Rabanal is a small mountainside village about 20km from Astorga. The village has started to thrive once again with the modern revival of the Camino Frances route to Santiago de Compostella. As such it is a popular stopping point for many pilgrims and consequently has several albergues which are designate pilgrim accommodation. There are also several posadas (inns) and casa rurals to stay as well. Given that I was a pilgrim I chose to stay in Refuge Gaulcemo which is run by the British Pilgrims' Group, which had a lovely garden and a wood burning stove which was great as that night was pretty cold when I stayed. The village is primarily focused on a single main street which is narrow and steep, cobbled, the road bypasses the village so while not pedestrianised there are very few vehicles. There is a small grocery store with the basics.
The village has three churches -one just outside the village that was locked tight. The other two were open. San Jose is lower down the main street on the right hand side, but access is limited here with a metal grille, so you can look in but you can't properly get in. It has a baroque influence with gold reredos. Further up the hill is another church which is rougher repair, but has in the last years been adopted by the group of German monks who have set up a monastery in a house just opposite the church. This church has a large porch which was great to shelter in for a while in the afternoon. The interior of the church is definitely tatty but there are obvious signs that it is in constant use and there are more recent additions. The monks have 5 daily services. I went to two of the services: 7pm mass and then Compline with Pilgrim Blessing. They also run a small shop, with books, postcards and a few small items - I bought a postcard of the pilgrim blessing they use.The monk there apologised that compline would not be as good tonight as their strongest singers were not there. To be honest that made little difference. I sat in the freezing cold church and shivered but felt it quite lovely to see one of the few monasteries that still function on the camino and welcome pilgrims.