WALK: SANTIBAÑEZ DE VALDEIGLESIAS – ASTORGA. 11.5 KM – 3.5 HOURS
CULTURAL EXPERIENCE: VISIT ASTORGA CATHEDRAL AND BISHOP’S PALACE
After your breakfast, we’ll be transferred to Santibañez de Valdeiglesias, a small village, where you’ll begin your Camino. Todays walk will take you, trough beech, oak and pine trees, to Astorga, at the end of La Meseta (the dry Spanish central plateau, 800-900 m above the sea).
Astorga was founded by Roman Legions at the I century b.c. a very important location for the Catholic Church, head of one of the biggest regions.
Important gold mines existed in the region a.c.
150 years ago a chocolate industry grew in Astorga, by 1914 there were 49 chocolate factories in the city, and Astorga was one of the main chocolate producers in Spain. Also on the food “must try list” are “Mantecadas de Astorga” (soft cupcakes) and “Hojaldres” (puff pastries made with honey).
After a period of rest in your accommodation, we’ll face our foodies’ restaurant for lunch. In Astorga and its region, the speciality is “Cocido Maragato”, a powerful stew made with vegetables, chickpeas and a variety of different meats (hen, cow, pork, Cecina, chorizo,…). You eat first the meat, then vegetables, finishing with the soup. You’ll choose between the Cocido or other traditional dishes.
In the evening we’ll meet in the foyer to start our visit to the Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace.
The Cathedral was built between the XV and XVIII centuries from late gothic to baroque styles. Bishop’s Palace is a work of Antoni Gaudi, the great Catalan architect, at the beginning of his extraordinary career. Nowadays it’s an interesting Caminos Museum.