Not walking every day is starting to get to me. I want so badly to be going the distance each day. That’s what I came here for. Not that I feel guilty or anything, I just want to walk. And, I really need the exercise with all this food I’ve been eating. I just feel sluggish and lazy for the most part. I can’t complain too much though. My feet really do need to rest so my blisters can heal. Traveling from Pamplona to Hospital de Orbigo sucked. Two long bus rides and a train ride took up a whole day. No matter how clean you are, you can’t escape that gross feeling after a long day of travel. I needed a shower and bed. We got off the train thinking we are just outside of Astorga. Wrong! Turns out we got off at the wrong stop. We ended up in the right place but didn’t realize it. We got off the train and asked these shop owners about the bus to Hospital de Orbigo. They said it would come by in two and a half hours. They said something about walking there in 30 minutes but Dad didn’t believe them. “They must mean the bus ride is 30 minutes, Orbigo is 15 km from Astorga.” We totally could have walked. It was so close! Since we didn’t know this, we sat down at a nice cafe and waited the 2 hours for a bus that would only drive us 5 minutes down the street. I was just in a bad mood. It must have been my surroundings. The town we were in was just so run down and boring. And there was nothing to do but sit. There was wifi but all of my friends were still asleep back home (7 hour time difference). So nothing to do. Finally the bus comes and thirty seconds later we are dropped off at Orbigo. I had the same feeling, a run down and boring town and a mood to go along with it. I’m just following Dad like a lost puppy at this point, hoping he will lead me to a better place. We walk past old shuttered windows and unpainted steel doors. Then Dad stops next to some large wooden doors and turns to me.
“Wouldn’t expect anything nice around here would you?”
I laughed. “No, not at all”.
We step through the massive doorway and my jaw dropped. We entered a courtyard covered in beautiful flowers and many pretty things to look at. We steped through another doorway and into the dark interior.
“Dad, is this somebody’s home?”
This can’t possibly be a place for pilgrims! A woman appears through the back door and greets us both with kisses on each cheek! I can already tell we are going to feel very at home here. I remained quiet while Dad talked with her. She doesn’t speak a lick of English… shoot! I felt a bit uncomfortable as she led us upstairs. She opens up a door to a small room with a single bed that was painted light blue. I found it adorable. It also had a private bathroom. Even better! My mood improved but I was still icky. After Dad and Maria left, I took a shower and crawled into bed. Then I noticed it was almost time to head downstairs for dinner. Darn! No time to nap. I did however have some time to just lay there. Next thing I know, Dad is waking me up. What the heck? I fell asleep?
I felt groggy and confused as I was heading downstairs. A woman looking equally confused came down the stairs a few minutes later. She sat down with us in the living room as we waited for dinner to be served. We asked Sonia where she was from. She’s from the US as well. Yay! Someone I can easily talk to. I could tell right away she is such a sweetheart. We sat down for dinner and get to talking. She talked a lot but I really enjoyed listening. Even though she was so sweet, she was quite opinionated. I loved it. A strong woman just like myself. I really opened up to her and Dad as well. We made an awesome connection. I believe we all left the table with something to take with us in life. It really was a beautiful thing.
I went to bed that night filled with emotions. I also stayed up pretty late talking to my friends. Maybe a little too late. I slept until noon the next day. I was a little upset that I didn’t get to see Sonya one last time. Dad said she was sad she missed me as well. I wasn’t feeling so hot on this day either. Dad took me to this awesome bar/cafe that overlooked a medieval bridge. I was still in a depressed mood. When we headed back to the guest house, things became more interesting. There wasn’t really anything to do but get to know our señora, Maria. She really did not know any English. But she would not stop trying to communicate and connecting with us. I thought that was so awesome. We spent hours talking to her. The little Spanish I knew actually was very helpful. Dad knows more Spanish than I do but the things he struggled with I seemed to know for some reason. We were able to understand one another some how. She appreciated our efforts. So much that she wanted me to stay and be her second daughter. Mainly because she missed her own daughter so much after she left home for a job opportunity. She really missed taking care of somebody because she took great care of us! She would not stop serving us. She almost seemed hurt when we couldn’t finish all of our food or anything else she offered us! I kept trying to explain I loved everything she served me but I was just too full. She wouldn’t accept that. She kept commenting on how I needed the strength for the Camino. How sweet.
The next day, we had breakfast and after we said our goodbyes we were off to Astorga. The Señora Maria seemed a little sad to see us go. I really am going to miss her.