Monday, September 28, 2009

Astorga to Foncebadon

Mom joined us today and she kicked our butts. We spent 30 minutes today trying to make up 100 yards on her at one point. I couldn´t make myself go any faster.

Today we lived the life of a PCT thru-hiker´s dream...hike into town, eat, hike into another town, eat. It has been determined there will be no weight left behind in Spain :(

Dad has made it to Madrid (an achievement, believe me) and will meet us in Ponferrada tomorrow.

Tonight we´re staying in a nice hostel in Foncebadon, a formerly abandoned village slightly revived for the pilgrims. Mom splurged for a private room so none of us would have to suffer the indignity of bunking with hiker trash (you know, those people we were last year, and will be again tomorrow when mom bunks down with dad instead of us). Foncebadon is the last town before the highest point on the entire camino which, unfortunately, is only about 5,000 feet. Once upon a time it was a thriving Maragato village (please investigate on Wikipedia, but basically, it´s a distinct cultural group). When we climb over the top of the hill in the morning, we enter el Bierzo, which is/was home to an entirely different culture. Silly!

Finally, tomorrow I´m looking forward to a knee-breaking downhill session and seeing a 12th century castle built by the Knights Templar. I anticipate a clue to solving the Da Vinci code will be found in the artwork of this castle.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Leon to Astorga

We made it! We left Leon yesterday after a long day of travel, and on our second day of hiking, we hiked our first 30 (kilometers that is!!). Stayed the night at a charming hostel in Villar de Mazarife and rolled into Astorga today at 3 p.m. after putting in 19 miles, where we met Steve´s mom. She was delayed in New York, so didn´t hike the first leg with us. Steve´s dad will meet us two days from now. The three of us head out tomorrow for our first real hills.

The Camino is waaay different from the PCT. 1) There´s no wilderness (which is not surprising when you´re hiking town to town). 2) Everyone is older than us (or most everyone). 3) Lots of road walking. Also, people speak Spanish.

But we are having fun and enjoying the countryside and small towns along the way. Very charming!