Day Fifty One

The albergue was so peaceful, there were only about twenty of us staying there. I slept well, I didn’t get woken up to early, and I didn’t get bitten in my sleep!
By the time I wrap my heals up and pack it’s almost 7am, time to go…
Yesterday was a mere 20km, maybe a little less. Meaning today to Astorga is about 27km. I set out slowly, trying not to irritate my feet. Like yesterday I feel calm and relaxed about walking on my own. By the time I get to Hospital de Orbigo I begin to see the pilgrims that had taken the longer route. I also stop and chat to a Canadian lady called Nikki who is interested in why I’m raising money for UNICEF. She and I compare stories of other pilgrims along the road and travel stories, (of which she has more being a ‘trolley dolly’ as she described herself), (thats an in flight attendant for all you politically correct people out there)…
I continue on my own as more pilgrims arrive at the little cafe. Shortly afterwards Michael, the high speed German catches me up, he slows to talk to me. I see another side to him that I’d previously missed, we walk together for a while, stopping for a coffee at the next village. He walks on just after a very nice refreshment stand up on one of the open plateau’s. Whilst there Carlos, Jonathon, Neville and Bruno arrive.
I carry on, seeing Astorga in the distance I put my headphones in and relax to some wailing country (Dixie Chicks).
The walk in goes quickly despite the route twisting and turning. I stupidly go the wrong way into the town but eventually find an albergue just around the corner from the cathedral and the bishops palace. It’s big but friendly and clean. It’s all I need. Plus I have a mains socket by by bunk, score. (It’s the small things).
I go for a drink at the hotel around the corner, where I meet two ladies from Finland. They walk a couple of weeks each year, today is their last day this year so they’re treating themselves to the hotel. Nikki joins us and we talk more about the Camino.
I had planned to eat here as they have a pilgrim menu, but as I explore the town (and find a chocolate tasting tent, it’s a big thing here!) I bump into some other pilgrims staying in the same albergue. I’m asked if I’d like to join them for dinner, I accept. It’s nice to meet some new pilgrims…!
My feet haven’t been as bad today but I need to re-drain my blisters. Mmmm fun times.
I should mention Astorga is a nice town with a beautiful Gothic cathedral and a very interesting Bishop’s Palace built by Gaudí.
Tomorrow I begin my climb up the first of two mountain ranges I need to pass to reach Santiago. I begin to realise how close I am to reaching the end of my journey. I feel I could carry on, I have a routine and a rhythm going, plus I don’t know what I’m going to do on my return?!
I feel I’m left with more questions than answers at present…

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About waytosantiago

The way of St. James is one of the three largest Christian pilgrimages of the world. I intend to walk one of the many routes which begins in le Puy en Velay, France. The route has been trodden by many weary souls, looking for answers, looking for adventure, for the obvious religious reasons, or just walked for the sake of it. I first came across the route about 6 years ago whilst reading Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Pilgrimage’, I decided maybe something could be learnt from spending so much time on the road in solitude. Being the kind of person that lives to work, these ideas were put on hold whilst my life moved steadily forward. Recently I’ve found myself longing for adventure and decided it was time to begin planning. Another thing I decided was if I was going to do this, I may as well try and raise money for charity along the way. So the story begins...
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