Day 30, Astorga to Rabanal del Camino

Had a great afternoon relaxing in the pool, this might be the only opportunity so I didn’t waste it and after a long day of walking it was just so refreshing to hop in the pool and just drift up and down. George has also been walking 31km today but had to hop a cab after 17km, I was pretty amazed that he had arrived to fast! He seems to have pulled a muscle in his quad.

Astorga has a lot of history. There is a great cathedral which is different again from both Burgos and Pamplona but just fascinating. The visit to the cathedral includes entry to the attached museum which includes relics and the cloister. 

Next door is the an amazing building designed by Gaudí known as the Bishops Palace, this was only built in the 1900’s. The wealth of the Church is staggering in some towns. This palace is now a museum which has a section on the camino. To be honest the camino section is very very small!

We ate in the Playa Mayor with the back drop of the town hall. It is so lovely to be able to eat outside although by 9pm now you do need a jumper. Tonight was the last night for John and Vivian who head home today. They have been so much fun but the did the last section last year and were just filling in the middle section. There were 10 of us for dinner which made for a lively night. John and Vivian; John and Anne, Dawn and Jim; Andy who is now joined by mate Clive, George and myself.

Setting off this morning for a shortish day 21km which is great following yesterday. However quite a bit of uphill as we start the trek towards the highest point in the Camino which is tomorrow. Tonight we arrive in Rabanal which is at 1155m. 

It was a really lovely walk. We have truly left the Meseta stage and the countryside is spectacular. This means we have completed to body and mind sections and are now in the spiritual section. To be honest, I can see why each section has its name but I think the whole walk works all three, you don’t stop working the body or mind in this section in my opinion. There were a couple of beautiful chapels along the way, open again now.

Anyhow, I really enjoyed the walk today, the climbs are slow and steady and it didn’t feel like we climbed a lot, although tomorrow is supposed to be different. 

I stopped for coffee after about 10km and met Andy and Clive just as they were leaving. George caught up and joined me as did a guy called Mike from Texas who I have been passing the last couple of days, so we had coffee together. I kept passing Robin today too, she is better now and back on the route, but she is travelling on further than Rabanal.

After coffee it was just another 11km meaning I arrived into Rabanal at just after 12.30pm, and joined Andy and Clive for a drink.

I have been looking forward to Rabanal as this town is home to a group of Benedictine Monks who sing at Vespers at 7pm and then offer a Pilgrim blessing at 9.30pm. I hope my expectations are not too high.

Andy has a recommendation for dinner at the place I am staying so we have agreed to all go to Vespers at 7pm and then have dinner. I received a message from Dawn that she and Jim have decided to stay an extra day in Astorga and skip Rabanal so it will just be the 4 of us for dinner tonight.

Rabanal, apart from the church and the Main Street is pretty small but very quaint. Off to explore now.

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