Highlights on a Rainy Day

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Villavante to Astorga (pop: 12400)
April 22, 2015 Mom and Dad’s Anniversay & Earth Day
8:45 AM to 2:01 PM
5 hrs 16 min for 21.62 km

OK, Hostal La Coruna is not the Ritz and is at least 600 metres past the cathedral, twice the distance advertised and no mention that the last kilometre was all uphill. But we have arrived and the distance is one third shorter than yesterday, thus, a walk in the park. Admittedly a rainy walk in the park but we got to make use of the rain gear we have been carrying. The sun is out now and it is hot. More rain forecast.

Last night’s supper was divine. Mercedes and her husband are good cooks. We had blended zucchini and onion soup that even Murray would have liked. I thought it was asparagus soup until told differently. We had salad then chicken cordon bleu with grilled red peppers, wine, water, flan and coffee/tea. With such a great meal, you knew we were going to wait for a late 8 AM breakfast.

Kanji and Susie were surprised they did not wake until 7 AM, by which time on other days, they would already have been walking. Ditto.

For breakfast we had cafe con leche, pots of it, as well as tostadas with homemade mixed fruit jam, scrambled eggs and orange juice. Mercedes made sure we took fruit with us for the road: Apple, pear, banana: all from Spain. The bananas are grown in the Canary Islands.

We hugged our hostess goodbye. It was like leaving a friend.

In spite of the weather reporting that it was already raining. We did not get rained on for two hours. We made it to our first coffee break and sock change. I did not carry my pack yesterday for the long walk. I gave my back the break it needed. I was not sore at all today carrying the pack. For the thirty kilometre days I will continue to send my pack ahead.

We had a lot more dirt road that was kinder to my feet. Still had burning but not as bad.

A highlight today was the medieval bridge at Orbiga, built over a Roman bridge from the ninth century. It is known as the bridge of honour because of a famous jousting match in the holy year of 1434. The story involves a noble knight scorned by a beautiful lady.

We crossed through fields on rolling hills; so, yes, there were several ascents and descents. Two of the latter were very steep and a little slipperier on wet rocks.

Our second highlight was lunch in a family run bar in Santibanez where we shared a large fresh bocadillo and a delicious dish of pig’s ear in tomato sauce with chunks of potato, a first for all of us.

Further en route when it was pouring hardest we were welcomed under shelter at La Casa des Dioses (House of the Gods). David, a young Spaniard (fiftyish?) has his Adobe home in a field, far from anywhere, a yard with a Star of David made with stones in the courtyard, a shelter with benches and
Lots for stools around a wood stove. He drew us in to his warm shelter where there were already a group of Koreans from New York and a German girl. He passed around hot coffee and delicious cookies and offered fruit, rice cakes and other goodies. He asked folks where they were from. He was most genial and gave us our second hug of the day as we left, glowing and refreshed. A third highlight!

Wearing a poncho has another advantage besides keeping me dry. I don’t need a bush to squat behind. A real benefit for females where bushes are scarce.

We did not take many photos today as we wanted to protect our cameras from rain. We do have a bathtub which I will luxuriate in before going to view the Gaudi designed palace, the 15th century Gothic Cathedral and the chocolate factory.

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