Stage 22: Astorga to Rabanal de Camino

3 Oct 2019

Today I started a slow, steady climb to the high point of the Camino Frances, which I’ll reach tomorrow.

It was 8:30am when I left Astorga and 44F, the start of a dry, beautiful day, with temps rising to 72 and no humidity. My 20 Km walk would put me in Rabanal de Camino by 2:30. The route provided a perfect arrangement of a town every 5 Kms, ideal for resting the feet and meal breaks.

In El Gonso (not kidding), I came upon the famous Cowboy Meson (Bar). There wasn’t much else to the town, nor the bar. It was just a bar with outdoor seating. Even the decor inside was not the inspired Texas homage I hoped for, no steer horns on the wall, no Longhorn beer on tap. They did have Willie on the sound system.

I did meet the lovely Cherri there, a pilgrim from Portland and a retired RN, born and raised in Salem, OR (take note, Lindsay Ingram). She was using no digital assistance (no apps, no maps) during her Camino, highly unusual.

In one of those weird Camino coincidences, for the next few days Cherri and I kept running into each other, even staying at the same albergues. She was a fast walker and always left me in the dust, but it was fun to have spent a few days with her.

One place we stayed, El Refugio Hosteria in Rabanal, served up THE best Pilgrim Menu 3-course dinner, and all for 10eu:

Salade mixta, with spiced ice cream!
Beef cheeks in wine sauce, with mashed potatoes
Carrot cake

Bread, wine, and water included. This one meal made up for many other crappy ones I’d had, and set a standard I didn’t expect to be reached again.

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