First things first. To put everyone’s mind at ease, the nun remains true to her vows and I remain frustrated. Jen comes in two weeks – get those legs limber, honey. (I hope to God you’re not reading this to your kids, Susan)
When I got up to the room last night after writing my blog entry, my roommate was sleeping. However, while I was gone, she had spent time consulting Google and written me a very nice note. There are some people in this world that are just filled with nothing but good, while for me consideration of others seems to be a herculean task. I admire them and it gives me something to work towards.
I got what I thought was an early start this morning, but when I went downstairs at 6 there were only 3 pairs of shoes left by the door. It was short jaunt to the next major town – Astorga, which is an old Roman settlement. Astorga is kinda cute and if I were in the area again, I would make sure to take some time to explore it more closely. Of note, there is an active Roman ruin excavation, another cathedral (closed for services when I rolled through) and a former Episcopal palace designed by Antoni Gaudi that now houses a pilgrim a museum (closed due to Spain).
This town would make a good base to explore this region of Spain. I always like to take mid-sized towns as a base when I travel someplace new because they’re easier to navigate and it’s easier to learn the local customs. It has all the services you need and usually the people are friendlier than in the big cities. In this case, Astorga seems to check all the boxes and I place it as my #2 favorite trail town behind Logrono.
We’re finally starting to ascend into the mountains (hills, really) and I love it. The air is crisper, animals are back and there’s a sense of anticipation of what lies beyond with each summit you cross. I love mountains.
Today I started thinking about the next week and what comes beyond. I left the group yesterday and I believe my path forward lies alone. My new favorite is saying is “Go with the flow” and right now the flow says to continue walking alone. It’s a tough decision because I really enjoyed Stefan, Maria and Philipp’s company. Locky is apparently back with them now too.
Groups are funny. They provide ample benefits (emotional and physical) but at the cost of freedom. In this case, I’m giving up what are truly a great group of people that provide companionship, encouragement, new ideas and assistance should I need it. I sincerely hope our paths will cross again, and, since trails like this are funny, it’s not improbable that they will.
With that decision made, I am left with another. If I want, I can make Santiago in a week from here. I meet Jen on July 27. That leaves some time to fill. Options are:
- Walk slowly to Santiago
- Walk all the way to Finisterre on the Atlantic Coast (an extra ~50 miles)
- Make it to Santiago in time for the Festival of St. James – huge party and fireworks on the 24th/25th. Then ????
- Hoof it to Santiago and then go somewhere for a few days until meeting Jen in Paris. Options include, but are not limited to Grenada or Seville (Moorish architecture/Alhambra), Madrid (awesome museums), Morocco (never been to Africa), Mont St. Michele in Normandy (kitschy but I want to see it). All are on my list of things to see. Or somewhere completely different.
Right now, there are too many options and I simply can’t decide. I know there’s a technical name for it, but I can’t remember it. Hopefully the flow lets me know soon.
July 14, 2017
Hospital de Obrigo to Rabanal del Camino – 21 miles
Chocolate break – Astorga has a number of chocolates