A short walk of about 14 km. I feel like I’ve slowed down to a snail’s pace. But every event is an opportunity. So the opportunity is to experience a short day, keep testing my feet, explore the towns I stay in and have time to mingle, meet, talk to other pilgrims. All whilst biding my time till Saturday when my friends arrive in Astorga.

I do want to start winding down my trip. I am ready to go home. How I am to restart my life, i don’t yet. I have no grand plans but I miss my family and I want to go home. Of course, not before Santiago, and maybe not before Finisterre. 

As we have to get out of the Albergue by 7.30 am, I was out the door by 7.15 am. I didn’t even stop to have a coffee in a bar. I just drank a coffee from the machine. Sure, it wasn’t great but it gave me the caffeine boost I needed.

The route to Villar de Mazarife is a little confusing. There are 3 routes to Hospital de Orbigo and there are arrows all over the place. Plus you do have to cross major roads near the roundabout. Looking at maps in the middle of the road at a roundabout whilst you can’t remember which way the cars drive on, is just not a good formula.

Following other pilgrims in the assumption that they know the way is sometimes not a good idea. Frankly I think those 2 pilgrims ahead went the wrong way. But they were too far away for me to shout. Once in the right route, we passed through a couple small hamlets – some with nice houses. I think some homes are absolutely house proud. And then just as quickly, you see some very run down buildings.

My observations so far is that the town seem “wealthier” than other towns I’ve been through. Houses are newer, tiled, neater. No crumbling mud brickwork. Or fewer anyway. Maybe it’s the proximity to Leon, clearly a wealthy city through the ages. Of course I can’t compare with the houses going into Leon since I was in a taxi with a blistered foot.

I’m quite proud of my blistered foot, even if it had slowed me down. I’ve learnt a lot having to take care of it, including needle and threading it. I’ve had to stop. I’ve had to make decisions completely on my own. It’s like a badge of honour. Of course, suffering on the camino is optional. I could rail about how unfair life is, or how behind schedule I am, or how my friends have moved on. But I haven’t. Just going with the flow. It is what it is.

Today’s town gave me the opportunity to see a little of life. I saw, got the first time, spanish children coming home from school! I’ve not seen this before. I’d guess it is that most towns have an aging population. So it’s nice to hear the laughter of kids. But they don’t carry back packs for their school books. All were wheeling bags. Maybe to distinguish themselves from peregrinos.

A lovely walk though mountains beckon in the background. I am ready for you Cruz de Ferro.  I am ready for you.  

(No photos as wifi not co-operating.)