Day 3 of the Camino started a little earlier than expected, as one of the 12 people sharing my room in Santibáñez felt he was the only person who mattered in the morning. As soon as he got up and started getting ready he turned on all the lights while other people (including me) were still in bed.
I learned that just because you’re doing the Camino doesn’t mean you’re a considerate person.
I wasn’t able to fall back asleep, so I got up and had some breakfast before starting my walk for the day.
I set off from Santibáñez and found myself having a hard time pretty quickly. It didn’t take long before I found myself feeling tired, and I was really laboring while other people kept passing me. I know it’s not a race, but it was hard to feel like I was struggling so much more than everyone else.
I was also getting hot fairly quickly and needed to take off my jacket. It wasn’t hot outside, I just felt like my body was heating up.
I knew it was a long way before the next city, but I really felt like I needed to sit down and eat something.
As I was lagging a heaven-sent oasis appeared. La Casa de Los Dioses was an answer to my prayers. Perfectly situated between Santibáñez and Astorga, La Casa de los Dioses is run by David, who is a true Camino angel.
David has set up shelter and sustenance for Camino pilgrims free of charge. When you arrive you can help yourself to fruit and other snacks.
David has thought of everything because in addition to providing space to sit he has built structures to block out the elements. I was getting overheated while I was struggling along, but once I stopped I definitely felt the cold wind that started whipping.
David doesn’t charge for anything because he says the mere presence of the pilgrims is a gift to his life. I think my fellow peregrinas/os will agree that David is the real gift.
After resting for longer than initially planned I gathered myself to continue my walk toward Astorga.
The sky was looking dark, so I prepared myself for impending rain. Fortunately my family gifted me a Mammut Wenaha rain jacket before I left the US. I pulled it out of my backpack and prepared to put it to the test for the first time.
Sure enough as I walked farther away from David’s oasis the rain started, and the jacket worked great! It kept me dry and warm without making me too hot, as often happens when wearing other raincoats/ponchos.
The walk to Astorga seemed to keep going and going. Every time I thought I was getting close the city kept moving farther away all while getting rained on.
The long slog to Astorga made me glad I had stopped in Santibáñez the night before. I couldn’t imagine trying to make this walk at the end of the day.
It did make me sad though that I was now a full day behind my new friends. At this rate I probably wouldn’t see them again. It was tough, but I guess that’s how it goes on the Camino.
My goals whenever I made it into Astorga were to eat, dry off, and mail my excess items at the post office.
I started seeing signs for Astorga and continued following the yellow arrows into town. I got to the cathedral, but I didn’t feel like going inside because I just wanted to eat and find the post office.
I wasn’t seeing anything near the cathedral, so I asked around for some help. It turns out I had walked clear across town completely passing the post office. I was so frustrated. I was tired, hungry, and wet; and now I would have to double back through the city to find the post office.
After some walking and a couple wrong turns I finally found Correos. I wanted to mail anything I wasn’t absolutely using, and that included the pair of sneakers that had been sitting in my backpack. I’d been wearing my Salomon hiking boots, which were really comfortable and had been holding up well. Another pair of shoes just seemed like dead weight.
A couple other pilgrims talked me out of parting with them though. They said I might come to a point where I really need them, or my feet might just need a break from the hiking boots. Reluctantly I kept the sneakers with me.
After mailing the other excess items ahead to Santiago I got something to eat and stopped by an outdoor supply store. I would be heading into the mountains soon, so I wanted to get some warm accessories.
I went to Deportes Huracán, which had a wide selection of hiking gear: backpacks, shoes, apparel, anything that a pilgrim would need. I bought a hat, gloves, and extra socks.
I had now spent far longer in Astorga than I ever intended. After walking back and forth across the city while being frustrated, tired, hungry, and soaked I’d had quite enough. The sun finally came out, which made things less gloomy, but I was still ready to get the heck out of there.
I decided to go to the next town, Murias de Rechivaldo, before stopping for the day. Many people stop walking between 2 and 3 in the afternoon, and it was getting close to 4 when I left Astorga. This meant I was the only person I saw walking for quite a while.
I got to Murias and checked in to the albergue Las Aguedas. The day had been really tough for me, so I was looking forward to getting into some dry clothes after a shower and chilling out with a glass of vino tinto and a good meal.
Well, the room was cold and damp but at least they had a space heater set up. The bar at the albergue was closed, which meant no wine. And dinner that night was going to be some kind of vegetable soup. After the day I’d had that wasn’t going to work for me, so I decided to go into the town to find somewhere else to eat.
My hiking boots were set out to dry along with my clothes, so I was really happy to have my backup pair of sneakers. I’m so glad I listened to the other peregrinos.
As I went looking for food I felt like Goldilocks. The first place I checked wasn’t open. The second place didn’t have a full menu. The third place, Meson Asturum, was just right. I got a glass of vino tinto, a ham sandwich, and a plate of spaghetti.
I started writing in my journal while at the restaurant and finished from bed back at the albergue. I just put my head down to rest my eyes, but then I was out for the rest of the night.
I guess an early bedtime was needed after a tiring day.