Monday, September 30, 2013

Rest Day Downer

It is probably a good thng we did not have WiFi was a downer of a day for us.  Now I have a little more perspective on it and can probably write about it easier.  We could not find a place to stay in Rabanal, so we had to leave the neat little Albergue after they shared a simple breakfast of fresh bread, jam, tea, and coffee with us...we bought bananas to supplement the meal.  It was very humid and there was fog and drizzle part of the way as we climbed up the hill about 4 miles to the town of Foncebadon.  We are pretty much back in the mountains again.

There was a beautiful sunrise over the mountains.  It was a bit cool but we got warm with the exertion of climbing.  I hadn't slept well and also had a headache (maybe from the altitude).  Andy wanted to hurry up the hill to beat the rain...I couldn't keep up with him.  We were NOT prepared for the teeny tiny town of Foncebaden.

There was not much to the town...4 Albergues, a restaurant, a small grocery store and a bunch of very old and very run down houses...most with boarded up widows and caved in walls and roofs.  It was depressing and a bit oppressive especially in the rain.  And this is the place we had picked to have our rest day...   The guide had said it was "stirring back to life with the reawakening of the Camino.  It was home to the 12th century hermit Gaucelmo who built a church and a simple pilgrim hospital here.  A stark wooden cross adds a haunting beauty to this isolated mountain hamlet."

Only one place was open when we arrived.  It was an An old Albergue with loud American music blaring, a fire going in the stove, funky stuff hanging on the walls, and a couple dozen people milling around to get out of the rain.  He said they had a double room for is but it would not be ready until 10:00, so we waited. Talked with an interesting older couple from Borneo who were taking their time doing the Camino...very interesting people.  We checked in again and were told the room would be ready at 11:00.  When Andy finally saw the room it was a mattress on the floor in a room with a shelf but no chairs and a shared bathroom/shower.  The second place was closed for the season.

The next place was in a very old run down church.  The bell tower looked like it could fall over any minute. It was a very basic  parish hostel with 18 mattresses on the floor in one room.  The last place didn't open until 1:00, so we sat in a bar and waited.  It was an Albergue and had room, so we stayed there.  Half of our rest day was not very restful, but we were off our feet!

We had lunch at a table in the grocery store, I walked around a bit, and Andy rested.  I worked on clearing a bunch of pictures off the camera and read a little.  Mid afternoon Dave and Barb arrived with some other folks we had met before.  We talked a while and together found a Casa Rural place to stay for the next night.  The gal who ran the Albergue was willing to call and make the reservations for us on my phone...worked well.  We haven't done that before, but we did want to stay in a nicer private room for a night, even if it wasn't on our day off.  As I understand it a Casa Rural is a home that has been made into a pension/small hotel.  We have stayed in one before and liked it....they usually set out a buffet breakfast as well.

Dinner was included in the price of the stay at the Albergue Convento de Foncebaden.  It was chilly and still a bit drippy so it was nice to stay in.  Went to bed at about nine....

When morning gilds the skies, my heart awaking cries...May Jesus Christ be Praised!

This used to be a church,,,now it is an Albergue, bit it was pretty rustic.
Kind of depressing, don't you think?

The cattle just wandered thru town...made themselves right at home.

The patio for the Albergue where we stayed.

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