The message above says it all. On the Camino everyone walks at their own unique speed. I’m OK, you’re OK. This is fine when you are walking alone but when you walk with someone else, there has to be some compromise. Early on, Marie and I agreed that we would walk about 20 km each day. I tended to want to race ahead and go farther but in the end was content with our goal. Some others, particularly solo men would walk 40 km or more a day. Their first question at the end of the day was “How far did you walk today?” For them it was a competitive race.
Usually each day there was a choice of destinations with accommodations 15 to 30 km away. Today was a little different. Hospital de Orbigo was about 12 km out. Santibanez was 18 km but at the top of a hill you could bypass on an alternate flatter route. Astorga pop. 12,000 was about 29 km away. I convinced Marie that we should make Astorga our goal. So off we went.
We stopped for lunch in Hospital de Orbigo. In the middle ages there was a church here dedicated to the Virgin Mary. In the 16th century the Knights Hospitaller built a pilgrim hospital here. It was a hot sunny day and we enjoyed our coke zero stop too.
The farms here surround each town. Farmers live in town and go out to their farmland each day. They do not usually live on their land like in Canada. I suppose this is because small towns are so frequent here, it has always made sense to organize life this way since feudal times. We continued hiking in the hot sun. Suddenly we came on a nice surprise – David – the refreshment stand operator. It was a welcome relief to take a break. All he asked for was a donation.
We continued walking in the hot sun. About 4 PM we were going through a hamlet called San Justo de la Vega. It was another 3 km to Astorga. A man named Manuel comes out in the road and invites us to stay in his small refugio in his house. We said yes, we’ve had enough for the day although Dave still wanted to see Astorga. We did our laundry and hung it out to dry on a clothes line. I had 2 pairs of Oceania Cruise slippers that I washed and hung up. I remember the line was hanging pretty low and there was a couple friendly dogs in the yard.
We freshened up and Sean and Ruth from Montreal checked in too. It was comfortable and he only wanted 12 Euro for the two of us. We decided to walk a few more km to have dinner in Astorga which you can see in the background above. We had heard of a famous local meal called Cocito Maragato – a Castilian stew. Well we found a great restaurant that served this dish thanks to the recommendation of a couple from Madrid we had met today. It was a huge meal! It was hard to get thru it all but Dave enjoyed the culinary experience with Marie’s help.
When we finally made it back to the refugio, overfed and exhausted, Manuel said that unfortunately, one of the dogs had jumped up and ate one of your slippers lol!! He felt bad and said we could stay the night for free. In the morning we gave him 6 Euro as he was so hospitable and apologetic.