264 km to Santiago

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After a basic breakfast at the hostel we are on the road by 7.15, to Rosie’s amazement. The walking is gently uphill to Rabanal de Camino, 21 km along the road. We stop for cold drinks at Santa Catalina, where we’d originally hoped to walk to yesterday, and enjoy seeing storks nesting on the campanile. Lots of flowers to see all along the route – pretty enough to keep Rosie happy and I resist the urge to spend too much time photographing and identifying plants.

Broom seems to fill the niche of yellow flowering shrub that would be filled by gorse at home and there is plenty of lavendar and other herbs. Poppies, campanulas and viper’s bugloss give way to wild lupins and rock roses as we climb and, to my surprise, we also see hawthorn, bluebells and heather – a botanist’s paradise.

We arrive in Rabanal de Camino by noon and have excellent tuna empanadas for lunch before grabbing beds at the municipal Albergue. We discussed going on to Foncebadon but decided that a gentle first day was a better idea and we are 21 km nearer to Santiago than we were :-). The lack of blisters is definitely to be celebrated but my shoulders definitely feel tender. 243 km to go!

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