Wednesday, August 20, 2014

After Leon

Hello, everyone.

After we left Leon--late as you will remember--we walked to Villar de Mazarife. We stayed at a vegetarian albergue. San Antonio de Padua? It could be. (We didn't realize they were vegetarians when we got there, and it really doesn't matter much anyway.) The Aggies bumped into us again. The weather had been good that day, but it was kind of chill in the late afternoon.

And the cena they prepared! (Dinner, that is) I know one of our guidebooks had mentioned people not liking their food, but I tell you, the food was really really good. I guess some people prefer bland unseasoned stuff. Or they crawled under the table looking for their paper-thin overcooked piece of meat, maybe. (Sorry. But while the Spanish cooks were great with seafood and freshwater fish, their touch with meat left something to be desired.) Dinner was Ensalada Mixta, which included not only basic  lettuce but also some other greens and bits and pieces of other goodies; Gazpacho (a cold tomato-vegetable soup); vegetarian paella, and crepes with chocolate drizzle and cream. Wow! Yum. One of the men of the pilgrims eating asked the cooks to please come into the dining room and we all applauded them heartily.

The next morning, we got up early, as usual. We walked through rolling hills to Valdeiglesias and stopped there at a lovely albergue that had acres--oceans!--of space in the dorm rooms. They had a bar as well, and if anyone had wanted to play there was a chess board available.

The church was open, but we didn't go in because the ladies (and gentlemen) of the parish were working there. The village fiesta was the next day. The ladies were dusting and wiping with vigor, they had a crew of men squeegeeing the stained glass windows on the outside, and another man was on a tall ladder wiping the crystals of the chandelier. Each and every one of them. God bless him! They saw us looking in and said we could help if we wanted. My sweetie laughed and said that I'd just commented how they were doing the same thing we do at home. (Well, our parish doesn't have a crystal chandelier. And I've never heard of anyone asking the Altar Society to foodle with the stained glass windows. But we do have cleaning teams that come in every other week.)

Eating area at the (new) albergue in Santeiglesias.

Stork, hunting for his family's dinner. They eat frogs!
My sweetie met some lovely folks from Belgium in Santeiglesias. They're from the village of Chouffe, and it has a brewery. Now he wants to find an excuse (and the money!) to visit Chouffe. I think they have cheese in Belgium, too. As well as fabulous beers. Cheese. Yum. And chocolates.

We left about 6:30 the next morning and went to Astorga. Astorga is a biggish city--well, maybe a biggish town. The map tells me that there are about 12,000 souls who call Astorga home. It did look somewhat bigger than that. And the map while it shows some hills and such, doesn't mention that we got to tramp goat tracks and sheep tracks with lots of rocks. We stopped to see the Roman baths (ruins) at the entrance to Astorga.
Roman baths--well, part of them.

Cathedral of Astorga. You can tell they changed quarried more than once during the construction.
We toured the Cathedral Museum at Astorga and enjoyed it very much. Then, finding that the tourist information office still wasn't open even though it was after 11 in the morning, we headed on out of town. The restaurant we had bocadillos in was practically empty, and there was a big collection of flies flying in a spiral near the ceiling. I thought that it would do for the opening scene in a horror movie. But the bocadillo was fine.
One odd thing about Astorga: it didn't seem like anybody was working. There were a few restaurants open, but not much else was going on. No traffic to speak of, either.

We walked down the road to Santa Catalina de Somoza and called it a day.