In Astorga you may notice a sudden increase in the number of pilgrims, new faces will appear amongst the regular crowd you have grown accustomed to. They are likely Spanish, as this is a common starting point for Spaniards, or they have come from Sevilla along the Via de la Plata. A quick peek at their boots will tell the two apart.
Here you will take first notice of the Maragato culture, the ancient tribe of red-headed Iberians that served as the muleteers between the coast and the interior of Spain. They maintain several curious customs by modern standards, doing most thing the exact opposite as we are accustomed. One of these is their cocido, which is served meat first... (continued in Camino App and Book)
Santa Marta is celebrated during the last week of August.
Market day is Tuesday.
The camino here leaves the last of the plains behind and begins, slowly at first, to climb. The ascent is slow and gradual until Rabanal, where it begins a more steep ascent to the alto and an equally quick descent into Molinaseca. On the way up it passes through several small but equipped towns...
At the junction of several Roman roads it is no wonder that Astorga is full of Roman ruins. Several dig sights are ongoing and can be toured, and nearly every structure in town has some Roman foundation. This was an important crossroad for the Romans and the gateway into El Bierzo.