On the way out of Villadangos, we stopped at a cafe because he didn't have any pre-purchased pastries. We agreed it was the nicest cafe we'd seen and the woman was really friendly. By the time we got to the next town, there were a couple of his pilgrim friends from his new family, so we stopped again and I had some yummy sangria. By the time we got to the next town we had missed lunch but luckily happened upon a really cute cafe which was still open, and had the place all to ourselves. We hung out and agreed again, this place had the best bathroom either one of us had seen so far on The Way.
Other than me leaving behind my walking sticks and having to circle back one kilometer, things were going good. Until we came through the town of Cruceiro de Santo Toribio and thought we were going to get crucified ourselves. Some guy must have been hunting because suddenly we heard a loud gunshot. 15 seconds later, another loud gunshot, 15 seconds later, another loud gunshot, it was eerie. Brian started joking that he was taking pot shots at the pilgrims and I told him my road kill story. The gunshots continued for about 5 minutes while we were walking through a forest and then stopped. Hunters. At this point Brian sped up his pace and I kept my own.
Watch this video of a musician singing "Peregrino Peregrino, On Her Way to Santiago!" With Astorga in sight, I made serious ground going downhill, and then, just like at every other place, the last three kilometers into town were brutal. I met up with Alan and Karen from Switzerland who were so cute they were always holding hands, and he had wildflowers in his hat; I gave him the one I had picked for him at the hippy place. We were all hot as hell and dead tired and the path just kept going and going. Then we had to climb this monster ramp just to cross a railroad, and then head up the steepest hill you've ever seen (why do they do this to us!). Finally, around the corner, the cutesy city of Astorga.
Until... outside of my window there arose such a clamor! I saw them preparing for it in the main square earlier, a big production, apparently of the Astorgans versus the Romans. I got dressed and joined in on the fun. There were fireworks, and choirs of men, women and children singing hymns louder than I've ever heard, bellowing actors playing out their parts on stage, and dueling sword fights in the Calle Mayor, it was awesome. I enjoyed it awhile longer and then headed back to bed. Earplugs definitely in.
"The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise man grows it under his feet."
- J.R. Oppenheimer
- J.R. Oppenheimer