April 23. Day 27. 25km. Departed 0755 hours, arrived 1525 hours. About an hour’s rest + lunch stops.
One star for the scenery, which is what’s rated in the Post Title. Second star for today’s weather and terrain (for those who really like a challenge). Third star for the personal contemplation and self-growth.
This is a day that started with the best breakfast spread seen on our Camino. We did not over indulge but I enjoyed the kiwi fruit, sliced oranges, squeezed OJ, salmon, yogurt, etc. The breakfast was part of the room rate at Hotel Via de la Plata SPA. We were not expecting it when we first booked, which made it extra special.
We stopped by the Ermita Ecce Homo several km outside Astorga. There was a volunteer who had opened it and was manning a table.
TIP: Buying your extra pilgrim credential/passport (if you run out of space) at such places is Euro 2. Buying in shops will cost more.
The weather didn’t seem promising as we were walking out of Astorga in the morning. Rain?
After several km, and with the wind direction, the weather outlook was more promising!
Clouds put on a daily performance for us. How often do we take advantage?
Can you spot an unusual anomaly in this picture?
When we first spotted it, it appeared to be clouds rolling down the mountain. There were ‘vertical walls’ of cloud that we could discern with our naked eyes. As we walked towards it and as seconds, minutes passed, the clouds seemed to retreat. The ‘block of clouds’ on the mountain slopes was no longer as distinguishable.
Our final cloud picture for this post. A panaramic picture.
One of our last (dry) pictures before we walked into the rain zone (the ground was quite wet, so it must have been raining for a bit).
The elevation gain from Astorga to Foncebadon is 560 meters (1,840 feet). With altitude, conditions change. The vegetation changes to scrub oak, Heather and eventually, only brush. The winds are also stronger.
I had pooh poohed a fellow pilgrim in San Martin del Camino who said snow was in the forecast for later in the week. I was to take back my words.
There were actual gullies we had to walk for a know or so. Stony rocky gullies where water had gushed down and left deep gashes in the ground. Boots will do much better than trainers in this environment.
First was the headwinds. On came the jackets. Then came the rains. As we climbed higher, the hail started. On came the rain pants. As we neared Foncebadon (600 meters), there snow joined in the fun.
Yup, if you are training for the triathlon, you will love this. Man against the elements. Macho day.
The rocky terrain, mixed with hail and cold headwinds.
We are happy with the 6.5 hours of walking in such conditions and terrain. This sets up an easier tomorrow.
Here’s the third star. My spiritual reading has been inspiring for me. The mental assimilation is immediate. I wholeheartedly resonate with the reading material from ‘The Eight Doors of the Kingdom’. But internalizing it is much harder. I fall and stumble on two key agreements. It took last night’s sleep and early waking up for my conscience, my inner voice and spirit to alert me. I rectified it in the early morning. I am at peace.