It’s 6 a.m. and our hostel is dark and quiet except for the quiet buzz of a person snoring nearby. We think about getting an early start today but it may be rude to make noise and shine our flashlights while trying to locate our belongings. O.K., just lie here a little longer until someone else makes a move. Finally, the lights go on and it was all systems go as everyone starts bustling around to pack up.
Today’s hike will take us to the highest point of our journey so we fuel our bodies with a 3 Euro breakfast prepared by Isabella, our hostel mom this morning. She has a ready smile that speaks for itself in any language.
Our tostadas with jam and coffee/tea hit the spot.
All of us receive a hug and kiss before we leave and her departing words are, “Buen Camino!” to which we reply, “Muchas gracias!” Isabella is a gem and one of those people you can’t help but love.
The old stone walls continue to border our road until we reach the edge of Rabanal where we now can see the mountains in the distance. Our terrain and vegetation will change as we leave the plains behind us.
We are still in the province of Leon. The village of Foncebadon flourished during the Middle Ages, offering shelter and hospitality to the pilgrims that passed through on their way to Santiago. According to local tradition, the village was granted a tax exemption in return for planting 800 stakes in the ground to mark the path. ~ Wikipedia
As we walk into Foncebadon, Randy visits with a friend we met yesterday who was also at the hostal last night. He is from India and is walking the Camino with a friend from Poland. We tend to name people based on their country, so we refer to the couple as India and Poland.
Randy finds out that India is in the Air Force of India so they immediately have something in common. They talk airplanes and bombers since India can speak English quite well and knows what Randy’s Air Force job involved as an air frame repair specialist. What a nice guy. People like this wander in and out of our lives during the walk and we never know if we’ll encounter them again.
Foncebadon is a rustic little village and I notice that the building in the background has quite colorful patches on its roof. The sign under the cross is telling us not to leave stones on this cross. Save your rock, you’ll need it later.
Cocina casera means home cooking and I see that they also have the Pilgrim recommendation seal of approval. The tavern was open and India and Poland went in and were joined later by the rest of our group who stopped there for coffee. It is too early in the day for us, so we plod on by without stopping. Too bad it isn’t later in the day since I’m curious and would like to try their home cooking… Oh, well.
We continue to climb in elevation toward Cruz de Ferro which means Iron Cross.
After leaving Foncebadon we look back and see this scenic view overlooking the town. We are now making our way to the highest point in elevation of our journey and our legs are feeling the strain. C’mon legs, keep walking. I begin to feel like the train engine in the book by Watty Piper (which was a pen name of Arnold Munk), The Little Engine that Could which is used to teach optimism and hard work to young children. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can…