Camino Day 27: Villavante to Astorga 22km

2/3 of the Camino de Santiago done. 22 stages of 33 completed.

The blue dot shows where Astoria is, today’s destination. Getting there 🙂

Todays forecasted and expected rain did not eventuate during the walking period to midday. Not a single drop. It had been raining over night or not long ago as mud was the name of the game.

Sure, no rain in the morning but pretty dark. Time now would be after 8am. An empty semi dark freeway this Sunday morning.

Confusion reigns below.

Puente de Orbigo, is an old bridge leading to the township of Hospital de Orbigo. It is a “must see” structure. The guidebook writes that it is “one of the longest and best preserved medieval bridges in Spain dating from the 13th century and built over an earlier Roman bridge“.

But which way to go to get there? Straight or left.

I had joined forces with “Isle of Skye 3” from the hostel in Villamente as we left at the same time. Now, we stood here puzzled with all that signage while referring to the guidebook.

The road markings didn’t help. Somebody had added the words “false” on both the lower arrows.

“Isle of Skye 3” and I turned left. “Korea 3” had turned up while we were contemplating and they continued straight ahead.

I think that both ways took you to the “Puente de Obrigo” bridge as the “Korea 3” team turned up there a bit later.

Puente de Obrigo was as amazing as the guidebook made it out to be.

Grinning like an idiot on Puente de Obrigo.

Views from the bridge down to the water.

Puente de Obrigo as you approach it from its eastern end while walking the Camino.

Puente de Obrigo from the other, western, side.

A bit about the history of Puente de Obrigo in Spanish. Lots to read about what went on here.

I joined “Isle of Skye 3” for a coffee and tortilla breakfast at a cafe in Hospital de Orbigo across the bridge. There were great views of the Puente de Obrigo from there.

Then I said goodbye to them and moved on while they were still finishing their breakfast.

Also leaving the town of Hospital de Orbigo was this guy / pilgrim below.

Maybe that works too. Yes, the Camino sure attracts some eccentrics.

More choices abound of how to get to Astorga. It was either 15km along the road or 16km the scenic route. The longer scenic route passed a few small settlements. That could be handy for emergency refuge in foul weather. There is always a cafe open somewhere.

Easy decision. Avoid walking along main roads if I can. Scenic route for me.

Well, I hadn’t thought about mud. And there were lots of it on the Camino here.

A fair stretch of the scenic route was along half completed roads. There had been some moving of earth, flatten it and then leaving it there. Incomplete and unfinished. Earth which will become mud during rain. As we have just had here.

The Camino passed right through a farm where this cute calf had his own shelter. Most pilgrims that I saw walked up there to have a look. Adorable.

Yet another Camino memorial of sorts.

The bloke to the right above is now seen from the front.

There was a donativo pit stop like what I encountered yesterday.

I treated myself to a cup of hot instant coffee in exchange for some coins. The volunteers had a warmed up a small tent and they used the heater in there to boil eggs. I used that heated tent to warm myself up just a little bit.

Outside there was a circular path to gold. Of sorts. It may not be visible in this photo but there were lots of coins throughout and inside the spiral.

A cross appeared on the Camino and the town of Astorga town came into view in the distance. There is another small town just before Astorga called San Justo de la Vega.

On approach to Astorga one had to negotiate this elaborate construction. It looked like a giant labyrinth game with pilgrims walking up and down in various places. Why is it there?

Aha! The old railway crossing is no more. It is no longer possible for vehicles to cross here and pedestrians had to use that bridge to get to the other side.

Again, one suspects a few pilgrim near misses or perhaps worse in the past. The railway tracks looked new, used and well maintained.

Today’s albergue was St Javier and is almost next to Astorga Cathedral. The albergue was old and pokey with many rooms. It also had a reputation for bed bugs I heard later.

Both “Isle of Skye 3” and “Korea 3” turned up later at the St Javier albergue. The last group housed themselves in the same room as me. No escape.

I didn’t enter Astoria Cathedral. I hadn’t been inside Leon Cathedral either. Burgos Cathedral was enough for me. I felt that I didn’t need to see more of northern Spanish cathedrals now.

Today’s “menú del día” for me this Sunday before Hispanic Day was at a place called Cubasol. It is just off Plaza Espana in Astorga.

Cubasol was just a pub but they were advertising menu of the day for 9€. And I saw people eating in there as well as drinking.

Cubasol for food was a good choice. My primero was Sopa de Pescado. Fish soup. Something that I haven’t had on the Camino so far. Yummy!

Segundo was tuna cutlet. With chips AND salad. It is usually one or the other. Chips is standard if you don’t express a preference.

Tiramisu as postre. They have done pretty good tiramisus so far in Spain.

Post all that tasty food and wine, I wandered back to St Javier Albergue for some blogging and down time.

I did a rudimentary clean-up of mud from the bottom of my pants and elsewhere. The pants, my towel and my undies then went to hang outside as per below. Off the “balcony” which was off the room I was staying in at St Javier.

The rain returned in force later.

I did what many of the other pilgrims did. I hang around the hostel for the rest of the day and evening, chatting to other pilgrims. There was an open fire in the lobby which made it cozy and relaxing there.

524km walked. 261km left to walk after Day 27

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