Day 12: Mazarife to Astorga (Saturday, Sept. 21)

We walked right out the front door of Mercedes’ home, took a right past the clothes line and vegetable garden and intersected the Camino as it followed the train tracks.

Mercedes is on the right and her sister whose name I can’t remember left. Below they are in the country house kitchen.

Because I am behind three days on the day-by-day posting, I am going to try and catch up as best I can with In-‘n’-Out WiFi service.

The corn fields behind Mercedes’ house on the right, the Camino down the middle and train tracks on the left. Forecast: rain.
Approaching the town of Hospital de Órbigo, we cross a famous medieval bridge, one of the longest on the Camino. On this bridge there’s a plaque commemorating the legend of Don Suero. 300 lances were broken on the bridge in a jousting tournament that resulted in Don Suero becoming a free man.
On the bridge, finding new ankle and calf muscles from walking on cobblestones.
The rain starts falling, but this time we are prepared with rain pants.
The rain couldn’t spoil the fun of posing with this installation art piece along the trail.
We did a bit of uphill and then could see our destination off in the distance. This is also a good example of a well-place arrow. Even if it meant we had to take the low road.
As you enter a community, it’s common to see an obelisk or cross. This one stood at the edge of a town just before the city of Astorga where we would spend the night. It was one of those moments for me that just drew me in. I wanted to leave something, but did not have anyone’s shell with me. I looked around and found a smooth stone in the shape of a tear. (Below)

I said a prayer for any of you who are feeling sad, that your tears would wash away the sadness and that you’d find joy.
This is the storm we were racing to beat into Astorga.
And we DID!
And we made new friends at dinner in town. Mendy (yes, that’s how it’s spelled) from the Netherlands was on her fourth Camino, and Louis from France started his Camino in central France and will complete 1500 Kilometers when he walks into Santiago in October. (The popular French Way that begins in St. Jean Pie de Port is approximately 800 K or 500 miles.) Both are carrying their lives on the backs, unlike Donna and I who carry daypacks of about 10-12 pounds each and have our luggage shipped.

That being said, there are as many ways to do the Camino as there are Pilgrims!

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