Th distance between León and Astorga is a very clunky 54 kms or so, with Hospital de Orbigo placed at the far end, making it awkward to plan a fabulous and not too strenuous itinerary. As I am principally here to enjoy post-pandemic life, I decided to cut out some of the kms of asphalt drudgery leaving León – I have done them by foot before and am in no hurry to repeat them – so I got a more manageable walk to Hospital. It was nice to be back on the trail again after a rest day and I think it had done my feet the world of good.
It was a lovely day, a little chillier than it had been before León, but that just makes for more comfortable walking. I actually started out in my merino long sleeve instead of my SPF shirt, that tells you something.
After a good but very uneventful day I finally saw the tower just outside Hospital de Órbigo, and the angry dog wasn’t there, which was a bonus. On the way into town I met a man who asked me to take photos of him for his sister, who was raising money for a charity helping people who lost loved ones in the 9/11 tragedy 20 years before. I did, and almost forgot to take some myself, but here are some:
I went straight to my albergue, the highly regarded San Miguel with all the artwork. The hospitalero is the kindest, warmest host you can imagine, and took very good care of all his guests. Artworks by former guests cover all the walls and everywhere is spotlessly clean and well thought out. It is a veritable oasis after a long hot walk – highly recommended!
He told me the Los Angeles restaurante would be serving food if I hurried, so after a quick shower I ran off with wet hair and made the kitchen opening hours. I got the menu del dia and this was the first course:
After my meal I was sitting outside with a drink when I thought I saw a face I recognised. She was moving fast and determined and my brain scrambled for her name, but too late – she disappeared into one of the other albergues in the street. So I tried to find out where pilgrims tend to gather for their meal, but didn’t seem to find any, until I walked back to where I had eaten my lunch – and there she was! I had found out her name from a mutual camiga and asked if it really was her – we walked together for a few days six years ago and she has been coming back several times since. But how extraordinary that she walked up that road in the 20 minutes I was sitting there just people watching, and what luck it was in a town so small we would run into each other again! I enjoyed a meal with her and her husband and one of their pilgrim friends, and went to bed thinking of camino magic and other marvellous surprises.