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It was 17.52 Spanish time and I’m sitting in the courtyard of the hotel/café/bar here in the tiny village of Rabanal del Camino:

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Something swooped around above me and for a moment I thought it was a swallow and it took me a couple of moments to realise it was a bat as there’s still hot sun in one corner of the courtyard, and everywhere that’s not in shade.  (I do mean “hot”!)

I’ve seen a few sad little pipistrelle corpses in the roadkill along the way but this is quite a bit bigger than a pipistrelle and has a light patch on the rear I think.  It seems that it lives here in these great rafters:

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Great, I seem to have collected quite a few insect bites in the last few days, now I hope we’ve got a full   resident bat family levelling the odds.

This really is a lovely place to stay.  This dog welcomes you at the outside gate.

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S/he does seem to be minus an ear but very friendly looking: I think there may be a Camino in joke here.  Savage dogs are a famed challenge on the Camino, said to be particularly in Spain and I’ve had a few barking at me including two tough looking Dobermans as I came out of León this morning.  The one that just stared silently was definitely the more scary.  The pretty convincing fence was reassuring.  Actually, the most scary dogs barking at me were all, so far, in France, one particular one was tethered by a running chain thing in a farm up in what I think of as the “tough farming” areas of France, I think it was just south of the Loire.  He, I always gender things I think are attacking me as male, sorry; was a large, and largely Alsatian mongrel I’d say, and was half strangling himself in his clear enthusiasm to put at least some of those magnificent teeth in parts of me.  It’s funny how that helps you belt away from them.  Ah, back to “F”: fear is an evolutionary good!

Ah, it’s nice to sit here and ramble.  Some more ‘photos.

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What was that rock there for?  It looks contemporary with the wall, it’s well cut as are all the stones, this was a house of some class.  It’s way too low to be a mounting block.  Inviting menu and laid back style.

Above the door to my room.  An omen?  Mocking me?

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Immensely solid old wooden door and the thickness of the stone walls (nearly a metre) mean it’s really cool in there and the courtyard keeps this area cool too.

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I would have kept the left wall simple but those beams are glorious:

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It’s interesting to me that the beams are so crudely, but effectively, cut while such care and clean cuts were achieved on the stone.  Surely it was orders of magnitude harder to cut stone that well when this house was built than to cut wood?  I wonder if the philosophy was that the wood would be replaced at intervals but the stone was built to last, and say something about the care taken, for centuries?  I guess the sheer thickness of the walls means that most stones are actually only cut/faced on the one, the outer face, I imagine what’s buried in the mortar of the wall is pretty irregular.  That makes the stone outside even more interesting.

OK.  I’m a very, very lucky man but enough rambling.  I shall fold up the mobile office:

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and find the shops so I have a litre of fruit juice for the road tomorrow.  More later I hope.

    2 Comments

  1. We’ve enjoyed words and pictures. Glimpses of hidden Spain, or l’Espagne profonde. A very special solo exploration and adventure. Sleep well, dear Chris. Love, Aged Ps.

  2. Memorable bat, memorable rooms, colours, beams, stones. Typical?? Lovely holiday stuff and you sound as if you were relaxing !!! I had not realised how LONG the pilgrimage was, and how difficult at times. Well done you. Enjoy the moment. D.

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