Leon to Hospital de Orbigo – Part 1

Distance travelled today: 38 kilometres
Total travelled so far: 512.6 kilometres

Jo Anne and Moya had decided that they still weren’t feeling strong enough to walk today, so they were going to take a bus to Hospital de Orbigo (a town, not a hospital). I would walk there. But I did allow myself one concession…I would bus it to the outskirts of Leon, just so I wouldn’t have to walk through the ugly industrial section.

However that proved to be easier said than done. When I went to the bus station, they told me I needed to catch the bus at the train station. Huh?? So I went to the train station and was directed to some bus stop that I never did find. After spending half an hour just trying to locate where I was to catch the bus, I gave up, hailed a cab and was quickly driven the eight kilometres to the edge of Leon.

Once I started walking, I saw almost no one the entire morning, just one European pilgrim with his dog. I tried to start up a conversation with him but he didn’t seem interested in socializing. I was concerned about the animal…it wasn’t young and it was moving slowly and in fact limping a bit. I felt this overwhelming desire to reach out and perform some healing work on it. I thought back to Edda and our time in Pamplona (it felt like that was years ago) and wondered what the heck she had done to me! I helped the dog as much as I could, not having a clue really what I was doing and without trying to explain to its owner what I was attempting to do. Interestingly, I saw the dog later that day and it was moving much faster and was wagging its tail. I’ll never know if it was anything I did or if it had just needed a bit of time to get moving in the morning, like many of us human pilgrims.

I passed through a lovely village called Mazarife where I had a lemonade and bought some chocolate from a little boy in a straw hat who was helping his gramma at the till. Such a cutie. It seemed everywhere I went in that town people were smiling and friendly. I was asked several times if I was walking the Camino on my own, and when I said yes they appeared to be both pleased and impressed.  I’m not quite sure why.

My walk today took me through the agricultural heartland of this region. There were farmers everywhere working the fields and I met far more tractors on the road than automobiles. I even saw farm equipment parked on the main streets of the towns and villages I passed; I guess the owners had stopped for a cafe con leche or for lunch.

I also came across several fields where last year’s corn was still standing, and saw dozens of mounds of what looked like rutabagas that had been harvested last year and were now rotting. I don’t know what the story is there. One of my frustrations is that I don’t have enough Spanish to ask questions about things like this.

I loved walking today. A breeze and a bit of cloud kept the temperatures pleasant and for the first time since the early days of my Camino I realized my knees were not hurting. Also, walking 30 kilometres today wasn’t a big deal any more. Something had shifted and I felt like I had just moved into a whole new phase of my trip.

Leaving Leon at about 6:30 a.m.
Hobbit houses? Or root cellars perhaps.
This morning's sunrise
More storks' nests
Main Street parking
Last year's corn
Rotting rutabagas
I think these are apple blossoms
Dog tracks in parched earth
Bales of last year's hay
And just in case you haven't seen enough, here are more storks!

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