Two years ago today, I was walking the Camino Frances. While on the trail, I didn’t really post all that often; therefore, for the next 38 days, I will be posting a little blurb from my journal and up to 10 photos (not necessarily the best pictures but more that they represent that day in some particular way). It’s kind of like a little memorial as for me, the season of spring is now irrevocably linked to the Camino experience. Today is day 27 – May 17th. Astorga to Rabanal del Camino

…As I walked, I realized that I was heading towards the snow covered mountains I’d been admiring the past few days. Uh oh…

Met yet another Canadian today. I seriously should have started this Camino in the name of Trinidad, not Canada. …

Today was Cowboy Bar day. I think the guy who runs the place has been doing it for too long. Barely smiled and he pitched the hot chocolate packet at me. The bar is in a town that looks like no one else lives there.

About one hour from Rabanal, it started to rain with hints of snow. Joy. Once in Rabanal, I chose an albergue (may or may not be 12th century) run by the London Confraternity of St. James and lovingly restored. It’s a great building and they’d managed to keep some of the historic charm.

Saw Polish Aleksandra who had stayed at the same albergue I did yesterday – turns out she got bedbugs! We think it may have been from the under bed wooden storage boxes as she was the only one who used them from those of us who was there last night, and she was the only one with bedbugs.

I wandered the village which has a long history of pilgrims. Knights Templars are also thought to have once resided here in order to protect pilgrims as they cross the mountain. Today, while there are no Knights Templars, there is a small order of Bavarian monks. I met one of the monks in the monastery’s little gift shop. He asked me where I was from and when I said Canada, he said, “Oh. Not many blackish people from there.” I have faint hope that I misunderstood the German accent…

Not a whole lot to see in the village but just soaking in the historic atmosphere and the quietness was plenty enough for me. When I got back to the albergue to warm up for a bit, this man comes up to me and introduces himself as one of the monks. He said he heard I spoke French and he was wondering if I would come to the 7pm Vespers and do the French reading. I probably looked a little stunned as I knew for a fact that there were real French speakers in the very same room we were in! But how does one say no to a priest asking for help…

Vespers was half an hour long. The church itself is reputed have been built by the Knights Templars. It’s beautiful in its austerity – simple, old, flickering candlelight, cold temperatures, and a heavy weight of history. Five of us were told to sit in the area usually reserved for the priests/helpers – we were the ones to do the reading in English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian. The reading was Romans 15 verse 1-3. I don’t think I embarrassed myself…

Tomorrow is conquering a mountain and it is supposed to be cold, foggy, and snowy. We’ll see what happens…