I’m glad I agreed to eat with the other pilgrims last night. The meal was lovely but it was the company that won me over. A group of nine unlikely people put together, some I’d met before others not, all kind and gentle with stories that touched every one of us. One young girl stood out from the rest, I’d heard stories of a girl walking with a giraffe (obviously not a real one), her name was Anya, a German girl with a spirit that was far stronger than she realised. Her story was so moving half the table were close to tears, myself included. I went to bed in the knowledge the night had been very special for all who were there.
In the morning I woke up late, 6.30am. Most of the beds had already emptied. I took my time to pack and get ready. By the time I leave it’s just gone 7.30am.
Finding my way out of Astorga took me a few minutes but soon enough I was on my way. As the path leads me into the countryside and towards the mountain ranges in the distance, I find my steady pace, my feet feeling more comfortable every day. Pilgrims old and new pass and are passed. After the first village I pass the landscape opens up to wild heathland, I spot some birds I don’t recognise so try to get some shots to show my dad. As I watch one scoops down and picks up a snake, carrying it off with two more following behind. I begin to see more fritillaries (butterflies) along the way, I realise how little I’ve seen crossing the lowlands of North Spain.
As I climb higher the villages become more and more spartan. I meet Bruno, Carlos, Jonathon, Neville and Michael has already passed us all by. We stop for a drink in the village before my planned stop, Foncebadón. A village that was almost completely abandoned in years gone by. Through the Camino, some life has returned but most of the village still lay to ruin. We arrive almost together at what is, I believe the highest point of the whole Camino.
Michael recommends we stay in the old chapel albergue, so Bruno and I decide to join him.
I lay down to write my blog at about 3pm… I wake at just gone 6pm in time to join the rest of the pilgrims for dinner. We then head to an old bar just down the hill where we get some dessert, and play ‘shithead’ (sorry it’s a card game), with Nikki.
We head back to the albergue before ten to turn in.
And again I write this the following day… So now I have to write today’s…!