Astorga is the the third city on our camino. The walk out of Hospital de Orbigo towards Astorga was gorgeous. It was much more rural then the walk out of Leon. We passed my fields and pastures. Once it got more hilly there were farm animal on the side of the walking path along with gorgeous planes. Although this walk was shorter than the walk to Leon, there was more climbing so it was tiring towards the end. With about 6km left in the walk at the top of a sizable climb there was an oasis. Someone at set up a rest stop stocked with fresh fruit that you could pick up yourself and it was all by donation. It was a beautiful thing to see right when the walk was getting difficult.
We finally got into Astorga around 2 pm. The city of Astorga has a similar history to that of Leon. It was a roman city founded in 14 BC by the Romans after conquering the area from the Celtics it was given the name Asturias Augusta by Emperor Octavian. It is located just outside the city of Leon and it’s position is strategic because of the gold mines in the area. The Roman built city walls which we got to visit before going into the Bishop’s Palace designed by Gaudi. The ancient city also had thermal baths and sewers systems that are still used today. Astorga was ruled by a bishopric, one of the first in Spain and the Bishop of Astorga is one the oldest religious positions in Europe. Bishop Turibio went to Rome and brought back a relic believed to be the True Cross and founded the monastery of Santo Turibio de Liebana. The relic is still in Astorga. Through the Romans, Christianity became the main religion in astorga and there is legend that Santiago and Saint Paul preached in the city.
We visited the palace for the bishopric of Astorga designed by Gaudi. Gaudi only designed a few buildings outside of Catalunya and this was one of them. It wa design in the Neo-Gothic style. Construction begun 1889 and it was completed 1913. A theme throughout the building was light that is shown through the stained glass windows and the glazed ceramics. It now houses the Museum of the Ways, devoted to the camino.
We also visited the The Cathedral of Santa Maria. It was a romanesque church from 1069-13th century and new construction over that is what is visible today. Current structure begun construction in 1471 and was mostly completed during 16th century then fully completed in 18th century. It contains Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance styles.