Day 22 San Martin to Astorga 25km
Today we all woke up late at 8am after having the best nights sleep of the Camino in the best bed ever. The 25km today provided a beautiful landscape with a view of the mountains in the distance. The air was fresh and gently blowing, which cooled us from the sun's heat, a nice change from recent days. This evening in beautiful Astorga we visited the museum of chocolate and saw the palace designed by Gaudi. We are making our way back into the mountains and into the region of Galicia which is supposed to be a lot like Ireland and is in fact a celtic region of Spain which will be familiar for Michael and myself and the weather will start to get cooler. Each day gets better and better and we grow stronger and stronger... Tomorrow we have an easy 26km
Day 23 Astorga to Foncebadon
This morning we were suddenly robbed of our sleep by one of the workers yelling 'Buenos Dias' as he turned on the bright lights in the dorm. We got ready and left the albergue not long after and wearily walked down the streets of Astorga back towards 'the way'. Today we would walk 26km to Foncebadon, a very small hamlet on the mountain. The views were beautiful today, with a mix of hilly trails, jungle paths and wide roads with stone walls reminding me of West Ireland. We were well and truly out of the messeta and heading into a new section of the Camino. The mountains are approaching and it's a beautiful sight to see. Also managed to get a pic of me and my Camino bro Karl, both wearing our ship sweaters.
Day 24 Foncebadon to Ponferrada 30km
Today our walk took us through some beautiful lush hills with stunning views over the distant mountains. The air was fresh, the sun not too hot and the smell of the surrounding flowers was lovely. We passed by some cute stone walled villages and had a rather long break by the river where people swam, sun bathed, mingled and relaxed their tired feet before opting to continue the extra 7km. Today was a great day despite the aching feet and legs at the end but this marks 210km to Santiago. So close so close...Today was also a very special day for many pilgrims (apart from Michael and myself apparently), as we we passed by Cruz de Ferro just after Foncebadon. This was the famous location to leave the stone you had taken from home, which carried some significance to you. Unfortunately both me and Michael only realised this during the camino, like many other things, so we just took some time there to visit and then continued on. That evening we stayed at the local municipal with some other friends. We decided to have our own dinner al fresco which we got from the supermarket. It was a great evening together until we were told to go to bed at 10pm- thats the municipal for you.
Day 25 Ponferrada to Villafranca 25km
Today I was woken up by bright flashlights shining in my face by fellow pilgrims leaving the albergue at ridiculous o' clock. Not a great start to my day...but it got better as always. We stopped 7km in for breakfast, a short break after, at a food truck called 'La Siesta' and after 10km more we decided to join the rest of the group and stay the night in Villafranca. This was the day that the albergue hospitalero thought Michael and myself were married and instead of seperating us into non mixed dorms, he actually made us sleep in a hidden attic room, which was basic of course (for 6 euro) but pretty cool and a pretty funny story to tell afterwards. The scenery today was quite steep at points, both incline and decline with a beautiful surrounding view of the vineyards and rolling hills. Tomorrow we will go to our highest point of 1400 so we plan to leave early to get up there before the best of the sun sets in. We are almost in Galicia and only 183km from Santiago, where has the time gone?
Day 26 Villafranca to Cebreiro 28km
Today we set off a bit later than the others but continued for 10km before Michael and I stopped for our routine of fried eggs and toast (huevos y pan tostadas). Today's scenery was beautiful consisting of rolling hills, stone walls and steep inclines to 1300m, looking more like Ireland than ever. We have officially entered the beautiful province of Galicia, known for its Celtic culture and tomorrow we will continue on 150km to Santiago. I don't want this journey to end. Tonight we would stay in the small 'hamlet' of O Cebreiro at 1300m. We also had some sangria in the sun while waiting for the others to join us for dinner and then had a lovely group meal together.This town was absolutely stunning with panoramic views over the green hills reminding me a lot of Ella, Sri Lanka (worldtravellerz profile picture).
Day 27 Cebreiro to San Memed 37km
Today was our longest day yet of the camino. We set off after sunrise and were greeted by a spectacular view of the clouds at 1400m hovering over the green hills. It was beautiful. After this we walked through many many villages and had a few breaks along the way. The walk took us along the road on some parts and through forest trails on others. There was a familiar smell of 'countryside' (or home, as we joked), as we walked through all the farms and fields. We are all now enjoying, a well deserved glass of vino in the quaint garden of our private albergue which was ironically for sale.... If only I had 600k..... !
Day 28 San Memed to Puertomarin 26km
Today we set off the latest we ever have, 9:30am. The good thing about this is we missed a lot of pilgrims who had left earlier and had the road mostly to ourselves. The path brought us through many different 'hamlets' and we didn't take our first break until 15km where we had a quick second breakfast and one other break after 23km at a delicious vegetarian cafe along the way. The evening consisted of a nice pilgrim dinner and a reunion with some other friends in the town. This section of the Camino is the most popular short route of 100km from Sarria to Santiago dear Compostela, so we are noticing a lot more people on the trails (blow ins, we call them)