Day 23: Astorga to Rabanal aka Church Bells

The church bells made it impossible to continue sleeping in our wonderful, warm and comfy beds. How are people in these towns 'ok' with church bells going off until midnight and then waking up you up again at 7 AM? Seven hour of silent sleep isn't enough. We barely made it outside before hitting a wall of 1°C cold fog, forcing us to throw on more layers. The fog gave the city this eerie vibe we weren’t accustomed to. We decided to stop at the café for coffee and OJ, and toast (the gluten-free bread I purchased yesterday). We then went to the cathedral where mass was taking place, and took pictures realizing later that there was a poster with a camera crossed off in the front. Sorry Jesus.

Gaudi’s palace was just 'wow'. Such an architectural genius. The gift store was just as beautiful, and I finally purchased myself a couple of items. Before heading out I wanted to send these items out to avoid carrying them on my back, as well as visit the bookstore. Kenan had asked about a book on the history of Astorga, but the only book they had was a good pound heavy and all in Spanish. I’m sure Amazon will have something more realistic to offer. The post office had a long line and only two people working, so I opted to carry it all on my back to avoid waiting any longer before starting today’s hike.

The 15-mile walk into Rabanal was nice, especially as we got further into the mountains. We also noticed a mile long of fence intertwined with handmade crosses. We never inquired as to why this was there. Side note: We did not notice very many water fountains on today’s walk, unfortunately.

Rabanal is a quiet (not counting the church bells) and quaint mountain town. We saw Andrea, from Hungary on the way to our hostel, which was at the very end of the uphill village and we invited her to dinner. Our waiter/hospitalero led us to our room (€40) without requesting either of our passports. The room had the bare necessities, but it was nice enough… At the end of a long day of walking, beggars can’t be choosers. Our dinner (€10) was actually fantastic and Andrea told us the story of how she gave birth to her daughter the day after finding out she was pregnant. She was 41 and playing tennis just two weeks before. She originally went to the MD for a swollen leg. Her husband was 60 at the time. We also met this wonderful couple from Delaware, who’s adult children came out to visit them for a week while they’re out here. The husband, Chris was hilarious and recanted some great travel stories, keeping us all up for good reason. It’s up the mountain, and down to Acebo tomorrow.