I can think of fewer more congenial places to write a blog! I am sitting at 1400metres above sea level in the hamlet of Foncebadon. There is not a cloud in the sky and the final movements of Beethovens 9th is playing. However there is much to relate before I reach this point.On Saturday I set off from Villavente with Pauline and David. It was a stunning day and the views to the mountains and Astorga took your breath away. Beyond the city the closeness of the mountains was a sign that Galicia was getting closer.
On my way down to the city I passed a group of men picking their grapes and then weighing them. It seemed like a Spanish version of an allotment. As I got closer to the city the heat became intense. I arrived below the Cathedral around 12.30 but realised that the cumulative effects of the cold were now on me. I stopped at a pharmacy to get something for my throat. Eventually I found my lodgings right on the edge of the City. After a shower at the hotel I collapsed into bed and slept for more than 3 and a half hours! I had a drink with Pauline and David and then slept again until 8.30am. I realised that it was the first time since August 11th that I had been able to sleep beyond 6.00am!
On Sunday morning I was shocked at how cold it was even after 9am. I visited the amazing Gaudi Bishop´s Palace and then attended Mass in the Cathedral. The theme was that of faith. I realised that it is only by faith that you can complete the Camino. If you rely on your own strength then you will fail!
At the end of mass I felt quite emotional to think that in two weeks time I could be attending mass in the Cahtedral at Santiago.
I had a leisurely lunch but the cold has put me off my food and slept a lot again.
On Monday I had a coffe at the hotel and set off in the dark wearing clothes that had been stored at the bottom of my rucksack since August. At Santa Catalina de Somoza I met two campesinos. I stopped and said buenas dias. They responded with the familiar ´buen camino´. I said ´muchas gracias´and one of them said: ´no hay de que somos nosotros los agredecidos a ustedes´. in others words -we are the ones who are grateful to you. It was a profound comment about their faith in those who do the Camino.
At Rabanal del Camino I visited the Benedictine foundation but found them less than welcoming and so joined Simon and walked on to Fonbardon. The views were stunning. After the usual routine I joined Angela and her daughters for a drink.