This photo is of a bridge into Astorga – an unwelcome sight for a tired pilgrim.
It is Sunday 4-22: Today we walked 24 km to Astorga. The weather was perfect and overcast and a welcome improvement from our earlier days. I did well with my walk today. My blisters are healing and some minor adjustments and attention got me through the day pretty well. Around the time of day that I usually have my Camino meltdown, and at the top of our last hill for the day, a nice rest stop appeared. We were offered fresh fruit, a seat in a hammock and other treats (for a donation). It was so wonderful. Here is a picture.
After a break like that it is always hard for me to get started again but this time we weren’t too far from Astorga and I was looking forward to getting there.
It wasn’t long before we could get a good view of the city and it was beautiful. As usual it felt like a tease; we could see the town which seems to be so near but it still took us such a long time to reach it. When we were just about in the city limit we reached a railroad crossing. Traditionally you would expect some sort of normal overpass, but instead we encounter this interesting ramp structure that reminds me of the tracks of a rollercoaster. When I saw it I just about screamed. This “ramp” had to have unnecessarily added 1/2 km to our walk. It truly seemed like a joke played on the tired, sore, ready to be done for the day pilgrims. (See the photo at the top)
As I was cursing under my breath I saw a bicyclist came up the ramp. In an effort to refocus my negative energy I decided to take his picture. That did really end up making me feel better. I felt I could do a good deed for a lone pilgrim by sending him the photos. When he finished his rollercoaster ride I chatter with Paolo from Portugal and got his email address. So, in the end, that crazy bridge encouraged me to connect with someone new, if only for a fleeting moment.
Astorga did turn out to be wonderful city. There is a nice cathedral, a castle like building by Goudy and an interesting clock in the square. We ran into several people we have seen before on our trail over the past few weeks. It seems others are taking a similar pace.
April 23rd. Monday – Going from Astorga to Rabanal del Camino.
I feel naked. This is the first time I sent my backpack ahead with a service in an effort to walk faster and give my feet a break from the extra weight. Many people do this throughout their trip and there are several services. All you have to do is pay €5 and leave your bag at your albergue with a label stating the town and next albergue you will be heading to. It seemed to work well and it was quite nice with only my little day pack. Today was a short one and I had better feet and a pretty good attitude. I plan to send my pack one more day since tomorrow is longer and a bit more challenging. That should do it though. I do miss having everything I need with me and being able to stop where and when we want- without a set agenda. Also, I can’t believe I am saying this but I want to carry my backpack.
The walks and the scenery are really beautiful now. The landscape is expansive and the villages are lovely. Colin and I have remarked about how the walk in the countryside today reminds us more and more of Colorado. I do appreciate being surrounded by the beauty now and also in my daily life at home. I am feeling very grateful to have time to breathe it in.
Tonight we stopped in Rabanal del Camino and had a nice time in an interesting albergue.
We keep seeing a lot of familiar faces, the four young Australians, two older gentlemen, a Canadian couple and several others we see daily but haven’t yet spoken with. There are also many new people who have just started their walk in León. The numbers on the paths are increasing steadily already.