Santa Catalina de Somouza to Rabanal del Camino on October 7th

It was another clear cool day.  It was a short easy climb to Rabanal.  We only walked six miles.  We got up early so we could be sure to get a bed in Rabanal, Refuge Gualcemo, a pilgrims only alburgue where our Camino Godmother, Elaine was a Hospitalero this summer.  We arrived before 2, the opening hour.  They only opened one dorm so there were less than twenty pilgrims.  We didn’t get there early enough for me to get a lower bunk.  We met Harry and Tam from Chicago.  Harry had been a Hospitalero there some years ago.  He has made five Camino walks since 1999.  He told us that it has changed drastically, from 4,000 pilgrims then to 200,000 a year now.  The Brierly stages of about 30 kilometers a day coincide with the Camino infrastructure of that time.  There weren’t many Alburgues back then.  He is with his wife this time for the first time and they started in La Puy in France.  Ag stayed in the bunk all day and night. Linda, Helen and I had a good dinner at a place that Harry recommended.  There was Stephen and his brother Brendon from Australia, Judy from Santa Monica (who is the the movie industry) by way of England and Harry and Tam. We made room for Tony, the Hospitalero at our alburgue.  Tony has walked the Camino several times and has volunteered to be a Hospitalero many times.  This is the alburgue that the Confraternity of St. James in the UK had rehabilitated with consent of the Bishop back in the eighties.  It was an old priests’ residence.  Team mentioned a Camino meant-to-be story and Tony said “Let me tell you a story.” He told us  a Camino story of a young woman from Germany who had stayed at the alburgue  some years before with her father and it was where she had found God.  She told Tony that her father had died, that she had made a white silk rose in his memory and that he wanted to place it in the church which was immediately adjacent to the alburgue.  Tony explained that the church was locked but he would translate her request in Spanish and put it on a card and leave it where the custodian would see it.  She told Tony that she wanted to go to mass and asked when that would be.  Tony explained that the friars and the  townspeople had had a dispute (row according Tony) and there would be no mass.  The young woman was distraught and at that moment a  Franciscan friar in his brown robe came into the alburgue.  He was walking the Camino and wanted to say mass in the church.  No church but mass in the garden.  I told Tony that was the best Camino story I have heard.  Sleep was not great for me.  Too many scorers. Still haven’t gotten ear plugs.  But in spite of that it was another great day on the Camino.

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