Astorga to Rabanal dal Camino - 21.9 km

June 3
Lat: 42.481111 Lon: -6.280556

I got up at 6 a.m. and was on the street by 6:30 a.m. The morning was beautiful with deep blue skies, like the High Sierras in California and the temps were tolerable even without a jacket. It was but about 30 minutes before I was out of the jacket. There was nothing open except for the albergue up the street which served a bad cup of coffee so I decided that I'd get a cup up the trail. I stopped about an hour later in the town of Santa Catalina de Somoza where there was a nice restaurant and albergue. The place had a lot of people sitting outside as well as inside. The man behind the bar was doing everything by himself including running back to the kitchen and cooking. It was a little slow, but I wasn't in a hurry and the coffee was great.

After about 30 minutes I got out of there and back on the trail. Just before I got to El Ganso, I caught up with a couple, Chris and Wendy. They are from Canada and new to long distance hiking. We talked for a while until we got to a restaurant by the name of “Cowboys” in the village of El Ganso. They were going to stop there so I pushed on.

Up to this point the trail has been completely level and walking along side of a road, but now it was going to take a change. I really loved this part of the trail as it started to climb and went into the woods. It reminded me of the Appalachian Trail back home. This went on for about 4.5 km before it started going into the little town of Rabanal del Camino. As you enter the town, there is a bar/restaurant on the left and the albergue (private) next door. I stopped there and checked it out. It was clean and neat, and I was the second one to come in so I got to pick the bed that I wanted. As soon as I was in I went to clean up and wash clothes. The total cost is only 5 euros for the night. I've been staying at a lot of “hostelles,” but I think that I'm going to start staying at more albergues in the near future. It's nice to have a private room and bathroom, but it's nice to connect with the hikers that are out here.

I had bathed, washed clothes, and eaten lunch when Hawk and Christine came into town. I didn’t know where they were staying so I was very surprised when I found out they were next door. This was great because we didn't have to go looking for one another. They cleaned up and ate lunch while I went and looked the town over. I have found that while the larger cities are nice and have many things to do and see, it's the small villages that are the most fun.

I have been speaking Spanish only to the extent that I can when I'm dealing with the locals and I always tell them that I'm trying to learn Spanish. They all smile and most start speaking more slowly and help me out. The little lady that owns the albergue smiled and said “bueno, bueno.” I’ve since gone to her a couple of times and asked how to say a few words. I've been having a great time every day. First the walking is enjoyable with the views and then when I get in town and stop for the day I get out my books and study/ practice Spanish.

I met up with Hawk and Christine for dinner at 7 p.m. It was the best grilled chicken breast that I've had since I've here. After dinner we all went our separate ways to prepare for tomorrow and the little climb out of here. I don't think it's going to be too much. We'll see. I do know that in the next few days we start climbing back into the mountains. At this point, our total mileage walked: is 554.7 km.

Today has been one of my best days yet. Hopefully tomorrow will be even better. Stay tuned for more... Buen Camino!

Spain Blog 2013

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