Rabanal Del Camino to Molinaseca
“Every day is an adventure. Get up, get ready and get to it!”
A terrific day for scenery. A severe test underfoot. An emotional one as well. Within minutes of leaving Rabanal the road started to rise and the views became spectacular. We found ourselves winding gradually upwards towards the famous Cruz de Ferro, a cross which stands at 1504 metres above sea level and has become, as our guidebook says, “one of the abiding symbols of the pilgrim way of St James”.
It’s certainly a powerful spot. Pilgrims add rocks to the pile under the cross in memory of loved ones and the atmosphere is one of jovial friendliness mixed in some cases with profound sadness. We met the Australian couple, Andrew and Liz, who are in almost exactly the same situation as us, having lost their son two years ago. They are delightful, positive people, but they clearly found today difficult. Of course it was the same for us. There’s just no knowing how strongly some places are going to impact upon you.
As I mentioned last night, we attended vespers in the small monastery church in Rabanal Del Camino. The service was packed, and they enlisted French, German, American and Spanish pilgrims to read parts in their own language. The majority of the service involved four monks chanting in Latin, while we read the appropriate translation in a booklet. It was a really nice service and completely different from anything we’ve attended before. And, like I said yesterday, the simplicity of the church itself made the whole experience all the nicer.
Back to today, and our arrival in Molinaseca. This is another beautiful town that you enter by crossing a medieval stone bridge to be greeted by people swimming in an area of the river that has been sectioned off specifically for just that. It’s surrounded by manicured grass embankments where you can sunbathe, hotels and cafe bars. It’s idyllic, especially in weather like this.
As we sat there having a drink a very nice lady with an English accent came up to say hello to us. She’d been told we were from near Glasgow and explained that she’d lived in Paisley for over 30 years. For much of that time she’d taught in Paisley Grammar! She’s now resident in Glasgow’s South side. Small world.
Finally, could we say a huge thanks to everyone who has so far made a donation to the charity as a result of this walk. I know we’ve confused things somewhat with having both My Donate and Just Giving pages, and it’s taken us a while to discover the people who have contributed via My Donate. We’re trying to send a message to everyone individually, so apologies if you haven’t been contacted as yet. You definitely will be! We really appreciate every penny you give us and hopefully we’re not done yet!
Today’s album track is “Nightswimming” by R.E.M. because, as I write this, there are still people in the water.
32km tomorrow. Hope the ground’s a bit kinder on the feet!