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Astorga

Municipal (161, 5€) Albergue de Peregrinos Siervas de María, on the left just after you struggle up the hill through the town walls, on Plaza San Francisco. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Excellent facilities. Website www.caminodesantiagoastorga.com Tel 618 271 773 Open 11:00

Private (10, 20€) Só Por Hoje, to the left of the Camino from Plaza España. Laundry facilities, microwaves. Communal evening meal (Brazilian). Breakfast. New in 2019. Website alberguesoporhoje.com Tel 690 749 853 Open 12:30

Private (105, 10€, April to November) San Javier, on the Camino near the cathedral, on Calle Portería. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Breakfast. Wood burning stove when it's cold. The noise from the wooden floor in the dorm can make sleeping difficult. Tel 987 618 532 Open 10:30

Astorga is a large towns with all facilities available on or near the Camino. Supermarket on Plaza de Santocildes. Tourist Office on the square beside the cathedral. Also on Plaza de Santocildes there's a good outdoor shop called Huracán run by a Swiss gentleman. Hotel Astur Plaza on Plaza Mayor does a good pilgrim menu. Restaurante Gaudí, in Hotel Gaudí, on the same square as Gaudí's Episcopal Palace, is reported excellent and does a special price for pilgrims. Cubasol is popular with the locals for tapas, it's on Calle Señor Ovalle, with your back to the Ayuntamiento it's on the right (not open evenings). Several cafés for breakfast of which Chocolatería Sonrisas on the Camino just after Plaza Mayor is friendly and popular with the locals. Fiestas Astures y Romanos 25 July with lots of dressing up and fake battles, Santa Marta 25 August.

This is an excellent place to try Cocido Maragato which is the plato típico par excellence of the Maragatería. It is actually several dishes traditionally served at one sitting featuring goat's blood sausage, half a chicken, pork, a pig's ear, a pig's trotter, a slice of pig's snout, chorizo, chickpeas, cabbage, potatoes and garlic. The meat is served first, then the chickpeas, then a soup followed by the veggies. It's available in several places but Casa Maragato II on Calle Padres Redentoristas has been recommended. On the off chance that you can manage dessert after all that Astorga is also famous for its chocolate and pastries of which Mantecadas and Hojaldres are the most popular. Many specialist shops around the centre make and sell them.

Accommodation on Booking.com

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Copyright © Gerald Kelly 2021. All text and photos.