Day 25: La Virgen del Camino to Astorga, (Bus, no walking)

05.11.2010

Yesterday, while waiting for the Albergue to open, I was figured out how to finish the Camino in a reasonable amount of time.  I had originally thought I would be done by May 22nd, but with the foot problems and not walking 25-30km a day, I was beginning to think I might never finish!  Well, from today, if I average 20km a day (some days more, some days less) and I can get a bus to Astorga, I can finish by May 25th and still get to Finisterre before the end of May.

I checked with the hospitalera and she gave me the bus schedule last night.  There was a bus leaving at 7:40a so I had a quick breakfast of yogurt, bread & jam and a cafe con leche (from a machine in the Albergue).  The bus was running a little late, but it was only 2,80€.  I still can't get over how cheap transportation is around here.

I arrived in Astorga with way too much time on my hands before the Albergue opened.  It was around 8:30a.  I wandered a bit to figure out where things were.  I took some pictures of the exterior of the Cathedral, found the Tourism Office and the Albergue.  On my way to find a bar for breakfast, I met an Englishman named John.  He told me about a place that had a great price on breakfast for pilgrims and he took me there.  It was 2€ for a cafe con leche, fresh OJ, and a toast (or a pastry, or churros, or a few other things).

After breakfast I said goodbye to John and went to the Tourist Office to find out more about Astorga.  Lucky for me, the guy spoke great English and I decided on a few things to do for the day. 

First order of business was the Chocolate Museum.  Yeah,  you heard me right.  A Chocolate Museum!  It was only 2€ and included free samples after.  The museum itself was small, but did a great job of explaining the history of chocolate-making in Astorga (and elsewhere).  There was a 15 or 20 minute video that showed the old way of making chocolate first, followed by how they make chocolate now.  It was in Spanish, but very easy to follow along and quite educational.  After the video was over, I sampled some different chocolates and decided to buy a bar of dark chocolate with almonds that I plan to devour when I reach Finisterre.

My time in the Chocolate Museum was long enough that I could go check in at the Albergue, so I did.  It was very nice and very large.  They had free internet, a large kitchen and a nice dining area. 

I went back to the Cathedral and the Cathedral Museum.  I was really impressed with the Museum.  It was very well put together and had some great displays.  The Cathedral was nice too.  It was simple, like the one in León.

On my way back to the Albergue, I picked up some groceries.  They had a good grocery store with a large selection of food.  It was getting close to siesta time, so I took a nap.  After my nap, I went in search of internet to get caught up on my blog.  I don't always have internet at every place I stop, so when I have time, I try to find a place.  The library was full, so I went to an internet cafe for an hour or so and got quite a bit accomplished.  I went to an outdoor store next and had to spend more money than I wanted on a winter hat and some thermal bottoms.  I'm worried about the weather over the mountains in the next few days and want to be warm.  Better safe than sorry and I'm already sorry for sending my thermals and winter hat home!

I went back to the Albergue and made dinner.  It was spaghetti in a bag and it was good.  Everyone was cooking and I saw many of my Camino friends.  Ilsa from South Africa offered some popcorn.  Christopher and Hazel from the UK (living in France) offered some wine.  It was great!

The wine made me sleepy, so I was in bed by 9:30p.  I wonder if I am ever going to develop a tolerance to all the wine drinking going on here.  :)