Day 21: San Martin de Camino to Astorga
Canals, corn cobs and contrails greeted me as I began today’s walk. Today’s walk was a beauty. I drank deeply from the cup of life today thoroughly enjoying everything about the day. I have a blister the diameter of a golf ball on my heel, another two elsewhere, I have an armful of bed bug bites but I don’t care. They don’t affect my enjoyment an iota..
After many days of less than spectacular terrain the Camino delivered a walk of contrasts. The day started with a walk over a canal and past row and rows of upright green leafy fields of corn. The blue sky almost cloudless but filled with the contrails of soaring aircraft. The early morning playfulness and twittering of birds provided further contrast.
Then we walked into the elegant town of Hospital de Orbigo. Through a narrow winding road and the across a beautiful old stone, multi arched bridge, one of Spain’s oldest bridges, and into the old town. There I stopped after greeting friends who had got up earlier than me this morning (my lazy start was after 7am). I sat drinking my hot cafe con leche and piping hot croissant whilst overlooking the jousting fields in front of the old stone bridge. I pictured knights of old jousting before me and both the sun, rising in the background, and I applauded the scene.
Leaving the town the Camino divided. Left was a shorter route to Astorga, right, a little longer. I took the right route because it looked more interesting and so it proved. The right route took me past more fields of corn, old stone farm houses and rushing sounds of water as little canals fed the fields. I walked past a field of seven storks in which five stood, statue like, preening their bodies while a further two prowled around them pecking at the ground. I stood and watched awhile. In the background I saw the trail heading into a small hill and I rejoiced.
I walked up the hill along the dirt path and into the village on the other side.
“Buenos Dias”, I greeted the old woman in town who was sweeping outside her old stone house.
“Buenos Dias. Buen Vijage”, she repliedi with a little smile as she watched me walk on by.
A short walk through the village’s winding g roads, watching as the village women headed off to ten o’clock mass and I was back on a dirt track. The track took me through a dairy farm, with bellowing cows and little cages with calves that were being hand fed milk of some sort by the farmhands
Along the winding trail and entering into the village I stopped to look at the sky. Filled with contrails I noticed and then I saw that the contrails fanned out from a similar starting point creating the illusion of the shell sign that peregrinos follow. It was even pointing in the right direction, a slightly surreal moment.
I caught up with friends and we walked the last few km’s into town. A beautiful stone walled city with Cathedral spires rising high. We walked past crowded houses, the Gaudi building, the scaffolding encased Cathedral and into a delightful old Albergue with loft ceilings, wooden floors and a salt water fountain for the feet.
The afternoon/evening was spent drinking and dining with friends, wandering Gaudi’s Bishop’s Palace, admiring the chocolates in the windows in this home (self styled) of chocolate, sitting in another Plaza Major and watching as little figurines struck the city clock on the quarter hour while we downed our cañas.
— Posted from my phone