Day 21 – Hospital to Santa Catalina 29.6km

We awoke in the darkness, got ourselves packed and started the journey by 7.15am. We could tell it was going to be a good day; the sky was a royal blue colour, the air was still and there was already a hint of warmth coming through. Today would be our first scenic day in what seems like forever, so were very excited to feel the true sense of the Camino again.

When we were at the Albergue last night, one of our roommates who is in her late 30’s told us she’s doing between 40-50km a day as she only has 18 days in total to complete the Camino. She told Jason later on that she was really tired after the walk and ate an entire block of chocolate which she felt really guilty about that. Now the funny thing is, we’ve been eating a block of chocolate every day even when we’re not tired, so if anything we should be the ones feeling guilty! So we’ve decided to cut down on our chocolate addiction (well it’s more of my addiction than Jason’s), so our aim for today was to have no chocolate during the hike and to reward ourselves with half a block at the end of the day and we surprisingly managed to do just that.

The walk was so beautiful today. The sky was blue and became progressively warmer towards the end of the day. We walk on a combination of mud and gravel past animal farms, fields of maize and sparse forests. They were views that we had missed and we realised it made the day go that much quicker when you’re not walking endlessly along a boring highway.

By 12pm we arrived in the big city of Astorca. We decided not to stay here the night like we usually would but still stayed for an hour and enjoyed our baguettes in the main square sitting in front of another one of Gaudi’s masterpieces. Now today also happens to be ‘All Saints Day’, a public holiday where family members gather together and visit the graves of their loved ones. We passed busy florists and bakeries along the way but noticed most other stores were closed, also because it was a Sunday.

We left Astorca fairly well rested and walked for another 3.5 hours in the desert-like heat to arrive in Santa Catalina by 3.15pm. After checking in at the Albergue I immediately jumped into the best shower ever, which felt amazing especially since I couldn’t have one yesterday as they’d run out of hot water. Later in the evening a pilgrim called Julie (California, USA) came in asking if anyone had any ibuprofen available as she’d injured her Achilles today. Jason and I both offered to check her out which she was very grateful for. Another case of ‘overdoing it’, as is the situation with most injuries on the Camino. Thankfully she’s very sensible and took on board our advice and agreed to rest for the next few days and start walking short distances once she feels better.

In the evening we went downstairs and enjoyed a simple but delicious pilgrim’s menu.

Total cost for today:
– Breakfast: €1 Muesli and milk
– Lunch: €2 Turkey and pate baguette
– Dinner: €9.50 Pilgrim’s menu
– Snacks: €2 Apples and chocolate
– Accommodation: €5

Total cost for today: €19.50

Til next time
Ann & Jason xo

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