I think yesterday was one of my favorite days so far. We walked the furthest we’ve walked at about 32 km and it was hot as blazes but it was just a nice day. We walked through this funny woodsy area that seemed like a giant Christmas Tree Farm, except the trees are more round than conical. Toward the end, maybe the last 4 or 5 Km, Joycee sat down right in the middle of this big downhill and took of her boots and switched to Birks. She’d had it. It was kind of comical.
But the town we ended up in, Astorga, was my favorite so far. According to the guide book and Wikipedia it has a population of about 12,000, so slightly smaller than Dexter, the town Joycee lives in. But it had a much bigger feel to it. It had a very nice vibe. We had spent a day and a half in Léon a few days prior, but had I known, I much would have preferred to stay in Astorga for the extra day. We stayed in a hotel right on the main square and our room overlooked several restaurants with outdoor patios that were just humming with activity, peregrinos and locals having a beer or glass of wine, enjoying the sunshine.
The Plaza Mayor is bordered on one end by the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall), the building pictured. It was built in 1683 and gives an air of grandeur and formality to the square, so it’s especially great to see a bunch of kids on scooters or kicking around a soccer ball in its shadow. That seems more true of big squares here in Spain than in the US.
We headed out early this morning but stopped into a little cafe for churros and coffee/hot chocolate. Our trek today was shorter, only about 22 km., but the mountains that have been nodding on our right shoulder for several weeks have moved out in front of us, so the next few days we’ll be climbing. We’ll hit our highest point on the Camino tomorrow but this time we aren’t starting at sea level.
Our overnight stop tonight is in Rabanal del Camino which is a very cool little town, according to the guide only about 50 or so inhabitants. This has been Joycee’s favorite stop so far. It looks very much like it could be a town lifted from the Middle Ages if you ignore the overhead power lines and the occasional cars.Many of the streets are bordered with shoulder high walls and they are narrow and winding.
We’re staying in a Casa Rural (somewhere between a B&B and an albergue), which is slightly crooked with cool stone floors. Our room is on the upper floor overlooking a courtyard. But most importantly it has hot showers and is quiet and quaint. If only all the lodgings could be like this one…