Villar de Mazarife to Astorga (Camino de Santiago)

May 28, 2012 I walked over 18 miles today. Usual early start and the level path along a paved road had me covering the first nine miles in three hours. The four of us reached Hopital del Orbigo on a beautiful sunny late morning and walked across the famous stone bridge, Passo Honroso (Honourable Crossing) where in the Middle Ages  the knight Don Suero defeated 300 knights from all over  europe in jousting matches. The town was quite lovely and wished I had the extra time to stay a day but the distant goal of Santiago overrides the tendency to stop. Leaving the village the fields and rolling hills of the Spanish countryside moved past as we climbed to the days high point of Alto Santa Toribio and its large stone cross. We still had four miles to Astorga. The route headed down a new cobblestone road, through the outskirts to the main square where we would find a communal alberque for 8 euro. I spent the rest of the day taking photographs, writing in my journal, visiting the main cathedral and sipping chilled rose wine in a small bar. I finally feel as though I am getting in shape as the 18.7 miles went well.  Journal: “Thought about my Grandfather today. It has been a year and a half since he passed. Reran memories of my visits to his small apartment that was attached to my Fathers aircraft hangar.  He would always have a pot of coffee at the ready. We would sit and discuss subject after subject and listen to his stories, some repeated several times over the years. He lived until 98 years of age and remained sharp to the end. I miss him. This walk has put me in a postition where I cannot push away thoughts and feeling of friends and family who have died these last couple of years. The days are spent walking in silence except with the ongoing conversations in ones head. It feels like a long slow purging and releasing of ghosts.”