21st Day: Villar de Mizarife to Astorga

David kept referring to himself as David, as in, he liked to use the third person from of speech. Granted he was a little strange, but maybe that comes with the territory of living outside “the system” (as he called it) for the last five years. He now lives in an abandoned farmhouse six kilometers from Astorga as a hermit caring for pilgrims and living in nature. He tore the roof off in February so he could “see the mountains better”. David used to have a family and a business, or maybe a family business. I couldn’t tell what he meant when he said “I used to live in Barcelona. I had a family (slight pause) business.”

His shelter and the stand which he provided aid to pilgrims, for a donation if you wanted, of plums, bananas, greenish apples, water and, what was that, peanut butter (an American woman had made a suggestion for peanut butter earlier that year, before he had decided to rip the roof off his house) was 25 kilometers from Villar de Mizarife along the Camino. We, Christian and I, had made our way that morning slowly through the end of the Meseta, which extended one and half days beyond the clutches of Leon. We first hit Villavante and then Puente de Orbigo, known for hosting an annual jousting match in early June to commemorate Suero de Quinones, a knight who had challenged 68 other armored clad men to a fight with a long stick in order to prove his love for a woman (p.s. he won).

After making it to the village of San Justo de la Vega, Christian stopped at a private Albergue and I continued on the 3.2 kilometers to Astorga. There I saw the group of 18 French Canadian students from Quebec who moved like a light switch between English and French. I had met them the night before in Villar de Mizarife. They were a most respectful group of students, who could keep a conversation going at the young age of 16 and 17 (wow I sound old). They slid through the Camino with ease, their adolescent bodies impervious to aches and pains. The Camino was not so cordial with me today – I didn’t make it into the Refugio until after 6pm and my right knee is acting up – but I am keeping a positive outlook that tomorrow will be better.

The first three pictures are taken during sunrise between 7:15 and 8:20. The first part of the hike was flat, so it was easy to get a good shot of the horizon and all of the colors the sunrise produced.

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Puente de Orbigo. If you have a magnifying glass, you can see the jousting field at the end of the bridge on the left.

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Flowers are coming into bloom. Don’t hate.

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The next four pictures are of David’s house and David, but he said that it was the Pilgrims’ house actually.

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