Rest day! Yay! We slept in, then went for a small wander and had a late, lazy breakfast in the sunshine at our local León square.
Then we browsed our guidebooks and itinerary plan. And … discovered we had a problem. When we planned the walk, the idea was to get a local bus past 7 kms of industrial area to Virgen del Camino if we weren’t up to the 26 kms to Hospital de Orbigo by then. Upon closer inspection, however, it was 26 kms to Hospital even after we had cut out 7 kms, and if we didn’t, and the Scouse Spouse didn’t, we were looking at 33 kms in a day! That was seriously not ideal. But hey, being rested and healthy and flexible pilgrims, we decided we’d walk the first 7 kms on our rest day, that would make everything better. And oddly, we were both really excited about carrying on walking!
We packed the mini foldable backpack with water bottles and a fleece each, and then off we went. The first 7 kms really aren’t very inspiring, so we were very pleased that we had decided to get them out of the way. At Virgen del Camino we stopped for a drink and some tapas and did a tiny bit of sightseeing – basically checking out the brutalist church front – before deciding to carry on. The weather was lovely, the pack was light, and we were there to walk, so what better on a rest day than to walk without any pressure to get anywhere in particular?
At the outskirts of Virgen you have to choose to follow the green and scenic route or walk next to the road, and we decided on the road route, thinking that it would be easier to find a bus back when we decided to stop.
In fact we didn’t stop until San Miguel, just over 13 kms from León – leaving just shy of 20 kms for the following day. There was a small bar/restaurant there right next to a bus stop, and they had pork cheeks on the menu del dia, so we were very happy to stop and eat while we waited for the bus back to town. As it was, we had just finished our meals and drinks when the bus came into view, and we could easily flag it down from our seats!
The tickets were only a few euros, and we ended up in the bus station and managed to navigate back to our square without problems. We even timed it to see when we had to leave our room the next day to catch an early bus back out to San Miguel again to start walking out to Hospital de Orbigo.
By late afternoon we were back out again to see the town and have a nice meal. We were also hoping to meet some of the people we had been walking with, as a lot of people doing the camino in stages will leave in León, and new pilgrims arrive to walk into Santiago. We ended up in a tapas bar which also had proper meals, and the young waiter recommended dishes that were exactly what we wanted after our rest day walk. And we did feel rested, so all was well.
Goodbye, León – we’ll have to look around more next time!