El Camino de Santiago, León to Astorga

Our two days in León have been very pleasant and restful and we are ready to head on out towards Santiago. We have finished the easiest part of this Camino and will soon be hitting the mountains and unstable weather of Galicia. Jim has walked this section with our daughter Emily in 2015 and is very excited to be sharing this beautiful route with Sandy.

We leave our fancy hotel in Leon early morning in a light to moderate rainfall.
Dressed to kill the Camino.
Our destination is via the scenic route to Mazarife as the main route although more direct runs parallel to a main highway all the way.
Some restaurants offer free breakfast to pilgrims.
Our way markers out of Leon were these discreet shells in the pavement instead of arrows. You need to keep sharp eyes on the Camino route not to get lost.
These are underground wine cellars aka bodegas that we saw along the Camino in the Rioja section of Spain.
Jim got his very first credenciale and passport stamp at this modern church when he walked the Camino in 2015.
Entrance of church above.
So far only cows this morning and not another pilgrim in sight
A long and lonely roads at times.
This was an endless red dirt path.
Just one step at a time.
A highlight today was seeing the places Jim remembered on his first Camino when he joined Emily and friends and finished the last 200 miles with them. This was the first albergue he ever stayed at.
Our destination for today Villar de Mazarife. Our Albergue is in the background on the left.
Agriculture was the main commerce here.
This was a really good walk today which was mostly flat with gentle rolling hills. Jim had no back pack to weigh him down and felt great.
This peaceful hamlet is a pilgrim friendly village, even the grocery store is called Frutas de Camino de Santiago and the church is dedicated to St James. Stopping our watch in front of Albergue Tio Pepe.
Setting our watches for another early morning start on our route today from Villar de Mazarife to Astorga which is 18.4 miles.
The sun won’t be up for another hour so we begin with our head lamps.
Nice to see these Km markers getting lower. 186 miles to go.
Morning sunrise.
The majority of this stage is relatively solitary and monotonous consisting of never ending rocky red dirt paths alternating with rolling rocky hills.
Once again we arrive in a ghost town. Where are all the people that live here?
We had a non alcoholic beer and a great bocadillo here. Bocadillo is a sandwich made with Spanish bread, usually a baguette cut lengthwise and filled with meat, cheese and tomatoes.
Some spectacular fall scenery along our route today.
Orbigo River.
A brief rest stop on a beautiful pedestrian only stone bridge.
Happy Pilgrims as we near the end of our walk.
Hmmmm not sure this is a welcoming site for pilgrims as they enter town.
Again notice the absence of towns people in this photo.
A glimpse of the next town ahead
Love the farm animals we see along the route.
A unique pilgrim shrine.
Cruceiro Santo Toribio is a stone cross commemorating Bishop Toribio of Astorga who fell to his knees here in a final farewell having been banished from the town.
Thirsty Pilgrim.
Sandy and pilgrim friend Maria, a psychologist from Marina Del Rey California. She is here with three colleagues and their husbands will be joining them to walk the last 100km with them into Santiago.
Stats for the day.
Entering Astorga we see the sensational Gaudi building known as the Bishop’s Palace with its Neo gothic turrets soaring heavenward.
Astorga’s XV century Cathedral stands majestically over the city.
We had enough energy at the end of our walk today to do a brief audio guided tour of the Cathedral before checking in to our hotel.
We are always lighting candles for us to have a safe and injury free pilgrimage.
Renaissance Altarpiece.
Another view of the Bishops Palace designed by modernist architect Antonio Gaudi that houses Los Camino Museum which sadly we were too tired to visit.
Astorga, a rich medieval walled town, was an important administrative and military center.
Clever Store displays entice pilgrims to come in and shop.
And yet another beautiful Plaza Mayor, our hotel is on the right.

It has been 23 days since we left Pamplona. We have walked for 20 of those days and have covered 275 miles. We have 12 days and 170 miles left to go with the most difficult and beautiful terrain through Galicia. We expect the weather to deteriorate as rain and colder temperatures are predicted.

5 responses to “El Camino de Santiago, León to Astorga”

  1. The pictures are beautiful. Hats off to both of you for completing this pilgrimage.

  2. Did you keep a journal that you remember each stop, town, art, buildings etc?
    Beautiful photos and essay!

    1. Sandy tried to write a brief diary every evening related to weather, difficulty and pilgrims met.

  3. Buena Suerte!!!!

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