Astorga y Gaudi

Astorga was an amazing place for a rest day! Began the day with errands such as banking, pharmacy (always more foot care products) and a haircut. Sergio, the barber, and I did well with broken Spanish / English and hand gestures.

During my errands I found how the pork is delivered here… on the shoulder of the man to the right. When I think “locally grown” gourmet, this was not my first thought.

There are only 3 structures designed by Gaudí outside of Catalan. One is the “Bishop’s Residence” in Astorga. It is a beautiful structure. Currently it serves as a museum dedicated to the Way of St James (Camino De Santiago). Wonderful tour!

Dinner was another birthday celebration. Mike from Canada (lower left) was the birthday boy. From him we have Paul from Ireland (who shares telecom background similar to my Dad), Raeanne from Canada, Clayton from Australia, lower right is Nichola of UK, me, Camilla from Brazil who is leaving Camino due to knee issues, Claudia from Germany, Maureen from southern France, Paul’s sister and friend at the far end. Festive night, but early as we walk tomorrow.

The birthday dinner was a coming together of many in our “Camino family”. We walk different paces, face different ailments, different rest days, etc… thus there are days when we are scattered among various villages and albergues. We had all been together in León for a dinner. Not all but most for tonight.

New pilgrims are joining The Way since León and more will join in waves as we close in on Sarria, the last starting point from which you can earn your credential that says you walked The Way. (Pilgrims must walk at least 100km to earn credentials). For those of us who started in St Jean (over 800km from Santiago de Compostela), we feel a kindred spirit. A fraternity one might say. We tease about the fresh faces, excited chatter and clean gear of the new pilgrims. Yet, my experience is that seasoned pilgrims readily offer advice and tips to listening pilgrims. I found myself warning three sisters who started in León on Saturday to buy breakfast before bed because shops do not always open on Sunday. Regardless of our start point, we all walk the same path. We all walk to the same goal. We all risk injury that could prevent finishing.

I believe church is better when we share it as such. No pilgrim owns The Way. All pilgrims enjoy it and encourage those who dare to step on to it.

If we viewed the aisles of our sanctuaries as such, how would Sunday morning feel? Sound? What conversations would humm in the halls?

Buen Camino!