Day 2 … Monday, 3rd August 2015
Today felt like forever.
Started at 7am and arrived at the albergue San Javier at 5pm to the last available bed. 31.2km on arid shadeless dirt path most of the way. Can’t believe I did it!
It was a long walk but the charming Orbigo river, bridge and town makes it somewhat worthwhile.
Wished I had stayed the night in this town Hospital de Orbigo with its quaint cafes overlooking the river and albergues smelling of fresh coffee and bread.
The ancient Roman bridge tells a tale of chivalry of one knight who suffered a lady’s scorn and challenged all the best lances in the whole of Europe to battle on this bridge for 30 days. He fought and won the glory but not his lady’s love. So a pilgrim he became, walking the Camino to Santiago.
As I imagined how it could have been hundreds of years ago, a few cyclists stopped and looked down the river where a girl was taking a bath. Tsk! Times have changed but behaviours don’t.
Past Orbigo, the way would have been really monotonous if not for a group of really friendly students who had to complete 25km as part of their summer vacation camp.
We passed this hippie yogi who gives fruits and drinks to anyone who comes his way, all are welcomed, everything is free. He was like sugar to ants.
Still another 6km to go with a bit of climbing and I was getting weak in body and spirit. Along came three lads who happily chatted with me all the way and before I knew it, the city of Astorga can be seen from the top of the hill.
But the highlight of my walk today must be my meeting with young David from this obscure village where I rested.
David loves to speak English and cheerfully introduced me to his whole family and best friend, brought me to the local bar to get my pilgrim stamp, led me to the water fountain and insisted I filled up my bottles ( thank goodness, it was the last one for the next 12km).
I felt I have to give him something. Money comes to mind but that’s not appropriate. Wait, David. I’ve a present for you.
Dug deep into my backpack and what a surprise! I brought my books, just in case someone along the way may be worthy of them.
Hope David enjoys reading them and who knows, one day he may be in Singapore and remember a pilgrim who stopped to rest outside his house.