Monday, January 21, 2013

Jan 21, 2013 Leon to Hospital de Orbigo: Another day at work

Crossing the bridge leading out of Leon

Robin and I rose from our hotel bed at 6:30, opened the shutter that looked out on the Plaza San Marcos and tried to read the thermometer next to the clock on the ground below. As it turned out it read 1C. But the upside was that the streets were dry and the sky was dawning mostly clear. We quickly (sort of quickly) shifted out of our hotel layabout mode and into Camino mode. Our last breakfast at the Parador additionally provided two sandwiches for today's long walk to Hospital de Orbigo. We truly enjoyed our two day recovery in Leon. We slept for 12 hours straight the first night. We spotted a Chinese restaurant close to the hotel and that made Robin very happy. But, back to today. We pushed out through the portal of luxury at 8:30, and back into the humble pilgrim world in as many seconds as it took the door at the Parador to quietly close behind us. A 34km walk was today's work. I say work, because sometimes the Camino just feels like work. Certainly there are many days when other words would better describe this experience. But, today was just going to be work. Today we would puff on through gritty suburbs, industrial estates clogged with castaway plastic everything, and walk the senda (pilgrim gravel pathway) alongside a busy motorway all the way to Hospital de Orbigo. This is a root canal moment for many Camino pilgrims. So, you just put on your work clothes and get going. There is no charm, no edifying moments, just 34 kms that need to wind up in the plus column at the end of the day (one day closer to Santiago). Pilgrim life gets better, at least scenery wise, starting tomorrow as we head to Astorga and the Montes de Leon just beyond. But, then there is this snow thing.

Despite the dreariness of today's walk we were blessed with good weather. The skies stayed partly sunny, and the temps hovered around 35-39 all day. This kept our body temps comfortable as we kept a pace of around 5 kph. It wasn't pretty, but we made it. We are bedded down in a wonderful albergue, Albergue Verde, Belas and Miriam are our splendid hosts. They have created a warm, welcoming space that I highly recommend. They are organic gardeners and offer breakfast and dinner (donativo) and a bed for 9 Euros. The place is spotless and brimming with hospitality. The heat is on, a fire has been lit in the fireplace, and we are in heaven. It is just Robin and I, and a young French women, Sophie. Miriam is in the kitchen preparing an organic vegetarian dinner. This as perfect an ending to a hard day at work that anyone could imagine. There was also a market right close by so wine is on the table as well. Tomorrow will be a short 16km day to Astorga. All is well as the sun sets over Hospital de Orbigo.

Entering Hospital de Orbigo
Belas and Miriam
I might be stuck



  1. Enjoying your journey from Seattle...keep up the great writing and pics.

  2. Hi, John and Robin! Someone just pointed me to your blog and I'm thrilled to find you. I will be starting my very first Camino March 20 this year at Leon. So, I will follow your posts with great anticipation. Your pictures are great and I appreciate your honesty in reporting your feelings. Buen Camino! Linda