Rabanal del Camino

Posted by on Oct 22, 2013

[This is Part 4 in mini series about El Camino de Santiago. To read from the beginning click here.]


Confession: When I arrived in Rabanal I realized the photos I shared in my previous post were NOT actually Rabanal, but (I think) of another village on the way to Rabanal.



So, today I’ll share some videos and photos of the real thing ūüôā


 Refugio Gaucelmo

Refugio Gaucelmo is a auberge along the Camino de Santiago and where I volunteered as a hospitalera. It was a beautiful place to call home for two weeks!


Video of the Outside of Refugio Gaucelmo:

Video of the Inside of Refugio Gaucelmo:


The Town

Rabanal de Camino is located in the mountains & province of Leon inSpain. As the town name indicates (Rabanal del Camino), it has been a place through out history that pilgrims have stayed and passed through on their way up and over the mountains on their way to Santiago. Here are a few actual pictures of this  small mountain town, with a year-round population of 30.


Rabanal 4 pics

Rabanal 4a



The highest point of the Camino (1,515 metres or 4,970 feet) and the iconic Cruz de Ferro are reached shortly after leaving Rabanal. The tradition is to carry a stone from home and place it, along with your burdens, at the base of the cross before you continue walking.



 Cruz de Ferro


Maragato: The People of Rabanal


 Esperanza & Isabel

The people who live in Astorga and 45 villages to the west (including Rabanal) are called the Maragato people. Said to be possibly be descendants of the Phoenicians or Berbers people, they are a people known for their honesty, unique customs and strength. For centuries they were “muleteers” – transporting goods through out Spain by mule, work which today is done by 38 tonne trucks.*


old cart

 An Old Transport Cart with a New Purpose

My interactions with the locals was one of the highlights of my trip. From my taxi driver, to the shop owners, restaruanteers I was overwhelmed by the kindness I received every day.


The increased popularity of the camino has meant a positive revival for Rabanal and many other small towns in the area. I always asked the locals if they minded having a constant flow of foreigners in their town. Every single one said no. One woman, perhaps in her seventies elaborated even more. “We lived through the time of Franco when there was not enough to eat. This is good,” she said.



Locals on their Evening Stroll


** Info provided from the Confraternity of St. James 2004 Pilgrim Guidebook El Camino Frances


  1. So glad to hear you are home safely. Your spirit just amazes me and you are an inspiration for me.

  2. I really hope that someday you write a book about all of your adventures…spiritual, physical, and inspirational. Glad to know you are home safely. Judy Malloy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *