Day 21: Leon to Hospital de Orbigo aka This Charming Man

I was surprised to wake up as late as 8:30 AM this morning, but I got the sense that I was trying to sleep something off. We bumped into a couple of pilgrims we knew yesterday, and all had a cold. This is why I’ve been dousing myself with Doterra’s OnGuard essential oil since I’ve been here, and I feel like it has helped some. We headed down for our last breakfast at the hotel. Their staff is really so affable. We grabbed a map to spot the location of the post office and a few other stores we wanted to hit up before heading out. So, who spends €140 mailing out postcards and souvenirs? Obviously, I do… Luckily the post office system is really organized. I grabbed my ticket (number 82) and had enough time to place everything in proper envelopes. The postman was sweet and patient, most likely because he knew how much I was spending. I justify it thinking it’s better than carrying it all on my back. After that, we headed to a few stores, including Mercadona, a supermarket known to have a gluten-free section. Stocked up on bread and pasta, all for €5. Such a steal! 

The majority of today’s 33 km were through the city and on the side of the road, and over rocks (the insoles work)! There were a couple of scenic moments through the woods, but not many. We stopped at one point at a random albergue in San Martin Del Camino, which had terrible coffee and did not seem at all clean. Also, no toilet seat! 

In terms of safety in Spain, I feel pretty safe. However, while walking alongside the road, anytime I get ahead or behind my mom and it appears as though I am walking alone, this is when I am honked at, or cat-called. As a female walking alone, my recommendation is that you walk with someone or at least close to others when near the road. Otherwise, it’s a great place for a solo walkabout. 

Our final destination, Hospital de Orbigo is a cute, old, quaint city (see 'charming man' story down below). We are staying at a private albergue called Albergue La Encina, for €9 for two bunkbeds and a shared private bathroom. No one else in our room-woo! The dinner at this albergue was ok (€10), but the flan con crema was perfecto… And their red tea tasted like maté. Really excited to visit the old Roman town of Astorga tomorrow. 

The charming story of Hospital de Orbigo via wisepilgrim.com aka the app I use:

The extraordinary bridge that connects Puente de Órbigo (on the East bank) with Hospital de Órbigo (on the West bank) is the site of one of the camino’s more charming tales.

It was here, in 1434, that a Leonese knight by the name of Suero de Quiõnes held a tournament of honor. It was all for the sake of a love scorned, and to prove himself to his lady he challenged all comers to a tournament of jousting. With the kings permission a notice was sent out across Europe. It turned out to be a large affair, and in July of that year the tournament began. Although he nearly lost his life in his efforts, Suero emerged triumphant; 300 broken lances as proof of his love.

He later became a pilgrim, and in Santiago he left a jeweled bracelet that can be seen around the neck of the image of Santiago Alfeo, in the cathedral museum.