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Camino de Santiago, Day 33: Hospital de Orbigo to Murias de Rechivaldo

Gaudi Church in Astorga

Gaudi Church in Astorga

Again, Jamie and I parted ways leaving town, not sure if we would see each other again in an hour or in a week.

I walked through many agricultural villages.  Vineyards are appearing again.  The path is strewn with river rocks for miles and miles.  If you ever need to pave a street, come to Villaes de Orbigo, Spain.  The rocks are plentiful.

I passed a small group of cows and a baby cow licked me.  Maybe the greatest thing ever for this city girl.

I walked past vineyards with men working in the sun.  “Sultans of Swing” plays on the radio.  Several miles in, I walk through Santibanez de Valdeiglesia, a tiny town.  Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” blares out from a convenience store.  It seems American music is the world’s music.

Many more miles in dry heat and on dusty trails and I come upon a cart, in the middle of nowhere.  And an old barn.  And a barefoot man with a crowd gathered around.  The man offers food and drinks to pilgrims 24 hours a day from this cart.  For free.  There was coffee, and tea, organic juice, cookies, nuts, everything!  He sleeps outside and is always ready to offer.  He says he has an addiction to pilgrims.  Only on the Camino.  What a treat.

Soon after having a lifesaving glass of water from the cart, Jamie catches up with me.  Then he moves on.  I meet him in the plaza in Astorga, a beautiful city on a hill.  It’s a shame I had to move through it so quickly and didn’t even step inside the Gaudi church or the main cathedral.  Later, and as per the usual mysterious act of the universe, Jamie and I end up at the same alburgue in the same town without prior planning.

We meet Javier who speaks only Spanish but communicates to us through Oliver, the hospitelero, that he knows us from the hostel two nights before“You were the ones yelling at that horrible man!” Uh oh.  We’re infamous.  We are informed that the hospitalero we had such a problem with has a reputation far and wide.  The state uses that particular alburgue as a training ground for released prisoners (I told you he looked like he was gonna kill us!).  Evidently, the man is notorious for being horrible and should not be in that position but they probably have nobody else to fill it.  Suddenly, a lot about that man’s behavior makes more sense.

We walk to the bar and Javier joins us.  For three hours we talk with absolutely no crossover between languages.  Lots of gestures.  Javier is a party guy and looking for the fun everywhere.  We did our best to provide.

Today we walked 18 kilometers (11 miles).

Photos of the Day:


  1. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your sites really nice,
    keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come
    back later. All the best

    • Thanks Malvina! I appreciate that. All the best to you too!

  2. Hey Laura,
    I have really enjoyed reading your blog… excellent stuff. I miss the camino and am planning to go again soon.
    I just wanted to write and tell you that I think I walked with you on this day. We exitted the city after the medieval fair and walked together for a couple of kilometers.

    • Thanks Steve! Yes, I remember you. As I recall the path forked and you suggested the more scenic way. Amazing that you found me here! Thanks for reading and for your positive comments.

  3. The guy with the free food/drink cart…..awesome….makes me realize I’m not giving enough.

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