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Published: October 12th 2016
Astorga is actually tomorrow but again there are no other options.
This morning we woke to rain and it was steady all day. I had already booked bus tickets to La Virgen Del Camino, and as we passed through the suburban and industrial wastelands on the edge of León I felt not the slightest guilt seeing poncho clad pilgrims trudging along in the rain. Been there, done that. I remembered the steep walk bridge over the railway and some of the road out of town; that's why I bought the tickets.
We started walking just near the church of the Virgen of the Camino where Mary apparently appeared in the 1500's, and quickly veered away from the road to take the path to Villar de Mazarife. The tracks had been covered in gravel and were very easy to walk on. In fact, at no time today were we bothered by the dreaded mud that adheres to your boots adding weight with every step.
Arriving at Chozas de Abajo, we spotted a bar and took the opportunity for a caffeine hit. I took off my poncho and I was drenched in sweat. The inside of the poncho was wetter
The Day That Was...
Not as bad as it looks.
than the outside so I changed my shirt and socks before walking off in the wrong direction for about 500metres. Passing the bar again, we attracted a few lighthearted comments and followed the glaringly obvious arrows that led out of the village.
As you walk the Camino you occasionally pass by areas that have a very ' fruity' odour, usually supplied by decomposing sullage or the unmistakable smell of cows shit. I actually don't mind it; it's all part of the landscape and often forces you to look up and see what's happening . Today, possibly due to the rain, I could occasionally hear the croaking of frogs and have actually spotted some while walking early in the morning . You never see them at home anymore. You also hear owls at night sometimes which is nice.
I was keen to get going and set myself a pace that ran a bit over 5kph for the day. No point dawdling in the rain. I had the iPod going (no admissions to my choice of music here, folks; it's not unusual !) and that certainly helped numb my brain to the tedious kilometres ahead. Sometimes I practice my Spanish
and imagine possible situations and see if I could handle them; if not, l look them up.
We stopped at Villar de Mazarife for old times sake and found there was little to miss, and then battled light rain for the next 9.6kms to Villavante. Soaked, we were welcomed by our hostess, Carmen, and were informed she had placed us in the double room with an ensuite, with the appropriate cost of course.
My clothes are currently drying on the heater and we can make as much mess as we want. You can't do that in the bunk rooms as you have little personal space. We are having dinner here tonight and should start walking by 6.30am in the morning, rain, hail, or rain! Astorga is only 21kms away and is a place worth exploring. Until then, adios.
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