Day 29 24th day walking

Some like the albergue life, they arrive mid afternoon. Spend the rest of the day laying on the grass. Cook with friends and rise early to do it all again tomorrow.
Not for Bob and Viv though. Maybe because we come from small families, we just cannot cope with being in such close proximity and loath the disturbances that colour every night. Still, we managed to hold out until twenty to seven, then we were off out of it.
Ablutions ignored as there is only one sink, breakfast on hold until we can stop.
On the way out of Hospital, there was a big sign showing the two routes. After yesterdays road trip and because we only had a short walk (19Ks ) we elected to take the more picturesque and 2K longer route.
Not far along the path there was already a sign for a bar. Villares de Orbigo was only 3K and the signs counted them down until we got to the village.
The Camino turned left, but the bar was straight on, but in sight, so we diverted and stopped for some breakfast.
We had the usual coffee and zumo, but they also had museli yogurt, just what we needed. We are getting tired of everything with pastry.
We passed through Santbanez del Valdeiglesias without stopping. It was too near the last stop. They do have a couple of nice looking albergues though. One guy outside polishing the frontage looked particularly proud, and wished us “buen Camino”
The scenery this way is quite stunning and it varies with each turn in the road. We passed through vinyards and cattle sheds, open fields and woodland.
As we climbed one hill we thought we saw someone on the hill waiting, but when we got there it was a statue that various people had dressed in pilgrim attire. I was impressed with the trousers, someone must have unpicked the seems and resewn them back on to him.
We left our pilgrim and turned another corner, there to our left was what looked like an old quarry. The far wall was peppered with holes that were occupied by birds all nesting there.
Now it is 12 K from Santbanez to San Justo de la Vega and we now desperately needed a comfort break. Someone had set up a bar donativo and several people had stopped. We just rushed through and kept our heads down until we came across a paved road
with a speed limit on it. There were some drums with yellow markings and Viv was off following them, but there was a guy playing a guitar at the side of the road who put us straight. Viv was not about to engage him in conversation though, so I was left to pass him some coins and tell him where we were from.
We had a rest and coffee in San Justo where we bumped into the pipe playing Breton, who we seem to have followed from Hornillos. He sat outside, pointed to his glass and said “esto es mi santo San Miguel” can’t say I disagree.
At Astorga we stopped at a shop, bought some yogurt and biscuits. which we crumbled in and ate for our lunch. there were some strange sounds coming from the centre. It sounded very military.
We had seen on the TV that this would be the last year that Juan Carlos would present the military. I was not sure what that meant but it apears that all over Spain there were military parades today and the Plaza Mayor was fully occupied.
Finding a room was not looking easy again. So while Viv photographed Gaudi’s Bishop’s Palace I went into the tourist information.
He wanted to send us back the way we had come, we never like going back. So we decided to start with what was nearest.
Following the map was not difficult, but I could see no sign of a hotel. While we stood around looking lost some guy came up and tried to direct us to the albergue. I said “no” and pointed to the map. “It is there” he said.
Well, there was no sign, and the name on the building was different. Nothing ventured, I rang the bell “si?” “hay un habitacion?” “solo o doble” “doble” I said. I did not catch the rest but the door was released, so we walked in.
Well it may be 50e but this is more like a suite, and after last night just what we need.
The place is full of religious iconography, on every floor and landing. I can accept this, as I think this place is something to do with a convent, although I am not too sure about the man being tortured to death above my bed, it feels a bit creepy.
We have the measure of these Spaniards now, we ordererd a pizza and paella and two plates so that we could share. Not one Bar or restaurant does decent postres, so we paid and left. Down the road was a confiteria where we finished with coffee and a big slab of cake.

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