Astorga – We are Not Friends

Astorga Rest Day (According to my phone, I did 10kms of walking)

I was extremely fortunate to sleep later this morning as I couldn’t seem to fall asleep and it was after 3am before I finally did! Maybe the sound of snoring is becoming a needed sound in the background. I certainly hope not!

After not having the time for the cathedral and palace yesterday, I headed out to see them, but first I needed food and cafe con leche. I ate a delicious croissant, but the cafe con leche was horrendous. Super strong where I think the spoon could stand upright and after half a cup, I had to push it aside. It still sat heavily in my stomach though and made me feel quite queasy throughout the morning.

Talking to Bill and Jean and Sarah and Evan last night, they’d given me a bit of a heads up about the audio information provided at the cathedral. Bill said Astorga needed to take a leaf out of Leon’s book and go with the less is more theory. (The directions hadn’t been great in Leon, so maybe I needed the “more”.)

I definitely did not need more. It started outside, explaining the facade which was simple enough and I thought, this is perfect, I could actually follow each point it was talking about. (In Leon, I was walking back and forth trying to work out what it was discussing and I still never found the thistle door!)

Great start. I walked inside and this is where the avalanche of information started. It was simply too much information, explained by a voice in a bland monotone and I could feel myself tuning out. It wasn’t helped by how increasingly unwell I was feeling from the coffee.

I moved through each of the rooms and gave up listening to the audio to simply look at things myself before entering the cathedral.

This has been my least favourite cathedral out of all the ones I have visited. Again, I don’t know whether it was the effects of the coffee, but it felt oppressive walking around it and I began to experience anxiety needing to get out into the fresh air.

Walking into the Bishop’s Palace, designed by Gaudi was a very different experience. From the outside, I actually felt like I was at a make-believe castle at Disneyland.

Everything inside was light.

When I was leaving, a Spanish lady with two friends asked if I would take a photo of them. They then began to argue about where to take the photo, back and forth while I’m still standing there waiting. Eventually, the lady who asked me, storms away from the friends and I take a picture of just her in front of the statues instead of the building. I didn’t understand a word she said, but clearly understood the sensation of “like trying to herd cats!” Fortunately, she was happy with my photo as she called out to me as I was exiting with a thumbs up.

I did a bit more wandering around Astorga and bought some chocolate as this region is renowned for it. It may not survive more than a day…

The coffee really wiped me out for the day, so I went back to the room and rested, not eating all day. It was 5:30pm before I finally felt hungry enough to want to put anything in my stomach, a good 7hrs after that awful coffee.

Before heading out, I packed my bag from scratch, blissfully having the room to dump everything out. I made the smart decision to check the weather for the trek up the mountain – 4 degrees! This calls for gloves and potentially even my beanie!

Just enough time to head to the supermarket for supplies and some dinner before enjoying a massage.

I went inside a cafe as a wind had picked up making it cold outside (can understand the 4 degrees tomorrow) and started to walk towards an empty table. A guy practically pushed me out of the way and said it was his table. He was clearly a pilgrim and I was quite taken aback.

Everyone I have been around so far have been incredibly open and welcoming. I was used to scenarios where if this had have occurred, the person would have said I was welcome to share the table.

My “Camino family” are now all ahead of me. Is this what it will be like until the end? Little scraps of connections, but nothing as heartfelt as what I have experienced so far?

I certainly hope not, not just for me but for Riley too. I want him to be able to experience the wonderful spirit that has wrapped itself around me. All I can do is wait and see and still be as open to every experience.

Massage complete, bag is packed and ready to be back on the trail, while also being terrified of the huge inclines and declines.

It has been an incredible four weeks since I started this journey. I’m a little more seasoned in walking, but I think my legs and feet have become a bit complacent with the flats of the Meseta.

Will wait to see how cheery I feel tomorrow!

10 thoughts on “Astorga – We are Not Friends

  1. Hi Karen. I am a friend of Irish. I being following your blog every day, maybe there is a book in this. I wish you all the best on the rest of your journey.

    1. Hello Martin!
      Thank you so much for the well wishes. I fear I need them tomorrow!
      I hope you have been enjoying the journey, especially when Irish was still with me. I miss her terribly. It is definitely not the same without her.

      1. Ah good to hear from you Karen. Irish talked so much about you, I could see the enjoyment and friendship she has for you in her face, I feel I know you too. I have no doubt in my mind that you will get over that mountain. You have taken us all on a great journey with you and hopefully we will follow you to the end.

        1. 🤣 I think that came from the shared pain of snorers!
          Truly though, Irish was the very first person I had a conversation with and would never have expected she would become such a dear friend that I think of often, wishing she was here to laugh at some crazy experience.
          I am looking forward to catching up with her in a couple of weeks.
          PS. Totally slayed the mountain. 🤗

  2. Dont worry you will meet more people on the way.
    Riley is getting himself packed tonight and seems to have everything in hand.
    You are right about some of the cathedrals in Spain. Sometimes they dont know where to stop with loading embellishment upon embellishment. I guess that if you thought your best way of avoiding an after life of eternal damnation was to donate to build something in the local cathedral, it would be a powerful incentive.

    1. I know I will meet more, I just don’t think there is the extra level of warmth.
      Everyone is getting excited for me, sending messages from along the way, asking when Riles arrives. Glad to hear he has himself sorted.
      Do you think people ever stop to consider that God might be rolling his eyes at all the embellishment? Isn’t there a commandment that relates to not showing off?

  3. Hey Kaz,
    When does Riley meet up with you? Love your journey. Will you be a morning person back at home after this? 🤣❤️

    1. Hi lovely!
      Riles arrives in Sat afternoon Spain time. Can’t wait.
      After you read today’s post, you will laugh. Definitely will NOT become a morning person! 🤣

  4. Don’t worry you will bounce up those mountains like tigger. Hope your stomach is feeling better. Don’t worry about Mr Rude (table) he’s just there to show you how many gorgeous people there are on the Camino . Buen Camino

    1. Bounce may have been a little stretch! 🤣
      Mr Rude is a lesson I’m waiting to work out. Especially when I crossed paths with him today!
      Looking forward to connecting up with the gorgeous people. xx

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