Rabanal – June 14

After you leave Astorga the Camino starts a long gradual climb up the Montes de Leon. You also enter a region populated by Maragatos, an ethnic group with mysterious origins. One theory is that they were related to Berber20140614_135805s from North Africa who came with the Moors in the Muslim conquest in the 8th century. One other theory is that they are descendents of the Visigoths & their king Mauregato. Sounds like a good genomic project for Illumina! The culture is now limited to about 4000 people living in 40 villages in the mountains. Historically the were multeers very trusted for transporting gold, fish and other things around the region. Our taxi driver was from one of the villages in the area. Not sure if he was Maragato, but now he transports peregrinos.
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Our decision to go to Rabanal before Ponferrada was another one of those decisions that brought us a number of unexpected delightful experiences. The first was Antonio our taxi driver who would stop at places for us to take pictures or tell us in Spanish about different things in the trip. We left the main road shortly after Astorga to a rural narrow winding road. Antonio was a careful driver. We we got to Rabanal he called a friend in Ponferrada to see if he’d be able to pick us up the next day to take us Ponferrada. When he couldn’t, he said he would do it, come back up the 20 K from Astorga and take us down the hill the next t day. He gave us a discount from the stated price in his price book. We arranged to meet him the next day at 10.
The next good thing that happened was while we were sitting outside the hostal waiting for our room to be ready, along came another American so, of course we struck a conversation. It turns out Fr. Jim teaches at Holy Family College in Philly.
Sorry that picture of the hostal ended up in the wrong place.
I think I better quit and continue tomorrow.

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