Today was a planned short day and tomorrow will be short as well. I wanted to spend a night in Astorga and to do that I could either walk 30km in one day or break it up into two short days. I chose the later because I know that after a 30km day, I wouldn’t have enough energy to tour around Astorga.
Many of us Camino elders had this discussion last night and I am now seeing all of them in town tonight. Hopefully there will be enough going on in Astorga tomorrow, Sunday, to make this plan seem smart.
As I left early this morning, I was able to turn an unattractive, modern home into a charming silhouette against the breaking dawn sky.
It was a beautiful morning and leaving town it was pretty and quiet.
The “scenic” southern variant continued today for 14km. While it was pretty, it was fairly monotonous.
I passed this two tractor family home Perhaps the mayor lives here?
The real show was going on behind me.
When I passed the 300km mark, I was surprised at my progress in just 11 days. I have now walked 200km (ok, actually 180 given the 20km day I took off when I was recovering in Sahagun) and only have 300km left to go to Santiago de Compostela! Just amazing.
Old shoes are abundant on the Camino and I have seen many creative uses for them, but this is the first shoe tree I have seen
This took someone (or several people) some work.
I saw Lynn from Schenectady ahead of me and was actually surprised she had gotten as far ahead of me as she had as she left just shortly before I.
Her knee is really a problem and getting worse every day. To see her getting started after sitting in a chair is painful to watch. She attributes her family’s stubborn streak for getting her going every day and not stopping. Enough people suggested she ship her bag ahead that she finally did that today. I have to believe it helped, but she isn’t sure. I decided I would walk with her to keep her company. She is still doing an impressive 4km/hour pace. I hope she isn’t doing any permanent damage.
I left Lynn just outside of Hospital de Orbigo as I tried to figure out where I was staying. She was heading into the next town.
As I was bringing up the directions for my hostel another pilgrim stopped me to ask if he was going the right way to his overnight accommodations. We figured out that he needed to go one way and I the other, so Raul and I said adios.
Coming into town there is a beautiful 19 arch bridge!! You can see the difference in materials. The first two arches on the right were from the original Roman bridge and the rest of the span was built in more recent times. The Roman bridges are really spectacular.
Clearly there are not historic building codes in this town. Here is where I am staying tonight. It is a very modern 6 room Hostal.
There is not a pilgrim menu offered at the Hostal so I decided to go back to my Spanish eating schedule today. I found a really nice restaurant and ordered ala carte off the menu for a mid afternoon meal. I just wasn’t up for a potato and pork laden Menu Del dia or pilgrim menu. What I had was delicious; all regional specialties.
I took a leftover box back to the hostal for my evening snack.
Today was easy walking and tomorrow will be too. The day after will be a 25km day and I am fine with that too. It is really surprising once I hit 20km how much more challenging 5km can be. And, each km after 25 is even more difficult. The difficulty isn’t so much with the walking as the recovery. Because you get in later you have less recovery time when you actually need more. It isn’t that I can’t do it, but on 25km plus days I would likely crawl into my Alburgue and fall asleep and miss exploring the town. At least that is what happened last year when I pushed myself further.
In the year I had time to reflect on a better Camino experience and one thing I wanted for sure was to get to know the towns I was staying in better. My 20km daily target has allowed me to do that and my body and feet are in pretty good shape. I am really enjoying this Camino experience.