Camino Day 28: Astorga to Foncebadon 26km

Today is Hispanic Day, a national public holiday throughout Spain. It was also a day that didn’t turn out at all the way I expected. Let me bring you up to date.

The weather forecast for today was for rain and more rain and maybe even thunderstorms. It did rain overnight, poured down at time, but when I woke up just before 6am it was all quiet.

I did not have a good night’s sleep at at Albergue San Javier as everything overnight was noisy. And I mean pretty much everything.

On level 1 where I slept, you heard any movement from level 2 above. The floorboards up there seemed to amplify all sounds. Backpacks dragging on the floor, people walking and even people moving in their beds. Loud talking of course.

Perhaps the last argument was only in my imagination. The hostel had the worst water hammer issues that I have ever heard. You could hear somebody flush a toilet from several rooms away. Loud!!

I was out of Albergue San Javier by 6.45am or so after having a cup of tea. This is how it looked outside the albergue at that early hour.

The ground was wet all right but no rain was falling. It was still dark out there and would continue to be so for a few more hours.

My tactic is to find a fellow pilgrim with a light who walks just in front of me. I soon found one. Deb from Marybyrnong, Melbourne.

Deb, not Debbie, and I hiked together all the way to Foncebadon, her intended destination for the day.

I didn’t have a destination. I was just going to go as far as I could without avoiding drenching. And I ended up walking to Foncebadon too, which is longer than one stage in the guidebook.

Wet wet wet it was but very little rain.

Deb and I stopped for breakfast at Murias de Rechivaldo 3km down the road. Later, we stopped for another coffee at the Camino institution of Meson Cowboy in the small town of El Ganso.

Meson Cowboy didn’t look particularly cowboyish inside but its interior was eclectic.

Later, Deb and I stopped in Rabanal Del Camino for a refreshment. Rabanal Del Camino is the destination for stage 23 in the guide book. That got to be worth a beer. Heck, this particular bar had a local craft IPA. A nice shift from the usual cerveza suspects of San Miguel and Estrella.

I had the Kadabra IPA thank you. Not too bad.

Aussie Deb went for a grande San Miguel. She claimed to not drink beer while in Australia. Hmmm….

Around 1.30pm, we arrived in Foncebadon and found refuge in Albergue Roger de Lauria. Big place with pilgrim beds in the basement, a restaurant at the back and a hotel section upstairs at the back.

Use of the washing machine did cost as per normal, but drying the clothes afterwards was free. See below. You just hang up the wet clothes near the wood fired burner.

Lunch in the lovely restaurant at the back of the albergue. I had garlic soup for primero. Nice. Refreshens your breath…

The restaurant owner must be a classical music fan. Beethoven’s 5th symphony streamed through the loudspeakers followed by a bit of Mozart. Symphony no 40 in G Major. Yes, I “shazamed” the latter one to get the right Mozart symphony.

And can you believe it, Ben, Aaron, Sophie and Win all turned up here in Foncebadon? Only Margha was missing in action. Let the drinking begin.

Aaron was out for a cigarette at this moment. Hence he is not in the photo above.

All pilgrims except for Deb and I stayed at another nearby albergue. A crowded albergue so they shifted their drinking to Albergue Roger de Lauria where I was staying. So after a few drinks they all left for their “home”.

The weather started to clear around 6.30pm. View from just outside Albergue Roger de Lauria.

Dinner at 7.30pm with French onion soup as the primero. It is one of Good Mrs favourite dishes.

The rest of the dinner was a big salad bowl, tortilla and as a segundo / main a tuna bake. Sangria instead of wine to drink. That was OK but I prefer wine to my dinner.

Beyond 8.30pm the pilgrims started to excuse themselves and return to their beds.

Today turned out much better than I expected. Weather was nowhere near as foul as predicted. And I walked a lot longer than what I expected as well. And 2 meals of 3 dishes each in one day. On top of breakfast and breaks. That is a lot of food even for a starving pilgrim.

550km walked. 235km left to walk after Day 28

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