Day 24: Today was a short day. I left Hospital de Orbigo about 8 and arrived in Astorga about 12:30. I took the highway route instead of the more leisurely but longer route out of Hospital. I had some things I wanted to take care of when I got to Astorga. I wanted to go to the post office and send back more things, I wanted to find a smaller/lighter adapter for my electrical items (I had a very small one when I started but left it in Pamploma and the replacement I bought is BIG and bulky, and I wanted to get new ear buds since mine stopped working. I needed to get these things done before 2:00 since the towns shutter up for siesta at that time. I hit the post office first thing and mailed back several items and then I found a small adapter and ear buds in town. I also located a laundry and washed all my clothes and even had my hair washed and dried while I was waiting on laundry. The two gals who did my hair were so very sweet and it was so GREAT to have my hair washed well, conditioned, and dried! I also happened to find a shirt similar to the one I lost about three weeks ago. So I am all set and freshened up for the next several days.
In Astorga there is a sudden increase in Pilgrims as this is a good starting point for walking part of the Camino. In Astorga, you can find the Maragoto culture, an ancient tribe of red haired, hard working, honest people. They maintain several curious customs. One is their cocido, which is a meal that serves the meat first then the greens. As I start out tomorrow, there will be a well preserved Maragoto village where only recently have the locals abandoned their old way of locking their doors: it was their custom to leave the key in the outside door when they left town as a sign to their neighbors that they are gone and as an invitation to the neighbors to let themselves in if they need anything.
As I leave Astorga tomorrow I will be leaving behind the last of the plains and will begin, slowly at first, to climb. The next two days are average days of walking ( 6 hours) but the third one is one of my longest (8-9 hours). I have trepidation about that. Once that day is behind me, it should be smooth sailing to Santiago- Lord willing.