Day 23: Villar de Mazarife to Villares de Orbigo

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We spotted this neat pilgrim artwork in Mazarife’s main plaza.  I really like how the artist depicted the resting pilgrim. Those who have trekked the camino know exactly what he is feeling and thinking.

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Being in the middle of holy week can create some amazing memories but can also create some difficulties. We have had reports from other pilgrims about difficulty finding lodging in Leon and there are also many businesses which pilgrims depend upon which are closed.  We knew about these issues heading into this week and is why we made plans to ride bicycles to Leon, made reservations for lodging there and planned to hike beyond it before Easter Sunday.  However, we have noticed that many bars and mercados were closed this week.  We found only one mercado open during today’s trek. We promptly purchased food for our Easter Sunday breakfast and a lunch/dinner bocadillo.

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Yesterday’s hike included large lizards scurrying away from us as we hiked the way. Today’s path took us alongside irrigation ditches with hundreds of croaking frogs. Their differing croaks made for some laughs along the way. We found it takes a keen eye to spot them as they hide in the algae. There are two in this photo.

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Sometimes the camino takes you to magical places. Other times it takes you to places you would rather not get to close to. When I first saw this view I thought we made a wrong turn. Then, my inner voice said, “trust the arrow.” We did and the path turned just before entering this chemical plant. 

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We hiked for just over seven miles before we found a bar open for breakfast/lunch.  It was in a little town called Puente. The owner, Alicia Santos Fernández, treated us like family. I think she saw the desperation in our eyes.  We ordered cafe, juice and two tortillas (which we saw on the counter). Alicia brought us our drinks and some special treats to hold us over until she made us some fresh tortillas.  It was well worth the wait, as they contained the base of eggs and potatoes with red peppers and onions added.  It tasted outstanding and we let her know it. She was so happy.  She asked us to sign her guest book and we did,  posting some nice comnents. 

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We purchased some USA/Colorado flag pins from Colorado Embroidery Works and our friend Dave Roche before setting off on the camino.  We have used them along the way to give to new pilgrim friends or when a local goes out of his/her way to help us out.  We gave Alicia today’s pin.  She was so happy she immediately took it out of the plastic and put it on her aprin.  That was the coolest response yet, so it deserved a photo.

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More white storks camping out on church bell towers.  They are huge birds. I keep trying to photograph one in flight, but always seem to find a way to botch the photo.  It is now my camino obsession. 🙂

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A bit further up the camino we came upon the town of Hospital de Orbigo.  To enter the village you must cross the Puente de Orbigo bridge.  It is one of the longest and best preserved medieval bridges in Spain.  The long portion was built in the 13th century and the two span portion in the photo’s foreground was constructed long before by the Romans.

According to our Brierley Camino Guidebook…”When you cross the bridge you cross the Paso Honroso,  the passage of honor.  This is named after a famous jousting tournament which took place here in 1434.  A noble knight from Leon,  Don Sueno de Quinones, was scorned by a beautiful lady. He threw down the gauntlet to any knight who dared to pass as he defended the bridge and his honor against all comers.  Knights from all over Europe took up the challenge.  Don Quinones successfully defended the bridge for a month until the required 300 lances had been broken. He then left for Santiago to offer thanks for his freedom from the bonds of love and for his honor.”

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Every year the town hosts a jousting match in this park, in the exact location where Don Quinones defended his honor.  If you love history, the Camino lets you walk on its path.

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This photo is for the grandkids.  We had tractors passing us all day long! BIG TRACTORS!!!!!

Today was a short day to stay in a nicer albergue.  We hiked 17.1 km (10.6 miles). Tomorrow will be a longer trek and the weather is predicted to be rainy.

Buen Camino!

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3 Comments

Filed under Mark & Sandy's Camino 2014

3 responses to “Day 23: Villar de Mazarife to Villares de Orbigo

  1. Alicia will no doubt treasure that pin. What a wonderful idea. Only four days to my outward journey to SJPdP.
    Ultreia
    Annie

  2. Kathleen Salvas

    found only one frog!
    glad you are feeling better!

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