Day 24 - Rabanal to Molineseca - 26 very hard kms
Rabanal 1149 m
We had a great start to the day - Becky and Inez, the hopitaleras at Rabanal sang Happy Birthday to Wendy as she entered the kitchen for breakfast, where the coffee was self serve - a first! 2 cups of cafe con leche to fuel us for the day, plus my oatmeal.
We climbed 6 km to Foncebadon 1495 m where Lenore, Paul and Lilly will be hospitaleras in June. It was closed, so we couldn´t peek in, as it didn´t open until noon. The first pilgrim hospice was built here in the 12th century, by a hermit named Gaucelmo.
We climbed 2 km to the Cruz de Ferro 1504 m, where I left a stone for myself, and 2 as requested by Judi and Peggy, and something from Robert. The cross was originally erected to guide the pilgrims across the mountain. It was rather emotional for me.
Another 2 km to Manjarin 1451 m, an abandoned village with a simple refuge ( no running water or electricity) run by Tomas, who calls himself the last Templar knight. He isn´t there right now - he is away, recuperating, but other volunteers are running it for him.
Shortly after, we pass the hightest point on the whole Camino 1517 m!
7 km downhill to El Acebo 1145 m. where we had lunch. The descent to Molineseca 744 m was the most difficult descent we have done. The base is rock, mostly slate, strewn with stones and more rocks, with the occasional stream running through it, and very steep. It took us about 4 hours of hard work descending, and we were beat when we arrived at the albergue. But there must be a celebratory dinner, so off we will go.
Last night´s dinner in Rabanal, after a lovely verspers service, was one of the best we have had, and the company - 2 Canadian couples, and one woman from Alaska, was superb too.
The next 2 days will be mostly flat, through a river valley, then another mountain to climb. A pilgrim´s work is never done.