I took off 6.01 and obviously it was completely dark. Hospital de Orbigo was lit so I manage to follow the yellow arrows without any problems. Then I made a turn and I was walking I'm complete darkness on a gravel road with big corn fields (I think. Couldn't really see them) on both sides. I walked there completely on my own for around 2 kilometres. Quite an experience. I couldn't see much but I could smell the rural landscape. Then I entered a small village that was also lit until halfway through the lights went out! I still couldn't see much so I ended missing a turn. Luckily I didn't go on for long before I turned around and took the turn. I had passed two bars already but both were closed so I was still without breakfast and coffee.
An idea of some of the scenery today.
I walked for another three kms and passed a few bars that were also closed. Oh well, at least I had water. ;-) then followed 11 kms of boring scenery in rural Spain on gravel roads with lots a stones in various sizes that went up and down and up and down and... And without civilisation obviously.
"Entertainment" along the way.
I believe it is the last piece if the Meseta. From Burgos to Leon the Camino follows the Meseta and it takes around seven days to cover the rural flatland with not much change in scenery and no shadow from the sun. A lot if people skip this part and bus to Leon and after getting a small taste of it today I understand that decision.
After what seemed like an eternity David's "bar" which is well known among Peregrinos finally appeared.
David's place a bit further away.
I am not sure what it says but I understand free and gratis at least. :-)
His place with his stall and sitting arrangement.
You can help yourself to whatever you like. Everything is free but you can make a donation if you wanted to. Everything is organic and I was quite surprised by the selection. He had both gluten free and regular bread, coffee, tea, fruit, water, cake, cookies, jam, peanut butter, soy milk and even almond milk and many other things. His stall is available 24/7 365 days a year. The reasons behind it are first and foremost that the Camino should be for everyone regardless if your financial status. David has walked the Camino several times and it saddens him to see it become more and more expensive. It shouldn't be like that and he believes that money limits us and takes away our freedom and spirituality especially on the Camino. Another reason for it is the lack of bars on the long stretch to Astorga, so it is needed so peregrinos can stock up. I took a much needed rest but didn't take anything as I figured other
people need it more than me. I sat there for half an hour listening to David and his opinions before I made a donation and left. I am a big fan of idealists whether I agree with them or not.
David taking passionately about his visions.
Then I walked some more while trying to ignore my lower back.
After what seemed like forever I stood in front of this cross and could see Astorga in the background. Astorga was my first goal of the day and a place I had decided I would take a long break to give my back some peace. I thought Astorga was close by but I was wrong. The walk into town took forever and I am convinced we weren't taking the shortest way.
Astorga with its well known cathedral that has Gaudi written all over it (not literally, though!) Still some steps to walk.
And finally there!
But first the very steep entrance to the city. Of course. :-)
I stopped by the town hall to get some rest and FOOD. By then I had been on the road for four hours and 15 minutes and walked 16 kms.
Two eggs with bacon and a black coffee was ordered and then I removed my dusty shoes and let me feet air. Ten minutes after I had ordered the waitress told me they were out of eggs. She could only offer me bread then! I almost wanted to cry but decided to drink my coffee and then go elsewhere for breakfast. And then I discovered she had served med coffee with milk. Oh the disappointment! Then I went to a supermarket, bought cheese and chicken and went to a park and had a picnic on the grass. That helped a little.
Since Astorga is known for chocolate they sold churros with chocolate EVERYWHERE. I am proud to say that I stayed away from it and I didn't even buy chocolate. I did enter a chocolate store but wasn't tempted since it looks like the chocolate Peter Beier or Frederiksberg Chokolade sell look better. And then it's not worth it. :-)
A fancy Gaudi building in Astorga. A palace perhaps?
The cathedral. It's not the best picture but I was HUNGRY and slightly miserable at this point. :-)
My back was killing me at this point and I was sitting there feeling very sorry for myself. I even thought to myself: "why am I doing this? I don't have to be here. I can return to Madrid and go sightseeing and not have to walk umpteen kms everyday with a huge backpack" And then I got a text message from a very dear friend that came just at the right time. I went to the pharmacy for painkillers, took one and rested for 30 mins. I don't want to eat painkillers as I don't want to numb out any pain. I want to listen to the body instead and take some rest if that is needed. Painkillers are extremely common on the Camino and people even refer to them as vitamins. I haven't been here for long but I have seen several peregrinos already start of the day with painkillers! I am doing this for fun and I do not want to risk getting a serious injury because I numb out the pain.
But I still did that today and then walked on for another 6 kms. By then I decided to stop even though the back was doing ok. I have some hard stages coming up as the mountains start appearing so I need my lower back and all the energy I can find.
So today I only ended up doing 22 kms. I am disappointed with that since my legs, my stamina and my condition could do more. But I have to accept that my back is aching and not overdo it. I will probably pay for that later on if I force it. So acceptance is another thing I can work with on this trip! Her and me are not good friends so it might not be a bad idea although I am not a fan of hers.
I am once again at a private albergue I paid €9 for! It is in Murias de Rechivaldo a small village
just before the mountains and it is clear that
the Camino is very important to the community
There are several bars and three albergues.
Entrance. It seems like they have even recently
made the village bigger as some parts seem
new with an old flair.
Obviously there's a church.
The yard of the albergue.
Still the yard.
It is clear that the mountains are getting
closer as it is not as warm anymore.
Still around 28 degrees but quite a difference
from 37 degrees in Leon.
In short today has not been the best of data
but I am optimistic and tomorrow's a new
Thanks for reading and take care. :-)