After breakfast at the Meson in Rabanal we are off to El Acebo. Jose joins us as we walk and stop at various spots along the way: Foncebadon, El Manjarin and other small towns. Foncebadon was in ruins but it is coming back. It is where Coehlo met the wild dogs; we only met some wild men–they practice tantric traditions and teach yoga. The altar over the fireplace made me uncomfortable. The kitchen dishcloths were hung to dry! The two men–the owner and another man–talked about moving to these towns that were abandoned and reviving them.
Altar at Foncebadon
We arrived at El Majarin. Becky had a message for Tomas from Luigi; Tomas is the hospitalero in El Manjarin , but he was a disappointment. There were 8 people there around the table eating garlic soup with bread. Jorge who was arguing with Tommy offered us a ride to the next town and they all warned us that there were no open albergues in El Acebo. We chose not to stay there–the place had a strange vibe. the cats, Linda and Perla welcomed us; the dogs barked and were chained up because they are dangerous, or so we were told. The German women at the El Manjarin were eating their soup with chopsticks We declined Jorge’s offer and took off. In about an hour, he passed us on the highway, for the Camino follows the deserted highway that is in dire need of resurfacing. He honked and waved.
We walked into El Acebo and found the albergue closed. No one was at the Casa Rural, but we met Ma Jose and Carlos walking outside and they invited us in. Jaime, the owner walked in later; he’d been out walking with his dogs. The place was closed for the winter, but he prepared one of the bedrooms that was not being remodeled. He prepared a delicious vegetarian dinner. Ma Jose and Carlos left back to Ponferrada. They used to live in El Acebo but moved to Galicia and opened a pizzeria, so this is the off season and they came back to visit.
Inside Casa Rural Trucha Arco Iris
El Acebo is actually a bush with tiny red seeds, like Christmas holly. Jaime tells us stories of how he walked the Camino and loved this place so he left his life in Barcelona, bought this house and opened the Casa Rural. The cost was 25 Euros for the room and meals–not bad, really!
Jose on a swing before we got to El Manjarin
- Albergue Arco Iris
- Becky wearing her poncho and swinging….
Along the way, we found a tree with a swing. So, Jose, Becky and I took turns swinging. It was glorious to feel the wind against my face, the mist never lifted, but it didn’t dampen our spirits and we loved our talking as we walked. Jose tells us about how he wants to live on the Camino reading Tarot for pilgrims. He plans to return in a few months in April.
MEDITATION FOCUS: The ego is a dangerous thing. I must remember to be aware. The Camino teaches me how not to be as much as how to be. I try not to judge, cada cabeza es un mundo! Try to be in the present. Try to stay centered. Try to think warm as the cold wind blows. I like the idea of settling on the Camino opening a Casa Rural and sheltering pilgrims.