Monthly Archives: October 2013

Day 6a – Astorga to El Ganso

We got off to a reasonable start around 8:30 and the temperature was just nudging 40°F. On the way out I snapped pix of the Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace.


After walking a little more than a mile we stopped for café and removed one layer. We had lunch in Santa Catalina de Samoza and removed more layers. It was 70° up here. We have crossed over the 1000 m elevation (3048 ft) and will go higher over the next two days.

20131030-155021.jpgin Santa Catalina we saw an amazing stork nest.

We are now in the Maragato section of the Camino. The people are famous for their colorful clothes and thatched houses. Their origin is unclear with theories including Visigoth, Mujedar, Carthaginian and several other possibilities. Here is one of the houses.


We expected to dine tonight at just where you would expect, the Cowboy Bar. Unfortunately it was closed and we has spaghetti from a nice Italian couple and augmented it with rice, cheese, and peanuts. We need to pack emergency food!

Posted from here.

Day 5a – San Justo de la Vega to Astorga

We wanted to take it easy and visit the museums and Cathedral in Astorga (PRS-64). We slept in and walked to Astoga, over the ancient Roman bridge.

Astoria goes back to Roman times and has various ruins around town.


We came into the old walled city, similar to walking into Quebec, and walked around a but. It was market day so the streets were jammed with fruit and clothing vendors. We stopped for café con leche and pastry which served as breakfast. We then went to the Bishop’s Palace and Museum and the Cathedral. By now it was approaching siesta time (everything closes at 1400) but we managed to get to both.

The Bishop’s mansion was started in 1889 by the original “bishop bling” who hired noted architect Antonio Gaudí to design neo-Gothic grand palace. The bishop’s death led to numerous delays but it was finished in 1913. I will provide interior shots later but here is the exterior.


The Cathedral was built starting in 1471 and mostly completed in the 16th century. Again I will provide the external shot and then fill in.



After the visits we stopped for pizza y cerveza and came and checked into a big Albergue with a private bunk bed room for us.

Now more pictures from the Bishop’s Palace. Garden






Now here are a bunch of pictures in the Cathedral. It was magnificent.




Stayed at the Albergue of the Friends of the Camino of Astorga which is a former convent but modernized. We had a room with a bunk bed and a sink. Simple bu nice. Great dinner at Hotel Gaudí. Tomorrow we start to climb toward Cruz de Ferro, the highest point on the Camino at 1500 meters. On the way home, I took a picture of the town hall.


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Day 4a – Hospital de Órbigo to San Justo de la Vega

We had a nice breakfast at Albergue Verde and set off around 9. We decided to not continue on the road route, as this is noisy and a bit boring. We headed off through two villages, hoping that the second one, Santaibánez de Valdeglesias would have an open bar to get some café and OJ, but nothing was open. The landscape was beautiful although there was a lot of mud. (Note that Leonese fall mud is not near as bad as Navarran spring mud).


We had a snack to serve as lunch at the Cruz de Valle.

We continued up a down into the “Home of the gods”, Casa de Los Dioses area.

While having a much needed snack at a “cantina” maintained by a pilgrim support group, we were greeted by Franco, the Argentine pilgrim, responsible for last nights pizza, walking his Camino barefoot. I guess I forgot to mention that he is studying massage and specializes in foot therapies. Last night at the Albergue he was frequently seen massaging his feet.

As we finished our walk we passes the Cruz de Santo Toribio, a fifth century bishop who was banned from Astorga and fell to his knees at this spot when leaving We also got a great view of the mountains ahead. Tomorrow we will spend some quality time in Astorga (PRS-64) and not hike as far.


I forgot to mention 8.7 miles with mud and hills. Stayed in a private room in
Hostal Juli.

Posted from San Justo de la Vega, Castile and León, Spain.

Day 3a continued – Albergue Verde was wonderful

I didn’t write after dinner because we went to bed, but wow! Dinner was mostly vegan although the pizza was merely vegetarian, having goat and sheep cheeses. From the beginning it was great. After the soup was served, noodles and spinach, the hospitaleros sang and played guitar as our “grace”. I took a video of it but can’t seem to place it here. Here is the youtube link

After the soup, I had two helpings, we had the main courses. There was a delightful vegetarian pizza, with lots of veggies and whole wheat crust, and a curried rice dish. Again, I had two helpings. Dessert was a cake. Normally the hospitalera cooks everything, but this night we had a special guest pilgrim cook. Franco, an Argentine perigrino, was relaxing a few days and offered to cook. He is seen serving soup below. More on him in the next entry.

The dinner was magical with talk from interesting folks from US, Canada, Denmark and Spain.




Posted from here.

Day 3a – Villadangos de Páramo to Hospital de Órbigo

We walked 9 miles today. A little more each day. We are almost through the meseta and will start into the mountains in a couple of days. I didn’t sleep real well last night since I was able to get espn radio on my phone. The game lasted until 0500.

Anyway we got up and packed by 0730 had coffee and tea in our room, along with a Whole Foods morning round that we had packed. We started to walk and after a few km came to an Albergue and there was Clara from Seattle whom we met Thursday. We walked with her all day. We stopped for breakfast in San Martín del Camino and continued walking to Hospital de Órbigo. Here are Susan and Clara walking along.

As before, I will occasionally reference the Pilgrimage Road to Santiago and we are at chapter 62 (noted as PRS-62). Here is an interesting water tower on the way into town.

The bridge at Hospital de Órbigo was buit in the 13th century and has been rebuilt after floods and such. The most recent was when the Spanish destroyed some to prevent Napoleon from invading. Napoleon went a different way. Here are several shots if the bridge.




We are now relaxing before dinner at Albergue Verde It is very nice with lots of nice people. No Internet in room however so no baseball in the middle of the night. I might sleep better as a result.

Gorgeous sunset tonight.


Posted from Hospital de Órbigo, Castile and León, Spain.

Day 2a – Virgen del Camino to Villadangos del Páramo

Last night we stayed in Albergue Don Antonio y Doña Cinia. We were In a room for 20 but there were only five perigrinos for the evening. We couldn’t find a restaurant so we got take out empanadas and wine and relaxed at the Albergue. We actually both slept fine until. 6:30 am. We shared our wine with a nice Philippine woman, Clara, who now lives in Seattle. She started in September in Roncesvalles and is taking her time.

We were packed and tossed out into the dark at 7:30. We stopped for café con leche and zumo de naranja and waited for sunrise. We progressed out and came across a cute statue.


We then came to the place where the Camino divides and tried to take the scenic route but we found that the arrows had been messed with and we found ourselves on the road route. It was noisy, but safe since we walked on paths near the road, not on it. We stopped for coffee in Valverde de la Virgen and saw a newer church with giant stork nests and Alpha and Omega hanging from the cross



After 8 miles, we stopped for lunch in Villadangos del Páramo and decided that 8 miles was good for the first full day of walking. Collapsed in a hotel room and slept until morning.

Posted from Villadangos del Páramo, Castile and León, Spain.

Day 1a – Boston to Madrid to León to La Virgen del Camino

Long day. We left Boston at 5:30 pm and arrived in Madrid around 5:30 am, (6 hours flying and six hours of tome diff). By the time we got our packs and repacked for carrying it was 7 am. We got train tickets to León, took the train downtown at 7:30 and waited until 1040 for the train to León.

Got into León at 1330 and started to walk. We resisted walking past the Parador lest we succumb to the temptation that got to the perigrinos in The Way. I did take a picture as we passed near it anyway.


We then continued out of León on the Camino.


Continuing on, we walked past a small chapel dedicated to St James, and a small collection of bodegas, or underground houses.


We arrived in Virgen del Camino and checked in at the Albergue de Don Antonio y Doña Cinia. We showered and did laundry and then went out and tried and failed to find a restaurant. We got empanadas and wine and had them at the Albergue kitchen. We shared wine with Clara from Seattle and the Philippines (more on her later).
Less than 5 miles walking today. We will take it easy for a few days until we recover our Camino legs.

Posted from Valverde de la Virgen, Castile and León, Spain.