24 July 2012

Camino de Santiago Day 9: Sahagún - Hospital de Órbigo

As per usual, we took a while getting up in the morning and departed Sahagún around 8:30am. We had only eaten a few biscuits for breakfast so were on the lookout for a bar or cafe in the morning. We stopped in Bercianos del Real Camino for a coffee and waited around for a grocery store that was set to open at 9am, but when it didn't we continued on to El Burgo Ranero where we did find a grocery store, and bought breakfast food as well as the makings of bocadillos (sandwiches) for lunch. We spent most of the morning cycling on the road, as the camino went right alongside it. Again I found myself really grateful that I didn't have to walk this long stretch -- on the bike it was quite pleasant and the km's passed quickly.

Miguel and the camino of La Meseta (walker's path on the left)

Just after noon we reached León--50km into the ride. We took a bit of a spin around town and then went to get our credentials stamped in the cathedral. While I was at the ticket office getting them stamped, a German tour group came in. The tour guide asked me if he could show the credential to his tour, and explained that I had come from Bordeaux and was headed to Santiago - with oohs and ahhs from the crowd. I couldn't believe I was a tourist attraction!

Cathedral in León

We asked some priests to direct us to a park and ate our bocadillos in the shade. The boys had a little siesta and by the time we were ready to leave it was 2pm. The exit from León was not very pleasant -- it was along a big, busy road (although sometimes there was a cycle lane) and uphill the whole way. We stopped in a small town and found a fountain to refill our water as I had run out completely in the heat. But I think I was a little dehydrated already as I soon started to feel a bit nauseous. Fortunately, Alberto had found that his GPS track had the 'Camino Alternativo' which takes you off of the main road. So when I started to feel bad we were on quiet roads and I could potter along slowly until we got to an albergue where we stopped and had a coke, after which I felt better.

The hospitalero at the albergue told us we had 28 km to Astorga, "flat" as they always said, so we presssed on. The camino was still wide and smooth so we did alright, but somehow our calculations got confused and as we approached Hospital de Órbigo, Alberto thought we were only 8km from Astorga while I thought it was more like 16. We were immediately enchanted by the cuteness of the bridge into Hospital de Órbigo and were already thinking that maybe we should stay here for the night, when we spoke to a local and confirmed we still had 15km to Astorga including a big hill. We had already done 100km and it was starting to get late, so we decided to stay in the municipal albergue for the evening.

Miguel's first 100km!
Bridge into Hospital de Órbigo
The albergue looked nice at first - it was very old with a lovely cobblestone courtyard, a large garden, and a ktichen. But the rooms were crowded, the garden full of loud North Americans, and the kitchen in high demand. Still, we all showered, did some laundry, and went out to buy some food to cook for dinner. The evening entertainment was provided by the mother and daughter Canadians who were very loud and outspoken. The Mom had taken the bus as she had picked up an ankle injury and suffering was not part of her plan. She kept saying "I'm here to have fun!" and she was asking one of the Spanish guys there how to say "Let's go have fun" in  Spanish -- apparently unaware of how ridiculous she was sounding. Meanwhile the daughter had recently walked through the entire night because she thought it sounded cool.

Alberto and I on the bridge
Alberto and Miguel cooked the dinner of rice and lentils with chorizo and we headed to bed.... but at about midnight I woke up feeling very nauseous. It must have been a bad reaction to the food, but Alberto and Miguel were both fine. I'll spare you the worst of the details but suffice to say I couldn't get out of my top bunk in time and vomited all over my sleeping bag. I then commenced the very difficult process of trying to deal with this while not waking up anyone else in the room. I did wake Alberto up and he amazingly agreed to help me by cleaning my sleeping bag in the sink while I showered to get everything out of my hair. He nearly vomited himself in the process, but he did a great job of taking care of me. Afterwards, I still felt pretty bad and was afraid to go back into the room lest the whole thing happen again, so I spent the rest of the night on a couch in the albergue's courtyard, with one of the hostel's spare blankets. Both Alberto and I were worried about how I'd feel in the morning, but for the time being there was nothing to do but try to get some sleep.

Stats for the day:
Moving average: 16.6kph
Overall average: 10.1kph
Odometer: 100km
Moving time: 5h58m
Stopped time: 3h49m
Max speed: 44.1kph

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