Astorga, Spain - July 22, 2016

Our slow start this morning carried over to the way we approached the day. When we were hiking, our pace was moderate. Stopping for extended periods of time, often for Coca Colas, resulted in our late arrival in Astorga. In total, 23.8 kilometers (14.8 miles) were covered.

East of San Justo de la Vega, we came upon La Casa de Los Dioses (House of the Gods). On a stand, an assortment of food and drink were offered by donativo (donation). The outside board read "La llave de la esencia es la presencia" (The key to the essence is the presence). I explored the essence of a rice cake with peanut butter and a slice of watermelon. David, the owner, rested in a hammock and told us he was there for pilgrims year-round.

While sitting on a stump, I contemplated his existence. It must be interesting tapping the vein of the Camino. A symbiotic relationship seems to have developed here. David provides; David receives. All is done in good faith.

The surroundings were peaceful. Food was being cooked on a small wood fired stove. A bicycle leaned against the exterior wall. In his front courtyard, I noticed that David had, within the last three years, planted several fruit trees and grape vines. He may be staying for awhile. I feel the pull to visit this place again.

Entering Astorga, we took beds at the first large albergue we encountered, the Siervas de Maria (Servants of Maria). The hospitalario, realizing we were a couple, gave us a private room for five euros each.

We took a table in the main plaza for dinner. All three courses were outstanding. The consistently long walks are turning me into a scarecrow. I made it a point to consume the entire second course of my meal, a medium-sized pizza. Calories are of paramount concern on the Camino.

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