Dad and I decided to stay in and cook dinner at the albergue tonight. We’re in Astorga, the “chocolate capital of Europe” or so they say. We made a quick trip to the “supermarcado” and bought some pasta, bread, wine and tomato sauce. Dad was even letting me drink a glass of wine with dinner, that is , until he found out they’d changed the drinking age from 16 to 18 a couple years ago. Damn! We already had some sausage and cheese in our backpack. so we threw everything together and cooked it up. Very simple but also very delicious. I was feeling homesick though and my feet were very painful. A woman that we had met earlier that day, Ilene, joined us while we ate. Shortly after, a man named Alex from Argentina joined us as well. He spoke beautiful English, he’d lived in Miami for a few years but now liv in Spain. They were both very friendly and had many very interesting things to talk about. Ilene was a psychologist and we must have spent hours talking about life, love and health. I was really hoping to see them again on the Camino but sadly the walking ended there in Astorga.
The next morning, when we got up and Dad took a look at my feet…
“Sorry Darling, we’re not going anywhere, at least not on those feet.”
A few hours later we caught a bus to Leon, the opposite direction from Santiago. It was beautiful there but I wasn’t feeling it. I was just extremely worn out and disappointed. We visited a cathedral with amazing stain glass windows and I really enjoyed it. I felt a little better but not much. We ate boring pizza at an American themed restaurant for lunch. How exciting. The albergue we stayed at that night had separate dorms for boys and girls so I was separated from Dad for the night. I really didn’t care, I was so exhausted and out of it. I met a really nice girl from Israel and also a mother and daughter from California. They were cool. That evening Dad dragged me to the most boring pilgrim’s mass in the world. I was trying so hard not to fall asleep. We then ate dinner with other pilgrims; a really cool and talkative lady from Finland, a somewhat quiet guy from Holland, and a very quiet guy from Korea. I stayed pretty quiet throughout dinner, too. Afterwards I went straight to bed. I didn’t have trouble falling asleep but right before I did there was a small argument going on between the mother and daughter I’d met and the woman who was sleeping next to the window.
“Please don’t close the window. There’s no ventilation down here.” they asked.
The women said, “There’s too much noise”
“Well that’s what earplugs are for.”
She left the window open. Sometime in the night the window slammed shut and the woman of course did nothing about it. It became extremely hot and there was a stench from hell. Fortunately, I slept through most of the night and was able to wake up without being woken up by Dad or someone else, thanks god! A few hours later we caught a bus to Burgos.
I was absolutely amazed by the size of the cathedral in Burgos. You could see it from anywhere in the city. We checked into a rather large albergue with many floors. It even had an elevator! I was just itching to get inside of that cathedral though, so we unpacked our sleeping bags and spread them out on the beds (that’s how you mark you territory) and headed out. One word: Wow. It was the most magnificent place I had ever set foot in. There were just so many rooms and halls with so many things to look at. Everything was carved with such detail. There was so much gold that the entire rooms glowed yellow. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were even ancient tombs of important religious figures just randomly placed everywhere. I’d look down at the floor I was standing on and see the inscriptions. I was staring on their graves! It was a little creepy but still awesome. It really just did not end. I would start to think that we’d seen it all and then we’d turn a corner and find something even more beautiful and breathtaking. No other cathedral could ever compare I’m sad to say.
That night we found some random, hole in the wall pizzeria and had the best pizza I’ve ever had in my life. Dad said the same thing. He wanted to order another one but I told him to save room for desert! I had Oreo flavored gelato. Yum! I slept like a baby that night also.
When I woke up the next day, I felt gross. Even after washing my face and brushing my teeth. I just felt gross and unready for the day ahead. After some coffee and croissants we walked off to find the train station. It seemed like it took hours of walking, when we finally got there we came upon an old train station that no longer existed. The doors and windows were all bricked up. So much for John Brierley’s Camino Frances tour guide. I was crying on the inside. Luckily, we found a taxi to take us to the actual, functioning, train station. They’d moved it outside of town.
There was only one agent sitting at the ticket counter for the train and there was a woman in front of us completely occupying his time. We were standing there for maybe ten minutes when I decided to sit down. Why is it taking so long for her to buy a train ticket? Dad was still standing in line and she was taking her time while more and more people were lining up behind him. She started to yell and the man at the ticket counter yelled right back. Things were getting heated. Another agent came out from the back. Dad was laughing but I was pissed. What could be so damn complicated about buying a train ticket?! I guess I’ll never find out but Dad concluded she was crazy. She just would’t stop yelling. He could be right. Someone would have to be crazy to hold up a long line of people trying to catch the next train that’s coming in 10 minutes. Funny thing, we saw her on the train after we boarded. She got off at the next stop, which was only 10 minutes away. She could of easily taken the local bus.