Astorga to O Pedrouzo

As I walked into Astorga and saw the other pilgrims from the Camino Francais, I was pleasantly surprised how confident and relaxed I felt. I was a pilgrim, not a newbie, not some scared and awkward neophyte. It felt good. I took a rest day and then the next morning walked out of Astorga to find that I wasn't in Kansas any more. If the VdlP was like some month long silent retreat at a monastery, the Camino Francais was a three ring circus. The solitude of the Via de la Plata was behind me.

On the first day I walked to Foncebadon, which is 2 kilometers from the Cruz de Ferro. The experience of placing my stone at the Iron Cross was a very meaningful event for me and deserves a separate page.

The stages between Astorga and Santiago were gorgeous, especially Foncebadon and O'Cebreiro. Compared to the VdlP, it seemed like Disney Land with well kept trails and albergues, great food and excellent accommodations. One could say that it was a magical kingdom. I saw a gorgeous sunrise from O'Cebreiro and even water flowed down the street after a rain in strange ways.

I was blown away by two guys from Belgium who I met in Arzua before I reached Santiago. One was 70 and the other was 75. They were on their 4th or 5th Camino. What was notable was that the 70 year old had significant problems with his legs and was doing the Camino Francais with a walker on wheels (with the back pack suspended on the walker). His buddy would walk along beside and they slowly made it across the Camino.

It's not just, "If the two guys from Belgium can do it, so can I." There is something about the Camino that sustains pilgrims, inspires them to return year after year, and keeps them going in the face of incredible adversity. I was inspired by those two guys.

Pictures of the stages from Astorga to O Pedrouzo

Pictures from the Cruz de Ferro

Cruz de Ferro Iron Cross