Leon/Villar de Mazarife/Puente de Orbigo

Usually when I wake-up in the morning it is with a song in my head. This morning was no exception. « I feel good » was my song . Where is this coming from? I have no idea.
As I was putting my « mochila » on, I found myself smiling. I was feeling like the Fool on the Tarot card with his bundle over his shoulders.

Leaving Leon

I went down the Hotel Reception to pay my bill and asked the man at the desk to show me the quickest way to leave. He gave me a map which was straight forward and that saved me to have to go back to the Cathedral.

The Leon Hospital

I went passed the Asylum and met a young man from Bilbao – with a Basque name – Gaskon, He was a University student and was used to climbing mountains. He said he was pleased to talk with someone It was his first day on the Camino and it is always good to have company for a while.
When he said he was from Bilbao, I told him I went there when I was young. My best friend was from Algorta and her family invited me to stay with her.
We walked together for a while I stopped for breakfast and Gaskon continued on. I met the Korean young man from Burgos again and he told me that he had given the message to Sylvia and Elyseo. I thought that was really nice of him to do that. I thanked him, had my breakfast and left.

I arrived at an intersection. There were two ways to go. Asked a man which was the best way. He suggested left, so left I went. It was the one that avoided walking on the road. Onto the Camino, I met with Jane, an Englishwoman and walked with her until Villar de Mazarife.

We stayed at the « Tio Pepe Private » -the name amused me -There were two beds in the room, a bathroom outside, nice. No need to use the sleeping bag phew! that is good, Everything looks pretty clean in the bedroom. Jane had a sore knee, so I said I’ll go up 🙂 . I had never done that before..When I tried to go up, it was so silly – I just could not do it – I did not know which way to manoeuver.. I was laughing just thinking about the situation I found myself in. – My co-ordination was all out of whack ! – I put both hands onto the top…my body was not following.! I tried again and again – Jane was out of the room so that was Okay. I could rehearse as long as I liked – I then used the bedside table, so I just put my leg up and Hoppety, hoppety hop,. I thought that would be easier…still not working. Anyhow, it must have taken me a good 10 minutes to finally arrived at destination… Once I was up there, I did not want to move..no kidding. I then had to devise a plan to get down now. Laurel and Hardy would have loved that!
I remember thinking hard about that one because the bedside table was quite low in comparison with the height of the bunk. That’ll teach me! I stayed up for quite a while pondering about the situation. Finally, I had the courage to get down…without a parachute – and I thumped my foot onto the table who probably was wondering what was happening as well. I hit it really hard and landed onto safe ground at last.
Went out to get some fruit, posted some cards I had written a few days ago.
The lady in the shop was telling me that there was no pharmacy here (medications is brought up from the nearest village).
I saw some people sitting on a bench near the church, I went and had a chat with them. Sergio, the young boy, was playing up. He was pouting. He was staying with his grandma for a holiday. Whilst his grandma went away, he was listening to the lady who was telling him his behaviour was not very nice. He was taking it all in. Grandma came back with a little friend, he gave her a kiss and forgot all about it, running around with a robot toy.
The man took me inside the church and I had a little prayer. He had the keys as the priest was also living in the other village and did not come every day. They were telling me that the young people no longer wanted to stay in the village , they wanted to move out into the city.
I bide good bye to them and went across back to « Tio Pepe Private ».
Had a meal.I met with Barbara(from Ireland) again. Barbara was a good source of information. She had already done the Camino and had some good advices about Albergues.
That night Spain was playing against Paraguay and won. The young locals came to watch the game on the big screen outside in the courtyard with their young children.A few of the men got a bottle out of a well and were holding the bottle with their right hand as high as possible and pouring the content into a glass they were holding with the other hand – there was quite a lot of skill involved in that without pouring any of the liquid out – and handing it over to their wives or for themselves. I asked one of them what was inside. »Cider » he said.
I watched for a while the children playing with each other, then went and thank the owner, the lady that served us who was really top. So full of attention towards us.
and? did I forget something? Yes… the climb was a lot easier on the bunk !:)

The next morning, I left on my own again I stopped for breakfast and a drink (tortillas sandwich). Barbara came in we had a bit of a chat, then she disappeared in no time.
Further down I met the Brasilian’s couple I saw at « Tio Pepe » (Loved that name) who were a bit confused as to which road to take. There are two ways you can go once again. I decided after the crossing of the bridge to go left to the town -along the road- I could see nearby, they opted for a different way. I had a bit of difficulty finding my way also. I asked a couple of people and they were not very helpful. My intuition was telling me I was going the wrong way, so I decided to come back to a crossing, I then asked a person who was most obliging and pointed me into the right direction, walking along the canal.

Puente de Orbigo


on the bridge Puente de Orbigo

I could see pilgrims and bikes and there I was in Puente de Orbigo. The longest medieval bridge with its 20 archs and 204 m long. It was undergoing renovations. I stopped for a while to admire it. I could see there were flags near the river bed and a Spanish couple were telling me that every year Medieval games are replayed about the Legend of Don Suero de Quinones and 9 Knights in 1434 who were fighting anyone who tried to cross the bridge to save the honour of a Lady. They fought with French Germans Italians Spanish and Portuguese for nearly a month. Then went onto Santiago de Compostella.
Hospital de Orbigo was built by soldiers-monks from the order of St Jean of Jerusalem.
I saw Jane coming onto the bridge. I was not too sure whether to stop or continue, It was a really very attractive place. Jane and I decided to go for a drink before making-up our mind to continue further, it was still quite early in the morning. I hope one day I have the opportunity to go back there again.

Statue in Leon


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