Monday, October 17, 2022

 Day 26 San Martin Del Camino to Astorga, Spain, October 17, 2022

In spite of the fact there were 10 of us in our room, it was very quiet and I had a wonderful sleep. After a breakfast of bacon and eggs, I was on the road leaving the hostal at 8:06. It was more of the same - walking beside the highway but the highway was a lot busier than yesterday. It was also drizzling but I have good rain gear so that didn’t bother me at all.

I walked 22.5 km with no pain anywhere in my body, feet included!  It was a miraculous day-

My intention for the day was gratitude. I am grateful for so many things and it seems good things just keep happening. I find that when I express gratitude, positive feelings come over me and that leads to more happiness and therefore more gratitude so it is a virtuous circle and a great way to go through life.

My first stop was at Hospital De Orbigo which has a beautiful bridge.  It’s a town known for jousting-

In 1434, the Leonese knight Suero de Quiñones held a tournament in which he or one of his buddies challenged all men of equal rank who wished to cross the bridge to a jousting duel.  1434 was a holy year, just like 2022, so there were a lot of pilgrims on the way to Santiago.  The tournament lasted from July 11 until August 9 and Suero claimed to have broken 300 lances by the end of the it.  Today, during the summer, the town hosts reenactments of this tournament.

The town is very beautiful –

After Hospital de Orbigo, I had an option to take the actual Camino which was a couple of kilometres longer and up a few hills or take the shorter route which continued to follow the highway. Well, I’m not one for extra walking so I took the highway route. It was noisy and I had to walk on quite a bit of pavement so not that I will ever do this again but I would not take the highway route a second time. I even listened to a podcast to try to block out the noise and it wasn’t until I was finally away from the highway that I realized how loud it had been. Some of the route was ok-

Finally my route joined the other at Cruceiro de Santo Toribio-

And I could see Astorga-

There are funny statues-

There’s a long crossing over the railway tracks. I guess in the good old days you could walk across them but now there’s a few hundred meters added on to go up and over- 

Once in Astorga, I found Albergue MyWay-

I got here about 3:30 and they had given my room away. The man with whom I had made my reservation did not tell me that if I wasn’t going to be here by two, I needed to call. They put me in a triple for the same price as a bunkbed in a dorm. I am hoping I will have the room all to myself tonight –

After getting settled, I went exploring Astorga.  I came across an archaeological dig with a mosaic floor showing the bear and the birds which is devoted to Orpheus.  He would serenade with a lyre which symbolically is the soul and the animals are the body.  Archaeologists believe the floor dates from the end of the second century-

This house had a large courtyard with many columns. It would’ve been owned by a very wealthy family and dates from the end of the first century –

City hall-

Cool bells on a church-

Astorga is known for chocolate-

I am so lucky my backpack never feels this big -

Supper was calamari and mixed salad –

After supper I went by the Bishop’s Palace which was designed by Gaudi in 1887 to reflect the history of the city. It’s in Gothic Revival style and includes a castle, a church and a mansion. The exterior is white granite. Inside is a museum of Saint James’ way-

The most impressive place in Astorga is the Cathedral-

The detail on and around the front doors is amazing-

Inside is the chapel of the Christ of the Waters-

The Chapel of Saint Michael-

The Chapel of Saint Lawrence who was martyred and burned at the stake which is why he is holding a grate –

The chapel of Saint James the Pilgrim-

The Chapel of Mary Magdalene-

The front altar-

The cloister-

There is a lot of stained glass-

The pipe organ has over 2700 pipes –

The chairs in the choir are hand carved from walnut and each one is different –

The pillars are huge-

Just like in León, an arch divides the cathedral in two-

It is a very impressive place but maybe the best thing about it was you could put on a headset and enjoy a virtual tour from a drone’s perspective. It was really cool.

After the cathedral I wandered back to the hostel. There is a mural from Napoleon’s route when he invaded Spain –

So far I’m still alone in my room and it’s 9:15.  I think I’m safe!  What a bonus and what a way to finish off a day filled with GRATITUDE!  Tomorrow I’m off to either Rabanal del Camino which is 19.8 km or Foncebadón which is 25.3.  I have made reservations in both but it will depend on the ups and downs of the day and if I have any pain. I’m looking forward to a sunny day!

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