Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Honest to God, this was the view I had after the rain first started. At this point it was pouring rain and pitch dark, except for my flashlight and the flashes of lightning.
The view an hour later after daylight arrived.
After several km. of walking in pouring rain, I finally found this shelter.
The stunningly Gothic Gaudi designed Bishop's Palace in Astorga. It was built around 1900.
Two views of the beautiful interior of the Bishop's Palace.
Here is a typical pose for me-this is the spot in Astorga where I found a wi-fi signal to hop onto and I am posting to my blog from here.
I got an early start because I wanted to cover the 18.5 miles to Astorga with enough time to view the Cathedral and the Gaudi designed bishop´s house. Less than ten minutes after I started walking it started raining. And Spain has done something strange with their time zones so that it is not fully daylight until almost 9 am (it stays light fairly late at night). So after I walked out of the little village onto the country road, it is pitch black except for the feeble beam of my mini mag flashlight. That and the pouring rain were not much fun. At least there was also thunder and lightning to light the way now and then. It rained at least 4 1/2 of the 6 hours that I walked. I found an overhang in another village to eat my breakfast and change my soaked socks. When there is an optional route, I have always taken the one that is on the quiet countryside dirt and gravel roads. Today there was an option and for the first time, I chose the one along the highway. Gravel and dirt roads full of mud puddles and flowing water were not what I wanted today.
Anyway, here I am in Astorga, chores done, and waiting for siesta to be over so I can see the cathedral and the Gaudi house, rain or shine. There was some sunshine for about 10 minutes a bit ago, but it looks to be clouding up again. Weather forecast is 90% chance of rain tomorrow and 20% chance the next day, followed by a few partly cloudy days. Whatever, I am ready for anything but snow.
At the albergue I am staying in, there is a father/daughter couple from Texas and two women from Oakland and Napa. I haven´t seen this many Americans in one place since I started. The father and daughter walked the Via la Plata, which is the route from Sevilla to Astorga and they will now continue on to Santiago. The route from Sevilla is a couple hundred km. farther and they've been walking almost 5 weeks. And I see Sean the Australian just walked in out of the rain, too.
Last night the village I stayed at was on the less travelled option route, plus there were 3 albergues in the village, so I did not know anyone in my albergue from previously.
Later: I just got back from the Gaudi designed bishop's house. Fantastic. It is done in Gothic 12th century style, but was a new building completed about 100 years ago. Stained glass and gothic style arches all over, it is an unbelievably beautiful building. I will definitely make another stop here with Kathy when she is here a few weeks from now.
Had dinner at a good restaurant with Sean the Australian, Eric, a Danish man, and an Irish woman. I had some good salmon!