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Published: July 11th 2013
The wi-fi didn't work at the parochial albergue I stayed at last night, so I will have to go back to that story as it is worth telling. But on to today.
I made it to Astorga by noon. I would have arrived earlier but I stopped on the hill above town to enjoy the beautiful view of Astorga and the valley below me! As you crested the hill there is a cross there and a man was playing the pellegrino song (want donations of course). I stayed a while and listened to him as he would start playing again everytime some pilgrims came up the hill. I also changed shows there - first time to walk in sandals. I walked into town with them 4-5k. While there a man drove up. He cares for the new trees planted on that hill and he also planted the rose bush. He spoke failry good English - an older man with stories to tell. It was nice to listen to the music, enjoy the view, and listen to the stories! Another wonderful blessing of course. I was a bit weary and foot sore and too hot as I left late this morning (I cooked breakfast for my young friends from the US - Iowa, Texas, Idaho, and Minnesota I think. One is going into t the priesthood - this morning, so that ran me a bit late. They cooked me dinner and gave me wine last night though. And I walked with them the last half of the day yesterday, so it was all there fault thatI walked 34k rather than the 20k I had planned and got me to the cool albergue! I walked by the road, which I hate and made me kinda grouchy. I missed the road that was a bit longer but prettier. It was a long hot walk for only being about 15k.
So I had some blessings and lessons along the way. I already shared the two men on the hill. Going down the hill just going thruthe town before Astorga I was joined by Marco. He is a young, good looking Italian who I have never walked with, but we have stayed at several of the same albergues. He usuallly walks pretty fast with his long legs, but he was noticeable limping and walking slowly. We talked best we could - his so, so English and my total lack of Italian. I have judge Marco pretty harshly and had decidedI dided I didn't like him. Well her was another lesson - I dreaded walking with him, but ended up enjoying his company as we walked into town together. He definitely has his good side. Lesson learned! He went in the large municipal that you get to just as you enter town. I looked at the map in the municipal and decided to venture on and try to find the parochial albergue at the convent near the big catherdral. Needless to say I got lost as the yellow arrows disappeared and the roads wound all over the place. I stepped into "The Church" library to ask for directions and was blessed with another angel! This lovely older woman, and she many have been a nun, I didn't quite understand her gestures and she spoke no English. She took me to the convent across the street and talked with a sister (for sure as she was in a habit) and a Spaniard who spoke German and thought he spoke English. It was determined I was looking for an albergue by the cathedral, but they never quite got the convent part. That dear women took me by the hand and led me to the albergue where I am not which is 1 block from the cathedral. Ah these wonderful people! We exchanged a hug and the kiss on each cheek and I wished her Dias te bendiga and adios and she went on her way and I got myself a bed!
After I was settled I went adventuring and found the bar that I had passed that advertised churros con chocolate or chocolate con churros - not sure which. I ordered that and a cafe con leche - time for a bit of a treat. The waitress checked 3 or 4 times to be sure that was what I wanted and then laughed and went to get it. When the cup of VERY think hot chocolate, the plate of churros and the coffee showed up I understood why. BUT it all was delicious and I even ordered more churros as I was dunking them in the hot chocolate as it was more like sauce then a drink!
I had managed to find a card for Andrew's wife and daughter which I need to mail this evening. I hope it finds them okay and is received well as I intended. It is rather awkward writing a sympathy note anyway, but even more so when they don't really know you and then you want to share this unusually expression of compassion and experience with God. I will pray that his wife and daughter will be open to what I shared and the sympathy I extended to them. It was a sad moment for me, as I know they must be hurting so deeply.
I have since showered, washed my clothes by hand and hung them out so they will be clean to wear for tomorrow. I have mapped out 20 - maybe 25 - kilometers tomorrow. Really no hurry still a day ahead. Now I need to buy some food for the walk, check out something for dinner (haven't had a good meal since breakfast, don't think the chocolate and churros count) and go to mass around the corner at 7pm. If I feel up to it later I will blog about my wonderful day yesterday.
I can now add a Fin to my list of countries and I met some more Washingtonians. Also walked with to chaps from Wales yesterday and found out a previous aquaintance is from Romania by way of Ireland. So many amazing people and such a mix! Everyone a blessing. So more later I hope......
Hope the errors and typos aren't too awful. Won't let me edit. Oh well - you will have to figure it out if it doesn't make sense!
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