|Day 21 - El Camino (end of week 3)
Maximum elevation = 1535 m, minimum & starting elevation = 983 m. 7 - 20 degrees. Overcast, humid.
And, into the mountains we go. Stone houses reign in this neck of the woods so each village we walk through is a delight for the eyes. Some climbing up to Rabanal del Camino where we stopped for coffee and Santiago cake after about 11km. Just as well as no real lunch spot today.
Very much walking in scrubland today, with snow-capped mountains on the left, appearing to get closer with every kilometre. The sounds of cuckoo birds all around. Call me naive but they sound just like the clocks! But, they don't stop after 12 cuckoos.
The serious climbing then began after our stop. I may be a masochist but it was great to get the heart pumping and climb some serious mountains after so much time on the flat. Each time the path flattened out and my heart stopped pounding so much, I'd hear cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo...... Made me smile every time.
Wandered through Foncebadon, another stone village. Only this time for every well kept stone house, there was one or two crumbling beside it. T suggested not the place you'd want to stay.
Kept moving to a major milestone 2km on - La Cruz de Ferro (1505m) This is where pilgrims leave a rock (usually) to symbolise unburdening themselves. M, T and I had brought rocks from home and took our turns leaving them on the pile under the cross. S2 picked up his rock along the way and scratched N-120 (the highway we walked beside a few days ago) on one side and IRS on the other. His major burdens now gone.
One more climb to the highest point of the Camino - 1515km. Our guide book said there was an alternate path to the actual highest point at 1535m so we took that. Would appear not the well used and we found ourselves bush-bashing back to the main path.
4km then to Acebo and our home for the night. All downhill to ~1100m on a path of loose rocks. Not fun! At one point the path flattened out and wouldn't you know it, cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo...:). Sadly, a false flat and then more steep descending.
Staying at probably the best Albergue on the Camino - La Casa del Peregrino. Check in like a hotel, pay like a pilgrim. 10€ for a bed, 10€ for pilgrim dinner, 4€ for breakfast. That's about $38 for a bed, dinner and breakfast. Pilgrim dinners are 3 course, with water & a half bottle of wine per person. Tonight's was communal so pilgrims sit together. Lots of fun - as well as the four of us, we dined with a 78 year old couple from Sweden, sisters from Mexico, a lady from Germany and gentleman from South Korea. Each has a great story to tell.
PS - Sorry only one photo today, I've reached the 150 in 30 day limit. Hopefully can put more tomorrow.
Today's distance = 29.5km km
Total distance = 567 km
Yellow VW count Troy - 1, Sue - 2