On The Camino de Santiago In Spain, Astorga to Rabanal del Camino

June 15, 2012 — 10 Comments

Once, there was so much traffic with large trucks and speeding cars, I gave the senda another try. Ahead, a young woman walked through the mud and puddles with running shoes that were once white with pink trim. She had a tough time and often slipped. As I passed, I said hola, and she barely managed one back. At one point, the senda led through a pine forest. I enjoyed the patches of heather with pink and purple flowers, but hated the mud which was worse away from the road. When I emerged from the pine, I jumped on the road and stayed on it until Rabanal del Camino. Finally, I could see the mountains, and they revealed what I dreaded all morning. Snow!… From Page 144, Camino De Santiago In 20 Days.

Now, I’ll continue with my journey on the Camino de Santiago as I leave Astorga, Castilla y León. Even if you don’t have my book, you can still enjoy this post, and learn more about walking the French Way or Camino Francés (map from Wikipedia Commons).

I left my last post, On The Camino de Santiago in Astorga, Spain, on the outskirts of Astorga, facing this wet senda on a day that was pouring rain, cold, and generally, not very nice at all. It would get far worse later.



Between the outskirts of Astorga and the village of Murias de Rechivaldo, I don’t remember seeing very much, especially with the rain. The streets of Murias de Rechivaldo were very quiet. I stopped at an albergue to get out of the cold. However, the patio there didn’t have any heat, and I soon began to shiver. I thanked the friendly hospitalera and continued.



The typical landscape just west of Murias de Rechivaldo.



I admired the stone walls. Some were standing while others had crumbled.



 More wet road.



I’m sure on a nicer day, this would have been a better view of the landscape.





More wet road, this time with Santa Catalina de Somoza in the distance.



Before I go on…

I must admit that I’m a fair weather walker and hiker. In fact, when it’s raining, I don’t go out much at all. Before I had arrived to Spain and started walking the Camino de Santiago, I had not even used my backpack cover. I didn’t even know how to put it on. The poncho I had bought after the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games was only taken out of its package once, and that was indoors. It took me a while until I figured out how to wear it with my backpack. Because I was so determined to continue on the French Way, I couldn’t take a day off. However, if there was ever a day to stay inside, this was one of them. It was too bad, because I would have rather seen the mountains in finer weather. Instead, every time I looked up, my face was pelted with rain. I knew the weather was part of my journey though, and I intended to make the best of my day.

At a rest stop just before Santa Catalina de Somoza, I stopped to model my attire. I was dressed in five layers of clothing and topped off with my lovely green poncho from the Winter Olympics.



More crumbling walls on the edge of Santa Catalina de Somoza.



The haunting scene as I entered the village on this dreary morning.



More ancient walls as I left Santa Catalina de Somoza.



I didn’t take many photos along this stretch. The village of El Ganso is in the distance.



A large garden at the edge of El Ganso.





These cats greeted me (well, sort of). I think they were smarter than I was. At least they stayed under cover.



The quiet streets of El Ganso. In these villages west of Astorga, I really started to notice a change in the architecture of the homes. I hope you can too.



I wrote on page 143, “…I passed more stone walls in various states of crumble and had my first exposure to what is known as Maragato architecture. The houses were typically one level and built with large slate stones. Originally, the roofs were thatched, but now, most had tiles or other materials. Homes in ruin would be missing all or part of their roofs…”



The crosses and memorials along the Camino always made me think. Some were elaborate; some were simple.



Leaving El Ganso, back along the wet senda. As you can see, some pilgrims chose to walk along the road.




At times, I tried to walk along the senda, but it was too wet, with large puddles. Here, I joined another pilgrim on the road. Care had to be taken because some drivers drove very fast down these narrow roads.



I tried the path one more time. I enjoyed walking beside the heather but hated the wet and mud.



Back along the road with Rabanal del Camino in the distance.



Throughout the morning, I had tried to see the mountains ahead for something that I had dreaded. However, they were always obscured by clouds and fog. As I approached Rabanal del Camino, I saw in the distance when I didn’t want to see….

Snow! You may have to look hard here but snow will be very plain to see on my next two posts.


I’ll leave this post on the outskirts of Rabanal del Camino. On my next post, On The Camino de Santiago In Spain, Rabanal del Camino To Foncebadón, I get fooled by a brief reprieve from the rain and continued through the worst conditions I had on the Camino. Please join me.

If you have my book, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, or have ordered it, I really appreciate your support. It’s also out on Kindle and Kobo. My Goodreads and Amazon pages have reviews and more information. Please share this post, and thanks for your time.

About Randall St. Germain

Randall St. Germain, author of Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, is a middle-aged Canadian Boy who is passionate about nature, photography, hiking, music, and self-improvement. After the death of his mother, he chose to walk the famous pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago, across the north of Spain, despite knowing little about it. He certainly didn’t plan to write a book until the latter days of his Camino. Similar to walking the Camino, writing and publishing a book was a learning experience. It was also very rewarding, and part of his ongoing journey. Please join him as he takes you along on his journey in Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, and on his blog Camino My Way.


10 responses to On The Camino de Santiago In Spain, Astorga to Rabanal del Camino

    • Thanks, Marie. I think I felt more chills than pain, although, the body is more susceptible to injury when pushing yourself through such inclement weather. I was lucky, I didn’t have any real issues, except for blisters. Those were painful!

  1. I walked the senda in 30c+ temps, so the weather was a little better. The granite signs with directions were a nice touch. But the climb into Rabanal was tough going!

    • Thanks for your comment. Honestly, I had never expected weather like that, and especially what will be on my next post, before I went to Spain. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want it too hot either. About 22°C is perfect for me. I’m glad you had a memorable Camino through the mountains.

  2. I am sorry you had some bad weather! I did enjoy reading your experience though. My mom and brother did the Camino almost a year ago but were lucky to have had good weather. You may see an ebook soon about their journey! I have found that once you or someone you know does something like walk the Camino, you are drawn to all stories you see about it! I welcome you to our story also!

    • The chance of inclement weather is part of the Camino during the spring. I just went at a bad time. Some people didn’t mind the weather, though. I wish you the best with your mom and brothers’s book. Let me know when it arrives. My ebook will be released soon. A little late but it’s almost ready.

  3. There’s a little church in Rabanal that say Mass in Latin everyday at 5PM. It was full of peregrinos and then dinner after that.

  4. Thanks for your post. Brings back great memories. In fact, the last photo, just outside Rabanal is where I discovered I had lost my iPhone somewhere along the day’s walk…

  5. You’re welcome. Glad you found your iphone. It’s always scary during the moments when you think you forgot an important item. I had a check system and was fortunate I never left anything major behind. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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