So I was worried about the hurricane and feeling out of place with no one near me to share the concerns. But the day is beautiful and I am walking to Astorga. As has been true for a few days now, the tomatoes are still ripe on the vine and the corn, for animal feed, is drying on the stalks in the fields. The hills are rolling and I pass an operation raising cows. A couple of calves are in pens just beside the trail and I spend a little time visiting with one. It enjoys being petted.
My friends Nancy and Kerry are a little faster than me, but given stops, we visit often on the trail. Kerry takes a pic of Nancy and me, and I give her my email address, but I have not heard from them since.
I stop at “the garden of the gods,” a place run as a donativo by David and his partner. They have different juices, fruits, rice cakes, PB and jams. I make some oj/pineapple juice and talk a bit with them both. They live in a make shift structure that looks like a bedouin tent of sorts, without even running water. David talks about having two teenage sons who live with their mother with whom he seems not to get along. After many years apart, he’s thinking of leaving his “garden” and going back to wherever in Spain to be there for his sons.
I think about both David and Christine as I walk, wondering how people can be so full of love for others, and so giving, yet leave their own families behind. To be fair, Christine’s situation is quite different, in that she owns her albergue, so this is an investment for her family, her children are grown, and her husband is on-board with the arrangement. But David seems to have abandoned his sons to be of service to others. I cannot square this away, but I am still extremely affected by the love I have felt from these two individuals. At one point, I’m in tears.
Coming down from the hills, I can see Astorga, but it’s a long way off. I stop at a church to eat an apple and drink some water, and to change into my sandals. The recurring theme is that my feet are simply uncooperative.
Astorga is a town that is surrounded by a wall, and the approach is ridiculously steep. All of us walking are huffing and puffing. But once I get to the top, I see my hotel. Oh my gosh- booking.com has done me well. For a small amount of money I have lucked into a modern, luxurious hotel with a spa. For a reduced rate, I use their pool, sauna, etc. And the bath products in the room are quality, too. My hair is so happy to be moisturized!
There is a TV and I spend too many minutes watching BBC to follow the storm, which is going to hit my neighborhood within a day or so. I am not sure I need any dinner, but decide to go out and see if I can find anything. I can’t and then, because I foolishly left home without a map, I get lost to the tune of over 4 miles and hours of time wandering around. I did get to go to the cathedral, though, and buy some penny candy and gellato. As I’m about to despair, I go back to the outer wall, guided by the moon, and find my way back.
I want to stay another day, so I can actually sightsee in this town, both to go to the Roman museum and the chocolate museum, as well as to keep my sights on the hurricane, but it’s now the weekend, and the hotel is sold out. Back on the road!