Day 27 (June 5) Rabanal del Camino to Molinaseca (16 Miles)
Sixteen miles felt like a hundred. The walk started with a smooth uphill, followed by hours of downhill over very rocky terrain. I expected the walk to take 5-6 hours. It took 8. Rocky and muddy, every step was a calculated risk. I am beat.
The anticipated highlight of the day was the Cruz de Ferro, an iron cross mounted near the highest point on the Camino. Though I arrived pretty early, there was still a crowd and I couldn’t find a moment to be alone. The intent of the visit is to take a rock that you have brought from home and leave it there, symbolizing leaving your burden behind. I had my rock and did deposit it, but given the crowd and the poor weather, did not feel very spiritual.
My friendly photographer let me down as well. Yes, that’s me at the top!
In short, a much anticipated moment flopped.
Moving right along…I walked through mist shrouded heather and mountain towns that were crumbling, though showing signs of restoration.
Finally, a bit of sun and a view.
More free goodies were on offer trailside. This time, there was no sign of the provider. I munched a few cherries, put some coins in the donation box and inched my way further down the slippery, rocky trail.
I arrived at my destination, Molinaseca, relieved not to have done a face-plant or twisted an ankle.
I am now in my bed & breakfast room with no window. Trust me, that is just fine, after last night. I was at a lovely little hotel with a beautiful view and paper thin walls, barking dogs and church bells that rang all night. Perhaps the lack of sleep has colored my mood. I did not get the hoped for honey dream from the poem. Anyhow, a nice quiet cell is perfect tonight. I had peanuts and dried apricots for dinner. That’s fine too. It’s cold, but no problem, I’m sleeping in my clothes.
I’ll end this on a lighter note with a story from a few days ago:
I sat down on a bench in a huge square in the middle of Astorga. It was Sunday afternoon, so all of the Spanish families were sitting in the sunshine, enjoying an afternoon meal. Everyone (except me) was beautifully dressed. The parents were drinking wine. The children were running and playing. I relaxed, took my boots off, and peeled and ate a cucumber. It was delicious, especially since green veggies have been scarce on this trip. As I was peeling, slicing and happily chewing, some little girls in Sunday dresses roller-skated in circles around me, looking quizzical. I’m sure they wondered what this poor, badly dressed, older woman with no shoes on was doing eating from a pocket knife in the middle of their town square. Many things that come naturally on the Camino, are just not normal in real life. Even 6 year olds know that. I may need retraining on table manners, not to mention personal grooming, when I return.