Day 29 – Villadangos del Paramo to Astorga

What a tough day it was! We had 27 km to cover and we started off a little later because we were use to the “shorter” days of 20 km.

We spent the first few hours of the morning distracted by snapping photos of the scenery and of the snails. Before long, we had been on the road for 3 hours and only travelled around 10 km or so… YIKES!

The last 16 km was pretty tough especially a stretch of 8 km where there was little shade and no village. Like a mirage in the distance as we climbed a crest, there was a “pilgrim” stop where this man called David lived, had set up a counter with fruits and drinks for pilgrims. It wasn’t a shop he said, it was a self-service and there was no expectation to leave a donation but we could if we wanted to. He is an angel in disguise….

Anyway, what we did see on the road were plenty of road kills throughout the day. Crushed snails that were flattened by walkers 😦 Of course, squashed unintentionally but it got us thinking about all those little smushed snails on the track.

If we were all a little more conscious about where we put our feet, would there have been a little less casualities?

Possibly or maybe not!

But maybe the snails are symbolic in many ways on the Camino. Every day, we will see literally hundreds of them. Mostly just chilling out in shrubs or on trees but occasionally on the track.

Snails are slow animals with their shells on their backs – what us pilgrims look like with out backpacks on. But the difference is that snails move slowly… Maybe it’s a reminder for us to “slow down”.

As we walk, we try and watch where we walk. There are many bugs and snails along the way and we can’t help but admire them as we walk along. That’s just us – we are not saying that is the way everyone has to walk the Camino. We are just fascinated and trying to be in the moment and by really opening our eyes to what is around us.

We had a think about the crushed snails and wondered whether they were symbolic of how if we are not aware of our actions sometimes we unintentionally hurt others, particularly with our words. And the crushed shells can be interpreted to be like people’s emotions, confidence or hearts. Sometimes, they are not repairable.

After witnessing all these crushed shells, we want to take away from it that we should all be more considerate and careful as we could easily hurt one another without even realizing it. Let’s be more aware and look after one another and what’s around us!

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