Day 22 – San Martin del Camino to Astorga

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A long solitary walk in the heat, (8 hours) every now and again there were some attractive sections with trees and shade.  Flat flat flat with a short steep climb into Astorga.  My feet continue to ache to a degree of  ¨can´t explain¨.  It  tires me and I am feeling so drained again today.  My body is telling me to slow down and I think that is exactly what I need to do.  It will mean that I will have to break away from the group and will be entirely on my own.  I THINK I am ready for this step – me, myself and I!!!!

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Some interesting crosses etc. in memory of special ones lost on the Camino.

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+- 6km out of Astorga we came across this little oasis.  Juice, snacks, fruit all spread out for the pilgrims – you leave a donation and take, drink whatever you want.   A young guy runs this “pit stop” – he walked the Camino 3 years ago and now devotes his life to making pilgrims feel special at his pit stop.  He was brewing up a pot of curry on an open fire for those who were very hungry.  In this heat I am not sure anyone ate his curry.  He stays at his pit stop, no running water, no heat, no nothing.  He is up at 06h00 every morning and runs to Astorga, yes runs to Astorga buys whatever he needs and runs back to his pit stop.  This has been his routine and life for the last 3 years.  Pics below of the oasis in the middle of nowhere!

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David from Latvia (?) gate crashed our group, he was so loud I hurried on as his loudness immediately irritated me.   Shereez and Kirsten were left with crazy David who thought he was gods gift to all women.   The three of them became a wolf pack and started howling for the entire 6 km´s left for the day!  They were a good 500 meters behind me but the howls followed me loud and clear into Astorga.  I think this is what pushed me over the edge as well today and partly helped me to make the decision to break away from people for a few days.

Anyhow with all that said a few good laughs were shared while chatting about the wolf pack.

The first views of Astorga – looked so close yet took about two hours to get to Astorga from this point.

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The Albergue had a great kitchen so Shereez opted to cook dinner, the usual pasta with mushrooms and tomato sauce has become part of our daily routine.  It truly is difficult to find healthy food let alone try make / cook it in the albergue kitchens with no utensils.  Fortunately Astorga had a well kitted out kitchen.

Pic of the Albergue in the back ground.  There are two municipal albergues in Astorga – one as you enter the town and one right at the end of the town, as you exit Astorga on the Camino path.  We opted for the first Albergue only because we could not walk any furhter at that point in time.  Was not a bad choice, there were only 4 beds in a room. Schweet, schweet and schweet again!!  Kristen, Shereez and I were together in one room, while Jess and Debbie shared the room next to ours.   The poor dude taking the 4th bed in our room felt a little intimidated by the three of us!  I at one point in time thought her would move out by he stayed.   Best he not snore – he will get our walking sticks jammed up his arse if he does! (Bwahaha).

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Shereez and I spent some time exploring Astorga and we had a good chat about how I was feeling and she fully respected my space and wish.  I just can’t keep up with the pace of the group, it feels like I am running the Camino at times!   I am seriously exhausted and my feet ache like mad still!  So maybe a bit slower is what is right for me.  The Cruz de Ferro is two days away and I know I have some deep thoughts to work through before I get there.  Being on my own will allow me to dig deep within my soul and allow some of those feelings to finally surface.

Cruz de Ferro (the iron cross) – is a cross on the Camino that is located between the towns of Foncebadon and Manjarin.  It consists of a wooden pole about five feet high surmounted by an iron cross, a replica of the original preserved in the Museo de los Caminos in Astorga. At its base there has been a mound forming over the years. A legend says that when the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela was being built, pilgrims were asked to contribute by bringing a stone. The tradition is to throw a stone, brought from the place of origin of the pilgrim, with his or her back to the cross to symbolize their journey as well as finally ridding themselves of any baggage – be it emotional baggage, physical or any form of pain etc.  It is also a place used to spread positive energy and blessings for those you care about.  I am really looking forward to this part of my Camino and time I get my mind ready for my big “dump”!!  I will share more about this closer to the time!

On I shall walk, (entirely alone as of tomorrow…..)

The odd thing is you walk alone most of the day, however you start off together and you re-unite with the clan at the end of the day, booking in at the same Albergue and catch up on the days happenings, share stories, eat together – even cook together.  The decision I have taken, I will now leave alone and arrive alone and who knows not chat to anybody in the evenings – a new experience awaits me tomorrow!  I am so ready for this…..

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  • Mike

    Life rewards those that persevere. And youve shown us how. Well done so far. Have that kit kat and take a break.Lol Mike N

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