September 2, Day 23 of walking
Today I was the first out the door at 6 a.m. when they said we could leave. But it wasn’t long before I was part of a throng who apparently came from the other big albergue in town.. I talked with a few that indicated several of them were from Ireland and it was their first day walking. They also had little backpacks so I suspect they were part of a group. They only have 10 days and as I mentioned I have seen a lot of Irish along the way. I was told that destination Camino has become very popular there. One of the gals I spoke with has an Airbnb in West Ireland, so I made a mental note of that! Because Ireland is certainly pretty high on my list of places I’d like to go to next.
By the time everyone settled into their groove, I believe that there were 12 people in front of me and another 12 people behind me! Crazy for my predawn experiences!!
As we walked through Valdeviejas and into the hills, the sun rose pretty in pink behind me over Astorga! It was forecast to get extremely hot early, and since a grandé hill was on tap to scale, I wanted to put as many miles on as I could before the sun came up. So it goes!
The scenery today though-glorious! Green rolling hills and pink heather as far as the eye could see and the mountain range of Cantabrian in our vistas!! Other than the Pyrenees Mountains, I have to admit, this was the best day in terms of the visual reward! I was smiling most of the day! That is, until I got to the grueling inclines as well I was annoyed again (which I have been daily) by the flies and the bugs that want to attack my eyes constantly! with every step it seems, 15 to 20 grasshoppers will explode away from my feet-and it’s amazing that once they catapult, their colors appear to be like butterflies. Pink, some blues and yellows. I have not seen anything like it! Quite beautiful!
I walked through the towns of Murias de Rechivaldo, Castrillo de Polvazates and Santa Catalina de Somoza. I sooo loved the latter – might be my favorite little village of this Camino for its quaint and historical structures, the blooming fauna and the obvious love of home ownership shown by the locals!
Then it was through El Ganso – mostly a ghost town right now but for the Mesón Cowboy, a Tex-Mex bar that would not allow pictures. I’ve read about it and planned to stop, but their admonition of not allowing pictures made me want to move on.
I also travelled through the town of Rabanal Camino, a much chosen spot to stop.
As I arrived into the town of Foncebadón my knees were buckling, it was 85°, and I was so dang tired! The terrain of today was very challenging and reminded me of the Primitivo route that I did earlier this year. Thus my blog title today-I just couldn’t believe the hill kept going and going and going and it was rocky and treacherous as well. I was happy to see the village, but then again, as I traversed the rocky hill, it seemed like it was a pit of a town!! I was originally going to go with a more popular albergue, but it was at the bottom of the town. And they were not open for about another 10 minutes so I made my way up to the top of the hill. I was greeted by a pitbull puppy on a leash, and a hospitalario who did not speak English and had greasy hair in a ponytail. I was the first one there, but as other pilgrims arrived, I felt more comfortable and the view was astounding! Honestly, it’s actually a very cool place and I’m very happy!! There is not much of a kitchen, but they do promise a “Pilgrims” meal and I plan to take advantage of it this time! I did go back down the hill to a “tienda” to load up on a couple of things (boiled eggs – yay!!) for the next few days so I don’t have to feel obligated to eat at restaurants, but for tonight, I will see how it turns out!!