With gray skies and no one else around, I did find this area a little spooky. At times, the markings were difficult to follow, and I had to be careful not to lose the Camino. Again, stones in the ground were splashed with yellow paint, but some had worn off. At one crossroad, there were only small stones shaped to form an arrow pointing the direction of the Camino. At least, I hoped it was the right way… From Page 138, Camino De Santiago In 20 Days. Really, this was one of the very few times along the Camino Francés that I had to be careful not to go off track. Definitely not something I wanted to do so late in the day.
Now, I’ll continue with my journey on the Camino de Santiago in Hospital de Órbigo, Castilla y León. Even if you don’thave my book, you can still enjoy this post, and learn more about walking the French Way or Camino Francés (map from Wikipedia Commons).
I left my last post, On The Camino de Santiago in Hospital de Órbigo, Spain, just after I took a break at the edge of Hospital de Órbigo to fix up a split blister. Now that hurt! I continued through more farmland toward the village of Villares de Órbigo.
The streets in Villares de Órbigo were very quiet in the late afternoon.
Leaving The Meseta
I had made excellent time from just west of Burgos, through the Castilian Meseta. However, the relatively easy walking that I had for many days was coming to an end. Between Hospital de Órbigo and Astorga, the landscape began to change dramatically with more hills, and different crops and vegetation. Although the clouds obscured what was ahead, I knew from reading my guidebook and listening to other pilgrims, the mountains were waiting on the other side of Astorga. As much as I enjoyed walking through the meseta (yes I enjoyed it), I looked forward to a different terrain and landscape. It would arrive soon, as I made my way toward Galicia.
This sign pointed the way from Villares de Órbigo to this…
pleasant path. Although it didn’t last for long, it was nice to get away from the farmland.
I enjoyed this part of the afternoon walk and didn’t mind the slightly rougher path.
The approach to Santibañez de Valdeiglesias. I wrote on page 137, “…with the hamlet of Santibáñez de Valdeiglesias ahead. I felt my first raindrops of the day and reluctantly put on my rain gear. Couldn’t I have one day without rain? Was I asking too much? By the time I arrived in the Santibáñez de Valdeiglesias, I was in the midst of a mighty, spring downpour. I suppose I was asking too much, after all.”
Santibáñez de Valdeiglesias and the Iglesia de la Trinidad.
The landscape west of Santibáñez de Valdeiglesias was also enjoyable, and these were the first vineyards that I remembered seeing for days. The landscape was definitely changing.
This was the only Pilgrim I had seen since Hospital de órbigo.
Back into the hills and farmland.
It was late in the day and I was getting very tired. There were a series of three altos in this area. They didn’t have much elevation gain, but each felt like a mountain.
The remains of what was once a fence or walls of a home.
Trees planted in near-perfect rows.
Finally, I made it to the height of land. I wrote on page 138, “…an isolated long red brick building looked like it was used for storage or to hold livestock on a farm. However, there was no farm around, and I couldn’t quite figure out what the building was for. A bowl of fruit and a jar of money sat on an outside table. A sign said the offerings were free or by donation.” I referred to the area just past here in the aforementioned passage from my book.
The Cruceiro de Santo Toribio stood at the edge of the hill above Astorga.
San Justo de la Vega (near) and Astorga (in the distance).
I believe this building was used for storage.
San Justo de la Vega was very quiet in the evening.
The Iglesia de San Justo in San Justo de la Vega.
The bridge over the Río Tuerto.
The Río Tuerto
I felt a little nervous as I walked alone behind this industrial building. I wrote on page 138, “On this stretch, I felt isolated and thought if I was going to be accosted, it would be here. I had felt that way before, and just like before, nothing happened.”
Another interesting home with the stream running underneath. It’s difficult to tell, but there is a dog in the center that watched me intently cross over this…
ancient Roman bridge (rebuilt).
I had a short walk to another bridge, albeit a more modern one. I wrote on page 139, “There was one unexpected climb over railway tracks on an elaborate pedestrian bridge. After at least two stories of stairs, my legs and mind pleaded, “No more!”
My plan was to stay in the large albergue at the top of the hill in Astorga. However, I found a much smaller one before the hill, that was not on my map. I was led to a small dorm that had only one other man in it. I’m sure he had expected to be alone, and never expected some idiot to come in so late.
Well, now there were mountains ahead and awful weather. Please join me on my next post, On The Camino de Santiago in Astorga, Spain, as I do my best, and struggle, through the absolute worst day on the Camino.
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