After a lovely call home to Oliver and Kate we head off early (for Spain that is) at around 9. It’s really cold in the mornings and the we take it easy for the stroll out of Leon stopping at at a bar for a cafe solo on the way. Our legs and feet warm to the stride and by mid morning we approach the first of many subterranean Bodegas (wine cellars) which unfortunately are now disused.
Onto Virgen del Camino whose church facade is the work of a modern sculptor, Jose Maria Subiarachs. It has 13 bronze statues of the 12 apostles and the Virgin Mary. Very different from the other churches and also amazing.
We take the long road option through isolated dirt roads via Villa de Mazarife rather than walking along the highway. It’s a good option as you can always stick your thumb out when the going gets tough … not that there are many cars. So after several hours walking, in a little town called Chozas de Abojo, we see a car and after a further 5 mins of walking Dee sticks out a thumb and we get a lift to the pueblo of Villa de Mazarife. 4 kms on and 5 mins in the car we save 1.5 hours walking. Once again no English is spoken but the 5 mins rest and kilometres passed are greatly appreciated. We decide to push on, even though Villa de Mazarife has all services, we push on for Hospital de Orbigo. Two farmers give us another lift, 4kms saved. A stop at Villavante for a beer and chat with a couple of Yanks we met on the second day of the walk and again at Burgos, was pleasant although the town was uninviting.
Arriving at Hospital de Orbigo around 6pm we get a great room (and last) in the hostel overlooking the dammed river Rio Orbigo and its long stone bridge with 19 arches dating from the 13th to 19th centuries. The day has been longer than anticipated, some 36.5km covered and over 28km on foot. The day ends with two extremely sore-footed individuals shuffling to the local restaurant for a Pilgrim’s meal that proves excellent. Barcelona are playing Betis so I am even happier. Tomorrow we walk to Astorga, some 17kms away.
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