Day 22 (Oct 7): Leon to Villar de Mazarife, 20 km, 483 km (total)
Our last easy, 20 km day for a while started at about 8:15 as spent the first hour slowly leaving Leon to the west.
After leaving Leon it was a fairly typical day on the Meseta – gravel roads through rolling farms. We stopped for coffee, as usual, in a little town after 6 miles or so.
The Camino seems to be a big part of the local economy. A lot of these small towns have an albergue or two with a small cafe or two that cater almost exclusively to pilgrims.
And, around 1:00 we rolled into our home for the night..
The church is closed but the bar was open…though guarded by a vicious dog.
Day 23 (Oct 8): Villar de Mazarife to Astorga, 31 km, 514 km (total)
After a stretch of relatively easy days today we had a 20 miler. We got an early start leaving our hostal in the dark at 6:30. We walked a paved rural road for two hours with headlights as the sun slowly rose.
After three hours we stopped in a busy pilgrim town where three trails come together, Puerte de Orbigo, for breakfast (and coffee!). The place had some very interesting birds hanging around.
Leaving Orbigo we passed over the medieval gothic bridge, the Puente de Orbigo.
And then more miles….
After 15 miles of hiking we stumbled onto a lovely refugio where we had lunch.
The refugios don’t charge for the water, food and shade they provide. They just ask for donations. It is very nice, especially on long stretches with no towns.
And, after 19 miles or so we entered Astorga.
After resting up we visited the Gaudi Palace
Day 24 (Oct 9): Astorga to Rabanal del Camino, 20 km, 535 km
After yesterday’s 20 miler we had a welcome 12.5 mile day. We have definitely left the Meseta, the endless rolling vistas of farmland have given way to a hilly, forested area.
We stopped in a little town for ….. coffee!
And we ran into a traditionally dressed pilgrim…
… and some less traditionally dressed pilgrims.
And we got a selfie with one of our favorite trail friends (people we have been bumping into since the beginning).