Day 16 & Day 17: Astorga to Sarria. On the buses preparing for the Celtic walk.
Waiting for a bus is never much fun. In Astorga however you get to wait in a cafe that looks out to the Roman walls, the Cathedral and Gaudi’s palace. That’s not a bad way to start a bus journey. The bus to Sarria has to go via the city of Lugo so the 3 1/2 hour bus journey becomes a 5 hour bus journey. Not too arduous especially considering some of the bus journeys from hell that I’ve been on in India and Nepal. I remember one particular twelve hour journey that went for 36 hours and felt like it lasted a week. A week on a train is fun and something I’ve done before (twice on the trans-Siberian which is another story) but day and a half bus journey’s through South Asia that feel like they go for a week are not fun. In contrast Spain’s buses are an absolute pleasure, comfortable, cheap, fast and the well located bus stations make for easy travel.
Sarria is a Camino town. The scallop shell can be found on everything from centuries old buildings to guard rails to garbage bins. It’s from here, approximately, 115km from Santiago that many people start their Camino. It’s this part that is recognised by as fulfilling the 1,000 year old pilgrimage. It’s also the start of one of the most beautiful legs of the Camino through the rolling hills, green fields and stony buildings of Celtic Galicia. In fact this is where the Celts originated.
Sarria is a medium sized town and we’re staying on the outskirts of it in a Hotel alongside the Camino. Tomorrow we start our walk again. Where we end up will depend on accommodation being available as this the busiest part of the Camino. We plan a day of about 10-15 km’s. Our plan is short knees so as not to strain Cheeky’s knees too much but also to try end up in Santiago before the 25th July. On this day Santiago celebrates as it is Saint James’s day and whom the city is named after as the last resting place of the Saint. If we can do all of this it will be a fitting end to our Camino.