Day 16, Oct 14: Astorga to Foncebadon, 15.5mi

I was so glad there was a large, nice albergue near the beginning of the city last night when I trudged in at 6:45pm.  I was assigned to a room with 4 beds, but was the only person in there and no one else arrived after me.  Though I had just had 2 nights to myself in a hotel, here was another night where I got a room to myself!  Still nice to have people around, some interaction, but no snoring or tossing/turning to contend with and I could spread out my stuff all over the beds.
I slept really deeply and barely stirred around 6:00-6:30 when I heard others getting up.  My alarm was for 7:10, so lazy!  After my long day, I wasn’t anxious to start early today, and planned to do a shorter day of walking.
At 7:11, the manager of the albergue opened my door and cheerfully said “Buenos Dias” and turned on my light, prompting me to get going so I could be out at 8am.  I was up.  ”Yup”, I said, “Bean Camino”.
I haven told you that story yet, my readers!  Backtrack to Day 4 or 5, mid-afternoon, I was heading up a hill and came across a slightly older couple who were moving slowly.  I slowed to greet them and we spoke for a few minutes.  The gentleman told me they were from South Carolina, but had lived all over including Arvada, CO for a short time.  When we parted, he said to me enthusiastically, “Well, Bean Camino!”  I smiled and said “Buen Camino to you, too!”
I don’t tell this to make fun of him; it made my day that he pronounced the phrase that way.  All kinds of people from all over the world are here, walking across Spain.  Trying, even a tiny bit – with one phrase – to be part of the Spanish culture is a good thing.  So if you don’t know any other words and don’t have any ear for the Spanish accent, “Bean Camino” it is.  So now I say this to myself if I need a smile or see something funny – it just pops into my head and I chuckle.  The phrase itself literally means “Good Walk”, but seems to mean a combination of “Have a good journey/Blessings to you” and is a greeting and a response that most everyone uses on the Camino – whether they are walking or are a local passer-byer.  It’s also really handy to have a saying that everyone understands and can say to one another, in case you don’t know another person’s language.
…I slowly placed my tender feet onto the cold tile and willed myself to stand up.  It always feels better once I get moving.  I have this morning ritual with a wooden foot roller that I brought from home.  Lucas laughs at me because I am so routine-oriented and I roll the soles of my feet EVERY morning at home; it’s like I can’t do anything until that is accomplished.  I packed it with me here, and I swear it plays a huge role in the health and ability of my feet to take this beating every day!
So…on this day, Wednesday, I was out around 8:10 (and not the last one out!); I didn’t have a direction today.  Well, I had the arrows, but I didn’t have a personal direction.  I really didn’t feel like starting out walking yet; it was barely light and I wasn’t yet motivated.  I wandered around the square where I ate dinner last night, finally choosing a warm cafe and figured coffee and looking at my guidebook sounded reasonable.
I ended up staying there for 2.5 hours!  It was a decidedly shorter walking day, my feet and mind needed less since yesterday was long.  Since last night I had made it to Astroga, population 12,000, that had multiple museums and a cathedral, I had the opportunity today to look around instead of walk straight out of there.  Most places besides cafes, weren’t going to open until 10am.  So 2 cups of coffee, 2 donuts, and 2 blogs later I left that cafe and headed to the Museum of Camino (Museo do los Caminos) history.  I had spent some time looking through my guidebook to make some possible plans for today and tomorrow, then I wrote the two latest blogs.  I truly love writing and sharing my thoughts and experiences with you, Internet Full of Potential Readers!  I have always enjoyed writing and I think it’s my best creative outlet; I enjoy it immensely, anyway.
The Museum was very interesting, and the building itself was built by Gaudi and was magnificent to walk around.  I ran into my Australian friend, Anita, again!  We chatted, then I moved on to the Cathedral.  Most Cathedrals have a similar feel and layout (especially once you’ve been to a few…) but each one has their unique characteristics and history and I really do love walking around them.  The ceiling are so high and the arches intrigue me.  What caught my attention in this one were the very thick columns.  As opposed to the Cathedral in Leon which was so delicately-lit due to all the windows, this one felt SOILD.  There was no caving-in of the nave in this one’s history!
I attended the attached museum but hurriedly so; I did need to get on my way to make a little progress and not arrive very late this evening.
I had a lovely afternoon walk, even a short break for lunch on a bench under a tree where I made some notes in my journal.
The landscape changed from flat and some trees, to an incline and lush ferns and woods.  I was climbing to my destination of Foncebadon, a very small town in the hills I began climbing today- looks like I’m getting out of the flat/non-shaded part! - and only a short distance to the infamous Cruce de Fierro which I will visit tomorrow morning.
The albergue I chose (there were 4 in this very small town!) was simple and welcoming.  No dinner here, so I ate at a local tavern which was very interesting and unique setting; I really enjoyed it.
When I arrived back, several peregrinos were sitting around the common area chatting.  One said to me he had overheard me say to some Brazilian women earlier that I wanted to practice my Spanish.  He said, come join us and practice!  (Very kind and friendly, not creepy).  Of course all of a sudden I felt very nervous (Bean Camino, Bean Camino!!), but I sat down and introduced myself.  And then the group of us had an actual intelligent conversation for at least an hour.
This was really exciting to me; it’s really starting to click for me.  I have so far to go to become what you would call fluent, but as of …today, I think, I feel like I can hold an actual conversation and say full sentences to communicate basically what I really want to say and they are not just simple sentences like “My name is Whitney.  I am from the United States”.  We talked about everything from families to jobs to Spanish vs. American culture, including how older people are cared for in each.  Of course we also discussed food, wine, beer.  I told them about Colorado’s love of craft beers and asked if that was popular here, since mostly I hear about – and partake in – the wine.  We discussed the Camino and what we’re each getting out of it.  Some of them had done at least parts of it before.  See, this was a real conversation!  It was thrilling!
I went outside for a peek at the great view we have from this hilltop albergue, and could see the twinkly, far-off city lights of Astorga.  It’s fun to look back from where you came.  The night air was really chilly, and refreshing.  Inside there was a cozy wood  stove, and a bunch of friendly Pilgrims.  I smiled, inside and out.
My room in the Albergue Municipal in Astorga.  Rooms are always set up differently, sometimes MANY beds in one big room, but often 4 bunks in one room.  Today I was the only one in this room though, lucky me!

My room in the Albergue Municipal in Astorga. Rooms are always set up differently, sometimes MANY beds in one big room, but often 4 bunks in one room. Today I was the only one in this room though, lucky me!

 

I liked this handsome lion monument that was put up in Plaza Santocildes in memory of the siege of Astorga during the Peninsular War.

I liked this handsome lion monument that was put up in Plaza Santocildes in memory of the siege of Astorga during the Peninsular War.

 

This is a sensational Gaudi building known as the Bishop's Palace, which houses a museum of the history and artifacts of the Camino (Museo de los Caminos), and was very beautiful and interesting to walk around.  Mostly historical pieces, and some contemporary art as well.

This is a sensational Gaudi building known as the Bishop’s Palace, which houses a museum of the history and artifacts of the Camino (Museo de los Caminos), and was very beautiful and interesting to walk around. Mostly historical pieces, and some contemporary art as well.

 

Scenery change as the route began to climb into the hills and away from the hotter, flat section I've been in for at least a week.

Scenery change as the route began to climb into the hills and away from the hotter, flat section I’ve been in for at least a week.

 

Early evening view over the back porch of the albergue I chose in tiny hill-town Foncebadon; looking back over where I came from today was rewarding.

Early evening view over the back porch of the albergue I chose in tiny hill-town Foncebadon; looking back over where I came from today was rewarding.

 

Me in front of the entrance to my albergue in Foncebadon; it was small and did not offer many ammeneties, but had a nice hot shower, and very friendly folks hosting and staying there; I enjoyed my experience.

Me in front of the entrance to my albergue in Foncebadon; it was small and did not offer many ammeneties, but had a nice hot shower, and very friendly folks hosting and staying there; I enjoyed my experience.

 

Unique tavern in this tiny town where I ate dinner; wine in pottery goblets and dripping candles on each table; fun atmosphere.

Unique tavern in this tiny town where I ate dinner; wine in pottery goblets and dripping candles on each table; fun atmosphere.

 

One Response to “Day 16, Oct 14: Astorga to Foncebadon, 15.5mi”

  1. yvettemarie33 says:

    Oh Whitney, all these incredible experiences and people you come across! “Bean Camino!!!” PS, I think I might try using a roller on the bottom of my feet!!!

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