Day 24: Villares de Orbigo to Murias de Rechivaldo

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Just after we checked into our albergue yesterday a huge thunderstorm ripped through our little village.  It rained very hard for about 20 minutes and we had several lightning strikes in the area.  During the night two additional huge storms rolled through making sleeping difficult. We knew when we hit the trail this morning it was going to be really muddy and trust me it was.  The photo shows the unsettled skies but it does not show the cold temperatures (low 50’s), high humidity and stiff winds. What a difference a day makes.  T shirts yesterday and winter gear today. We were pretty much bundled up for the entire day today.

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The camino took us through some really fascinating places.  There was about 1/2 of a kilometer of this really neat mossy forest.  I have no idea why all the trees in this area were covered in moss, but they all were.  It was beautiful and one of those moments in time you will never forget.

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A lot of the camino today was like walking on a cobblestone street with mud pits at the low points.  Hard on the feet, then a challenge to avoid sinking your boots in the mud. Keeping dry and mud free boots is a daily challenge.

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Sometimes on the camino you reach a crossroads where you do not know the correct way.  99% of the time there is a painted yellow arrow directing you at every decision point.  Unfortunately, at this particular intersection there were no painted yellow arrows. I told Sandy something was telling me to just continue straight.

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We will be crossing the snow capped mountain range called the Montes de Leon over the next several days.  It is the highest point on the Camino de Santiago at 4,970′ above sea level and will be more difficult than crossing the Pyrenees.  It is our next big challenge.

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This is called the Cruceiro Santo Toribio. It is named after a 5th century bishop who fell to his knees here after being banished from Astorga.

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Sandy crossing the ancient Roman footbridge named, “Puente de la Molderia.”  We then climbed steep roads into the walled city of 12,000 residents called Astorga now, but Asturica Agusta during Roman times.  This was a very important Roman city in its day due to it sitting at the junction of three historic Roman travel routes. 

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It also has some spectacilar structures. This is the Bishop’s Palace.

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The Iglesia de Santa Marta , a 15th century Gothic Cathedral highlights Astorga’s Plaza Cathedral.

We had a cafe and relaxed for about half an hour, hurried by the thunder heads forming to our west.  We dressed out in our full rain gear as the storms were fast approaching.  Our hiking pace quickened as we had about three miles left before reaching our destination village for the night, Murias de Rechivaldo. As luck would have it, the rain started just as we arrived at our albergue.   We were greeted by our host for the evening.  He could best be described as an overly friendly Spanish hippie wearing some sort of goofy looking balloon pajama pants.  Sandy looked at me like, uhmmm – are you sure we want to stay here?  I asked to look at the place.  It was clean and tidy and Sandy relaxed when the hippie’s wife also greeted us.  Oh, the wacky world of the Camino de Santiago.

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Murias’ church with mandatory white stork’s nest atop.  As you can see, another other big storm is heading our way.

We hiked 19.4 km (12 miles) and got to our destination without getting wet. Mission accomplished! 

Tomorrow’s trek will be longer and arduous as we will climb uphill all day long. 

Buen Camino!

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Filed under Mark & Sandy's Camino 2014

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