Hotel Gaudi (89€)
Our last walking day for this section of the Camino! The sky brightens. Breakfast is good… fried eggs, bacon, toast and coffee. Off at 8:25 AM. We hike out of town and up a steep hill that has Nick in a fit of pain, his leg again. We continue on with stops for leg pummeling. The landscape has turned quite lovely, with rolling hills dotted with oaks. At 5 kilometers we stop in a dumpy bar for C&CC. Then on, and at about 12 kilometers a big surprise! A sort of crazed man has set up a stand of organic juices and snacks for pilgrims, underwritten by a gentleman from Barcelona. It’s free, with donations welcome, very sweet. Finally we come to a bluff overlooking Astorga. We think of the millions of walkers over the span of a thousand years who have experienced this very view. Then, on down the steep grade we go, to arrive there at 2:00 PM. At one of several plazas, we enjoy a tapas lunch… inc. patatas bravas, croquettes, and peppers. On to our Hotel Gaudi which is right across the street from the city’s cathedral and the architect Gaudi’s famed Bishop’s Palace. There is a letter from Peter waiting for us… so thoughtful. He and Hermann had waved furiously at us from their bus but we had not seen them… such lovely men. Out hotel is excellent and the view out our window outstanding. B+N. We then tour the quirky Bishop’s Palace and the cathedral. We stop by the bus station to buy tickets to Madrid and then enjoy gin and tonics on the sidewalk in front of the hotel. We go up for some reading and come down to dinner at 8:30. It’s good… Bonnie: pasta soup, steak, and a tart / Nick: gazpacho, steak, and ice cream. By night, the Bishop’s Palace could be Dracula’s.