Stage five needs to be classified as the “Queen’s Stage” of our journey on the Camino. A massive climb to the top of the mountain with the Cross of Iron, or Iron Cross concludes today’s challenging 50+ km ride.
The route takes us to Hospital de Orbigo first, site of an annual jousting spectacle commemorating the triumphant victory of Don Suero de Quinones, breaking over 300 lances in the name of true love and chivalry. Took them a month. Oh, those were the days, back in 1434! (He was even mentioned in Don Quixote – written in 1605.)
Uneventful 20+ km later and we find ourselves in Astorga. Perfect lunch break, only that somehow no one wanted our 15-people business. Are we that smelly? It’s stage five, thus it could be reality. We split up for lunch and soon rallied again into the early afternoon heat. We are facing some “rolling hills” that challenge us. We are fully aware that we have a huge climb to conquer at the very end. Ugh!
In Rabanal del Camino we are asking the question: “Who is up for riding the mountain?”. Foolishly all respond with: “Okay, I’ll do it.”. The next 45 minutes were solid regret not taking the bus. However, reward of arrival is sweet! It was worth the sweat. The Queen’s Stage is over. We’ve done it. A hotel with swimming pool awaits us.