Another sunny day in northern Spain — they keep coming, and we are deeply grateful for each one. Regina and Anthea walked about 12 miles today; their goal tomorrow is around 19 to get to Astorga. From there, it’s about 164 miles to Santiago. Pamplona was about 450 miles, so we are past the half way point. I’ve walked 182 miles (in 18 days), some of it around the cities we’ve been in, and not on the road. Anthea’s got the most miles under her belt; not sure that she’s tallying them up, and Jim’s got a few more than me. Regina’s catching up fast.
Jim and I got through the first eight miles; I realized that I wasn’t really over this bug (I attribute it to that tasty chocolate mousse on our first night in Sahagun). We called a cab to take us to the albergue San Antonio de Padua, very highly recommended by some Italians she’d met, we were assured by Karen the violinist from Leon who we came across in the bar in Chozas de Abaco.
I haven’t really experienced all of the benefits of San Antonio, aside from the clean room and comfortable bed. It doesn’t have the private bath that I was assured of on the phone last night, but I spent most of my time after arriving asleep. Jim and the girls reported an excellent communal dinner of tomato gazpacho, veggie paella, cake, and a salad. They spent their time at dinner regaling a group of Belgians, Aussies and Germans with reasons to visit Alaska.
The albergues and Camino make me think of an intinerant, international summer camp. The facilities tend to be basic — our room has two beds, one chair, a small table, and two hooks on the wall for towels. Most seem to be very clean, and a number are quite new, attesting to the increasing popularity of the Camino. Much of the space is shared with others, but people appear to be reasonably respectful of others. Some have more rules than others — La Fuente at Los Arcos turned off the Internet at 10:30 p.m., but luckily San Antonio is not as concerned that everyone get a good night’s sleep. You are guaranteed to meet a fascinating and ever-changing group of people each day — tonight’s hostel group included (in addition to the Belgians, Germans, and Aussies), a nurse from Victoria, B.C., with a fairly complete pharmacy that she was willing to share if needed; Karen the violinist from Idaho, and others whom I didn’t hear about.
Tomorrow we will sleep in a bit and take a cab to Astorga (a good-sized medieval city); the girls will walk. Depending on how I’m feeling, we may walk back to meet them and then get a few miles back into the city. But there are errands to run as well; our phones have all run out of minutes and have to be re-charged; we need to stop at an ATM again, and so forth.
Best wishes to all for a great day wherever you are.
Anthea on the road (portrait by Regina).
Little crocuses growing up right in the middle of our path, a little ways out of Leon. Flowers similar to these grow in the U.S.; they send up their leaves in the spring and summer; the leaves die back; and the flowers appear later in the summer.
A pair of boots abandoned on the Camino. Jim said that the soles were pretty well worn through. We have seen other boots, a flip–flop, a sneaker, and more — usually only one shoe, not a pair. The path-markers often have little cairns of stones piled on them.
For much of the day, we walked through scrub land with no fields at all — a contrast to most of our previous miles, which have wound through cultivated fields and vineyards.
Someone’s roses and zinnias along a wall.
The road goes ever on — still more like meseta, but presumably we’ll be getting into new landscapes in the next few days.
Another hobbit hole/wine cellar (?) built into the side of a hill; this one with a shaded window and tarp door.
Regina’s photo: “Walking. Fields, sun, road, awesomeness.”