Day 34- Santa Catalina de Somoza to Rabanal del Camino

Walked Today: 7.4 mi / Camino2022: 228 mi

no street lights this morning
nice trail with gradual upward slope
Our first and only village along the way, El Ganso , ( “goose” in Spanish)
charming shop and cafe in an otherwise near ghost town.
table cloths, comfortable chairs and setting… stylish clothing in one part of the shop.
4 mile stretch of lightly traveled road and path, up the mountain
getting tired of the path, so switched to the pavement to break the monotony
Irago Mountains in background…
rough walking through the forest during the last mile into Rabanal.
our room at El Tesin albergue

We arrived at El Tesin at 10:30 (we stayed here in 2019) and were told that our room would not be ready until noon. We were disappointed, but decided to just wait at a table on the terrace (road in front of the albergue). At noon we were invited in to check in and then escorted to our room.

We unpacked our stuff, Linda got a shower and Jim went down to the bar to get some drinks to have with our bocadillos that we carried from Santa Catalina.

This is where the day took a bizarre turn.

Language is always a potential issue on the Camino if your Spanish fluency is lacking. Jim ordered a orange drink for Linda and liter sized radler for himself (half beer and half carbonated lemon juice.

What Jim ordered

The owner started gathering glasses and dispensing drinks so fast that he was nearly finished before Jim could stop him. At that point, Jim didn’t have the heart to tell him that was not what he ordered (supposedly) and the owner insisted on carrying the drinks to our room on the second floor!

what Jim got

So Jim got to work on the liquid refreshment and our bocadillos.

A half- hour or so later there was a knock on our door. The owner asked Jim to come downstairs. Jim followed him downstairs and was confronted by the owner’s daughter, who had reservations responsibility for the albergue, who suggested that he did not have a reservation. Apparently, a group of pilgrims had just arrived and as they checked in, the albergue was one room short.

Jim has called for a reservation 8 or 9 days earlier and told they were reserving a room for us, which the daughter ultimately admitted, but apparently she planned to put us in an overflow property they also owned. She had not bothered to tell her dad this, so when he checked us in, he assigned us to our current room. The daughter was all flustered, especially when he said it was not his problem… which she reluctantly admitted.

The dad asked if we would change rooms and Jim, now, totally in control of the situation. said he would need to see the other room first and if it was acceptable we would consider moving. The father quickly offered to drive Jim a short distance in his car to see the other room, which actually was a choice between two vacant rooms.

Having seen both alternate rooms, Jim called Linda, who was still in possession of our original room, described the offerings and a decision was made to accept the nicer of the two rooms but with a shared bathroom… with two other rooms.

When Jim returned to El Tesin, a host of pilgrims had now accumulated in the bar and reception area and one pilgrim looked at Jim expectantly and gave the thumbs up with a questioning smile and Jim’s thumbs up response received a relief from the hopeful crowd and especially the daughter.

Jim said we’d get our stuff together and be ready in ten minutes for a ride back to our new room. As we left El Tesin, the father gave us a partial refund on our room because we no longer has an ensuite bathroom and the daughter offered us a free breakfast tomorrow at El Tesin.

our room in Casona Rabanal Oca
shared bathroom in Casina Rabanal Oca pención

We settled into our new room, Jim finally got his shower and then we headed out mid-afternoon to find our main meal for the day.

We happened on the restaurant attached to the hotel we stayed at in 2017, just before it closed for the break until dinner time (7:00). It was a very nice restaurant, excellent service and a delicious salad.

a really delicious ensalada mixta: mesclun lettuce, tomatoes, tuna, white asparagus, toasted goat cheese, walnuts, and onions with a mustard based dressing. Filled the bill for lunch and dinner.

We stopped by the small church in the village, got a stamp for our credentials from the Benedictine priest who was manning the nearby church store, and walked back to our final room for the day (we hope!).

sanctuary of the Iglesia de la Santa Maria de la asunción… operated by the Benedictine Abbey of San Salvador del Monte Irago and offers a moving Vespers service with Gregorian chant and an evening pilgrim blessing.
a small statue of Santiago in the church

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