Astorga is a lovely town, like a mini Leon, only more expensive. I am not sure why but I still think Leon has more to offer. As I wandered around last night looking for that just a little bit extra after the big lunch I had, I bumped into Monica. We had several times said goodbye, but it was not yet to be. She wanted tapas, I wanted to drink. And we wanted to go off the beaten track.
In a medieval ex-fortified town like Astorga, it’s not hard to get into the ‘burbs. Just go one, max two, streets away from the main drag. There we started peering into shops and bars. Some bars, we felt intimidated. There was no menu. And I always like to see a menu. It gives me time to think.
Gastro Bar is the perfect sounding tapas place. We ordered a couple of raciones. Boy are they large! A lovely evening was had enjoying the local tinto, pimientos and calamares. I didn’t enjoy the latter as much as it tasted more like the crab stick version of squid rings. They also had a lovely chicken bouillon.
I woke up to news that Sue’s flight was delayed by a couple of hours. Thankfully, I was still in hotel and so managed to do surfing to try to find alternative. A plan was hatched for them to get a train to Leon and a taxi. Unfortunately, the trains were full and the last train would not get them into Leon until 9 pm.
As luck would turn out, I had, by then, moved to my accommodation for the second night – Albergue San Javier. Having managed to hold 2 spots for my friends, I struck up a conversation with a group of three in our room. They said their friend was catching a bus from Madrid to Astorga mid afternoon. I hurriedly ran off to ring my friends to let them know. The universe works in mysterious ways. Sometimes I wonder who is helping whom. Turns out as my friend was boarding, they managed to stop a pilgrim from boarding the wrong bus. Lo, this pilgrim turned out to be the friend of the group I met. So funny.
Anyway, all’s well that ends well – in the camino sort of way.
Below are photos of sightseeing at Astorga Cathedral and Gaudi Palace. Love Gaudi. He’s just so crazy and brilliant. Never seen so many pointed arches as in this building. A mini gothic structure in modern style.
Gaudi’s Bishop Palace
Finally, I love how easy it is to spot a pilgrim. They are the ones so unfashionably dressed, wearing socks with their hiking sandals. Looking lost, or looking up. They are the only ones out when everyone else is siesta – ing.