Tuesday, September 10th

The rules appear to have changed since last I went a-pilgriming. It seems, now, that the 6 o'clock people are obliged to inflict their hours on everybody else by turning on the lights. No more flashlight stuff. Two guys, one with 'Gore' written over his t-shirt, the same one that was prancing around in his undies yesterday, maybe he's suffering the delusion that the only thing pilgrims really need is an eyeful of his somewhat flabby body. He must be a tourist. My experience is that while prancing in yer undies may be valid pilgrim behaviour, waking the sleeping is not.

Leaving, it's cold, hands freezing, trying to tuck them into the arms of my coat, and Chris rethinking the wisdom of leaving the thermals at home. Warming up, though, eventually.

The morning's walk was good. beginning in the dark, as usual, but the colours of the landscape becoming more intense as the sun rose. Red orange roads, green fields, hazy pink skies, towns in the distance. Missed the turn to Polvazares, but it doesn't matter, it was a detour anyway.

Santa Catalina de Somoza
In the bar, the one that looks like a converted garage. Still, it serves pilgrims, and the old guy running it looks happy doing just that. There's coffee, but no tea. Newspaper cuttings on the wall, "Murio un amigo : Aquilino Pastor", "Brillante la Jornadade Exaltacion Maragata", all featuring a pipe and drum player. Hey, I could even buy the CD of Aquilino Pastor, now that's something I'm sure would impress my friends.
The blue painted doors of this town. I think maybe the inhabitants share the paint can between them, the town is small enough. Or maybe they have a town painter who specializes in one colour, it is a sensational shade of blue.

El Ganso
The Cowboy Bar. There's cowboy paraphernalia everywhere, and a photograph on the wall celebrating someone who walked the Spanish half of the Camino, from Saint Jean, in 12 days. I'm asking myself, why bother, if it's just sport?

Anyway, the bar guy stamps the passport with a well-practiced flourish.

Walking, mountains in the distance, the belltowers and the edifices of the churches along the way, the purple heath, the scrublike trees near Rabanal, it's just wonderful.

Arrived, passing the 'Tiendre de Alimentation', which sounds so much better than 'Food Shop'. Up the street, it's a beautiful town. Looks heavily restored, but one that's actually lived in. Our backpacks are in the line-up of one of the three albergues, the nicest looking one.
To a bar, the 'La Posada de Gaspar', which has an outside bar as well. Chris is painting, and we have a very large plate of bacon rinds raciones to get through. I'm making substantial inroads into this task. C has the vin rouge, I have the coffee.
Raju writes that Rabanal only has a population of 27 "but more in summer". Nah, I think that detail might need to be updated.

Wanders. There's been money poured into this town, the restored buildings, all beautiful, the restorations in progress on quite a few buildings.

The church has been closed for a week, apparently the vespers sung in there is legendary, but we're not in luck.

Making tea. The noodle and tuna extravaganza. Chris said she likes it, but I suspect women like any meal they don't have to make themselves.

La Posada Bar again. No bacon treats this time as we're only having coffee. Chris now has a scallop shell pin in her hat. Since yesterday, she's been passported, stamped four times, blessed, and now shelled, and if that doesn't make her a real pilgrim, then nothing will.

There's an old guy at the end of this table who's been drumming his fingers for the entirety of of the time we've been in here. Maybe we're at his table. Maybe his card-playin' buddies are just waitin' for us to depart, so they can begin slappin' 'em down, tap tap tappee tappee, on and on. I bet he's also a really annoying grandfather too. He's been 'Ola'ed' and 'Buenos Tardes'ed' by one of the women that run the refugio. Odd refugio, everybody speaks English. Hell, I suspect everybody there is English.

a little later
And the tappee tappee man turned positively skittish when his ladyfriend arrived.