Joust a minute

Day 21. Villa de Mazarife to Astorga. 31 Km.
Miles to Santiago.: 183

After the minor miracle (maybe Saint Jimmy is looking after me) of getting a cubicle of 4 beds to myself in Jesus’ house , I started early today

It was a 31 km haul but that wasn’t why I started early.

I wanted to see the stars out on the Meseta where light pollution us virtually negligible.

And I wasn’t disappointed. Venus and Juliter were shining brightly and the Milky Way was pointing the way west.

Bats were flying along the Camino making that particular squeaking noise.

At one point I got the coolly wobbles in the darkness becoming convinced I was being followed by someone – or something

My sense of unease deepened as a passed a cornfield. I was sure I cold make out a group of zombie figures wading through the corn towards me in the darkness like some awful Steven King novel. It was with relief that as the sun rose it revealed a field full of scarecrows.

As the dawn broke I was treated to one of the most spectacular sunrises I have ever seen.

By 0900 I had covered almost 14km and had arrived at the town of
Hospital de Orbigo

It was here on the spectacular arched bridge in 1434 that a local nobleman – having his best chat up lines spurned by the local talent – rather lost the plot and somewhat over reacted

Don Suero de Quienones had tried and failed to win the heart of a local maiden. In truth it seems to have been the medieval equivalent of a robust response from a lass in a Nottingham nightclub

“I’m desperate but not that desperate,” she said. In medieval Spanish

So what does the Don do? Does he shrug his shoulders and move along the metaphorical dance floor and try his best chat up lines on the next SeƱorita ?

No he does not. He decides his honour has been questioned

So he decides to challenge to single conbat any knight who wants to cross the bridge.

As Tim Moore puts it in his book Spanish Steps its the equivalent of saying “I’ll do them all the bastards I’ll do them all right now”

One month later and according to some estimates one man is dead and the lances of 300 challengers lie broken and piled up next to the bridge

You can almost imagine some hapless weary knight trying to make his way back home only to be confronted by this absurd aged lothario in some sort of absurd Monty Puthonesque scene.

“None shall pass!”

“Look Don I’ve had enough of this.

Just cos you got blown out on your first date”

“None shall pass!!”

“Can’t we just sit down and talk about this like nature knights”?

Cue another job for the lance repair man

Didn’t do the Don much good. He was killed a few years later after encountering a knight that he had humiliated on the bridge

The town still trades on the story. Even holding its own jousting tournament every year

Tonight Astorga. Less than 200 miles to go