Villadangos del Paramo to Hospital de Orbigo – 11 Kms, 19,873 steps
There’s nothing quite like waking up knowing you have a short walking day ahead of you. Unless, of course, it’s a rest day ahead of you. Today, I had just 11 Kms to walk to get to my next destination, Hospital de Orbigo, and the weather forecast said there might be rain but not unitl after 2:00, so I could take it very easy. It was chilly and there was a pretty good wind, so layers, buff, and gloves were required setting out.
I couldn’t check-in at my next albergue until noon, so I adjusted my pace to one I like to call “moseying”. The route, once out of town, was almost all senda, a track or farm road beside the N-120 highway.
For some reason, the socks I hand-washed yesterday did not dry completely overnight, so I pinned them to my backpack to air-dry as I walked along this morning. I have a pair of 5”-long safety pins for this purpose.
I quickly passed through my halfway point at San Martin and didn’t even stop for coffee. The cafe con leche and pastry I had for breakfast in Villadangos was enough to keep me going. And I knew I only had another 90 minutes to my destination for the day.
The weather quickly improved and I was soon shedding layers. This despite the fact that the distant sky looked dark gray and ominous. The path surface was pretty nice, pavement through the towns and packed sand and gravel in between.
Despite my efforts to dawdle, I arrived in Hospital de Orbigo at 11:00 AM, an hour before my albergue opened. I had coffee at a local bar and perused the headlines online. I mentioned earlier, I think, that I’m using an “eSIM” in my iPhone and the Airalo cell data service and it has been fantastic. I signed up for 50 GBs of data and have barely used 12 so far. Service has always been available, wherever I’ve been. So when the albergue WiFi sucks, I know I can still make these blog posts via cellular.
Just as I was about to present myself at my albergue, who should come walking down the street but my Australian friends Dennis and Ginny! You may remember that they detoured to a scenic route Camino branch yesterday and now here they were. We chatted a bit and they went off to have some lunch before continuing on towards Astorga. I went to the albergue to check-in.
My albergue is, well, an albergue. So my “private room” is actually a private room with two bunk beds, i.e. a room for four persons. The San Miguel albergue is famous for the wall-to-wall paintings that decorate every wall and it absolutely reeked of patchouli incense.
My private room did not come with a private bathroom this time, so I’m using the communal one. As far as I can tell, there are beds for 32 people and dividing by sex, that’s 16 men. We share one toilet and two showers. Really? One toilet for 16 people? This should be interesting, first thing in the morning.
I’m glad brought along a few John Buddy bags, though I haven’t used one yet. What are they? These are lunch bag-sized bags with a few ounces of powder in them. You urinate into them, the powder becomes a gel that absorbs all the liquid and odor, and you discard them in the trash. I was the first male pilgrim through the door today, so I was ahead of the crowd for shaving, showering, etc. Nonetheless, I think the facilities-to-pilgrim ratio is poor here.
Tomorrow, I’ve got a 17km walk into a larger city, Astorga. I’m staying in a nice hotel there, so there’ll be no need for John Buddy bags. I just had to dash outside and rescue my laundry from the clothes line and a passing shower. I hope the hotel will have actual washing machines available – handwashing is okay but I doubt it gets clothes all that clean. I’m enjoying remembering my 2019 Camino, as I remember this part of the Camino more clearly and recognize many sights. Cheers!