Monday, September 26, 2011

Camino De Santiago - León To Astorga ... By Bus

I got up, put my stuff together, and went down and sat in the entryway of the albergue to wait for GV.  We walked to a nearby cybercafe, checked email, and had breakfast ... I had orange juice.

We walked to the bus terminal and got on the bus minutes before it left.  Spanish mass transit is pretty comfortable.  It felt a little too comfortable to me.  It felt weird to be going so fast.  When the bus passed part of the Camino and you could see pilgrims walking I felt a little guilty but I ran the reasons I had through my head and I was sure I was doing the right thing.

We arrived in Astorga and started looking for the albergue.  We started off in the wrong direction but, with the help of the GPS, we headed in the right direction.  Along the way we followed a street with shoe stores and butchers, one after the other.  It was an odd street that should have been called meat and feet street.

We arrived at the municipal albergue at about the same time as the first pilgrims arrived.  After a brief wait we checked in and did our chores.  Not having walked we both felt pretty good so we went out and played tourist.  There was a street market outside the albergue selling everything from meat to underwear.  We waded through the stalls and admired all the goods.

Along the way we passed numerous candy stores.  These included a chocolate museum that was closed when we first passed it.  We told ourselves we would have to visit it later but never did.  When I got home I found out that the museum only costs €1 and includes a chocolate tasting.  Another reason to go back and do the Camino again I guess.  We stopped at one place where I had ice cream, bought a magnet, and bought my first dark chocolate bar of the Camino.  The street we were following took us near a park bordered by the Episcopal Palace and the Cathedral.

The Episcopal Palace houses a Camino museum.  It's a really cool building designed by Antoni Gaudí. We walked through the museum exhibits of pilgrims and Santiago.  The place had lots of stairs.  Too many.  I hadn't walked this day but my legs still felt the effort of going up and down those stairs.

When we came out it was almost 2:00 PM and things started closing.  We found an open grocery store and bought some food for lunch.  Deciding against another ham sandwich I bought some turkey (from Peru).  We ate our lunches on a bench in the sun.

We went back to the albergue to wait for things to reopen.  We washed clothes and relaxed in out bunks.

After 5:00 PM we returned to the park and went through the cathedral museum and the cathedral itself.  The cathedral was rather dreary, plain, and not very interesting.  I did buy another rosary for the Wife at the museum (number three).

We  walked around some more before returning to the grocery store buying supplies for the next day and some food for the dinner that night.  I ran into RN (first met in Grañon) shopping here.  She was walking with MO who I hadn't seen since Zubiri.  They were staying at a private albergue in Astorga.

GV made a good meal including the first real piece of meat I'd had since arriving in Spain.  I also had my first watermelon in Spain - very yummy.  While we ate in the kitchen we talked with a Canadian and his Japanese Girlfriend (I never asked their names, simply referring to them as the Canadian and his Japanese Girlfriend).  They were nice.  They'd been walking a lot longer than I had starting in Le Puy, France, I think.  I would see them along the rest of my Camino.

Day twenty-four was ... obviously easy.  My feet felt so much better.  I enjoyed touring Astorga.  I'd made the right decision.  As for catching up with the rest of the gang ...  except for RN we saw nobody else.  My best guess is they were between a half and a full day ahead of us at this point.

[Note:  No stage information or map for this one.]

2 comments:

  1. oh a chocolate museum? I want to go there!!! I'm glad you took a break and rested. Sounds like you had a nice day!

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  2. MMC: Then walk the Camino. You would love it and the Camino would be a brighter place because of your positivity.

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