Day 26: May 20, 2016

Destination: Astorga

Distance: 15km walk plus 15 km bus

Time: 3 1/2 hour, 7:45 am to 11:15 am

Terrain: flat, mostly paved road

Weather: sunny and hot

Total distance to date: 484km (+12 k taxi, +16 k bus, +15 k bus)

We had a so-so sleep in the bottom bunks of the albergue but people started getting up at 6 so we were up before 7 and on the road at 7:45, without breakfast because nothing is fricking open at 7am which begs the question Why do people get up so early????!

The first town was 10 km away and so we walked 2:15 hours before we had our first cafe con leche at 10:00. I wasn’t in pain but it was a very depressing and exhausting 10k considering I still had another 20 to go. However the coffee made me start to feel human again and I hoped the day wouldn’t be an ugly slog.

However, Erik was looking bagged and we had only just started. His goal was “to get to Astorga.” It kind of reminded me of my first two days being sick over the Pyranees. I could relate.

Erik used the baño in the bar and warned me when he came out that it was one of those “hole in the floor” types. I had to pee so I went anyway. There were two stalls and the other was busy so I went in and did my business. There was no paper – no problem, I always carry my own. Dropped the paper into the hole. Next up was the flush so I pulled the cord of the tank hanging on the wall. Nothing happened. I tried again. Still nothing.

Glad I had only peed, I snuck out of the bathroom and noticed the other stall was free now. Uh huh, there was a toilet in that one. Apparently I was using the urinal. Thanks Erik. Lol. Ah well – learn something new every day.

As we sat drinking our coffee, Carolyn walked by.  It’s the first first time we’ve ever actually seen each other on the road. She stopped to chat and mentioned she was only walking to the next town and then taking the bus into Astorga. Hmmmmm….

Erik was feeling rough so I thoughtfully suggested we catch the bus in the next town and only walk 15 km today instead of 30, secretly hoping he would agree because I hated that we were staying in a nice hotel and wouldn’t be arriving until late in the day.

Erik thought about it and agreed. He feel like crap and really needed to sleep. We even mulled over the idea of stopping into a medical clinic to make sure he doesn’t need antibiotics. Later however, we decided that he doesn’t have any symptoms of a secondary infection and he decided to self medicate with Sangria. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Back at the cafe in the little town, I checked the bus schedule online and saw that there was a bus that leaves at noon and it was 10:15 at the time.  We had an hour’s walk. We should be able to make it.

Knowing we only had another 5km to walk instead of 20k, plus the coffee, gave us both a little energy and so we hoofed it into Hospital de Abrigo (the name of the town, not an actual hospital) and found the bus stop with 30 minutes to spare.

The ride was cheap and only lasted about 20 minutes and then it was only a 1/2 km walk to the Hotel Spa Ciudad de Astorga. We were really happy when they let us check in early before 1pm.

We showered and then packed up all of our dirty laundry to take to a laundromat. Unfortunately it was closed so we came back to our hotel and shared a jug of excellent Sangria and some appies.

Back in our room, I did some laundry in the sink and then left Erik to nap while I wandered the streets to check out the magnificent cathedral and castle which were only a block from our hotel.

I didn’t get too far in my flip flops before a thunderstorm hit. I got soaked as I made my way back to the hotel because I had no jacket. I couldn’t even sneak into the church to stay dry because it was closed until 4pm. Argh.

Then I realized that we would have been just entering the city when that storm hit if we had walked the 2nd half. Lucky us.

Back in the room, I found that the clothes I had hung on the railing were now even wetter than what I was wearing so now I’m tucked into bed, listening to Erik snore, while I wait for my clothes to dry.

Later we will find some dinner and tomorrow we have a late check out (noon) because we only have 7 km to walk to our next town. Kind of a rest day I guess.

After tomorrow, it’s all 16-25km days until Santiago on June 2. We could see the mountains of Galicia as we walked today. They look daunting.

I only have a couple of pics right now. I will post some photos of the beautiful buildings later tonight if I get out. Otherwise you’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

8:00pm update:  I convinced Erik to see a doctor and we were lucky that the clinic was open for walk-ins all afternoon and evening. We only had to show his passport and in a few minutes we were in to see a doctor. She didn’t speak much English but I was prepared with all of his symptoms typed into google translate. She examined him and then got her phone out and typed Spanish in her translate app. What a high tech way to communicate!

Long story short – he has a respiratory infection but his lungs are clear. She gave him a prescription for antibiotics and prescribed some meds for the cough. Then we found a 24 hour Farmacia and showed them the “prescription” she had written on a piece of paper and the pharmacist walked into the back and came out with a box of amoxicillin. No waiting for 20 minutes. Lol. What an awesome system. Anyway, we won’t check out until noon tomorrow and then only have 7k to walk so hopefully he starts feeling better ASAP. Thanks for all of your good wishes!

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