*If you are reading this and have walked the Camino Frances you know that it is more than a one day walk from Ponferrada to Sarria. If you have not walked it, common sense would alert you to the fact that we did not walk 67.2 miles in one day. While we were in Astorga we discussed some of the ways that we could shorten our walking days in order to spend more time together. Days off and short walking days due to illness has left us with many miles left to Santiago causing us to walk more miles per day than is good for us at this time.
Today we took a bus from Ponferrada to Lugo, then transferred to Sarria.
We explored Ponferrada while we were waiting to leave.
There wasn't much room to get ready inside the Albergue so I used my quick exit plan. The plan is this: the night before I put everything into my backpack that I am not using. The exceptions are: boots, walking sticks, and toiletries. In the morning I go straight into the bathroom. Then I put the things I was using into my sleeping bag: sleeping mask, iPod, water bottle, and toiletries. With just my night clothes on I put on my backpack, grabbed my sleeping bag, boots, and walking sticks. I go outside and find a place to get organized….usually with a table/chair. This morning the view from the back of the Albergue was beautiful!
The moon above the mountains. Approximately 6:00 a.m.
Daisuke from Japan had the same idea. Vern and Angel soon showed up.
Daisuke ready for walking!
A glimpse of Riego de Ambros.
A church in Molinaseca built ino the mountain.
A stone I just had to take a photo of in Molinaseca.
The walk out of Rabanal del Camino is uphill and uphill some more! Almost 5 miles of walking uphill. We chose to walk on the road for most of the way to La Cruz de Ferro. While on the road I heard an unusual sound behind me. I turned around just in time to see two Pilgrims using their walking sticks to push a Pilgrim in a wheel chair up the steep hill. I asked them if it was ok to take a photo….they chose not to have a photo taken. As much as possible I ask for permission to include photos of people in my blog.
Cruz de Ferro has become a personalized symbol for many Pilgrims. What I mean is: some Pilgrims walk hundreds of miles with a stone or some other lightweight remembrance of home or of a loved one.
Tony Chapin was my boyfriend throughout high school. We had a son together and over the years we were friends and support for each other. In 2012 Tony gave me a Disabled American Vets Patch to place just below the cross in Cruz de Ferro. For this Camino Tony sent me a custom made bead, locally made where he lives in Alaska. I received the bead in the mail…..Tony passed away four days later. I had promised to leave the bead for him. I believe that it was his way of being a part of our journey.
The bead Tony sent me.
Placing the bead at Cruz de Ferro.
Vern placing a rock from a beach in Crescent City, California.
Barbara and Angel preparing to place their momentos.
Many Pilgrims that we know are leaving Astorga around the same time.
Dane walking with his cello.
Dane and a few of the crew members.
Angel, Vern, and I have all had opportunities to talk with Dane over the last couple of weeks. We have learned that the documentary that is currently being filmed of Dane walking during the day and playing the cello in the evening has been six years in the planning stage.
New today: I saw a “Pilgrim” with a skateboard! This is a first for me. At one of our breaks I heard a noise I don't normally hear on the Camino. I looked up just in time to see the skater.
“Pilgrim” skater on the Camino.
First, also today: a rainbow Camino marker!
One of my favorite places on the Camino to take a break:
Late yesterday we decided to take a day off today. We have decided to “re-group” and explore Astorga. The first person we saw was Russell from the U.K. It was great to hear guitar music first thing in the morning.
Russell, a Pilgrim from the U.K.
There was a large open air market today. There was merchandise, fresh fruit, vegetables, bread, meat and fish.
A volunteer for the Red Cross in Spain.
As we walked around we heard that Dane, the Pilgrim cellist would be playing in front of the Cathedral this evening.
*I mentioned in an earlier post that I am relying more on my pedometer than the accuracy of the mileage in my guidebook. Today we saw a woman with a spray paint can painting yellow arrows on the road in the opposite direction of the already established arrows….she sprayed silver paint over the yellow arrows already in place. I will no longer make a note that I am using the mileage from my pedometer.
Storks on top of a water tower.
I have heard many times on the Camino that you always see the same person twice. I am not sure how many times we have seen Steve Allen from Michigan but many days have passed.
Vern and Steve Allen.
Vern had just stepped outside of a bar in Hospital de Orbigo to speak to Angel on the phone when Steve walked by. Everyone has a “story” of challenge and triumph….Steve is no exception. He had been dealing with a strained leg when he had devised a system to elevate his leg in an Albergue.
A creative waymarker area.
A donation stand on the way to Astorga.
The man in the yellow shirt on the right and some friends have set up a food/beverage stand for all Pilgrims!
The walk out of Leon seems longer than the walk in. Virgen del Camino, a 5.4 mile walk is the first opportunity for a cup of coffee. Many of us stop to rest and have juice, coffee, and a croissant. Shortly after Virgen del Camino it is necessary to decide: go toward Villadangos Del Paramo or Villar de Mazarife. We chose the route to Villar de Mazarife.
A Pilgrim sculpture on the way to Villar de Mazarife.
The first time I have seen this waymarker.
A plaque at the entrance of Villar de Mazarife.
Angel, Nancy, and Vern at a statue of St. James.
We are staying at Tio Pepe's private Albergue in the background.