Wednesday Nov. 26th 2014 Astorga 25 km

imageFarrier at albergue this morning. According to him Leon is only 6 years old. According to an old man passing by yesterday at least 12 y.o.

Spoorbrug. Voor Leon geen probleem

Railway bridge. No problem for Leon

Astorga the place were I leave the Via de la Plata. I have been following this ancient Roman track for a 1000 km from south to north. Here the road to Santiago turns west, while I want to go east, direction France. The track from France to Santiago is 400? km and I start walking part of that in reverse.
It’s time for an evaluation. The first weeks in Andalucia were heaviest. Bloody hot. The Via de La Plata starts in Sevilla and from my start in Tarifa to Sevilla was 200 km, without directions, no water and hardly any grass for Leon, no shade for my young dog Tosca, no albergues. And most of all the encertain feeling if my animals would stand this. The presence of my two brothers the first week and of Paulien and Rob in week 4 and 5 doubled my joy and cut my grief to half. The week before X-mas cineast Rudy will come by car and join me while that same week around Xmas Constance will join me walking. Between Crismas and New Year son Servé will join me for a few days. So good future prospects. Moreover I’m one week ahead of schedule.
Here in Astorga the North South Via de la Plata and the East West camino Frances meet, so in the albergue it was pleasantly crowded. Folks from all over the world. As I was focused on my animals I had less opportunity to socialize. On inchecking the old guardian kept me talking God knows how long, about all kind of things. While I was thinking about all the things I still had to do: looking for a place for Tosca, a shelter for Leon with food, buying something to eat for myself and preparing it, checking tomorrows route, looking for a sleeping place tomorrow and getting all that arranged, writing my blog, reading my mails, maybe glance at historical Astorga and it was getting dark already. At 10 P.M. Tosca and I made a 10 minutes walk to Leon. In Astorga I had found a little grassy field between the buildings, where I tied Leon to a tree. I believe yesterday he ate so much nutritious food that his belly seemed a little swollen. This evening he didn’t eat much and he pooped more often, so immediately I got worried. On the other hand he walked well today and his poop looked normal. Moreover the blacksmith thought he was about 6 years old and not the 12 years that the first blacksmith proclaimed. That improved my mood this morning, because yesterday I was disappointed. I bought Leon recently, supposing he was 6. And then yesterdays problems with finding places to sleep tonight and next nights, how to get a blacksmith for Leon, how to smuggle Tosca into the albergue? But today everything seems fixed again. This is the adventure I had been looking for. However I’m gradually leaving the purpose of going back to basics. In a modern society one cannot live like tens or hundreds of years ago. You are shot down. The fact that I am trying it is a stunt, but I will not advise others to follow my example. Nevertheless I will just go on the same way. The walking itself is a delight, nice weather in november, rolled up sleeves, an enthousiastic dog and a faithfull horse. Two character traits that also belong to a partner, right?                                                                      Far away I see Astorga. On the other side snowy mountain tops. It almost feels a pity reaching the city. Because the blacksmith was finished this morning only at 10.30 and I still had to walk 25 km. I could only start at 11.15 and there was no time left for filming. That’s a pity. A tricky problem today was crossing an old railway bridge. Might the track still be in use? In that case crossing the narrow bridge looks like suicide (picture). I guessed not. We walked on the metal plates. It made a lot of noice and Leon acted like it was completely normal.                                                                      Tomorrow a new pilgrim’s track, the adventure will go on and I still enjoy it. Even more while sitting here in the albergue at the diner table next to a Korean girl who tries to talk English to a French man, while an English lady tries to speak French. A nice atmosphere with food, tea, beer and wine.


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