pleasant garden filled with fruit trees and I spoke to her friends Glenys and her husband Gary from Sydney, there was also a Dutch woman, Yolanda who spoke English with a Manchester accent – her Dad was English – and she was also a teacher. Gary was a bank Manager and his wife a Physical Education Teacher.

Dinner time came, I enjoyed the meal – rissoto, mixed salad, potatoes and beef, tortillas con patatas and dessert. Glenis did not eat the rissoto as she was convinced there was garlic in it despite Hercule – the Italian who worked for the Communal Parish and the young Czek who was helping kept telling her there was none at all – I had two serves – hers and mine – I do like my food.:)
I stayed a short while talking after dinner then went onto my bed. I did not sleep well at all. The bed was too small and my feet were coming out of it. There was a lot of noise and what appeared to be a fight going on somewhere. Someone had put the alarm on for 5.30am so I decided to get up and get ready. I left at 6 am with the three Australians.

It was a beautiful morning and the scenery was out of this world.
We walked onto big rocks for quite sometimes.It was quite hilly and the scenery varied a lot.
I remember commenting that it would be nice if we could find a shop as we had been walking for quite a while and no signs of human life – and miracle – the most unusual shop appeared out of nowhere – It was run by David, a printer who had gone bust, lost his family , went on drugs and is now living in a dilapilated place , providing the pilgrims with organic drinks, tea, biscottes, Agave syrup to replace the sugar, cafe, fresh fruit, etc. He had been doing it for a year.
After that nice break, I walked with Jane ,Yolanda and Hildegarde on and of for a while.
Arriving in Astorga, there seemed to be a bit of confusion as to where to go, so I headed on my own straight to the Tourist Bureau, looking for a Hostal to stay.I felt like being on my own again, I am like that sometimes. I seemed to remember also that Barbara was telling me that because it was a Monday the Gaudi Museum would be closed. It was. I was really disappointed as I would have like to have a look at it. I took a few pictures of the Epispocal Palace and the Cathedral. Astorga is another place I would like to revisit again.
Astorga was quite an important and commercial town for the pilgrims. It was founded by St Jacques.
More than 20 hospitals were built, it was the second most important town after Burgos.

Astorga is a beautiful place, clean and full of life.
I saw the young boy from San Francisco lying on a bench, I asked him if he was all right. He was without his brother and his mum. I met them earlier and his mum had a problem with her knee and she doubted that she would continue her walk.
I had an interesting experience in one of the Albergue. It was the first time I shared the washing with somebody else. The price of washing was quite expensive – it varied between 3 Euros the average and the demoniac 5 Euros. and the same for drying. Most of the time you could dry your clothes outside so that was not too much of the problem. One of the problem was that a lot of the places did not have washing powder??? Fortunately, I carried some liquid powder and I used that when the powder was not available. It was a saviour. Anyway, that lady from San Francisco asked me if I minded if she put her washing in with mine as the machine was quite big and there was plenty of room left. She said she would put the money and I the powder. We had a deal. Coming back to get my clothes , I found them all folded. How nice! Then I did the same with the people I was walking with – we all shared – I thought it was a good arrangement .
The cost of using a computer was also different. It varied between o.50 cents for 1/2 hour to 1 Euro, and 1 Euro 50.

Anyhow, I am still in Astorga, having a leisure day, looked around , went to the supermarket, watched a bit of TV, slept , called my neighbours who advised me that the outside windows of the building had been painted and the balcony was all done. I asked Ghyslaine how she was as she has had problems with her heart and needed to have an operation. She was fine she said.

The next morning I went downstairs at 6.15 am to pay my bill. Everything was closed and I started wondering how I was going to pay my bill as I did not want to wait for too long. At 6.30 am on the dot, the curtain lifted and the owner appeared. What a relief! I paid and took the short cut as indicated by the owner. I was on the road once more. Beautiful morning, nice and fresh. Lots and lots of people walking as well.
Had a stop and met with the Aussies again. Ate my cherries whilst they munched on their cinnamon toasted bread. Walked with Glenis, Gary was ahead – They had given their « mochilas » to a Taxi for the day. Went through the next village and another one. We had a drink and Gary said : »I’ll carry your mochila »
How sweet! My left shoulder was bothering me. It was the miracle of the day again. I certainly appreciated that.

El Ganson''s cowboy bar

Rabanal del Camino - Mara leaving with her horse -

Walking along a forest of poplars, brook, we are climbing up through small road passing through Santa Catalina de Somoza which has had pilgrims since the XV century. We stopped for a drink in the cowboy bar in el Ganso (the Goose), Santiago church. Stayed at Rabanal del Camino (Altitude 1156m)- 22 kms – Well done – Arrived safe. I ‘ve worked out the essentials for the day – Pharmacy in check ! Everything is Okay – Washing is in.
Waiting time : 45 mns – Had a nice spaghetti bolognese – What else could one ask for?
Came back and sat outside. there was a sleeping bag lying.- Bed bugs – They have arrived.
A pilgrim was showing the effects of bed bugs on your body. Not a pretty sight. Had all his clothes desinfected and was hoping to leave to-morrow.
The temperature was soaring. It was still 36 degrees at 17.00. I asked the Lady who was running the Albergue if she lived across the road as she went to check the temperature there (on the wall) .No, she lives in a small village a few kms away.
Saw Mara, a girl who was travelling with her horse. She was so good with him, checking and feeding him before leaving.Must have been difficult to find places for the horses. She had encountered some difficulties at times.

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Dario interviewing Mara outside the Santa Maria Church in Rabanal del Camino

Went to mass. Done in Latin with texts read in English, Italian (by a Polish Franciscan monk) French and Spanish.
Saw Dario again. He said it was hard to carry a camera and load.
Had dinner. Did not like it. The chicken looked like it was 3 months old and bathing in oil.
Coming out from the restaurant, Paddy – an Irishman – 🙂 was having a conversation about people having their « mochilas » taken by a taxi. He did not like that.
I had booked mine onto a taxi for to-morrow. Was it a premonition?
Did not sleep very well. Had cramps in my stomach and feeling like vomiting.
Got waken up at at 4.30 am by some young women who left and put the lights on in the hall.
Rabanal del Camino – Riego de Ambros

A green caterpillar ..on the "road"

Left at 6.15 feeling all washy washy ..without the « mochila » This must have been the hardest walk ever!
Arrived in the afternoon,

The young woman told me she was born in Lyon and lived there for four years but she does not speak French.
There is a washing machine. Good!
Headed straight for the shower, back into the room, I looked at my foot and found one blister – it’s a heart shaped one – I had to take a picture of it. Yolanda took one as well, she said mine was not too good.
We went to the Hotel for a drink. It happened that the owner of the Albergue is the son of the owner of the Hotel as well. Reception was ordinary.We asked what was on the Menu for the night and the woman refused to tell us. Seemed like television was more interesting than the customers. She could not keep her eyes from it. So we decided to leave and not order anything.
Hildegarde and Yolanda came to join us and Hildegarde said the Police stopped them and showed them a photograph of a Lady whose husband had not heard for a few days. Her name was Olga, I felt strange, only a few days ago I was walking with her.
We then left.We were told there was another pension above and they might give us some food. We went and found a 97 years old lady- as bright as a button – who kindly called her daughter to come and talk with us. She was fluent in French and a daughter who lives in France and a son in Melbourne. She told us to eat the cherries from the trees. So tasty!
From the house, the view was Magnificent! – a millionaire view –
She could not do anything for us but called a restaurant a few kms away and the lady came and picked us up and brought us back to the Albergue. How about that?

Jane, Hildegarde, Glenis, Yolanda and the owner of the restaurant

Another miracle for the day!
Gary did not come with us, he went back to the Albergue.
The next day I learned that the Police had come. The owner had put a complain about us saying we were disruptive and the Police came and spoke with Gary, asking for his passport.

The heart-shaped blister of the "Camino"

Leaving Rabanal del Camino

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