May 23, 2007

5/22/07 Santa Catalina de Somoza

"We are a process, we are possibilities, and we constantly change."
Kevin Griffin in ONE BREATH AT A TIME

I know we were the last out of the albergue this morning. Kind of liberating throwing caution to the wind, and letting fate find us a bed this evening.

Before we left, I had a chance to talk to Tomoko (Japan). She's the first person I've ever met that speaks Swahili. She has spent time in Bolivia and Tanzania, but is now living in Cordoba Spain learning about jewelry making. She has hopes of returning to Tanzania.

Even though it continued to rain all night, we had blue skies this morning. A very pleasant surprise. The land here seems a bit more wild. We pass into Galicia soon but I think we are already seeing the differences.

Alexandra & Tomoko with the mystery pilgrim


Camino de Santiago

Follow the yellow arrows

We had a pleasant walk into Astorga where the highlights are the Bishops Palace designed by Gaudi and Astorga chocolates. Took pictures of the building and bought some extravagant chocolate treats.

A pilgrim road into Astorga

A Camino Angel

It was market day

Bishops Palace designed by Gaudi

Alexandra and I met Tomoko on our way out of the city, so we walked together. Turns out she and Alexandra have the same birthday, May 1st. Good thing she didn't ask me to guess her age, I would have been way off, as she is one year older than Alexandra.

Definitely more remote as we walked because even as we walked along the road, we only saw one car. Rain clouds appeared and the winds made it seem colder, but we never got wet.

We're going the right way

Took a quick break at the albergue in Murias de Rechivaldo but decided to keep going on to Santa Catalina de Somoza. Alexandra picked the private albergue with a washer and dryer so we could do a load of laundry.

After showers and getting settled in, I ran into Elke (Austria). She and Barbara had been traveling together for over a week but Barbara stopped in Astorga to see if there was anything the doctors could do about her sciatica.

Spent most of the afternoon talking with Tomoko. When we took a walk around the pueblo, we saw Elka at the other albergue. She was very upset. She had just received a message from a friend who had started the Camino with her. The friend's father had died yesterday. Elke felt helpless since she wasn't where she could help. We got her back to our albergue where they let her use the phone to call her friend. She was so shaken, we escorted her back to her albergue.

After a nap, she joined us for dinner. She got another message from her friend, and now felt better about the situation. She was still a bit shaken, but we tried to liven up the dinner conversation. Tomoko even asked for a candle for her dessert to celebrate the coincidence of her and Alexandra's birthday.