Below: Well, for once, Ori’s morning fleece was warranted. Actually, we both had to wear all of our clothes this morning, because it was so cold! It eventually warmed up, though. That’s Astorga in the background.

Below: We didn’t reserve ourselves a place to sleep tonight, but we didn’t rush, either. Today involved one of the “biggest hills” in all of Spain, but it turned out to be all hype. We stopped for coffee twice, the second time at the famous “Cowboy Bar” in El Ganso.

Below: Inside the eccentric Mesón Cowboy – we were the only customers. I noted in my journal that the bathrooms were filthy!

Below: A ruined house along the way today – we saw lots of these in this part of Spain. I believe that many of these villages once belonged to the maragato, a distinct ethnic group that was fairly isolated in this region.

Below: Climbing up to Rabanal del Camino. Note how bare the trees were – this, combined with the freezing temperatures this morning, made me think we were walking back into early spring as we climbed higher.

Below: Some nice donativo fruit for hungry pilgrims. I suspect this was an effort by the UK’s Confraternity of Saint James, who is very proud of their albergue in Rabanal.

Below: A snaggle-toothed “knight” in Rabanal del Camino, who kindly posed with his trusty steed and made lots of “shing!” sounds while glinting light off his sword (army of bicyclists in the background).

Below: Roofing with trash in Foncebadón.

Below: Our loft dormitory in Foncebadón. We were the first to arrive, at 1pm, and got our choice of beds. It eventually filled up.

Below: Foncebadón, which, at 1,495 meters, was higher than the Pyrenee we crossed (and is almost the highest point of the whole Spanish Camino – we hit that point tomorrow). Note the ruins.

Below: Because we arrived in Foncebadón so early, and there was nothing else to do or see, I decided to (what else!) keep walking, sans backpack, the 2 kilometers to the Cruz de Ferro. Here it is, atop its giant pile of rocks deposited by pilgrims through the years.

Below: Foncebadón was almost entirely in ruin. The only serviceable buildings seemed to be the albergues, of which there were four (in a town with a population surely no greater than 30).

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