Better morning…

I hope I didn’t alarm anyone. I’m much better today — still woke up sore but it is what it is. The more I think about it, I believe my mini-breakdown can be attributed to all of the physical strain/work with no real food. My stomach was not hungry for food (it was full of wheat products and Doritos), but I know my whole body was starving for any type of nutrient. Anything. Besides more stinking ham.

This morning I woke up determined to find better food and drink more water (in case dehydration was also at play). I downed a bottle of water, checked out of the hotel, and stood in line with about 50 Astorga women waiting for the grocery store to open. Witching hour was 9:15 — I know that put me on the trail late but I didn’t care.

I didn’t buy any carrots because they were filthy with dirt and I was already out of my hotel room; I just don’t think the good people of Astorga would appreciate me washing carrots in the square fountain. But I did score a banana, bag of almonds, bottle of water, and this beautiful thing:

I had this bottle drained before I even passed the cathedral. It was delicious. Drank more water, ate the banana and some nuts, and hit the road.

This friendly little one ran up to me as I was reaching the town limits. Her owner was yelling at her to stop and come back, but she just beelined to me. She was so friendly I almost scooped her up to snuggle, but I think that would have freaked her owner out. I think he was just relieved I enjoyed petting her instead of being mad she was jumping on me. You made my day, little one!

A 16th s hermitage outside town. Very lovely.

Now… what happens when one loads up on fluids to get super-hydrated? That’s right… a sudden need for servicios/bano. I practically ran into the village I’m in right now, overtaking a group of German women who seemed unhappy I was passing them. I pointed my poles in the direction of the village and just said “servicios!” Made them laugh.

After using the servicios in the first bar in town, the same group of German women were coming through the door. They all smiled and gave me the thumbs up.

Of course there is an unspoken tax to use a cafe banos — you must buy something. I got an espresso (the least amount of fluid possible) and sat at a table outside with some pilgrims from Germany, Korea, and Florida. Talking with them I realized another reason why I was so stressed out last night. The guidebooks say to stock up (“kit-up”) in Astorga to be prepared for climbing that monster mountain ahead of me. I paid the most yet for my room last night so I could be in Astorga to do just that… but as you know, nothing was open. So I paid almost twice what I wanted for a room due to the holiday to stay in a city where I could buy things from stores that were closed.

Yeah, that was definitely a source of frustration.

What will I do about O Cebriero? I don’t know yet. The pilgrims I was just chatting with were already thinking about taking taxis over or around the mountain to avoid climbing it. The German pilgrim said he had a friend get seriously injured on it last year. Hmmm… I’m not a Camino purist and my husband wants me home in one piece. I’m also scheduled to tackle it on my birthday. And I don’t have the cold weather gear I was planning to purchase in Astorga. We will see what happens.

I’m taking as many breaks as I need today. The owner of the inn I’m staying at tonight already knows I may be in at 14:00, 15:00, 16:00 or later.

I’m determined to make this a good day. A dog was happy to see me, I had a bottle of veggie juice, and look what I’m sitting under right now:

They are partly open and smell wonderful. They smell like spring.

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