Day 32- Leon to Astorga

Walked Today: 10.7 mi / Camino2022: 215 mi

At 7:25 we walked to the bus station, stopping for breakfast along the way.

Leaving Leon center-city on our way to the bus station.

We left the station at 9:15 and were let off at Hospital de Orbigo at 9:45, and began walking.

The Camino today was on frontage pavement road and dirt paths for most of the way, taking us out of the meseta. Thus, the terrain began to change, now including more wooded areas, more rolling hills and more mountains in the distance.

narrow path along N-120, noisy but it felt safe
pavement along N-120, safely away from traffic
The only place to stop for the first 5 miles was this gas station. We used their facilities and drank a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice, while resting for a few minutes .

After walking 7 miles we were back on a dirt path which took us away from the highway and headed into San Justa de Vega.

A monument to San Justa de Vega on the hill outside of the village of the same name. Astorga can be seen in the distance, another 3 miles away.
Linda and a thirsty and very still pilgrim at the entrance of the village
the sidewalk into St Justa de Vega was lined with lavender.
Main street, maybe the only street through St Justa. We’ve stayed here on two previous Caminos, instead of Astorga.
back on a wide path between San Justa and Astorga
the zig-zag bridge over the railroad tracks into Astorga.
our hotel, Astur Plaza, and room balcony, overlooking the plaza.
Astur Plaza

After our 10.7 mile walk, we were pooped. But since it was late, 2:30, we checked in, took our stuff to our room and headed back out to have lunch… and to relax/recover with a tasty meal and glass(es) of wine!

A very tasty , late lunch at a recommended restaurant…. 1st course: Lentel soup and green beans 2nd course: veal and pork

We retreated to our room and recovered for the remaining afternoon.

view of the plaza from our room balcony
Astorga Town Hall (1683), from our room balcony

Even though we has a long walk today without a significant break/rest along the way, we are pretty much recovered as the day comes to an end and we are physically and mentally ready to hit it again in the morning.

Leon

We took advantage of our off day by sleeping to 7:30, then walking toward the bus station, stopping along the way to get breakfast.

The bus station in being renovated, so a temporary area with ticket kiosks, rest rooms and small shops was enclosed at one end of the area where buses arrive and depart.

temporary Leon bus station

We were approached by an official but very nice young lady who answered all our questions in English and even gave us a bus schedule. She also showed us where our bus will be located when we board tomorrow morning!

For Camino2022, we want to by-pass walking through the western outskirts of Leon, which offer eight or so miles of city walking with traffic, inconsistent sidewalks, then highly industrial areas and then roadside paths or shoulder walking.

Based on our findings this morning, we will walk to the bus station tomorrow morning, leaving the hotel around 7:30 to arrive at a bar just a few steps from the station and have breakfast. Our bus to Hospital de Orbigo departs at 9:00 am from Leon and arrives at 9:33. We will purchase tickets for 6€ each from the driver when boarding the bus.

We will disembark just outside Hospital de Orbigo (where we stayed in 2015 and 2019) and will begin our walk for the day.

With our logistics planning done, we began working our way back toward our hotel, and as always, enjoying the beautiful new and old buildings that remarkably blend together so well throughout this nearly 2000 year old city.

Remnants of the reinforcements of the Leon city walls

We made stops along the way to buy a few items we anticipate we’ll need on the remaining weeks to Santiago. Items like a replacement belt that broke on Jim’s shorts, a long sleeve shirt that Jim forgot to pack, some warm tights for Linda, replacement batteries for our headlamps, etc.

We also needed to find and buy an additional credential for stamps to verify/prove that we walked the necessary distance to Santiago to earn a Compostela. The single credentials we started with won’t have enough space for all the stamps we will collect for our nearly 60 day journey.

we spent a lot of time browsing eating and people watching on this beautiful walk street from the Cathedral to city center.

We unloaded our purchases at our room, then walked across the plaza to have a pizza lunch at the Boccalino Hotel restaurant.

Napoli for Jim, Margarita for Linda
Jim’s pizza never had a chance!

After lunch we visited the beautiful building we’ve been viewing from our room.

The Basilica de San Isidoro

The basilica, Real Colegiata de San Isidoro was commissioned by Fernando I to house relics returned by Muslims after their defeat in the Reconquista.

inside the basilica

The relics of San Isidoro of Seville (ca. 560-636) are housed in the basilica. Adjacent to the basilica is a museum and pantheon that includes the remains of 11 kings, 12 queens and a number of other princes, princesses, counts and other nobles. It also contains the chalice of Doña Urraca, the daughter of King Ferdinand I and Queen Sancha, the Holy Grail, reputed to be the goblet used by Christ at the Last Supper!

The Holy Grail?

We pretty much chilled for the rest of the day.

Hotel Boccalino
our room from outside, second story, with extended windows just below Boccalino.
We put the window alcove and 3rd bed to good use.

In spite of our “day off” we still managed to walk another 4.5 miles today, around Leon, but not to be included in our total for Camino2022.

So tomorrow it’s back on the Camino for our final 180 miles to Santiago.