Astorga, set atop a steep ridge, is a medieval town with a great wall around it and a wide array of historic buildings. I figured out that I was in the Plaza San Bartolome, next to the church. I roamed all over the winding streets and alleyways of this charming town and saw the Plaza Cathedral (above) and the Palace Episcopal by Gaudi (left, where I got my passport stamped), as well as the Musee de los Caminos right next door. It was stunning. I felt connected. They say the word "gaudy" comes from the eccentric architecture of Gaudi. I even saw the original Iron Cross (Cruz de Ferro) that once stood atop Monte Irago. There were numerous Gothic cathedrals and Roman monuments, as well as a wide mixture of shops and specialty food stores. The cakes and pastries here are world-known (mantecadas) and Astorga is also known for it's cheese.
Here is a video out of my front window capturing the sound of the church bells in Astorga!
About this time I received word from Dee that she arrived in town so I went to the square and ran into Helen and Lawrence from Ireland (picture). I also saw Raphael from Spain again and was introduced to Maria from Spain. Even though she and I had seen each other at many times along The Way, we hadn't met yet. Dee arrived and we all ate and drank for hours in the plaza, her pounding radioactives and me sipping sangria as slowly as possible. I finally lured her away for awhile to check in at my hotel, which she did, and she got the room above mine. We went back out and after another bottle of wine, I called it a night. Even though we planned to get up early, I'm pretty sure she went back out. I, on the other hand, wanted to enjoy the last bit of luxury I knew I would have for awhile.
"Distrust yourself and sleep before you fight. T'is not too late tomorrow to be brave."
- John Armstrong