Camino de Santiago, Leaving La Virgen del Camino on the walker’s route to Hospital de Orbigo, Spain
We left La Virgen del Camino, just outside of Leon Oct 2, 2012 about 8:30 this morning, not too long after sunrise, temperatures about 10 degrees C, a good walking temperature. It had been cool while we were in Leon, and with autumn fast approaching we anticipate cooler temperatures, today we did not need the toque or mittens we had bought! Our destination was Hospital de Orbiga, 29 kilometers down the road. We choose the quiet walker’s route, rather than the near the N12o because we did not want to walk near the highway. It was a very quiet walk, as there was very little traffic, and fewer pilgrims/peregrine’s that we were use to seeing, but we were not alone on the road.
The roses in many gardens are blooming…..
Roses by the road, Oncina de la Valdoncina
About 4:30 pm this afternoon with mid 20 degree C temperatures, we reached our destination of Hospital de Orbigo Spain. A long day and a lot of walking and we were both very tired. After checking in we showered, washed our cloths, and had a nap! About 6:30 pm we walked about town, and found the famous medieval bridge. Near the bridge is a wonderful restaurant where we have probably had our best pilgrim’s meal since starting our journey!
Medieval Bridge, Hospital de Orbigo at sunset
One of our favourite reference books for the camino has been “Walking the Camino de Santiago” written by Bethan Davies and Ben Cole, updated by Daphne Hnatiuk and published by Pili Pala Press. http://www.pilipalapress.com they have this to say regarding the history of the bridge.
“In the late ninth century. Puente de Órbigo, the multi-arched Gothic bridge that’s one of the most important of the camino, was built-in the thirteenth century, and though it has been destroyed by floods many times since, its appearance remains resolutely mediaeval.
The most famous episode in the bridge’s history is the quest of the lovelorn Don Suero de Quiñones. In 1434, rejected by his lady-love, Suero put an iron collar around his neck as a sign that he was still shackled to her. He vowed to keep the collar on until he had broken 300 lances in fights on the bridge with the best knights in Europe.
Many knights rose to the challenge, and Suero and his friends were kept busy fight- ing them off. The tournament took place during a Holy Year and began a couple of weeks before the Día de Santiago on July 25, the peak time of year for pilgrim traf- fic. Suero successfully defended the bridge against all-comers and eventually reached his 300-lance target.Taking off his iron collar, Suero journeyed to Santiago with his lady’s jewelled bracelet; it now encircles the neck of the statue of Santiago in the cathedral. It’s said that Suero’s story may have inspired Cervantes’ Don Quixote.
The jousting tournament is recreated next to the bridge at the beginning of June each year.”