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Camino – Astorga (Day 21)

Date: Mon 27th May
Distance: 0 km (Rest Day)
Temperature: Warm
Mood: Relaxed
Santiago de Composela: 264km
Highlight: Sleep in

Just a quick post as it is a rest day! Literally! We are being very spoilt and have a great room with a view over the Plaza! With the bed so comfy, we had a relaxed sleep in before thinking of heading off to see the Cathedral as everything else was closed on Monday! Well we missed the Cathedral. Turns out it is only open between 9-10:30. Looks like a late start tomorrow so we can visit on our way out!

Astorga looks to be a town with lots of hidden treasures and we feel that we will probably miss most of them. We really like the feel to this town and without knowing much about it, it seems to be known for its Chocolates, as every second shop sells Astorga Chocolates. Unfortunately they would weigh too much for us to consider purchasing a supply.

We did a circuit of most of the original township before turning to logistics for the following week. We even managed to book the following 2 nights accommodation over the phone speaking only in Spanish. Not sure how we did it cos we sure cannot speak it! So we will find out in due course if we succeeded or not!

The donkeys have been faithful and served their purpose, but with the mountains ahead of us over the next few days they would have been a major hindrance, especially the one that didn’t like hills!

Now these mountains are at a much higher altitude that what we climbed in the Pyrenees and temperatures in the early morning are sub-zero! So we are bracing ourselves for the next challenge.

Stay tuned.

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Camino – Astorga (Day 20)

Date: Sun 26th May
Distance: 48 km
Temperature: Warm
Mood: Grumpy (due to soulless scenery)
Left: León 11:30am
Arrived: Astorga 5:00pm
Santiago de Composela: 264km
Highlight: Mass at León Cathedral

A sleep-in was in order as we had decided on a visit to the Cathedral at 9:30am before heading off to Astorga. Well wouldn’t you know it. We were treated to Sunday morning mass (which also meant no entrance fees!) We just loved the priests singing with their sound resonating throughout the Cathedral. So soothing!

Straight after, we made a beeline for the closest Patisserie for breakfast and bought Pan (bread) for lunch later. So a very late start for the day knowing we only had less than 50km to cycle and the room booked well before we had even left Australia.

Well although the weather was the warmest to date, the scenery was the worst since we have set out on the Camino (hence the lack of photo stock to choose from). We covered equivalent to two days walking and the majority of it was depressing as we hugged the main motorway N-120! In our case we road on it, whereas the Camino trail runs within meters from it! For a long stretch it runs through very ugly industrial areas, that aren’t just ugly, but also smell! Whilst it did affect our mood, we were thankful of being on bikes to accelerate through this stretch. We wouldn’t think any less of anyone jumping in a taxi to skip the majority of this as we could imagine that it would be soul destroying having to walk nearly 2 days through this!

We also faced more hills on this stretch as we start to move off the Meseta and towards the mountains. One of our Donkeys didn’t enjoy the hills one bit, but preserved and ultimately conquered them all!

We also had a storm front bearing down on us that we only copped a light sprinkling that ultimately gave everything a good soaking after we had checked in for the evening!

Astorga was a welcome relieve from both the rain and the ugliness of the industrial side of León. The hotel that was booked months ago was more than we could hope for. We received a very warm and accommodating welcome and the room has a view over the Plaza that the Hotel faces out on. The room is huge, the bathroom is huge and the bed is huge. We will need to take our headlight torches to find each other in the night!

To top it all off, our backpacks that had made their own journey from Burgos, had arrived ahead of us and were waiting for us at reception!

Polished off a good quality meal with a bottle of red and got a little tipsy which is always entertaining and looking forward to another rest day tomorrow!

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