June 5, 2011 Hospital de Orbigo to Astorga

Woke, had quick breakfast and readied to leave with Bea, Catia, Sebastian and Andreas — our developing camino family. Walked to Santibanez de Valdiglesias, but was feeling very blue because of news from church back home (staff issues). Allowed others to pass, then rejoined them, but was clearly having a bad day, preoccupied with news from home and not interested in much pilgrim company. Stopped at cafe and heard church bells ringing. Decided a mass might help cheer me up, so stayed for 11:00 mass. Nothing unusual here, but after mass heard English from another pilgrim and met Carol Waud of Seattle. We know many people in common, so a taste of home cheered me up. She is leaving the camino in Astorga, so has told people she is “walking home.” This metaphor cheered me as I realized home is getting closer. Recognized too that Jesus is ultimately my home and I too am walking to home in his arms.

Finally caught Andreas and we walked together to Astorga. There we had delicious roasted chicken dinner on recommendation of Joy and Joan. Truly great lunch, split evenly between Andreas and me. Then walked with Andreas to Murias, expecting to see Sebastian, Catia and Bea. Learned instead they had split up, leaving Catia and Bea in Astorga and Sebastian ahead with a Hungarian name Sophie. Slept without the group at the private albergue in Murias and enjoyed company of Nikki and Andreas in early evening. Agreed to walk together in the morning. Our camino family had begun to develop, but now was spread between Astorga and Rabanal.

June 4, 2011 León to Hospital de Órbigo

Up at 07:00 and walked with Sebastian and Catia to Hospital de Órbigo. Great fun walking together, but added element of mortal terror as lightning closed in on us from the north. Got wet but no electrocution today.

Stopped briefly in Mazarife for lunch and learned from other pilgrims that Rocky was in an albergue here. We searched each of the albergues and finally found her at the last one, about 1 km backwards on our trip. Rocky was all smiles, walking again and healing up from her blisters. She was doing laundry on the grassy lawn in the sun and obviously was precisely in her element. It filled me with joy to see Rocky having a good time and I hoped this meant her camino was back on track.

Arrived Hospital de Órbigo during Medieval Fair after 37k walk. Town jammed with people in medieval garb with many vendors of crafts and food. Giant platters of cake, etc. Had 2 falafels with Sebastian and ate with Bea, Catia, and Bea’s new friend, Walter. Slept well, in spite of very full albergue with medieval fair visitors giving selves tours through the building.