We are in Astorga. It is the end of Saturday, 8:29 PM. When I went up to bed last night there were people sleeping and it was dark and I did not set up for the next morning. This morning there were people sleeping in and everything was done in the dark and quick but then we went down for a lovely croissant and tea for me and cafe con leche for everyone else. We had a late start at 8:30 but we had changed our plans to a shorter day as Mary has a nasty blister and bum knee and Di has a bum knee. I was going to say today that my feet are fine but I discovered a blister tonight as well. We had a walk of about 6 1/2 miles through fields and did not see human life until about half way when we came upon David. He walked the Camino years ago and never left. He has set up a place to live and offers food, drink and rest to pilgrims on the way. (Leo, he is the guy in the movie we watched the night before we left. The guy living in the open with the hammock.) My sister, Di, is doing well but has that bad knee that started acting up before we left. She is slow and hobbling with a pack on her back and at best maybe two miles an hour, but she always makes it where we are going and with good spirit. She calls her journey the Camino stroll. I call her the grandmother of the Camino. There is undoubtedly older among us but with her white hair and slow stroll on a bad knee and her conversations with the young ones, that is what I see. I also saw my mother when she rolled over last Night. (Di wants everyone at home to know she is doing well and not to worry. She is handling well whatever shows up.)
I ate an empanada a tun for lunch. Tuna and veggie sandwich in a flaky crust. Very good. We arrived in Astorga at about noon and decided to treat ourselves to a hotel. Di, Chris, and I share a room with a bathroom, heat, and space, and a tub. We are across from the cathedral and took a tour of the Gaudi museum that is adjacent to the cathedral (was suppose to house the episcopal bishop until he died before it was finished and Gaudi was the architect) had a good dinner, went to Mass at the monastery, and toured the Cathedral.
I think my highlight of the day was kneeling at Mass after communion. There was an elderly gentleman sitting in front of me while I knelt so we were very close. Through the whole Mass the nuns cloistered behind us had done all the singing. Suddenly he burst into song with a beautiful tenor voice. My heart leapt and I wanted to cry it was such a surprising gift. Instead I sat and smiled. I wanted to tell him but could not speak it in Spanish.
I am tired tonight. Di, Chris and Jonathan are down in the lounge enjoying wine. I am enjoying a peaceful moment. Chris has been a great guide to get us acclimated and we are all getting along well. It was a beautiful walk today with some challenging hills up and down. Tomorrow we start some elevation to prepare us for the ascent on Monday to close to 5,000 ft. We are going to see if we can make Rabinal tomorrow and then la Cruz de Ferro on Sunday. A very important spot on the Way that I will tell you about when we get there. We are discussing having our packs taxied for us on that day. That is another day.
Today I look forward to sleep. I know we will be going out into cold crisp air tomorrow as today but we have the clothing for it. I enjoy not sweating in the heat so in that way it is a plus and fresh and lovely. Chris said she hopes Di and I were not regretting our decision to come and it was a resounding “NO, that would not be possible.” If it ended tomorrow every minute has been worth it. I am not prepared to even say more as it is hard to put into words. I am grateful. More photos on Facebook. We are having technical difficulties. Peace and love to you all. Thanks for staying with us. Jan