Saturday, April 13, 2013

Day 23: Murias de Rechivaldo - Foncebadon (23 kms)

We leave the albergue at 8:30 am. Oliver says the day will be clear and sunny -- and points out the blue sky under a line of clouds in the horizon.  He says that the line of clouds above the blue sky is the night weather and that the blue sky/clear weather will take over the grey.  I hope so.  The last few days have felt like an endless slog in the rain.  He urges us to take off the rainpants we had put on earlier.  We do.  And Oliver is right.  As we walk on the Camino, the sky turns from a light grey to a clear blue sky with wisps of cloud.

The Way has also transformed from the gravel tracks beside the main highway with huge trucks, buses and fast cars back to a tranquil track by a quiet country road.  Now I can actually hear myself think, and once again marvel at the beautiful countryside.

We arrive at Santa Catalina de Somoza at 10:30 and have a cafe con leche.  Here we meet Matthew again, whom we have encountered on and off for the past number of days, and who had actually started on the exact same day I had from Saint Jean-Pied-de-Port.  We ask him where he is going next (Foncebadon also) and we tell him how we are having a difficult time trying to catch up on our schedule. He shows us a brochure he had gotten from Astorga (produced by the Xunta de Galicia at which gives an alternative fast itinerary.  As I count back the days in that schedule, I am elated to find out that, in fact, this is exactly the itinerary we need to be able to get to Santiago de Compostela in these next 9 days!  We wonder at how the answers to our problems/prayers seem to come at exactly the right time on the Camino.  Is this what they mean when they say "the Camino provides"?

The new itinerary, which we plan to follow from now has 5 days with walks over 30 kms.  We are tired but it seems doable.  Here is our new schedule:

April 13. Astorga - Rabanal del Camino (20 kms)
April 14. Rabanal del Camino - Ponferrada (33.3 kms)
April 15. Ponferrada - Villafranca del Bierzo (22.9  kms)
April 16. Villafranca del Bierzo - El Cebreiro (30.7 kms)
April 17. El Cebreiro - Calvor (36.2 kms)
April 18. Calbor - Portomorain (27.6 kms)
April 19. Portomarin - Melide (38.5 kms)
April 20. Melide - Arco do Pino/O Pedrouzo (34.3 kms)
April 21. Arco do Pino/O Pedrouzo (20 kms)

We only need to change the first stretch (today) from Astorga - Rabanal del Camino to Murias de Rechivaldo - Foncebadon (next town after Rabanal del Camino).

Next up is El Ganso at 11:30 am for a cola.  A nice gradual uphill later with clear skies and great views of snow-capped mountains-- the Montes de Leon, particularly the Monte Teleno -- and we are at Rabanal del Camino at 12:30.  Time to stop for an hour to take in a peregrino meal of spaghetti and pollo, washed down with a beer per advice of Oliver, who says it keeps in the water versus wine that takes out the water in the body.

Another two hours hike and at 4 pm we are in Foncebadon, up a mountain. We stay at Monte de Irago Albergue, a cozy place full of color and warmth. 

During the day, we encounter Jean Marc, a Frenchman from Marseille, and Daniel from Trento in Italia.  They have been walking a few days together now. It turns out the Frenchman can speak only French and the Italian only Italian and Spanish. I can speak une peau Francais and un poquito Español.  It does not take much to communicate.  As Obdulio, a Spaniard we have encountered also several times on the way and who speaks only Spanish, says later, as we are relaxing and "communicating" in the albergue courtyard -- todo el mundo hay solo una idioma -  all the world has only one language.  What is that, I ask? I think it is the language of humanity.

We have a terrific salad and paella dinner prepared by the albergue hospitaleros Manuel and David.  Afterwards, Manuel sings us 2 Spanish rhumba songs, Echale, Echale by the Martires del Compas and El Aire de la Calle by Los Delincuentes (and recommends to us another song to listen to by the same group -- A La Luz del Lorenzo).  It was great!

In the evening, I look out the window and the sky is dotted with stars -- I can pick out the Southern Cross and the Big Dipper.  The mountains are quietly silhouetted against the night sky.  Lovely day, lovely night.

Daniel, el Italiano, and Jean Marc, le Francois

Steady uphill

Thankful for blue skies and sunny weather

Shepherdess and sheep

Cozy fireplace of Monte Irago Albergue

Monte Irago Albergue, Foncebadon

View from Foncebadon

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