A while since my last catch-up! Skip San Javier if you are in Astorga: bunks are crowded under the roof area and the dorm was really hot!
However, the next day was a great one, with the joy of heading towards mountains again. There was thunder and lightning as we left Astorga, but it never rained where we were. (Heard the next day that they had huge hail in Molinaseca that caused huge damage.) We walked on a path that had many wildflowers. At one stage we had the company of an elderly Spanish man, whose opening comment was that nature was so precious.... Lyne gave me her Quebec badge from her hat today, so I am an honorary Quebecois pilgrim now!
Monday evening I stopped in Rabanal, run by the London-based Confraternity of St James, and their albergue is the most welcoming I have been to in Spain. I got to meet Brendan, from the Santiago forum, and his wife, and another Irish couple. All four were hospitaleros for a fortnight, and they made everyone so welcome, chatting outside for a large part of the afternoon and evening. Rabanal is a lovely village that you see as you start climbing towards the mountain with the Cruz de Ferro.
Next morning was the climb to the Cruz de Ferro. It wasn´t long before I was in mist, and it was not to be a day of views. But it meant it was not too hot for walking or climbing either! It was an easy climb, a few hundred metres spread over quite a few kilometres. The cross itself is known to be a place where pilgrims leave stones for sins etc.... I chose not to leave anything. My friends L and D had been looking forward to this spot but were disappointed by the mess some people had left there. I was surprised by how small this cross was....
I had decided that I was not going to push on another five km to the next village anywhere I didn´t have to, if it was too hot. But the mist fooled me. It rose just after I left the last village before Molinaseca, so I ended up walking in the heat anyhow!
Next day I stayed in Cacabelos. The best thing here was that they had massages on offer in the evening at the albergue. So I booked in for a leg massage, and it was wonderful timing for me. My leg muscles have been feeling very over-used... and the massage released all the tightness and the pain. So good walking now!
Yesterday I followed my new heat rule and stopped walking in a little village called Trabadelo after 20km. The municipal albergue here was lovely and so very clean. There were only five of us here and I was the only woman, so I got a room to myself, and I was the only one using the women´s toilets and shower room!!! I also used the washing machine and dryer to wash all my gear: I had a whole lot of bites on my back after the night in Cacabelos, not sure if they were bedbugs or a mosquito.... but am trying to eliminate the chance of carrying anything on....
Today was the last significant climb of the whole journey, to O´Cebreiro. I was a bit concerned my shorter day yesterday would end up with me climbing in too much heat, but I actually enjoyed the climb very much. I am quite fit now, and just take these things at my own pace. The views were gorgeous on the way up. I was sweating like a pig, but so was everyone else. The bars along the way were doing a roaring trade!!! And I have decided to stay the night here in O´Cebreiro in the new revamped albergue. The village here is historic and looks very interesting. So I am about to go and have a spot of lunch then go exploring. I haven´t even had a shower yet- that´s what internet addiction will do to you when you have a new fix after several days!- But I figure I will only get sweaty again anyhow!!
Only 150km to go now folks. Seems amazing but everyone is now counting down the days until we finish walking!