Day 21.
Astorga to Foncebadon : 27 km
Distance to Santiago : 164 miles

There can be fewer dispiriting moments on The Camino that waking up at 6am, taking off your shirt in the bathroom …. and noticing 15 bed bug bites on your back

The little sods obviously had a party at my expense

I can imagine the conversation

“Hey Keith,” (cos I think that’s what bedbugs are likely to be called )

“We’re having a bit of a do tonight, why don’t you come over? In fact bring the family and a couple of mates

“What’s that? No don’t bother bringing a bottle it’s all free. .we’ve found this great place…all you can eat and the party goes on til 3am

“Mind you the blood has a sort of brandy after- taste but there is plenty of it”

I have to admit it put me in a bad mood. A very bad mood

At one point the Camino cut through some woods with exposed roots stretching across the path.

I stumbled several times and on the fifth trip I’m ashamed to say I rather lost my temper, vocalising a stream-of -consciousness swearing I haven’t used since secondary school. It finished with a phrase im not proud of :”F. the Camino and everyone on it”

Which made it doubly disappointing that this tirade was delivered in front of the 2 Swiss nuns who were only 10 yards behind me. I know they heard me. I hope they have no English

Walking through Rabanal we passed a Benedictine monastery run by a group of Bavarian monks which offers spiritual guidance and the chance to stay with them for a period of spiritual reflection and the chance to purge one’s sins

You must stay with them for a minimum of 2 days

I thought about it. Then decided that in my current state I would probably drive them crazy. Or turn them into atheists

Tomorrow is St Jimmy’s Day. A reason for much rejoicing round here. We climb to the highest point of The Camino where we are required to leave stones – symbolising our sins

I’ll be the one carrying a boulder.