Backpacking Teacher

Travel, teaching and things in between. Saigon is the focus for now.

Day 14: Villares de Orbigo to Astorga. Day 15: Astorga.Cheeky plants plum trees

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The Albergue in Villares offered a great respite on the way to Astorga. We made ourselves a great dinner in the little kitchen before a sleep interrupted by a rude couple who felt it ok to turn dorm lights on whenever it suited them.

We woke up to the sound of rain clattering down on the roof and the sound of thunder rolling in. It’s not the most inspiring of sounds when you know you have a day of walking ahead of you. We dragged ourselves out of bed and over breakfast cheered each other up. We were soon laughing as there seemed little point in starting our day’s hike in a despondent mood.

Raincoats on we sloshes through town, up rivers of water streaming down the path ( and through my shoes) past farms with cows and roads with cow manure and soon we were somewhat less perky than when we had started out. Cheeky’s knees didn’t like the cold and our pace began to slow but Cheeky persevered. Every now and then she’d spy a plum or apple tree and her face would break out in a grin of delight. Cheeky loves fruit, as you may have gathered, but she also plants plum trees. Everynow and then she’ll put a plum or plum pit in the ground for future peregrinos to enjoy the fruit of.

The day never really lightened up and the rain began to lash down harder 3km into Astorga. So we stooped in a bar for the best tortilla we’ve had in Spain and the obligatory cafe con leche. Then, spirits lifted, we ambled into Astorga looking forward to staying in a nice hotel room.

And a beautiful room it is to. It overlooks the main square and from our balcony we can see bundles of activity everywhere. Just before the hour people face towards the 18th century Town Hall and wait for the two figurines on the bell tower to strike the hours. The male and female figure rotate to strike the bell and have been doing so since 1748. Our view in Astorga can not be beaten. We’ve been very lucky with our hotel rooms in Spain getting to enjoy sone unique, cosy establishments in great parts of the towns we’ve stayed in.

Astorga’s a beautiful little town. It’s fantasy Gaudi designed palace juxtapposed against the 17th century Cathedral and flanked by Roman walls makes for a intriguing architectural mix. The little town square, meandering calle’s and chocolate shops makes for a pleasant stroll. It’s easy to see why this is a popular starting point for the Camino de Santiago.

Our plans from here. Head to Sarria for a couple of days and then walk the 115km from Sarria in Santiago de Compostela. Cheeky’s knees ache but we will break the last section into easy stages and hopefully we’ll be able to finish the walk and claim our Compostela’s. Cheeky especially will deserve this as she’s just had to grind it out at times. If we finish this will mean our total km’s walked will be around 300km no mean feat 🙂

Onto Sarria tomorrow. Can’t wait for Galicia – the walking there, while crowded, is quite beautiful.

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Written by backpackingteacher

July 14, 2011 at 4:03 am

Posted in Camino de Santiago

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