Camino Day 21- Leon to San Martin

We start off pretty slow today, forgetting to set an alarm. Dorcinda comments on how bright it is outside, and I check the clock. It’s 7:30! I jump out of bed.  We get packed and I forget my pole so we go back upstairs. It’s hidden by the curtain and I feel dumb. After an easygoing breakfast, we pass the monastery on the way out of town. Dorcinda wants to stay, she’s at 40 percent and wants convincing. But I’m at 25 percent, and we move on. We walk around a little bit and appreciate what we’re missing.

We meet Alice and her mom again outside of town. They’re traveling with an American from Tampa named Eddy. He said he saw us earlier and tried to catch up with us but couldn’t. Not before noon, buddy, I think. We’re the speedy pilgrims.

We stop for second breakfast and everyone gets OJ except Dorcinda who gets coffee. Alice says she found the special dessert mentioned in our guidebooks for this region, but she’s wrong – she’s just got regular magdalenas, bland dry cupcakes. Still, it is a sweet gesture and we are grateful. Eddy had worked on something in educational software, but he was laid off and has been traveling. We joke about both being retired. He’s  got a little over two weeks for the Camino before some volunteer home building thing in Africa, so he started in Leon. We are shocked to discover that its 12 at the end of second breakfast so we speed ahead and leave our temporary companions behind.

We walk along the roadside for a long time, and for once rue our decision not to take the scenic route. Every now and then the wind blows some foul odor into our faces.

We stop for a moment at Villadangos, which is St. John of Brierly’s recommended stopping point. We get ice cream and powerade and Doritos, just before the store closes at 3, and eat it outside the store. I notice a shirtless kid in the window and we make some snarky comment about protecting ladylike modesty. The shirtless girl, joined by her sister, in a white shirt, notice us and knock on the window. They’re maybe eight or 10 years old. Dorcinda smiled and wave and the shirtless one flips us the bird. I look down and ignore them. They knock and flip us off some more. I hope they’ll knock loud enough that their mother will notice and yell at them.  The shirtless one opens the window and yells at us. Eh! Gillipoyas! We eat our ice cream, slowly, appearing unfazed. Most places we’ve gone, people have been very welcoming of pilgrims. But not Villadangos, I guess.

While we’re sitting, another pilgrim asks us if we’re staying and we say no. He says, unfortunately, he will stay here. He was thinking of exploring the town a little, but this is pretty much it; he’s disappointed. He tells us wistfully about Hospital de Orbigos, 11km away, where he will probably stay tomorrow. They let pilgrims paint there or something, and his friends have told him its one of the best parts of the whole Camino. Dorcinda, I think, is tempted by his description and seems to consider walking 11km more. As for me, I don’t care what some rando’s friends say, 11 km is a long way to walk.

We stop at the next town, about 8km short of the recently-promised land at Orbigos, at San Martin. We get a double room for 20 euro, with two dinners and two breakfasts its 45.

At dinner, they put all four dining pilgrims together, so we chat with a lesbian couple. Sinead from Australia and ? From Estonia. We’re pretty sure we saw them outside of San Juan de Ortega, where we’d wondered if they were mother and daughter – Sinead is much larger woman, and seemed to physically be looking out for her smaller companion. They’ve been together for three years and are about to break up – Sinead is going back home but the other one is staying in Valencia. We don’t ask why they’re splitting now, and how they’re able to stay so close now, knowing that the end is near. They tell us that they took a bus ahead to avoid some unwanted attention from German admirer, a fellow pilgrim. Dorcinda and I discuss the only things we know about Estonia, some composer for her, and cybersecurity for me.

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