Day 13: Villadangos del Paramo to Villarres de Orbigo. We walk through Cheeky’s jigsaw puzzle.
The early morning expectation, bags packed, feet vaselined and/or taped – whatever method has been chosen by that particular peregrino to escape the scourge of blisters. Knee braces applied, legs strapped. Nervous energy being walked off as peregrinos wait for walking partners. Some peregrinos louder than others, forgetting that some choose to try sleep in, the morning bustles with expectation as we all get ready to walk into the day about to form. We left early, about 6:30, after a poor sleep that is often a feature of overcrowded Municipal Albergues. Our destination of Villarres de Orbigo was 16km away.
Today we walked through Cheeky’s jigsaw puzzle. Cheeky’s favourite iPad app is a puzzle game in which the puzzles are the artwork of Manet. Many of his artworks feature fields of wildflowers and today we walked through wild flower fields reminiscent of Manet’s work. It felt like walking through Cheeky’s jigsaws.
You can add cherry thief to my crimes after today’s walk. I’ve begun to detect a pattern here I think. Cheeky spots fruit, she has an uncanny knack for this, i’m then persuaded to collect such fruit, Cheeky then consumes the fruit. Today’s bounty was cherries. I don’t think there’s any fruit that grows on trees here that I haven’t yet plucked, except perhaps for the still ripening grapes and figs we see.
The day’s walk took us through the picturesque town Hospital de Orbigo with it’s ultra long medieval bridge and it’s adjoining jousting fields. The town made famous by the undefeated Knight who fought fellow Knights from all over Europe on this little field, remaining undefeated and only retiring after 60 odd days of jousting in a row.
Our obligatory coffee over the jousting fields done we marched into our last stage of the day. The weather was hot and whilst the walk was pleasant through barley fields and rows of budding cornfields Cheeky’s knees began to feel the pain. We arrived in the paved and mudwalled town of Villarres de Orbigo to find a gloriously clean, small, friendly and off the beaten path Albergue. A fine end to a good day’s walking. Tomorrow we walk into the chocolate town of Astorga about 14km away. That will be the finish of our 45km test of Cheeky’s knees. We’ve booked a hotel there and will stay for two days before heading onto Sarria by bus for the final 115km stretch.