My accommodation choices have been erratic enough that I’ve found myself amongst the company of extraordinarily different hikers. At the communal dinner last night, which was delicious and healthy (and also the first time I’ve had a meal without wine, you’re welcome, liver!) I met a whole new breed of hiker.
Today began with frost. It was the coldest day thus far, being able to see my breath most of the morning. Which, as long as you don’t stop too much makes for perfect hiking. To Astorga, 17km away was mostly through farmland and natural trails that looked distinctly like Northern California. It was an easy morning, I chatted briefly with a woman from Fort Collins, CO who was walking short 15km a day, it’s odd every time, after I walked on I realized I’ll probably never see this person again. Everyday it is constant goodbyes.
I arrived in Astorga far too early to stop. 11am, after leaving late (8am) and dawdling. I stopped at the Cathedral for an early lunch and ran into two people I met yesterday. The first, was an Italian, perhaps around 40 who is constantly wearing aviators and gives you the sense that he might have wild affairs with older women. He walks over 30km a day, I am constantly jealous of those who can hike those higher numbers. The second was the aforementioned older man, he wandered up to the cathedral in socks and sandals and no backpack. I left before him and he didn’t pass me, so I have no idea how he arrived. But I’m deeply curious about him. He ordered a large glass of what appeared to be brandy and set about taking notes of some kind.
Because it was too early and I felt well I continued on another 5km to a tiny town with a private vegetarian alburgue (my new favorite thing). I could have gone further, but for the sake of keeping my days not awkward I stopped, which is probably best given the accent that is to come in the next few days. I was the first to arrive, but soon it began to fill up. I am the youngest here by a long shot a one of the few English speakers, everyday it’s new people, which makes me miss my friends. But I’m also enjoying walking at my own pace and choosing where I stop based on whim. Tomorrow I head to more populated towns on common stages.
To the mountains!