Camino – Day 25
Today has been a very good day. 21km through really lovely country. Yesterday I walked into the hills. That continued today and my heart was singing. For the first eight kilometers or so I was alone on the path, walking west as the sky began to color behind me. The moon was so bright that I quickly dispensed with my headlamp and simply walked by moonlight up into the hills and the trees and the delicious stillness of this new day. My body felt strong and on I walked. At one point, at what seemed like the middle of nowhere in particular, I came upon a beautiful oasis that featured a large table completely filled with a wide variety of food. There was no one “minding the store” – only a sign welcoming the peregrinos and inviting us to partake. There was a donativo basket, completely on the honor system. I dropped a euro coin in the basket, helped myself to a slice of fresh sandia, offered a word of gracias to whatever kind amigo had prepared this most hospitable table, and then I walked on feeling refreshed and strong and light of heart.
Sometime this morning (I didn’t calculate the exact location) I crossed the 500km mark on this pilgrimage journey. I am approximately 2/3 of the way to Santiago!
About 9am I arrived in the city of Astorga, where I treated myself to desayuno that included not just a tortilla de patata, but also a torta de manzana, which was amazingly delicious. At this lovely breakfast spot I ran into a couple of women I knew from the albergue last night. One of the ongoing delights of the Camino is the experience of running into people that you have met somewhere back up the path. I run into more people I know here than I do on many days back home. After desayuno I followed the Camino markers through the winding narrow streets of this ancient city (which I never grow tired of experiencing) until I came upon a most wondrous sight. The Cathedral de Astroga is remarkable. It is far and away my favorite church building thus far on the Camino. The architectural artistry is breathtaking. Situated as it is among the narrow streets it is almost impossible to get back far enough to gain a full perspective. Bending your head back to take it all in has to suffice. Built over several centuries (that alone is something that simply does not happen anymore) it makes use of a variety of stone. The soaring edifice is awe inspiring. And then, while taking in this marvel, the magic of the Camino came into play once again. I hear someone calling my name, turn and see two more women I had spent time with on several previous occasions. We chatted for a few minutes and then said farewell – me to walk on and them to catch a train to Madrid to go home.
The next 10km found me walking up a gradual incline without much shade in the growing heat of the day. And still my heart was full. It was a beautiful day and I have a body strong enough to carry me on this amazing journey.
And the end of this day’s journey found me arriving in the really beautiful village of Santa Catalina de Somoza. There is so much beautiful old stonework here. Fences, walls, buildings – some falling down and many still standing strong. It seems to be a well cared for community. It is a good place to stop for the day. And then tomorrow I walk on.
Here is a link to today’s photos – https://photos.app.goo.gl/15gQia3w9Ft8XmRX8