Today we arrived in Rabanal del Camino. It is a small town founded in the 12th century solely for the use of pilgrims on the Camino. We walked up hill most of the way, and though the incline was gradual the steady thinning of air was noticeable. Tomorrow we will reach our highest altitude at 1508m above sea level and the Cruz de Ferro (the Iron Cross).
We have been told that the third day of walking will be the hardest and after this point we will find the days easier and find ourselves with more energy, hopefully this is true. The walking itself maybe tiring, but it is the ground surface which has proved to be the most difficult factor. Asphalt and concrete are to be dreaded as they leave feet aching and joints sore. However in the final kilometer of approach to Rabanal the path turned into a forgiving clay, which was much easier to walk on.
The scenery is, of course, stunning. The day varied from long expanses of flowered fields to quaint towns and villages. The mountains which previously lay ahead move closer around us and loom ever in the distance. Though the area becomes dryer and the plants more desert-ous the view remains surreally spectacular, stretching as far as the eye can see.
We have found the best cure for failing spirits while walking is a song to move to, be it the Battle Hymn of the Republic (an excellent marching song), the entire first act of Les Miserables (which takes up considerable time), or just a chorus of humming the Lord of the Rings theme while cresting a hill (always inspiring); entertainment is never hard to find. There are also, of course, quite times where there is nothing to be heard but the tread of your own feet and the wind about you. I have found that both situations have their benefits be it for camaraderie or introspection.
Tomorrow is a steep up hill followed by a rapid decline into the village of Molinaseca. As both one of the longer and more difficult walks it shall prove to be an interesting experience.