Ahhh, a much better path today

Day 22

The hotel last night was superb as was the dinner.  Got together with two friends then our medic friend from Finland joined us. The portions at dinner were large enough to be family style, and the server took much pride in the service and the food.  Went to bed about 10:30 and didn’t get up until 7, which is late these days.  But it was OK, the walk is only 16 km today so leaving late was fine.  I left the hotel by 9.

Looked out the window: my room had a perfect view of the Roman bridge in the rising sun light.  Spectacular.

This town (Hospital De Orbigo) and hotel were an A+ experience.

Today was quite a change in both the landscape and walking. It was only 16 km today, a nice respite from the 32 km yesterday.  As we walked west, the land changed from the flat fields to rising terrain with grain growing in the fields.  It was also far away from the busy N-120 highway that has plagued the past few days.  We walked up on a rather short meseta and had a bit of shade and much better scenery. This is a stretch of Camino I like.  

There is a “cantina” about 11 km into todays walk atop the second small meseta.  It’s a “donativo” meaning that pilgrims make donations rather than pay a fixed price for thing.  There were a wide selection of food, fruits, and drinks- I had some water and lemonade and a hard boiled egg as well as a banana.  I made a nice donation.  Met a woman from Montana who was very nice and has been doing various walks and hikes for several years.

I stopped a bit later for lunch to rest and hydrate.  Besides, it was still a bit early to check in to the hotel (which was a mere 3.5 km away).  Finished the walk and checked in by 2.  A slow day for me, but why rush…. sometimes it’s better to slow down and take things in.  And with the better location, what better day than today.

Tonight’s stop is Astorga.  I’m booked into a “spa hotel”, as are a couple of my friends. I probably won’t get a massage, though it’s very tempting.  Very nice place, and my room looks out on a peaceful courtyard.

Tomorrow is a bit longer, but still only 20 km.  And tomorrow we start up another mountain.  Some friends will be going on to the next town – with an additional 300 meter climb! – i decided to tackle that the next morning after a good nights sleep.

Still deciding on dinner tonight.  Lots of places to go here – there are at least two plazas, including one outside the magnificent cathedral, so dining shouldn’t be an issue.  The question is what time they will serve. I will probably want to return to Astorga, too. Big Gaudi influence here.

Thoughts to ponder some more but have not really gelled about how we change as people with life and experiences and how things are not the same if we were to take ourselves back in time.  Yesterday’s context of that question was about the Camino, today’s was about other things.  

And I once again ran across my new German friend from Hamburg. It’s becoming a bit fun to run across each other – he insisted on a selfie with me today so his friends at home will believe him.

We’re closing in on the end.  11 days to go, and about 270 km.  More on that going forward.