This morning I woke up at 5am with a sore throat! It wasn’t the usual, I’m ‘coming down with something’ sore throat but a kind of ‘fatigue’ illness influenced tickle that lasted a good 10kms before fading away somewhere into the background of the gentle hills of Hospital Del Orbigo.
Anyway, because of this ailment I didn’t speak for the first few kilometres of the morning to Clarisa as I was feeling a bit sorry for myself, however I did whinge to her about how much I missed bacon, and that they don’t really do bacon in Spain, or a proper breakfast, it is nothing like the bacon you get back in Blighty anyway and how now, this too, as well as my sore throat, made me sad. It was 6am. She said nothing.
By the time we reached Puente de Orbigo I was just about as miserable as I’ve been all camino but perked up when I saw the Asturias cafe. Looking forward to my usual camino Tortilla I was informed that even this, today, was off the menu. Harrumph! ‘but I can do you some bacon?’ chirped the bar owner. Hallelujah!
Not only bacon, real bacon, but bacon, egg and chips! Im not sure whether to use my new found super powers for good or evil in the future.
The scenery and atmosphere on the camino from Burgos had been pretty poor but after Leon and especially Hospital Del Orbigo, the beauty has come back into the walk and the number of pilgrims seems to have tripled! Are these all the bussing pilgrims from Burgos or are these new pilgrims fresh to the camino? Judging by the sparkle of their backpacks and how much they wave and call out Buen Camino I’d say they’re newbies.
The most striking thing about all these pilgrims is how many are women, and how many are women who came to walk alone. Invariably, when you see a lone pilgrim you’ll find its a woman. Speaking to many of these lone women they’re not single ladies looking for love on the camino but almost all have a new age spiritual calling to the camino and if you were to root around in their kindles you’d find a disproportionately high number of Eckhardt Tolle/Wayne Dyer ebooks. Each one of them though I’ve found highly fascinating and inspirational and exactly my kind of chums. If you’re looking to meet some cool young chicks the camino is certainly the place to find them. (no, I’m not looking!)
The best thing about today’s walk, or even the entire walk from Leon to here is the hippy stop just before Astorga where a lone chap has put together a kind of vegan shack where he offers watermelon, oranges, apples, herbal teas etc all for donativo. The rest of the walk was very enjoyable, with gentle hills kindly preparing us for the mountains to come in the following days.
The city of Astorga had two impressive buildings, it’s cathedral and a Gaudi masterpiece that, of course, puts me in mind of the buildings back home. The only difference in Astorga is the lack of colour, the entire building is a dreary uniform grey.
Today’s albergue, the San Javier, I can’t recommend! Ive had a cold shower, no, freezing cold shower, there’s no washing machine and Im billeted in a baking hot attic room in a very skinny single bunk, plus, at €9, it’s the most expensive albergue Ive stayed in. None of that sounds particularly grateful! It’s a mass in 30 minutes, I’ll get my grateful on inside the cathedral!