Sunshine ….makes me happy….I don’t mind rain but walking 30 km in it wouldn’t be fun…this is the last 300 km of the Camino. I set off from La Virgin de Camino…take the alternative route and it’s very quiet, not another pilgrim or person in sight. Pass through a village that has huge bird nests on top church steeple..apparently from storks. Also some funky albergue in this village. One it’s Sunday but also the off season now on the Camino. The next stretch is as isolated, then I spot on the side of the road a man with a shot gun and dogs, obviously hunting rabbits or something. I call out Hola..so he is aware I am here, don’t need to get shot. All along this road are hunters and gun shots going off. Apart from that it is very peaceful, nice to just be walking on my own in my own thoughts.
The sun is warm,I come to another village, it’s just as dead,no one around , nothing open. I come into Ville de Mazarife and see an albergue come cafe that looks open..door is anyway.I ring the bell , the lady calls out we are closed. I ask if I can get a stamp, you see when you start the Camino you get a passport which you collect stamps in at each stop. When you get to Santiago they look to make sure you have walked 100 km to get your certificate. It’s cool to see where I have been, she came out. I asked anywhere to get a coffee in this town, I had just walked 15km and showed her on a map that had 16 to go. She said she’d make me a coffee and bless her gave me a couple biscuits.It warmed me up and gave me energy to carry on.
Still no pilgrims to be seen. I walked through some more lovely wee villages, stopped at one to eat my lunch .Finally at my destination of Hospital de Orbigo..an awesome bridge welcomes you to the town. I get to the albergue feeling quite tired and it’s a bar as well. The people are very rude, haven’t experienced that very often but today one of them. Anyway my bed is in a bunk room with couple guys..one in his late 50s from Denmark is very polite introduce himself and spoke good English. The man in his late 60s was from Norway and spoke no English. They both had been walking for months..one from Denmark 3600 km , one from Norway even further. Hans invited me to join them for dinner, I discovered he was walking from Denmark to Santiago as he had lost all his birth family in last 4 years, his parents and two older brothers. Then he had left his marriage of 30 years, principal of a,special needs school taking a Sabbatical year. He said he was now ready to go home, he had meet the older guy only weeks before and made a pack to finish the Camino together on 15 November…I admire them both…humble and still walking.
Sitting here writing this feels like yesterday was forever ago…today was another just stunning day. Cold start but as I started to climb slowly out village through farm land, started to warm up. At the top of the first rise was a statue of a woman with concrete lower legs….crosses and metal statues marking the hill. Stopped for a snack and meet young couple from Brazil, he had been walking for two weeks and she just started yesterday, felt for her as he would be so fit and she just started.I am pretty fit now which is why my 30 km is the old 20.
I wandered along the country road, no one around again. The colors of autumn trees just stunning again the blue skies, enjoying every step and appreciating how lucky I am to be having this amazing experience. I am getting warm and think I just need to stop and take a layer off when something appears in distance. As I get closer I see it’s a food stand but this one is very different, it’s amazing, heart everywhere, places to sit, things to eat and drink.A man appears, he’s the owner and creator. He says it’s all free, organic, just help yourself. No need for donations I like to share and give were his words. The place has yin/yan signs, colour and peaceful energy. He continues what he doing…a young guy from Italy turns up and stops and we have chat. The owner comes out and I say to him..” I just want stay here for ever” .he says…” Lots pilgrims do, but I like living here on my own”. Damn I think.
I continue into Astonga,stop there check out Cathedral and muesem, get some lunch and carry on,another big day walking. I stay at San Catalina .de Somoza. My albergue is quiet, whole room to myself, nice spot, I watch the sun go down from my room. Big hill to climb tomorrow so better get some sleep.