Friday, September 10, 2010

Day #1 - Astorga to Rabanal 21.4 kms. (13.3 miles) - 7+ hrs. Walking

The first hour is spent in the process of adjustment: tying & retying shoes, making various adjustments as to how my backpack is riding--more of this than actual walking. But I remember from my training walks that the first hour is frequently the most difficult. It turns out that this was really too long a walk for the first day out. I meet a mother & daughter pair from France who have been doing sections of the Camino for six years running & they, too, are starting from Astorga, but have planned to walk only 8 kms. & later meet others who also think it is better to start out slowly. Well, I definitely was going slowly as everyone I met was passing me by. A bit of a tough day, intermittently raining, very windy and with some elevation. But I also saw some of the old villages that I was hoping to pass on this walk, so that was exciting. The good news was that my legs felt fine--clearly the training walks were well worth the time & energy. But my feet really hurt--not just from blisters, but all over. On the other hand the albergue (pilgrim hostel) was great: clean & comfortable for €4 with hot showers (& since I was so late, there was no competition). Pilgrims menu of two courses, bread, wine, bottled water & dessert for €10. And I found a meal I could eat: insalada mixta con atún (salad with tuna). Lights out at 10 pm at the albergue & it would have been a perfect sleep except for the early risers who begin packing up before 5 am with their flashlights & crinkling plastic sacks. The snoring did not bother me, but hard to sleep thru this group (& I have no idea why they would want to leave in the dark when it's cold & with no breakfast!). So i wake the next day convinced that I will take it easier & will never start walking without breakfast. A successful first day mainly because it was hard, but no tears on the side of the road.

Palacio de Gaudi which is now an art museum in Astorga.
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