We got up and left the Muncipal late in the morning, and spent a long time wondering round Astorga to try and find somewhere open for breakfast. As the Magician and I had arrived in darkness, this was the first time we really got to see Astorga. And its beautiful here, after so many small towns which seemed to be missing an atmosphere and life, Astorga was glistening with history and small cafes (none of which that were open, helpful to hungry pelegrino’s!!).
This was a day where I met someone who really got on my nerves…. And I purposely tried to avoid walking anywhere near her. Its funny because you do occasionally meet strange people on the Camino, but rarely have I met people I would just like to slap. She was a young woman who knew it all, and was happy to tell everyone else what they should like too. A lot of people I used to work with talked about the millennial generation being the most narcissistic to date. And as a millennial myself, I find this pretty insulting. But here… standing round telling everyone what to do, was a girl 15 years younger than me. It was like she was a poster child for why people think badly of this generation. I’d love to say I successfully avoided her moving forward. But that’s a complete and total lie. And after meeting her, I realised sometimes the lessons the Camino gives you are ones you need. Rather than the ones you want.
Walking on we came to Robanal del Camino, the last large town the Magician, my Brother and I would stop in till we reached Foncebadón. This was pretty unusual at any point on the Camino, as normally there are numerous places to stop for coffee (a dangerous past time for the Magician and I (and anyone else we can rope in with us)). So we enjoyed a slow 2nd breakfast with my Brother, before we continued walking for the rest of the day. I spent a chunk of the day walking alone, as did my Brother and the Magician. I watched everyone slowly walking up the hills, groups of little turtles crawling up the redish dusty road. This sucked mainly, but I could feel us getting closer and closer to Foncebadón (and the Cruz de Ferro). The views over the hills getting greener and more lush.
Foncebadón has a special royal protection, as long as the inhabitants protect and maintain the Camino. When we reached here, we decided to stay at an Albergue that served vegan food and had a yoga class in the morning. The Albergue had a community within it and superficially it felt very homely, but through the night staying there it felt a little, well odd. When you walk on the Camino you come across the occasional community. In my day to day existence I have never come across these groups before. And this was something I talked about a lot with the Magician and my Brother. Both of them had spent time with different communities and gained experience from them. This isn’t something I’m proud of, but I have a very strong prejudice against communities, and when I think about then, I immediately think of a lot of stoners in a hovel that don’t wash. And quite frankly I’m aware that this is very bigoted of me, as its not true at all. In some places yes you do find people who smoke marijuana, (but they do wash). The majority of all these communities contain people that are genuinely trying to create a place for people to be free of a capitalist way of life though. Where they can be free to live in harmony with nature and generally have some specific interest in something spiritual. In reality, these are some of the people best placed to show everyone ways to stop polluting the world. To show us how to move away from narcissism and consumerism, which seems to be becoming more and more rampant. I personally believe if we don’t, well, life on Earth will change to a level where humans will be the cause of one of the worst mass extinctions ever seen. Ok… I’ll get off my soap box now!