Day 22 – Foncebedon
I left Murais de Rechivaldo in the rain with Keith, Peter, and Morag.
Shortly after we left we caught up with Danny and Alice. I was feeling very good and I think I needed some time alone so I put on some speed and walked ahead. The rain was very nice in fact and the mist and rainfall hid the mountains in front of me. I stopped for a cafe con leche in Santa Catalina de Somoza. Keith, Peter and Morag decided to keep going so I enjoyed a little bit of decompression. I think the theft was still bothering me. I know I was missing the photo of Sandy, Kieran, Aleksander and Max. Near the end of my coffee Alex showed up and we shared the table for a while, enjoying the dry warm cafe. I then moved on and walked alone until I came to El Ganso where I caught up to Keith, Peter and Morag in a cowboy bar. It was a strange open-sided place, but the empanadas de atún was very good, as was the cafe con leche.
I walked with Keith for the rest of day. We met up with Danny, Peter, and Morag several times during the day as our paces ebbed and flowed along the trail. We had a light lunch in a cafe in Rabanal del Camino. Keith had himself a very large lunch as he noted that he seemed to be losing weight, and he is slender to start with.
We finally approached Foncebedon and we ended up in the worst of the three albergues in town. It looked okay at first but it had strange showers (with a toilet in it), it was always cold and yet humid, and the owner seemed a bit off. Danny luckily ended up in one of the Red Albergues and it was lovely, warm and inviting. Lucky Danny!
Foncebedon is a strange little town. Hardly anyone lives there anymore other than people supporting pilgrims, and many of them apparently do not live in Foncebedon itself. The whole place has a a feeling of abandonment. Alex, Keith and I went strolling through the tiny town and ended up at the old church that is the third albergue in town which is run by nuns and volunteers. One was kind enough to give us a tour of the tiny church.
Later we joined Peter and Morag for some wine in our albergue. The wine was not very good at all. Peter was kind enough to lend me the use of his cell phone and I gave Sandy a quick call. Every one kindly took a moment to say hello to her. Later we went out to stand by the highway overlying the valley and relaxed before supper. There is a courageous dog who insisted in sitting in the middle of the little highway, forcing traffic around it.
For dinner itself, I joined Keith, Alex, Peter, and Morag at La Taberna de Gaia. Danny joined us to sit and provide us with some extra company, but she didn’t dine as she had already eaten in her albergue. Too bad, as it was by far the best meal I had on the Camino so far! It is a medieval themed restaurant run by a family (father, mother, and daughter). Once through the front door you step down several steps into the dining room and sit in a wonderful warm room filled with handcrafted items. The food was simply wonderful.
We started with a vegetable soup that was rich and thick with zucchini, onions, walnuts, squash, and several things I couldn’t place. I had the best venison (with thick slices of ginger) I have ever tasted, served on a magnificent bed of saffron rice. The restaurant has a truly amazing food and atmosphere. Tea was an infusion of locally harvested herbs that was warming and very pleasing and was served with slices of chocolate. This easily made up for the albergue.
Soundscape: Walking in the Rain