Saturday, September 29, 2012

Astorga (Sep 26)

Villadangos was one of half a dozen or so small communities that lined the original Camino route in parrallel with the busy main highway N120 between Leon and Astorga, which was why some walkers choose to use a longer alternate and more scenic route of recent creation. We chose to get over this uninteresting stretch by busing down the highway some 14 km to Hospital de Orbigo where I made my way back on the Camino track and Kay continued on to Astorga.

Oak trees and acorns.

I had some trouble finding my way to the Camino initially and ended up walking along the busy road for some distance with cars zooming past me at 80 km/h or more. I was about to turn back when a truck driver kindly indicated to me to carry on as I was indeed on the right track. Eventually I was able to join the alternate route that veered away from the highway, past a quiet village and then over a couple of hills and through an oak forest. From a lookout I was able to see Astorga and beyond that the ridge we would have to ascend in the next few days.

Astorga is a very attractive touristy town that has not just a cathedral but also a Gaudi designed mansion to its name. It prides itself to a range of local specialties in confectionary and for that reason has a large number of chocolatiers. Busloads of tourists descend on the town each day, described disparagingly by some as tourigrinos, tourist visting the Camino sights by buses. Of course whoever we are we have impacts on the community, both positive and negative.

Now in a more touristy place, we have found that more English were spoken by the storekeepers and more shops were open during the afternoon. Happily for us, we were able to find a restaurant that was open all day!

Town square at Astorga.

No comments:

Post a Comment