Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 24- Happy Thanksgiving Day, Canada

Sunday October 10, 2010
Day 24 on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela
Astorga to Rabinal but make it to Molinaseca
Dear Blog Readers,
Blog is one day late.
Well, this turns into an interesting day on the Camino - hold on to your hat if you’re wearing one - you will not believe what happens today. The day begins like the other days on the Camino - up early in for  breakfast, but it is Sunday so there is no toast, I get a croissant instead.  We have to get a taxi back to Astorga to walk to Rabanal about 22 kms. away. Get to Astorga and begin to walk the Camino, a steady climb up from the Meseta.  The temps are changing as it grows cooler.  Stop for a hot chocolate at an Albergue. On either side of the Camino heather is in full bloom - guess they like the cooler temps.  Pilgrims are leaning into the steady climb.  I hold my Camino stick up, thinking this is because in the beginning of my trek I was actually attacking the Camino.  Now, I’m walking the Camino.
The last 3 kms. climb into Rabanal is up a steep, rocky climb - several pilgrims use the cool forest to take a lunch break - we plough on and arrive in the hamlet by 12:45 p.m.  Now it becomes interesting - we stop at the only place open - an Albergue - ask for a taxi to take me forward to the next town, Molinaseca - there were no hotels due to the holiday.  Well, here the Camino steps in on a well planned day - Sunday, NO TAXI - not to go back or forward!
I walk 22 kms. not counting the climbs - and there are about 25 kms. to Molinaseca.  Nothing in between to talk about - no towns with hotels, only two stops with Alberques, and a steady climb up to the highest mountain pass on the Camino.  I am feeling great - so does Rick.  The sun is shining so we decide to take up the Camino’s challenge.  I have a small bite to eat, drink a coke, purchase a sandwich for the road and continue.  Well, I don´t have a clue what happened next.  Maybe the coke kick in - or my work on the previous Camino treks come into play - but I go into first gear and never stop.  I want to thank Ursela for the mountain climbing advice - I don’t need it, or my Camino walking stick - I climb up and up in high gear - never out of breath or tired.  Someone hangs a swing ‘time to stop and play’ the sign says and I do.  I believe the climb is about 5,000ft - the guide book says- 4,934 ft above sea level.  Just know I climb several mountains this day and feel on top of the world, literally.  We leave Lulu, Joan and Tanya in Manjardin at the final Albergue no rooms at the hotel and continue on.
The decision to go on has one sad point.  The climb takes us pass the Iron Cross, where Pilgrims can leave stones for themselves and loved ones. Unfortunately, since I am not supposed to walk this path until tomorrow, the stones given to me by friends and family in Canada, Arizona, France and Spain, plus those I had collected for loved ones along the way are all in the bag sent forward to the hotel in Molinaseca.  So as I crest the mountain and spy the cross, I improvise.  I stop to pick up pebbles for each person on my list plus a few more for those I do not know. I place each on the huge rock pile, calling out their name as I add them to the pile.  I will carry the rocks I have all the way to Santiago and find a place to leave them with prayers for all who asked me. Call the hotel and the owner says we are about three hours away.   The rest of the walk according to the guide books, is a steady downhill - again these books lied.  For all the down, there were more climbs.  We are now in no men´s land. Leaving the cross the only other person is a strange hermit looking man with a black dog ahead - who stops at the only Albergue, which comes into view and it is so dilapidated - and scary looking we do not stop.  Hurrying downhill the foliage becomes thicker and I notice the hermit is now behind with his dog - yikes, I say a silent prayer for protection and ask Rick to stop to take a drink and let the man pass.  At the next mountain top the hermit turns around and heads back - to the Albergue I guess and we continue to walk.  We cross to the other side of the mountain range and need to put on rain gear.  We watch a dark cloud crashes into the mountain top and the weather turns.  We are in the clouds and the rain, which was absent all day finally comes.  The going is tough.  Here again the guide books lie - the steep downhill is filled with ROCKS, not small stones.  I am literally running down - again without using my stick, I traverse the descent without mishap while Rick runs into problems, twisting his ankles and having problems with the entire Camino.  And still it goes on down - We are now on the road for five hours - two pass what the hotel owner told me and still we go down.  We break through the top of yet another mountain range and see far below in the distance a large city.  As we go down so does the sun.  We make it to Acebo a small mountain town about 10 kms. from our hotel - we should stop and get a taxi but my feet, legs and body are holding up, so I continue down the mountain.  Rick is at this time in agony.  Several kms. later when the sun sets Rick cannot go on. I finally call the hotel and ask them to sent us a taxi.  We wait on the side of the road - it is about 2 - 3 kms from the hotel.  Arrive at 8:45 p.m. after beginning to walk at 8:30 a.m.  Trek is over 48 kms. - might have been 50 kms but call it quits 2 kms. short due to the sun setting and it the darkness descending.
An absolutely crazy Camino day - will take it easy tomorrow, as I have no idea how I will feel in the morning, after walking almost 50 kms.  Cannot believe I just accomplished that!

Blessings from the Camino,
My personal thoughts for today - I have to believe for the first time in my life my brains released endorphins into my body.  It is the only way to explain my actions. 


  1. You're an IRON woman, Yas! That is an amazing day, you have to be in top physical form now to be able to do that. I'm in awe!
    Thought of you as we watched "Secretariat" yesterday, you will love it!
    Hugs from Penticton!
    Judy and Tony

  2. Hey, it sounds like you have adapted to the nature and surroundings of your trek and although you have already passed the halfway point, you are now getting your first wind! The rest should be a breeze :)

  3. You are so right, life sure gives you some wonderful people every now and then! It sounds like some rough weather may have dampened everything along the way except the spirit of our determined pilgrim. Cheers Yasmin, and happy Thanksgiving to you and Rick.

  4. Wow! What an amazing trek on Thanksgiving day. Keep it up!