May 6, 2016 Friday 18miles Started at 7:30 am – arrived2:30 pm
Today was a day of gentle walking in gentle rain. I walked the entire day with the sweetest young lady from Brazil. Because of the gentle rain, my camera was neatly tucked away under two or three layers of protection.
However, I HAD to get it out when we got to Puente de O’rbigo. I apologize for this being a poor photo, but my camera is not waterproof and it was raining.
“This bridge is one of the longest and best preserved medieval bridges in Spain dating from the 13th century and was built over an earlier Roman bridge which formed one of the great historical landmarks on the Camino. It’s myriad arches carry you across the Rio O’rbigo via the passage of how our Paso Honroso so called because of the famous hosting tournament that took place here in the Holy Year 1434. A noble knight from Leon, Don Suero de Quinones, scorned by a beautiful lady, threw down the gauntlet to any knight who dared to pass as he undertook to defend the bridge (and presumably his honor) against all comers. Knights from all over Europe took up the challenge. Don Suero successfully defended the bridge for a month until the required 300 lances had been broken. Together with his trusted comrades he then proceeded to Santiago to offer thanks for his freedom from the bonds of love and go his honor, now restored! Or in the words of Rupert Brooke:
Honour has come back, as a king, to earth
And paid his subjects with a royal wage;
And Nobleness walks in our ways again;
And we have come into our heritage.” (From A Pilgrim/s Guide to the Camino de Santiago by John BrierleyJ from Brazil and I had just met the night before in the albergue and we were roommates in a room with 4 beds and just the two of us. She is traveling the Camino on her own. As we walked in rain and sloshed
in mud we shared some of our lives and goals and dreams. She is nearly fluent in Spanish so she is a handy companion.
Earlier on the Camino it seemed everyone could and would and did speak English. I am finding it less so lately.
After walking hours on relatively flat terrains we started climbing. On the way to Astorga came upon a hill to Cruceiro Santo Torbino, honoring a 5th century Bishop of Astorga. On a clear day you can see the mountains behind Astorga, mountains I will be climbing starting tomorrow.
Mary and Sofie passed us mid-day and it was so good to see them!
By the time J and I got into Astorga we were dragging our bodies and barely speaking. I walked with her to make sure she got into an albergue for the night and then she called a taxi for me to go to my hostel. By then, even though it was not raining, I did not want to wander around this beautiful city any longer.
I am snug in a private hostel, reading up on tomorrow’s adventures into the mountains. It has been a wonderful day – I am filled with gratitude and joy . . . . .and sore muscles.