Day 23. What a difference a day makes. Yesterday started off all lions and tigers and bears….and this morning we once again set off in the dark with my headlamp leading the way. (Just in case you missed it, I said  my headlamp – Marc speaking here. You have all been graced with the thoughts and words of Ed up until now, since I think he writes ever so much better than me, however he is getting a day off and so you will have to suffer through my random thoughts). But now back to the dark of morning. Like Ed I felt some of the same apprehension yesterday morning as we began our day. But today was different. We hadn’t travelled too far before the dim lights of the next village appeared on the horizon. They had a warm and inviting glow to them and I was feeling invigorated. And instead of  lions and tigers, the song running through my head was from Simon & Garfunkel – “Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again…”

It was almost like the feelings I would get in the monastery, early in the morning walking down a darkened cloister. This darkness was a time of precious solitude and indeed it is a friend. Ed and I usually spend this dark time in quiet, barely a word between us. For me it is a time of offering to God both the joys and the pains of the day ahead. And finally when dawn begins to break we chant the verses with which almost every monastic office begins.

Deus in adjutorium meum intende,                     Domine ad adjuvandum me festina,                               Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto; Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, Amen.

And then we pray for all of those who have helped us make this pilgrimage a reality.

And now today’s pics. There are a lot of them! Our destination today was Astorga and ever since my friend Philippe Daniel posted pictures last year on Facebook of Gaudi’s Episcopal palace, Astorga has been high on my list of places I was excited to visit – it did not disappoint.

Light finally begins to dawn and the bright crescent moon begins to fade.

This reminded us of something out of the old West.

We stopped so Ed could loosen his boot laces.

A delightful rest stop along the way.

The cross of Santo Torino with Astorga in the far background. Oh, and those mountains way back – YES, we still have to cross those and one point will be the highest elevation on the Camino, higher even than the peak we crossed in the Pyranees.

No, we are not in Disneyland, this is Gaudi’s Episcopal palace, now a museum.

Below are a series of shots from inside the museum and don’t need much in the way of captions.

Saint Michael the Archangel.

A section of Roman floor mosaics.

Saint James.

After visiting the museum it was on to the Cathedral. A most impressive building where nary a surface is left undecorated.

From the cathedral you enter the museum.

I believe this was a Roman sarcophagus.

One of many miters on display.

Dorothy certainly had nothing on the bishops of Astorga!

Black was always one of my favorite liturgical colors and this dalmatic is a superb example.

Breviary of Isabella.

Plaza Mayor, our last stop for the evening.