Day 20 : Murias de Rechivaldo to Foncebadon

Steve : a good night’s sleep was had by all and we stirred ourselves for the 5:30 rise and out by 6. Keen to beat the sun.

The dread sun rises

The road headed directly west and we headed up into the hills.

The countryside is changing again, we’re rising up into some proper rolling countryside. Looks a little like Scotland.

Then on through the villages of Santa Catalina, breakfast, and El Ganso.

Storks inhabit most churches

Today has been a lot cooler and we’re all very grateful. Around 9:30am at Rabanal del Camino, exactly as predicted by Google, a rainstorm hits us.

We hide out in a cafe and wait for it to pass. Rabanal is a very beautiful town. Brierley has it as the end of the day’s walk but we want to go further in order to break up the two 30k days that are coming up.

Successfully avoided the rain

We reach Foncebadon at 12:30 and book into the albergue Monte Irago.

Jen, Hamish and Anne-Marie, a Canadian friend and fellow peregrino

This is a strange town. I’ve seen photos of hostels on the path up to Everest base camp and this looks like that.

I also sense a certain hardening of attitudes towards the peregrinos. The albergues seem to be very competitive (and there’s nothing in this town except albergues). The Monte Irago is mentioned in the Vegetarian Way so we live in hope for dinner. But after yesterday’s utterly splendid albergue we prepare for disappointment.

Following the washing cycle we all fell asleep for hours.

Washerwoman Jen

We’re quite high up here (tomorrow we climb to 1500+ metres) and the valley has disappeared in mist. A thunderstorm has cleared the air and dropped the temperature. Excellent.

This is a slightly odd albergue. It has decided hippy aspirations – lots of Tibetan prayer flags and Hindu god imagery. One shouldn’t be unkind but it does all look a bit bolted on. The sort of place that plays 1970s rock music just a bit too loud the whole time. It felt fake.

Our dinner companions

Serious peregrinos want to go to bed early and get up well before the dawn to get the day started before the heat hits. This albergue was turning away people who wanted to be up before 6am. And there seemed to be some drumming session going on that lasted until 11pm. As a result no sleep was had until at least midnight. Avoid.

But we did find more quality graffiti…

Winter is coming? I think not…

Hot days soundtrack

The observant amongst you will have noted that we change the home page strapline every few days. Now we have

“Till you get there yourself you never really know”

a Joni Mitchell quote from ‘Amelia’, a track on her 1976 album, ‘Hejira’.

People will tell you where they’ve gone
They’ll tell you where to go
But till you get there yourself you never really know
Where some have found their paradise
Others just come to harm

This is one of my favourite albums and I have strong memories of listening to it whilst wandering around London in my student days. Give it a listen….