The next 2 days - the 7 and 8 December - took me into the mountains and up to the highest point of the Camino: the Cruz de Ferro (The Iron Cross) at 1505m above sea level. The hills of Leon ranged far and wide - the Castilian plain a distant memory.
I climbed gently from Astorga through half-deserted mountain villages to Rabanal del Camino, where I spent the night at the Albergue del Pilar with its most attractive arched doorway and central courtyard. Not for the first time I imagined how this place would be teeming with pilgrims in the summer. For my part I much preferred these quieter, off-season months. Here I met up again with my Japanese friend, Hiroshi, and befriended 2 more pilgrims from Spain - who were a restaurant manager and a Basque theatre director in 'real life'.
The photo shows sunrise in Rabanal.