Day 15: Murias de Rechivaldo, 22km

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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. 

The odd location of this place means a lot of the hikers are short distance hikers, 10-15km/day. Most people I’ve met so far are doing the same, or more, than I am, which is averaging 25km/day, the most common amount. Though, at dinner there was also a mature, rather out of shape gentleman who apparently constantly gets lost who started a state before St. Jean. And despite his constant confusion, has made it 500km. I am entirely uncertain how after observing him for the evening. More on him later. But most are newish to the trail taking it easy the first few days. I chatted mostly with a German and a Danish woman, both around my age, the later of which was wearing jeans. Confusing me for a solid two hours as to if she worked there or was hiking. She is hiking, I still don’t know why she has jeans. But they both were very pleasant company.

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.

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I allowed myself a brief moment of pride today. My legs are feeling strong and 20 km is no longer a challenge, but an easy day. As I walked alone today, my mind wandered to a variety of places, mostly mundane, but occasionally somewhere interesting. Today it was my childhood, or myself at a young age, and how for an exceedingly shy child being out in the middle of nowhere Spain, with only myself to rely on was a small accomplishment. It isn’t much, but suddenly today I felt a twinge of pride. I don’t normally consider my jetting off to foreign places much of an accomplishment, or anything particularly of note, more like a hobby. But this, like going to Kathmandu felt more substantial, that I was pushing myself, and succeeding. 
 

Gaudi

Gaudi

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.

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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!

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