Well, that was a torturous night. Seems that those Benedictines are masochists. The mattresses were very thin and so worn they provided no support to my hips and back. I woke up more sore from the bed than from the previous day’s walk.
Today I felt like walking alone so I left the Stefan, Philipp and Maria at the hostel and began my hike solo. I love walking through city’s in the early morning before they wake up. Although it was a weekday, it looked like much fun was had the night before. The streets were littered with garbage with only a lonely streetsweeper to set things right. All the chairs and tables that crowded the street the night before now blocked the restaurant entrances. Today the cycle will begin anew.
I’ve taken to timing my breakfast for 8 o’clock to watch the bull running. I believe today is the last day and it kinda showed. No one seemed to want to get trampled so there was a big peopleless bubble around the bulls. Yesterday was awesome – lots of action – maulings, tramplings, even a couple of gorings. I like it when the bulls win. To be honest, I consider the whole thing animal cruelty. The bulls are clearly scared out of their minds and I can’t imagine they would willingly participate. For some reason, I can’t look away though, hence my morning breaks.
The landscape remains extremely flat, although it’s turned more scruffy. Reminds me of parts of Florida. I’m still looking forward to the mountains, so I decided to pack in some extra miles. Unfortunately that meant leaving the rest of the group behind. I did make plans to see them again in a few days though.
The past few hundred miles, I’ve been seeing an odd thing. Every now and then there will be a bridge in the middle of the prairie. No road leads to it, nor does any road or railroad track run under it. Just a bridge. By itself. I’m guessing that Spain got some EU money specifically for bridges and this is part of some future infrastructure plan. Sure looks like a boondoggle though.
I ended up walking over 20 miles again and find myself in the town of Hospital de Orbigo. It’s a lively little town and I imagine it serves as an outer suburb of Leon. I like towns with character – it’s a welcome change from the ghost towns of the past week and even earlier in the day.
Tonight I’m staying in a 4 bed room. The bunkhouse was full, but this was only $10, a $3 surcharge. Quite the deal. The hospitaliero is an immigrant from Venezuela. He purchased the place two years ago and has put a tremendous amount of effort into updating it. It feels cozy and has all the amenities a pilgrim could want – laundry, showers, communal kitchen. There’s even an area with paints and canvases for those looking for a creative outlet.
So far I only have one roommate – a Korean woman of indeterminate age. I peg her at 40 +/- 20 years. She doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Korean, so we didn’t get much further than where are you from.
I ran into her at dinner again. Apparently the hospitaliero sends everyone to the same restaurant. I was seated at the table next to her, smiled a greeting and wondered what the protocol is. Should I ask to join her at her table? She saved me from my predicament by pulling out her smartphone and using google translate. Brilliant! I sat at my table, she at hers and we talked using our phones.
Turns out she’s a nun. It’s a small order with only one convent in Korea. She’s here with two of her sisters but injuries/speeds separated them. It’s tough to have a deep conversation about faith and spirituality over google translate but for the basics it worked extremely well. Kind of a nice experience. And, you could say I will be sleeping with a nun tonight. (Don’t worry, Mike Niau – I’m a faithful man)
July 13, 2017
Leon to Hospital de Orbigo – 23 miles
American culture is everywhere