June 14, 2008 León to Hospital de Órbigo

Finding the bronze scallop shells that mark the camino through the old city of Leon proved to be difficult the next morning. Or perhaps it was being bleary-eyed after too much celebration the night before. The shells are embedded in the pavement stones, but after the cathedral, only at wide intervals. I walked past St Isadore and was lost. I knew I needed to go toward the river, so I headed out the old city walls and finally found yellow arrows some blocks away in the newer part of town. I learned later that the actual way out of the old city is past the Parador and across the river on the pedestrian bridge.

After about 10 kilometers of suburbs the camino opens onto a vast plain. I chose the option along the road (rather than the rural option) in order to cover the 32 km more quickly to Hospital de Orbigo. Still, I was extraordinarily tired by the time I arrived at the Hospital bridge. Arriving at the albergue, I could barely walk on the round-rock pavers. After a little rest I went to the albergue’s back yard for laundry and fell into conversation with a fun group of French, German and Bulgarian pilgrims. We decided to cook dinner together, but when it was clear there was little good food to be found at the grocery store, we opted to go out to eat. The dinner was full of great conversation and these pilgrims became beloved friends.

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