After our first day on Camino Frances, we started the second as proper pilgrims – early! Had a quick breakfast of toast and jam in the warm and cozy kitchen of the albergue and we set off. After walking for about 10 metres, I was convinced I should have put more clothes on, so we had to stop and, of course, it turned out my rain/wind jacket was at the very bottom of my backpack, so all the contents were taken out and then put back in again. Practice makes perfect, however, to limit the numbers of roaming through my things during the day, from now on I started to put items I would probably need during the day on the top!
After we went out of Rabanal (about 3-4 minutes after we started walking), even though it was completely dark, I quickly came to understand we were going to have some mountainous experience that day.The wind was a little discouraging but after a while we looked back to see one of the most beautiful sunrises on the Camino Frances so far. The sun definitely made things better.
The way continued with continuous ascent and we enjoyed splendid views. I genuinely enjoyed the mountainous terrain, with small paths and no roads to cross. After constant climbing, reaching the first village – Foncebadon, we stopped at a small shop and decided to buy some energy boosters. Just in case. We took jamon, chorizo and bread and were ready to go.
After a while we reached Cruz de Ferro. Everyone stopped there and took their time. Later I learnt that it was an old custom that you take a stone from home and throw it here, at the base of the long wooden pole ending with an iron cross. A very famous stop on the Camino Frances.
Along with the pile of stones, there were many many other things – photos, flags, notes, various objects people had decided to leave behind…
After passing through Manjarin, El Acebo (amazing coffee in the sun) and Riego de Ambros, we reached Molinaseca. The first impression I got was of a very peaceful and picturesque place. Shortly after we entered it, we went over a beautiful ancient bridge. The river down was barred and used by locals and pilgrims for swimming and sunbathing on the grass around. After hours of walking in the early afternoon heat, covered in dust, this sight looked like heaven.
The albergue we stayed in – Santa Marina, was wonderful. Very clean, plenty of space and with very pleasant atmosphere. It also had a delightful terrace and inner garden (of course, with huge amounts of clothes waiting to get dry). The bathrooms were also quite presentable and had doors. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but later experience made me be thankful even for bathrooms having doors, or curtains, or anything willing to give a little privacy.
Overall, we had very good time in the village, the only drawback being that the restaurant we chose to have dinner in, turned out not to serve dinner before 7 p.m. and at 5 p.m I was ready to eat the whole world. I have to learn to be patient, right?
I loved the fact that Camino Frances took us through such small authentic Spanish villages. When else would you have a chance to visit them, if not when walking the Camino?