It is good to be back on the Camino! I was on the train on my way to León, when Laurens texted me that all places were full and there was no bed for us for the night in Astorga. Luckily the old saying goes up again “The Camino will provide” and by the time I arrived in Astorga, Laurens had managed to secure a room in a pension for us.
On my first night we had dinner in Astorga with a great bunch of people Laurens had already met on the Camino. With Joakim, Anna, Yvonne, Brooklin and Iru, we would be spending more time over the coming days, this was only the beginning. The true Camino spirit was widely around the table and I quickly felt really back on the Camino. The next morning we set off at 6:30 with the plan to walk 20km to Rabinal el Camino. I noticed that I had to be careful not to compare this Camino to my previous one. The experience is different; one for walking only a part of the way this time and certainly for walking it together with my son.
This first day was almost a walk in the park. With a long ascent, we went up the mountain in a smooth fashion. The only dissonant was the strong head wind that pushed us back and made it a cold experience. We checked in in the Albergue Gaucelmo, ran by the English Confraternity of St James. It was a well organized and clean Albergue with at 5pm a round of English tea for all pilgrims. The Camino was quite busy and around 2pm the Albergue was fully booked. Later it turned out that by 4pm all Albergues in town were booked. For late pilgrims, this meant that they had to go on for another 6km to the next town.
On Monday morning, we set off on a cold start. It was barely above zero degrees. However, the steep climb up the mountain warmed us up quickly. In Foncebadon we held our first stop and second breakfast. Now it was time to take the last hurdle and cross the pass over to the other side.
At the Cruz de la Ferro it is the tradition to leave a stone behind that you have brought from home. The stone represents something that you want to leave behind. Thus for some, this was a very emotional moment. After the Cruz we walked for another kilometer at the same height, after which a steep descent started bringing us 1050 meter down to the city of Molinasecu where we found an Albergue for the night.
Temperature wise a strange day; we started at barely above zero degrees, we ended up on the other side of the mountain in shorts in the sun at almost 20 degrees. A great walking day where my “flatland legs” had to adjust to walking in the mountains. A great day, like yesterday, to be spending with Laurens and have conversations about the Camino, about life in general and about future plans.