Day 36 – Hospital de Órbigo to San Justo de la Vega

Walked today: 7.9 miles

Walked Camino 2019: 262.3 miles

Our internet access was weak and sporadic yesterday and we were lucky to upload it and publish what we did.

One omission was an interesting chat we had with two 40 something Spanish brother-in-laws, who were only able to walk the Camino for 6 days per year because that’s all the time they had available, with work schedules, family obligations, etc. We met them between Villadangos and Hospital and they were planning to go beyond Hospital before stopping for the day. At that rate it will probably take them 5 years to earn their Compostela.

Very few pilgrims walk the full Camino from SJPDP to Santiago at one time, actually only around 10%. Most of the pilgrims we have met while walking the Camino are only walking a portion of the Camino at a time.

Last night we were looking at our walk for today and Linda discovered that there were two routes to choose from. We’ve have walked the “preferred” route twice before, which will be 10.5 miles. We had never noticed the so called “road route” before. We had already walked along the road a lot the past few days, so Jim was reluctant. Linda said, ” is it any shorter?” After checking the guide and carefully converting the km’s to miles, etc. Jim said ” the road route is nearly 3 miles shorter.” We voted, our bodies voted and 4 to 0 we opted for the road route. (Have you noted a trend developing on Camino 2019?)

The “road” route started out like this…

… and soon became this..,

Because this is not the “preferred” route, most of the 300,000 pilgrims each year don’t walk it, resulting in a sometimes overgrown path…

…but it wasn’t all that bad.

It’s funny how car and truck noise just becomes normal and blends into nothingness and becomes less and less annoying and other thoughts, mental songs or just the new unseen sights and feelings overtake you and create another, new Camino experience.

Today’s walk was good because we got to see a “new” part of the Camino Frances.

The path to the left of the highway was the Camino

We still had hills to climb, but they were different hills.

And we eventually reached the top..,

And walked on a different surface.,,

“preferred” route coming in from the center, ours on right

And finally merged with the ” preferred” route at ….

Crucero de Santo Toribio with San Justo in foreground, Astorga in background and mountains beyond

Crucero de Santo Toribio named for the 5th-century bishop of Astorga who was said to have fallen to his knees at this spot when he was banished from his beloved city.

This view of the Irago Mountains confirmed that we are leaving the Meseta after over 150 miles.

We walked down into San Justo de la Vega (pop. 1875) stopped at Bar El Caño and had a mid-morning CCL and a nice break before going on to Hostal/Albergue Juli (50€).

Our very nice room has been recently upgraded, especially the bathroom with a spacious shower. It has a balcony overlooking main street and the continuous pilgrim traffic, mostly headed for Astorga for the night. We stayed here in 2015.

We opened the balcony door to cool off the room with the cool morning breeze, but closed it after an hour when it was apparent that too many of the local flies wanted to join us. Jim then proceeded to escort the unwanted visitors out, peacefully or violently, whatever it took.

We prefer the towns and villages just before or just after the primary pilgrim stops, which are less crowded, less expensive and more like real Spain vs tourist Spain.

We extended our emerging habit of lunch/dinner at mid-afternoon with typical 1st and 2nd courses but enjoyed delicious new desserts of homemade yogurt and tiramisu, prepared by the young owner/ chef of Hostal Juli.

A restful afternoon, became evening and a nice end to another day on the Camino Frances.

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