A Little Bit of Up: The Road to Rabanal

Today the way led out of Astorga and up into the foothills to the little town of Rabanal. A small town but of great importance on the Camino. This is our last stop before the Iron Cross–the highest point on the Camino Frances.

Hitting the road!

First second breakfast in Santa Catalina.

Now it’s time to walk past some pretty painted doors in stone houses.  Ready?  Go!

Then we stopped at the tiny town of El Ganso for second second breakfast:

Emma Dodd got to hold a hawk!

Finally we arrived at the town of Rabanal and our albergue:

Doing some laundry.

Ryan brought nothing but tie-dyed shirts!

Onwards to Astorga!

The way to Astorga led up some really nice hills. Great hills, wonderful hills. Then a plunge down a hill into the plain of Astorga followed by a steep climb up into town.

Getting ready to leave the albergue.

This was a stop along the way. There was fruit, juice and other snacks provided free for pilgrims or in exchange for a “donativo” (donation). Those of us who took something left a little something as well.

Annie and Jill take a well deserved break.

Kayla at the stone cross on the hill overlooking Astorga.

The Romans built the town at the edge of their empire on a hill with some hot springs. Later in the day we got a tour.

Walking to Orbigo

Today was a relatively relaxed walk to Hospital de Orbigo. They called it “Hospital” back in the day because a lot of peregrinos were hurting by this point.

Leaving second breakfast.

Arriving at the Medieval bridge to Orbigo. There is a jousting field on the plain below the bridge. Unfortunately we were a few weeks early for the jousting.

There are many old churches along the way. And most of them have storks nests on their steeples. (This is better than the power lines, which can get messy).

Dinner at the albergue.

Day 1: Leon to Villar de Mazarife

The way out of Leon led through a lot of suburbs and industrial areas.

But finally we got off the pavement and into the countryside.

Happy to be on our way at last!

Time for a break. We took the shade where we could find it.

Ready to go again!

Leon: Almost Ready to Go!

We bussed first from Madrid to Avila and then from Avila to Leon, arriving on the 20th of May.

Tomorrow we’ll set off for the first leg of our Camino: a 21 km hike to Villar de Mazarife.

But first we got to know Leon:  still a big city, but charming and walkable rather than the frantic metropolis of Madrid.

Class on the go.

Walking the streets of Leon.

An architecture lesson before going into the Cathedral of Leon.

Adventures in Avila

We stayed in a decommissioned palace. We found Saint Teresa’s missing finger.  And we walked the walls of Avila–one of the most architecturally uniform medieval city walls in existence.

Here we are just before our arrival in Avila. At the city gates.

The next morning we mailed off our Caja Verdes to Santiago (excess luggage that we won’t be walking with, but which we want with us when we get there).

Here we learned the secret identity of SUPER HOKIE!