Day 28 23rd day walking

We managed to get out of the hotel before seven and were soon well on the road.
Leon had been beautiful, but it did not get the best of me. We did manage to get a Chinese meal at last, but I did not enjoy it and left some, not even stopping for dessert.
There was a frozen yogurt place by our hotel and that had kept me going, along with a long session in the spa and sauna.
Now, though, we were back on the road and hopefully my stomach would settle. You hear of many people starting their camino at Leon, I would strongly recommend not to do this. The City is wonderful and many days could be spent here enjoying its sights, but the walk out is awful. There is, according to the book, 4Ks of urban sprawl. That is not quite correct, it goes on way beyond La Virgen del Camino which is 7Ks.
We stopped at a bar in Trobbajo del Camino, which is still within the pink blob on the map, to be served by a surly woman with a stale pastry and coffee. We left wishing everyone “Buenos Dias” and recieved not a grunt in return.
On the road however we still got many “buen Camino” but it was an arduous road. There needs to be some serious tree planting here to reduce the wind, and the constant traffic was also wearing us down.
The way split around here to a longer prettier route, but we missed the sign and we were stuck with the road for the rest of the day.
It was not all bad though, we passed a little house with a table outside and a big sign that said ” sellos”. So we decided to stop and stamp our passports. There was a stamp, some sweets and crackers on the table along with a book. As we stamped our credentials we heard a disembodied voice, then the window openend. A rose was thrust into Viv’s hand and the old guy insisted we fill in the book and take something to eat. I took a boiled sweet that kept me going for some time and Viv took a cracker. This was the first time we had come across something like this and there was no dish for donativos.
Funny thing though, as we fought through it all, the miles seemed to pass very quickly. We soon arrived at San Miguel del Camino, a pretty little place with a village feel. Where everyone seemed to know each other. There were benches along the street and we found a village shop. So we stopped, bought some yogurt and biscuits and sat in the sun for our lunch.
Then it was back to more main road punching. Occasionally the camino would divert us through some small copse or just take us a few yards from the road, but in the main we were stuck with it.
We came across what looked like a giant lorry park, with a hostel and a bar. So we thought we would stop for a Juice. The young man at the bar grunted when I asked for “dos Zumos, por favor”. We did not know where we were so I asked “Donde estamos?” “Mumble grunt goss” was all I got.
When I went back to pay he said “mumble sesenta” “Pardon?” “two sixty”. I felt like saying “I understand Spanish but not mumblish” but I let it drop. (must be getting old).
As we loaded ourselves up again, a man came over and asked if we had finished with the table. I had a short chat with him and asked where we were “Villadangos del Paramo” he said, “Gracias” I said and noticed our mumbling barman looking..
More road pounding to San Martin del Camino. At the outskirts we saw an albergue, it looked beautiful, even had a pool outside, but we had hoped to reach Hospital del Orbigo today. By the time we had debated we had walked passed, and Viv is one of the no turning back, group. So we walked on. Sometimes you know you are making the wrong decesion even as you make it, so it was today.
More long dry road until we turned off to cross another bridge and be greeted by a beautiful new watertower that had Viv enchanted.
We approached the town to find it be-decked with flags and full of people in costume. It appears that this weekend they are having a Medieval Market, just as they were in Leon.
We stopped at a bar before the bridge and had an Ice cream before going off to find beds.
The book says “Take time to linger at the Medieval Bridge and look for the field on the left where jousting tournaments took place”. Today the past tense was the only incorrect part of this.
The trouble with big events is that they tend to fill all the hotels and hostels. After “si no tienes reserva, esta complet” It became obvious, tonight we would be back to albergue, cold showers, and getting disturbed at four in the morning.
When we got to the albergue, we found Wyn sitting there, like he had been waiting for us since we left Leon.
The place was full of expensive medieval fair, so we returned to the bar we first stopped at. No food until six and then it was the medieval menu, so we wandered on.
Off the camino a bit we found Bar Alicia, platos combinados from 6.25e. We should have gone for the cheap version. Instead we had the 9e with beef steak (back to the two fingers sticking out of the head description again). The dish had chips, fried egg, German sausage, croquets and salad, not just beef steak. Niether of us finished.
“Quieres postre?” she asked. She had to be joking. Not satisfied that we were full she brought us two cakes and then her Peregrino book to fill in.
We walked back over the bridge and watched as the black Knight was bood and jeared, and the other Knights all got cheered. We saw a few preliminaries of the jousting but got too cold. On the way back to the albergue we followed a piper, 2 drummers and a dancer.
They continued on right into the albergue where we had a free show. We now have it on Vivs camera for posterity.

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